To be human is to be a dumbshit.

Leftovers and Links #56 

I want my Winnebago helicopter RV

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An idiot in my email inbox challenged me to watch a video from Jordan Peterson. The video, I was told, would explain that climate change isn’t real or isn’t manmade, or isn’t something to worry about. All of which would certainly be good news, eh?

Having vaguely heard of Peterson but not knowing who the heck he is, I watched the video, which was (of course) filmed in front of an adoring crowd that applauded everything he said. Enthusiastically unimpressed, I Wikipediaed Peterson, and learned that he's a psychologist and a YouTube personality.

My reply, then, dear inbox idiot, is that the world is a complicated place where nobody can know everything, so to some extent we all need to trust the experts. On climate change, I'll trust people who’ve spent their lives studying and researching the topic, over some flippant shrink and YouTube personality.

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Libertarians are housecats. Meow, motherfuckers.

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I’m an admirer of the thinking and research of Michael Hobbes. Here he debunks the alleged ‘doxxing’ of J K Rowling, which barely and arguably happened, and he wonders why her much more blatant and intentional doxxing of activists got so little attention.

As for Rowling, what can I offer beyond a sad sigh? She’s a brilliant writer and an inspirational success story, and also a dumbshit. She has the same tendency toward enormous blind spots — and blind spots about her blind spots — as the rest of us. 

If I was suddenly famous and successful, so people listened to whatever I said, I’m sure I’d still say dumbshit things, same as now. Maybe not about trans issues, but I'd say something equally dumbshit about something else. I hope I'd be a little less stubborn than Rowling about clinging to my dumbshittery, but to be human is to be a dumbshit.

Exceptions are rare, and don’t include anyone I’ve ever met.

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The New York Public Library has a wonderful Black Friday webpage.

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Let’s talk about the Louis Vuitton heists.

I haven't quite found the right words or the right article to explain how deeply untroubled I am by masked raiders targeting chain store monstrosities like Louis Vuitton. The linked article comes close, though — it has the right mood.

I do wish the raiders would be kinder to the employees, though.

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Apparently, I have a previously undiscovered kink for gorgeous dames with robots.

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Netherlands has joined Belgium, in offering to pay for abortions for women who can make it there from Poland.

Quote:  The Dutch government will pay for women from Poland to obtain abortions in the Netherlands. Its decision follows the introduction of a near-total ban on abortion in Poland and was prompted in particular by the recent death of a pregnant woman in hospital, which many have blamed on the abortion law.

Hot coals up the rectum, please, for anyone who’d use the power of government to prevent and punish abortion — an easy, elegant solution to the life-ruining problems of pregnancy.

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An old memory comes to mind, of packing up an ailing typewriter and bringing it to the typewriter repair shop, and then coming back a few days later, picking it up again, fixed and ready to write, for maybe five or ten bucks.

Haven’t seen a typewriter repair shop since years before the last time I saw a typewriter.

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Chickenshit, but commonplace:

Disney bows to China leadership, omits Simpsons Tiananmen Square episode from streaming in Hong Kong.

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And in further news of the utterly expected, CNN host Chris Cuomo used his media sources to find out info on brother Andrew’s accusers.

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I am opposed to evil, cruelty, and apathy. The first two I’ve always opposed, but I’ve been apathetic about it, hence this is a change to my personal policy. Please keep a copy of this notice for your records.

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


 Sing along with Doug:
Hello In There, by John Prine

Sincere tip 'o the hat:

Captain Hampockets
Follow Me HereHyperallergic
John the Basket • LiarTownUSA
Messy Nessy ChickNational Zero
Ran Prieur • Shawna Smith
Vintage EverydayVoenix Rising

Extra special thanks:
Clayton Barnes • Becky Jo
Name Withheld • Dave S.


Leftovers & Links 

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  1. Man this omnicron strain sounds horrible but I am tuning it all out. I wear a mask, got my shots, getting a booster, and there's nothing more I can do. and it's all because of the imbeciles. they keep spreading it, refusing masks, refusing free shots, and the damn thing is still everywhere because of that. millions and millions more chances for mutations. sigh.

    1. Concur & agreed, but I am not going to worry about it. I'll do what grouchy Fauci tells me to do, but beyond that worrying is just a waste of time.

  2. >As for Rowling, what can I offer beyond a sad sigh? She’s a brilliant writer

    Let's all fucking calm down a bit. She's a quite decent writer. I've read all the HP books, and enjoyed them. "Brilliant" is a little much, my friend, IMHO.

    Re typewriter repair - oddly, within about 30 minutes of where I live, I discovered THREE vacuum repair shops, over the course of the first two years I lived here. Only one still exists. One of the now-closed ones had been around since the 70s. Vacuum repair is not long for this world. The high-end vacs, however, will always need occasional repair. But if they get one customer a week, they ain't sticking around.

    1. Cap, nice to talk to you. I was vaguely aware that computer keyboards and phone keypads and QWERTY sensitive virtual keyboards had replaced, function for function, typewriters. Were Mark Twain alive today he would have lost his ass, because he was an early and heavy investor in typewriter companies. Of course, he'd be 186 years old, so financial investments might not be his most serious concern.

      . . . but I was unaware that people had stopped vacuuming, or that vacuums had become unbreakable. I live in a house with wooden floors but many cats, so we vacuum with the same portable we've had since Christ was a cowboy, but I never expected the Hoover to last forever. (That's not the brand we have; it's the British name for a vacuum cleaner, like Kleenex).

      I don't remember buying the Hoover, but I'm not entirely sure what I had for lunch yesterday. So it goes. I have naively expected it to give up the ghost one of these years, and require repair, but maybe, like Satchel Paige, it will pitch forever. If that is the case, I'm happy to hear it.

      I'm so old, that I actually saw Satchel Paige pitch in person -- five scoreless innings for the Portland Beavers (AAA) against the Tacoma Giants in Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington in 1961. He was 54 years old. I was 11.

      So I went out and bought Mr. Paige's biography, Maybe I'll Pitch Forever. I've misplaced the book in the intervening years, but I remember enjoying it.

      My point is, as an old man, it's possible, if what you say is true, that our old puce canister Hoover might outlast me. I've been in the repair shop a few times, mostly for cardiovascular surgeries, and am scheduled to expire in the next several years. The Hoover might go on and on.

      with warmest regards,


    2. I never believe expiration dates. Stuff is still good for years after.

      Cheney Stadium in Tacoma — been there many times, as recently as 2019. Somehow you seeing Satchel Paige pitch there and me seeing the Goodwill Games and so many Tigers games, feels like another layer of connection. Also, I want a Tiger Burger!

      Remember when vacuum cleaners worked, and lasted? My family had one vacuum all the time I was growing up, but they're all shit now.

    3. Before revealing herself to be nuts, Rowling got me to read an entire book about frickin' wizards and wands and other such silly shit. That's fairly impressive. I didn't read any of the sequels, though.

      When my vacuum cleaner breaks, I junk it into the dumpster. They're so damned cheap and worthless, repairs make no sense.

  3. Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, WA, was built in 1959-1960; opening day for the Tacoma Giants, was in early May, 1960. Dad was, at the time, an outdoor supervisor for Tacoma Transit, the local bus company. He ended up working 20 or 30 games a year back when people actually took the bus to the ballpark.

    I'd ride on the back of Dad's Harley to the game, "help" him get the incoming busses parked, unloaded, and re-dispatched for a while, then Dad would give me a dollar. Fifty cents for a grandstand seat, a quarter for a hot dog and a quarter for a coke.

    Mom would have me padded in two or three layers of coats, because Pacific Northwest summer evenings are sneak previews of fall. I'd sit there munching on my hot dog and a candy bar or two I brought from my secret stash at home, and watch batting practice. The Tacoma Giants had some former greats like Dusty Rhodes, on his way back down to finish up his career in the low minors, and some future greats like Bob and Gaylord Perry, Juan Marichal, all three Alou brothers, Tom Haller, Willie McCovey for half a year on rehab . . . many more.

    Cheney Stadium was, and remains in intimate minor league ballpark. Most nights, even from the grandstand you can hear the players talking to each other during infield warmup, and you can hear most of the rhubarbs around home plate. The first few years in Tacoma, the Giants were managed by Red Davis who had a wonderful temper.

    Around the late second or early third inning, Dad would join me in the grandstand and, if it was payday week he'd buy me another hot dog and Coke and sometimes a hot dog and coffee for himself. He didn't know a lot about baseball, but we had a great time.

    Depending on how close or interesting the game was, Dad would leave around the beginning of the eighth inning to begin loading and dispatching the busses waiting in the parking lot. After the game, I'd wait until the crowd emptied, then go find Dad. After the last bus had left with the last fan, he'd call into the office, let them know all the busses were dispatched, and we'd jump on the Harley for the ten minute ride home.

    Major league baseball is great, but for a kid who just loves the game at any level, there's nothing like a small minor league stadium on a summer's evening.


    1. The Tacoma Giants were before my time, I think. They were usually the Tigers when I went, and they’re the Rainiers now. The hamburgers didn’t change though — always awesome, and like everything else, reliably better than at major league baseball. You’re sure right about that, and you bring back memories so clear I can hear the crack of the bat.

      Especially compared to the godawful Kingdome in Seattle, or the Concrete Mausoleum, as it was derisively called. Cheney Stadium was alive, double the fun for a third of the price, a slightly longer drive but worth it. Also, free parking, as I recall. Do you remember occasionally shattered windshields from foul balls hitting cars that were parked a little too conveniently close?

      Did you ever go up north to Everett minor league baseball? Much lower class of game, much smaller stadium, but even cheaper tickets and the ballplayers were always running out every fly ball, working their derrieres off for a shot at the next level up. The burgers, though, were inferior to Cheney’s.

      I love and envy that your ballpark memories revolve around your dad. Must’ve been nice. My own dad was pretty good at being a dad, but he didn’t give a fart about baseball and never watched or went. “Buncha fat sweaty jocks,” was his assessment, and he was right, but he missed out on the poetry of it all.

  4. As per your illustration, I am reminded of the great David Lee Roth's proclamation that "The Meek Shall Inherit Shit." I assume this is partly Roth's likely Jewish/Old Testament background meeting his quotable celebrity talent. In any event, I've always enjoyed any contrary aphorism that settles for pragmatism over 'inspiring.'

    I have a long ex-gf who has a habit of adopting the interests and insights of whomever she is currently with. At last check, over a year if not two years ago, she had moved in with some guy who's a VP at a Bank and who owns two houses in a wealthy enclave in NJ. She told me to check out this Jordan Peterson guy because "he makes a lot of sense." She went on to tell me how the liberals we grew up with "aren't like we were." Then she said, rather cryptically, that she'd finally learned how to choose a suitable partner, which if I reference back to the things she said to me at the onset of our last conversation had something to do with going to Madagascar for a month to look at Lemurs and then another week or month to Colorado to go bird-watching, which apparently is a terrific way to meet an older dude with money in richer areas of NJ. (If Carlotta has held onto her looks, she can fly to NJ, pronto, and join a bird-watchers group, if she doesn't mind hooking up with a rich, selfish asshole (redundant?)

    That was my long-winded way of saying that I also went looking up Jordan Peterson and was equally not impressed. Yep, anyone who has an opinion on 'hot button' issues and 'publishes' them on YT is a narcissistic hack. Next. Sadly, most people lack direction.

    Not you, though. We're both too old to follow anyone.

    1. There are several other ‘names’ like Jordan Peterson, people that some people idolize. I usually judge them by who’s recommending them. Maybe it’s coincidence, but I can’t think of any celebrity ‘names’ that a lot of sane people say to listen to.

      Someone nudged me toward Joe Rogen a few years ago, and he didn’t instantly repulse me like Peterson. He didn’t impress me, though, and I’ll never be a regular listener to a podcast starring someone who doesn’t impress me.

      Carlotta will always be gorgeous in my mind, like Myrna Loy. Sigh.

    2. At least your cultural references are dated like mine, so I usually know what the fuck you're talking about. Some mope will describe a female who makes his tongue sweat as "looking like (fill in the blank with a name of a current hottie that doesn't ring a bell)". I know we've all culturally agreed that we're not going to assess the worth of an individual based on their looks, but we do it anyway. Myrna Loy in The Thin Man is the height of what a woman with her shit together looks and acts like.

      Of course we're all of our time. For example, what the fuck is a mope? You can't even look it up anymore because the meaning has drifted like the continents.

      By the way, The Thin Man was screenwritten by a married couple; a female screenwriter was a rara avis in those days and these. Hammett actually worked on some of the later, mediocre "Thin Man" movie scripts establishing once again that some people are capable of fucking up their own work. So it goes.


    3. I do think it’s one of the worst things society does, judging women by their appearance, and I hate it when I do it, but I do do it. Hell, all these years later I remember Carlotta, gorgeous and flirty, but would I remember her if she’d been old and fat? I’d just compromise and say, there are other factors in measuring someone’s worth, but yeah, looks is one of them. That’s why most folks judge me worthless.

      I only know mope as a verb, or perhaps as a noun meaning one who mopes. What else is a mope?

      The sequels sucks, and I didn’t know Hammett had been involved. Much as I liked the original, and I did, it doesn’t work for me on a re-watch. Most terrific movies do, but somehow not that one.

    4. I do think it’s one of the worst things society does, judging women by their appearance, and I hate it when I do it, but I do do it. Hell, all these years later I remember Carlotta, gorgeous and flirty, but would I remember her if she’d been old and fat? I’d just compromise and say, there are other factors in measuring someone’s worth, but yeah, looks is one of them. That’s why most folks judge me worthless.

      I only know mope as a verb, or perhaps as a noun meaning one who mopes. What else is a mope?

      The sequels sucks, and I didn’t know Hammett had been involved. Much as I liked the original, and I did, it doesn’t work for me on a re-watch. Most terrific movies do, but somehow not that one.

    5. A mope, in early 20th century detective writing is a sad criminal gofer -- a loser -- but one who generally does what he's told to do. The word leaked out of Black Mask and other early detective magazines into early detective novels and some cheaply-made detective movies. The Three Stooges used the word as late as the 1940s in at least one of their shorts. Of course, if the Stooges use a word it becomes an official word because they're the Stooges. They're not quite Marxist -- Groucho and Chico invented some phrases that still drifting through time, but they're nonetheless definitive.


    6. At least one of the sequels that Hammett worked on was Hammett all over. It was taken, almost scene for scene, from a Hammett short story that had appeared in Black Mask and in one of the Hammett collections of short stories that Lillian Hellman put together. After the movie The Thin Man became a success, Hammett changed from being a drunk to being a drunk with money. His previous novels (he only wrote five) got dragged out, dressed up and made into movies. He had money for a decade, until he spent it all on dames and booze.

      He lost whatever health he had in prison courtesy of Joe McCarthy. Fortunately (I suppose) the veterans administration treated him, and Ms. Hellman cared for him, until he died.


    7. 'Mope' sounds very Stooges, and I've seen far too much of the Stooges. The dictionary doesn't know it but it rings right.

      Hammett makes me glad I've never much drunk. Hammett in prison is a tough story of a gutsy dude.

      Which reminds me, I now have the Hammett you recommended. Haven't started reading yet, but I will soon, and damn, it's huge.

    8. You're welcome to smack me around whenever you like, I deserve it, but the Marx Brothers always underwhelm me. In every movie I remember, there's five or ten minutes of comedy that's funny, but wayyyy too much exposition and unfunny stuff, and especially the singing. It's been decades and maybe my memory is mistaken, but what comes to mind is song after song, waiting for the funny bits.

  5. Here are three nominations for sing-along, all by John Prine, one of my favorite songwriters/performers. He died from Covid in early 2020. He was an American from Chicago whose loss was mourned by the Prime Minister of Ireland and fans all over the world.

    John was a mailman in the suburbs of Chicago, playing in small clubs on weekend nights when he was accidently reviewed by Roger Ebert, whose nationally syndicated movie review column was read by Kris Kristofferson, who ended up signing Prine to his label. The whole story is very peculiar and rather entertaining, but this forum doesn't quite support the length of the story.

    In any case, I've been a fan of Prine's for 50 years. Everything I read indicates that John was a good, decent, modest man who actually had a good time with his fame and low-end fortune.

    So I'll send you this and two more emails.

    Here is "Hello In There", a song about how we might think about and act toward elderly people, written when he was a fairly young man.


    1. When Mr Prine died, I kinda briefly scratched my head to figure out who he was. My ignorance is deep, often
      profoundly so. I'd heard this
      song before, and yeah it's damn
      good. It'll be today's musical

      I think there's better music in
      nightclubs on the weekends than on
      the radio 24/7, and on an easel in someone's basement than in MOMA, better writing in notebooks that'll be burned after the author dies than in bookstores and libraries...

      At first glance I thought your suggestion of Prine was a personal note for me, but it's possible I might've fucked up and should've shared it with the tiny crowd on the website. I will do so now, a week later with my apologies, if that's OK with you.

    2. Yeah, that's fine. Anything I write to you that doesn't say "personal" is fine for publication. Of course, at the moment I'm on a publishing roll with Google, but the bastards will get me sooner or later.

      I'll write the story sometime for your site, but. in summary, Roger Ebert goes to review a movie; it's a terrible movie, so he walks out and decides to stop for a couple of beers. He walks into a fairly small joint, orders a beer, and there's a guy playing guitar and singing songs that are terrific and moving which Ebert has never heard. He ends up staying until Prine has finished playing, talks with him a few minutes, and the next day in the Chicago Sun Times Ebert writes his regular movie column, except it's a review of John Prine telling everybody in Chicago to get the hell out to Maywood and see this incredible singer/songwriter while they can.

      yadda yadda yadda Kris Kristofferson yadda yadda . . .

      Prine gets to New York, performs one gig and gets a record contract. Next night he's playing and turns around and somebody in a cowboy hat is playing accompanying harmonica behind him. It's Dylan. It's 1971, and Dylan only has one good album left in him, but thinks he doesn't have any. Everybody's been asking for years, "Who's the next Dylan"? Dylan found him.

      To be fair, Prine's career wasn't as productive as Dylan's but Prine wrote dozens of wonderful, moving songs. We'll have to be OK with that legacy. The fucking Prime Minister of Ireland mourned Prine's passing in public. I mourned it in private. He was a wonderful songwriter, a good guitar player, a fine singer, and a better man.

      The whole story is much longer.

    3. If you want to write the longer story I'd want to read it. You've led me to Ebert's review of Prine, originally headlined "Singing mailman who delivers a powerful message in a few words".

      I wonder how many Prines never find an Ebert.


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