So Joe & Mika said some nasty things about Don, and then Don tweeted some nasty things about Joe & Mika, and then Mika subtweeted a photo about Don’s tiny fingers, and then someone tweeted a photo showing Mika wasn’t a bloody mess, and then Joe suggested he had some tapes about Don’s friends threatening them, and then a magazine said Don’s friends were really Reince and Jared, and fuck, we hadn’t even finished coffee yet.
Just another day in These United States. Welcome to The New Normal.
We spent a very pleasant Sunday devouring Al Franken’s new book, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. In it, Al Franken explains how he took Al Franken hostage to run for Senate, only to discover that Al Franken was in his heart all along. If you’ve been missing Al Franken, it turns out Al Franken never went away.
There’s a callback to his previous book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, which prompted us to relive the bygone days of 2003, when it was first published. And while wallowing in the nostalgia of John Ashcroft being a public figure, we stumbled across this passage:
“Those early months were heady days for George W. Bush. Emboldened by his landslide victory, Bush passed a $1.6 trillion tax cut which went primarily to the rich, pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, delayed rules that would reduce acceptable levels of arsenic in the drinking water, and implemented the enormously successful Operation Ignore.”
You might forgive us for wondering whether we’ve been actually waking up to Sonny & Cher the past five months.
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.
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.
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.
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.