Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

The Weinstein-Progressivist axis

So I mentioned in one of last night’s posts that I was having a discussion with CF lifer Sam that I’d be bringing up and expanding on in a later post, at his request. His proposition is basically that L’Affaire Weinstein is nothing more nor less than, in his words, “Progressivism writ large.” To wit:

I have been thinking lately about the parallels between progressivism as a whole and the Harvey Weinstein saga. For example most normal thinking people know that the core elements of progressivism are nonsense, yet they go along with it to save jobs, relationships, etc, etc. People are so afraid of the twin howler monkeys of political correctness and leftist dogma. Much the same as the Weinstein stuff was an open secret in Hollywood but the people in the business shielded him to protect themselves from his ability to destroy their jobs and relationships. The Harvey Weinstein saga is progressivism writ large.

On a personal note, I having been greatly enjoying watching all of the sanctimonious bastards in Hollywood be forced to live by their own rules.

I was wondering what your eloquently profane take is on this.

His point is well-taken and damned nigh inarguable on even cursory reflection, but it puts me in mind of another one I’ve been considering ever since the story broke. Actually, for longer than that—ever since every Lefty luminary feigned shock and horror over the Bill Cosby Sleazapalooza “revelations.”

I mentioned at the start of the Weinstein cesspool-dunk that the Hollywood casting couch is hardly some new and startling revelation; it’s been my contention for years that rattling in the closets of any and every successful actor or (especially) actress blessed with even slight physical attractiveness are tawdry skeletons consisting of everything from cheesy nude photos right up to full-on homemade porn flicks, shot right in the offices of producers, directors, and other wielders of Tinseltown power as something of an introductory job interview.

I’ve known quite a few actors over the years, even dated a couple or three—no names you would recognize, other than Marisa Tomei, with whom I had a wee bit more than a nodding acquaintance for a minute there; call it a very casual, occasional, and superficial friendship, and that will be close enough. I have had tiny speaking parts in a couple of movies myself, and even floundered my way through an embarrassingly disastrous reading for the lead-bad-guy role in an indie horror production done by a friend of mine when I was living in NYC which was later picked up for distribution by Troma. With even that limited experience, I can tell you that the ongoing existence and importance of the casting couch to establishing a career in film or TV doesn’t even rise to the level of an open secret among those in the business or associated with it in some more peripheral way.

Here’s the thing, though: it’s not the fact of its existence but the acceptance of that fact that matters here. And despite the current handwringing, it IS accepted—not just by those who control it and enjoy its depraved privileges, but also by those lying back and thinking of England after being forced onto it. Continue reading “The Weinstein-Progressivist axis”


No surprise here

The greatest baseball announcer of all time has seen enough, thanks.

Saturday night, former Dodgers announcer and Hall of Famer Vin Scully was at the Pasadena Civic Center for an event called “An Evening With Vin Scully.”

At some point during the event, Scully was asked about the NFL’s national anthem protests, in which players have taken a knee during the anthem to protest police brutality and racism. Scully said he “will never watch another NFL game” because of the protests.

Here is a full transcript of Scully’s comments, via Deadspin:

“I have only one personal thought, really. And I am so disappointed. And I used to love, during the fall and winter, to watch the NFL on Sunday. And it’s not that I’m some great patriot. I was in the Navy for a year — didn’t go anywhere, didn’t do anything. But I have overwhelming respect and admiration for anyone who puts on a uniform and goes to war. So the only thing I can do in my little way is not to preach. I will never watch another NFL game.”

God, I love the man. And I’m with him all the way on this, although I gave up on the Negro Felons League for good a long while before he did. For me, this latest nonsense merely served to reaffirm that long-ago decision, and cast it in concrete. But when a true giant of American sports like Scully—a bona fide living legend—throws up his hands in disgust like this, well, I’d say the writing is on the wall for the over-privileged dumbasses responsible for putting the finishing touch on the destruction of their staggering sport.


Man bites dog!

For the most part, the news has been as predictable as the sunrise, and as uninteresting as a HILLARY!™ speech: Trump says something obviously true, the media goes apoplectic; Trump underlines a principle most of us hold dear, and the media and the Left (but I repeat myself) descends into apoplexy over the OUTRAGE! of it all; some disaster or Moslem atrocity occurs, and Trump is blamed for it. So a genuine shocker like this is pretty rare.

He’s NOT dead, Jim?

The hero Mandalay Bay security guard who vanished hours before he was due to give interviews with major TV networks will now break his silence on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Jesus Campos, who was shot and wounded in the Las Vegas massacre, disappeared from the public eye last week ahead of several TV interviews, including with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

But DeGeneres has now confirmed that the security guard sat down with her for a pre-taped interview that is set to air on Wednesday.

‘Tomorrow, the first people to encounter the Las Vegas shooter are here – security guard Jesus Campos and building engineer Stephen Schuck,’ DeGeneres tweeted late Tuesday night.  

Well, how about that. Guess he didn’t offend the Clinton Machine badly enough for them to hire out one of their Death Squads to be sent after him. I do note, however, that they don’t mention exactly when this “taped interview” was actually conducted, just that it airs tonight. Doesn’t mean anything, I’m sure. But this still does:

His disappearance came just hours after MGM Resorts International disputed the official timeline of the shooting.

They rejected any suggestion that hotel staff delayed calling 911 for six minutes after Paddock opened fire.

The latest chronology raised a series of questions about whether officers were given information quickly enough to possibly have a chance to take out the gunman before he could carry out the bloodshed.

But according to resort officials, it was no more than 40 seconds between the time Campos used his walkie talkie to call for help and Paddock opening fire on the crowd from two windows in his suite.

Yep, still stinkin’.

(Via Ironbear)


Good reads

You CF lifers will know Francis Poretto as a long-time friend of this site, a highly-skilled fellow blogger in his own right, and a damned excellent sci-fi novelist as well. He’s been serving of late as a sort of part-time spiritual mentor for me as well, for which indulgence I am very grateful to him.

You might also recollect my recommending his powerful Spooner trilogy a while back in this space, which endorsement resulted in Francis’s selling more copies of the books in a week than he usually did in a month. Both Francis and I were thrilled with that, as you might imagine.

So with all that in mind, allow me to commend your attention to Fran’s latest: Innocents. In his own words:

A novel of the Onteora Canon, set in the very near future. Genetic engineering and zygotic microsurgery have produced both wonders and horrors. Wonders such as drugs tailored to attack a specific disease in a specific sufferer, or surgery to eliminate genetically borne handicaps before mitosis can begin. Horrors such as blindness or deafness deliberately inflicted upon unborn babies, or pitiable creatures whose bodies and minds are warped to satisfy the whims of wealthy perverts.

Security specialist Larry Sokoloff is on vacation far from home, straining to forget a woman he loves but cannot have, when Fountain, a teenaged escapee from a malevolent institution, comes under his protection. What he learns of her nature and origins lays bare the darker face of the Janus of biotechnology, and catapults him and his colleague Trish McAvoy into a mission of vengeance and cleansing. For adults only.

Francis was kind enough to gift me with a complimentary copy, which I’ll be plowing into this weekend—and expect to be unable to claw myself away from until I’ve read it all, if he’s true to his usual form with this one. A bit more, from one of our e-mail exchanges:

Now that Innocents is out, it’s time for me to decide what to tackle next. It was the most difficult of all my novels to finish, even though it’s the shortest. Writing it very nearly put me off fiction altogether. Yet a few early readers have already inquired about a sequel. There are days I wonder about this business…quite a lot of them, lately.

Yeah, well, don’t spend a whole lot of time wondering, my friend. You got plenty to say; a precious God-given gift for saying it; a distinctive, near-unique perspective and literary style; and a growing audience eager to hear more from you. Take a short breather, and then it’s back to the salt mines for you, buddy.

As for the rest of y’all, go buy the book. If you have any liking for sci-fi at all—and how could you not?—I guarantee that you’ll be glad you did. Hey, at $2.99, how can you go wrong?


The feel-good story of a lifetime

Seriously, seriously wonderful.

If you aren’t reaching for the hankies after clicking on the vid for the backstory here, you must truly have a heart of stone. I’ve watched it about five times already, and haven’t gotten tired of it yet. May God bless everyone involved. I repeat: wonderful.


The REAL solution

As Bill says: it’s about time.

Asplundh, the tree-trimming company, has been hit by a $96 million penalty for hiring (and rehiring) illegal alien workers. According to the federal prosecutors it is the largest payment ever levied in an immigration case.

The company pled guilty to criminal charges in a federal court in Pennsylvania, where its headquarters is located, apparently moving swiftly to minimize the damage to the corporation’s image. As a result of the guilty plea, there will not be a public trial.

If the illegal immigration problem is ever to be solved, this is how it will be done. No amount of arrests, deportation, enforcement measures, or wall-building will be as effective at drying up the flood of illegals inundating us as a combination of much tighter restrictions on welfare access…and this right here. When serious punishment for the corporations that take criminal advantage of these people becomes less of a rarity and more routine, we’ll know the government is truly serious about re-establishing our borders and enforcing immigration regs at last, and not before.

Elsewhere, Bill links to another article that explains what’s at stake, at least in part:

The swelling population of illegal immigrants and their kids is costing American taxpayers $135 billion a year, the highest ever, driven by free medical care, education and a huge law enforcement bill, according to the the most authoritative report on the issue yet.

And despite claims from pro-illegal immigration advocates that the aliens pay significant off-setting taxes back to federal, state and local treasuries, the Federation for American Immigration Reform report tallied just $19 billion, making the final hit to taxpayers about $116 billion.

State and local governments are getting ravaged by the costs, at over $88 billion. The federal government, by comparison, is getting off easy at $45 billion in costs for illegals.

President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and conservatives in Congress are moving aggressively to deal with illegals, especially those with long criminal records. But their effort is being fought by courts and some 300 so-called “sanctuary communities” that refuse to work with federal law enforcement.

Every one of which ought to see every last dime of federal money they receive cut off, cold. Trump has promised to do just that; he ought to get on with it.

Securing its borders is Job One for any national government. A nation that fails to—or refuses to—is not really a nation at all. “Liberals” seem to think that the US is the only country in the world required as some sort of demonstration of superior “morality” to fling its borders open and welcome every last bedraggled parasite that wanders in—one supposes as the necessary first step towards the One World Government they’ve always fantasized about. I’d love to see them try to sneak across into, say, Mexico from the south and watch what happens to them.


Goodbye, good luck, good riddance

Let ’em drown in it.

President Donald Trump has ratcheted up the national controversy over black National Football League players who refuse to stand while the U.S. National Anthem is played before games.

During a Friday night political rally in Alabama, Trump called on fans to boycott teams that allow players to engage in that particular form of protest.

The league’s TV ratings have slid since quarterback Colin Kaepernick, then the leader of the San Francisco 49ers, began the trend in September 2016.

‘Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a b***h off the field right now! He is fired. He’s fired!”‘ Trump boomed.

His crowd applauded and chanted ‘USA! USA!’

All of which was RACIST!™, of course.

The outspoken president also said American football is ‘not the same game anymore’ since referees have clamped down on aggressive tackles, throwing penalty flags whenever they hear the crack of a vicious hit.

‘They are ruining the game, right?’ he asked. ‘They are ruining the game.’

It was ruined a long time ago if you ask me, and I haven’t paid the slightest attention to football in decades now, after having been an avid fan my whole life up until then. Trump’s complaint is certainly part of the reason—they run a play, then spend the next twenty minutes for the damned refs to decide what just happened, and whether it was penalizable or not. When you throw in tantrums from assholes like Kapernick, and the fact that half the players in the league are little more than violent, sub-literate thugs who, if they weren’t on the field getting paid millions to play a kid’s game would likely be out in the parking lot breaking into cars…well, it becomes a pretty tough thing to maintain any sort of interest in, for my money at least. Mike Walsh has seen enough too:

There’s no question that the has-been Kaepernick exacerbated the league’s slide in the ratings, but he alone is not responsible for it. The games have lengthened from three hours to four, while providing the same minuscule amount of “action” — eleven minutes. The players have grown ever more interchangeable; the teams might just as well field squads of tattooed robots. To illustrate just how far off the rails the league has gone, Los Angeles — a city that has no use for pro football and proved it could live without the Rams for years — now has two teams.

But if you ask this former fan, the rot runs deeper. Football, which is practically the state religion in Texas and across the South, used to be closely tied up with patriotism and love of country. The militaristic component of the sport, which was presented as akin to war, appealed especially to red-state dwellers. But sportscasters and sportswriters are overwhelmingly leftist in their outlook, and their eagerness to turn Kaepernick into a civil-rights icon has repelled a sizable section of football’s core audience — and one that, by the current evidence is growing.

He then quotes league commissioner and all-round idiot Roger Goodell:

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fired back at President Trump on Saturday for encouraging league owners to remove players who take a knee during the national anthem, saying Trump’s “divisive comments” show “an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.”

“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture,” Goodell said in a statement. 

Uh huh. By refusing to show respect for its anthem and flag, and turning a damned game into a chance to make a snotty, ignorant, and ill-considered political statement that obliquely insults the people who ultimately pay their over-inflated salaries. I walked out on them a long time ago, and I haven’t missed ’em for even a moment.



So what IS it with handing a husky-voiced female an acoustic guitar and an old pop song and having her turn the thing into a funereal dirge for a TV commercial, anyway?

I mean, for God’s sake. The charm (pretty limited in the first place, according to my taste anyway) of the original was wrapped up in its lighthearted goofiness, its non-threatening, off-kilter lack of any sort of self-consciousness or, y’know, weight. But this…this is just damned depressing.

And even amidst the dolorous gloom, they manage to load it up with enough saccharine treacle to choke the most jaded, untouchable cynic. Aww, how sweet; the old folks have danced their whole lives through while putting away their damned groceries. Yeah, gag me with a maggot, whydon’tcha.

Just what the hell does this have to do with groceries, anyway? I hasten to add that I had nothing against Publix before I saw this wretched piece of raw manipulation. I’d probably shop there sometimes if I had one anywhere close to me. But if they’re going to start tossing old folks at me, staggering around their kitchens like zombies while listening to hairy-pitted female neo-folkies groaning out a sad abortion of a semi-amusing old pop confection, reminiscing about the golden grocery-shopping trips of yore—well, the Publix PR and advertising departments can count me right the fuck out on that one.

Here’s the original for comparison purposes:

It even has a midget in it, ferchrissakes—a midget. How do you get from midgets cavorting in a grassy field to the kind of three-hankie heartwrencher the Publix folks want us all to open a vein over?

Not that I’m at all opposed to taking a fine old song and folding, spindling, and mutilating it into something pretty far removed from what it was, mind. But as with most things, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. This would be the right way:

I’ve mentioned that one here before, I believe, and it’s still just gorgeous. This, too, works nicely for me:

Kinda strange, kinda odd, kinda bizarre, and probably not at all what Copland had in mind, but still great nonetheless—although if you’re one of those people who don’t like pipe organs, you might feel differently about it, I guess. Even so, I think we can all probably agree that it works a damned sight better than that smoking mess of a Publix ad above does.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go out to the grocery store and see if I can find an old couple tripping the light fantastic down the bread aisle…and tip them over.

Update! Another example of the Right Way, and a fairly, um, extreme one too:

That’s good squishy right there, folks.


Make yourselves useful, for a change

Howie Carr expands on an idea I mentioned here the other day.

Seriously, doesn’t it look like almost all of the heavy lifting in the wake of Harvey is being done by people who belong to what the Southern Poverty Law Center would describe as “hate groups?”

Speaking of which, when does the SPLC’s food drive begin? Are the non-workers of the Socialist Workers Party and the Spartacist League loading any southbound 18-wheelers with relief supplies this weekend?

Maybe everyone in “the Resistance” is worn out from wearing pink hats and black masks and tipping over statues and sucker punching passers-by with bicycle locks in Berkeley and grabbing an old lady’s flag on the Boston Common and burning it — all those wonderful manifestations of how Love Trumps Hate, as they say.

Of course, it’s the last weekend of summer, so you can’t expect the likes of Jeffrey Epstein to be scrambling his private 747 out of the Hamptons to airlift foodstuffs to Galveston and Beaumont. You can’t be asking Brooklyn hipsters or Occupy Wall Street to occupy a relief shelter when the Beautiful People are jetting into Nantucket for brunch at the Chanticleer Inn.

Besides, as assorted adjunct professors at third-rate colleges have been tweeting out all week, those are Trump voters stranded down there in the Lone Star State — bitter clingers and irredeemables.

Then there’s John Kerry — he did sell his second wife’s first husband’s trust fund’s yacht when he moved from Nantucket to the Vineyard, but he could still enlist in the Cajun Navy. America’s Gigolo has other plans this weekend, though. According to The Hill, Liveshot is busy — “Kerry races to save American cycling team.”

Well, first things first.

He has many more examples of our so-“compassionate” betters failing to lift a finger or muss a hair, as well you might expect.


Doorbells? DOORBELLS?

Seriously? I mean, seriously?

These delicate little neurotics are afraid of fucking doorbells now?

Damned if I’da told it.

Mr. Walia, 19 years old and a computer science major, says he just isn’t comfortable ringing them. He and his friends have become so accustomed to texting one another upon arrival, he says, that the sound of a doorbell feels like an unexpected jolt.

“Doorbells are just so sudden. It’s terrifying,” says Tiffany Zhong, 20, the founder of Zebra Intelligence, which helps companies conduct custom research and gather insights on people born in the past two decades.

Um. “Terrifying”? Really? Good Lord.

There’s no published research about doorbell phobia, but it’s a real thing. In a poll by a Twitter user earlier this month that got more than 11,000 votes, 54% of respondents said “doorbells are scary weird.”

Some millennials and Gen Zers say they won’t even consider answering a ring at the door until they’ve checked the security camera.

The doorbell freak-out reflects the ascendance of mediated communication, which means people interacting through technological devices rather than directly. It’s not so much about screen time versus face time as it is a merger of the two.

Smartphones provide extra information thought by users to be vital to day-to-day interactions. Without smartphones to help, encounters can feel fraught.

“Typically, doorbells are for outsiders,” says Ms. Zhong, whose LinkedIn profile describes her as a “teen whisperer.” “A text signifies it’s a friend.”

God help us if we as a nation ever have to rely on no-ball pisspots like these to, say, storm the beaches at Normandy or something. What might be even worse than publicly admitting something as humiliating as this, though, is that the wilted little hothouse flowers don’t even have sense enough to be ashamed of their tremulous lunacy, and don’t seem to care who knows what gutless little feebs they are.

On the other hand, though, I guess in light of this it’s easy enough to see why they’re all so terribly frightened of Trump. I imagine that, should they ever so much as see a picture of Patton, they’d all just fall over dead from the quivering fantods.

I repeat: good Lord.


Imagine there’s no countries

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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.


Fundraiser update

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.


Yes, yes, another fundraiser

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

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!

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…

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!

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.




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

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