Is this supposed to be satire?

Maybe this article titled “My fling with a Proud Boy”, with the subhead “A young liberal reflects on what a far-right romance taught her about men, women, love, and life”, is supposed to be a joke, except that it got published in The American Conservative, which doesn’t have much of a reputation for humor. It’s usually more about racism.

Elias is a trim, intelligent man about my dad’s size.

My sarcasm sense is already tingling, confirmed later by frequent mentions of Freud and Jung. She’s got to be pulling everyone’s leg.

He seemed quiet, except for his clothes. He wore a jaunty plaid hat and his wool coat reminded me of a Confederate soldier’s. There were anti-PC pins on it.

“I’m fighting the establishment,” he said. (In my mind he added m’lady.)

Elias was on a Tinder spree. His heart was torn. His girlfriend broke up with him a year ago so she could explore the world.

It just gets more and more ridiculous.

Elias told me he didn’t like mainstream media. I referenced Paglia. He countered with Evola. We both read Robert Greene. We kept going until I pulled the trump card:

“I’m reading Jung.”

“Good stuff.”

He tilted the Pepe on his screensaver towards me.

“Have you heard of the Proud Boys?”

There’s a point in a girl’s life when she needs it. This was that point. In 2017 I almost got married. I failed. I’d only lived in New York for six months when I met him; I was definitely influenced by Sex and the City.

Come on. The editors at the American Conservative had to have caught on by now.

One night he brought Guinness and oranges. My place is small; I sat on my chair and he sat at the desk.

“You look dapper,” I said. His outfit was ASOS. He pulled a yellow compass-looking apparatus out of his canvas messenger bag.

“Here, give me your face.”

He held it at several angles across my cheekbone.

“You’re neotenous,” Elias said approvingly.

I raised a brow. He paused, taking a drink. Then he added “You’re cute.”

I smiled. “Come up with me.”

We climbed the wooden ladder to my loft.

“I’m scared,” I told him. “I’ve been watching Jordan Peterson videos.”

“Father Peterson is helping you through?”

“I watched the one about female heroism. How she knows her children will be in pain and she does it anyway.”

“Ah.” He said it knowingly and wisely, like a sage. “So you are paying attention.”

All right, enough. I can’t believe two human beings could be that insufferable, or that the American Conservative would publish it. Tucker Carlson is chairman of the board there, you know, and Rod Dreher is a senior editor, and it was founded by Pat Buchanan? I suspect this article was run simply to discombobulate everyone.

A graveyard adventure

I’ve wanted to photograph this spectacular church and graveyard in Starbuck, MN (about 20 miles away from me) for a while, and this morning, on a whim, I decided to drive out early in the morning to explore it. The plan was to catch the sunrise light, maybe get some nice background, but no, the weather did not oblige. Instead, we got a pale gray sky that slowly brightened, uniform and uniformly uninteresting. I took a few shots anyway. Maybe I’ll try again on a different day.

This is the Indherred Lutheran Church, and the steeple declares that it was built in 1896. The graveyard is significantly older, though — I found tombstones from the 1860s, and other stones so eroded they were unreadable. Most of the names were German and Scandinavian, as you’d expect. It’s hard to imagine living in this remote part of the country 160 years ago, when there was probably nothing but a dirt road connecting your tiny community of farmers to markets and civilization; I think the railroads were mainly built in the 1880s and later.

There were some funky tombstones there that made me wonder about the story behind them, like this stone tree-trunk for Swerre Torenius A. Wollan. Yeah, that’s not a rope, it’s sculpted. It’s got spectacular lichen growing on it, too.

The other question in my mind was what language they were speaking. I know a little rusty German, and this ain’t it. Instead of “born” and “died”, we’ve got “fodt” and “dode”. Maybe someone will recognize it. Is this some archaic form of Danish? Some other Scandinavian language?

I couldn’t even guess what this inscription says. It’s tantalizingly germanic, but that’s as far as I can get. Also, lots of the stones had this hand symbology, like the handshake on this one.

I also sent one photo off to affinitysubmissions@gmail.com, we’ll have to see if it makes the cut. You know that as part of our fundraiser, we’re inviting everyone to send in photos with a Fall/Halloween theme, right? That means you, too. Maybe your work will end up in our art collection for everyone to see! We also welcome donations to our cause, if you don’t feel like taking pictures.

More stuff to worry about

Copied from Facebook.

I know everyone’s industry is affected, but here are some not so fun facts on the live entertainment industry:

  • Legendary New York Metropolitan Opera has just announced its closure until September 2021. Their musicians, choirs, stage techs, etc, along with the rest of the industry have been without pay since last April.
  • The New York Philharmonic has cancelled until fall 2021.
  • Broadway is closed until mid-2021
  • Cirque du Soleil went bankrupt and cut over 3500 jobs.
  • Feld Entertainment (family tours – Disney on Ice, Monster Jam, circus, etc) has permanently fired 90% of their workforce.
  • Live Nation and other concert promoters have laid off a majority of their employees.
  • Talent agencies who plan & book concerts, appearances, festivals, etc have laid off over half their employees.
  • Cruise boat artists are unemployed and amusement park productions have no idea when they will be rehired.
  • There are no concerts, festivals, or tours scheduled until 2021 and if they don’t perform next year they are likely to go bankrupt & may never happen again. No Jazz Festival, no Coachella, no Bonnaroo, no EDC, no Glastonbury, no tours, no ballet, no opera…. it’s all gone.
  • It is predicted that 90% of independent music rooms could close if this continues.
  • Artistic and musical organizations of all kinds – choirs, theaters, orchestras, dance companies, festivals, music rooms, not to mention all technical and independent suppliers – all are trying to find alternatives to succeed in working.
  • Over 12,000,000 people work in entertainment production, we are not insignificant and this industry can’t reopen until mass gatherings are allowed. This doesn’t include the additional dismissal of techs and openers, maintenance staff for bar rooms and staff, safety and thousands of vendors.

So when you see your entertainment friends begging you to wear masks and stay home, understand that we are watching, helplessly, our industry collapse before our eyes because not enough people care about taking the necessary means to reduce the spread. This is personal to us, our whole livelihood depends on social solidarity and we will not accept to be labeled ‘non-essentials’.
Music & Arts are necessary for a happy and balanced society.
Everyone’s career and industry is indefinitely pending. PLEASE wear your mask (on your mouth AND nose) and wash your hands!

Impressive for a virus that doesn’t exist and is, simultaneously, just a form of the flu.

The October surprise!

It’s here! Rudy Giuliani has it. Hunter Biden, who is not running for office, is claimed to have left incriminating evidence of terrible crimes on a hard drive.

“The process was that the laptop was left by Hunter Biden, in an inebriated, heavily inebriated state with the merchant,” Giuliani told conservative radio host David Webb of SiriusXM Patriot 125 on Thursday. “The merchant fixed the laptop, tried to reach out to Hunter Biden, and Hunter Biden never came back for it. The document that I have signed by Hunter Biden says that after 90 days, the hard drive is abandoned, and becomes the property of the merchant.”

The shop owner told the New York Post that he had given a copy of the computer’s hard drive to Giuliani, who later provided a copy of the drive to the tabloid earlier in October. The New York Post subsequently published some of the contents in the hard drive on Wednesday, including an email that spoke of potentially setting up a meeting between a senior official from Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings, where he sat on the board, and his father, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Uh, OK. So Hunter Biden got drunk, left a broken laptop at a repair shop, and forgot about it, so the repair shop owner gets possession and passes it on to the always credible Giuliani, who sits on it for 6 months and is now trickling out little bits info while promising that the remainder proves that Hunter Biden is owned by China.

Weak sauce.

A better surprise is that Rudy Giuliani’s daughter, Caroline, has repudiated her father’s politics.

If being the daughter of a polarizing mayor who became the president’s personal bulldog has taught me anything, it is that corruption starts with “yes-men” and women, the cronies who create an echo chamber of lies and subservience to maintain their proximity to power. We’ve seen this ad nauseam with Trump and his cadre of high-level sycophants (the ones who weren’t convicted, anyway).

What inspires me most about Vice President Biden is that he is not afraid to surround himself with people who disagree with him. Choosing Senator Harris, who challenged him in the primary, speaks volumes about what an inclusive president he will be. Biden is willing to incorporate the views of progressive-movement leaders like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on issues like universal health care, student debt relief, prison reform, and police reform. And he is capable of reaching across the aisle to find moments of bipartisanship. The very notion of “bipartisanship” may seem painfully ludicrous right now, but we need a path out of impenetrable gridlock and vicious sniping. In Joe Biden, we’ll have a leader who prioritizes common ground and civility over alienation, bullying, and scorched-earth tactics.

Do people still listen to Giuliani? He’s terrible.

Adam Savage on hearing loss

He gives a good answer to a common question.

My hearing is fine, thank you very much, except for an obnoxious tinnitus that isn’t yet affecting my life much. My wife, however, is losing her hearing in an unusual way, with the lower registers progressively dropping out (usually it’s the other way around, losing the higher frequencies first). Savage mentions the high cost of hearing aids, and we have some experience with that — there’s a reason for it. Modern hearing aids aren’t just amplifiers that make all sounds louder, they have to be more sophisticated than that. For instance, my wife has an app on her phone that lets her tweak the amplification, it’s like a built-in equalizer so she can boost the volume at specifically the frequencies that are affected. The technology is cool, but Savage is right — it’s also awkward and clumsy and expensive.

At least her condition means my voice is becoming gradually more inaudible, while she can hear the grandkids just fine, which is probably for the best. It still ought to be a right for everyone to have this kind of necessary support. You never know, maybe someday I’ll say something worth listening to!

Evil Cat adresssssesss you. Obey.

We have mice in our house. It’s a perennial problem: as the outside temperature drops towards freezing and lower, the mice, being not stupid at all, gravitate towards those big roomy wooden boxes that radiate heat, and as a bonus, contain food. Every fall we get this migration inwards, and I end up setting up traps everywhere around the house. Little do the mice know, though, that in our house, they also face a demonic force…our cat.

It’s not that our cat is an efficient mouser. No, our evil cat is a bumbling incompetent who rarely kills a mouse. Instead, she thinks mice are a wonderful new toy.

So I’m awakened at 2am, 3am, 4am by the sound of this klutz of a cat bouncing about and knocking over random objects. I got up and turned on the lights to witness the barbaric spectacle. Some poor mouse had been battered and stunned and was reduced to scurrying around in circles in the middle of the floor while the evil cat pounced and leapt up and down, and when the mouse broke the circle of torture, she’d chase it down and bat it back into the killing ground. Except, no killing. She’s got needle sharp claws and nasty teeth, but she didn’t use the more deadly weapons, preferring to keep the game going with blunt pummeling and terror and cruelty. This is what I live with.

I struggled just to get a little sleep in between the bouts of bumping and clattering and gleeful meowing. I might have been a punchy, because I swear she got into the bed and wormed her way up to my ear and hissed at me with fishy cat breath.

“Thisss iss my houssse. I posssesssss you. Sssuffer, fool, ssserve me, I will taunt you for my pleasure.”

“Now to busssinesss. I sseee there are only four cans of Fancy Feast on the ssshelf.”

“I must have more. Your poverty embarrassssessss me. When you awaken, you mussst tout your Patreon account and your fundraiser. I am disgusssted that you have pitiffuly permitted a SSSSSLAPP sssuit to diminissshh the ressssources that should be dedicated to ME. End it. End it NEEOW.”

I must obey. I am exhausted today. I cannot resist. Obey the cat. Save me.

“smashing you in the face with a gourd full of spiders”

Why do you have to ruin this pitch-perfect rant about the election by dissing spiders, Cody? That one line hurt, you know.

The rest, though, is spot on. Biden sucks, but we’ve got to vote for him.

I won’t be able to watch the election returns on 3 November. Because of the electoral college, and the corruption, and the rat-fucking Republicans, and the poisoning of the courts with unqualified evil jerks, I don’t have that much confidence that Trump will be thrown out of office.