Oh, you want to talk politics?

 Leftovers & links #38
Click any image to engorge.

From my email outbox:

Oh, you want to talk politics?

I hold these truths to be self-evident: 

People who aren’t white are people. Women are people, and fetuses aren’t. People are people, no matter what gets a person hard or wet, no matter their religion or lack thereof, no matter their net worth, age, heredity, abilities or disabilities. Even people who aren’t Americans are people, and all people deserve an equal crack at the marvelous bounties of the Earth and human society. 

The rich don't deserve more rights than the poor, so all people have rights to free speech, free education, free health care, free help when it's needed, and free justice.

Freedom is awesome, and should not be denied without a damned good reason. But also, freedom is not the most important or only thing that matters.

Killing people ought to be avoided. Just plain cruelty should also be avoided.

Yeah, I think that about covers it.

Now, if you want to tell me I'm full of crap on some political issue, by golly let’s go at it, but if you dispute these basics of human decency, then you're not a decent human, and we have nothing to talk about.

That’s a message I sent to a self-described “conservative” who wanted to argue about abortion and other asshole political points, three weeks ago. Since then, silence.

I guess he disputes the basics, and we have nothing to talk about.

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File this under "sure looks shady." 

The Cleveland Ex-Indians’ newly-announced name, Cleveland Guardians, was already in use by a roller derby team, so the baseball team is apparently attempting to simply swipe it

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The SEPTA rape case shows Americans eagerly believe the worst about cities.

A woman was raped on a Philadelphia commuter train. Police said that witnesses only watched, offered no help, and did not call 911.

But, on Thursday, the prosecutor in charge of the case, Delaware County district attorney Jack Stollsteimer, said in a news conference that the narrative that a bunch of people had “watched this transpire and took videos of it for their own gratification” is “simply not true. It did not happen. We have security video from SEPTA that shows that was not the truth.” 

This is a rerun of the common but false claims that all her neighbors ignored Kitty Genovese's screams and did nothing during her murder. 

Authorities often lie, and journalists — whose job is supposed to involve skepticism — often present whatever the authorities say as if it’s true, simply because authorities said it.

Some skepticism is always warranted.

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Some days I put a lot of effort into what I write here. Other days I just bang something out and hit ‘post’.

I’m not sure which days the writing is better, or whether any of it’s worth reading.

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Dang it, I saw Casino at the California Theater. That should be enough to make the place historically significant.

The California is a nice old art deco movie palace in Berkeley, and it's been closed for COVID, but now it's announced that the theater won’t reopen. Not because Landmark wants to close it, but because the owner has other uses in mind, and won’t renew the lease.

I'm sure a Starbucks and strip mall will do very well at that location.

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I worry that the cat doesn’t drink enough water. Which is stupid, because she's a grown cat with a million years of instinct, so of course she drinks plenty of water. 

There’s always clean H2O in her bowl, but in a year and a half with this cat I’ve never actually seen her drink the water. For all I know, it’s just evaporating, so it was good news when her water dish was empty one morning. I’d filled it the day before, though, so suddenly I had the opposite worry. Is something wrong, something making the cat extra thirsty?

Next morning, her water dish was empty again, but this time I noticed that the oversized pad under her water dish was wet like a loaded sponge. You could hear it gurgle if you stepped on it. I therefore conclude that she’s not drinking the water, she’s tipping the water dish over.

Meow, man. Cats are complicated.

Now the cat has a new water dish — an old spaghetti pot I never use any more, which weighs more than the cat does. She’d have to work pretty hard to knock it over, but like me, I think she'd rather nap than work.

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A highway where trucks work like electric trains.

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I haven't made a Halloween pumpkin in decades. Do most people save the innards and make a pie, or do they just toss the pumpkin guts? 

I'm certainly not carving a pumpkin in 2021, but still, inquiring minds want to know ... 

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Asian-American women in early film, mostly forgotten.

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The stairway to Heaven is only an illusion

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My pledge to you: On this website there will be no links to Fox News, the New York Post, or any of a thousand other mysteriously well-funded right-wing bullshit ‘news’ sources. 

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 Mystery links  — Like life itself, there’s no knowing where you’re going:


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Sincere tip 'o the hat to:

• Becky Jo
• Dave S.
Captain Hampockets
Follow Me Here
Messy Nessy Chick
National Zero
Ran Prieur
Voenix Rising
• and One of the Butt Sisters but definitely not the other.


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  1. "My pledge to you: On this website there will be no links to Fox News, the New York Post, or any of a thousand other mysteriously well-funded right-wing bullshit ‘news’ sources."

    Love it. Love you.

    1. Links to such crap are a dealbreaker for me. A blog that links to Fox News as if it's news is a blog I can't trust.

  2. Cats, man.

    We have one, Kevin. He was an indoor / outdoor cat, but one of the newer dogs is a predator, and we can't let Kevin in the house. But we installed a cat door into Virginia's pottery studio. It's always heated to an appropriate level, because the raw clay shouldn't freeze.

    We fill his food and water regularly. He eats the food, but never touches the water. But he does drink, I see it all the time. Fucker drinks water from everywhere that is not his dish. We have at least three or four pottery-related water vessels in use. They have dissolved glazes, or slip, or are just dirty clay water.

    THAT is what he likes to drink. Maybe he's not getting some essential minerals elsewhere?

    Here's Kevin : https://imgur.com/QRleHOL

    1. That cat looks grumpy. Or in other words, like a cat. Gotta love a cat that drinks mineral water.

      I have sometimes found my cat Izzy in the bathtub, where there's a tiny soapy puddle. Maybe she imbibes there. Never seen her dip into the toilet, though.

    2. Why the hell can't the cat come in the house? I think the genus/species is catus/housus or something Latinish like that. My furniture is all clawed to shit. I thought my vision was getting blurry, but it turned out that everything WAS fuzzy. Still is. Cats, pains in the ass all, are worth it. Independent motherfuckers, like Harry Truman without the glasses and endless piano playing.


    3. >Why the hell can't the cat come in the house?

      The dog will attempt to eat him.

    4. That makes sense. It's a dog eat cat world. Sorry I missed that part. I can read -- I just can't see.


    5. And it's none of my business, but why do you tolerate a cat-killing dog? Isn't there a nice place in the country for him/her/it to live? (did I do that right, Doug?)

      Any country. And Georgia's always on my my my my my my my my my mind.


    6. >And it's none of my business, but why do you tolerate a cat-killing dog?

      Honestly, I WOULDN'T, if it were only me. But my sweetie loves this dog more than she loves me, maybe. And we have a decent workaround where the cat is warm or cool, as the season merits, is fed and watered. We give him lots of love and attention. AND, he gets his freedom. We rent a barn on a 14 acre plot of forest / plains sort of terrain, and he rules it.

    7. John the Anonymous

      I love this line: "I thought my vision was getting blurry, but it turned out that everything WAS fuzzy. Still is." It won't be plagiarism on purpose, I promise, but eventually I'll say something very much like that, and think I'm so clever.

      Everything I ever write is an echo of something I read somewhere and adopted. Probably including this paragraph.

      I think you did him/her/it right. I am so clueless, though. Yesterday on the web I saw LGBTQ with two or three more letters added at the end. One of the new letters was an I, I remember, but I wasn't even curious enough to make note of it or google it.

      A big fan I am, of everybody doing their own thing and being true to themselves, but I don't keep tabs of it all.

    8. This odd question pops into my head .. How does a cat that's not allowed in your house get lots of love and attention? Sorry if you're feeling cross-examined on all this.

    9. He likes to sleep on the big fluffy chair we outside our glass door. It's our main entry / exit point. Every time we pass, if he's there, we fawn over him.

  3. And thanks for the photo of William Gaines. He made my adolescence tolerable and made the world better through laughter and outright erect a statue.


    1. Well, that was a truncated sentence. It's not what I wrote, but as beat poetry it'll do. This is interesting commenting software.
      Not useful, but interesting.


    2. I was an enormous fan of Mad Magazine, even before I got fat. What DC has done to it ought to be illegal.

    3. I don't know what DC did to Mad and I'm not going to check it out, but thankfully we have a benevolent, eternal God who made it impossible to change the past. Or there is no god and we live in a random universe where shit happens then other shit happens. Either way, we can only move forward, unless you're a particular brand of Republican who thinks they can change the past by imagining white picket fences and all-white neighborhoods, where church-going families ate dinner at 6. Make America White Again.

      Since I don't possess that white power to change the past, Mad had a profound informational and cultural effect on my adolescent brain that informed me about movies and plays I'd never see and cities I'd never visit and also taught me to laugh at all of it. I read every page every month for years and would probably still go back and read them had one of the ex-wives not sold them off for fuck-you money. I made a couple million bucks and handed it all over to exes. Now a ham sandwich is a slight upgrade. It's small consolation that none of the exes, to my knowledge, became a Republican. Cold comfort, but you take the comfort you can get.


    4. I was also always a subscriber, and though it never seemed 'educational' in the slightest at the time, it occurs to me today how right you are. Mad taught all of us a lot about the world.

      You didn't ask but I'll tell you what DC did. They took ownership of Mad in the 1960s, and to their credit kept mostly hands-off for a long time, but I don't think they ever understood what Mad was, or why it was beloved.

      I'm ignorant of whatever happened behind the scenes, but the timeline of Mad's demise, for me, started in 1992, when William Gaines died.

      A few months later I received a personally typed letter from Mad's offices, telling me they weren't willing to renew my subscription. I'd always subscribed with the first name FatBoy, since I was a kid, but for whatever reasons the FatBoy era was over.

      As a nonsubscriber, I still bought it on newsstands, but it seemed less than it had been but higher priced, and I drifted away. In 2000 or so they started running non-parody ads, then printing less frequently, and a few years ago they stopped publishing anything new. There's still something called Mad magazine, but it's all reprinted material.

      Someone with a little imagination could make Mad pertinent again. It'll never happen, though. Is there anything even slightly like what Mad was?

    5. No.

      Mad was a little like audio recording and photography. Had Abe Lincoln been shot in the Illinois early days, all we'd have visually would be a painting or two. Had he lived to old age, we'd have that high-pitched voice on a cylinder. Some inventions are unique and change the world. Mad Magazine was and did. Thank you, Mr. Gaines. Mad Magazine: Priceless (still cheap).


  4. I’m very glad to have found your website. For what it’s worth, Pathetic Life was my favorite zine from back in the day and I’ve always wondered what happened to you. Every year or so I remember to do a search for your name and this time something actually came up.

    I am enjoying rereading Pathetic Life and the Diner entries. The Steph Memorial is very warm, I am sorry for your loss. I am glad that you were able to share love with someone on your life.

    Do you have a PayPal or snail mail address where I might leave you a tip?

    While this isn’t anything worth publishing, just in case, please don’t put my name on it. I am a bit of a privacy freak.

    1. Gooooood morning and thank you so much for the kind words, about me
      and about the Mrs. And also for taking the bother to google me. I am happy but mystified that I ain't dead yet, and can't explain it.

      Everyone is entitled to be a freak, and 'privacy freak' is one of my very favorites.

      I am not terribly poor at the moment, but I expect to be, and soon :). If you're feeling generous, my version of the tip jar is the "ham sandwich" page.

      With or without a tip, though, you are very invited to stay in touch.


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