“Pity Canada. Its citizens watch the stages of U.S. decline and then, a few years later, inflict on themselves the same cruelties. . . .

“Canada is currently in the Barack Obama phase of self-immolation. Its prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is—as Obama was—a fresh face with no real political past or established beliefs, a brand. Trudeau excels, like Obama, French President Emmanuel Macron, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in empty symbolism. These ‘moderates’ spew progressive and inclusive rhetoric while facilitating social inequality, a loss of rights and the degradation of the environment by global corporations. They are actors in skillfully crafted corporate advertisements. . . .

“Lifestyle choices and expressions of personal identity are respected, even championed, while we are politically disempowered. The focus on multiculturalism and identity politics is anti-politics. It is accompanied by sterile reforms—such as more professionalized policing—that never challenge the underlying structures of corporate power . . .”

–Chris Hedges, “Behind the Mask of the ‘Moderates‘” on Truthdig

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Razor Girl, by Carl Hiaasen, cover(Razor Girl, by Carl Hiaasen. Knopf, 2017, $35.95, 333 pp.)

If you need some relief from the sociopath in chief, from the relentless, surly glob of suet that Grant Brisbee describes as the “walking embodiment of the seven deadly sins,” here you go.

Carl Hiaasen delivers some welcome and extremely funny not-quite-escapism in Razor Girl, which in many ways is a typical Hiaasen novel. (In this context, “typical” is a very good thing.) It’s set in Florida, and it abounds in grotesque characters, grotesque incidents, amusing, well written dialogue, and laugh-out-loud passages, the funniest of which involves the side effects of a “male enhancement” product and a blood pressure cuff. There’s also pointed political and social commentary, and, as always in Hiiasen’s novels, sympathetic central characters with decidedly casual respect for the law.

The title character in Razor Girl, Merry Mansfield, is based on a real person who, like Merry, engaged in a common criminal scam involving deliberate auto accidents. What’s not common about Merry and the actual criminal is that they engage(d) in this scam while shaving their . . . well, no need to go there. . . .

The central male character is Andrew Yancy, a former detective who was busted to “roach patrol” (health inspector) after assaulting an ex-girlfriend’s husband with a mini-vacuum cleaner. Here, Yancy wants to gain reinstatement by investigating the disappearance in Key West of Buck Nance, the patriarch in the highly staged “reality” TV show, Bayou Brethren, which follows the misadventures of a supposed clan in the Florida panhandle that runs a rooster farm.

Shortly, we meet a variety of well drawn, seedy characters, including Martin Trebeaux the founder of Sedimental Journeys, a company that illegally dredges sand in one place and then sells it in another; Brock Richardson, an entitled, grubbily materialistic Miami lawyer who’s made a career of hustling product-liability cases; Lance Coolman, the sleazy agent who represents Buck Nance; and Buck’s super fan, idiot racist, homophobe, and career criminal Blister Krill, who’s so obsessed with Bayou Brethren that he’s had Buck’s nickname (from the rooster farm), “Captain Cock,” tattooed across his shoulders.

Without giving anything else away, we’ll note that while this is a comic novel, there are a lot of characters and the plot is fairly complex, so you need to pay attention as you read, which is one of the book’s strengths: Razor Girl is much more than just a collection of funny characters and incidents — it’s well plotted, and its author never insults the reader’s intelligence.

Highly recommended.

Joke of the Day 11-16-17

Posted: November 15, 2017 in Humor, Jokes
Tags:

“Take my advice. I’m not using it.”

–Anonymous


Grant Brisbee

“It seems funny to you that [Giancarlo] Stanton might want to come to the Giants. This is because you actually spent time — time you will never, ever, ever get back — watching this horrible team as it spun around the toilet and mercifully went down, never to resurface.”


Since I had nothing better to do, I bought a 12-er of Bud Light (the official beer of Tucson)  and toddled on over to one of my neighbor’s places tonight.

His two 80-or-90 pound  mutts threatened me when I walked through the gate, until I said, “Knock off the shit, motherfuckers” and put my hand down toward them, fingers curled back, so they could sniff me. They were fine after that.

There were only the three of us tonight — yours truly, my neighbor, and his gay nephew — a really nice guy I’ve known for years.

This is how much things have been changing: my neighbor’s nephew (early 40s) is very open about being gay, and that ain’t all that unusual around here anymore. It’s “fine, whatever…” Nobody gives a shit.

But his boyfriend, from Hermosillo, keeps it all a secret. Up here, not so much. Down there, yeah, a secret. A shameful secret.

One hopes that the more tolerant attitudes up here along the border will seep down. Maybe. Probably.

One other really weird thing we talked about was one of my ex-GFs, a Texan from Houston. She’s a barely disguised racist — against Mexicans — not that she’ll admit it — but is fine with black people.

Weird, yeah. I know.

I think my neighbors were kind of disgusted that I’d have anything to do with — let alone have sex with — such an asshole, but didn’t want to say anything about it.

Go figure. Needless to say, that’s over with.

And this is over with for now: another tale from the hood.

Stay tuned.

(More utterly depressing pictures from out my front door shortly.)

 


Yep, what Louis C.k. did was pretty gross.  Pretty obnoxious. And it leaves you wondering, WHY? What on earth why did he do it? He had all the money and fame in the world, and could have gotten laid any time he wanted. (Don’t deny it — a lot of women will flock to fame and fortune. As an early episode of the best sci-fi comedy ever, Red Dwarf, put it, “”With that kind of money, anybody will spread their legs.”)

How could that type of degradation possibly gratify anyone? Especially a progressive type like Louis C.K., who seems to take delight in skewering that type of sickness, and in being ruthlessly honest about male-female relationships?.

(Trump’s golden showers at least seem to have the point of being grossly misogynistic, grossly degrading to women, allowing him to feel like the alpha male — a species which should be shot on sight,  or  preferably gelded.)

Well, the explanation is pretty damn straight forward: Louis had power. It changed him. And hence he abused it.

He’s admitted what he did. There was little if any coercion, and he misbehaved horribly. He’s admitted it. That’s much better than “pussy grabber” Trump. And it’s way  better than pedophile “Christian Conservative” Roy Moore. At least Louis is honest.

Once Louis apologizes to the women he offended — still waiting for that–it”ll be time to forgive and forget. but not until he apologizes; and I think he’s big enough to do this

In the meantime, nothing will change as long as some people have power over others.

Male, female, it doesn’t matter. As long as some have power over others, they’ll abuse them.


Willie Edwards, "Everlastin' Tears"

Police state on the rise

By the same old guys

With the same old lies

Comes as no surprise

Well it’s very plain to see

They want your liberty

Police state

Police state

Police state

Police state . . . . .

We’re trying to get Willie down here (from Vermont)  to do some live performing and to record a new album later this winter.

We’ll keep you posted about the new label.

The band is back up, and we’re doing a bunch of mostly (so far) unrecorded blistering political blues, most prominently “Private Prison Blues,” and will record two new full CDs of original material — some political, some just funny and self-mocking — over the next few months. It’ll mostly be blues, but also blues-rock, latin rock, blues-jazz, straight jazz,  New Orleans funk-blues, country rock, funk rock, straight country, and western swing. In other words, it’ll be what Gatemouth Brown, refusing to be pigeonholed, called “American Music.”

We hope to get Willie Edwards down here to record at least one new CD, and maybe two, as a way to launch the new label, along with new CDs by the Pinche Blues Band, Al Perry, Brian Hullfish, and one or two other local bands.

 

For now, check out the Pinche Blues Band site where we have all of the songs from the first two EPs up as free mp3s.

Enjoy. And stay tuned.