Friday, December 26, 2008


I trust your Christmas was rewarding, as it should have been. I did the day job...which is just part of being a newsguy who is no longer lapsed.
I'm off today and trying to screw up the energy to go do some laundry. So far, however, I can't pull myself away from the House marathon on USA. I love Hugh Laurie's title character. Laurie forwards that fine English tradition of making the biggest assholes into the most appealing characters. It's a talent shared by too few American actors.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Robert Fisk

Just like you, I am woefully ignorant of the particulars of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Aside from the late Yasser Arafat and odious Benjamin Netanyahu, I usually find the combatants very much worthy of empathy.
Robert Fisk, a British writer and historian without peer, has made a career of mapping out the morass that is Middle Eastern politics. His tome, The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, is just a wonderful, if demanding, read. It's the book I fall back on in between books; I hope to finish someday, but I am in no hurry.
Fisk just posted a piece at Truthdig that is a good introduction to both his work and the aforementioned struggle.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A holiday requirement

Here's the feel good Christmas column (from 12/15 CDT) that every editor is required by law to write:

I have a confession to make: I'm a Christmas baby. I'd like to think I'm the best present my mom ever got, but that would be slighting my sister, Emily.
My great-grandma Radkovic was a big believer in omens and always said my birthday was a sign that I was destined to become a priest. She died before I had to decide whether or not to go to a seminary. I don't think she would be too disappointed with my career choice.
Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. My mom and dad both come from large families and all of my aunts, uncles and grandparents spoiled me rotten. My mom and dad were far from rich, but Emily and I had plenty of what we needed and more than a little of what we wanted.
Later on, when I had a family of my own, I loved Christmas shopping for my two kids, Josh and Jamison. My wife, Josie, and I never had enough money to get the kids everything we wanted for them, but they always got as good a Christmas as I had when I was a kid. And, miraculously, Josie and I did it without credit cards.
Josh and J-mo are teens now, back in Indiana with their mom. They don't care as much about Christmas as they used to. They will care about it again someday when they have their own kids.
I went out shopping Saturday. The stores weren't any busier than they would be on an average summer day. Being the nosy newspaper guy that I am, I asked a couple of cashiers how the season was going. "Up and down" and "okay" were the responses I got...two weeks before Christmas.
Everyone knows how tough things are today, and how they are likely to get worse before they get better. Speaking for myself, I am kind of relieved that Josie and I don't have to spend so much on the kids nowadays.
My heart aches, however, for those of you with young kids at home. Christmas is the one time of year when kids should be spoiled, but who can afford it? Jobs are disappearing, credit is shrinking and everything is getting more and more expensive.
I don't have the numbers to prove it, but I'm guessing there will be more families than ever before in need of help this Christmas. In small towns like ours, neighbors look after one another more so than anywhere else.
If you have even a few extra bucks in the bank, go out and buy a toy to drop in one of the Toys for Tots bins around town, or call the Salvation Army and see if you can help out a family in need with a present, or two.
Christmas is too special of a time to think about a child going without. Do what you can and know that it will make the world a little better, if only for a day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Criminal stupidity

This video, originally posted at Crooks and Liars, sums up how our economy got so fucked so quickly. It features Peter Schiff, an investment guy who lives in the real world, vs. Arthur Laffer (the architect of the last three decades of supply-side bullshit) and several other idiots speaking on behalf of the media/investment junta that was too stupid to see how stupidly our economy has been run since 1981 (Clinton years very, very much included).

Moral bankruptcy

I made myself stay away from the office today (ok, I went in to check my work email, which is non-web based), did a little Christmas shopping and a shitload of reading.
I read about half of Joseph Ellis's excellent biography of George Washington, His Excellency. It turns out that he didn't walk on water. All snark aside, our first president comes off much more interesting and, dare I say, Lincolnian than he is given credit for. He was largely self-taught, which made him much more open to change and adaptation than his rivals--just like Honest Abe. I hope to finish it this week.
I also boned up on the national political scene. Don't be shocked, but it turns out that southern Republicans hate unions so much that they are willing to watch the Big 3 die and take three million or so American workers with them. I hope Richard Shelby and Bob Corker and the rest of their enablers get ass cancer and die.
Oh yeah, I also read that the governor of Illinois is an asshole. It must be Obama's fault because he's from Illinois, too -- at least that's what they said on Fox News today. Honestly, does anyone really think Obama would hitch his wagon to a corrupt idiot like Blagojevich? Even if you don't like the President-Elect, you have to admit that he is a pretty smart guy.
What does all of this mean?
The national Republican party is rapidly disintegrating and grasping for any lifeline it can get. The opposition to the bailout is rooted in those senators' desires to show their continuing usefulness to big money donors and groups who hate government. If Shelby and Corker and their buddies can't beat the United Auto Workers, then said rich white guys are likely to give in and play ball with Obama and the Dems.
As for Blago, Fox will try to bleed that turnip for another week or so. In the meantime, Blago will resign and there will continue to be no evidence of Obama's involvement in this mess because he wasn't involved. By Christmas, no one will even remember what Blago did and Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly will slink back to blaming Obama for the looming Depression and the ass cancer that I hope Shelby and Corker get.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Touching base

Hey kids, long time no blog.
I've been pretty busy with the day job. We've gotten a faceful of winter up this way and I've been working and fighting off the second round of the flu to blow through town so far this season. The paper is coming along nicely; we're still a ways away from where we need to be with each edition but I am pleased with the progress thus far.
Anyway, I've updated my blogroll to include The Daily Beast. This is Tina Brown's big play for internet domination. Brown, a British expat, set the table for Graydon Carter at Vanity Fair, then moved on to other publishing projects of varying degrees of success. I don't want to diminish Carter (he was the editor of the best magazine ever -- Spy), but Brown left him a very strong foundation to build on.
Magazine denizens know, and may loathe, Brown's reputation for self promotion, but the girl knows how to edit. She's a fair writer, too, as her columns for the Washington Post ably attest. I think she has come up with a sharper, more interesting version of what Arianna Huffington has done with her website.
I like HuffPo well enough, but it does lapse into virtual starfucking quite a bit. For every two or so interesting pieces, HuffPo posts the stale, uninspired notions of some celebrity with too much time on their hands.
If the web is your primary news source, give The Daily Beast a look.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Almost done

My brief sojourn home to Indy is near an end, as I sit here in the Northwest hub in Detroit waiting for the 10:17 p.m. flight to Pellston (the airport for Mackinac Island). Other than too few minutes with Josie and lunch with my dad and his wife, the trip was a waste.
I kept hearing about dreadful air travel has gotten, but I have to say my experience this time hasn't been too bad. The planes are leaving on time and getting to them hasn't been a problem in Detroit or Indy. Having said that, I won't be making this trip again until late spring at the earliest. The winter months are gasoline on my rhumatiz fire and airplane seating exacerbates the problem.
I forked out five bucks to get Boingo service here in Detroit, primarily to have something to distract myself from the execrable CNN awards show being blasted at my fellow passengers and me while we wait to board our flight. I'm all for the triumph of the human spirit, but CNN enabling celebrities to make like humanitarians is just too much.
Work is good, for a pleasant change. I've got a hectic Sunday and Monday, but then things smooth out nicely for the next month or so. I need to get out to the surrounding towns and meet the local waitresses, cops and drunks and promote our newly enhanced Action News operation.
For now, however, my focus is on getting to Pellston, knocking the snow off my car and making the 20 or so mile drive home over snow swept county roads.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bust out

I'm taking an afternoon off from the day job (no Tribune on Thanksgiving) to relax a bit and do some prep work for an upcoming specialty publication for the local Kiwanis. I had just plopped into my $7 Salvation Army Lazy Boy when MSNBC reported that Bailout Fever will cost us $8.5 trillion by the inauguration on Jan. 20. That means the Treasury will dispense will trying to sell worthless notes and just print the money.
This is a bust out, my friends, and we are fucked. The Bushies have given up on trying to handle this situation and have opted for getting themselves and their buddies out as unscathed as possible. Obama is going to inherit Carter-era inflation rates, which will force him to force the Fed to raise interest rates to, well, Carter-era levels.
What's a bust out, you ask? Remember the film Goodfellas? Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci take over the tiki lounge, run up the owner's bills and steal inventory, then burn the place down for the insurance money. That's a bust out.
Our financial system will be a used up, dried out Maxi Pad by next spring. Obama will have to start from scratch and millions will suffer for years -- at least until 2012.
Hmmm...what happens again in 2012?

Same players, maybe, but a new game for sure

The blogs are rife with postings and comments about Obama's economic picks. There is hand-wringing over all of the familiar faces and understandable fear of more Wall Street-centric thinking.
Don't sweat it, comrades.
The one upside of our burgeoning economic disaster is the end of old, flawed perceptions. No one with a brain can still argue "government always bad, rich white guys always good." The Chicago/Laffer school of pseudo-economics is fatally wounded. Clowns like W., Gingrich, Gramm, Greenspan and their slavish minions on CNBC and Fox News got everything they wanted and it all played out to its inevitable conclusion. Trickle down has been proven every bit as idiotic as we lefties predicted oh so many years ago.
Ideally, we would return to a more classic Keynesian form of economic management -- deficits spending and tax cuts during recession, followed by spending cuts and tax hikes during expansion to retire the debt. We can't do that this time because, despite Bush's attempts to pretend the Iraq debacle doesn't count towards the budget, our deficits are exploding as fast as the economy is shrinking. There will have to be tax hikes this time to fund the very expensive, invasive steps needed to staunch the economic bleeding.
Even the old Clinton, Republican-lite hands in Obama's administration won't be able to deny the necessity of getting money into working peoples' hands ASAFP. No more cutting taxes and hoping nice rich people don't ship their business overseas. Money will be spent quickly on work to be done by American workers with goods manufactured in America, all aimed at goosing household incomes. There is no other way to deal with the flaming bag of shit Obama will inherit.

Monday, November 24, 2008

(Near) Tragedy

I've never been a hunter, nor had any desire to learn. This is a big reason why. A deer hunter's bullet flew into a house and nicked two kids last week up here.
I'm kind of torn about this story, personally. Those kids were victims, plain and simple, but the shooter was not at all an aggressor. It doesn't seem to me that she was negligent, either.
Hunting is big up here in the Straits, so big that you big city slickers can't really grasp it. And, despite my loathing of guns, it's a really healthy good thing. The hunters up here eat their kills. They leave out high sources of protein for the animals to help them through the winter. Sure, some of it is used for bait, but I have yet to encounter anyone going into the woods merely for trophies.
I'm a carnivore. I have no problem with hunters killing deer, provided the animal population isn't threatened. Hunting is a desperately needed diversion up in these parts; winter is long and tough and the economy is even worse.
As I said last week, I'm a long way from home.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not quite the same as home

I like small town living a bit more each day, but I am far from the big city. At right you will see the front page picture for tomorrow's paper. At the end of the week, we will run a Buck Pole page, which will feature a lot more of this. It looks like I will finally get to try some deer jerky.

As usual, they're wrong

When you listen to Rush or Sean or Bill or Neil or Glen or any of the lesser-known-but-just-as-ignorant right wingers, they will tell you how the federal government caused the foreclosure crisis by forcing FannieMae and FreddieMac to give money to those people. That's not true.
If you don't believe me, ask the guy who just won a Nobel Prize for economics.
As I've said before, we are a country (and economy) of 300 million. To think that a dunderhead like Hannity could understand and explain anything affecting that many people is just ludicrous.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Too funny

So, lapsednewsguy, what's the funniest show on television today? I'd have to say this one:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Newsguy. Lapsednewsguy

I've become a James Bond afficionado over the last several years. I like all but one of Pierce Brosnan's outings (the one with Robert "Bigbee" Carlyle was awful) and Daniel Craig was excellent in Casino Royale.

I will stipulate to Sean Connery's stature as the Bond, but those films really haven't stood up over the intervening decades. The special effects are horribly dated and the "high" tech is too dated not to distract. We are forty years past the prime of the Connery as Bond era. I can take Roger Moore or leave him; his wit was appropriately dry and there was precious little he could do with mediocre scripts and an overreliance on exotic settings as the world grew increasingly smaller and more generally accessible to film audiences. Timothy Dalton was a good actor stuck with producers content to try and keep the Moore Era going.

This brings me to Brosnan as Bond. GoldenEye was the first Bond I had seen since Connery that I regretted missing in the theaters. Brosnan was helped with the installation of Judi Dench as M. Dench, a wonderful actress with tremendous screen presence, was able to transform the perception of M16 as a bunch of Oxbridge guys idling around their clubs in London into a more sanguine, real world context for Bond's character. Q branch was slowly dialed back throughout Brosnan's run. Brosnan's Bond eased off the Casanova thing and became a bit more John LeCarre and less Ian Fleming. Anyone who has ever read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold or The Looking Glass War could see that.

Brosnan's decision to exit came at a good time. I thought Die Another Day was, all-in-all, a decent spy flick. The bit about genetically turning a diminutive North Korean into a dashing anti-Bond was a bit ludicrous, but none of these movies are supposed to be docudramas. Brosnan hit each note well, never winking at the camera and giving Bond the appropriate vengeance and urgency without going over the top.

Daniel Craig was a terrific pick to succeed Brosnan. He handles the action scenes well and taps easily into Bond's not-quite-socialpathic lack of empathy. If you've seen the movie, you're probably muttering something about him falling for Vesper and trying to give up M16 for love. That's true; however, Casino Royale was about Bond's first gig as a 00 and was peppered with his struggles to adjust to the realities of his new life. By the end of the film, he has survived said love, betrayal and getting his nuts crunched repeatedly as part of his progress.

I haven't seen the new one, YET, but I will in the next week or so. I understand it's a direct sequel to the last one. I can't wait.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


An ombudsman, for those of you who don't know, is the person who is supposed to be the public's advocate for their newspaper, the spokesperson/inspector general who is charged with explaining coverage issues, as well as keeping the paper honest.
Most big newspapers used to have them; now they exist at places like the Washington Post and a few others. They have devolved into babysitters for conservatives who constantly complain that the cynical assholes they voted for don't get enough good press and that the libruls run the media.
As I've said many times before, anyone who seriously thinks the media is liberal has never worked in it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Will Arnett, comedic genius

This is fucked up, but funny:

See more Will Arnett videos at Funny or Die

Chit chat

Not too long ago, I promised to post some bits from my first manuscript, Black Helicopters. I thought the following passage could give you a good taste of it:
“Hello? Is this the Bill McCracken residence?” Mark asked.
“Yes, who is this,” the person asked.
“My name is Mark Wood and I work for the Spotlight,” Mark said. “I’m calling about a report on the radio station about a big sinkhole out your way.”
“Oh, that was my son’s place. I’m Bill Senior, Mr. Wood,” he said. “Yeah, he’s jist across the road out here. I’ll tell ya, it was the damndist thing I ever seen. I was over there getting’ his copy of the Spotlight — ya know, I’m retired and I cain’t afford that $40 y’all want every year fer the paper — and we were jist out there talking ‘bout his family bein’ gone down in Florida an’ ya know how bad the corn was this year? Well, it was bad and we was jist talkin’ how everybody out here to Monrovia and Hall is doin’…
Mark was in Hell. “Why can’t this old man tell me what I want to know?” he thought to himself.
The senior McCracken just kept going. “…then all the sudden, the ground starts shakin’. Well, I don’t know where yer from, Mr. Wood, but the ground don’t shake ‘round here. I’m 75 and I kin remember maybe one little-bitty earthquake in my whole life. Now, if this was California, well then I could see it, but not ‘round here.
“Anyway, about an acre or so out in the field, we see dirt moundin’ up, almost like it’s gittin’ pushed up from below. Like a coupla dang fools, we got runnin’ out there. I tell ya, the cows were fussin’, them damn dogs was barkin’ like the Devil hisself was gonna pop out. We git up to it and Billy tells me to stay back. Well, I’ll tell ya somethin’: that was my grandpa’s land and my daddy’s land and mine fer years and my son ain’t about to tell me where I kin go. I go on up anyway and I’ll be goddamned if there wasn’t this bigass hole with somethin’ stickin’ up in the bottom…”
The above was inspired by more phone interviews on behalf of small town newspaper readers than I could possibly recount. Small town journalism is actually very rewarding, as I am now recalling after a few weeks in the new job. The feedback is quicker and more immediate; you're able to do a more complete job of covering the news because there isn't as much of it and you deal with a smaller area. The only real downside is smaller staffs mean less quality control. I do all of the proofing and copy editing and, believe it or not, I do miss things.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Don't overlook Orcinus

David Neiwert aka Orcinus has done some stellar work tracking the white supremacist culture in the Northwest. He has a post today about the kids from Arkansas who planned to kill Obama and several dozen other blacks. Read it. They, and the tweakers from Denver, are hardcore clowns but so were Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols. And Lee Harvey Oswald.
I don't advocate paranoia in any form, but I know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of heavily armed assholes out there incapable of accepting a black man as president. I don't take them seriously, but I do keep an eye out for them.
Even busted clocks work twice a day.

Viva The Field

As always, Al Giordano is 50,000 percent right about Rahm Emmanuel going to the White House. Progressives need to calm down. Obama's in charge. He's got his shit together enough to know that he needs an asskicker to terrorize Congress to keep the Blue Dogs on the reservation.
I, for one, can't wait for the new Chief of State to drop down on House GOP leader John Boehner like Batman. That crunching sound you will hear in January will be Rahm kicking Boner's nuts up into his stomach.
Al's point about Barney Frank is spot on, too. Frank is much smarter than Pelosi or Hoyer and will pretty much have his way with them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


If I were gay, I would be gay for The Rude Pundit:
Let's say, "Go fuck yourselves" to the right wing media, to the Fox "news" people and political analysts and insane columnists and idiotic bloggers who spouted lies and conspiracy theories and who rectally examined every aspect of Barack Obama's life, hoping that something, some association, some vague phrase he said, would make people think he's just another nigger. And you failed, you piss-drinking, talking points vomiting, garbage-fucking whores. Because, at the end of the day, America so rejected what you were peddling that the truly honorable among you should be dangling from your own nooses today, leaping out of your syndicate's or network's office windows, sitting in bathtubs and dropping your plugged-in TV's into the water.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ah, the sweet, sweet schadenfreude

Well, we made it to the big day and it looks to be going just as I told you all it would a few weeks ago.
The lines are long up here in the Straits, but that probably has more to do with a very nasty prosecutor race than Obama v. McCain. I have no idea about how the election will go here, other than to say that Carl Levin is a lock for another six years in the Senate.
Obama has this thing in the bag. McCain will be lucky to crack 200 electoral votes, as he is actually trailing a bit in several states that he should have been able to take for granted.
It's this simple: If Virginia or Indiana is called for Obama by 8 p.m., the rout is on. If not, then it may be midnight before you can start gloating to all of the conservative assholes you know about a comfortable, but not quite landslide, Obama win.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Intelligent conversation

I know I promised to get back on a regular schedule, but the new job conspired against me this week. I had forgotten how intransigent grown adults came, which is funny considering that I've been married and had in-laws for 10 years.
I was watching Olbermann earlier tonight. His final guest was John Cleese, easily one of the funniest and smartest writer/performers in Christendom. I found myself thunderstruck by the level of discourse between host and guest. You just never see a smart broadcaster interviewing a smart, engaging guest on television anymore.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm alive and almost thriving

So, it's been a week in the new job...a good week. My staff is friendly and competent, as is everyone else at the paper. It's getting colder quickly, but it's not too bad. The rheumatiz is starting to flare up, but it does that at this time of year anyway.
Today was my first non-12-hour day, as I've had to learn the set up fast and get back to paginating on old software on buggy G4s. It came back to me quickly, thank God. My new boss is no hurry to reinvent the product, so I'm just going to tweak and adjust as I go along. I do have to get the new website up to speed by Tuesday, so Saturday is work day this week.
Oddly enough, I've been too busy with newsroom duties to follow the prez race. That's how it is at small papers; you're too busy newsgathering and editing to watch the big picture. I'm going try to catch up tonight, but it looks like things are going as I have predicted: McCain and the GOP are disintegrating and Palin is conducting an ongoing audition for her own show on Fox News.
My cable modem is now installed, so I'm going to force myself to get back on a daily blogging schedule. More tomorrow, whether I'm feeling it or not.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This pretty well says it all

In today's New York Times, columnist and critic extraordinaire Frank Rich sums up the McCain campaign so succinctly that his piece should be required reading for every so-called pundit and political observer:
As if the Palin pick weren’t damning enough, McCain and his team responded to the financial panic by offering their own panicky simulation of the Bush style of crisis management in real time. Fire the S.E.C. chairman and replace him with Andrew Cuomo! Convene a 9/11 commission to save Wall Street! Don’t bail out A.I.G.! Do bail out A.I.G.! Reacting to polls and the short-term dictates of 24-hour news cycles, McCain offered as many economic-policy reboots in a month as Bush offered “Plans for Victory” during the first three years of the Iraq war.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I just got in from Michigan and I am wiped. I worked a little in between connections (O'Hare wasn't too bad today) on a post I'll have up tomorrow about an epiphany I had this weekend about Sarah Palin and this guy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Northern Exposure

I'm halfway through my sojourn and, I must say, the northern latitudes are bursting with pretty colors about right now. In case you haven't bothered to guess, I'm near the Canadian border right now haggling with a fine publication about possibly becoming an unlapsednewsguy
Okay, I know that some of you who know me in the real world have heard me swear off the business 100 times (in fact, I think I may have done so in one of my earliest posts here). I don't know that the present situation before me would be any better or worse, but I do have a good feeling about it. It would be good money-wise, I like editing newspapers, and a change of scenery could do me some good. 
I dunno, we'll see.
This place has all of the charm of a little lake town mixed with the daily brutalities of supply-side economics. The people are ridiculously nice and, to a person, charmed by my unwittingly southern accent (hey, my grandpa escaped Kentucky 75 years ago!). My possible predecessor is leaving a solid paper with a good staff and stable readership. The publisher is an old newsroom guy (definitely a plus) and corporate leaves him alone (an even bigger plus).
I should know by mid-week if this is the place for me. I know now, however, that this blog will continue in its current form, regardless of where I post from. Some would question letting a smartass like lapsednewsguy edit a daily paper, saying he/she/it is too biased; I contend they are mutually exclusive. I dare say the readers of my old papers were never able to suss out my politics, primarily because my politics were none of their business nor relevant to my job.
Contrary to the Idiot Queen of Wasilla's recent screeching, you can have opinions and be even-handed. The secret is to actually listen when other people speak and be prepared to be wrong sometimes.
Of course, that would never occur to her...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Taking a break

I'm taking a break from my furious blogging regimen of late, as I have business in town Friday and out of town Saturday through Tuesday that will occupy my time. I may fire off one of two posts, but I doubt it. I've been so busy pontificating about America's future that I need to take a few days to attend to mine. I'll be back to my schedule of late by the middle of next week.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ramsey is half-right

Radio host Dave Ramsey is circulating a plan to save the economy that makes some sense, at least to me. Aside from praying for Congress not to panic, he thinks the government should insure these crappy mortgage bonds, which would give them value they sorely lack now. He also wants to let everyone behind on their mortgages to roll the past due back into their principal and get a fixed rate at six percent. 
All of that seems reasonable, but the last part of the plan is stupid. He wants to abolish the capital gains tax. He says this would give rich people more money to invest in the economy. That's the same horseshit Reagan and Bush shoveled for years as wages stagnated and personal debt skyrocketed. Rich people are rich generally because they don't let the rest of us get our hands on their money. It's true that increased bank deposits and T-bill purchases would help with liquidity for a while, but we would be right back in this mess a few years down the road.
I think Ramsey is right about how irresponsible consumers have been in managing their finances and he often gives his listeners good advice; however, he is wrong about capital gains. The rate is too low and should be raised to the top income tax rates. That would improve the federal government's liquidity and lessen the need to sell T-bills to China and Saudi Arabia to keep the government afloat.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Are you fucking kidding me?

I may be a lapsed news guy, but I do still adhere to the old notions of keeping news seperate from commentary. I do, however, recognize that cable news is a different beast than other news sources. I honestly wouldn't mind Fox News so much if it dropped its "fair and balanced" horseshit branding. Conservatives tune in to hear what they want to hear. Progressives tune in to MSNBC because Rachel and Keith carry their banner. Any intelligent person would admit that.
What I hate is vacillation, much like what you get now on CNN, which can't decide if it wants Fox viewers or MSNBC viewers. It appears that NBC wants the ratings we lefties bring, but not the apparent stigma we have with a certain semi-retired newsreader's friends.

Newt in '12

Once upon time, I was an unpaid intern at CNN's Washington DC bureau. One of my jobs on Saturdays was to wait on guests for The Capital Gang program (hosted by Pat Buchanan, who is actually an incredibly nice man despite his politics). The guest who made the biggest impression on me was Newt Gingrich.
Newtie, as his mom calls him, was still a minority backbencher at the time with a penchant for camera hogging. Being a news junkie, I knew of his work, which consisted of throwing molotov cocktails at the Democratic leadership and trying desperately to pass himself off as an intellectual. I remember him holding court in the green room, giving the most half-assed, comp-lit undergrad assessment of John Wayne that I had ever heard.
A few years later, Newt got his chance to show just how Churchillian he could be. He decided he would be Prime Minister (just like ol' Winston) and use his new Republican majority to invalidate Bill Clinton. Putting on his best defiant-in-the-face-of-the-face-of-the-Luftwaffe pose, he let a funding resolution expire that forced a government shutdown in 1995. He expected Clinton to capitulate to all of his idiotic demands, only to watch ol' Bill laugh his ass off when the American people rose up en masse against Winston Jr.
Then, in 1998, Gingrich took time off from getting blow jobs off secretaries in his car to orchestrate Clinton's impeachment. Bill laughed even harder this time, knowing the Senate would never remove him and watching his polls numbers spike to record highs.
Since leaving the House in disgrace, Newt has published books and given speeches extolling his own Churchillian virtues. He snagged a regular gig as Fox News's pseudo intellectual, sort of like George Will without a bowtie. He wisely passed on running for president this year, not having the money or national organization to get the GOP nomination.
I believe Gingrich was keeping his powder dry for 2012. "Why?" you ask. Well, it turns out Newt was busy behind the scenes lobbying Republicans to vote against the Wall Steet bailout. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) told MSNBC this morning that the Republican leadership assured him they had their quota of votes to pass the measure, only to discover Newt was burning up the phone lines trying to sandbag the vote.
Why would Newt care about this vote? Two reasons: 1) voting no on the bailout is great politics for House members, all of whom are up for reelection; 2) It's an issue he can hammer Obama with for the next four years as he travels the country raising money for his nomination fight in 2011-12 against Mitt Romney (forget Palin).
I, for one, am heartened by this development. Obama is every bit as capable as Clinton and appears to be much more of a natural born leader. Newt was in over his head back in 1995 and, from what I can tell, hasn't appreciably changed since. Combine that with the beginning of the end of the Republican Party as a national presence and you have the makings of one King Hell Daddy ass-whuppin' in four years.
I can't wait.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Are you looking for info about this whole bailout mess? I can give you the 10 cent version:
Wall Street, the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury want to use at least $700 billion to pump cash back into banks and other domestic and foreign lenders sucking hind tits now because they overpaid for tens of billions of dollars of worthless mortgages. The Dems and GOP haggled, agreed to some token oversight of how the money is spent and I'll-believe-them-when-I-see-them restrictions on executive pay at the firms receiving federal money.
McCain and Obama both support the measure, albeit reluctantly, but that's now academic. The members of the House of Representatives have been flooded with calls from their constituents who oppose the plan. Being fond of their jobs, 227 Congresspersons voted today according to the wishes of voters rather than the lobbyists who feed them blow, hookers and unmarked bills.
To better understand the ramifications of all this, check out Paul Krugman and Barry Ritholtz.


You may not believe this, given the work I have posted in this space, but I used to have great respect for John McCain. I would go so far as to say I may have even voted for him over John Kerry if he were the GOP's candidate in 2004. I didn't agree with his social conservatism, but he always struck me as a fiscal and foreign policy pragmatist. I thought he would have a better chance of getting things done than Kerry because congressional Republicans would be forced to play nice with one of their own.
In the intervening years, the senator from Arizona has really, really showed his ass. His very conscious effort to transform the media into a hallelujah chorus allowed him pander behind the scenes to all of the religious zealots and lobbyists he railed against on his way to national prominence in 2000. He wrote and spoke incessantly about Honor, so much so that he became honorable without having to define what that word means. He was the Political/Media Establishment's perfect man. He shit gold and spit perfect wisdom, or so it seemed.
McCain's efforts paid off handsomely in this presidential election cycle. The aforementioned chorus carried him when his campaign sputtered in late 2007. Republicans eventually realized he was their only candidate with enough stature to beat Hillary Clinton.
Then came Hurricane Obama. This handsome, self-made young man swept onto the national scene and captured the media's attention, taking away the unquestioned adulation that McCain and his supporters expected to carry him to November.
The public wanted someone new, a leader who recognized that the economy is fundamentally fucked and that the occupation of Iraq was a huge mistake; in other words, a candidate who stands for everything McCain doesn't.
So McCain did the only thing he could do: he gave up any pretenses of nobility or honesty and bared his fangs. He picked a self righteous dimwit for his running mate and committed to bald-faced lying on a daily basis. He foresook everything he claimed to believe in.
Johnathan Chait of The New Republic sums it up best:
"The pattern here is perfectly clear. McCain has contempt for anybody who stands between him and the presidency. McCain views himself as the ultimate patriot. He loves his country so much that he cannot let it fall into the hands of an unworthy rival. (They all turn out to be unworthy.) Viewed in this way, doing whatever it takes to win is not an act of selfishness but an act of patriotism. McCain tells lies every day and authorizes lying on his behalf, and he probably knows it. But I would guess--and, again, guessing is all we can do--that in his mind he is acting honorably. As he might put it, there is a bigger truth out there."
In other words, the end justifies the means. McCain likes to call himself a maverick. He used to brag about standing up to clowns like Donald Rumsfeld. In his desperation to win the presidency, he has shown himself to be no better.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I know this is flogging a dead horse, but Tina Fey really owns our VPILF-in-waiting.

October Surprise

It is an article of faith amongst the conspiracy minded that Ronald Reagan's campaign secretly struck a deal with Iran to prevent the hostages from being released prior to the 1980 presidential election. I have mixed thoughts about the October Surprise, as it has come to be known. It's never been proven, but there is some circumstantial evidence that has always made me suspicious. Being a leftie, I admit that I want to believe it; however, as a journalist and reasonably intelligent adult, I know there is not enough there to prove it.
In the intervening election years, conspiracy sympathizers have always wondered what that campaign season's October Surprise would be. There is much hand wringing among lefties about what McCain/Bush/Rove have in store for us next month. Case in point:

What are your predictions about the inevitable ''October Surprise''?

Here's one of mine: In the final debate, McCain will have his big penitential moment. He'll confess his sin -- his hunger to become President -- and apologize for the unpalatable things his ambition has made him do.

And he'll say that it no longer matters to him whether he wins or loses, just so long as he reclaims his soul, and that's what he prays that ''Warshington'' will do too, for the sake of America.

And swing voters will eat it up and vote for him, because who better to be President than a man who says he doesn't want to be President?

I pulled this from Huffington Post, but have chosen not to link to it because I think the whole idea is ludicrous. "Why?" you may ask. Well, short of declaring martial law, the Republicans have no more cards to play.
Over the last three decades, the conservative Republican movement has gotten everything it wanted: neanderthal federal judges, repeated tax cuts, the end of federal oversight over just about everything, the right to harass and arrest political opponents, and a national media that trusts Republicans and is wary of Democrats.
Workers were forced to trade pay raises for credit cards, in order to make the inflation rate appear lower. Housing costs were removed from the inflation formula as another way to get phony inflation numbers. Having a pulse became the only requirement for getting loans to keep the economic activity going.
And it has all turned to shit.
The silent majority that Nixon, Reagan, and the Bushes pandered to so effectively for years is done with conservatives. In short, McCain's constituency this year is limited to Joe Lieberman, Lindsay Graham and a million or so evangelicals who think Sarah Palin was sent by God to do their bidding.
If you are looking for the unexpected in the next few weeks, try this prediction on for size:
This year's October Surprise is much more likely to be the disintegration of the GOP as a national party.

Called out

Josh Marshall over at TPM has linked to this fascinating Washington Post story about Thursday's get together at the White House. In short, it appears that Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership came loaded for bear and John McCain wasn't ready for anything other than a photo op.
The story confirms what many people, save hard core Republicans, suspected from the moment that McCain announced his campaign suspension and intention to go to Washington and fix the financial crisis: it was all a political ploy to get Sarah Palin off the front page and halt Obama's surge in national polling. McCain contributed nothing to the bailout negotiations. He agrees philosophically with Wall Street welfare but it smart enough to know that he has to appear to be on the side of the little guy.
The senator from Arizona has pandered to Main Street for years, always safe in knowing the national press would never bring up his pro-corporate record or the Keating Five. He is facing a skeptical press corps for the first time in nearly 20 years and has no fucking idea what to do about it.
Say whatever you want about Obama, at least he does his homework and had the balls to admit that he believed the bailout to be necessary no matter how it plays on Main Street. He showed no fear Friday night because, as the linked story above will illustrate, he has nothing to fear from his opponent.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Maybe I'm right

It looks like Joe Trippi, the guy who put Howard Dean on the map back in 2003, is seeing what I'm seeing.
Thank God...I thought I might be going a little crazy.

Hell must have frozen over

When the mouth-breathing conservatives acknowledge an Obama win, you know John McCain is in deep shit. The paradigm shift over the last few weeks away from national media fealty to conservative politics and to the inevitability of an Obama win has been a pleasant surprise for me. I am starting to think that the left wing blogosphere's worries about voter caging and GOP-led vote supression might be academic. Barring some tragedy, look for McCain to stay with 5-7 points in national polls while Obama pulls away in the individual state polls.

If it's not politics, it has to be The Who

Last week, I posted a thought about my favorite band in the whole of human history -- The Who. The above video takes about an hour to make my case for me.
Keith Moon was in the very early stages of his decline as The Best Fucking Drummer Ever, losing his place from time-to-time but still incredibly powerful and able work brilliantly off Pete Townshend. John Entwistle's bass rig takes up half the stage as he ably carries the rhythm duties whilst Moon and Townshend have some fun.
Roger Daltrey often gets neglected in discussions about vintage Who. He was able to fill the room with very strong voice in the midst of the very loud and powerful work of his bandmates, all of whom rank at, or very near, the top of live rock musicians. His voice asserts itself well and properly without getting in the way of the energy of his backing band.
The Who were like a lot of British bands that came in the wake of the Beatles, with just one properly trained musician (Entwistle) and incredibly varied influences like Eddie Cochran, Mose Allison, Stax and Motown, and too many more to list here. The Who were on the crest of the developments such things as using feedback and distortion and the Marshall stack, which made it possible to play over huge crowds in basketball arenas and football stadiums. In fact, Entwistle and Townshend bought their gear from Jim Marshall's shop and commissioned the first big cabinet amplifiers. Clapton, Hendrix and others quickly caught on and the big rock and roll concert sound was born.
Anyway, by the mid-70s, The Who was generally considered without peer on stage (sorry Zepplin fans; it's true). Hit the video and tell me later if you don't agree.

McCain still standing, for now

In case you didn't see my update below, I gave Obama the win last night on a split card. McCain effectively used his inner rage to strengthen his standing with conservative white guys, but Obama's Buster Douglas-like jabbing skills kept Iron John from hurting him.

UPDATE: The meme is emerging today that Obama=Kennedy and McCain=Nixon, circa 1960. I am biased to agree with this view, but I do see genuine logic in it. Obama was confident and assertive; McCain was stand-offish and prone to regurgitating talking points. I'm sure the 1960 debate is up on YouTube; watch it and tell me what you think of this analysis
The bad news for John, however, is that his VP choice is going up against Joe Biden next week.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A preview of Maron v. Seder

Too funny...Wednesday can't come soon enough.

Slow motion trainwreck

Surprise, surprise! McCain goes to Washington, tries to get the House Republicans to score some populist points for him without pissing off his patrons on Wall Street, fails, and winds up going to the debate anyway. I was going to liveblog the debate, but I have decided to savor what I'm sure will be a slow motion trainwreck without the distraction of typing.

UPDATE: McCain held up better than I expected. His persistence in telling the same lies over and over again probably helped sustain him. Obama did well, probably winning by split decision.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wow. Just, wow.

Wow, it's only September and McCain has already conceded. Al Giordano sums it up much better than I could:
McCain's proposal to postpone Friday's debate is already an epic fail.
Barney Frank nails it: "It's the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys."
Pass incomplete.
Obama's going to Mississippi to debate an empty chair if need be: "Presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time. It's not necessary for us to think that we can do only one thing, and suspend everything else."
There's a basic law of physics here: Objects in motion stay in motion. This juggernaut of a campaign, the millions of volunteers and small donors, the media budgets lavished on it, a year of meticulous and fair planning by the national debate commission... no one man, not even a candidate, can stop that by unilateral fiat. I'm impressed by how quickly McCain's gambit crumbled in the course of two afternoon hours (and take back my previous statement that it didn't seem like a bad move).
Wow. Just, wow.
If this were chess, McCain would be in check right now.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I know this sounds nutty, but...

Larissa Alexandrovna has just posted a very compelling article at Huffington Post that connects some very scary dots. I hope she is wrong and please feel free to laugh at me for title linking to it if everything works out okay in a few months.
I won't summarize her work here, as she does it very well herself, but I know how it will read to most people. Please suspend your disbelief for a few moments and read it. I really think our form of national governance is in danger of going away.
I generally pooh-pooh most conspiracy theories. I think they the reflect intellectual laziness of their adherents, generally, and some kind of sublimated need for faith for people who can't seem to find a religion that suits them. I do believe that Oswald had help in killing Kennedy, but I really think 9/11 wasn't an inside job so much as it was a mistake by the Bush administration in thinking that a handful of religious zealots couldn't actually fly planes into buildings; however, I do think the hijacked United 93 was shot down by the military after it recognized what said zealots were in the process of pulling off. The official story, while way too politically convenient for Bush, is certainly understandable and probably defensible.
Having said all of that, something is going on now in Washington and on Wall Street that cannot possibly be defended by anyone but Bush, McCain, and their wealthy patrons.


By sometime this evening, you will begin seeing and hearing stories alleging that the Democrats are holding up the president's bailout plan for the economy. You will hear how Sen. Obama and his congressional colleagues are threatening to kill any chance of saving our nation's economy unless they are allowed to make unnecessary changes to the plan.
This, my friends, is bullshit. There is nothing in the proposal for the average taxpayer. The plan the Bush administration is pimping calls for nearly a trillion dollars of your money to be spent buying up paper that Wall Street and foreign banks don't want anymore. The whole point is to let the greedy idiots who caused this mess off the hook with no consequences. Their mistakes go away and they get cash to resume running their companies and the economy into the ground.
Congressional Democrats are starting to speak out about this. Sen. Obama appears to be slowly laying the groundwork for coming out the proposal. The GOP and Sen. McCain will begin shrieking that the Dems are trying to destroying the economy. They will allege that Obama is connected to FannieMae and FreddieMac, two badly run funds that helped created this mess. Not only is that crap, but it obscures the fact that McCain's campaign is run by lobbyists who made millions of dollars advocating for the regulatory changes that allowed this whole mess to happen.
Click above for more.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

So it begins...

Anyone who knows me, or who at least has bothered to click on any of the links in my blogroll, has figured out that I am very, very skeptical about our country's economic prospects over the next decade or so.
Energy prices have risen so much in the last few years that working people are having trouble just affording the gas to get to work. Fuel oil and natural gas prices will be high enough this winter that some of our poor and infirm neighbors are in real danger of freezing to death. I believe this new public urgency about wind and solar power is genuine, but those won't become significant sources of energy for the masses anytime soon.
Medical costs, those banes of my existence, are so high that our next president will be forced to accept huge expansions of Medicaid and Medicare enrollment, price controls, and some kind of statutory path to a national single-payer plan. The greed and short-sightedness of insurance companies and hospital execs have driven us to this point. I know some doctors and I believe them when they say they are trapped in the middle. I imagine the only docs who will bitch about socialized medicine are the ones who make millions providing fake tits and fatter wangs to people with too much money and too little sense.
Housing and construction are fucked, too. Anyone who claims we are close to a bottom in the real estate market (especially in the wildly inflated East and West coasts) is either stupid or lying. Thanks to AIG, getting insurance for large public and commercial construction projects or the bonds to fund said work is now way, way harder than it was before. There are realtors around Indy who are keeping busy enough to get by, but they ain't a whole lot of 'em and they are having more trouble than ever getting mortgages for their clients. This all is a symptom of what's going on in Congress and on Wall Street (hit the title link for more about that mess).
Did I mention the auto industry? Well, Toyota and Honda do a lot of their manufacturing here today and they seem to be getting by. I can't say the same about GM, Ford and Chrysler, however. They are looking for $25 billion or so to keep afloat until they can "retool." GM is so desperate that it rolled out its Volt for the press last week. The Volt, a plug-in hybrid that would be able to go 40 miles on a charge and 300+ miles with the help of a small gas engine to recharge the batteries, is promising, but there are problems. GM doesn't have a reliable battery or capacitor for storage yet, but the company insists it will be on car lots by 2010. Chrysler is run by the guy who ran Home Depot into the ground and Ford seems to be hoping for the glory days of selling millions of high-margin SUVs to come back.
What does this all mean? I think you know what I think. 
My grandma summed it up for me recently. "You know, Mike, I was born in the last Depression and I think I'm going to live long enough to see the next one."
As much as I will hate living through what's coming, I hate that she may see all of that suffering again before her date with St. Peter and my Grandpa.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Josh and Sarah

Joshua's surgery went fine yesterday. The doctor said the damage in his hand was a little worse than expected, but the pin and screws should fix everything hunky-dory. I'm off to Josie's to babysit him today as he begins to convalesce.
In other news, the Palin hits just keep coming. I've linked the title to a diary on about the Governor's increasingly apparent lying problem. Daily Kos gets knocked for some of the stuff that pops up in the diaries, but this particular post includes transcripts from her and the First Dude's recent TV interviews. Even a knee-jerk hater of liberal blogs can't deny that the VPILF-in-waiting is way, way, way too cavalier with the truth. It's almost as if she doesn't realize all of this crap she's spewing is being taped.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Something to read

Despite whatever the execs tell you, newspapers are still profitable in this country. The corporations that claim to be losing money aren't really losing money; they are running smaller profit margins than they did 10 years ago. I won't go into the why of that, as I have done so previously in this space and rehashing it just makes my blood boil. 
Anyway, hit the link above to read about how some newsroom staffers at the LA Times have finally decided enough is enough. Cutting jobs and coverage is bad enough, but doing so after using the employees' money to buy the damn paper is even worse. 
Off to the hospital to hold Josie's hand during Josh's surgery.


My little man Josh (who just turned 16 -- Jesus!) is getting a pin set in his broken left hand today. Send him a nice thought if you have time today.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I must confess that I am stunned at the turn the presidential race has taken in the last few days. I am referring to the national media's sudden willingness to actually point out how much bald face lying the McCain-Palin campaign has been doing. I never thought I would live to see said media willing to actually call spades spades. 
I would revel more in this wonderful turn of events, but I feel as shitty as a Lehman Bros. shareholder today. I'm in the throes of that nastiest of bugs - the summer cold. I am chugging fluids and trying hard to resist the temptation to lay in bed for the rest of the day. Who am I kidding? I'll be asleep before any of you see this post. 
Have fun at work.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I lied

I know I promised a few days ago to avoid Sarah Palin, but please, please hit the link above. That bitchy twit you don't like from the PTA is the Republican nominee for Vice President.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Click here now

The gist of this post, and much of the rest of Bradblog's work, is that Republicans are sending phony absentee ballots and voter registration forms to MILLIONS of potential Obama (yes, that means black) voters. If the mail is returned or the phony registration form is used, McCain can contest their ballots when they show up to vote. If the people fill out the absentee ballots, they stay home on election day unaware that the vote they cast in the mail is crap.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Aside from Obama finally accusing McCain-Whatshername of "not telling the truth" about their bullshit reform-change-it's not our fault message, there doesn't seem to be much to write about today. 
I've got the week off, which means I'm sitting by the phone waiting for work to call me in because the dozen people above me in seniority didn't answer their phone. I really like working in a Teamsters shop overall (better pay, benefits and very well defined rules for what the bosses can say and do), but weeks like this bite. It's the bad that goes with the good, so I guess I shouldn't bitch. Indiana's unemployment checks aren't anything to brag about, but they're enough to almost get by on during a layoff.
I could get some work done on Black Helicopters, the novella I promised to start excerpting here a month ago, but I just dread it. I'm not blocked, exactly; it's more like taking something that I've already put so much into and have such a fondness for and fucking it up. The characters deserve more than I've shown of them thus far, but I'm afraid of doing too little or too much. In other words, I'm procrastinating.
I could clean the house and do some laundry, but that holds about as much fascination for me as it does for you. 
I could watch a movie, but I sat up until 5 this morning watching Dazed and Confused. I had forgotten how many good actors were in that little gem. Parker Posey personified the perfect high school bitch. I was 9 years old in 1976, but I was surrounded by a shitload of young aunts and uncles who always seemed to be around our house. And many of them had no compunction about smoking pot in front of my sister and me. 
My nostalgia, as well as my respect for Richard Linklatter, were dissipated a bit when I flipped down a channel and tried to watch A Scanner Darkly. I'm all for pushing the envelope, but motion capture annoys me and I've never understood Philip K. Dick's status as a Genre God. I've read a few of his works and they're fine; nothing less and nothing more. I guess I'm just not a fanboy.
Anyway, I've killed enough time. Seder v. Maron starts in about 10 minutes at, so I think I will saunter on over that way.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy Birthday

My mom turns 61 years young today. Send her a nice thought if you have time.


In the next day or so, you will hear and see some chatter about an experiment slated for Wednesday at CERN in Switzerland. Japan, Europe and the U.S. have pooled their resources to build a particle collider that is about to go live. The gist of it is that scientists will smash subatomic particles together at nearly the the speed of light. I'm not a physicist, but I believe they expect to learn neat stuff about the Big Bang. 
Several opponents to the project fear the collision will form a mini-black hole (which could swallow the Earth whole, in theory). I tend to side with the guys who have designed the experiment, but, as I asserted before, I know jack shit about physics.
I do know, however, that many of the physicists who designed the first A-bomb feared it would trigger an endless chain reaction that would burn up the planet. I think nuclear weapons are an awful scourge, but we are still here. My guess is that we will all wake up Thursday morning in good form.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Last thoughts on Palin (for now)

The numbers are in and Sarah Palin has been good for John McCain and the national media. McCain has pulled even with Obama and all anyone can talk about is Palin. I see that Joe Biden joined the establishment chorus this morning in trying to goad the governor into doing unscripted appearances.
All I can say about this hubbub is "Be patient." 
Two months is a long time to hide from the national media, as impotent as it is. As I have written for the last week and a half, Palin's a sincere dunderhead. She believes whatever is coming out of her mouth at any given moment, which puts her squarely in with most Americans. That fact (and her undeniable MILFiness) why she is popular right now; it will also be her undoing. She will appear on TV without handlers soon and say stupid, easy-to-debunk things that the press will jump on. It would be great if she did so in the next week, that would be great. The effect will be the same, however, if she does so in early October.
Don't forget, too, that the tabloids love her rather interesting personal life. The rumor about her faking a pregnancy to cover up for her daughter has pretty well played out, but there appears to be at least one friend of her husband's that she has grudge-fucked because The First Gentleman can't keep his cock in his pants, allegedly. She has also tried to run Wasilla and the state as extensions of her will, a common trait among mouth-breathing right wing Jesus freaks. 
Of course, the proper media will tut-tut such stories, but the Enquirer and every other rag at the checkout line will see nice bumps in circulation over the next two months. As always, money talks and bullshit walks.
GO COLTS!!!!!! 


Guess who has tickets to tonight's home opener? Give up? ME!

Friday, September 5, 2008

When the Who ruled the world

Anyone who knows me is very much aware of my slavish devotion to most things Who. I've seen every incarnation of the band since Kenney Jones replaced the late, great Keith Moon. As badass as the current lineup is (Zak Starkey on drums, Pino Palladino on bass, Simon Townshend on rhythm guitar, Rabbit on Hammond and keyboard all backing Daltrey and Townshend), I must confess than I will always regret having not seen them with Moon before his sad decline in the late 70s.


My old high school classmate Kim is a wonderful illustrator whose work you can find by hitting the I'm with Sully link on my blog roll. Her entry for today really affected me. Here's what I wrote to her:
Your musings about clutter struck a chord with me, Kim. My dad was a linotype machinist and his dad retired out of the composing room at the Star. I actually remember when printing was a trade, rather than hacks like me being just proficient enough with Photoshop and Quark to do the work of five people. I spent a lot of Saturdays at work with my dad watching the old timers dig through hundreds of yards of big stand-up cases looking for fonts, as well as stripping negatives and hand manipulating the exposures on the big cameras to get just the right look on the plate. I love my MacBook, but it does hurt to know that its forebears killed such a neat (and good-paying) trade.

About the rifle-totin' VPILF

Hit the link above for the story behind my favorite Photoshop job of all time. I have removed the photo from this space because the guy who owns the original has asked others not to use it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Palin seemed pretty comfortable onstage Wednesday and, I'm sure, allayed a lot of fears of Republicans who were afraid that she would come off as a MILFy Dan Quayle. Several of the leftie blogs have made the very good point, however, that she overplayed her hand a bit. Her story of being the hockey mom who became a part-time mayor, then governor for almost a year and a half, was God's plenty to leave a good impression on moderate Dems and undecideds.
But she went further to take the same tired, not terribly sharp, swipes at Barack Obama. Republicans, especially mediocrities like Palin, always try to sound witty next to Dems and come off looking like dunderheads. The GOP wins when it attacks with an army of meth-addled dunderheads carrying dull axes in one hand and the Reader's Digest version of the New Testament in the other.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


James Wolcott is a genius:

This is what happens when you pull an unknown Northern Exposure Karen Walker out of the rabbit hat for the second most powerful job in the nation. Had Sarah Palin been on the rubber-chicken circuit for years, as Ronald Reagan had, we would have become familiar with her and her family, much as we did with (say) the Romney fraternity over the long course of the primary campaign. But she was sprung on the country out of nowhere, and just about the first thing we learn about this family-values matriarch is that her unwed teenage daughter is pregnant (then we learn that the governor used the line-item veto to slash funds for teenage mothers--what a monster).

New Kevin Smith flick

Hit the link above to see a NSFW trailer from Kevin (Clerks, Dogma, Chasing Amy) Smith's new movie, Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

This one is good, too

Check out this above link, too.

Palin's executive style

Hit the link above for a look at Sarah Palin's first months as Mayor of Wasilla.

We'll see

Sarah Palin gets to show off her TelePrompter skills to the whole country tonight and I can't wait.
My good friend and colleague Jimmy Tuttle has admonished me for my post last night speculating about a pseudo-dramatic surge to sweep Fred Thompson into the second slot on the GOP ticket. He believes my ideas to be crap. He may be right...okay, he is right. Sarah will stick it out, in all likelihood.
Anyway, I am looking forward to her speech tonight. She has a tightrope to walk, with most of her comments about her record from her first appearance having been thoroughly debunked. She can't just attack Obama, as this is her first real introduction to the country. Selling herself will be her primary job tonight, as another hurricane is getting ready to knock her and McCain back off the front page. They can get out of St. Paul with the last impression being that of 10,000 or so crackers wildly screaming her praises.
We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Look out for the crusty old D.A.

Hey, can you believe it? McCain's failure to check out Sarah Palin is blowing up in his face.
All snark mostly aside, things don't look good for the Republicans' VPILF-in-waiting. The relatively minimal amount of hurricane damage in NOLA has allowed the national press to turn its attention squarely back to Palin today. Unflattering information about her -- trying (and failing) to fire her supposed asshole brother-in-law, endorsing Ted Stevens then condemning him when the FBI showed up with supoenas for all of his files and friends, the pregnant and unwed teenage daughter, the fishy story about her water breaking in Dallas but being able to keep her legs crossed all the way to Anchorage without anyone noticing that she was even pregnant, etc. -- is snowballing down the aisles of the Republican convention.
And the National Enquirer has sent the guys who busted John Edwards up to Alaska to give the Governor a full-body cavity search.
What will happen? Well, I've got some speculations on that and none of them include a happy ending.
First of all, Palin is toast. If she were in good shape with the campaign and the party, she would have spent today visiting live on all of the cable news shows and giving "exclusive" interviews to the network news shows. All we know is that she is supposedly in St. Paul. I'm guessing she is in a hotel suite getting grilled by McCain's handlers about all of the dumb shit she and her husband haven't disclosed yet. They will convince her to come clean about everything, as she doesn't appear smart enough to realize that the handlers will use to send her back to Juneau with her mouth taped shut.
Secondly, every Republican's favorite security blanket, former Sen. Fred Thompson, suddenly bumped Rudy Giuliani out of the prime speaking slot tonight. Thompson, a decent character actor and wildly indifferent presidential candidate, will give Palin a cursory mention before lighting into Obama and Biden. All of the GOP talking heads will immediately hail his remarks in the same light as Lincoln's Second Inaugural.
The fun will start Wednesday morning, I expect the cable news shows to begin crackling with rumors of a "draft Fred for VP" movement taking hold on the convention floor. If that trial balloon is not shot down by the mouth breathing evangelicals and neanderthals like Pat Buchanan by nightfall, look for a dramatic withdrawal announcement by Palin sometime before Thursday morning.
Should my scenario play out, McCain will get a temporary bounce of five or six points and almost draw even with Obama. That "surge" will slowly erode throughout the rest of this month and give way to freefall after the first debate on Sept. 29.
Or not.

And this, too

Hit the title link for some serious sagacity from James Wolcott.

Monday, September 1, 2008

McCain is so fucked

Watch McCain lead spokesperson get taken apart by lightweight Campbell Brown.

Good news and better news

Hey all,
This is the post in which I promise to start posting more, but I won't do that this time. I probably will make multiple posts this week, as I have the whole week off, but we shall see how it goes.
The good news today is that Gustav appears to have been much less destructive than Katrina. NOLA residents learned their lesson a few years ago and got the Hell out of town, the levies are holding and there were enough cops and National Guard troops to handle the situation. We'll see in the next few days how all of those oil platforms and refineries held up.
The better news is John McCain's attempt to piss off the GOP establishment worked brilliantly, so much so that he has effectively eradicated his already slim chances to beat Obama. He wanted Lieberman; the Republican establishment wanted Romney (who just became the party's presumptive nominee to get pounded like a narc at a biker rally in 2012).
Palin is a slow-moving train wreck. She is not at all qualified for the VP job and doesn't seem too bright, at least not thus far. It's a shame that her daughter's aversion to birth control has become a national news story. I believe the governor when she says that she supports her daughter's pregnancy and I give her brownie points for that. I take away points, however, for Palin's decision to accept McCain's offer without consideration for her daughter's privacy. These stories always come out about national candidates and even dunderheads like McCain and Palin should know that. I hope the baby and her teenaged mother are healthy and able to forgive Palin some day for such a selfish decision.
I have trouble believing the national polls that show McCain so close to Obama. From what I can tell, younger voters -- who rely solely on cell phones -- are hardly being sampled. The national media types who use these polls know this, but they use the numbers anyway because their bosses want a seemingly close race in order to pump up viewership and sell ads. Not to beat a dead horse, but this poll business is just another example of how accountants and salesmen have ruined the news business.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And this, too

Why the fuck are insurance companies allowed to do as they please, when they please and to whom they please? The film at the link above is a joke, obviously, but doesn't it seem like a documentary to you?

Amen, brother, amen

I have found yet another terrific explanation of why my beloved newspaper business has gone straight down the shitter. So, the next time you want to ask me if I miss the business, just remember the piece I've linked to above. Besides, I'll be a full-blown Teamster by the end of the week.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

We're fucked

Anyone who doubts the American public's inability to deal with the oncoming economic trainwreck should click on the title link above.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Black Helicopters

NOTE: This is the prologue to my first manuscript, Black Helicopters. The bulk of it was written in the spring and summer of 2003, with minor tweaks here and there ever since. I'm beginning work on an overhaul of the whole damned thing, but I like this first bit and thought I would share it with you.

“I think you’re both full of crap,” Junior grunted from his porch swing. “They’re ain’t no demons and there sure as Hell ain’t no little green men.”
“My God, I’m glad your mother can’t hear your filthy mouth,” the Reverend spat at his younger son. “You never heard such language in my house.”
Lester rose from his lawn chair and walked out under the clear, crisp Thursday night.
“Junior, are you tellin’ me that they aren’t other beings around any of these stars? As large as the universe is, there has to be other intelligences out there.”
“Lester, I’m more surprised at you,” the Reverend said, turning his attack to his older son. “All of those things in your books — rape, mutilation, kidnapping — how can you say that’s not satanic? Any decent person should be able to see that…”
Junior spoke up to draw the fire away from his big brother.
“Like I said, you’re both full of crap. Les, if there is intelligent life out there, it’s too far away to git here. And there ain’t no such thing as demons; that’s jist some shit they say at church to scare people.”
The Reverend, perched precariously the old redwood bench at the end of the porch, was beside himself.
“My God, you don’t believe in anything, do you?” the Reverend said. “I can’t believe you’re my son.”
An uncomfortable silence settled over the porch. Junior shook his head dismissively and took a sip from his vodka and grapefruit, making certain not to lose his rhythm on the swing. The Reverend glared at Junior and Lester shrugged his shoulders, knowing any defense would draw more fire from his brother or father.
Kellie, Junior’s girlfriend, came out onto the porch and plopped down next to him on the swing. The Reverend, already worked up by the whole discourse on aliens vs. demons vs. nothingness, stood up from the bench at the end of the porch.
“Lester, I’m ready to go home,” he announced.
Les looked over at Junior, who knew why his father could no longer take anymore of the conversation.
Junior had just enough vodka in him to bark, “what, Dad? She can cook your fuckin’ dinner, but she ain’t allowed in yer presence?”
“Clayton,” the Reverend began icily as Lester helped him off the porch, “I’m sure Kellie is a nice girl, but she had a husband when she took up with you. I will have no part of anyone with so little regard for marriage.”
Kellie, having heard this sermon before — many times before — grabbed Junior’s left arm in a feudal attempt to hold him down. Lester kept leading his father to the driveway.
“Yeah?” Junior barked. “Well she ain’t married to that drunk no more and even if she wuz it still wouldn’t be none of yer goddamn business.”
Junior was on his feet, despite Kellie’s best attempts to get him to sit back down.
Lester cringed as the Reverend glared back at Junior. Kellie was about to cry. The Reverend then uttered what they all assumed were the last words he would ever said to his namesake, Sheriff Clayton “Junior” Kilborn:
“You have been nothing but trouble for me since your mother died. I have always tried to overlook the fact that you blame me — incorrectly — her death.
“When you got home from Korea, I arranged for you to get on with the Sheriff’s Department. You never bothered to thank me…
“THANK YOU?” Junior burst as he exploded off the swing. “I earned that goddamn job by almost gittin’ my ass shot off in Korea…and I earned every promotion I ever got without you…”
The Reverend continued undeterred. “…for my help. I even kept quiet when you betrayed me and ran as a Democrat for Sheriff. God only knows what you promised that redneck Duffy Mills to get him out of the race.
“But I will not ruin my good name by blessing your co-habitation with a married woman. Your brother here embarrassed me enough with the way that ex-wife of his carried on; at least she had the good taste to move over to the next town.”
Kellie could almost hear the white noise crackling in Junior’s brain. She did see him lurching forward off the porch.
“Reverend, I think you should go now,” she said before things got any worse.
“Gladly,” he replied.

Monday, June 23, 2008

God (or whomever) bless you, George

In honor of the late, great George Carlin, I thought I would link to something other than football vs. baseball, the seven dirty words or a place for my stuff. There are many good comedians out there, but very few of them are as smart and compelling as Carlin.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Circle, pt. 8

Note: This is the eighth of several installments from my latest work-in-progress, The Circle. If I knew how to make the copyright symbol on a MacBook keyboard, this is where you would find it. Don't steal my shit, man.

Diana was striking, with fiery orange hair, full lips and an ample figure. At sixteen, she was too much for the boys her age in that dank little Irish village. Diana's father promised her to the village blacksmith, a widower who gladly signed over the few rocky acres he tilled behind his forge. Dreading the thought of giving her body and the rest of her life to such a calloused, filthy old man, she ran.
Diana found the witches in the woods to the north. She grew up hearing terrible stories of these "tree dwellers" who performed human sacrifices and communed with the Devil. But hunger soon overcame whatever fears she may have harbored. Sitting by their fires, these pagans regaled her with stories of Mother Earth, that all things were connected and reliant upon one another. The notion of Sin was foreign, more or less, to them, and before long, it became a distant memory for her. They danced and sang, sometimes working into such furies that they - Diana included - fell into big piles of flesh and unbridled sexuality.
In time, Diana took a stranger's offer to "cook" at a work camp in someplace called Indiana. On the boat, she and the other girls were fed opium, which was then withheld when they refused to whore for the sailors. Diana had lain with enough men to have no problem with it, but the other girls cried incessantly in their bunks, clutching their Rosaries, and begging the Blessed Mother to deliver them from that awful boat. From New York, the girls were carted off to some place called Pittsburgh, then herded onto barges and delivered west on the Ohio River to New Albany. From there, it was a four-day hike to Waverly, a settlement not much bigger than the little village she came from. Waiting for them there were dozens of boys - Irish, German, Scots, escaped slaves - all anxious to spend their wages on whiskey and a few moments alone with the girls.
The boys were digging a canal to connect the capital city, Indianapolis, with the same river that helped deliver her to her new home in America. The canal path ran alongside the White River, which was too shallow for ship or barge traffic. The boys worked from dawn to dusk. When the girls weren't whoring, they cooked and washed for the boys. The girls had to pay for room (decrepit shacks hastily arranged along the river bank), food (the scraps leftover from the workers), and the whiskey and opium that numbed them to that inescapable feeling that the Blessed Mother, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had all abandoned them.
Diana watched those beautiful young cherubs wither away into filthy, broken down whores in a matter of months. She was determined to save at least one of them, a shy young thing named Lilly. Not more than 12 or 13 years old, Lilly was sold into service by her father to pay the back rent he owed on the little plot he farmed for some well-to-do merchant in Dublin. In the wee hours of the night, she visited Lilly after the boys staggered off to their bunks up the hill from the river. At first, they talked about Ireland, their families, anything to get their minds off where they were and what they had become. In time, they were inseparable. They cooked and washed together, ate together, and serviced the boys together, pooling their meager resources to make an eventual escape.
While some of the boys relished seeing the girls touching and kissing one another, the foreman was appalled. He burst into their shack late one night to find them kissing and embracing, oblivious to him and everything else. Diana was moved up to the workers' camp. A traveling priest who happened to come through the camp in search of a meal warned her to never do such "sinful things" again. She laughed and told him she was more worried about "The Mother" than "The Father."
Diana sent Lilly a note a week or so later, telling her:
"I long for your sweet embrace. I need to have you wholly and completely. Our day is coming soon..."
Lilly was illiterate, however, and asked one of the other girls to read it to her. Word of the note quickly spread around both camps. By the time the story reached the foreman, Diana had been branded a witch. The foreman hadn't paid anyone in a month and some of the men were running up large credit bills to him. He was hoping his partner in Indianapolis would find some money to keep them going, but it was starting to look bleak. Those men, already anxious about their pay, might have panicked and formed a lynch mob if they believed there was a witch in their camp. Once they killed her, the foreman knew he could be next.
To prove Diana was not a witch (and deflect attention away from the pay issue), he ordered Lilly to whip her lover in front of everyone. The young girl's stroke was light on her first lash, so the foreman had one of his men whip her to show her the proper form and intensity. Diana looked up and Lilly and nodded ever so slightly; the girl fought back her tears and resolved to save herself. Diana was covered in welts and stooped over with pain, but she never made a sound.
The foreman bragged that if Diana were a witch, then fire and pestilence should have been raining down on him. There was no fire, however, and he appeared as healthy after the beating as he had been before.
As two of the workers dragged Diana past the foreman, she looked up. He clutched the Rosary stashed in his pocket and painted a sneer on his face. She smiled eerily at him and said, "Christ will be no help to you."
Lilly, desperate for Diana and enraged with the foreman, rebuffed one of the workers that night. The foreman, unnerved by Diana's last words to him and frustrated with those "troublesome whores," dragged her out onto the riverbank and, in full view of the other girls and his men, beat Lilly about the head and face with an axe handle.
The other girls tried desperately to stop Lilly's bleeding, but she died just as the sun rose over the wooded bluffs above the camps. The girls were ordered to clean up what was left of Lilly and get back to work.
That night, an awful howl came from the foreman's cabin. The workers awoke with a start. Almost in unison, they all remembered Diana's words and grew white with fear. One of the men, nominated by the others, grabbed the old musket he used to shoot rabbit and deer and proceeded carefully to the foreman's cabin. He threw the door and stuck his gun inside. Lying there, in his bunk, was the foreman. His eyes were wide open and there was a painful, but dead silent, cry painted on his face. There was also a big hole in the center of his chest, where his heart used to be.
The workers began breaking camp that instant. Pay was no longer their concern; finding a way to get away from there was. The girls followed. A few days later, that same priest who condemned Diana to damnation for her sins rode back through on his way around his monthly circuit. All that was left were a few shacks, a horrible stench, and a badly decayed corpse.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Just as I sing his praises, Al Giordano cooks up a brilliant post mordem on Obama v. Clinton.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

As long as you're at it... will also want to check out this very engaging post over at Kim Coles' blog, I'm with Sully. I had no idea there were so many talented Perry fairies out there.

The Field

I have added a new, very important link to the blogroll on the right. The Field, a grassroots chronicle of this year's presidential race, is mostly the work of Al Giordano, a superb journalist who has made his bones covering the trainwreck of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. Al is using his considerable talent this year to cover the White House race. Read his work in good health.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

No, really, I mean it this time

I know I've neglected this blog over the last few months, but I swear that is about to change. Things are rebounding quite nicely, as I've landed a pretty good union job close to home and I have managed to get my bills mostly caught up. I am playing around with a few ideas for overhauling Black Helicopters (my first manuscript) that will probably mean shelving The Circle for a while. I have a couple more chapters to post from the latter, then I will shift over to the reworked former. As always, any input is welcome regarding the fiction. I also would not be terribly upset if someone knows a thirtyish or fortyish hot chick interested in meeting a working guy moving on from a long relationship.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

When is a profit not really a profit?

The title today is linked to an interesting story about the American Axle strike that is hobbling GM and other manufacturers right now. I won't retell the story, as the link does a much better job than I could, but it reminded me of a few publications I have worked for over the years. How many times have you been told that the company just isn't making it, despite declining overhead and increased sales? Our economic problems are very real, but how many times have you felt like you were being fed shit so that someone up the ladder could throw a few more Omaha steaks in the freezer?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

For God's sake, read this

Click on the title of this entry. Our democracy depends on it...probably.

Is dawn approaching?

Hey all,

April has been a good month, thus far.
My gall bladder surgery last Tuesday went swimmingly; I checked in the hospital at 9 a.m. and was home by 2 p.m. Aside from a little bruising around my laproscopic incisions and some trapped air, I haven't had any problems.
I have had a few job nibbles, but nothing worth mentioning specifically. Money is a concern -- especially since I would like to remain a home owner -- but I'm scraping by okay. My advice to you to keep your job; this economy sucks and I fear it's going to get a lot worse.
The best news of the month? I've finally got a car! Some of you may remember that my old Prizm was stolen in late February, three weeks after I was shitcanned from my job and a week after Josie and I decided to split up (that was a shitty month). Well, I took possession of my great uncle Norb's old Crown Vic yesterday. It's an '87 with 167,000 miles on it, but it is clean and fires right off the line. I'd like to think that Norb would want me to buy it; he was a good man who always took an interest in my education and gave me books and magazines to read.
Josie has been a big help and I think we're getting to a good place relationship-wise. Reconciliation is not terribly likely, but I am relieved that we split before we out-and-out hated each other.
I feel better now than I have in a few years.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Circle, pt. 7

Note: This is the seventh of several installments from my latest work-in-progress, The Circle. If I knew how to make the copyright symbol on a MacBook keyboard, this is where you would find it. Don't steal my shit, man.

Ed arrived at the farm shortly before dawn Sunday morning. He was sorry he asked Rick to go into the woods the night before, but the circumstances around Tommy’s murder and Lillith’s death has unsettled him. The hole in Tommy’s chest looked as if it came from a 30.06 blast at point blank range, but there were no powder burns. And there was something about Barb and Nettie’s ghost story that unsettled him. Ed sent Rick out into the woods to calm his own nerves, only to find out that old Earl had another story for them.
Rick sat quietly on the back patio that ran the width of the family manse, watching the Sunday morning sun as it started poking its way through the thick woods. He glanced briefly at Ed, and then turned his gaze back to the horse barn situated in front of the woods that the trio was about to enter.
Earl insisted that the boys be together when he told them his story. When the sun finally emerged from the trees, Earl appeared in the doorway of his tiny apartment above the barn. Ed and Rick were parked in the golf cart waiting for him as he reached the bottom step. There was no small talk, just anticipation heavily laced with dread.
The cart headed back into the woods, which had dried a bit but remained as dark and foreboding as they had been at dusk the night before. They reached the marker soon enough, but the scene below had changed noticeably since dusk. The circle was starting to grow in, covering many of the gouges and markings.
“What the Hell, Rick? You told me somebody had cleared away all this,” Ed asked.
Before Rick could respond, Earl spoke up. “Eddie, this was just as Rick told you last night. I saw it myself. She’s out now and she ain’t coming back, as far as I can tell.”
The cousins looked at each other, then Rick turned to Earl and asked, “Who are you talking about? What woman?”
Earl leaned back against the cart and sighed. “That woman who killed Tommy yesterday, Rick.”
Eddie shook his head. “Earl, that biker shot Tommy. There wasn’t any woman in that bar.”
“Okay, Eddie, then how come you sent Rick out here last night to check on this very spot?” Earl countered. “Is it because you think that biker maybe didn’t kill Tommy? And maybe you believed his story because you both remember another story?”
The cousins looked at each other again and quietly acknowledged Earl’s point. Earl knew that their memories had to be faint, since they were just boys when their fathers stood out on that very riverbank 50 years before.
“Your dads did what they had to do, boys,” Earl said firmly. “That woman was evil, pure and simple. She had your Aunt Lil and wasn’t about to let her go. They brought me here especially to help them, and I did and I don’t regret it for a second.”
The cousins nodded, then Ed spoke up again. “Earl, if that woman was dead” -- he paused for a moment and grimaced at the thought of his father as a murderer -- “if she’s been buried out here for all this time, then how could she possibly have killed Tommy, or Aunt Lil?”
“Diana -- thats the name she went by -- wasnt any ordinary woman. She showed up here when your grandma Hennessey was dying,” Earl started. “She said she was the daughter of an old friend of Ma’s, but when Ma saw her she died right then and there. Pop Hennessey said he’d never seen his wife so scared of anything. They let Diana stay on for a few days, but then one of the workers, who had a still hid out by here, found Diana and Aunt Lil together...”
Ed said, with Rick nodding absently, “Yeah, we knew shed been attacked when she was a teenager, but not by who.”
Earl acknowledged the interruption and continued the story. “Well, they ran her off and had the doctor check Lillith. She was never touched, Ed, but it was too late. Diana was in her head, even when she wasn’t there. Half the animals were terrified of Lillith, and the other half seemed like they could read her mind. And she began visiting the bunkhouse in the middle of the night. Hell, I bet she got three or four of them poor farm boys fired just because she wouldn’t leave them alone.”
Ed looked over at Rick, who was hanging on every word. Ed remember Lillith as a teenager, and he was having trouble remember her carrying on with anyone. He did remember a pretty redhead, but he was having trouble placing her on the farm when Ma Hennessey died. Ed did his best to stay poker-faced, however, because he had known Earl his whole life and was willing to allow that the old man remembered things better than he did.
“Well, your dads and Pop were beside themselves. They couldn’t even drag her to church,” Earl continued. “But in time, Lil outgrew a lot of that and everything was okay. She finished high school and was just starting to date Phil Mendenhall when weird things started happening around the farm. One of the guys got attacked by a pack of wild dogs. The others started claiming to hear weird noises in the woods; it got so bad that a bunch of them quit. And then...”
“She showed up again, didn’t she?” Rick said nervously. “I remember my dad talking about her.”
Earl nodded and said, “Yeah, she did. Nobody actually saw her, but we knew she was out here, waiting for Lillith to come to her. One night, Pop caught Lil climbing out her window. When he tried to pull her back in, she kicked so hard that your granddad went flying backwards and landed on his head. It broke his neck and he was dead on the spot.”
Ed and Rick started to weep a bit, as their memories of that night came streaming back. Their fathers were so enraged that they took off into the woods chasing their little sister, leaving their dead father to be found by their young boys.
“I know, boys, I know,” Earl said reassuringly. “I loved Pop as much as you did. That’s why I followed your dads out here. By the time I got here, they had already beaten that woman half to death. Lil was crying and screaming and I didn’t know what to do. They told me to drag her back to the house. She about clawed me to death getting her back up there, but I did it. Not long after that, your dads came out of the woods covered in mud and hair and blood. By dawn, Phil came and got her and they went off for a while.
You know, a couple weeks before Rick fired Tommy, I heard him talking all that devil worship shit to some of the guys, but I didn’t think anything of it. I guess I never took him seriously enough that I thought he would do something like this. I’m starting to think that maybe she was never as dead and buried as we thought she was.”
Rick was scared. “So even if this Diana did come back, what in the Hell can we do about it, Earl? Shit, our dads killed her and she was buried for 50 years and she still came back!”
Ed looked anxiously at the old man. Earl’s story rang true, except for Ed’s recollection of who came back and when. He remembered his dad and Rick’s dad bringing Lillith back to the house. It was Earl who came out of the woods later, covered in mud and hair and blood, or so Ed recalled. “No, that can’t be right, Ed thought to himself. Earl wouldn’t have any reason to lie about that.”