Archive for the ‘Flotsam and/or Jetsam’ Category

Imagine there’s no countries

August 19th, 2017 1 comment

It’s easy if you try. And never mind the nightmare.

What you see here is the core issue between Poland and the EU over accepting migrants into Poland. It’s not about whether Poland or the EU gets to determine how many and what type of migrant Poland must take. It’s whether anyone can set any limits at all. The UN is making clear that no country can determine who may enter its lands for settlement. All the blather in that report about human rights is just filler. The issue here is whether countries should exist and the UN is making clear they think the future is post-national.

Part of what you see with the open borders people is their belief that their unique situation can scale up to the stars. The UN is a heavily guarded playpen for the rich brats of the world’s political elite. These brats look around and see a rainbow of colors getting along like old chums. They jump from there to assuming that this can be done everywhere, not realizing the global elite can only get along when there are men with guns keeping the peace. They live in a fortified compound and they want that for everyone.

Another aspect to this is simply spite. Ruling elites have always, at some level, been at odds with those over whom they rule. The “burden of leadership” means giving up time and energy to the maintenance of order and the perpetuation of society. It’s only natural to resent it a little. What we have today is a ruling elite that hates the majority of the people, namely the white people. Notice the UN is not making open borders arguments for Africa or China. Open borders only applies to white countries, never anywhere else.

Yeah, well, I’m sure we can all think of a few pretty good reasons for that easily enough. But noticing them would be racist, and speaking of them aloud would be criminal. Or will be shortly.

Christopher Caldwell famously pointed out that “One moves swiftly and imperceptibly from a world in which affirmative action can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too weak to a world in which it can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too strong.” The same thing is happening with whites in their own lands. At first, the number of non-whites was too small to make a strong case against immigration. Now, the numbers are too large to do anything about it. The West is about to be over run.

Parts of it—namely Western Europe—have already BEEN overrun, and it’s far too late to do anything about it except learn to live with it, to docilely “absorb” regular atrocities committed by the intractable savages in their midst as routine. The US is well on its way down the same path; it remains to be seen if the will can be mustered to even slow it—much less halt or reverse it—in defiance of a smothering avalanche of Progressivist propaganda and protest. But even if they succeed, ironically enough, things aren’t likely to work out quite like the Tranzi globalists imagine. As always, they fail to take human nature into account:

Of course, the question sensible whites ask is how exactly the borderless world is going to function. The West exists because whites buy into the system. As America careens into a dystopian nightmare where feral mobs pull down the symbols of the nation, how much longer will those Constitution loving, patriotic Americans, who keep the country running, buy into the system? In Europe, hardly anyone is willing to fight for their country when asked by pollsters. Why would they? Their countries no longer exist.

In a borderless world, why would anyone have any loyalty to anyone or anything outside their tribe? How could there even be a state? In theory, the custodial state solves this by having corporations police the people, but as we see with the high tech firms, tribalism begins to rot them out from the inside. The cost of propping up cash furnaces like Twitter eventually becomes too much to bear, even for the true believers. Large scale social institutions can only exist in a world of large scale social trust.

The cucks can mew about identity politics, but tribalism is the inevitable politics of multiculturalism. In fact, in a multi-ethnic, multicultural world, there can only be identity politics. Everyone is forced to root for their own team exclusively.

The New World Order was unsustainable, and is now blowing up in the faces of its architects, to the horrendous detriment of its subjects. The UN couldn’t run a circle-jerk in a Tijuana whorehouse; it’s somewhat suitable as a meeting ground and discussion forum among independent nations, but not at all as an omnipotent governing body charged with directing the entirety of human affairs as the Tranzis dream of, because such is not only undesirable but impossible.

If there’s one thing we in the US should have learned by now, it’s the long-neglected adage of our Founders that a smaller, restricted government kept close to the governed and accessible by them works best for everyone…except for the rapacious, thieving despots who wish not to govern, but to rule. We abandoned that essential truth. Failing to renew our commitment to it will cost us dearly, and sooner rather than later too.


Baby, I don’t care

August 13th, 2017 No comments

Steyn writes in his usual compelling fashion about one of my long-time favorites:

Robert Mitchum was born in Connecticut one hundred years ago – August 6th 1917 – and had the kind of childhood that gives you plenty to talk about in interviews, although Mitchum rarely did. His father, a railroad worker, was crushed to death before his son’s second birthday, and young Bob was eventually sent to live with his grandparents in Delaware. He was expelled from middle school for getting into a fight with the principal. Kicked out of high school, he drifted round the country, hopping freights, sleeping in boxcars, picking up a little dough digging ditches, getting jailed for vagrancy, working on chain-gangs… He found his way to Long Beach, where he ghost-wrote for an astrologer and composed songs for his sister’s nightclub act. He was set upon by half-a-dozen sailors from the local base, and was on his way to whippin’ all six of ’em when his wife stepped in to break it up because he was enjoying it too much. He got busted for pot, and he had a nervous breakdown that made him temporarily blind.

At which point he decided he was leading too stressful a life, and a little light work as a movie extra seemed comparatively relaxing…

Later in the piece, Steyn compares and contrasts Mitchum with Jimmy Stewart, another of what he calls “American archetypes” who also happens to be a favorite of mine. There are certain actors who, no matter how crappy or poorly conceived a movie is, can compel your attention throughout anyway; you’ll watch a bad movie just to watch them. Mitchum would definitely be one of those, for me anyway, and so would Stewart.

But…his hundredth birthday? DAMN, I’m getting old.


In defense of…whaaaaat?

August 10th, 2017 4 comments

Brace yourself for a real shocker here, folks.

Though I’ve never been anything more than an infrequent pretender myself, I’ve always been partial to cigarette smokers. Perhaps I developed my taste for second-hand smoke during childhood flights from my Texas abode to visit East Coast relatives on (now defunct) Eastern Airlines. There, while eating your rubber cold-cuts sandwich and sporting your pilot’s clip-on wings (distributed by sunny stewardesses who did not yet realize it was a hate crime for them not to be called “flight attendants”), you’d be entrapped in a tubular suffocation chamber for hours on end, with no escape, smokers happily puffing away all around you as you tried to read your in-flight magazine through a Marlboro smog.

Nowadays, this would be litigated in The Hague. But to me, back then, this was not only the smell of adventure, but of adult compromise. I’d entered a more sophisticated sanctum than the one I typically inhabited. In my elementary-school world, if I had a classmate with an atrocious personal habit—say, little Ricky who wouldn’t stop eating his snot, and whose breath smelled like it—I’d either tell the teacher or chuck a dirt clod at his head during recess. But on the plane, non-smokers and smokers alike all breathed the same air, and stayed civilized, with nobody losing their cool. Long before I went on to become a civil-rights pioneer, this was my earliest lesson in tolerance.

I didn’t merely tolerate smokers, however—I actually quite liked them. Maybe because my first chain-smoking acquaintance was my Great Uncle Phil. He smoked Kools and drank Pabst long before it became the beer of choice for people who wear ironic facial hair. We’d sit on his backyard patio, and while away the day. He’d pour me a tall glass of chocolate milk if it was before noon; a few slugs of Blue Ribbon if it was after. He’d occasionally concoct a mission, declaring that we needed to head “to the boondocks” to look for rattlesnakes and deer sheds.

But mostly, we just enjoyed each other’s easy company, him puffing away on Kools all the while, laconically drawing one after another out of the soft pack in his terry-cloth shirt pocket, like he wasn’t in a hurry to break his lungs but eventually would get around to it. (Which he finally did.) He’d drop pearls of adult wisdom on me, saying things like, “Yep, yep, yep …”, as though he was answering a question that had never been asked. And I took it all in. Along with his second-hand smoke.

I’m not pretending that my seven-year-old self had a clean fix on Uncle Phil, what he wanted out of life, or what doubts or fears he secretly harbored, as all men do. I just knew that we had plenty of time to figure out what it all meant, because he wasn’t going anywhere. He still had a half a pack left to smoke. I’ve always divvied up the world into two kinds of people: stayers and goers. Uncle Phil was a stayer, as most smokers are. They are people whose pleasure shaves years off their lives, as the surgeon general forever reminds us. But maybe they know better how to savor the often truncated lives they live. Smokers tend to be people who prize fellowship, discourse, conviviality, and who know how to stop time, or at least to take the edge off its fleetingness. Because they have to linger long enough to finish up their smoke.

I’m well aware that smoking is bad for you. As Mensa member Brooke Shields once put it, “Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.” Yeah, fine. I don’t smoke, nor will I let my children. But if we’re picking nits, what doesn’t kill us these days? Trans fats, artificial sweeteners, stress, ISIS, etc. The list is long. As other health-science types promise: “What doesn’t kill us, will eventually kill us.” Lately, there’s been a rash of stories that taking too many vitamins can lead to fatal illnesses. In other words, the very supplements you swallow to elongate your life might be snuffing it out like a cigarette.

I like the cut of this fellow’s jib. And hey, in the words of a great old Stray Cats song: how long you wanna live, anyway?

When I was a kid, my family doctor was a wonderful, kindly old soul named Richard E Rankin. I had seasonal asthma something awful, and he would treat me for it with a cortisone shot every spring while chaining Lucky Strikes the whole while, lighting one off the butt of the other. That would be the unfiltered, he-man ones, not the lights, mind you.

Dr Rankin was such a sweet old guy, and even though I was terrified of him because of those shots, I loved him too, even back then. He even came out to our house once at two in the morning to administer one of those dreaded injections, which will probably seem stunning and bizarre to you younger readers out there, if any. I remember well his coming through the receiving line at my dad’s funeral, so bereft and grief-stricken as to be literally speechless: he tried a couple of times to choke out a few comforting words, failed to manage it, and just took me in a bear hug and moved on. He was a gruff but soft-hearted old small town family doctor, a once-common type they ain’t making anymore, to the huge detriment of all of us.

Dr Rankin lived into his 90s, bless his heart—yes, after all those Luckies. My dad, of course, died relatively young of emphysema, after kicking the habit years before via hypnosis. Hey, you never know, right?

Here’s perhaps the funniest bit of all, though: back in the early 90s, I moved to New York City…and started smoking. I was in my thirties, so I was what you might call a late bloomer. But here’s the part nobody believes, and I make no claims here about causality, but…well, after having been plagued with asthma my whole life, since I started smoking, I never have had it again.

I know, I know. It’s bizarre. Maybe smoking has so degraded my lung capacity that I just don’t notice the asthma anymore; maybe breathing all those airborne NYC toxins toughened me up, thereby inuring me to further trouble. Like I said, I make no claims one way or the other. But it’s the truth, I swear it.

I saw one of those government anti-smoking TV commercials once some years back wherein it was claimed that one out of every three smokers would eventually develop heart or lung disease. It struck me right away that that would mean that TWO out of every three didn’t. Hey, I thought, I like those odds. Talk about undermining your own message.

Maybe I’ll quit someday, if I get tired of it. Given what happened with my dad, I don’t worry much about it either way, because I know that after I go through the hassle and heartache of quitting and denying myself one of the few simple pleasures left in life, the very next day I’ll get hit by a bus instead. Or get caught up in one of those Allah Akbar! incidents that so baffle the FBI, maybe, and end up shot, stabbed, clubbed, or otherwise mown down.

These days, I have a cigarette shooter for hand-rolling my own personal lung-busters, with pure tobacco, pre-made filtered tubes, and no strange chemicals dumped in ’em by government mandate. They taste better, they smell better, and the price works out to about eighty cents a pack. I don’t wake up hacking in the morning anymore with these self-rolled dealies, and seem to smoke a good deal fewer of them too, who knows why. Takes about five minutes to roll myself a pack of what they used to call “pure tobacco pleasure,” and I have a fancy-schmancy engraved silver cigarette case that belonged to my late wife to carry ’em around in.

As I told my mother in law a while back, to her enormous amusement: if I couldn’t have a smoke with my morning cup of coffee, I wouldn’t even consider it worth bothering to get up in the morning.

After all that wayward rambling, I guess there’s really only one way to close this post:

Don’t hate me ’cause I’m beautiful, y’all.


Black identity

August 9th, 2017 1 comment

Ain’t none.

Blackness in America is a laundry list of grievances against whites and a list of things that blacks reject about society. It has little to say about what it means to be black, independent of whites. Much like the contours of a black hole, we can only know black identity by knowing the surrounding white identity. Wherever white culture ends, that’s where black identity begins. In America, being black means not being white.

This negative identity has been particularly toxic to black Americans, because a negative identity binds the worst with the best. The greatest exponents of black culture are those who are the most degenerate. Hip-hop culture is a perfect example. It celebrates the worst instincts of black people. Any black who points this out is pilloried for acting white. The result is a never ending race to the cultural bottom, dragging the rest of the black population down with it. Even Obama was forced to respect the gutter culture of hip-hop.

This anti-identity is why blacks demand to live near whites.

Well, sure—that, and their own neighborhoods tend to be dirty, dangerous, tumbledown shitholes that nobody really wants to live in. The larger issue, though, isn’t necessarily race per se; it’s that they long ago let the Left define them, infantilize them, establish the boundaries of their own supposed best interests, and assert its crippling caretaker role over them…and now show little interest in removing the malign Progressivist influence from their lives despite its obviously disastrous end state.

As Hawkins says below: they yoked themselves en masse to Leftard “help.” The results have been entirely predictable.


A little misogyny

August 4th, 2017 1 comment

Is Sofia Vergara the world’s hottest living human female?

Why yes. Yes, she most certainly is.


Update! If this sort of hateful misogynistic sexism interests you folks, here’s another old post of mine you might get a kick out of. Personally, I think the gorgeous Vergara can hold her head up beside any of these classic beauties. But hey, maybe that’s just me.


We’re from the government, and we’re here to help

July 30th, 2017 4 comments

Having them in charge of our health care is going to work out just fine though, I’m sure.

Who would make a can without a vent unless it was done under duress?

That sound of frustration in this guy’s voice was strangely familiar, the grumble that comes when something that used to work but doesn’t work anymore, for some odd reason we can’t identify.

I’m pretty alert to such problems these days. Soap doesn’t work. Toilets don’t flush. Clothes washers don’t clean. Light bulbs don’t illuminate. Refrigerators break too soon. Paint discolors. Lawnmowers have to be hacked. It’s all caused by idiotic government regulations that are wrecking our lives one consumer product at a time, all in ways we hardly notice.

It’s like the barbarian invasions that wrecked Rome, taking away the gains we’ve made in bettering our lives. It’s the bureaucrats’ way of reminding market producers and consumers who is in charge.

How many other things in our daily lives have been distorted, deformed and destroyed by government regulations?

Ask yourself this: If they can wreck such a normal and traditional item like this, and do it largely under the radar screen, what else have they mandatorily malfunctioned? How many other things in our daily lives have been distorted, deformed and destroyed by government regulations?

Oh, most of them, really. We ARE after all talking about the same fumblefingered numbskulls who mandated that we all start running ethanol in our vehicles and lawn care equipment, a fuel that A) destroys engines, B) costs more to produce, C) creates more pollution, and D) is less fuel-efficient than regular gasoline.

If FederalGovCo were to set out to bake you a nice apple pie, it would require 200 paper-pushers to oversee the job; it would take ten years for the FDA to approve the recipe; it would end up costing about 700 dollars; and it would be so disgusting as to be inedible. If your grandma—who had baked a million of the things, all of which were perfectly delicious—tried to come into the kitchen to help out, she would be jailed for not having the proper license. If you complained about the taste, your honesty would get you a serious denunciation for “hate speech” for hurting the feelings of the eighteen transgender lunatics involved in the process as mandated by law, despite the fact that not one of them had ever baked so much as a Swanson’s chicken pot pie in their entire lives.

Then a blue-ribbon panel would be appointed to get to the bottom of the whole disaster, and Congressional Republicans would spend the next fourteen years holding hearings about it. In the end, we’ll all agree that it’s Trump’s fault—working together with the Russians, no doubt—and just say to hell with it and go to McDonald’s instead.

Government is supposed to be for building roads, securing the borders, and providing for national defense…and it can barely even get those things right. What it now is is a jobs program for morons too incompetent for useful work, and/or those drawn to it because of their megalomaniacal penchant for bossing others around. The more things we allow it to get its grubby fingers into, the more things it will wreck, and the unhappier we will all be.

And, well, here we all are.

(Via Glenn)


A plague of locusts

July 27th, 2017 5 comments

They fouled their own nest. Now they’re coming to foul yours.

Last year, three states in the Northeast — New Jersey, New York and Connecticut — landed in the top five places people were moving out of fastest, according to 2017 data from United Van Lines. (The other two states on the list were Illinois and Kansas.) And data from Pew Charitable Trusts found that while people are all about moving to the South (their population grew by nearly 1.4 million people from 2014 to 2015) and the West (866,000 more people), the population growth in the Northeast is “sluggish.”

The Northeastern exodus is particularly acute in many big cities like New York City. Since 2010, more than 1 million people have moved from the New York area — which includes parts of New Jersey, Connecticut and Long Island — to other parts of the country.

So why are so many Northerners packing their bags?

Three guesses, only one of which involves the harsh winters—a direct result of global warming, no doubt.

Either way, they’re coming, and your hometown will never be the same. Even worse, coming right along with them will be hordes of neurotic “liberal” harpies obsessed with their physical attractiveness.

For Zoë Barry, feeling attractive in New York was an impossible feat. The 32-year-old, who grew up in Stuy Town and attended an all-girls private school, says her self-esteem was slowly sapped by the city’s sky-high beauty standards. “As a woman, you’re never enough,” says the sporty 5-foot-6 CEO. “I was never tall enough or slim enough. It grates on you after a while — that pressure to be a walking mannequin.”

So Barry pulled a confidence-boosting move that more and more New Yorkers are considering lately: She fled NYC for a city that actually appreciates her.

“A bruised ego is a very common New York syndrome,” says Upper East Side psychologist Kathryn Smerling. “There’s always someone who’s going to be better-looking or have nicer clothes than you. It’s a perennial quest for perfection.”

Manhattan-based psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert says the trickle-down effect is especially painful when it comes to looks — and finding love. “It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed,” he says. “New York City creates an underlying push not just to keep up with the Joneses but outdo them. This makes it very difficult for people to feel good about themselves. Leaving is definitely on the increase.”

Even conventionally gorgeous women risk getting swapped out by spoiled men.

If you click on over to the article and peruse the accompanying photos, you’ll see that not one of these women is “conventionally gorgeous,” or anything like it. There’s nothing at all wrong with them, mind, except for their neurosis about their looks, and the accompanying lack of self-esteem. They’re perfect ordinary women, in truth: not gorgeous, not ugly, just…kinda plain.

But see, that’s the way it is with beauty: its value is entirely due to its rarity. No, girls, you’re not all beautiful; if you were, the word “beautiful” would of necessity mean something entirely different, and we’d need to find another descriptor for those few of us whose looks are extraordinary. Moreover, in the supermodel capital of the world, well, even a truly striking woman might end up looking…well, ordinary in comparison. Like, say, the girls in the article.

All this heartache and angst is entirely the fault of “spoiled men,” of course.

Meanwhile, after soaking up all that kvetching and complaining, we Southerners are wondering if Trump could maybe be persuaded to build his big beautiful wall a bit further north than he originally planned.


A little useful knowledge

July 22nd, 2017 Comments off

About another useless federal program.

ProPublica has been researching why the U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world. One answer, broadly, is waste — some of it buried in practices that the medical establishment and the rest of us take for granted. We’ve documented how hospitals often discard pricey new supplies, how nursing homes trash valuable medications after patients die or move out, and how drug companies create expensive combinations of cheap drugs. Experts estimate such squandering eats up about $765 billion a year — as much as a quarter of all the country’s health care spending.

What if the system is destroying drugs that are technically “expired” but could still be safely used?

In his lab, Gerona ran tests on the decades-old drugs, including some now defunct brands such as the diet pills Obocell (once pitched to doctors with a portly figurine called “Mr. Obocell”) and Bamadex. Overall, the bottles contained 14 different compounds, including antihistamines, pain relievers and stimulants. All the drugs tested were in their original sealed containers.

The findings surprised both researchers: A dozen of the 14 compounds were still as potent as they were when they were manufactured, some at almost 100 percent of their labeled concentrations.

“Lo and behold,” Cantrell says, “The active ingredients are pretty darn stable.”

Naturally, and as is almost always the case, Leviathan exempts itself from the rules it forces the rest of us to labor under. Which amounts to a pretty good working definition of tyranny, if you ask me.

The federal agencies that stockpile drugs — including the military, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — have long realized the savings in revisiting expiration dates.

In 1986, the Air Force, hoping to save on replacement costs, asked the FDA if certain drugs’ expiration dates could be extended. In response, the FDA and Defense Department created the Shelf Life Extension Program.

Each year, drugs from the stockpiles are selected based on their value and pending expiration, and analyzed in batches to determine whether their end dates could be safely extended. For several decades, the program has found that the actual shelf life of many drugs is well beyond the original expiration dates.

A 2006 study of 122 drugs tested by the program showed that two-thirds of the expired medications were stable every time a lot was tested. Each of them had their expiration dates extended, on average, by more than four years, according to research published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Some that failed to hold their potency include the common asthma inhalant albuterol, the topical rash spray diphenhydramine, and a local anesthetic made from lidocaine and epinephrine, the study said. But neither Cantrell nor Dr. Cathleen Clancy, associate medical director of National Capital Poison Center, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the George Washington University Medical Center, had heard of anyone being harmed by any expired drugs. Cantrell says there has been no recorded instance of such harm in medical literature.

And there’s your pretty good working definition of the federal goobermint itself: an all-powerful bureaucracy eternally searching for “solutions” to “problems” that don’t actually exist, mucking things up entirely in the process. See also: “climate change,” just for one obvious example. You can be sure that this same sordid story of overregulation, obsessive control, red tape, and senseless, destructive, costly waste is repeated throughout any federal agency you’d care to examine.


Sticky: Fundraiser update

June 22nd, 2017 2 comments

Most profoundly grateful thanks to CF lifer Sam Sorenson; he knows why, I figure, but in case not, it involves the recent fundraiser for my young ‘uns computer camp, the whole story of which can be found here. In fact, I think I’ll make this post stick up top for a couple days too, just to be sure Sam sees it. Thanks again, buddy.


Sticky: Yes, yes, another fundraiser

May 31st, 2017 Comments off

Yes, I know it’s awfully close on the heels of my Ghetto Apartment fundraiser—for which, thanks once again to y’all for your help there, I am LOVING this place; in fact, it’s shaping up to be the best move I ever made in all sorts of ways, and I can never thank you guys enough for making it possible—but, well, yeah. Only, see, this one ain’t for me. It’s for my kid. Here’s how I put it on my Facebook page:

Okay folks, got a big favor to ask of ya. Suzie has enrolled Madeleine in a sort of summer-camp/seminar whose website can be found here:

Those of you who know my little girl personally know that A) she is BIG time into the video games, and B) she’s smart as all hell, just scary smart, really. So I think this might be a really cool thing for her to do, something that might just end up putting her on a solid future track; Madeleine is definitely VERY excited about it. Here’s the thing: Suzie arranged for five hundred bucks in financial aid for this; the camp itself costs a thousand bucks, and since it’s in Durham and lasts three weeks, there’s going to be hotel stays and other expenses involved. Suzie has set up a GoFundMe type fundraiser page to do all this; she says she figures it’s gonna end up taking about 2,500 bucks all told, and that sounds about right to me. So if any of you are feeling generous, go throw a little something in the GoFundMe tipjar. You’ll be helping out a most deserving little girl, and it will be very much appreciated by her loving parents. The fundraiser is here:

And so there you have it. The seminar gives the kids training in Photoshop, raw coding, and other things that could prove useful to Madeleine beyond any potential game-design career, and overall it sounds pretty good to me.

That said, there’s also this: I have actually bragged to the ex about how astoundingly generous my readership has always been, and it’s just the simple truth. So if you possibly can, go help a good little girl put her feet on a potentially highly remunerative career track at a ridiculously early age; as I also commented on Facebook: hey, if she becomes one of these super-billionaire game developers when she grows up, she’ll be able to afford a much nicer wheelchair to push Daddy around in, right? And what’s not to like about that, I ask you?

Sticky post, up top for the rest of the week, and as always, my humblest thanks in advance to all of you.


Product review: Murray’s gel pomade

April 28th, 2017 2 comments

You diehard greaser types will no doubt complain that “gel” and “pomade” are contradictory, a sort of oxymoron, and you’re probably right. Gel is gel; generally speaking, it has no grease, no wax, and washes out easily with water. It ain’t usually combable, and once you break that hard, crisp shell after it’s dried, there ain’t no bringing that pompadour back. It’s basically hair-plastic, and any relationship to pomade is no more than theoretical, at best.

The sole exception to that rule for a long time was Lay-Rite. I was fortunate enough to meet the purveyor of that fine product at Viva Las Vegas one year; he gave me a bunch of free samples, along with a whole shit-ton of Lay Rite t-shirts and combs. He told me the whole Lay Rite story: his father in law was a chemical engineer working for DuPont or somebody, and he explained to his father in law what he’d like in hair goop but never had found: firm hold, easy to wash out, no eternal grease stains on his pillow, high shine, easy revivability after hours sweating it out on the dance floor.

His pop-in-law got to work, and Lay Rite was the result. It works great, is hard to find, and pretty expensive to boot. I kept some around for years, but used it sparingly, mostly just for shows. It would sting like hell when sweating it out onstage; it would run down into my eyes and just burn like hell. I took to wearing sweat bands on each arm just to deal with the agony. But it held, it was shiny, you could comb it with a little water and your coif would be just like new again. Plus, it smelled nice, too.

No true pomade can do all that, I assure you. I used Murray’s for a long while, which is a waxy, high-hold pomade that looks great the first day, then builds up in your hair after a couple more, then requires about three days of intensive washing with blue Dawn dishwashing liquid to get out, whereupon you can start the cycle all over again. You never will get the grease out of your pillowcase if you use it regularly; dandruff and zits are just the price of doing business, that’s all.

Royal Crown, of course, is all grease, no hold, and completely useless, bless their pitiful hearts. I got a great story from when we did Star Search years ago: my personal hair and makeup girl just freaked out because I had some in my gear bag. She was a middle-aged black woman, and hadn’t seen that stuff since she was a kid, when her whole family was using it. She waxed ecstatic, hollering to the other hair/makeup women, “Looky what this white boy got, look! Royal Crown!” It was truly funny, and remains one of my fondest memories from the whole Star Search experience.

I switched to NuNile after a couple of years with Murray’s. NuNile is actually a Murray’s product, and as far as the true pomades go, it remains my favorite. Lighter, greasier, and less waxy than Murray’s, it offered decent hold with slightly more ease of washing-out than Murray’s. I think I still have a tin of it in the bathroom medicine cabinet, although I haven’t used it in a long while. It’s probably broken down into gummy upper-cylinder lubricant by now, or perhaps some sort of pesticide.

But the other day in Walmart I was perusing the ethnic hair-care section and spotted this Murray’s gel-pomade. It’s called Texture King Gel Pomade, from Murray’s Barber Experience line, and I can’t find it on the Murrays’ website at all. It was all of five bucks for a good-sized tub of it, so it didn’t take a whole lot of pondering for me to snap it up for a trial. I was almost out of hair goop anyway aside from the aforementioned tin of NuNile—which my hair is far too sparse to support anyway these days, and I had no intention of resorting to—so I figured what the hell.

And let me testify: this stuff is the shit. Impeccable hold, with a bit of elasticity to it; washes right out with no waxy buildup at all; a grease-style shine and feel underlaying it. Brings the super-hold crunchiness back with a light splash of water should you lose it; re-combs just fine if you need to, although of course the more you do that the less it works, as any reasonable person would expect. No zit-farming pillow residue at all. And it smells just fine.

I don’t know what possessed Murray’s to create this fine product, and I don’t care. Maybe some marketing genius noticed they were losing business to Lay Rite; maybe some restless young soul just thought after decades of maintaining the same product line they’d had since 1954, it was finally time for something new. Doesn’t matter; I only hope they stick with it. I haven’t been this pleased and excited about a hair-care product since I met the Lay Rite guy in Vegas, and as long as they keep making it, I’ll keep using it.

If you’re a greaser-rock dork with any interest in this sort of thing at all, which I figure probably covers a sum total of about six or eight of you CF lifers out there, believe me when I tell you that you won’t go wrong by moseying down to Walmart and picking up some of this stuff. If you don’t like it, well, clearly you got the wrong idea and need to rethink a few things. No need to thank me; I’m a giver, y’all.

And no, that whole turning grey/turning loose business I can’t help ya with. I would if I could, believe you me.


Problem solved!

April 17th, 2017 Comments off

Thanks to the CF readers who responded so, umm, vigorously to that last post; we got paid today, in full. It wouldn’t have happened without the amazing supportive response we got from both Facebook and here. Again: humble gratitude to each and every one of you. I’ll say it again: you guys ROCK.


And now for something completely different…

April 16th, 2017 5 comments

I don’t usually let any of my Facebook stuff cross over to this site; I’m barely on there at all anyway, and mostly use it just for booking gigs, which is how that stuff mainly gets done these days. But I’m gonna make an exception this once; read on and you’ll know why.

You do NOT want to play McKoy’s Smokehouse on Old Pineville Road in Charlotte. They will not live up to the terms of whatever agreement you make with them, and will try to stiff you or short you on your pay on some pretext or other.

My band, the Belmont Playboys, played there last night, and the terms of the agreement were as follows: provide for musical entertainment between the hours of 7 and 9 PM, for a remuneration of 500 dollars.

I enlisted my good friend Bart Lattimore to open the show; I had concerns about our bassist being able to get done with work in time to get there. Bart started at 7, whereupon one of the managers almost immediately complained to me of Bart’s “not being loud enough” (Bart does a solo thing with acoustic guitar; not as loud as the Playboys, naturally, but both his guitar and voice were mic’ed, adequately amplified, and audible just fine through the PA system we provided). This manager insisted that we cut Bart short and start playing ourselves before he “lost the crowd.”

Nonsense; horseshit, of the purest ray serene. Bart lost exactly nobody. Bart is a great performer, an excellent singer and songwriter with tons of charisma and stage presence, who knows instinctively how to really work an audience and draw their enthusiastic attention. The crowd continued to grow until the place was packed, with not an empty table either inside or outside, with people ordering food, liquor, and beer throughout the night.

The Playboys then went on a bit earlier than I had anticipated, at eight o’clock; I had figured probably 8:15. We played until about 5 minutes to nine, and the crowd was, again, enthusiastic and completely happy with our performance—the percentage of them who paid attention at all, that is. Events like these aren’t like concerts or club shows; the band is always something of a sideshow, in truth. The main attraction is the bikes, and the riders hanging out together and shooting the breeze. The crowd up front was attentive and smiling; I got a whole lot of “great show” comments afterwards, right up until the time I left.

As we were packing our gear, the owner of McKoy’s came up to me and expressed dismay and anger, asking why we were packing up; we were supposed to play until 11, he claimed. I told him in no uncertain terms that there was no way on God’s green earth that I would have ever agreed to play that long for that little money. 7 to 11 would have meant four sets; had I had any inkling at all that that was what was expected, I would have demanded twice as much money at the very least, and would have enlisted another opening act for the show. Most likely, though, I would have just turned the gig down flat as being not worth the bother.

The show was booked by Lisa Lopez, who has been handling the Friday bike night events for McCoy’s for nine years now. These are the relevant excerpts of the Facebook Messenger conversation via which the show was booked, emphasis mine:

LL: I’m trying to get some GREAT talent to play for us and I’ve ALWAYS enjoyed you guys for years! McKoy’s offers $500. and a bar tab. I will also be there to take pictures and will just hand them over to you guys, as well as do all the promotions (if you want). I am not in charge of band bookings, but have been given the go ahead to ask the musicians I think are good to play there. Are you interested?

MH: Either way, thanks most sincerely for the shout, let me know what dates you might have and all.

LL: YAY!!!! I will let you know the available dates and check back with as soon as I can! And LOVE the Playboys! That would be great!

LL: Ok…..these are the openings we have. Theyre all from 7pm until 9ish.

After confronting me about stopping at 9ish and telling me I was required to play until 11, I showed the owner the messages on my phone that clearly and indisputably stated otherwise. He then stalked off and angrily chewed Lisa out in full view and hearing of the crowd around them, which was almost shockingly unprofessional if you ask me. But I think now that he was just playing a scene, laying some groundwork, and in that light it was actually pretty clever.

As soon as we were done packing up, I asked the same manager who had complained about Bart’s volume earlier where the owner was, that I wanted to collect our pay. He told me that the owner had left to find a part for a dishwasher that had broken down. I was kind of puzzled over where he expected to find such a thing at 9:30 PM; there are no restaurant supply stores open that late around here, and even Lowes closes at 9. The whole setup was starting to smell, it seemed to me.

I was highly suspicious by then, as you might imagine, and told the manager I wasn’t going to wait around all night for the owner. I asked if the owner would be there the next day, and the manager said yes, he would be coming in at 3 o’clock next afternoon. I packed up and left, planning to come in a bit after three the next day, vainly hoping to get things sorted out to everyone’s satisfaction. I should have known better.

Sure enough, I showed up at McKoy’s next day at 3:30 and asked a waitress if the owner was there. She said no; he was off, he wasn’t scheduled to work at all that day. I told her I needed to get paid for last night’s show, even though it finally dawned on me in that moment that I almost certainly wouldn’t be. She then asked if I’d like to see a manager. I said yes, upon which she brought the same manager from the night before. He requested that we step into the office, closed the door behind us, and presented me with some paperwork to be signed, which I did not do. No way in hell was I signing anything this guy handed me, ever; I had belatedly realized what I was up against here. He then informed me that he would only be paying me half the agreed-upon sum, since we stopped at nine (as per the original agreement, mind) instead of playing till eleven.

I told him in no uncertain terms that this was unacceptable, and he then told me that the problem was between me and Lisa and that I should take it up with her. I told him, no, the problem is between McKoy’s and Lisa; I had a clear agreement, in plain text, which we had met the conditions of fully. He then said that I could take half-pay, or he could pay me nothing. I told him, fine; I’d be posting a full and truthful account of this on Facebook and spreading the word around any other way I could think of.

Lisa sent me a long text this morning apologizing for the mess, and stating that McKoy’s had also refused to pay her for the photography and video she had done per a separate agreement she had with them. She told me that she had been booking these shows for the past eight or nine years, and while some bands had ended up playing a bit past nine, eleven o’clock had never been any sort of specific requirement.

She also told me that the manager had come to her early the evening of the show and demanded that she call me and get us there by 5 PM. She told him that she didn’t have a phone number for me—the whole thing had been arranged on Facebook Messenger up till then, as most gigs are these days—and that there was no real reason for us to be there that early anyway. She said she was kind of puzzled by this request at the time.

But in hindsight, I’m not. It seems clear to me now that that demand was only the first of several pretexts contrived by McKoy’s owner and manager to provide them with an excuse for refusing to pay us the agreed-upon amount. I believe that McKoy’s owner and manager never had any intention of living up to their part of the agreement, as we lived up to ours.

This should in no way be interpreted as any sort of complaint against the bartenders and waitstaff of McKoy’s, by the way; without exception, they were friendly, courteous, professional, and seemed to have some integrity, as a couple of them who had overheard what was going on after the show remarked to me in disgusted tones that it “wasn’t right.”

Not so with McKoy’s management/ownership team, though. I’ve been a professional musician for forty years now, and this is hardly the first time I’ve had to deal with this sort of thing. It IS the first time in a very long time I’ve gotten burned like this, and even though I had my nagging suspicions throughout the night, I’m actually a little embarrassed that I didn’t see it coming and just walk away before the band got taken advantage of yet again.

We ended up playing a free gig last night—something we’re happy to do for a worthwhile charity now and then—without our consent. McKoy’s screwed us, in my opinion; I don’t think it’s even remotely arguable by anybody with honest intentions. But that doesn’t mean I’m under any obligation to anybody to keep it to myself. Quite the opposite, in fact: I feel I have an obligation to make the facts known, if only to help other musicians avoid the same thing.

In days past when something like this happened—and it does, quite a bit; I’ve said for years that there’s an entire class of people out there who make their living screwing bands over, and it’s the sad truth—there was no real recourse. Bands are at the bottom of the totem pole, and have no leverage whatsoever; there are too many of us who are desperate for any gig at all to do anything other than take our chances with possible liars and crooks and hope for the best.

But it’s different now; we have the means to speak out and warn others, at the very least. I have no ill feelings towards Lisa at all; I’ve seen no evidence at all from anybody that she screwed up, or is a liar, or a cheat. Likewise the bar- and waitstaff; they were uniformly excellent. But, again: not so with McKoy’s management and ownership. My alarm bells started tingling from the start, and the failure to heed them and pull the plug immediately was mine, and mine alone. So again: if you’re in a band, and you aren’t either a newbie who’s desperate for any gig at all or so godawful bad you pretty much have to take anything you can get, I strongly advise you to avoid McKoy’s like a bad rash.

Now, I’m not suggesting that any of you thuggish Reich-wing Nazis go over there and leave any ugly comments or anything (they’ll be taking it down pretty quick, I suspect). I would never do that. But if any of you were to be so moved, well, hey, I can’t stop ya. And would laugh, and laugh, and laugh.


Unexplained absence explained!

March 23rd, 2017 Comments off

Sorry for the dearth of posting of late, y’all. Spent the last few days painting the ghetto pad; it’s coming along nicely, in truth, and beginning to look as if it might just be the best move I ever did make. These things are actually early to mid-50’s duplexes, and while it’s a LOT smaller than my current living space, will be more than plenty for me and the young ‘un. Added bonus: all the other tenants who live there are good old friends of mine, as I believe I may have mentioned before, and it already begins to feel like home. The young ‘un has already gone all around the place introducing herself to everybody, and has mentioned twice in the last three days how much she likes all my friends. I told her I was very fortunate to have them in my life at all; man, if she only knew.

But she’ll learn. I talked to a good friend of mine yesterday—a real serious lifetime shooter who owns an amazing array of weaponry and who lives way out in the country, where you can still get away with that sort of thing—about beginning her instruction in handling firearms. We’ll get to that in a week or two, and she seems really excited about it, somewhat to my surprise.

The real moving work is this weekend; painting should be done tomorrow, power gets turned on tomorrow, and I’ll actually be humping furniture starting Saturday. Gotta save and scrounge for a U-Haul truck; unlike my last move, I am NOT going to do this in eleventy-million trips via my brother’s pickup truck, all of which I loaded myself. Gonna be one shot, or maybe two, and done. Start in the morning Saturday, and Saturday night (or so I hope) I sleep in the new place in my own bed.

Doing a lot of streamlining here too—which, to be honest, needed doing anyway. I have a shit-ton of old memorabilia, odds and ends, doodads, miscellaneous paraphernalia, and sheer out and out junk, some of which has been sitting in the basement in unopened boxes since Christiana was alive. I am by nature a serious packrat, and would never have cleared any of it out except under direst necessity; that necessity is now upon me, and I am frankly glad of it. They say if you ain’t used it in six months, throw it out; you didn’t need it anyway. I’m thinking maybe they are right.

In sum: look for light and sporadic posting to continue for another week or so, and then we’ll be back down to business for reals here. I appreciate y’all’s patience and attention. And while we’re at it: many, MANY thanks once more to those of you who were able to contribute to the spring fundraiser, without whom I would be in one hell of a fine mess. As my daughter reminded me: I sure am lucky indeed to have so very many good friends.

Okay, let me see if I can’t toss a post or two up here before I get back to packing, just to tide you guys over.



March 16th, 2017 2 comments

Okay, the whole Steyn/CRTV saga just got really, really weird.

When conservative commentator Mark Steyn sued the company that canceled his new online TV talk show last month, he said he was doing it for his employees.

His staff didn’t buy it.

“It’s bullshit, frankly,” said Mike Young, formerly the show’s site supervisor. “They all hate him.”

Ummm. Well…okay.

They say Steyn ran the show into the ground. He generally wouldn’t even speak to crew members, they claim, and when he did, he verbally abused them. In one case Steyn referred to members of the northern Vermont-based crew, a former employee claimed under oath, as “a bunch of meth-heads.” A Steyn spokesperson denied he made that comment.

Steyn had crew members run personal errands, they say, spent CRTV funds on lavish meals and expensive personal purchases, and boasted of the large settlement he planned to extract from the company.

This account is based on sworn declarations, made under penalty of perjury and provided exclusively to The Daily Beast, from nine former Mark Steyn Show employees, and interviews with four of those former employees, three of whom spoke on the record.

Steyn did not respond to a request for comment on his former crew members’ allegations. His spokesperson Melissa Howes denied most of their claims. “It saddens us to hear these allegations,” she said.

Follows, a long horror-show litany of arrogance, insensitivity, rudeness, irresponsibility, and general all around shitheadedness on Steyn’s part. You guys all know by now that I’m a huge fan of his, and this IS coming from the Daily Beast, after all; later in the story they spin the Michael Mann lawsuit as evidence of supposed litigiousness on Steyn’s part (it’s Mann’s suit, not Steyn’s), rather than an attempt by the liar Mann to cover his fraudulent tracks. Nothing on Steyn’s site on all this yet, as one would expect. It might just all come down to, as Ace puts it:

As they say, there are three sides to every story: Your side, my side, and Amy Schumer’s side, which is cribbed from a ten year old Patrice O’Neal bit.

I always heard it as “his side, her side, and the truth,” but Ace’s version works for me too. Steyn has had a pretty rough go of it these last few years; perhaps it’s all finally starting to wear on him a bit, who knows. Either way, I hate it for him, and for us; there’s been way too little of his writing during his trials and tribulations, and we certainly need all of it we can get. I wish him nothing but the best, and hope it all gets sorted out and life gets easier for him soon.


Problems, problems

February 16th, 2017 1 comment

Hope you guys got a hanky or three ready for this one.

Jane Park, 21 — who won $1.25 million playing Euromillions at age 17 — says she was too young to cope with the sudden flood of wealth, according to the UK Mirror.

“At times it feels like winning the lottery has ruined my life. I thought it would make it 10 times better but it’s made it 10 times worse,” she moaned to the paper.

“I wish I had no money most days. I say to myself, ‘My life would be so much easier if I hadn’t won,’” she said.

She’s sick of shopping, misses hustling for a paycheck and has struggled to find a boyfriend who isn’t using her for the dough, she said.

Before Park won the lottery in 2013, she worked as an administrative assistant for $10 an hour and lived in a modest apartment with her mother in Edinburgh, she said.

Now, she owns a flashy purple Range Rover, two residential properties and has traveled the globe with the lottery cash, she said.

But the lavish lifestyle has only made her feel “empty” inside, she said.

“People look at me and think, ‘I wish I had her lifestyle, I wish I had her money.’ But they don’t realize the extent of my stress. I have material things but apart from that my life is empty,” she said.

My heart breaks for ya, kid. But there’s a very simple and easy way to lift this awful curse, you know. And I can think of at least one poverty-stricken, aging professional musician and blogger who would be more than willing to sacrifice his own happiness to help you out. Just avail yourself of the e-mail info over in the sidebar for his name, address, and bank account info. I can assure you he’ll get back to you toot damned sweet, and soon your “troubles” will be over. Any other lottery winners with a case of the sads out there are wholeheartedly encouraged to do the same.

Jeez. She wasn’t “too young” to win the lottery; she was too stupid and self-absorbed. I’d be willing to bet more than she won that if you asked her mom how she felt about it, you’d get a very different answer. And I also suspect that, as with a good number of lottery winners, her “problem” will soon solve itself, and she’ll be back to her cramped apartment and crappy menial job…if they’ll have her back, that is.

(Via Sarah Hoyt)



February 3rd, 2017 Comments off

This is what it looks like. As Bill says: not all change is for the better. And do note that I say that as a pretty much full-time jeans-and-T-shirt wearing biker slob myself.


Holidays officially over

January 10th, 2017 Comments off

It is with great heaviness of heart and something close to real grief that I take down the good old Scrooge Picard theme every year. It’s one reason I haven’t done much posting the last week; I just couldn’t bear the thought of it. As long as I stayed away from here, Picard would remain up, and the holiday season was still in some small way extant. The long dark night of January and February was knocking at the door, but I just wasn’t into opening the damned thing.

But like it or not, the fun, warmth, and peaceful reflection of the holidays is well and truly over; the wonderful music is off the radio, the cheerily colorful lights and decorations are put away until next year, and now we settle in for the long, grim haul of winter. There’s actually snow on the ground here in the sunny South, and temperatures this week have struggled to break out of the teens, although it’s supposed to be up to 75 this weekend, thank God.

I dunno, I always loved winter best as a young ‘un, but the older I get, the more miserable it seems to me. I was watching a neighborhood kid ride his dirt bike through the fresh snow the other day, just sliding and brodeying and blasting up roostertalls all up and down the street. He was having a ball, and I can remember doing the exact same thing when I was his age, and loving every minute of it. Now, my only thought was, “Lord, that looks AWFUL. I would no more do that shit than…”

Getting old ain’t for pussies. Except when it is. Could be worse, though; I could be in Buffalo.

Or Chicago, heaven forbid. And just like that, I suddenly feel a lot better about things.


Ahh, Finland

December 28th, 2016 1 comment

I’ve been to Finland a couple or three times, still have friends that I keep in touch with there (including one guy who has all the Playboys CD covers tattooed up and down his arms), and I can tell you that to anyone who knows those wild, crazy, and tough-as-nails Finns, this should come as no surprise at all.


Rock on, Finlandia.


Farewell to Sowell

December 28th, 2016 1 comment

He will be missed.

Economist Thomas Sowell has long been one of the leading lights of the conservative movement in America. His path from high school dropout to renowned professor has inspired thousands and his insights on the history of race relations in America are invaluable.

On Tuesday, Sowell announced his retirement from 25 years of writing political columns. The professor is putting his pen to rest following an “awful” political year. During a stay in Yosemite National Park, he realized that “four consecutive days without seeing a newspaper or a television news program” felt “wonderful.”

Actually, I think 2016 was a pretty damned good year, seeing as how we finally saw the rise of a real fighter—someone who had not one drop in his veins of the usual tremulous cowardice and collaborationism common to Republican professional politicians—leading to a wave of confidence and assertiveness on the Right that most of us had despaired of ever seeing again. But wrong as he might be on that, Sowell was still a great one, as these quotes demonstrate.

  1. “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.”
  2. “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”
  3. “Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.”
  4. “Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.”

And that’s just for starters. Hats off to you, Dr Sowell, and best wishes on your future endeavors.


It’s a wonderful life

December 26th, 2016 1 comment

One of my all-time favorite movies, but I had no idea at all about any of this.

The man was A.P. Giannini who was said to be who Capra modeled the character of George Bailey as well as the bank president in Capra’s 1932 movie, American Madness, after. At the age of 14, Giannini left school and began working with his step father, Lorenzo Scatena, in the produce industry as a produce broker. By the time he was 31, he was able to sell much of his interest in this company to his employees and had planned to retire. However, one year later, he was asked to join the Columbus Savings & Loan Society, which was a small bank in North Beach, California.

Once he joined up, he found that almost nobody at the Savings & Loan, nor other banks, were willing to give loans to anyone but the rich or those owning businesses. At first, Giannini attempted to convince the other directors at the Savings & Loan to start lending to working class citizens, to give them home and auto loans, among other things. He felt that working class citizens, though lacking in assets to guarantee the loan against, were generally honest and would pay back their loans when they could. Further, by loaning them money, it would allow working class citizens to better themselves in ways they would not have been able to do without the money lent to them, such as being able to buy a home or to start a new business. He was never able to convince the other directors to begin lending to the working class.

Not to be dissuaded, he then set out to start his own bank. With $150,000 raised from various friends and family, Giannini founded the Bank of Italy in 1904, which would be a bank specializing in loaning money to the common man. The first Bank of Italy branch was in a converted saloon across the street from the Savings & Loan he had formerly been a member of. The assistant teller at the Bank of Italy was the former bartender of that very saloon.

Mr Martini, a teller at George’s bank? How odd and…UNEXPECTED! Okay, sorry. Onwards.

He then went about educating the working class on what a bank does and how one could help them. He then made a practice of not offering loans based on how much money or equity a person had, but based primarily on how he judged their character. Within a year, Bank of Italy had over $700,000 in deposits from these working class individuals, which is somewhere around $15-$20 million today. By the middle of the 1920s, it had become the third largest bank in the United States.

I’ve always said that in order to get a loan from a bank, you first have to conclusively prove to them that you don’t need one. Much, much more fascinating stuff here, including this:

During his time with Bank of Italy and eventually Bank of America, as it became, he instituted a variety of practices that are standard among nearly all banks today. He also was a key figure in making California what it is today, including: being an integral part of the California wine industry getting started; providing numerous loans to various entities in Hollywood in its early days, by starting the motion-picture loan division, which provided loans to many budding Hollywood groups and individuals including funding Walt Disney’s Snow White, when it had gone $2 million over budget; and funded the United Artists, which was founded by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith.

He also loaned money to the founders of HP, William Hewlett and David Packard, to start their business. More significantly, he had his bank purchase the necessary bonds to fund the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. And, of course, the aforementioned integral role in financing much of the rebuilding of San Francisco directly after the earthquake of 1906, among other things.

By 1930, Giannini had retired once again and this time moved to Europe. However, his successor began running the bank like traditional banks of the day, only lending to the wealthy and businesses and the like. Because of this, Giannini came back to the United States and rallied various employees and depositors to him, with them buying shares in the bank until they owned the controlling interest. He eventually accumulated enough shares owned by working class citizens, who backed him, to allow him to regain control of the bank, at which point, he returned it to its former ways of lending to the “little man”. He did not retire again.

Much like the fictitious George Bailey, Giannini kept little for himself through all this. Despite that fact that the bank he started was worth billions at the time of his death, Giannini’s entire estate was valued at only $500,000 when he died at the age of 79 in 1949. He avoided acquiring great wealth as he felt it would cause him to lose touch with the working class. For much of his career, he refused pay for his work and when the board attempted to give him $1.5 million as a bonus one year, he gave it all away to the University of California stating “Money itch is a bad thing. I never had that trouble.”

Turns out his bank was the originator of the VISA card too, and there’s loads more yet. All in all, it’s a truly remarkable story about a truly remarkable man, and a downright riveting read. Don’t miss it, including the “fun facts” that follow the actual article.

(Via Debby Witt)


The truth is eternal

November 7th, 2016 2 comments

Anybody remember a great old crime drama/soap opera called Wiseguy? I spent a chunk of yesterday afternoon watching a few episodes, including the one in which this brilliant soliloquy was included:

VINNIE: Now I want an answer: How do you go from Medal Of Honor to mercenary? At what point do you kiss off the nation for these dirty little wars?

ROGER: I live in a thicket infested by zealots bent on the bloodletting of this nation. They raise a glass of sake to the rising sun and plummet Zeros filled with dynamite into our fathers. They beat themselves with chains until they arrive at a narcotized state, then they shout “Allaahh!” and drive truckloads of explosives into our brothers. They thump Marxist manifestos like some backwater evangelist and carve away half of Europe, enslaving our cousins. Now they want what we have, but they don’t want to arrive at it by initiative, they want it by insurrection. These are the residents of Mr Loccoco’s neighborhood. It’s a scum-ridden place to live, but I live there to stop them. I don’t see myself as kissing off this nation; I see myself as protecting it.

Amazing how the more things change, the more they stay the same, ain’t it? What’s even more amazing is that such a home-truth-filled speech ever made it onto TV in the first place.


Music and politics

November 7th, 2016 Comments off

I told ya, nobody does this stuff like Steyn. But he’s outdone himself this time, I think.

In 1951, Sammy Kaye, Dinah Shore and Carmen Cavallaro all picked up on the song. My favorite version from those early years is Gordon Jenkins’ formal arrangement for Nat “King” Cole. It belongs to a group of Fifties ballads – “Unforgettable”, “When I Fall In Love” – that he brought a strange sort of romantic dignity to. But his wasn’t the hit. That honor went to a lesser balladeer called Tommy Edwards, whose smooth recording got to Number 18 in 1951…

By 1958, Edwards’ career was on the slide. MGM Records was ready to drop him, but, with one session left under his contract, he was asked by the label to re-record his biggest hit in the new stereo format. Instead of using the 1951 arrangement, Edwards recorded it as a rock’n’roll ballad, with an insistent walking accompaniment. The new version of Vice-President Dawes’ tune proved so popular that it was Number One in both America and Britain in 1958 – and topping the charts during the Eisenhower Administration isn’t bad for a tune written by Coolidge’s veep during the Taft Administration. Tommy Edwards’ success with “All In The Game” started a lively fad for rock ballad versions of pre-rock hits – “Who’s Sorry Now?” by Connie Francis, et al. But, because “It’s All In The Game” was never that boffo in its previous incarnation, its own fate was rather different. Despite being concocted by Carl Sigman, the quintessential jobbing Tin Pan Alleyman, it was embraced as an authentic r’n’b ballad, and the pop crowd never left it alone. In Britain, Cliff Richard got to Number Two with it in the Sixties, and the Four Tops put it back in the Top Five in the Seventies, and Van Morrison wrung so much juice out of it on the eve of the Eighties that Dave Marsh included his interpretation as one of the indispensable 1,001 rock singles of all time.

What would Charles Dawes have made of Van Morrison? Or Isaac Hayes or Engelbert Humperdinck or UB40? He never heard any of them. He never heard Carl Sigman’s words. He died at the age of 85 in April 1951, six months before Tommy Edwards’ first version made the hit parade and “Melody In A Major” began its new life as “It’s All In The Game”. Perhaps the lyric would have tickled his fancy, for by then he was mighty sick of the tune. “General Sherman, with justifiable profanity, once expressed his detestation of the tune ‘Marching Through Georgia,’ to which he was compelled to listen whenever he appeared anywhere,” grumbled Dawes. “I sympathize with his feeling when I listen to this piece of mine over and over. If it had not been fairly good music I should have been subjected to unlimited ridicule.”

It is indeed “fairly good music”. I’m often asked, when I mention Dawes, whether he wrote anything else. Why, certainly. He wrote The Banking System Of The United States And Its Relation To The Money And Business Of The United States. Snappy title. If I hum a few bars, maybe you can play it. So, yes, plenty of other writing – books on finance and war reparations and the federal budget. But nothing you’d want to hear Engelbert Humperdinck sing.

On the original sheet music, the credit read “Words by Carl Sigman” and “Music by Gen Charles G Dawes.” Presumably “Vice-Pres Charles G Dawes” was felt to be less commercial. Nevertheless, “It’s All In The Game” remains the only transatlantic Number One hit to be composed by a Nobel Peace Prize winner, an Ambassador to the Court of St James’s and a Vice-President of the United States

Good, and fascinating, stuff. Steyn oughta write a book or something.


17 inches

October 7th, 2016 2 comments

Of throbbing, rock-hard truth.

In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention.

In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung – a full-sized, stark-white home plate.

After speaking for twenty five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.

Then, finally…

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Whether you care anything about the game or not, you need to read all of this one; old coach Scolino was (or is, maybe; I don’t know if he’s still with us or not, but hope that he is) a true, plainspoken, one hundred percent bona fide American genius. As you might already suspect, he’s talking about way more than just baseball here.


OG to the bone

October 1st, 2016 10 comments

So when I read and excerpted Fred’s post on the most recent #BlackLiesMurder rioting last week, I was reminded of someone I admittedly hadn’t thought about in a while: Acidman. You CF lifers will probably recall him; Rob Smith, his name was. He was a fantastic writer, one whose penchant for pulling no punches and just coming right and saying things that needed to be said a hotheaded loudmouth like myself could only envy. Fearless, the guy was. This was the post that brought him back to mind, and quite the little controversy it triggered at the time too, back in February 2004. Which surprised exactly no one, least of all Acidman himself.

I am becoming more comfortable with the word “nigger” since the 1960s. I had compassion for an oppressed people back then. But I watched them shit all over every opportunity handed to them for the last 40 years, and you know what we have now? Not a minority absorbed into our society. We just have a bunch of niggers running wild.

You can face the truth or you can run from it, but whatever the choice, it won’t change a damned thing. 49% of our prison population is black. Black wimmen have a 70% illegitimate birth rate. Only one in three black men (who AREN’T in prison) has a goddam job.

No people can continue down that track and ever hope to succeed in this country. That’s a fact, and I don’t give a shit what Maxine Waters and Jesse Jackson have to say about it. I’ve seen too many other people do it.

I saw the Vietnamese refugees arrive here after the war. Half of them couldn’t speak English, but they found jobs, saved their money, worked hard and made the American Dream come alive for them. Their children were all STAR students and now they have teachers, engineers, artists and businessmen rising from their ranks. They accomplished that task in ONE GENERATION and I know damn well that these people started with nothing.

I am sick and tired of listening to the niggers whine. You’ve had 300 years to make a go of life in this country, and you’ve fucked up every chance ever handed to you. Got-Dam! Don’t call me a racist. ADMIT THE GODDAM FACTS.

I heard a lot of old, racist red-necks say when I was a boy, “You can take the nigger out of the jungle, but you’ll never get the jungle out of the nigger.”

I hated hearing such talk when I was young. But I believe that they were right, after watching history for the past 40 years of my life. Nobody who ever lived in this world EVER had as much gelt handed to them by the government as “African Americans” have and nobody has EVER pissed away their opportunities so badly. That’s a fact.

Besides, how many “African Americans” ever saw Africa in their fucking lives, anyway? You don’t like it here? Go back to Africa. Live with no health care, corrupt dictators, rampant AIDS and nothing but a tin roof over your head. Give up your welfare checks, your VCRs and the “racist” society that you live in now. Go back to Africa, thumb your nose at me and tell how much better life is in “the homeland.”

I wish you fuckers would. The Democrats would have a heart attack, because you all vote like drones for them, but this country would be better off without you. If the truth hurts, so be it. I just call it like I see it.

Until you people change your attitude and learn to be CIVIL among yourselves, just shut the fuck up. Be a nigger if you want to, but don’t criticize me for calling you one when you act that way.

Reality is a bitch, isn’t it?

Well, yes. Yes, it is. And all the things Rob complains about above—habitual criminality and incarceration, illegitimacy, and chronic unemployment rates, along with the entitlement/dependent mentality—have only gotten worse in the years since. He predicted earlier in that post that he’d “never live long enough to see such honesty from ANY goddam politician alive today,” and he was right; he died in 2006, thereby blessedly missing out on the Obama era of “racial healing” and the murder of cops by BLM snipers. But his followup post hinted at the depths, wisdom, and raw soul that one might have missed if all they knew of him was that first one excerpted above:

When I went out for football, my daddy told me that I was a “natural” and that I could excel on the field. But he also told me that I was too weak, too slow and too small to play the position I wanted to play. He was correct. I started for four years on championship teams.

“Rob, the only way you’ll make it out there is to play smarter, work harder and be tougher than the bigger guys. You’ve got to want it more than they do. If you can’t do that, then your ass will ride the bench forever. You are not blessed with the physical ability to play the game as well as other people can. You have to outsmart them.”

As someone once said on this blog, I had to learn to play “above my weight.”

If my son were black, I would give him a similar speech. I would tell him that life ain’t fair and life ain’t easy. If it were, then any asshole could do it. But assholes don’t succeed. Hard workers do. And when you start out playing against a stacked deck, the LAST THING you do is make matters worse for yourself by acting like some fucking moron at the drop of a hat.

Why don’t so-called “black leaders” give the same kind of advice today? Yeah, son. Life is going to be tougher for you than it is for the rich white boy down the street. But don’t bitch about that fact. Become determined to overcome the odds, work harder, be smarter and want it more than he does. You’re never a loser unless you decide to be one. You can win if you believe that you are a winner. That’s your choice to make.

I hate NBA basketball. I see too many thugs and hoodlums on the court showing their asses like monkeys for me to tolerate the game. But these pricks are the role models for young black men today. Fuck sportsmanship. Fuck controlling your temper. Fuck the fans. Fuck the game. Hoo-ray for you.

I don’t like Tiger Woods, either, but not for the same reasons. Tiger is just so got-dam good that he has unbalanced the world of professional golf. When he is on the beam, no one else on the face of the planet can compete with him. I would like to see a more level playing field instead of one golfer standing head and shoulders above the rest.

But I’ll give Tiger credit for one thing. He ALWAYS comports himself as a gentleman, he plays by the rules and you NEVER see him nigger-up and do something ghetto-like in either his personal or professional life. Do you think that, just maybe, he heard a speech from his father a long time ago a lot like the one my father gave me? “Yeah, son, you can do it. But it’s an uphill climb. You have to try harder, work longer and want it more than the other guys do. But you can do it.”

Why isn’t that philosophy preached to blacks in this country today? Why can’t someone stand up and tell them to stop walking around with their hands out, begging for something for nothing, and learn to walk with their heads held high?

Never mind. We do have people giving such speeches and they are roundly condemned by the black community. Clarence Thomas is a perfect example. That man came from Pinpoint, Georgia and made his way to the Supreme Court of the United States. Now THAT is an uphill climb. I know Pinpoint and I know what opportunities Clarence had to start with. He learned to play above his weight.

Anybody can do it. You just have to want it badly enough. Too many people don’t.

And I brook no excuses for the crime, the unwanted babies and the crack-alley ghetto-behavior of far too many blacks. That’s not a racist comment. It’s goddam realism, and if you can’t handle the truth, go to work for the government. You’ll fit in just fine there.

I know the truth when I see it. Don’t piss down my back and tell me that it’s raining.

Lament his choice of words, his I-don’t-give-a-shitness, his just plain in-your-face, balls-out rudeness, all you like: anybody care to attempt to deny the essential truth in everything he just said there? Anybody?

Because if you do, you got a long, tough row to hoe, bub.

Now as it happens, if you look in the sidebar on Rob’s blog, you’ll see a blogroll link to this site in there. While I regret to say that we never met face to face, Rob and I were blog-buds for a good long while, and exchanged e-mails pretty regularly. I commented at his place, he commented at this one; he was a real character, an outrageous wildass that anybody who grew up in the South of old would recognize even from a great distance.

And as I said, the man could lay some words down. Reading those two old posts got me to digging through his archives (and profoundest thanks to whoever it is maintaining the site), and I found all kinds of worthwhile stuff there. Such as this:

I KNOW that anyone bound and determined to play guitar can do it, because my college roommate did. When he started out, he couldn’t even tune the piece of crap Yamaha he had, but he shopped up quickly to a fine Epiphone that he still owns to this day. He couldn’t tune that one either, at first, but it sounded a lot better out of tune than the Yamaha did. He knew basic chords and if I showed him a lick or a run, he would retire to his room and do it over and over and over again until he had it. On many occasions, I listened to his diligent practice as long as I could stand it, then kicked open his door, snatched the guitar from his hands, tuned it, and gave it back. “Yeah, that’s better now,” he said, picking and grinning.

Of course, one night I listened to him playing the same thing over and over and over again out of tune and I snapped. I kicked open his door, snatched the guitar from his hands, and beat the living shit out of him with it until he lay dead in a bloody pulp on the floor. Then, I hauled the corpse off threw it in the woods outside Noble, Georgia, where it has not been found to this day, but may be found tomorrow if they dig deep enough around the creamtorium.

Okay, I didn’t ACTUALLY do that, but I thought about it more than once. Today, my old roommate is an accomplished musician who has electronic devices with which to tune an instrument. He does well.

I started playing semi-professionally in 1974 on River Street in Savannah. My brother and I formed a folk duo and sang exquisite harmonies together. We weren’t half-bad and took our act to Athens when we attended the University of Georgia together for two years. Making music beat flipping hamburgers, and we actually supported ourselves fairly well playing the motel bars during that time. I left journalism school in 1976 and became an advertising copywriter. My brother stayed, went to law school, and became a maggot.

I was starving to death writing, so I went back to River Street, auditioned for a job as a solo entertainer and launched a five-year career as a one-man barroom band. I didn’t intend it initially, but I had more fun, made more money and met a much better variety of people in the bars than I did writing copy, so I quit my REAL job and pursued music full-time. It was one hell of a ride. Looking back now, through the filter of time and my current miserable condition, I believe those were the best days of my life. I know I must have been unhappy a time or two, but I can’t recall a single instance now. I remember keeping vampire hours, running through women the way Sherman went through Georgia and generally not giving a damn if the sun came up in the morning. It was a time of irresponsible, glorious bliss and I wish I could go back and live it all over again. Of course, I would require my young body back again to make it worthwhile.

From that, one might easily see why I would get along so famously with Rob. We understood each other; lots of common ground in those paragraphs. Especially the bit where he refers to lawyers as maggots.

Those of you who have been around the blogs awhile might remember some liberal asshole or other’s sniffy reference years ago to America—the real one, not the twisted, dysfunctional parody of it to be found in the coastal cities—as “Jesusland.” If so, you’ll like this:

The bowel-plugged yankee whinebuckets who tear their hair and scream about the ignorance in Jesusland don’t know what they’re talking about. Those prick-fiddles have a lot more in common with the French than they do the people of Middle America. They claim to be “intellectual” when they don’t have a lick of common sense. They claim to be “compassionate” when they spew hatred at anyone who disagrees with them. They claim to worship “diversity” when they scorn anyone who thinks differently than they do. They claim to be “tolerant,” which is a cosmic joke.

I may live in “Jesusland,” but it sure as hell beats that “Bizzaro World” those deluded fucknuggets inhabit. I’ll tell you an honest truth. You’d have to scour Jesusland far and wide to find a fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist preacher more sanctimonious and intolerant than a northeastern liberal. And the preacher is one hell of a lot more honest about his beliefs, because he doesn’t try to pretend to be something he’s not, unlike a liberal.

We like to keep things simple. We like God, guts and guns. (Pickup trucks, good dogs, pretty wimmen and some of the best cooking on the planet aid in our struggle against the oppressive forces that other people see closing in on our country when we don’t. We’re more concerned with killing fire ants than we are with Global Warming. After all, we have hot weather ALL THE TIME down South.) Yeah, we are a quaint, provincial bunch.

Just a note from Jesusland, where I live, and where I am happy in my blissful ignorance of important issues.

As perfect a little “fuck you” to douchebags richly deserving of it as you’re ever gonna find, right? Rob saw fit, in his generous, open-hearted way, to cast a few pearls before the swine in his next post:

Wisdom from Jesusland:

*Don’t name a pig you plan to eat.

*Country fences need to be horse high, pig tight, and bull strong.

*Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.

*Keep skunks, lawyers and bankers at a distance.

*Words that soak into your ears are whispered, not yelled.

*Meanness don’t happen overnight.

*Never lay an angry hand on a kid or an animal, it just ain’t helpful.

*Don’t sell your mule to buy a plow.

*Two can live as cheap as one if one don’t eat.

*Don’t corner something meaner than you are.

*It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.

*You can’t unsay a cruel thing.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

*The best sermons are lived, not preached.

*Most of the stuff people worry about never happens.

Yeah. We sure are ignorant in Jesusland.

Sure ’nuff. This one was pretty prescient, and underscores a highly acute knowledge of liberal tactics for its era:

I don’t like double-standards.

I also don’t like a lot of words in the English language. Take “penis,” for example. That’s about the most obscene-sounding word I ever heard. It’s even worse than “ointment.” I LIKE Roscoe, but I don’t claim to have a “penis.” Penis sounds like some kind of intestinal parasite you pick up in a Third World country because you didn’t boil the water before you drank it.

How about “vagina” or “clitoris?” Those words sound like medical conditions where the doctor calls the family in to inform them that the patient has less than 24 hours to live. “The vagina has spread and we can’t stop it. Plus, a case of clitoris has set in, also. I’m afraid that our most powerful antibiotics won’t do any good.”


Try “cock.” Yes, if you want to see my cock, I’ll show it to you. It hangs right between my legs where a “penis” is supposed to be. But I don’t have a penis. I have a cock.

I don’t want to see your “vagina” or your “clitoris.” Let me see your pussy and let me play with The Man in the Boat. We can make beautiful music together as long as we get our language straight.

Words. If you want to detect a true liar and a con-artist right away, just check the language. That’s how “gender” came to mean sex, a “woman’s right to choose” came to mean abortion and “moderate Rebublican” came to mean a fucking RINO. Dishonesty made stone.

And all you people who de-linked me can kiss my Cracker ass. As Jack Nicholson said in A Few Good Men: “You don’t want the truth! You can’t handle the truth!”

A lot of people can’t.

They sure can’t. Hell, a lot of people are opposed to the truth, frightened by it, despise it, and are so intent on seeing it supplanted by their bong-stoked dorm-room counterfeits of serious thought that they’d just as soon see some of us imprisoned or hung by the neck until dead to prevent its ever being spoken out loud.

Rob Smith’s caustic, brilliant, penetrating prose was the best refutation of those self-righteous fuck-knuckles that I can imagine. I sure miss him, and I’ll for damned sure raise a glass tonight in honor of his cherished memory. All the above excerpts stand as prime examples of the basic rule that no matter how things might change, they still stay the same; Truth, it turns out, really is Eternal. I’d be willing to bet that in Heaven right now, the angels are standing slack-jawed and wide-eyed in horror and disgust at whatever Rob is saying to them, not knowing whether to throw rocks or head for the hills…and God His Own Self is having a good, long belly laugh over it all. Rest easy, my friend, wherever you might be. You might be gone, but you damned sure won’t ever be forgotten.