Tag Archives: 2016

2016: The Year In Review

This has been my mantra for the year.

Well, beloved, we’ve come to the end of another year, which means we’re about to be inundated with “Year in Review” posts/articles/programs. And, yes, I’m doing one, too. “Year in Review” posts aren’t what you’d call a regular feature here. Unlike my annual Thanksgiving posts, I haven’t written one of these since 2012. I’m not exactly sure why, it’s not like the past four years have been uneventful or anything. In fact, I’m not sure why I’m writing this one. Probably because I figure a post about 2016 will get some views and, like all writers, I’m a bit of an attention whore.

The consensus view seems to be that 2016 has been a rather shitty year. After all, it’s seen:

  • An orange-hued shit demon take advantage of the pain and fear of a large swath of the country to become President of the United States,
  • A bunch of idiotic yahoos in my home state of North Carolina pass an obviously discriminatory law and then commit political suicide by standing behind it in the face of overwhelming opposition both in the state and abroad,
  • The most deadly mass shooting in U. S. history, in which 49 people were killed because of their sexual orientation and/or gender expression.
  • Unarmed black men shot down by the police, mostly for the crime of just being black (that’s not new, but it was a big part of this past year).
  • An election that may have hacked by the Russians. At the very least, they influenced the voting toward the candidate they preferred.
  • And the death of a beloved celebrity every time we turned around.

Not exactly the best year on record, huh?

Still, it hasn’t been all bad. 2016 has also seen:

  • Working class people find a new (unlikely) champion in a 78 year old Jewish socialist. Now, if the Democratic Party (who likes to think of itself as “the party of the people”) would just get on board.
  • An announcement that Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman would be replacing former president (and slaveholder) Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. This is good because not only was Jackson was a slave owner, he was an asshole.
  • Jabba the Hut stunt double, Roger Ailes, resign as chairman and CEO of FoxNews. Ailes did so amidst a hail of accusations that he has a proclivity for making lewd remarks and/or advances to his female employees. And, punishing them when they reject him.
  • Pat McCrory lose his job as Governor of North Carolina to Roy Cooper. The best part is that McCrory engineered his own downfall with the hated HB 2, which was actually supposed to hurt his opponent, Cooper. Ain’t karma a bitch?
  • Samantha Bee debut her most excellent show, Full Frontal, on TBS. Bee, smart woman that she is, blew off the industry standard  live interview portion of the news parody format and stuck with her strength, scathing, intelligent satire. And, the television world is better for it.
  • A new Star Wars movie come out. It’s called “Rogue  One” if you’ve been living under a rock. I’m going to see this weekend and I can’t think of a better way to ring out this year.

Do these things offset losing David Bowie and Carrie Fisher in the same year? Probably not, but you’ve got to accentuate the positive. Even when the positive is not all that great.

It’s been said that 2016 has been the worst year ever. But, the truth is, it hasn’t. Not by a long shot. We’re not engaged in a global conflagration, an entire race isn’t in the process of being exterminated, there isn’t a plague killing off a significant portion of humanity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s been fun and I’d like to do it again. Just that it’s not been that bad. Hey, most of us even survived it. I’m not giving odds on 2017, though. I have a feeling it’s going to be a motherfucker.

It’s That Time of Year Again: The Annual “What I’m Thankful For” Post

How about the fact that this shitty ass year is almost over?
How about the fact that this shitty ass year is almost over?

Well, beloved, today is Thanksgiving and you know what that means: It’s time for my annual semi-snarky “What I’m Thankful for” post. This tradition started before the “gratitude challenge” became a thing, but being a dedicated curmudgeon, “What I’m Thankful For” quickly turned into a vehicle for skewering American’s penchant for jumping on a bandwagon while totally ignoring the implications of that bandwagon. Plus, I’m enough  of asshole to really enjoy letting the air out of people’s balloons.

 Saying this year’s post was hard to write  is a bit like saying the Titanic’s maiden voyage hit a snag: true, but a massive understatement. By any reckoning, 2016 has sucked ass. In a year that began with the death of David Bowie and Alan Rickman and is ending with a god damned reality star elected president, it was a bit hard to find things for which to be thankful. Hell, I can’t even say, “It could be worse” with any confidence, because I’m not sure that it could. But, it’s Thanksgiving and this what I do at Thanksgiving. so here goes:
  • Thanksgiving break _ In case you missed it, I’ve gone back to school, pursuing a degree in English. It’s been awhile since I was in the academic world and had sort of forgotten how nice it is to have some time where you aren’t freaking out because an assignment you haven’t even started is due in a few hours. But, my enjoyment is tempered by the fact that finals are right around the corner. And, I have a test on my second day back. Good times.
  • My Chucks _ By “Chucks”, I mean Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. I’m thankful for them for many reasons, but mostly because they’re not New Balance, which has been declared “the official shoe of white people” by The Daily Stormer. Sure, they aren’t “Made in America” anymore, but at least I’m not wearing something endorsed a racist neo-Nazi, alt-right asshole.
  • Pandora Radio _ I have to arrive at school around 7:30 every morning or I have walk what feels like a couple of miles to get to my classes, the first of which starts at 9 AM. I end up spending the intervening time in the cafeteria where the televisions are tuned to ESPN’s SportsCenter (or worse, Headline News). Thanks to Pandora, I can tune out all that inane bullshit  and enjoy something a little more edifying. Like the Weird Al Yankovic channel.
  • Social media _ Every so often, I see people talking about a social media fasts or telling their friends they just can’t take it anymore and their getting off Facebook for a while. Not me. I can’t see any instance where I would willingly give up Twitter or Facebook. I mean, where else am I going to find daily, even hourly, reminders that I’m not the absolute worst person in the world?
  • My friends with young kids _ Because it’s nice to be reminded just how wonderful it is that my kids are grown and (almost) gone.
  • Blog material won’t be hard to come by for the next four years. Yeah, this one’s pretty much an attempt to put lipstick on a pig. But what are you gonna do?

If you’re thinking this year’s list is darker than ones from the past, you’re probably right. But, like I said earlier, 2016 has sucked ass. I don’t know about you, but I’m thankful that it’s almost over.

Voting Third Party? Take A Look At Andrew Basiago

This is not turning out to be one of history’s more inspirational election cycles. Unable to bring themselves to vote for Trump or Hillary, many people are considering a vote for a third-party candidate.  Unfortunately, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson aren’t proving all that inspiring, either. But, there is a light shining in the darkness and his name is Andrew Basiago.

Profile-Picture-Andrew-D-Basiago

Who is Andrew Basiago? First of all, he is an actual candidate for President having met all the requirements and filed the proper paperwork with FEC. Second, and much more importantly, he is the visionary truth-teller America so desperately needs right now.

So, what will Andy do if we elect him? According to his website, he will “lead the American people into a bold, new era of Truth, Reform, and Innovation as great as they are great.” And, here are a few of the things he’s proposing to make that happen:

  • Open government files on secret technologies _ These files include DARPA’s Project Pegasus and possible cancer cures. In doing so, we reclaim our role as the world leader in science.
  • Disclose U. S. Time Travel Technology _  By 1970, the aforementioned Project Pegasus had created 8 different approaches to time travel, from teleportation to chronovision. This amazing technological feat has been kept secret from the American people for far too long. Basiago aims to release this information and energize our scientific potential.
  • Reveal Extraterrestrial presence on Earth _ For years, the U. S. government has concealed the fact that our atomic bomb tests at the end of World War II attracted beings from other worlds (57 different species at present). As President, Basiago would end this massive cover-up and come clean with the American people.
  •  Disclose Secret U. S. presence on Mars _ Yes, the U. S. has a presence on the Red Planet, a fact that has been concealed from the American people for 50 years. Basiago would pull back the shroud on the CIA’s Mars jump room, the Mars Colony Corporation and other related matters. He would also seek a UN treaty protecting Mars’ fragile ecosphere from exploitation by Earthlings.
  • Declassify Secret Space Program _ Under our noses, the CIA has maintained a secret space program. Basiago would open the files on this program and force that agency to reveal their secret programs and off-planet treaties.
  • Protection of Sasquatch Species _ Like Theodore Roosevelt, Basiago has actually encountered a Sasquatch and understands the importance of preserving this majestic creature. To that end, he will put them on the endangered species list.

Some of these proposals may sound a bit far-fetched, but they are not. Like the Sasquatch, Basiago has intimate knowledge on all of them. As a child, he was a participant in Project Pegasus and, over the years, has made multiple trips through time and space, including a trip to Gettysburg in November of 1863, And, he has photographic evidence of that trip.

He has also made multiple trips to Mars. On one, he was accompanied by a young Barrack Obama. On another, he and a fellow chrononaut William White Crow defended themselves with AR-15’s against a horde of dive-bombing pterodactyls. This man is a true American hero and will lead us into the greatness we so truly deserve.

Is Basiago bat crap crazy? Probably. Does he have a prayer of being elected. Not no, but hell no. But, if we’re being completely honest, neither do Stein or Johnson. So, if you’re bound and determined to vote  third-party candidate, why not do it with some style?

Andy 2016!

DNC 2016: Hey, At Least We Aren’t Insane

     Well, the Democratic National Convention wound up last night and I have to say, from a comedy standpoint, it was boring as fuck. To be fair, though, it did have a hard act to follow. But then, next to the shitstorm that blew through Cleveland last week, “Blazing Saddles” (widely acknowledged as one of the funniest movies of all time) would seem like a big yawn. Of course, comedy isn’t everything and from a “save the damn country” outlook,  DNC 2016 was awesome.
     That’s not to say, however, that the event was devoid of whimsy. From Corey Booker’s address being totally overshadowed by the First Lady, to Hillary’s thorough lambasting of The Donald last night, there were some decent moments. As I did with the Republican’s soirée earlier this week, I’d like to offer a few observations on Hillary’s coming out party.
     As I mentioned just a minute ago, Corey Booker gave the speech of his life Monday night. It should have been his moment in the sun, his “Obama in ’04” moment. Unfortunately, he was completely upstaged by Michelle Obama. To be fair, he wasn’t the only one; no one seems to remember what came before or after Michelle’s address. Diana pointed out the Republicans didn’t offer any young, up and coming voices a chance to shine on the national stage. I said that’s because Trump didn’t want share the spotlight with anyone. It may be a moot point, though. I mean, if Trump wins, there may be another election for any young, up and coming voices to take part in.
     A recurring theme throughout the convention was that Hillary is first female nominee for president. Yeah, about that.., Hillary is the first woman to nominated by a major party. You see, the actual “First Woman Presidential Nominee” was Victoria Woodhull who was nominated by the Equal Rights Party in 1872. I’m not trying to take away from Hillary’s accomplishment, but Woodhull was nominated for the highest office in the land 52 years before women were even granted the right to vote. You’ve got to admit, that’s pretty damn impressive.
     The DNC wasn’t without its drama, either. Monday night was punctuated by a goodly amount of booing. It seems that some Sanders supporters who were singularly unhappy with the outcome of the Democratic primaries. They were even more unhappy when Sarah Silverman told them they were being ridiculous.  Several Bernie or Bust folks took to Twitter, renaming her “Sarah Sellout”. Why, that’s not ridiculous at all!
     But, the drama didn’t end there. When Bernie took the stage in an attempt to heal the rift between the factions, his full-throated endorsement of Clinton reduced many of his supporters to tears. And then, on Tuesday, when Sanders himself moved to nominate Clinton by acclamation and turned all his delegates over to her, many of those delegates walked out. Well, that’s mature.
I’m thinking all of the upset over Clinton’s nomination is best summed up by Seth Meyers: “We don’t have time for this. Donald Trump is ahead in the polls. The house is on fire, stop crying because we’re not putting it out with your hose!”
     Just as Clinton was a frequent target of speakers at the RNC, Trump wasmentioned frequently this week in Philadelphia. And, Hillary in particular didn’t spare his feelings. She questioned his temperament, intelligence, ego and general ability to lead in her address. At one point, she shared this direct quote from the short-fingered vulgarian: I know more about ISIS than the generals do”, replying “No, Donald, you don’t.” The criticism he had already received during the convention had driven Trump to the brink of violence. I can’t wait to see how he reacts to this.
     Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of the convention is the reaction of some Republicans. Basically, Republicans are stunned and appalled that Democrats have seized the ground that their party abandoned this election cycle. Sorry folks, but that’s what happens when you nominate a narcissistic troll for President.
     Another unhappy Republican said that they heard “a lot more about God and faith at the DNC than the RNC”. Yeah, the RNC didn’t exactly set a high bar for “God and faith”. Other than an overtly partisan speech and prayer by a prosperity gospel preacher, I’m not sure God got mentioned there at all. At the DNC, however, the Almighty was mentioned numerous times.  Most notably by North Carolina’s own Rev. William Barber, called “one of the nation’s most powerful voices” by the Huffington Post. I could write pages on Rev. Barber, but it’d be better if you watched the speech.
     So, both parties have had their big “Look at us!” moments and the slate is set. This time around, we get to choose between a Terminator disguised as a grandmother and opening the seventh seal and ushering the apocalypse. All I can say is “Go Cyberdyne Systems”.

Five Little Letters

Some of these letters are offensive, some are not. Can you guess which ones are and which aren't?
Some of these letters are offensive, some are not. Can you guess which ones are and which aren’t?

In case you didn’t know, it’s time for the United Methodist Church’s General Conference 2016. And, just when I thought I’d seen it all, the followers of one of history’s most anal rententive religious figures, John Wesley (they don’t call it “Methodism” for nothing, y’all), have surprised me.

It seems that the organizers of the conference had invited Rev. Vicki Flippin, of NYC’s “The Church of the Village”, to give the greeting at the opening worship service. Shortly before that service was to begin, Flippin was told to amend her greeting or she wouldn’t be allowed to give it. What, you ask, could a Methodist pastor say that would be offensive enough to get her uninvited? You’re not going to believe this, but it boiled down to five little letters: L, G, B, T, and Q.

That’s right, beloved. Conservatives are now upset by letters. Well, some letters, anyway. There are some that don’t seem to bother them, like T, I, T, H, I, N, G or A, U, T, H, O, R, I, T, Y. Hmm, T and G show up here and they’re okay, but in the previous sequence they’re offensive? I’m confused.

What is it about L, G, B, T, and Q that bothers them so? Is it the fact that, on their own, they don’t spell anything? Or, maybe it’s the lack of vowels; I know some of those Eastern European words that are mostly consonants can be hard to pronounce. I suppose it could even be that the leaders of the UMC don’t care for acronyms. Perhaps someone with more education can enlighten me as to why these letters are so objectionable.

A part of me thinks that if I understood why these letters are so abhorrent they can’t even be mentioned in a worship service, I might still be a Methodist. You see, I defected to a welcoming and affirming Baptist church four years ago, after the 2012 General Conference when the conservative majority said “Suck it!” to the people who disagreed with them on LGBT…, wait a minute, is that what this is all about? Are you serious?!?

The only thing I can take away from this story is that the leaders of a denomination founded on the teachings of one of the foremost proponents of social justice of his time can’t bear even the mere mention the letters L, B, G, T, and Q in a worship service. Why? Because they think the people those letters refer to are…, “icky”. Considering that this denomination’s rulebook states that “all persons are of sacred worth”, this doesn’t make any sense to me. At all.

You know, I’m watching this GC with an almost morbid fascination, hoping against hope that the church which taught me about grace and that God’s love will start living up to the ideals set forth in the “Book of Discipline”. I have a feeling I’m going to be disappointed. Again.