Not Something You Hear Every Day From Your Wife

“I’m making money while lying on my back.”

That’s what Mrs. Curmudgeon said to her husband the other day.

Seriously.

Is this marriage in trouble?  Was Mrs. Curmudgeon confessing to leading a double life?  Or are times tough in the curmudgeonly household and desperate times call for desperate measures?

No, The Curmudgeon didn’t marry a bad girl.

Mrs. Curmudgeon, you see, is a self-employed lawyer.  On days on which she has an early morning conference call with a client or expert witness or opposing counsel or member of a judge’s staff, she sometimes stays home and takes the call in the family room while her husband works upstairs.

Sometimes, though, she just takes the call upstairs.  While waiting for such calls to begin she may lie in bed, both before and after, working on a legal brief or a filing or some other such legal stuff.

And since she bills for her services by the hour…

“I’m making money while lying on my back.”

Oh, brother!

 

 

 

Yes, He Really Said That

User instructions: 1) open mouth; 2) insert foot

Agent Orange, on Wednesday, while talking about voter ID:

You know, if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card, you need ID. You go out and you want to buy anything, you need ID and you need your picture.

Yes, this is the president who’s standing up for the little guy, because deep down, he understands the life and the world of the little guy.

Shaking in Your Boots

This spring BuzzFeed – not exactly on the list of The Curmudgeon’s reliable sources – reported that a few recent studies suggesting that pasta is a healthy food were funded by researchers with ties to the Barilla Group.  Lest you’re only eating the supermarket brand, Barilla is a major pasta company.

But some of the histrionics in BuzzFeed’s reporting are pretty hysterical, starting with the title of the article:

Pasta Is Good For You, Say Scientists Funded By Big Pasta

And then, just to make sure you got the point, it added that

Over the last decade or so, with the rise of the Atkins, South Beach, paleo, and ketogenic diets, Big Pasta has battled a societal shift against carbohydrates — and funded and promoted research suggesting that noodles are good for you.

The Curmudgeon was tickled by the thought that someone – even if it’s just BuzzFeed – alleges that there’s a “Big Pasta” out there, but then he gave it a little more thought and it left him wondering:

Call him “Don Boyardee”

If there’s really a “Big Pasta” syndicate or cartel out there that we need to watch out for, who’s leading it?  Who’s its mob boss?  Its godfather?

Could it be…

Chef Boyardee?

The Trump Watch (beginning of August 2018)

This time around The Curmudgeon dispenses with his usual review of the most recent Trumpian nonsense and focuses instead on just a few things that together portend a bleak future.

First we have his continued, inappropriate responses to anything in the press that he doesn’t like.  Last week a CNN reporter asked him a few questions he didn’t like.  Her punishment: the Trump press office barred her from attending a press event later that day.

This is unacceptable on every level: the White House Correspondents Association said so, members of Congress said so, even the president of Fox News, of all people, issued a public statement declaring that “We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press.”  A free press constitutes the very heart of our democracy, as Thomas Jefferson explained when he wrote that

The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

She’d better watch out: this Caitlyn Jenner lookalike could find herself deported

Next we have the TV incident:  Trump reportedly threw a fit aboard Air Force One last week when he discovered Melania watching CNN and not Fox News.  His anger (allegedly) was directed not at Melania but at whomever permitted someone to change the channel.  To make sure that never happens again, the folks responsible for managing Air Force One circulated a memo later that day reminding everyone that all televisions aboard Air Force One must be tuned to Fox News and only Fox News.

Sure, they shook hands in public, but who knows what they did in private?

Third, we have what he told his audience in Kansas City last week:

Just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.

Which is frighteningly reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984.

Fourth, while under fire over his Neville Chamberlain imitation during his Helsinki date with his man-crush, Vladimir Putin, Trump tried to distract everyone from his dismal failure at deal-making by taking a page out of the movie Wag the Dog and turning his wrath not on Russia but on Iran, tweeting, in a statement of massive overkill,

To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!

Finally, Trump continues to talk – constantly, and especially in inappropriate settings – about what he perceives to be his political enemies and how he vanquished them.  He continues to talk about how he defeated Hillary Clinton – strangely, lying about aspects of his successful campaign even though that’s hardly necessary anymore – continues to talk about how he overcame a Democratic effort to “rig” that election, and, more important, continues to question why Mrs. Clinton, who no longer poses any kind of threat to him, hasn’t been investigated, tried, convicted, and imprisoned.

The salute all dictators crave

Add it all up and it’s hard to reach any conclusion other than that we have a man who has become unhinged and who doesn’t want to be president of the United States:  he wants to be dictator of the United States.  His irrationality, his rages, his lies, his disdain and disregard for the rule of law and the rules of human decency, his labeling of everyone who disagrees with him as an enemy not just of his presidency but of his country, is alienating his friends, his supporters, the American people, and the international community.  He knows nothing but thinks he knows everything, and when the facts don’t fit with the story he is trying to tell he just fabricates lies that by now number in the hundreds, if not more.  He doesn’t understand that repeating lies over and over again doesn’t make them true:  it just marks him as an even bigger liar.  He creates artificial enemies so he can vilify them, invents false achievements so he can celebrate them, and tacitly urges his misguided followers to engage in violence to silence his opponents.

He doesn’t understand the American form of government and how it works, doesn’t understand the limits of presidential authority, and doesn’t care about any of those shortcomings:  he’s perfectly comfortable embracing, for example, the second amendment of the constitution while actively working to undermine the first.  Learn something new?  He’s not interested:  he’s proud of his willingness to reject advice, reject briefings, reject information that might help him do his job better because ultimately, he rejects the premise that anyone knows more than he does about, well, about pretty much anything.  What others view as sheer folly he, in his ignorance, considers bold and decisive, which leads to preposterous actions like slapping arbitrary tariffs on foreign goods and then almost immediately turning around and demanding that American taxpayers fork over billions of dollars to subsidize U.S. businesses that his punitive tariffs hurt.  Should he have known this would happen?  Of course he should have.  But you have to consult experts before you do such things and he repeatedly refuses to do so, insisting that only he possesses such expertise.

The people around him – those who remain, that is – have mostly given up even trying to tell this would-be emperor that he stands before us butt naked and instead simply nod their heads in agreement and offer weak defenses that no longer reflect even a hint of conviction.  They are just marking time on the public payroll while they await the reward to which they believe they are entitled:  the book contract, television gig, lobbying job, think-tank appointment, or corporate position that will enable them to milk their brief period of public service for all it’s worth, just as their employer now does, because it has become increasingly clear that using public office to do good has taken a back seat to the Trump family using public office to make money.

Doing his best to put the dick in the dictator

He is a foolish person, a bad person, even an evil person who is clinically unable to discern right from wrong, good from evil, true from false.  Many of those who embraced his candidacy did so holding their noses, hoping against hope that once in office, the reasons he gave them to vote for him would somehow, miraculously, rise above his greed, his moral bankruptcy, his vanity, his mendacity, and his venality. Alas, he hasn’t:  he is all about glorifying himself, making enemies purely for the sake of making enemies, demanding the spotlight and doing everything he can to monopolize it, and yes, making even more money than the billions he already has.  He is horribly, horribly flawed, his public life built upon a foundation so hopelessly warped that he now sees doing good and doing right as secondary to winning: no matter how trivial the prize, it’s the winning that matters most to him.  He is a self-proclaimed deal-maker who, now attempting to make deals in the harsh light of day, is proving to be no deal-maker at all.

He is, ultimately, a demagogue and a bully, more comfortable with the dictators and strongmen he admires and so desperately aspires to emulate than with elected world leaders, yet he has proven to be a shrinking violet when dealing with any of those people one on one, as his recent date with Putin in Finland so painfully demonstrated.

And he’s our president for at least 30 more months.

Is it possible that the blessing of stability that has marked the American experiment has finally come to an end?

We probably should spend these next 30 months with our fingers crossed.

The 1960s Called: They Want Their Product Back

When you buy products from certain online sites that you’re aware are still selling plenty of stuff by catalogue you realize that you’re opening yourself up to a potential deluge of materials in your mail box – your home mail box, that is, not just your email in-box.  A few years back, for example, The Curmudgeon’s mother asked him to buy something for her from the Carol Wright web site and the only good thing to come from the onslaught of catalogues that followed for about five years was the inspiration for the piece “Carol Wright, Dildo Queen” that was, until the past six weeks, the most frequently read piece on this blog.

While The Curmudgeon doesn’t generally order from such sites for himself his father ordered from their physical catalogues, and while dad has now been gone for nearly five years his mail continues to arrive in The Curmudgeon’s mail box frequently – even though The Curmudgeon has moved since dad’s passing.  Rarely will as many as three days pass without something for dad, and sometimes several pieces arrive in a single day.

Last week, though, The Curmudgeon received a catalogue for dad from a company he’s never heard of called collectionsetc.com.  Its catalogue looks pretty much the same as most of the rest of the catalogues addressed to dad, suggesting that it’s probably just another name under which some of those other companies also operate.  As he always does, The Curmudgeon flipped through it briefly just, well, just because.

Okay, because he was heading into the bathroom.

And he was stunned when he ran across the following product: a real anachronism in this day and age.

The Curmudgeon has no further comment.  He just can’t believe someone’s selling this kind of thing in 2018.

Behind the Curve

The U.S. is often a little ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting new social policies or embracing social practices that at one time were considered unacceptable.

But then there’s transgender rights.

We’ve come a long way here when it comes to transgender rights, but not as far as…

Pakistan.

Yes, Pakistan.

Seriously.

Last month, NPR reported that

Pakistan’s parliament passed a landmark bill…that gives the country’s transgender citizens fundamental rights.

The Transgender Persons (Protect of Rights) Act allows people to choose their gender and to have that identity recognized on official documents, including national IDs, passports and driver’s licenses. The bill prohibits discrimination in schools, at work, on public modes of transit and while receiving medical care.

 The measure also says that transgender people cannot be deprived of the right to vote or run for office. It lays out their rights to inheritance, in accordance with their chosen gender. And it obligates the government to establish “Protection Centers and Safe Houses” — along with separate prisons, jails or places of confinement.

 Meanwhile, here in the U.S. we still have people concerned that men are getting their schmeckles cut off and growing breasts just so they can go into women’s rest rooms and leer at the only women you can see in women’s rest rooms:  those who are fully dressed because they’re not in a stall doing their business.

Pakistan.  Pakistan is more progressive than us on this subject.

Amazing.

 

Behaving Badly in Tennessee

Civility, tolerance, and respect for others appears to be a lost cause among at least some residents of the state of Tennessee, as the online publication Roll Call reports.

His parents must be proud

A Tennessee hardware store owner is celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of a bakery that refused to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding by placing a “No Gays Allowed” sign in front of his store. 

Jeff Amyx, who owns Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies in Grainger County, initially posted the sign in 2015 after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage but later removed it following intense backlash. 

But in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling, Amyx apparently decided “Backlash be damned!”

The sign returned this week, however, after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, according to WBIR 10.

Amyx told the local NBC affiliate that the ruling came as a shock to him, calling the decision a victory for Christianity.

 “Christianity is under attack,” Amyx said. “This is a great win, don’t get me wrong, but this is not the end, this is just the beginning. Right now, we’re seeing a ray of sunshine. This is ‘happy days’ for Christians all over America, but dark days will come.” 

The only “dark days” coming will be if people decide Amyx’s shenanigans are perfectly fine with them and continue to patronize his store.

 

 

 

 

 

Real Short TV Reviews

Now that The Curmudgeon is living in a home where all of the available television programs don’t originate with networks that trace their roots to the Truman administration, he is being exposed to a whole new world of television programs.  Many seem to revolve around a few common themes.  Some he and Mrs. Curmudgeon watch together; some they sample together and decide not to watch; some they sample together and Mrs. Curmudgeon ends up watching alone; some they sample together and The Curmudgeon ends up watching alone; and some, the previews and descriptions are about as enticing as garlic and a cross are to a vampire.

Still working to keep a promise he made to himself, The Curmudgeon is trying to say no more about this garbage

Now, as a public service, The Curmudgeon would like to offer mini-reviews of a few of these series.

  • Succession (HBO) – rich family that owns a business together behaving badly.
  • Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) – sleazy stoner with greasy hair behaving badly.
  • Big Little Lies (HBO) – women with too much time on their hands behaving badly.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO) – old Jewish guy who makes The Curmudgeon seem like an absolute delight behaving badly.
  • Divorce(HBO) – Sarah Jessica Parker, whom The Curmudgeon inexplicably keeps referring to as Sarah Jesse Raphael, behaving badly.
  • John Adams (HBO) – Paul Giamatti acting badly. Seriously, can you think of any reasonably successful actor or actress who isn’t getting by on their looks alone who is as profoundly bad an actor as Paul Giamatti?
  • Silicon Valley (HBO) – young, seemingly intelligent people behaving badly.
  • SMILF( Showtime) – single woman with child behaving badly.
  • Billions (Showtime) – rich people and government officials behaving badly.
  • Ozark (Netflix) – nice guy Jason Bateman behaving badly.
  • Bloodlines (Netflix) – Ewing family wannabes behaving badly.

The Curmudgeon trusts you see the common thread.

Is your favorite – or least favorite – missing from this list? Probably because it came to The Curmudgeon’s attention and he decided “Hell, no,” but theme-conforming additions are welcome:  The Curmudgeon can’t possibly be aware of ALL of the crap that comes our way.

Is This Guy Serious?

Larry Fedora is the football coach at the University of North Carolina and he wants you to know he’s none too pleased with recent efforts to protect the brains of people who hit others with their heads purely for sport and pleasure.

The ESPN web site tells the story:

North Carolina coach Larry Fedora is no fan of the rule changes in college football, suggesting altering the game is an overreaction to injuries and will, in the end, have a profound effect on the entire country.

Wow: changes in college football rules are going to have a profound effect on THE ENTIRE COUNTRY?

ESPN continues:

“Our game is under attack,” Fedora told reporters. “I fear the game will be pushed so far from what we know that we won’t recognize it in 10 years. And if it does, our country will go down, too.”

Our country “will go down” if 250-pound teenagers are required to tackle with their oversized arms instead of attempting to impale opponents with their under-endowed skulls?

And there’s more.

Fedora said he’d talked to military personnel who’d suggested the success of the U.S. military was due, in part, to the number of football players who went on to join the armed forces.

Seriously?

Oh, and he also questions the legitimacy of research that connects football and certain brain injuries and insists that all of the people playing football nowadays understand the risks (of the brain injuries he himself questions) and choose to play the game anyway.

There’s more lunacy, too, which you can see for yourself here, but from The Curmudgeon’s vantage point, it looks as if the rule changes designed to give young men a chance to become old men have come too late for poor Larry Fedora.  That brain is already pretty much pickled.

 

 

 

Uncle Sam Wants YOU!

Unless you’re a legal immigrant.

In which case, Uncle Sam wants you…not nearly as much as he did before the Trump administration took office.

Well, maybe not ALL of you

Legal immigrants have long been welcome in the U.S. armed forces.  In fact, it’s a well-established, formal path to citizenship, and in the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush even ordered expedited citizenship for legal immigrants who chose to serve their country at such a crucial time.  Today, about 10,000 legal immigrants serve in the armed forces – a miniscule proportion of the nearly two million active duty service members and current reservists.

But now the Trump administration has apparently set its sights on getting rid of legal immigrants.

These non-white LEGAL immigrants.

The Associated Press reports that dozens of immigrant recruits and reservists have been sent packing from the service –  discharged, and in many cases without explanation. Those who have received explanations have been told they’re security risks, either because they have relatives abroad – how dare them! – or because the Pentagon never bothered completing background checks on them.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, says it hasn’t changed its policy about legal immigrants.

Then why are all of these people being tossed out of the service?