Confidence in the System

We were introduced to both Monty Python and Firesign Theatre in college, in the late Seventies, and it’s pretty safe to say they both left deep, enduring impressions upon our gentle soul.

Of Python, no explanation is needed. Firesign is much less known, their work much less consistent, and much of it is of their metacultural moment. We don’t know how fresh ears would regard it at this distance, but our fresh ears at the time were enraptured by the clever absurdity.

Being introduced to pot at the same time may have had something to do with it.

Read more »

The Dementia Tax

One of the more fascinating issues to arise out of the fascinating UK election is what’s known as — thanks to Jeremy Corbyn’s clever branding — the “Dementia Tax”. This was a plan by Prime Minister Theresa May to, as the Murdoch-owned Sun put it, “ask wealthier pensioners to pay a little extra for their care to protect the poor”.

It didn’t go down well. Under the original plan, “pensioners would pay for residential care or help in their own home from their homes, with their last £100,000 protected.” Meaning: The government wouldn’t help until you’ve drained your savings down to a mere six digits.

Imagine! Only $125,000 left to your name!

Actually, we don’t have to imagine it. We’ve been dealing with it the past year.

Read more »

The Years of Living Dangerously

In 1990, SNL presented “The Global Warming Christmas Special”, an extended sketch that sadly cannot be found online, save for a transcript. It was hosted by Mike Myers as Carl Sagan, with special guest Tom Hanks as Dean Martin, and you’ll have to let your imagination fill in the rest. If it helps to include Phil Hartman as Isaac Asimov, consider it done.

For years afterward, the sketch provided for us a landmark in popular awareness. SNL doesn’t tackle a subject until it’s ripe, and we could confidently say from that moment that global warming was part of The Conversation.

You might even say it was ready for prime time, but global warming had already been in prime time — thirty years earlier.

Read more »

America’s Social Disease

Friday afternoon, in Portland, Oregon, two women riding the city’s light-rail service were accosted by a fellow passenger.

“Get off the bus, and get out of the country because you don’t pay taxes here,” he said by one witness account. The man also said he “doesn’t like Muslims, they’re criminals,” according to the witness.

One of the women was wearing a hijab. Both were young.

Three other passengers came to the women’s defense. The man pulled out a knife and slit the throats of two of them.

Both are dead.

Read more »

James Bond Will Return in “Glowfinger”

UNHINGED AND ABROAD: How Do You Medicate a Plenipotentiary with Alzheimer’s: Fentanyl, Dilaudid, Morphine, Demerol or Six Pound Sledge?

Face it, cackling fans of the apocalypse: Trumpligula is a brain-dead late-stage Alzheimer’s victim who is beginning to show signs of Alzheimer’s end-stage rage and confusion that maybe gives him a few months, maybe weeks before he has to be diapered by attendants and drugged into compliance.

As a public service, in the name of participatory democracy STINQUE is sponsoring its first ‘Sedate the Senescent Tyrant’ poll, asking AMERICA!ns at home, abroad and at sea what drugs should we be using to assure that Trumpligula doesn’t do anything too damaging to AMERICA!’s interests and already damaged prestige overseas.

Read more »

Plausible Idiocy

One of our favorite SNL sketches is thirty years old. In it, Phil Hartman plays Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office, doing his Charming Old Codger bit for visitors. But as soon as they leave, he takes charge, commanding his hapless minions with supreme intelligence and authority.

It was hilarious — then and now — because it was so obviously not the case, despite efforts to portray Reagan as fully engaged in his own administration. And when it aired in December 1986, the Iran-Contra scandal had been revealed only weeks earlier.

Similar sketches were written for George W. Bush, who might have been slightly more engaged than Reagan, but not nearly as engaged as Dick Cheney. Just imagine Will Ferrell saying “I’m the Decider”, and a whole era springs to mind.

And then there’s Donald Trump, who couldn’t be less engaged.

Read more »