Friday, January 31, 2020

Friday, January 31, 2020

 The last day of the month of the new year and the new decade. To quote someone sharper than me, if this represents the free trial for 2020 or, indeed, the '20s, I'm not sure I want to sink anymore money into it. But here we are.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Thursday, January 30, 2020

 Man, the Sleep took a-hold of me this morning and instead of trying to fight it off, I let it run wild. I didn't have anything I had to do today besides go to the gym, and I don't really like doing that any way. I need to go, don't get me wrong, and I recognize that, but you will never get me to enjoy it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Monday, January 27, 2020

Monday, January 27, 2020

 We're going to keep this short and to the point. I rattled on longer than I meant to last night, and I think it took more out of me than I'd planned. It's an exhausting life, I tell you what.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Sunday, January 26, 2020

 I guess we've all heard the sad news about Kobe Bryant and his daughter. The Lakers star who part of the Michael Jordan-driven dominance of the '90s died in a helicopter crash this morning, which killed eight other people including his daughter Gianna "Gigi". All over the sports world, they honored Bryant with chants of "Kobe! Kobe!" and letting the 24-second shot clock run out in his honor as his Lakers jersey was No. 24.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Saturday, January 25, 2020

 You know, it almost never fails but I get more hits when I eschew the News and concentrate on the Gibberish. I mean, it's not giant or even notable numbers, but it's the only time I hit double digits. I wonder what it says.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Friday, January 24, 2020

 Another day in a row I got no drive a'tall, and thus, don't really feel like doing this. I will, though, because I need to keep doing it. For some reason, even just to have something to tell myself I need to do.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Thursday, January 23, 2020

 Momma bought her a Jamey Johnson CD, The Dollar, from Amazon, so she gets the MP3's along with the physical CD. I have Amazon Prime Music Unlimited so she's playing her new album as well as discovering the 300-plus Gigs worth of music I have on there. That should keep her occupied for a few days.

 She's also in a really good mood with lots of energy. See, Momma's 70, has had torn ACL in both knees, had one kneecap replaced and is overweight. In the last couple of days she's been going to the gym at ICC, and after a long, long time of trying to find one that's right for her - particularly here in Northeast Mississippi - she's hit pay dirt with this one. She says she's got so much energy she's worried what's going to happen, because that's how her mind works.

 I tell her enjoy it because I feel like someone sucked the life right out of me. I don't know if it's the front that's moved - it's rained like pouring piss out of a boot all day - or because I've been out of lithium since Monday. It's been refilled, so hopefully that'll whack me out of this mood. Granted, this is just another fluctuation in the sour frame of mind I've been in since the first of the year. Might just be the Brand New Year Blues, I don't know.

 Part of it is frustration with this. I've been pounding away at this gibberish for six months plus, now, and it's still pretty much the same gibberish it was when I started. I am still enjoying myself but one thing that's bugged me for years is a lack of purpose, a lack of direction for my existence, and frankly, I'm not finding one here. Fun is fun, sure, but maybe I've spent too much time having fun. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm perfectly fine with leaving no footprint on the sands of time, and a hard look around makes me glad I'm not leaving anything behind when I leave.

 Ah, well. Dark thoughts and foul moods. My cynicism is getting the best of me and I'm finding myself with less patience with the rest of the world. Twitter gives too many people with too little to say too much of a platform, and our only recourse is to be that much more vapid and unoriginal. It's all performative and glamour without actual substance, it feels like. Which is, of course, arrogant as hell of me. Where do I get off passing judgement on everyone else's plasticity when I've got nothing going on inside.

 Anyhow. The third day of Impeachment is in swing, and it seems the GOP strategy is to not pay any attention through the actual trial while expressing outrage that anyone would dare question that Prince of Men, Donald Trump. The Democrats are providing a good case and there's still something like six Republican Senators on the bubble, but when the rubber hits the road, they're doing what they're told.

 Again, the GOP spent the past 30 years getting the base in the mood to attach themselves to a charismatic authoritarian who'd threaten "enemies", be they foreign countries or the U.S. press or even just people who didn't vote for him. What they didn't expect, though, is Trump's ascendancy, someone who'd take that spot with none of the subtlety or skill that American politics requires. Reagan, Nixon, either Bushes would've gotten away with something similar if all they cared about was pleasing The Base. That's all Trump cares about, though, because The Base feeds his ego and they would be perfectly happy if the last thing all of his "enemies" saw the barrel of a gun.

 I don't know. I'm just in a mood. Here's another link to the Willie Nash petition and another example of how half-ass Mississippi runs its prisons. Again, though, the average Mississippian is fine with this, because the cruelty is the point. We're a very Puritan/Hobbsian nation and especially state sometimes. I am about a third of the way through Pillars of Eternity II and spent most of my waking moments today reading Jorge Luis Borges short stories while listening to Johann Sebastian Bach while it rained all day.

 Let's be honest, if nothing else, that's not a bad way to spend the day.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

 Still out of it and disinclined to get back into it. This is the fifth or maybe sixth day in a row for this sort of mood. In the same state, I'm not really into doing this, either, but we do have our pride.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Monday, January 20, 2020

 Really not up for, well... anything today. We are in the grip of some Serious Dumb, friends and neighbors, and despite the bright, shining sun, I am not optimistic about our chances for smartening up anytime soon. Regardless, Work is Work, we'll knock this out quick and go back into hiding.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunday, January 19, 2020

 I've been staring at an empty screen long enough to just say "the hell with it" and start putting down whatever comes out. This is becoming a habit, this sort of lead-in paragraph, whenever I don't have anything specific to write about. However, since no one is paying me, I don't see a problem.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Friday, January 17, 2020

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Thursday, January 16, 2020

 Last night wore me out, man. I'm not kidding, I got that thing wrapped up, hit published and went right to bed. All for a total of five, maybe six readers. Ah, well. If I was interested in money and fame, I'd a-stayed a short-order cook.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

 This is starting to get irritating. Just as I put last night's Gibberish to bed, a new wrinkle dropped in the whole "get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden" deal that's got Trump's nuts in a sling. It looked pretty heavy, so I figured I'd better give it a night. One, to let it work itself out and, two, to get where I can wrap my head around it and study on just what it means.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

 Man, this weather is foul. The drenching we got this weekend really didn't go away so much as give us a slight respite yesterday. We've seen three to four inches all over the state and we're supposed to get two more days of rain before another slight break allows us to mop up before more rain this weekend.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Monday, January 13, 2019

 Let's see how weird this week will be. Let's see if by the end of the week if wingnuts are still pretending to care about Iran. I'm not saying they're hypocrites - though they are - I'm just saying the news moves so fast these days, it's barely worth it to try to nail them down. Marshall McLuhan was an optimist.

 Anyhow, in the last 36 hours or so, we've had two more hopefuls for the Democratic nomination drop out and neither were Michael Bloomberg. Cory Booker and Marianne Williamson both called it a day, as it finally became obvious that they weren't going to claw themselves out of the basement. All I'll say about Williamson is I never thought her bid was a serious one; that is, she went into it wanting to spread wisdom rather than actually win. There's nothing wrong with that, despite what people who enjoy the smell of their own farts will tell you. Selling a book isn't an easy thing.

 Like with Julian Castro and Kamala Harris, though, I am a little disappointed that Booker's campaign didn't catch more fire. Very centrist and perhaps a bit too skittish about rocking the boat, but he said a lot of good things about poverty and prison reform, something no one else is discussing. Granted, given the ongoing horrors in Mississippi's law enforcement, I am a bit biased towards this topic - seriously, click that link, it's a booger - but I digress.

 Another problem with Booker dropping out is the game board gets that much whiter and, at the risk of ageism, over 70. I don't see Tulsi Gabbard or Andrew Yang making much more of a dent than they already have, and apart from Bloomberg, does anyone really know who's in the race beyond Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttegieg and Joe Biden?

 Still and all, Booker's out and it remains to be seen where he goes from here. He would be a prime candidate for Vice-President and remains a solid voice in the Senate. The race is starting to heat up with or without him, anyway.

 That being said, we may be wanting it to be hotter than it actually is. Media reports are saying that back in 2018, when discussing possible runs for 2020, Bernie Sanders told Elizabeth Warren that a woman can't win the Presidency. Apparently, four different people have verified this conversation went on, but differ in how things were said. For their part, Sanders has denied he said anything like that and Warren won't even acknowledge the question.

 And, of course, liberal/left-wing Twitter has been in a three-alarm tizzy all day. This is another example of Bernie's rampant sexism while at the same time a bit of rat-fucking by Warren since she's the DNC's golden girl this time around. It's just another example of both candidates attacking the other, like they have the whole campaign even if they never did it out loud and it was generally their followers looking for reasons to get huffy.

 Or it could be a nothing that the Corporate Media is blowing up because they're lazy, this sort of thing is a reliable page-filler, and it will always pull in eyes or garner clicks. Something to think about, maybe? I mean, it is possible that Sanders did indeed try to torpedo Warren's hopes before they got off the ground, assuming she'd be his biggest competitor for the left-leaning vote. Or it could be that Warren is actually blowing up this as yet another example of her trying to trash Bernie because he's got a grip on the left-leaning vote.

 It could also be that 95% of the political experts on Twitter have absolutely no idea what they're talking about, no clue how politics works and a naive if hopeful view of how journalism operates. Instead of looking for conspiracy theories in everything objectionable, maybe consider the press is full of lazy drones who depend on eyeballs to pay their rent and get little Lisa her braces. It's bad enough the press is that indolent and rote that they'll print another version of the same story they've been running at least since I've been paying attention to go looking for more sinister reasons. Does no one remember the whole PUMA thing?

 And, yes, that sort of view is naive. Looking for some grand plan when it's as often as not just people trying to hold onto their own is distracting and pointless. It's like thinking the Illuminati is behind everything or that every misspelling in one of Trump's tweets is a secret message to the Q folks. Sometimes shit just is. Really, half of the existential angst the average American boob suffers is because they're looking for fairies at the bottom of the garden instead of just enjoying the flowers.

UPDATE: I finish this and sit down to supper to find out that Warren is corroborating this story but doesn't consider it worth too much consideration, as Sanders wasn't saying so much that a woman shouldn't be president but that Trump would use sexist tactics against her. That should surprise no one and Warren repeated that her friendship with Sanders and shared progressive goals overcome any media punditry wanking. Meanwhile, Twitter's huff-o-meter pinged out in righteous indignation.

 Okay, that's about it, but a couple more quick shots. Trump apparently authorized Soleimani's killing seven months ago which sort of pokes holes in the story he initially gave, but no one's going to care by this time next week. Here's a neat story about the Hubble Deep Space Telescope finding little clumps of dark matter (maybe), and here's an interesting piece about Artificial Intelligence and the fundamentals of quantum mechanics. Here's an interesting video about the connection between nihilism, existentialism and absurdism from a literary perspective. If that don't pull your little red wagon, here's another from a philosophical perspective. Both talk about Albert Camus' The Stranger, which is a pretty good read regardless.

 So, yeah. Have fun.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday, January 12, 2020

 The rain's moved on and today was clear and sunny. A rather damp and sodden "clear and sunny," but there you go. It's turned off cool, as well, resetting the winter weather wheel of fate. We're supposed to get more rain next weekend, maybe even some snow. Anyhow.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Saturday, January 11, 2020

 Had a dream where I was doing something like this, except I was writing it out by hand and it was always about musicians. I don't know why either, I didn't explain it to myself in the dream. In particular I was writing about Neil Young and my handwriting - which anyone who knows me will tell you is perfectly wretched at best - was getting worse the more I wrote. Plus, I was trying to finish up so I could go back to Brazil for some reason. Dreams are weird, man. Anyhow.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Friday, January 10, 2020

 The only thing worse than being blocked is to have a topic to roll with but be unable to get it down beyond the basic idea before it slides away. Ah, well. Maybe I should by a voice recorder but I really don't like the sound of my own voice.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

 Well, apparently we're not going to war today, so that's nice. Been a weird 72 hours, though, and I'm not sure anyone has any clue what we're doing, much less the guys who're supposed to be running the show. Okay, so let's get up to speed.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

 Whatever funk has me in its grip is still doing a number on the ol' little grey cells. There's plenty to talk about but I'm really not in the mood to deal with reality. Days like this makes me miss hallucinogenics.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Monday, January 6, 2020

 I've been putting this off all evening. My brain's not working today for some reason. It's not exactly like being blocked so much as I'm just tired. Still, the show must go on, as they say, for 500 words at least.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday, January 5, 2019

 Dag-nabbit, the Saints lost. In overtime, too, just because that's how they do. Ah, well. It was a good season and it's nice to know there's a good kid on deck when Drew Brees decides to retire. Speaking of quarterback who probably should look at retiring, it's worth still paying attention to the playoffs since Tom Brady and the Patriots are out. It might even be interesting.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Saturday, Jan 4, 2020

 Man, I really don't want to do this. I am drained and tired. Yesterday was too much. I don't want to do anything but sit outside, and it's too cold for that. Let's ride with the King nevertheless.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Friday, January 3, 2020

 Well. We all know what happened last night. I'm really not in the mood to be flip or clever right now, so let's just pull together what we know and try to get something solid to wrap our heads around. Maybe at the end we'll relax and cut loose a bit. Maybe.

 Last night around 6 p.m. U.S. Central time, the United States military at the behest of President Donald Trump launched an airstrike at the Baghdad airport killing Qassem Soleimani. General Soleimani was head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) Quds Force, the country's military arm specializing in unconventional warfare and military intelligence. The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a commander in the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), part of an umbrella organization covering various paramilitary forces sponsored by Tehran for actions in Iraq. As of right now, I can't find much information on the damage done the airport or how many, if any, civilian casualties were the result of the strike. Ten people were killed overall, reported the IRGC, including at least five other members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. Updates as they come.

 It should be noted the Quds are a separate entity from the Iranian Army and were formed by Ayatollah Khomeini during the 1979 Islamic uprising in Iran. They still have close ties to the religious faction of the Iranian government, including the current leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni, and has been designated a "terrorist organization" by the U.S. However, Soleimani also played an important roll in the regions beating back of ISIS, which included involvement from the U.S.

 Under Soleimani, the Quds have been accused of a number of terrorist actions against the United States military and other parties in the Middle East. Vice-President Mike Pence tweeted out a number of charges against the Quds, including involvement with the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. that lead to military bungles in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, he's either lying or doesn't know what he's talking about, because the commission he cites found just the opposite.

 What is true is that U.S.-Iranian relations have gotten extremely hostile since Trump pulled out of the landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran last year, mainly due to Trump's overall pique with President Obama. In recent weeks, it's gotten worse, including the death of an American contractor on Dec. 27, due to rocket attack in Iraq. The U.S. blamed the attack on a PMF militia, Kataib Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, and retaliated with airstrikes against sites in Iraq and Syria two days later, killing at least 25 fighters.

 More tellingly, a protest kicked up at the heavily fortified U.S embassy in Baghdad Dec. 31, where demonstrators, either sympathizers with the PMF or members. For whatever reason they were protesting, there was an attempt to vandalize the embassy which was mostly unsuccessful. After the airstrike, the Department of Defense released a statement blaming Soleimani for not only the death of the American contractor and attacks on American soldiers in the region, but also claimed he was behind the embassy protests.

 Apparently changing course on his opinion of U.S. military intelligence agencies, Trump order the strike, an "opening of opportunity", to deter future terrorist actions against the United States. He did so without any consultation with Congress, particularly the "Gang of Eight", a colloquial term for the members of Congress who're supposed to be consulted on any military or intelligence actions made by the U.S. government. Trump briefed his head toady, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, but kept Democrats in the dark, severely pissing off Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

 The general consensus in the U.S., both among political leaders and the press, is that Soleimani was a right bastard and being blown apart in an airstrike was too good for him. Most of America's allies, such as France, the United Kingdom and NATO, are urging "restraint and deescalation on all sides". Even Russia, whose relationship with the U.S. in general and the Trump Administration in particular is "murky" to say the least, agree that everyone should calm down and take a step back. Israel has said the U.S. has a right to avenge itself against anyone who attacks it.

 Turkey accused the U.S. of amplifying tensions in the region, while groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, agree the U.S. acted with hostility for no good reason. Interestingly, Iran's long-time enemy Iraq condemned the attacks, calling it a flagrant violation of agreements that kept U.S. troops in Iraq and accused the U.S. of trying to inflame a war. Syria called it "cowardly aggression", and many worry the attack will give Iran's complaints against the U.S. "renewed legitimacy".

 For its part, Iran is "in mourning" and "vowing revenge" for the attack. Ayatollah Khamenei called Soleimani a "martyr", promising the exact "harsh revenge" while announcing three days of national mourning. Iran's president Hassan Rouhani also called for revenge, saying "there would be consequences" for America's actions, and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called the killing an "act of state terrorism," which is a unique turnaround for the U.S.

 Esmaail Quanni has been appointed the new head of the IRGC and the country's press has reported plenty of national mourning among citizens and mobilization of military units. Soleimani was fairly popular in Iran, and experts have said the actions were basically a "gift to Daesh and all the terrorists in the region" and will lead to increased tension and violence in the region "exactly contrary to what the Americans claim."

 Here in the United States, things have played out pretty much like anyone would expect. The Republican party is all in with Trump's actions while the Democrats are questioning the timing of the attacks. Despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claiming "the world is a much safer place" with Soleimani's death, the U.S. is recommending that all civilians in Iraq get out as soon as possible. Some are accusing Trump of "wagging the dog" and trying to deflect attention from his recent impeachment in the House and as-yet-to-be-determined trial in the Senate.

 For his part, Trump spent this afternoon in a Florida megachurch holding one of his usual rallies among the faithful, bragging about the strike as well as disparaging the Left's so-called lack of religious faith, particularly former South Bend mayor and nominee hopeful Pete Buttigieg. There have been questions in recent days about just how strong Trump's support among the Evangelical community is, and this rally hopes to shore that up some.

 Here in the ditches, the MAGA faithful are enjoying a huge, throbbing war boner while Democrats, liberals and leftist worry about the start of a possible Third World War. General consensus is while there will probably be retaliation against U.S. military forces or even citizens in the Middle East, there will most likely won't be a full on war as Iran really doesn't have the stroke to pull something like that off and the Middle East as a whole is still way to fractured to come together on anything. While Trump claims the strike was to "stop a war," the Pentagon is nevertheless deploying 3,500 more troops to Iraq on top of the 700 sent there after the New Years' Eve embassy protest.

 So. Them's the facts as we know them right now. What do I think? Well, I don't trust the U.S. government as far as I can throw it and that goes triple with Trump in charge. I still question just how involved Iran was in those protests the other day and I never have cared for presidents unilaterally deciding someone needs to be blown up because "America, fuck yeah". Will there be a world war? Probably not. Is he wagging the dog? Probably so. Will a whole lot of people in the Middle East in particular and Iran or Iraq in general suffer with their lives for the actions of their "leaders". Undoubtedly. There will be blood, if nothing else.

 The American Press is already looking like it's going to fall in line behind Trump, like they did with Bush Junior and Iraq, proving they've learned absolutely nothing during the last 20 years nor that they have any idea that his followers (and conservatives in general) still consider them as bad as any terrorist. This is coming right on the heels of the Pentagon flat out admitting they haven't had a clue what they've been doing in Afghanistan for the past decade.

 Actually, this is feeling a whole lot like those post-9/11 days and the lead up to the bloody mess that was Iraq, but amplified thanks to Twitter and instant access to news and opinions. Those weren't pleasant times and no one, but no one was ever called to task for their failures in policy. The hands were never washed clean of blood.

 Time will tell either way, whether more death or destruction will follow or if Trump and the Republicans will use it to dodge not only impeachment but any other criticism of Trump's administration. Despite the quantum nature of modern political media, it's still way too soon to tell and all we can do is hope.

 All I'm going to say is I'm glad West Point reneged on my cousin's oldest boy's football scholarship because he had asthma and I hope his dad is able to talk his younger brother out of joining the military to possibly die for no damn good reason. Otherwise, I got nothing. Peace, friends and neighbors.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Thursday, January 2, 2020

 The rain's set in and it's been pouring down all day. They're getting it worse south of us with some wind and thunder, and as soon as I wrote that out a not-insignificant peel of thunder rolled through. Otis is not allowed to go outside, though, and he is in high dudgeon. So, let's go.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

 Hey, it's New Year's Day. We've made another arbitrarily measured trip around the Sun, marking time on a calendar we really didn't start paying attention until 1582 or so, and that was only because Easter was screwing with folks. There is no substantial difference between today and yesterday or today and tomorrow on any scale much less cosmic, but what the hell. You have to laugh sometimes.

 I've spent the last part of the afternoon trying to explain modern television streaming to my mother even though, and I ain't going to lie about, I haven't given a shit about it apart from having a Netflix and Amazon Prime account. See, we live way, way out in the boonies and, thus, don't get cable. When I was a teenager, we got a satellite dish but nobody uses that anymore. After I left home, my parents had various iterations of Direct TV or Dish TV or whatever the hell else.

 After my father died and I moved back home, Momma decided she was tired of paying $250 a month (or year, hell, I can't remember) for Major League Baseball, football (college and pro), and the occasional college basketball game. So we "cut the chord" as the kids call it, using the digital antenna for what we could pick up locally - network affiliates, what they offer, and a helluva lot of religious and shopping programming - while using my elderly Apple TV to streak the aforementioned video services and, this past summer, access to the MLB app on the doo-dad.

 You can catch most football on network television, and Momma isn't as squirrelly about football as she is about baseball. But she got it in her head to get a subscription to ESPN to watch via the Apple TV and, indeed, went out and bought an up-to-date little box. The MLB people told her the generation we had already would be out of date come the 2020 season. Turns out, even though we paid a year's subscription to ESPN, we also have to have a television provider. We do not have one, but we'll probably go with Sling TV or YouTube TV if that's what we have to do.

 As it is, we're not worrying about it until tomorrow. Recall, I don't give a good goddamn one way or another. I don't watch television on a regular basis. I barely watch movies because I really don't have the concentration to watch movies, which I haven't given a shit about in years. As often as not, I'll binge something I've already binged if I watch any TV, which is rare because, once again, I don't give a shit about it. If I watch anything on a regular basis, it's documentaries playing in the background, either from the streaming services mentioned above, whenever I get tired of listening to music or whatever game I'm playing or just plain silence. Silence is nice, I've found.

 Now, my mother is an intelligent woman and I like to think I'm a fairly sharp customer. Nevertheless, she's 70 and never has had a head for gizmos. For that matter, I'll be 45 in a few months and I think I'm learning why people get so befuddled over new technology. It's because they stop paying attention. Now, I've kept up with all the variations on streaming music and radio, and I've got that down to the ground. But not streaming television services, and I feel like I'm trying to set the clock on a VCR. Of course, no one under 25 has any idea what I'm talking about anyway, so there's that there then.

 Which leads me into another stroke. A lot of the fanaticism around the Trump Presidency comes partly from the hard-right turn a lot of online communities. Steve Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos, and GamerGate has been blamed for the full turn to Trump worship, but it was fairly widespread and leaning in that direction anyway, even before Obama's election. Back during the Bush Junior administration when I was a more patient man, I spent a good deal of time keeping up with the "conspiracy theorist" world. These were the days when 9/11 Truthers roamed the lands but anyone who spent any amount of time online, much less the obsessive screwhead that make up the average conspiracy theorist, was the exception and not the rule. Before Facebook, in other words, when people found other, more personal ways to make each other miserable.

 I used to frequent a website called Above Top Secret. I'm not going to link to it, because they've gone full bull-goose loony over there and I don't want to draw that kind of stink into my life. Anyhow, while I was then, as now, a pretty hardcore skeptic about most every thing, I also knew the world was different from what we're being told, that governments lie full stop, and that the Powers That Be have a vested interest in a docile, ignorant population kept fat, saucy and quiet. The site flirted with 4chan, but I had already dismissed that bunch as a pack of scurvy panty-sniffing pigfuckers who shouldn't be allowed anywhere near grade schools for all sorts of reasons.

 But I kept a toe in with anti-government conspiracies, religious fruitcakery (the whole business about The Family is way older than you think, even if you do know about), and just general tinfoil hat territory. Art Bell and all that nonsense. Part of it was keeping an ear to the ground for the yay-hoos, always a useful exercise, and part of it was just because it was fun. There's a certain amount of arrogance in being Hip while still sneering at the tinfoil hat crowd that makes one's willy swell with pride.

 I don't remember when it was I gave up on paying attention to crackpots in love with the smell of their own farts in general and ATS in particular. For Art Bell, it was when he had some clown on that said people crossing the Texas border - if you thought the fear and loathing for Latino immigrants crossing the border to survive was all Trump's baby, you are wrong as wrong could be - who claimed Mexican boarder crossers were purposefully bringing communicable diseases like anthrax and smallpox with them to infect White America for some nefarious reason that involved George Soros and/or "international bankers," wink wink nudge nudge.

 For ATS, it was when someone asked if the Big Bang really happened, just where is the hole. No, seriously, that's how badly the original poster fully misunderstood anything and everything we know about what's colloquially "the Big Bang theory". Even worse, the discussion went on for six or seven pages and not once - not once - did anyone write, "Hey, you assholes, you've got that so mixed up, you're not even dealing with decent science fiction". They were more than willing to fight it out on that hill even if it took all summer, as well, you know no one can ever be wrong on the internet.

 And those people voted for Donald Trump. Plus, he has a network television show that said he was a slick billionaire financial wheeler-dealer, and it wouldn't be allowed on TV if it wasn't true. Add to that a massive public dislike of Hillary Clinton, deserved or not, and whatever shenanigans Putin's boys pulled, plus a healthy dose of racism and xenophobia like mom used to make, and that dumb son of a bitch becomes President of the United States of America.

 Speaking of rich assholes who have no business being president and dumb, evil-minded shit Trump pulled, someone asked Mike Bloomberg about his support of the prosecution of the Central Park 5, claiming (basically) all the racism mixed in there was okay, really, because a lot of people thought they were guilty. And by "a lot of people," we mean him, the NYPD, Donald Trump (who took out an ad calling for the five's execution) and racist buttholes everywhere despite all the exculpatory evidence, including the actual victim of the attack saying no.

 Soledad O'Brien, a journalist I respect immensely, said on Twitter that this was the surest way to loose the African American vote. However, that presumes Bloomberg is running for president for any reason beyond keeping either Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders from getting the nomination. The rest are either centrist enough to leave well enough alone or billionaires with enormous (and undeserved) egos themselves running their own vanity campaigns. Tom Steyer buys his own bullshit, but do you think Andrew Yang is going to tax the stinking rich using any sort of sense of public good? Hell, no, he ain't.

 Okay, supper's done. Maybe more later, maybe not. Happy New Year anyway.

UPDATE: Oh, I ate too much. Carry on.