You might very well think that…

… and I will have a comment for you.

In order to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, you formerly had to meet five of the following nine criteria.[1]

And here were the criteria for antisocial personality disorder.  (You had to check off three or more to get this diagnosis.)

My comment is in the form of two questions:

  1. To whom do you think I am referring?
  2. Why did you think that?[2]

—————

[1] These criteria are actually no longer officially used. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) revamped the personality disorders for DSM-5 in 2010. Their reclassification met with some criticism for its decision to drop this specific diagnosis from the new edition. But you get the picture.

[2] We now await the tapdancing from those who will try to avoid saying they recognize any of these traits in the person I’m talking about, and that it’s just because of my well-known dislike of this person that allows them to answer Question 1 with certainty.

Saying the pledge

After the tsimmis last week of the kid being arrested for not saying the pledge to the flag[1] in a Florida (!) school, I have studiously avoided writing this post — and to be honest I thought I had already written it. But I think the story is worth telling.

First, let me state up front that I find this country’s hyper-patriotism more than a little problematic, and the idolatry enveloping the flag is particularly offensive to me since it involves the forced public display of my-country-right-or-wrong-oh-yeah-why-don’t-you-just-move-somewhere-else devotion.

Until the early 90s I was agnostic about the pledge. As long as we all understood that it was an empty gesture, who cares? But then something happened that was so vile, so disgustingly hypocritical, that I became about as anti-pledge as you can be.

It was summer, probably 1993 though the exact year escapes me, and I was once again in Valdosta as the chair of the media department at the Governor’s Honors Program [GHP]. One day I ventured into the TV room of the faculty dorm, where the usual gang was glued to C-SPAN. (GHP is one big nerd camp.)

What was going on that had them so enthralled? The Republicans in the House of Representatives had introduced, as was their wont, an amendment to the Constitution to “protect” the flag, and a vote was in process.

Let me repeat that: ignoring the fact that the Constitution has never been amended to protect the government from the people — quite the reverse — the Republicans were attempting alter our foundational document to “protect” a piece of cloth.

Their cynicism was visible from space: their goal was to wrap themselves in that flag and cast the Democrats in the House as UNPATRIOTIC, KENNETH, for not wanting to gut the freedom to criticize our government. THE FLAG, KENNETH! SACRED SYMBOL OUR TROOPS FREEDOM ARGLE BARGLE HENNGGGHHH…

Now, Dale, I hear you asking, how are you so sure that the Republicans were cynically manipulating the legislative process to provide empty talking points to their amygdala-based base? How do I know that they no more cared for “protecting” the flag than they do protecting poor people?

Easy. We were watching the vote, remember, and it was slow going as the representatives clicked their little buttons at their desks: yeas and nays slowly edged up. The suspense was palpable. Would the amendment pass? Would it be sent to the states for ratification, where of course state legislators would be too craven to vote against it?

An amendment requires two-thirds of both chambers of the Congress to vote for it to be passed, which in the House would be 290 votes. That meant that if it got 146 nay votes, it failed.

Slowly the yeas and nays climbed. The yeas were slightly ahead. Savvy political junkies that we were, though, we watched the nays. Suddenly the vote tally clicked to 146 nays. The proposed amendment was dead.

And that’s when the yea votes soared. Once it was certain that it couldn’t pass, once they knew that this stupendously bad-faith legislation was safely dead — all those Republican cowards rushed to vote for it so they could go home and point their virtuous fingers at all those traitorous Democrats for defeating an amendment to “protect” our flag sacred symbol our troops freedom argle bargle hennggghghh…

In other words, the Republicans didn’t want this thing to pass. If they had wanted it to pass, all those yea votes that rushed into the public record when it was too late to make a difference would have been cast to begin with. They deliberately waited until enough of their peers had the guts to kill it before they cast their vote. Even more: they proposed this pernicious amendment to the Constitution in the first place and brought it to the floor for a vote knowing it should not be passed.

That’s how I know the whole pledge thing is a bogus, cynical ploy to suppress dissent, to shame people who think maybe our allegiance is not due to a piece of cloth, to draw a bright circle around those who are uncritically “patriotic” and to keep the rest of us out.  I have not said the pledge since then; I refuse to be a part of or to support that sham.

Your mileage may vary of course, and I have no objection to your choosing to say the pledge with all your heart. You may however want to think about the fact that the very people who keep telling you that saying the pledge is simple, virtuous patriotism — and anything else is not —have been manipulating you. I’ll let you decide why.

— — — — —

[1] Of course it’s a little more complicated than that, but whatever happened was triggered by the flag-worshiping substitute teacher worshipping the flag and not the Constitution for which it stands.

New Cocktail: MDL GinTonic No. 2

MDL GinTonic No. 2

  • 1.5 oz London dry gin
  • .5 oz Galliano
  • .25 oz hibiscus-infused gin*
  • tonic water, lime wheel

Sweetness, then the floral bitterness of the hibiscus. This is a nice one.

* Dump a tablespoon or two of dried hibiscus into a cup or so of gin. Let steep for a couple of hours. It will turn dark red. (You could also do a light steep for pinker look, and that concoction is more drinkable on its own. The full steep is a bit much.)

New Cocktail: the MDL GinTonic No. 1

During our travels through Italy last fall, I was delighted to discover the European GinTonic: a gin and tonic with some differences, some tasty, tasty differences. First, it’s not served in a highball glass — it’s served in a big red wine glass. It’s got tons of ice, and rather more tonic than we use here in the States.

The big difference though is the palette that is offered by such a setup. Just as here, you have the full range of gins to start with — London dry, Old Tom, Plymouth, modern botanicals —and if you’re picky, the type of tonic water. Then you can add stuff: garnishes, other spirits, etc., and the sky is the limit. The result is a universe of flavors and sensations, and that is the universe I have begun exploring in a new series of cocktails. I’m calling them MDL GinTonics because my initials are MDL; it’s all about the branding, you see. I vacillate between ‘#’ and “No.” in the naming system, so historians, here’s your fair warning: there may be contradictory evidence in your research.

At the moment, I’m going with 1.5 oz of gin, .5 oz of some other spirit, and .25 oz of something else to add another layer. Stay tuned.

MDL GinTonic No. 1

  • 1.5 oz barrel-aged gin
  • .5 oz Amaro di Angostura
  • .25 oz Isle of Skye blended Scotch (slightly peaty)
  • tonic water
  • lime wheel

Stir the first three ingredients with ice, then strain into a balloon-shaped wine glass filled with ice. Add tonic water and lime wheel.

This GinTonic is very tasty, with the oak/woodiness of the gin forward, followed by the spiciness of the Amaro, and finally a return to the earthy/woodsy tones of the Scotch. It is now one of my favorite drinks.

Variation notes: I tried using Laphroaig instead of Isle of Skye, but the strength of that single malt was too much. I also tried bumping the Scotch up to .5 oz, but the drink is better, more subtle, at .25 oz.

Shopping notes: the Amaro Angostura is becoming more common in liquor stores catering to the cocktail crowd, but barrel-aged gin can be hard to find, and Isle of Skye is uncommon. Buy them when you see them!

Hey, Southtowne Marketing, can we talk?

Hey, Mark! Can I call you Mark? It’s OK if that’s not your name, because clearly you don’t know my name either.

How do I know that? Because you addressed the envelope like this:

That’s my first clue that you’re working off a database that only selects the first name, i.e., you don’t know me personally and probably only want me to give you money. Normally I can spot a computer-printed  “handwritten” address, but yours looked real enough. Sure, I thought, it’s possible that some minion out at Southtowne (to which I’ve been multiple times for minor reasons over the past few days) might have sent me a thank you note or a survey or summat. So I opened it.

Ah, a newspaper clipping! Sometimes local companies will do that, send you a clipping of something you’ve done that ends up in the Newnan Times-Herald. However, I haven’t done anything recently that has been in the paper. But this had a sticky note on it.

Again with the ‘Martin.’ And who the hell was ‘B’? Barbara? Bill? Burgoyne? At this point, it was clear that I had been scammed again. It was nothing more than an ad:

Sorry for the crumpled page. I was heading to throw it in the fire when I decided to blog about this.

So, someone sat down and went through a stack of Times-Heralds or other newspaper, tore this out, folded it, (artfully tearing the middle), wrote a sticky note, attached it, and mailed it to me?

Not quite.

If we look at the top of the page, we find that there’s no publication info. This is not from a newspaper.

Sure, it says it’s from ‘Automotive • D-6,’ but where’s the newspaper name? The date? This is clearly a fabricated ad.

Even more data:

It’s not even a real stock market report. It’s a picture of a stock market report.

So, Mark — if I can call you Mark — let’s talk.  Let me explain to you that far from making me want to hit your ‘sale’ (which is when, exactly? you give days and times, but no dates), this kind of thing makes me want to call out there and berate whoever answers the phone. It’s dishonest and scammy, right in line with those phone calls that start out with “DON’T HANG UP!” or “THIS IS NOT A SALES CALL.” You’re faking a personal connection to trick me into giving you my attention. It is fraudulent in intent. I have no beef with Southtowne — I love my Equinox, and my service rep (the inestimable Paul Hardegree) is a dream, and once I decide I need a new car, I will more than likely deal with the Southtowne sales staff than not — but Mark, you need to be fired. Your tactics are slimy and offensive, not what I’ve come to expect from Southtowne.

Sincerely yours,

If only there were a difference you could spot…

This popped up on Twitter this morning:

What the Trumpster wants to believe here is that Barry HUSSEIN Obummer also violated military guidelines by autographing a soldier’s hat, so ULTRALIBERAL CNN KENNETH is wrong in calling out Trump (who gasses children) for doing exactly the same thing.

Well, actually.

No.

They are not the same.

First of all, let’s just note that it took Trump (who gasses children) two years into his presidency to go visit the troops, mostly because he’s afraid of that kind of danger. (That’s not a real problem, truthfully. If the man doesn’t want to participate in the U.S.’s ungodly fetishization of our military, I’m OK with that.) (But it’s a bad look, nevertheless.)

The real problem is that Trump (who gasses children) could not stop himself from campaigning, and that’s the no-no. Here, if you haven’t read it recently, is the pertinent section of the Department of Defense [DoD] conduct code:

DoD Support to Campaigns
Any activity that may be reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating DoD, or any component or personnel of DoD, with a partisan political activity or is otherwise contrary to the spirit and intention of this guidance must be avoided. Consistent with this, installation commanders must decline requests for military personnel or federal civilian employees to appear in or support political campaign or election events in their official capacities, with the exception of providing joint Armed Forces color guards at the opening ceremonies of the national conventions of the Republican, Democratic, and other political parties formally recognized by the Federal Election Commission. In addition, installation commanders shall not permit the use of military facilities by any candidate for political campaign or election events, including public assemblies or town hall meetings, speeches, fundraisers, press conferences, post-election celebrations and concession addresses. [emphasis mine]

The White House (who gasses children) is denying that it brought MAGA hats — which are official Trump campaign items — to Iraq, but there are first-person accounts reporting that yes, they did bring them and pass them out to the troops. That’s a no-no. Trump (who gasses children) signing them just made that fact impossible to ignore.

Worse — in my mind — is his behavior on the podium while addressing troops. He was his usual partisan self, bashing Democrats, pushing his Wall, and I have no doubt that if there were an election coming up he would absolutely would have told our troops to vote Republican. Such speech  — or rather, attendance at a function where such speech is used — is prohibited by the DoD conduct code.

So, to recap, a soldier is permitted to bring a personal item for the president to autograph. Soldiers are not permitted to participate in photo-ops for campaigns, and by providing campaign items to them in full view of the camera, Trump (who gasses children) violated military guidelines.

BECAUSE — and the Trumpster will not believe this — a MAGA hat is not a beloved symbol of our nation or its presidency. It is a purely partisan totem, and if you don’t realize that, then imagine that in the photograph Obama is signing one of these:

Image result for obama campaign cap

Would Fox News be defending that?

I report, you decide.

We won’t even get into Trump (who gasses children)  blowing the cover of a Navy SEAL team. The question there is: Idiot or traitor?[1]

—  —  —  —  —

[1] Why not both?

New Cocktail: The Apple Pie, Jack

It’s the holiday time, and we have found ourselves with more than the usual amount of Laird’s Applejack Brandy lying about (long story), so here’s my first and obvious cocktail thereby: the Apple Pie, Jack. It truly tastes like an apple pie.

The Apple Pie, Jack

  • 2 oz Applejack brandy
  • 1 oz vanilla vodka, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz cinnamon syrup

Shake with ice, pour, garnish

Vanilla vodka

  • 2–3 vanilla beans, split
  • 750 ml vodka
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup

Add the vanilla beans to the vodka. Let soak in a cool, dark place for 2–3 days or until desired vanilla taste is reached. Add the 1/4 cup simple syrup.

Cinnamon syrup

  • 2–3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup demerara sugar or Sugar in the Raw™
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vodka

Combine all ingredients in a pan. Bring to a boil and boil until all sugar is dissolved. Cool, cover, and allow to come to room temperature. Add vodka (for preservative), store.

I have not tried this with store-bought vanilla vodka; I expect it might have a harsher taste.

 

 

They vote

A friend sent me the link to gov-elect Brian Kemp’s Facebook page, where he plugs his Kemp Store: buy a Brian Kemp Christmas ornament for your tree!  Yep, it’s pretty tasteless, and even his supporters are looking at it with raised eyebrows and pursed lips. (Some are even complaining about shoddy service from said store. It’s almost as if the man’s dishonest in some way.)

But that’s not why I’m here today. Further down Kemp’s page was some innocuous statement about working with all legislators, etc etc, and the comments there were — shall we say — concerning.

Most were thankful Kemp had won instead of THE SOCIALIST, KENNETH, and they were being sincere. More than one praised god that they didn’t live in Atlanta.

Then there was this one, replying to an insane plea for Kemp to “fix all the voter fraud”:

And these frauds with old lucy stole Karen handles seat how many fraud voters did she fly in from Delta state to state and bused in 10 time district to district fraud votes absentee ballot stuffing old abrams still pushing bathhouse barry hussain un aca commercials!

Jebus H. Cthulhu. I’m just surprised it’s not in all caps.

Every time the pundits caution us callous sophisticates against disdaining the rightwing nutjobs, I think of crap like this. No punctuation, misspelling (of her own candidate’s name!), the degeneration from recognizable — if run-on — sentences into gibbered shibboleths, the racism, the irrational fear of healthcare…

And I’m supposed to respect and reach out to someone whose thought processes produce this garbage pile of words?

No. Sorry, I can’t do it. This woman — and those like her — are just amygdalas with legs and enough fingers to type. She’s willing to believe the most outrageous lies simply because they’re outrageous; she’s getting her daily high of fear and anger. She will never believe the truth; she will never recognize what is actually going on around her. She is swathed a cocoon of ignorance and distrust, and she has no plans or desire to become a butterfly and risk viewing the world from another perspective.

All we can do is outvote her and her ilk, and with Kemp in office it’s a pretty sure bet that’s not going to happen.

Bless her heart.

Lichtenbergian Goals, a quick review of 2018

Every year the Lichtenbergian Society holds its Annual Meeting on or before the Winter Solstice, and part of the Agenda for that meeting means confronting the projects you proposed to work on for the previous year.

Last year, I succeeded at every single one of my goals, one of which was the publication of Lichtenbergianism: procrastination as a creative strategy, and so, shockingly, I was stripped of my chairmanship.

This year I have done better, i.e., I have not accomplished a single Proposed Effort, as they are officially known. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Become a self-promoting whore

Following Turff’s lead in his successful goal to become a “corporate tool,” I was going to acquire the skills needed to sell the book and become a speaker/workshop leader all over the place, up to and including a TED Talk. I did not do this. In any way. Ugh.

Peter & the Starcatcher

Well, I did do this, but then again, how could I not?

Labyrinth fixes

I had — and still have — a short list of labor intensive projects that need to be taken care of in the labyrinth.  I did not get those done.

William Blake’s Inn

I was supposed to be pursuing a production of William Blake’s Inn for its world premiere.  It never happened.

new music?

Nothing. I wrote not a single note all year.

Ironically, I closed out last year’s post about these Proposed Efforts by bemoaning the fact all of these were so easily achievable that I was likely to be censured again. No chance of that this year!

Nor have I even begun to think about Proposed Efforts for 2019. Cras melior est.

It’s the ignorance, Kenneth.

::sigh::

This graphic has been floating around the FaceTubes for a couple of weeks:

Can you not feel the panic rising? Is your amygdala not entertained? Dogs and cats living together, etc etc. I for one am the outrage.

Here are the lies and the complete miscomprehension of basic truths.  Pass it on.

(1) DEAR RIGHTWING AMYGDALA-BASED LIFEFORM: WE CAPITALIZE CONGRESS AND CONSTITUTION. We generally spell out numbers lower than twenty, too. Thank you.

(2) That’s right. They were VOTED INTO CONGRESS. By voters. That’s how it works.

(3) It always comes as shocking news to the amygdala-based lifeforms [ABL], but the Bible is a holy text for Muslims too. Just as Christians revere the Old Testament but consider it to have been “superseded” by the New Testament, Muslims consider both Testaments to have been “corrected” and “superseded” by the Q’uran.  In other words, just as an ABL would just as soon not swear on a Torah, Muslims would rather use their own holy text.

(4) As usual, the ABLs have constructed a fictitious universe in which THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH can only be TT,TWT,ANBTT if the swearer puts his LEFT HAND ON THE BIBLE. Anything else completely invalidates the oath, right? Sadly, no: several Christian sects will not swear oaths (mainly because Jesus tells you not to), and even if you look at Presidential inaugurations, Theodore Roosevelt did not use a Bible when taking the oath in 1901. Both John Quincy Adams and Franklin Pierce swore on a book of law, standing in for the Constitution. Lyndon B. Johnson used a Roman Catholic missal. No branch of government requires that anyone swear an oath on the Christian Bible, not even your podunk county courthouse. (The last few times I was on a jury, a Bible was not even offered to witnesses — they just raised their hand and swore — and that was some years ago here in Coweta County, GA.)

(5) Funny thing about “upholding our constitution [sic]”: Article 6, Clause 3 says, and I quote (in its entirety):

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Let’s repeat that last part for the hard-of-thinking: no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

That’s right, Kenneth, not only is swearing on a Bible not required, such a requirement is prohibited by the Constitution. Which all duly elected members of Congress — Muslims or not — swear to uphold.

(6) Oh, ABLs. Your palpable fear is ridiculous. I will refrain from commenting on the obvious, and that is if we’re being destroyed within our own country, it’s by the rampant corruption, cruelty, and fecklessness of the current administration and those whose amygdalas salivate like so many Pavlov’s dogs at the sound of Dear Leader’s voice.

(7) I’m not sure how much of a Trojan horse two members of Congress constitute. I mean, what are they going to do, charge the chair and just take over Congress? Start issuing fatwas from the well? Whip out their scimitars and force the other 536 congresscritters to convert to Islam on the spot (which, by the way, the Q’uran explicitly forbids, no matter what its practitioners have done in history and don’t even get me started about imperialistic Christian missionaries over the last 500 years).

The whole tsimiss reminds me of those who are shocked by people who wear shorts to church, or who put sugar on their rice, or who don’t put a salad fork on the table: they somehow think that the world they’ve always felt safe in is actually objective reality. No, sweetie, it’s just the way you’ve done it. Dragging religion into it just elevates the stakes, and Jonathan Swift blew that whole idiotic mindset out of the water in Gulliver’s Travels with his spiteful, petty Lilliput, where the two kingdoms go to war over which end of a boiled egg to crack open. He was referring to the religious wars of the 17th century between Protestants and Catholics, but he would smirkingly recognize the ignorant amgydala-based lifeform who created this graphic as a dyed-in-the-wool Lilliputian.