What did Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Dahmer

say to Lorena Bobbitt?

Lorena Bobbitt

“Excuse me. Are you gonna eat that?”

* * *

(For once we know the source of a joke:  Ellen Barkin told this one on the David Letterman Show in 1994.)

I just watched the last couple of quarters of the Cardinals – Seahawks game with my neighbor, Fernando. Both he and his brother Memo were racially profiled and harassed this weekend.

Fernando went down to some kids football event held at Fort Huachuca with his girlfriend, and was stopped on his way in by an MP, “some white girl I guarantee isn’t from around here.” She checked IDs, had no problem with the two white folks he was with (who had exactly the same ID — Arizona drivers licenses), but told him to go into the checkpoint for further ID checks. He went in, and, surprise surprise, everybody in there was either Mexican or Indian. He told the MP, “This is bullshit,” when her supervising sergeant, a Mexican guy, arrived, and told everybody there they were free to go. One hopes he subsequently chewed out the racist creep under his command.

That was Friday.

On Saturday, Fernando and his brother Memo (Guillermo) got off work at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet, closed up shop, and around midnight were at the QT (local equivalent of 7/11) on First Avenue about a half mile from here on their way home. Due to a malfunctioning automatic transmission, their mom had accidentally screwed up the passengers’ side door when she put the truck into what she thought was “park” but was actually “reverse,” and hit the fence with the door a few days ago. That left the door functional, but requiring a fair amount of force to open and close it.

Well, as they were at the QT, Fernando and Memo went in to buy some shit. Memo came out first, and had to deal with the balky passengers’ side door. While he was doing it, “some random white girl” in her 30s at the next gassing island came up to him, told him not to break into cars, and threatened to call the police — despite seeing him and Fernando drive in and go into the store.  Memo then walked to the drivers’ side, got in and started the truck, as the “random white girl” continued to threaten to call the cops. She had a friend with her who at that point evidently asked her, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” and they drove off.

And some people continue to insist that racism no longer exists in the United States.

What in hell is wrong with them? Why can’t they see what’s right before their eyes? What planet are they from?

Not this one.


Arpaio and Trump caricatures

(photo from the BBC)

Caricatures of current (soon to be ex)  Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio and Donald Trump, by an unidentified artist, from a get-out-the-vote event in Phoenix.

Arpaio, an early and ardent Trump supporter, is infamous for his racial profiling activities and his alleged  (must get that “alleged” in there) corruption and use of his office to harass the press and political opponents. He’ll shortly be facing federal criminal contempt of court charges.

No comment necessary about Trump other than that this is a very good likeness, and that it’s particularly impressive given that it’s a blow-up figure. The likeness of Arpaio is even better than that of Trump.

Best State Ever, by Dave BarryBest.State.Ever., by Dave Barry. (New York: Putnam’s, 2016, $27.00, 229 pp.)

Every now and then I take a break from reading science fiction and heavy nonfiction and dive into some fluff, something purely humorous with no pretensions of substance. Which brings us to Dave Barry’s latest, Best.State.Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland.

When I saw the book’s garish cover, given that I’ve always enjoyed Barry’s writing, my fascination with the weird and grotesque, and Florida’s well deserved reputation as home of the twisted and demented — it’s the only state with its own Fark tag — I went “Oh yeah!” and picked up the book, which covers Barry’s travels to various oddball Florida communities (yes, that is a bit redundant) and tourist attractions.

Barry doesn’t disappoint. In Best.State.Ever., despite its being a very slight book — 229 pages, but with wide page margins (that is, a lot of “white space”), a lot of deliberately tacky, low quality photos interspersed with the text, and very wide leading (space between the lines) — Barry delivers the goods. Parts of the book are funnier than hell, and the book is not entirely substance free: Barry delivers occasional insightful political and social comments along with the humor.

Here’s an example, regarding a trendy nightclub in Miami:

Hanging over our heads are speakers the size of Porta-Potties. They’re emitting the musical stylings of tonight’s celebrity DJ, who is known as Alesso. I am not going to get into my usual rant about ‘celebrity DJs,’ a concept that utterly baffles me inasmuch as we’re talking about people who are playing recorded music, which does not require any more musical talent than operating a microwave oven, in the sense that you could train a reasonably bright Labrador retriever to perform either task, yet somehow these DJs are international celebrities who jet around the world getting huge sums of money to play recorded music THAT THEY DIDN’T EVEN RECORD AND MEANWHILE REAL MUSICIANS WHO CAN PLAY ACTUAL INSTRUMENTS ARE STARVING.

Yep. Nailed it.

If you’re looking for some light reading, check out Best.State.Ever. It’s the funniest thing I’ve read in ages.


“Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry.”

–Anonymous bar patron quoted in The Big Short

Anarcho-Syndicalist ReviewAnarcho-Syndicalist Review just published a nice review of the new Anarchist Cookbook in their Fall 2016 issue. Here’s the full review:


The Anarchist Cookbook, by Keith McHenry with Chaz Bufe. See Sharp Press, 2015, 154 pp. [8.5″X11″], $19.95.

This book was released as a refutation of the earlier book of the same title, which (in addition to its bad politics and dangerous recipes has repeatedly been used by police to entrap people on terrorism charges. Its first 89 pages briefly discuss anarchist theory and ‘recipes for social change’ such as organizing events (a practical, detailed section that any novice should find helpful), blockades and occupations. Part III opens with a discussion of the politics of food before offering 24 pages of vegan recipes, many suited for large crowds. Chris Hedges’ introduction offers a sympathetic appraisal of the anarchist tradition, stressing (as does the book as a whole) the movement’s fundamentally nonviolent nature.

Anarchist Cookbook front coverThe book is grounded in Food Not Bombs’ practice of activist feeding, but also draws on See Sharp’s library of anarchist pamphlets. Part One distinguishes anarchism from terrorism, primitivism, chaos, rejection of (non-coercive) organization, amoral egotism, and the right-wing has co-opted as capitalist-friendly ‘libertarianism.’ An excerpt from the classic You Can’t Blow Up a Social Relationship reminds us that revolution is fundamentally about organizing people to create a new society.

The practical nature of the book emerges in its second half. There is extensive and sensible discussion of provocateurs and informants, some of who have lured FNB volunteers into long prison terms. Brief chapters offer steps on organizing meetings, a consensus flow chart (FNB has always been fond of this profoundly anti-democratic decision-making process), promoting local events, and convening a gathering. There are useful tips for novices on public outreach, such as how to pack a literature table’s contents, and why rocks (police can accuse one of stocking them as weapons) are not as good as rubber bands to secure flyers.

McHenry believes that conscious eating brings people together to live more lightly off the land. Community is formed as we meet and eat together. So he offers recipes for small groups of five or six, many of which can be expanded to feed 100. The recipes are generally simple, hard to mess up (necessary if volunteers unused to working with each other are doing the cooking), and filling.


Anarcho-Syndicalist Review is always well worth reading. The cover article in this issue, “The Cult of Che,” is worth the price of the entire magazine. Subscriptions are $15 for three issues. and the address is ASR, P.O. Box 42531, Philadelphia, PA 19101. Their web site is at http://www.syndicalist.us.


There are maybe 35 pop musical genres. Considering the sub-genres (Norteños, rancheras, banda, mariachi in “Mexican,” for example) that expands; take the sub-genres as separate species, and there are well over 100.

Here are the ones that are truly despicable:

  • Techno/electronica. Totally mindless. Totally suited for lobotomized robots to jerk themselves around to.  The incessant, repetitive four-on-the-floor beat is all that you need to  realize that no one you’d ever want to know would listen (rather jerk around to)  to this shit. “Moronic” would be high praise. “Music” totally devoid of higher brain functions.
  • Modern-day country. Take country music, put it through a blender, filter out everything that doesn’t lull you to sleep, and then start chanting “We’re number one!” and start goose stepping. A good antidote, an emetic, is real country music: Merle Haggard, George Jones, Junior Brown, Jerry Reed, Hank Williams, The Mavericks, Al Perry, Hank Topless, and Willie Nelson.
  • Rap/Hip Hop. As nine-time Grammy winner Wynston Mardsalis says, “Old school minstrels used to say they were ‘real darkies from the real plantation’. Hip-hop substitutes the plantation for the streets. Now you have to say that you’re from the streets, you shot some brothers, you went to jail. Rappers have to display the correct pathology. Rap has become a safari for people who get their thrills from watching African-American people debase themselves, men dressing in gold, calling themselves stupid names like Ludacris or 50 Cent, spending money on expensive fluff, using language like ‘bitch’ and ‘ho’ and ‘nigger’…. I don’t have to attack hip-hop. Hip-hop attacks itself. It has no merit, rhythmically, musically, lyrically. What is there to discuss? … Is it okay to call me a nigger and your wife a bitch?”
  • Present-day rock/pop. Music has gotten progressively dumbed down for the last 40 or so years: fewer chord changes, more restricted vocal range, a more restricted dynamic range (for you cognoscenti who know what “dynamic range” means), and all too often not even a fucking bridge. Pop really is worse than it was in the ’60s. Don’t even try to defend it. And stop listening to it.