The American Eagle morphs into a pack of mangy jackals

Apologies for the extended posting holiday hereabouts, folks. But frankly, my disgust over current events has rendered me incapable of much beyond incoherent, tongue-tied spluttering. This revolting story should provide the first clue:


Do please note the imbecile who actually pulls his precious little mask aside to shriek at this poor woman, while the other hyenas brazenly defy The Power’s orders to observe proper social distancing in their eagerness to gang-terrorize their hapless victim.

All I can say is it’s too bad the woman lives in NYC, where her supposed “Second Amendment rights” have long been null and void. Otherwise, she could’ve shot her way out of that troop of mouth-breathing baboons, every last one of which is deserving of a much, much worse fate. May they all die screaming in agony, their souls shriveled by the fires of infernal Hell for a thousand years. Plus.

YMMV, but that appalling video to me is as sickening a display of true Amerikan cowardice and irrationality as I ever hope to see. At the moment, as far as I’m concerned the whole goddamned shitshow that we’re pleased to misnomer a “free country” can burn all the way down to bedrock. More later, after I somehow regain a little perspective and get my equanimity back.

Life: unsafe at any speed

A risk-averse society is a dying society.

We have a meme up at PragerU: “‘Until it’s safe’ means ‘never.'”

The pursuit of “safe” over virtually all other considerations is life-suppressing. This is true for your own individual life, and it is true for the life of a society.

I always give the following example: I have been taking visitors to Israel for decades, and for all those decades, people have called my radio show to say, “Dennis, I would so love to visit Israel, but I’m just going to wait until it’s safe.” And I’ve always told these people, “Then you’ll never go.” And sure enough, I’ve gone there over 20 times, and they never went.

I have never led my life on the basis of “until it’s safe.” I do not take ridiculous risks. I wear a seatbelt whenever I’m in a car because the chances are overwhelming that in a bad accident, a seatbelt can save my life. But I get into the car, which is not 100% safe.

You are not on earth to be safe. You are on earth to lead a full life. I don’t want my epitaph to be, “He led a safe life.” It’s like another epitaph I don’t want: “He experienced as little pain as possible.”

All of life confronts you with this question: Are you going to take risks or play it safe? If you play it safe, you don’t get married. If you play it safe, you don’t have kids. There are real risks in getting married; there are real risks in having children.

If you want to lead a good and full life, you cannot keep asking, “Is it safe?” Those at college promoting “safe spaces” are afraid of life, and they want to make you afraid of life.

We’re going crazy on the safe issue. It is making police states. That’s my worry: In the name of safety, many Americans are dropping all other considerations.

They’ve been meticulously trained to, over many decades, with the making of a police state foremost in the minds of the Planners.

“We were never asked”

Masters don’t ask. They know they don’t have to.

Last year, through an excellent HBO miniseries, the Soviet Union’s 1986 Chernobyl disaster came to life. Lies about risk were widespread. People were told for years that science proved the reactors were safe, only to be dragged from their radiation-contaminated homes with only the clothes on their back. Certain observers, particularly on the Right, saw the series as a lesson in the evils of communism. While it was indeed that, things also looked rather familiar.

Like our country today, the Soviet Union was full of hard-working and patriotic little people, whose lives and fates were controlled by authorities more concerned with saving face than doing the right thing. As the series dramatized, individualized justice and truth were often suppressed in the name of ideology and scientific progress. Rank and title counted for a lot, while common sense was often neglected. The Soviet Union was a Communist regime, but it was chiefly a bureaucratic regime, where the bureaucracy’s managerial class had privileged lives and a hostile relationship to the common people.

The United States has long been a more individualistic, entrepreneurial, and freedom-loving people than those in Europe, whether East or West. Our national life is much more than an abstract creed. Our culture can be found as much in the Federalist Papers as in the advent of the road trip, music festivals, and, in the days of Prohibition, the speak-easy. We are a restless, energetic, and unbridled people. We are wont to question authority and bend rules that seem stupid and meddlesome.

Public health has always had an uneasy relationship with that culture. At its worst, public health expresses a censorious, cautious, and schoolmarm instinct. It is the force behind book-length warnings on the side of lawnmowers, the demise of dodgeball, and Prohibition itself. If it is an American impulse, it’s the dark side of America; the perversion of our “can do” spirit into relentless crusades against fun in the name of safety and science.

We all have our own priorities, weigh risks and benefits differently, and, until recently, were allowed to decide these things for ourselves. The public health ideologue does not agree that risks of various kinds—including the voluntary risks of smoking, drinking alcohol, or driving motorcycles—are things that a free people should be allowed to do.

The lockdown crowd will invoke a countervailing principle: even people who believe in freedom will concede that you do not have the right to endanger others.

In the abstract, this is true. But is anyone endangering others if they fail to abide by these lockdowns? Setting aside the modest coronavirus risk for the vast majority of people, we have been told that social distancing is the means of safety. If you avoid others, wash your hands, and wear a mask, you will be safe.

If avoiding others, wearing masks, and social distancing are so effective, then—like refraining from smoking or skydiving—the people who feel strongly about risk have the means of protecting themselves. Perhaps vulnerable populations are well-served to follow these precautions. Just as people can choose not to get on a motorcycle, the vulnerable and cautious can engage in voluntary masking and social distancing.

The risks and benefits of living normally can be borne by those who want to live.

Read every word of this one, folks.

TINVOWOOT follies

I pray he’s wrong. I fear he’s right.

We have two justice systems, one for them and one for us, meaning we have no justice system at all.

Sorry to have to break this to you. I know it makes you sad, but how do you think I feel? I spent 27 years helping defend this country and voilà – here we are, a flippin’ banana republic. Turns out our elite is perfectly cool with treating our Constitution like Charmin.

You do understand that to the establishment, this dual track system where they ignore the law and we get the law dropped on us – including through active framing, as with LTG Flynn, to keep us in line – is how they want it, right? This is not an unintended consequence. They are for this.

They are actively for the abuse of the legal system to persecute their political enemies. You adorable naïfs come to me thinking that I, as a lawyer, will assuage your gnawing fear that something is rotten in the state of America. “Kurt, but this…this isn’t right? How can some people be prosecuted but other people with connections get away with crimes?” Well, the answer is simple: that is how many of the people with their grubby paws on the levers of power want it.

They want to use the government to stifle dissent, as the IRS did to Tea Party groups.

They want to make people afraid to oppose them by threatening them with crushing legal fees and maybe jail if they dare join the opposition – look at the trail of bankrupt Trumpworld folks after Obamagate.

They want to frame people working for their enemies and ruin them and put them in prison, a la LTG Flynn.

This permeates liberal culture. Did you know that the ACLU – the Alleged Civil Liberties Union – just sued Betsy De Vos because she ordered reforms to campus man-witch trials that gave men such radical due process rights as the right to know the charges, to have time to respond to them, to not be judged by the same person who is prosecuting them, and to confront their accuser? The ACLU came out against these things – at least in cases where ole Grandpa Badfinger’s not the accused. And speaking of that handsy old weirdo, how about all those lib luminaries leveling with us that even if he did what Tara Reade said he did, eh, no biggie. They’ll vote for him anyway, and that whiny broad should stop crying all over their beautiful progressive narrative.

I’d love to be wrong. Maybe I am. Maybe the unbroken track record of injustice we’ve seen over the last decade will suddenly break. And maybe my pet unicorn Chet will be the foreman of the jury when one of these slugs somehow gets called to account.

“Then I guess we should just give up and resign ourselves to tyranny?” Oh no. Oh, not at all. My short-term assessment is grave, but my long-term assessment is bright. Tyranny tends to fail over time. Remember, the establishment’s embrace of tactical tyranny is an admission of weakness. When they weren’t threatened they could afford to hide their true nature. All this is their last-ditch effort to resist the popular uprising against their inept rule.

We need to stay on the offensive.

But how do we win?

Alas, Kurt’s prescription for winning relies entirely on voting our way out of this, which…well, you know.

Status quo ante

The more things change, the more they etc.

U.S.—Americans in some states are finally starting to feel normal again, now that stay-at-home orders are being lifted. Children are at the park again, adults are back at the bar, and the elderly continue to play bingo at 4 p.m. sharp on a daily basis.  

But there’s one thing that has everybody feeling at a near-peak level of normal: conservatives are going to work while liberals stay at home and do nothing—just like always.

“We can now say with undeniable certainty that these are normal times,” explained social psychologist Ben O’Reilly as he handed a hippie a twenty-dollar bill. “Conservatives are once again doing all the hard work to keep the economy afloat, while liberals sit at home, pretend to be sick with the Coronavirus, and collect government paychecks. Congratulations America, you are back to normal!”

While some conservatives are upset that liberals get to stay home and mooch off of them, most say they don’t even care anymore.

“I just want to get back to work,” said Jared Renfro, an electrician from Wisconsin. “If liberals don’t want to work, hey, more power to them. I don’t mind paying their bills.” Renfro then polished his “Trump 2020” bumper sticker and hopped in his truck.   

Well, it’s not as if all those gender-studies grads, government employees, and liberal-dweeb college professors were doing anything particularly useful anyway.

Update! IF EVEN ONE LIFE IS SAV…uhhh, wait a sec here.

LANSING, MI- Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan took her already excessive restrictions in her state in the fight against Covid-19 a step further this morning when she announced that any violations of the executive order may authorize the use of lethal force by law enforcement.

The Michigan Governor stated, “If you think you can just go out and buy a bag of charcoal, think again. Going out for unnecessary purchases and risking the spread of Covid-19 would be no different than going out and shooting a gun at random people. It’s time we accept the reality of the situation and treat such instances accordingly.”

Michigan has already been essentially under house arrest with a risk of jail or a $1,000 fine for residents who simply leave their homes. Entire sections of areas in Michigan grocery stores of items deemed “non-essential” have been roped off to satisfy Gretchen Whitmer’s brand of compassionate authoritarianism. Items like bug spray and outdoor supplies among many other goods are now forbidden to be purchased by Michigan residents.

Gov. Whitmer’s authorization of lethal force for violation of the order has completed the task of making her power and reach absolute, as no resident of Michigan is now safe from the prospect of being publicly executed by their Governor.

Although the measure admittedly may never be fully implemented, the Governor has described it as a necessary symbolic gesture to show how far she is willing to go to protect her loyal subjects.

The profoundly Kafka-esque nature of our current national absurdity has made distinguishing between satire and reality so tough that Reuters is barely even trying anymore.

Social media users are circulating an article with a headline that reads, “Whitmer authorizes lethal force to maintain state lockdown” ( here ). It refers to Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D).

The claim comes amid a series of demonstrations against coronavirus-related lockdowns across key electoral battleground states like Michigan ( here ).

The article has been flagged multiple times as part of Facebook’s efforts to curb misinformation related to the new coronavirus.

The claim is false. It stems from a satirical article on the website The People’s Cube. The article lists the author as “Chedoh, Kommissar of Viral Infections, Hero of Change, Prophet of the Future Truth”. Despite these red flags, some social media users believe the story is authentic, making comments like “You need to vote her out!” and “The Power all Democrats want”.

On March 24, Whitmer passed an executive order suspending non-essential activities across the state ( here ). On April 13, Whitmer issued another executive order to extend the lockdown measures until April 30 ( here ). Neither of the orders specified enforcement conditions aside from mentioning that, “Consistent with MCL 10.33 and MCL 30.405(3), a willful violation of this order is a misdemeanor”. Michigan is one of 42 states where governors have ordered residents to remain indoors except for necessary outings like grocery shopping or doctor’s visits, while closing schools, universities and non-essential businesses.

VERDICT
False: Michigan Governor Whitmer has not authorized “lethal force” to maintain lockdown measures meant to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. This claim comes from a satirical article.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work here .

Oh, I believe I’ve read just about all I need to about your “work” at this point, guys.

Clampdown

DeBalledZero lets his fascist-freak flag fly.

Cops will crack down on quarantine-fatigued New Yorkers partying outside their favorite bars, Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed on Sunday — as he threatening to fence off beaches if too many people flock there.

“I’m not comfortable at all with people congregating outside bars,” the mayor said at a press briefing when asked about alarming photos of large groups crowding outside watering holes over the weekend, as seen in Sunday’s Post.

The Upper East Side was singled out as having “had a particular problem,” but de Blasio insisted enforcement would be “everywhere around the city,” with both the NYPD and Sheriff’s Office deployed.

“We’re not going to tolerate people starting to congregate. It’s as simple as that,” de Blasio said, again encouraging New Yorkers to rat out violators.

“Please share with us those locations, and we will deal with them immediately,” he said.

A bartender at The Wolfhound in Astoria, Queens, balked at de Blasio’s bluster.

“It’s bulls- -t!” said the drink-slinger, who asked not to be identified. “I get it that there are places where it’s getting a bit wild, but otherwise we’re f- -ked. It’s our livelihood!”

The bartender added that cops have already come around the bar to ensure people are six feet apart while getting three sheets to the wind.

“They’ve been cool. Last night, they were here twice,” the barkeeper said, recalling that the cops switched on their patrol car’s loudspeaker to tell the imbibers to space out.

It appears that they’re being even cooler out in Jersey.

A few hours after workouts began Monday morning at New Jersey’s Atilis Gym — which is making national headlines for its early reopening in defiance of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s coronavirus shutdown order — police showed up outside the Bellmawr business.

The large group of people outside the gym were angry and hostile, likely believing the officers showed up to shut down the gym, hand out tickets, or even make arrests. Amid the mostly unintelligible hollering, a few phrases rang out clearly:

  • “You have the right to refuse unconstitutional orders!”
  • “Freedom!”
  • “You swore an oath to protect our rights!”

Soon enough the crowd quieted down enough so that one of the officers was able to address them.

“We are and we’re only here for everybody’s safety today,” the officer began. “We planned for the worst, hoped for the best, and it seems like that’s what we have out here today. Formally, you are all in violation of the executive order.”

Then came the officer’s surprising follow-up statement: “On that note, have a good day. Everybody be safe.”

As police turned and walked away, the crowd immediately erupted in the kind of cheering you’d expect after a Philadelphia Eagles’ game-winning touchdown — and then a hefty “USA! USA! USA!” chant soon followed.

As well it should have. Nice to know they’re not all pigs.

Spoke too soon update! Apparently, not all THAT cool.

The owners of a Camden County gym which reopened on Monday in violation of Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay-at-home executive order have been issued a second violation by police when they reopened the gym again on Tuesday.

Bellmawr police arrived at Atilis Gym in Bellmawr Tuesday morning and issued owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti the citation. The officers also stopped three gym members as they left the gym.

Each citation could cost $1,000 and six months in jail.

Ah well, it was nice while it lasted. Now back in your cells, serfs.

No mas(k)

Remember what I said the other day about my personal feelings on the wearing of N95 masks for non-surgical purposes?

Yeah. About that.

Every Karen on Facebook is shaming her neighbors for not wearing a face mask. We are being told by governors that if we don’t wear masks we are selfish, horrible human beings with no souls who want Grandma to die a horrible death. Police are tackling people who don’t wear face masks properly in the subway. Grocery stores are throwing maskless people out and denying them service.

But now, there’s another doctor weighing in—besides Dr. Fauci, bonafide sex god and ruler of us all, who also said face masks are largely security theater and of no use to the healthy. Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon, has written an editorial saying that “masks pose serious risks to the healthy.”

First, Blaylock says, there is no scientific evidence that masks are effective against COVID-19 transmission. Pro-science people should care about this.

Beyond the lack of scientific data to support wearing a mask as a deterrent to a virus, Blaylock says the more pressing concern is what can and will happen to the wearer.

Now that we have established that there is no scientific evidence necessitating the wearing of a face mask for prevention, are there dangers to wearing a face mask, especially for long periods? Several studies have indeed found significant problems with wearing such a mask. This can vary from headaches, to increased airway resistance, carbon dioxide accumulation, to hypoxia, all the way to serious life-threatening complications.

Blaylock says studies have also shown that face masks impair oxygen intake dramatically, potentially leading to serious problems.

The importance of these findings is that a drop in oxygen levels (hypoxia) is associated with an impairment in immunity. Studies have shown that hypoxia can inhibit the type of main immune cells used to fight viral infections called the CD4+ T-lymphocyte.

This occurs because the hypoxia increases the level of a compound called hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), which inhibits T-lymphocytes and stimulates a powerful immune inhibitor cell called the Tregs. This sets the stage for contracting any infection, including COVID-19 and making the consequences of that infection much graver. In essence, your mask may very well put you at an increased risk of infections and if so, having a much worse outcome.

In other words, if you wear a face mask and contract some sickness, you will not be able to fight it off as effectively as if you had normal blood oxygen levels. The mask could make you sicker. It could also create a “deadly cytokine storm” in some.

That’s plenty good enough for me. Our state kommissar Comrade Cooper can issue whatever decrees he likes, but I’m content to leave the wearing of surgical masks to the pros, thenksveddymuch.

Class act

What a petty little punk-ass bitch.

The unveiling of presidents’ official White House portraits by their successor has been a long-held tradition—until now. Barack Obama is refusing to participate in the ceremony for the unveiling of his portrait, NBC News has learned.

“Republican presidents have done it for Democratic presidents, and vice versa,” noted NBC News. “Even when one of them ascended to the White House by defeating or sharply criticizing the other.”

True enough—Barack Obama hosted the ceremony of the unveiling of George W. Bush’s official White House portrait, despite Obama ascending to the office by being a harsh critic of the 43rd president. George W. Bush similarly hosted the ceremony of Clinton’s portrait unveiling. Bush had been a critic of Clinton’s during the 2000 campaign, promising to restore honor and dignity to the office, sullied by Clinton’s sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky. Bill Clinton hosted the ceremony for George H.W. Bush, whom he’d defeated in the 1992 election.

Obama has also broken the custom of refusing to criticize his successor publicly. His pride, however, is too big for him to participate in the ceremony during Trump’s tenure in the White House—a continuation of the rank partisanship espoused by Obama during his presidency.

Barack Obama has “no interest in participating in the post-presidency rite of passage” as Trump is in office, according to people familiar with the matter.

Fine by me; myself, I have no interest in ever seeing the slope-shouldered shitweasel’s smug mug anywhere near the White House he so sullied.

Stay home and sulk in one of your ill-gotten mansions for all me, ManBoy. We’ll ship your damned painting wherever the hell you specify, and you can just stand the thing in a corner of an unused broom closet or something. It would probably look GREAT under some boxes in the garage, I’m thinking.

Still blows my mind no end that this country elected such a witless stumblebum to the presidency in the first place, I swear it does.

Twice. We did it twice, ferchrissake.

Spade: spade

The great James Woods puts it to ’em straight.

“Let’s face it. Donald Trump is a rough individual,” Woods tweeted to his 2.73 million followers on Sunday afternoon.

“He is vain, insensitive and raw. But he loves America more than any President in my lifetime,” he added. “He is the last firewall between us and this cesspool called Washington. I’ll take him any day over any of these bums.”

A few hours later, Trump gratefully responded to the tweet.

“I think that is a great compliment. Thank you James!” the president wrote.

Woods and Trump both were on fi-yah over the weekend, burning up the Twitterverse with plenty more in the above rich vein.

Update! More 24-karat-gold Truth. And if you think it ain’t related to the above, better think again.

OCONTO – Some taverns and restaurants in Oconto County opened their doors to customers soon after the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the state’s safer-at-home order late Wednesday afternoon.

Irish Greens Golf Club just northeast of Oconto wasted no time in starting to serve customers, said owner Ken Sikora.

As it happened, a men’s golf league meeting was already planned for 6 p.m. Wednesday, and Sikora opened the bar afterwards.

“People enjoyed it immensely,” he said, adding his customers weren’t the only ones.

“We went out to a couple of bars in town that were open, and there was quite a few people out and about,” Sikora said. “The people who said nobody was going to go out because they’re scared, don’t understand.”

Sikora said he felt the order was unconstitutional.

“You don’t have a right to take away my constitutional rights because you’re afraid to die,” he said. “You don’t have that right. You have the right to stay home…you have the right to protect yourself, to take any safety (steps) you need.”

So simple, so just plain obvious, it shouldn’t even have to be said out loud. And yet.

(Via MisHum)

Sick society

“Govern me DADDY”?? Really? REALLY?!?

Is anyone else getting nauseated by the public health-inspired slogans popping up everywhere across the country? My home state of Kentucky has been no exception. Folks there have been inundated with them during Gov. Andy Beshear’s regular evening addresses. It was in March that he first ordered Kentuckians to be #healthyathome, which was the cutesy slogan he and his team came up with for warrantless house arrest of all Bluegrass citizens. Next came #healthyatwork, the phrase that team Beshear gave to their phased (and painfully slow) approach to reopening the state’s businesses. Throughout all this, masks have been mandated to be worn in all public places, indefinitely, as part of the “new normal” in Kentucky. Folks at the state capitol must have thought that government overreach would be more palatable if it came with a jingle. If it worked for the Bolsheviks, it would probably also work for the Bluegrass.

They weren’t wrong. Many folks in Kentucky have eaten this up. Some have even taken to promoting their own state-worshipping slogans, as evidenced by apparel with a “Govern me, Daddy” logo. This odd, sexualized appreciation for the governor’s edicts would be hilarious if it weren’t sad. 

I checked. As fervently as I had hoped this was some sort of joke, it seems that it’s for real.

GovernMeDADDY.png


And there you have it folks: the face of the enemy, straight up. People like the ones dampening their panties over this disturbing shirt—the ones who believe with all their heart and soul that government’s proper role is to be “DADDY” to us all—these are the self-same people who will have to be crushed utterly, mown down wholesale, killed in job lots before anyone can even dream of trying to put this nation back on the correct course. Hate to say it and all, but there it is.

But the gimmick only works if citizens actually believe that leaders are also struggling right along with them. One minor inconvenience for the governor is that he legally has to respond to open records requests, which are aimed at fostering government transparency. In mid-April, the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, a self-described free market think tank focusing on issues within Kentucky, asked to inspect time sheets from staff working at the governor’s mansion. Beshear (the former state attorney general) violated state law by not responding to this request in a timely fashion. Twelve days passed and no records were produced. After the Bluegrass Institute filed an appeal with the state attorney general’s office, he finally complied.

The cause of the delay became quite obvious once those records were unveiled. They showed rank hypocrisy on his part. Per Jim Waters, president of the Bluegrass Institute: “While restaurants and businesses providing personal services suffer … the Beshear family is still being served by several employees regularly working in the Governor’s Mansion, including four housekeepers, two chefs, two maintenance workers as well as a butler along with an executive director and assistant director.” The records also reportedly show that “some mansion staff members even continued working full-time despite recently being in contact with fellow workers who took COVID-19 emergency sick leave set aside for workers who contract, or display symptoms of having contracted, the coronavirus or been around an infected individual.” Some employees even reportedly logged overtime during March and April.

This seems troubling. Why does the governor require his staff to break his own executive orders at this time?

Screw that. Why in the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed world should any governor of any American state enjoy the service of so kingly an entourage as two chefs, four housekeepers, and a fucking butler for fuck’s fucking sake AT ALL?

Hey, remember when they used to call the US a “classless society”? When the very idea of royalty was pure anathema to any right-thinking American?

Nah, me neither.

SOLIDARNOSC!

Some eerie similarities.

Many U.S. states are acting like the early 1980’s and the imposition of Martial law in Poland to target the Solidarity movement. Subsequently I wrote about it on a Twitter thread, because the parallels were really quite remarkable.

Both Poland circa 1980 and the U.S. friction in 2020, center around fragile economic issues. Both were an outcome of state control; and the key connection is government targeting control over the workers.

In both examples the state took exclusive control of the economic and social state of the citizens, and the courts provided no option for redress. In both examples the state locked down the citizens and would not permit them to interact with each other.

In 1981 the government in Poland initiated Martial Law and citizens were forced to communicate underground. In 2020 a considerable number of U.S. state governments locked-down citizens in similar fashion and banned citizen assembly.

In 1981 in Poland the communist regime used economic psychological pressure, selecting workers permitted to earn wages. Those workers identified as “essential” to the state. In 2020 many State governors selected workers to earn an income by designating them “essential” to the state.

Isn’t it funny how ALL government employees always seem to be “essential”?

In 1981 Polish authorities arrested anyone organizing protests against the authoritarian state. In 2020 numerous authoritarian officials arrested citizens for non-compliance with unilateral dictates. From a New Jersey governor arresting a woman for organizing a protect; to an Idaho mother arrested for allowing her children to play at a park; to a Texas salon owner arrested for operating her business.

In 1981 Polish authorities had a program for citizens to report subversive activity against the state. Snitching. In 2020 New York City, LA and numerous state and local officials started programs for citizens to report non-compliant activity against the state. Similar snitching.

In both 1981 Poland and 2020 USA we also see media exclusively creating ideological content as propaganda for the interests of the authoritarian state (controlling citizens).

So where is the American Lech Walesa, anyway? Sundance finds reason for hope nonetheless:

Just before the authoritarian state in Poland collapsed there was a rapid movement for the citizens to take to the streets in defiance of state control. I remember watching with great enthusiasm as I saw a very determined pole shout on television:

…”we take to the streets and today we realize, there are more of us than them”…

If one person refuses to comply, government can and as we have witnessed arrest them. However, if tens of thousands rebuke these unconstitutional decrees, there isn’t a damn thing government can do to stop it…. and they know it.

If one barber shop opens, the owner becomes a target. However, if every barber shop and beauty salon in town opens… there is absolutely nothing the government can do about it.

If one restaurant and/or bar opens, the state can target the owner. But if every bar and restaurant in town opens; and if everyone ignores  and dispatches the silly dictates of the local, regional or state officials… there isn’t a damned thing they can do about it.

Even more to the point, a commenter notes this insightful quote:

Douglass-Tyrants.jpg


While I’m by no means as hopeful as Sundance (or Douglass, for that matter), that one is going straight into the Notable Quotes section in the sidebar, I believe.

Wonder what the percentages might be

Of present-day “Anericans” who are officious, insufferable, priggish assholes, that is.

I get it. No one wants to wear a mask. They muffle your voice. They itch your cheeks. They fog up your glasses. And, until recently, all the experts said they were ineffective against the coronavirus. But now the script is flipped, and it’s the virtuous thing to do. If you don’t, well, you’ll likely face the censure of your peers.

And that judgment is harsh. In the early days of maskopolis, my wife and I went to Safeway with our faces uncovered. Shameful, I know, but our connect in Hong Kong hadn’t yet hooked us up with a box of those blue bad boys.

As we strolled down an aisle — not noticing the arrows indicating that we were walking the wrong direction on a one-way path — our eyes met with those of a tall masked man, who was gingerly picking out cans with his surgical-gloved hands. He looked at us sternly, and pointed to the mask on his face and then to the arrows on the floor. A silent reproach.

And effective. Although it seemed incredibly rude at the time, the eyes of this latter-day Dr. T. J. Eckleburg stuck with us. We wear masks now, and pity those who are as foolish as we once were.

Effective, my fed-up ass. Shoulda punched the jerk right square in the mouth and left him layin’, sez I. “Effective”? Only insofar as it’s allowed to be, and not one jot or tittle more. The proper way to deal with any finger-wagging, self-righteous bluenose remains the same as it always was: get up in their faces, punch back twice as hard. A meek shrug of the shoulders and a firm tug on the ol’ forelock in humble deference only encourages the juiceless bastards. Then, next thing you know, they’re shuttering your business, yelling at you from Chinese-made drones, scolding you from billboards, and locking you in your damned house.

Mask-wearing, while certainly a health-conscious practice, is also a performance for the benefit of your neighbors. Those who play their parts poorly will be booed.

It is a grim show to be sure, put on in my neighborhood by a bunch of noseless, mouthless suburbanites imposing rules and regulations on their unexpectedly leisure-filled existences. But it is one in which we have all been given roles.

For most of us, it could be worse. On the front lines of this thing, there’s no chance to worry about whether or not to wear masks. Medical workers don’t have the time. My two brothers, one a pizza delivery man and the other a barista at Starbucks, don’t have a choice.

And yet, when no one else is around, I know they are just like me. Down goes the mask, and they breathe easier. For a little while.

This whole mess is nothing but a performance, really, Safety Theater for the boobs, the sheep, and the panic-ninnies. Speaking strictly for myself, I will NOT be donning any mask, unless I’m suddenly and inexplicably called upon to help remove a spleen or sew up a wound or something. I simply ain’t doing it, and I don’t give a shit if saying so hairlips every cannibal on the Congo, either. The performance will just have to stagger on without me somehow.

This ain’t Red China, people—not quite yet it ain’t, although it’s now one hell of a lot closer than I’d prefer. On these shores, the air is by no means so polluted as to require mask-wearing outdoors as a matter of simple survival. So I’ll just say it: I don’t care which government official demands that I do so, it just ain’t happening, bub. Might as well lock me up now, cocksuckers. I didn’t manage to make it to this ripe old age only to start knuckling under to every dimestore dictator currently crawling out from under every rock on the landscape now.

Wait, WHO’S got WHAT on WHOSE hands again, now?

In COVIDIOT Amerika, there’s “blood on your hands,” and then there’s, y’know, BLOOD ON YOUR FUCKING HANDS. See if you can figure out which is which from the following example, which is by no means the only one out there.

A Colorado inmate released from jail early to ‘slow the spread of Coronavirus’ has been arrested and accused of first-degree murder.

While we’re playing guessing games, take a whack at what the killer might look like according to his (most recent) mug shot. Three guesses, first two don’t etc.

A man who was released from prison last month on parole following policies enacted by Gov. Jared Polis to prevent an outbreak of the new coronavirus among inmates has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a woman last weekend in Denver.

Cornelius Haney, 40, is accused of first-degree murder in the slaying of 21-year-old Heather Perry near the intersection of East Colfax Avenue and Verbena Street on May 9.

Haney was released on April 15, four months early, under an executive order by Polis before that allows inmates to be released on “special-needs parole.”

Cristina lays down the bottom-line law.

Last month a Florida inmate released on March 19 to ‘slow the spread of the Coronavirus’ was arrested on a murder charge just one day after he got out of jail.

Dangerous murderers and sex offenders are being released from prison while pastors, mothers and business owners are being threatened with fines and prison time for violating social distancing orders.

Makes as much sense as anything else does in this back-asswards country nowadays.

Of night, and light

A dismal tide is sweeping across America, leaving unprecedented destruction in its wake.

When the coronavirus landed on our shores, communist China came with it.

We have become part of a mass scale human experiment in government control and it turned out that stripping away our freedom wasn’t all that difficult. Under the guise of concern for our health and well-being, tyrants came out of the woodwork.  Our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, and our lives are being destroyed as the left solidifies and expands their oppressive powers. We’ve been herded around like cattle, threatened, isolated, confined, silenced, and arrested. You name it, it’s happening.

You tell me if what follows sounds like the United States, or China.

We’ve been told who can work and who can’t, with language that separates us according to who is and who isn’t “essential” as the almighty State supersedes individual rights and the family unit.

We’ve been physically and verbally harassed, threatened, fined, detained, arrested, jailed, and/or placed in forced quarantine. Business licenses have been revoked. Going to work without the permission of the government is now a crime. So is going to the park or a beach. Children playing together is also in defiance of the government. So is placing flags on the graves of veterans. The list of infractions goes on and on and on and on. Examples read like the manifesto of a demented madman.

Brown goes on, and on, and on from there, with a most impressive collection of supporting links, and it all makes for truly…well, dismal reading. But even as the darkness falls, a hopeful ray of light shines forth in the person of Texas Supreme Court Justice Jimmy Blackrock, who wrote the majority opinion springing hair-salon hero Shelley Luther from durance most vile:

He began with a quote, “The Constitution is not suspended when the government declares a state of disaster.”

Then he crisply explained it.

Blacklock wrote, “All government power in this country, no matter how well-intentioned, derives only from the state and federal constitutions. Government power cannot be exercised in conflict with these constitutions, even in a pandemic.

“In the weeks since American governments began taking emergency measures in response to the corona virus, the sovereign people of this country have graciously and peacefully endured a suspension of their civil liberties without precedent in our nation’s history. In some parts of the country, churches have been closed by government decree, although Texas is a welcome exception. Nearly everywhere, the First Amendment ‘right of the people to peaceably assemble’ has been suspended altogether. In many places, people are forbidden to leave their homes without a government-approved reason.Tens of millions can no longer earn a living because the government has declared their employers or their businesses ‘non-essential.’

“Any government that has made the grave decision to suspend the liberties of a free people during a health emergency should welcome the opportunity to demonstrate — both to its citizens and to the courts — that its chosen measures are absolutely necessary to combat a threat of overwhelming severity. The government should also be expected to demonstrate that less restrictive measures cannot adequately address the threat. Whether it is strict scrutiny or some other rigorous form of review, courts must identify and apply a legal standard by which to judge the constitutional validity of the government’s anti-virus actions. When the present crisis began, perhaps not enough was known about the virus to second-guess the worst-case projections motivating the lockdowns. As more becomes known about the threat and about the less restrictive, more targeted ways to respond to it, continued burdens on constitutional liberties may not survive judicial scrutiny.

“Ideally, these debates would play out in the public square, not in courtrooms. No court should relish being asked to question the judgment of government officials who were elected to make difficult decisions in times such as these. However, when constitutional rights are at stake, courts cannot automatically defer to the judgments of other branches of government. When properly called upon, the judicial branch must not shrink from its duty to require the government’s anti-virus orders to comply with the Constitution and the law, no matter the circumstances.”

That’s the whole decision.

And a most excellent one it was, too. That right there, folks, is exactly what I mean when I talk about our duty to defend the Constitution, rather than sitting back hoping it will defend us. Bravo to Justice Blacklock. We will NEVER have as many like him as we need, no matter how many there are out there.

Perfect game

A wonderful tale straight from the heart of America That Was.

BELLE VERNON, Pennsylvania—As Ron Necciai recalls, the first two batters both went down in strikes. The third guy got lucky—sort of. The ball got away from the catcher, who quickly got the batter out at first.

It was May 13, 1952, a cold, damp Tuesday night for 1,100 people at Shaw Stadium in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Necciai was pitching for the Bristol Twins, a Pittsburgh Pirate-affiliated Appalachian League farm team, against the Welch Miners.

The gangly 19-year-old from Gallatin, Pennsylvania, had no idea he would not leave the mound again that night. Nor did he know that his name and what he did in that game would be forever etched in baseball history books.

“The thing is, the game didn’t really stand out in any way when I was on the mound. I mean, I hit a guy, had a couple of walks and an error or two,” he told the Washington Examiner from his home, just eight miles south of the house he grew up in.

What the right-hander from a smoky coal town along the Monongahela River did not point out until prodded was that he struck out 27 batters in nine innings.

“I didn’t realize that 27 guys had struck out until after the game was over,” he recalled. “George Detore, who was the manager, came up to me and said, ‘Do you realize what you did?’ I said, ‘No. No. Why?’ And then he said, ‘Well, you struck out 27 batters.’ And always being a wise guy, I said, ‘So what? They’ve been playing this game for a hundred years. Somebody else did, too.’ Come to find nobody else ever did before or after.”

“I guess I lived a lifetime of baseball in one night,” said Necciai.

The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues called the 27-strikeout game “the greatest individual performance in the history of baseball.”

And he did it while battling a bleeding ulcer that had him throwing up blood in the dugout before the game and drinking glasses of milk between innings to drown the heat that was burning his insides.

It is a record that has never been broken.

His 1952 minor league season on the mound remains one of the most dominant ever. In his next start a few nights later, he struck out 24. He got called up to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates in August 1952 and played until the end of the season. By the time he was 22, he was done in by a torn rotator cuff, something doctors did not know how to repair back then.

There are no stats for the speed of his pitches since there were no radar guns back then. But the legendary Branch Rickey (the famed baseball executive who signed Jackie Robinson) measured it perfectly: “I’ve seen a lot of baseball in my time. There have been only two young pitchers I was certain were destined for greatness simply because they had the meanest fastball a batter can face. One of those boys was Dizzy Dean. The other is Ron Necciai. And Necciai is harder to hit.”

The author of this fine piece misses on only one particular, when he proposes that the real beauty of baseball is in its slow, languid pace. But to my way of thinking, the real beauty of the game is in one simple, unavoidable fact: the pitcher on the mound can stall and lollygag to his heart’s content; the batter can step out of the box to tap his cleats, tug his crotch, and generally fumblefart around as long he may like. But sooner or later, come hell or high water, the eternal truth remains: the pitcher is going to have to heave that pill, and the batter is going to have to either swing or take.

There is no way around it, none at all. The confrontation MUST be resolved, and WILL be resolved. Ain’t no passing the ball around well outside the lanes to run out the clock on a slim lead as in basketball; ain’t no snapping the ball for the quarterback to fall on, milking seconds as the resulting pileup gets sorted out. There is the pitcher, there is the batter, and the better man in that singular moment will eventually out, no matter what else may or may not happen.

And THAT, my friends, is what they call baseball.

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh

Okay Karen, time for you to Learn. To. Code.



Bethany Mandel, after having been lambasted for her “heartlessness” in arguing that the destruction of an entire national economy just might not have been the best approach here, is having herself a high old time as well over the best news to come out of the COVIDIOT panic-ninny lockdowns yet.


Enjoy the breadlines, “journalist” scum. And the frabjous good news doesn’t end there, either.

New York state’s tax revenue plummeted 68.4% in April, as the coronavirus lockdowns and the extension of tax return filings to July 15 took a toll on state coffers.

The Empire State collected $3.7 billion, or $7.9 billion less than the previous April. Personal income-tax revenue fell more than $7 billion from last April, a drop that was primarily due to the delayed tax filing deadline.

“New York is facing economic devastation not seen since the Great Depression,” New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a news release. “New York and other hard-hit states need the federal government to step up and provide assistance, or the state will have to take draconian actions to balance its budget.”

Yeah, umm, no. But really now: after slamming down all business and condemning every working individual in the state to an indefinite stay in the poorhouse, who could POSSIBLY have foreseen a sudden drying up of tax revenue? Sorry, no bailouts for you.

LOLGF, you stupid fucking dipshits.

(Via Ace and Insty)

To every thing, there is a season

The good Rabbi Fisher gets his hate on. To which I can only say: welcome to the party, pal.

When the Mets finally took it all in 1969, the other teams accepted the results. They lost gracefully. Now it was the Mets’ turn, and they had won it fair and square. But these past three years have been something different. Trump and Pence won fair and square. But there was no grace. Rather, there was instant character assassination, instant war, instant denial. Advertisements urging electors to violate their Electoral College oaths. Fabrications of collusion with Putin. Investigations that hamstrung a presidency. Lies and innuendoes leaked and published by the unindicted co-conspirators we call the “mainstream media.” A never-ending hunt to find scandals and Trump accusers: a bimbo who pole-danced at bars, her lawyer who now dances behind bars, another crooked lawyer who tape-recorded his own clients and now is locked up, disbarred from the Bar. One cartoon character after another.

As a rabbi of 40 years and a person who believes that most people have the potential for goodness, and who tries to find the good even in people who disappoint until they absolutely close off the possibility of goodness being discovered within them, I now have learned to hate.

I have come deeply to hate. I hate that Donald Trump never was given a chance to be president of the United States for even one day’s honeymoon. I hate that, long before he won the presidency — fair and square — corrupt crooks and criminals in the United States Department of Justice, its Federal Bureau of Investigation, were actively plotting to take him down. I hate that there are so few outlets in the media that give voice to condemn the criminality and corruption that broke every accepted societal norm by which we play the game. I hate that Obama was in on it, yet continues to pontificate on what is just and on what threatens freedom.

I hate that they all keep getting away with it. Every single one of them gets away with it. There is absolutely no price to be paid on the left for perjury, for conspiracy to overturn a legitimate election, for treason.

They took advantage of a good man who suddenly found himself combating in a different kind of military theater outside his field of expertise. He knew the jungles of Afghanistan, not the jungles of the Justice Department in Washington. The slime dregs of Justice, the Peter Strzoks and Andrew McCabes of the FBI, knew this. They had the lieutenant general on their terrain. He never should have been questioned about the call. He never should have been sucked into an interview without an attorney present. He never should have been lulled into what he said to the FBI.

Donald Trump has been the chief executive of this country for more than three years, and he has proven to be a great president in so many ways, but he sadly has proven incapable of cleaning the swamp. He at least identified the swamp’s existence, and he is fighting its effort to swallow him within its muck. But he has proven that, despite the glorious slogan he inspired, he cannot drain it. Not one single slime in the swamp has been brought to justice.

There is something so evil in a society that tolerates a dual standard of justice, dual standards of everything. On the one hand, we political conservatives harbor profoundly deep feelings, but we do not destroy people’s lives based on abstract politics. Yes, we oppose them and expose them, and we hope that contemporary society and history judge them for the evil they represent. But we do not destroy them in their lives. They get away with everything. Hillary Clinton spoliated 33,000 emails amid a federal probe, a federal crime that always ends up with prison time — but not for her. It is a federal crime to lie under oath to Congress. Comey, Clapper, Brennan — how have they all avoided prison time? Strzok, Page, the whole bunch of them? Adam Schiff. The outliers on the Mueller team. Not one single slime among them in the swamp has been brought to justice.

These animals destroyed the life of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. They drove him into such financial ruin that he had to sell his home to pay his legal bills. They went after a good boy, Nick Sandmann, and they cruelly made him into the face of racism. His own Catholic diocese in eastern Kentucky sold him out and sold out all the boys who stood with him that fateful day in Washington, D.C., when he was harassed by a messed-up Indian with a drum. And they did everything they could to destroy Brett Kavanaugh, a good man, a family man, a man who has devoted time throughout his life to his church and to the need. They endeavored through outright perjury to destroy him. The perjurers all got away with it. Name one single perjurer against Justice Kavanaugh who ever was brought to justice by Charles Grassley or Lindsey Graham of the Senate Judicial Committee.

The liars destroy with impunity because they know they always will get away with it. Republicans watch the character assassination and then go on Sean Hannity to sound brave for five minutes. “These people will pay a steep price, Sean.” “I won’t let them get away with it, Sean.” “Let not your heart be troubled, Sean.” “We will investigate every crime and every perjury, Sean.” Three years of hearing this from Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus, Trey Gowdy, Charles Grassley, Lindsey Graham, Rudy Giuliani, Jason Chaffetz, Kevin McCarthy. Well, Fox News Alert: They all got away with it. Comey. Brennan. Clapper. Blasey Ford. Schiff. Hillary. Strzok. Page. McCabe.

There is a time to love and a time to hate. This is a time to hate.

Well, good enough, as far as it goes. But nigh upon us is a quite different time: A time to act. We shall very soon see if enough of us remain in this benighted, ravaged nation with the wisdom to recognize it, and the gumption to do what’s required of us.

Sick and tired

Of our free 30-day trial of Communism. Among other things.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am finding that my patience is running thin with everything that is going on with the virus. I’ve never been much of a television watcher, but I still catch Tucker’s monologue a few times a week. I’ve stopped that this week as I cannot take another ad from a corporation telling me how much they care and how hard they are working on my behalf. I can’t take anymore nonsense about hero nurses and doctors. In fact, I’m starting to become a nursist.

Know what I’ve grown weary of myself? The sudden emergence of a new vapid, ubiquitous catchphrase for bidding farewell to strangers and/or passing acquaintances alike: “Be safe!” Before, we endured “Have a good one!” with gritted teeth. That one was plenty bad enough if you ask me. Now we’re stuck with this one, God help us.

Going outside has now become a depressing reminder that we now live in an explicitly authoritarian society. It used to be a very soft, passive-aggressive authoritarianism that you could ignore while enjoying your life. Now it is an in-your-face corporate authoritarianism that is impossible to ignore.

Well, yeah. It’s kinda hard to ignore a brand of authoritarianism that orders you to remain in your house indefinitely and summarily removes your ability to make a living, after all.

It is tempting to think that people will finally have enough and put an end to this madness, but that is a fantasy. The few brave souls taking a stand are getting support, for sure, but the bulk of the public is happy to be treated like children. You can be sure the majority oppose the protests at state capitals. Until the food runs out and the machine breaks, people will accept unlimited torment. That means we are left to hope for the end times if we want to escape this madness.

Pretty much, I’m afraid. In fact, as the COVIDIOT panic rapidly recedes in light of a manifest dearth of mass graves, rotting corpses stacked like cordwood and left to fester and ooze on city streets, and the complete breakdown of an overwhelmed health-care system, I’m seeing a perplexing surge in the number of people in masks.

Alas, though, like “Be safe!,” social distancing, and an annual lockdown as an ongoing test to gauge whatever might be left of American defiance and resolve, I suspect the masks are going to be with us from now on—an abiding thing, the New Normal. The sad, sorry truth is that we’ve let the Regulators get their fangs into us deeply. They’ve gotten the taste of blood in their mouths; like the vampires they are, they like it, and you can be sure they’ll be back for more.

RIP Little Richard Penniman

Belated, I know, but still. At the risk of making this post more about me than him (even though I’ll probably end up doing just that regardless) I’ll lead off with a snippet from the text conversation on Richard’s passing I had with my band’s former manager:

LittleRichardScreen-1.png

That last refers to a pic he included in the message, in which I am conspicuous only by my absence. Don’t worry, I’ll explain later.

Those three December nights remain among the most memorable of my entire life. We did three (3) shows opening for Little Richard at a legendary music hall called Tramps, on 20th Street in Manhattan. The above-mentioned Terry Dunne was the owner of that fine establishment, a big, bluff, Irish-to-the-bone man with some truly alarming IRA connections: bone thugs who would show up in NYC periodically when over here for a fundraising or arms-procuring jaunt, to the vague terror of one and all.

But it was the last night of that momentous three-night stand when Richard made the above-mentioned declaration, to the deep chagrin of a long, long line of autograph seekers—and to the spluttering rage of one Terry Dunne, who had a huge stack of Richard LPs he was hoping to get signed, a stack that ended up sitting untouched and forlorn by those famous hands on Dunne’s lonely office desk.

Almost didn’t get paid? Hell, we almost didn’t make it out alive. Mike, our manager, later told us that Terry was absolutely fuming when he went in to collect our fee that night—a handsome enough one by the usual NYC standard, as was always the case for us at Tramps. There was Terry’s big stack of LPs, unsigned. And there was Terry, screaming himself purple over how Richard had breezily dismissed one and all to spend thirty or forty of his precious green-room moments with us alone before announcing, “Y’all, I gots to GO! My legs, my legs are hurting! The legs is the first things to go!” and strolling right out surrounded by his entourage with nary a backwards glance at anybody.

Terry, poor guy, issued a few dire threats regarding things he really ought to hire somebody to do to us, then coughing up like a prince in the end. I stayed friends with Terry throughout the rest of my years in New York, even playing a few gigs with my local side-band at a little bar he opened up down on 1st and 1st, right off Houston Street. But the Belmont Playboys were pretty much persona non grata at Tramps after that.

Little Richard Penniman was known as The Architect of rock and roll, which was certainly accurate. There really was nobody quite like him; his piano playing was simultaneously frenzied yet virtuosic, and his singing was simply otherworldly, a revelation. He could growl, he could scream, he could croon, he could wail, every note of it pitch-perfect and bursting with a passion that was big as mountains and as moving as a desert sunset. He was less a performer than a force of nature, way larger than life both onstage and off. The truly astonishing thing isn’t how very good he was; given that the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, it’s that he lived as long as he did. When your peers are icons like Elvis, the Killer, Roy Orbison, Chuck Berry, and others, and you still stand out so sharply…well, that says one hell of a lot.

His band back then, the Upsetters, were every ounce equal to their Herculean task too; quite simply, they were probably the single best rock and roll backing band there ever was. Hey, when you can hire and then fire Jimi Fargin’ Hendrix, ferrchrissakes, none but a fool could consider you anything less than the creme de la creme:

Hendrix was an off-and-on member of Richard’s backup band, the Upsetters between late 1964–January 1965 until June–July 1965. So far, Hendrix biographers have identified only two songs he recorded with Richard, but are uncertain about the dates: “I Don’t Know What You’ve Got (But It’s Got Me)”, a two-part single released by Vee-Jay Records in November 1965, and “Dancing All Around the World”. Neither song appears on this album, although they are included on the West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (2010).

In July 1965, Hendrix played guitar during a WLAC-TV television appearance by Upsetters backup singers Buddy & Stacy. They performed the Junior Walker hit “Shotgun”, which was broadcast on Night Train, a Nashville, Tennessee, music variety show. Soon thereafter, Hendrix moved to New York City, where he sent a postcard to his father:

He [Little Richard] didn’t pay us for five and a half weeks, and you can’t live on promises when you’re on the road, so I had to cut that mess loose.

Richard’s brother, Robert Penniman, later claimed that Hendrix was fired because “he was always late for the bus and flirting with all the girls and stuff like that.”

Whatever the true story might be, the Upsetters were definitely the real deal all right, which this classic among classics demonstrates nicely.




One of the best tenor sax solos EVER, I think. Note ye well, though: the Upsetters could swing out, they could do jazzy, and they could turn on a dime and just rock the roof off the joint without seeming to break a sweat. But even so, it’s Richard you somehow can’t wrest your gaze from. That, too, says one hell of a lot.

And when we played with him at Tramps, the man STILL had every last bit of it. His band would take the stage without Richard first each night, spending about twenty or thirty minutes getting the SRO crowd good and warmed up. Richard would climb the long staircase up from the green-room dungeon near the last of the warmup set, waiting quietly and calmly in the wings behind the stage-right curtain to be brought onstage to a mad roar from the now-pumped crowd.

Which just happened to be where I was standing that last night, completely enraptured by his band and oblivious to the most august personage standing right beside me.

Little Richard really wasn’t particularly little at all, I realized when I turned to find him close by. He had a big head, big eyes, big hair, big hands, and a robust overall physique, even at the ripe old age of 60. Abruptly, I found myself in the immediate presence of true, honest-to-God greatness after not interacting with him at all on the previous nights. I struggled to come up with a few words to express my gratitude for the sublime honor of allowing us to share the bill with him for three nights.

And then came the moment I will never for one second forget. Richard stepped closer in, warmly grasped my hand in both of his, and then positively gushed with praise. Exact quote, as burned into my increasingly feeble brain for all time:

Oh, I just LOVE what you did with my friend Gene Vincent’s song! That Be Bop A Lula! You have SUCH a wonderful voice, so powerful! Thank you, thank you so much for that!!

Whereupon I immediately fell to my knees and kissed The Architect’s hand. I mean, come on, man! What the hell else was I going to do?

It might help you to better appreciate the impact if you recite the above words using your most flamboyant, gay-ass Little Richard voice, I dunno. Not that Richard was really gay, of course. No, Little Richard, elemental force of nature that he always was and will always remain, was parsecs beyond being tritely categorized as merely “gay” or “straight.” Richard was what one might call sexually omnivorous. To wit:

Beautiful, eccentric, fast, flashy, honest, intelligent, lascivious, rough, spiritual, trashy, wild, witty, the singer, pianist, saxophonist and raconteur Richard Wayne Penniman performing as the frightening and thrilling Little Richard is a musician’s musician and a pervert’s pervert.  Little Richard, who tried out some of his songs in front of audiences before recording them, an entertainer who challenged cultural barriers with his talent, and who for a time would live in Los Angeles in Sugar Hill near boxer Joe Louis, another Georgia boy from Macon, was a concert performer admired by fellow entertainers James Brown, Otis Redding, Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, Michael Jackson, and Prince—and Richard’s gospel singing was admired by Quincy Jones and Mahalia Jackson.  Like many African-American artists, Richard Penniman would feel himself torn between the sensual and the spiritual.

Money and sex as well as the salvation of souls were, with music, among Little Richard’s lasting interests: they offered ecstasy, power, and transcendence.  Little Richard had a girlfriend named Angel who was a devilish sex vixen who became the practicing bisexual man’s friend, lover, and tool, as much of a freak as he was: “I loved Angel because she was pretty and the fellers enjoyed having sex with her.  She could draw a lot of handsome guys to me” (thus the libertine is quoted in 1984’s oral history of Little Richard’s life and career, The Life and Times of Little Richard by Charles White, originally published by Harmony Books in 1984, then Da Capo Press in 1994, and republished by Omnibus Press, 2003; page 73).  When the performer Buddy Holly walked into a backstage dressing room in which Little Richard and Angel were engaging in sex, Holly quickly joined them.  Following new religious devotion, Richard Penniman for a time would be married to a woman, Ernestine Campbell, who was satisfied with their married and sexual life but not with his renewal of show business obligations, leading her to seek a divorce.

I have that book around here someplace, and in its recounting of the Holly tale, Richard waxed rhapsodic about the size of Holly’s, umm, courting tackle, going on and on about how much fun it was to share out his then-girlfriend backstage before being walked in on by a stagehand anxious as to why Holly wasn’t onstage at the moment, like he was supposed to be. More from the same link:

“Homosexuality is contagious. It’s not something you’re born with. It’s contagious…The gay thing really came from me being with a guy called Bro Boy, who was a grocery boy. Bro Boy really laid me into that—he and Hester. It started with them and it growed.”
—Little Richard, page 11

“There was this lady by the name of Fanny. I used to drive her around so I could watch people having sex with her. She’d be in the back of the car, the lights on, her legs open, and no panties on. I’d take her around so that the fellers could have sex with her. She didn’t do it for money. She did it because I wanted her to do it. She wasn’t very old. I used to enjoy seeing that.”
—Little Richard, page 41

“We were breaking through the racial barrier. The white kids had to hide my records ’cos they daren’t let their parents know they had them in the house. We decided that my image should be crazy and way-out so that the adults would think I was harmless. I’d appear in one show dressed as the Queen of England an in the next as the pope.”
—Little Richard, page 66

“All I wanted was to have sex with the most beautiful women and get high…I used to like to watch girls be with girls, you know? I thought that was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.”
—Little Richard, page 178
 
“A habit like mine cost a lot of money. I was smoking marijuana and angel dust and I was mixing heroin with coke.”
—Little Richard, page 186

Those quotes make it plain that Richard was simply too supersized a character to ever be constrained within definitions meant to apply to mere mortals. His appetites—sexual and otherwise—could never have been anything short of voracious. How could they? I repeat: the really remarkable thing is that he lived so long.

His talent, too, was high, wide, and deep, as oversized and uncontainable as his personality. He could play, he could sing, he could write, he could perform; the man was a bona-fide colossus. He was the living incarnation of everything anyone ever meant when they used the word “fabulous,” and I am profoundly grateful to Whomever for the all-too-brief moments I shared with him. I’ll close this out with a photo from the green-room dungeon at Tramps on that last December night, along with a bit of audio I’ll never get tired of.

LittleRichard-backstage.jpg

From right we have our manager, guitarist/vocalist Chipps, Little Richard, and our drummer Mark. Visible in the background are a couple of Richard’s bandmates.



If there’s a rock and roll heaven, Little Richard Penniman just took charge of the band, making it wilder, more out-of-control, and just plain better than it ever was before. Fare thee well, Richard; may your lion’s heart and unquenchable spirit be forever at peace.

Sad, sad, sad

Ho. Lee. CRAP.

It’s hard to believe now, as I write this, but just two months ago, when we were allowed to roam free, when we could board planes and alight from them and wander into rental cars and check into hotels — when we could chase down and replenish the beauty and wonder our very cells need to survive — I went to Los Angeles, where I was asked this question by Val Kilmer:

“Do you think South by Southwest will be canceled?”

But Val Kilmer no longer sounds like Val Kilmer, the movie star of the ’80s and ’90s who has mostly vanished from screens. He hasn’t since his tracheostomy. He can still squeeze air up through his windpipe, however, and past the hole that was cut into his throat and the tracheostomy tube, in a way that makes him somewhat understood — not very, but somewhat. The sound is something between a squeak and a voiceless roar. He says the fact that I can understand him is a result of the endless vocal exercises that he was trained to do when he went to Juilliard after high school, that he was taught to work his voice “like it was a trumpet.” He hated the authoritarian rule at Juilliard while he was there; he hated those stupid vocal exercises. Now look at him, still using his most beloved instrument when really, by all rights, it should be useless. See how it all turned out for the best?

All Val Kilmer’s stories are like that, told with that same dash of preordained kismet. He was traveling in Africa in 1994 when he decided to spend a morning exploring a bat cave; later that day, literally seriously that day, he was inspired to call his agent, who had been trying to contact Kilmer for weeks to see if he was interested in playing the role of Batman, now that Michael Keaton was hanging it up. Another story: In the days before he set eyes for the first time on his (now ex-) wife, Joanne Whalley, he dreamed that he met the woman he was destined for and woke up and immediately wrote a poem called, “We’ve Just Met but Marry Me Please.” Then right after that, he went to London, and while he was there, he saw a play, and Whalley was in it. He was so taken with her that he followed her to the pub after-party just so he could look at her. This was crazy even for him, so he made no move. But two years later, in 1987, she would be randomly coincidentally serendipitously cast opposite him in “Willow,” and they would end up married. So yes, he can talk, and it’s such a miracle that he has these abilities, because if you have enough faith, you’ll see how every part of your life is just a piece of a bigger part of your life, and nothing is an accident, and everything is good.

Tragic, just tragic, and strange as he’s always been, you can’t help but feel awful for the man. The pic accompanying the article is just…well, it’s just grotesque, frankly. Just wait till you see it; there’s almost no resemblance to the classic matinee-idol hunk you most likely remember. Remarkably, though, Kilmer seems to be maintaining a pretty positive attitude for a guy in his current straits. So that’s something.

Whatever else he may have been along the way, Val Kilmer is undeniably a gifted actor. Which is all the excuse I need to put up one of my verymost favorite scenes, from another of my verymost favorite westerns: Tombstone.



(Via WeirdDave)

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