Donald Meets Rudy Giuliani

wikileaks-netbook-globe-01-03Rudy: Mitt says you’re thinking of going straight.

Donald: You got a problem with that?

Rudy: You need to be more worried about yourself, gabron. You work for me. I work for the mob, La Familia, Casa Nostra. When China doesn’t want to get their hands dirty, they send me. They’ve already given orders to tear down one of your precious hotels. They also said to tell you that if you don’t start cooperating, Hillary is gonna win that recount. Continue reading

CATEGORY: American Culture

woMAN; Woe, man; Whoa! Man.

By Tamara Enz

CATEGORY: American CultureWhen I was in third grade, the elementary school principal came into our class to speak with the students. I don’t now remember what the primary reason was for his visit; what I remember is only a fragment of his lecture.

He stood at the chalkboard and wrote in large letters:

M A N

Stepping to the side so everyone in the class could see the letters, he said, “Without man,” he stepped back to the board and wrote “wo” before completing his sentence, “you cannot have woman.”

On the board was the word:

wo MAN

Almost 50 years later, I can still see this man saying these words, spewing ignorance and sexism across a new generation of children. Continue reading

ArtSunday

The World’s 100 best short stories, sort of… volume 10: humor

Statistics prove that there are 25 bathtubs sold to every Bible… and 50 to every dictionary, and 380 to every encyclopedia… proving that while we may be neglecting the interior, we are looking after the exterior…. – Will Rogers

Will Rogers (image courtesy Wikimedia)

Will Rogers (image courtesy Wikimedia)

And now we reach the last volume in the collection The World’s 100 Best Short Stories. The subject/theme of this volume is humor. There are some well remembered writers such as P. G. Wodehouse, Will Rogers, George Ade, and, oddly enough, Emile Zola. There are some not so well remembered writers such as Emile Gaboriau, Charles Brackett, H. C. Witwer, and William Hazlett Upson. And there are some figures whose literary legacy is either based on a single work (Frank R. Stockton, mentioned previously) and Booth Tarkington, a writer extraordinarily popular in his time whose reputation is now all but eclipsed.

This is the weakest volume in the entire collection. There are reasons for this and we’ll explore them.

But first, a digression. Continue reading

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Donald meets Mitt Romney

wikileaks-netbook-globe-01-03Mitt: There’s a word in Chinese. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it. Shuāngyíng. It means “both win.” It’s a business philosophy. I’ve found great success following this principle.

Donald: I invented the win-win, believe me. The Chinese got it from me.

Mitt: Now, what I did when I was running for President was place all my holdings in a blind trust. That way, I looked like I wasn’t on the payroll, and China could still pay me ridiculous amounts of money. Continue reading

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Soul Eater review, by Anime Binge

Can a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad final episode totally ruin the enjoyment of 50 prior episodes? It did for me. If you want to find out for yourself, watch Soul Eater. Spoilers ahead.

Soul Eater - the meisters and weapons (plus the annoying transforming cat)

Soul Eater – the meisters and weapons (plus the annoying transforming cat)

A while back I asked for recommendations about what anime to watch, since I was getting back into watching anime again. A friend suggested Soul Eater, and so I gave it a shot. And for most of the 51 episodes, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. But the last episode pretty much ruined it the entire rest of the anime for me.

Let’s start with the good

Soul Eater is set on an alternate Earth where witches and monsters exist, where the moon is a creepy, leering face that literally laughs at your misery all night long, and where Lord Death is a main character. It takes place mostly at a school for teenaged “meisters,” people who fight to protect humans from demons that kill them and devour their souls, and from witches that have the power to control demons and generally enjoy causing chaos. The school also trains weapons, humans that transform into weapons like pistols, swords, and scythes that are wielded by the meisters. Continue reading

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Donald Meets President Obama

wikileaks-netbook-globe-01-03President: We need to talk about China.

Donald: Love China. Love the Chinese.

President: They’re taking over the world.

Donald: Don’t I know it. Everything is made in China.

President: They’re tampering with elections. That’s why “Leave” won the Brexit vote in spite of the polling data. That’s why you were elected. Continue reading

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We all live in bubbles that distort our perspectives of America – rich or poor, rural or urban

Every bubble distorts our understanding of America

2f45d-free_wallpaper_patriotic_eagle_american_flag_background-1-1024x768Updated 11/25/16: added Footnotes section break at the bottom for clarity

I always knew that being white, male, straight, and educated meant that I was living in a bubble that distorted my perspective on the world. But it wasn’t until Election Day, when 62 million (as of 11/22/2016, according to USA Today) of my fellow Americans voted for a fascist (or proto-fascist) that I realized just how distorted my view of America had actually become. Since then I’ve started second-guessing myself on a host of issues that I thought were universal American ideals that have, it seems, turned out to merely be universal among my friends and family.

One of the mental adjustments I’m still trying to make is to recognize that 62 million people didn’t care that Donald was spouting rhetoric that was anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, racist, sexist, and homophobic rhetoric. 62 million people were OK with bigotry and borderline incitement of violence, behaviors and values that I thought were fundamentally un-American, values defined by the United States Constitution itself1. But while I’m certainly living in a bubble, I’m not the only one. The fact that many of Donald’s supporters are also living in their own bubbles was brought home to me in an NPR story I listened to on my way into work a few days ago. Continue reading

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Donald confesses to Kellyann Conway

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Donald: I told Jeff about the “community service.”

Kellyann: Are you serious? What did I tell you not five minutes ago? You smile and wave and follow orders and keep your mouth shut. McCrory’s orders are not to concede until you assume office and declare the election invalid. Is he telling the General Assembly? No, because he’s got a brain and a survival instinct. I can do this just as easily with Pence, easier even, because he says things like, “that’s what freedom sounds like,” and not that a beloved actor should personally apologize to you for a comedy skit. I will gut you, Donald. I will gut you.

Note: This is satire. For all I know, Donald Trump’s hair is real.

Donald meets Jeff Sessions

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Wiggy Leaks – there’s a bug under that rug.

Jeff: Sir, I’d like to talk to you about the immigration justice program.

Donald: What’s on your mind?

Jeff: We estimate that if we prosecute all illegal immigrants and legal immigrants who have committed a crime, it will completely overwhelm the Justice Department. We simply don’t have enough officers.

Donald: We’re gonna coordinate with state and local law enforcement. Also, this is a matter of Homeland Security, so we’ll draw from their resources as well.

Jeff: There’s also the matter of where to house them all while they’re awaiting deportation. Continue reading

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Donald meets Vladimir Putin

Wiggy Leaks – there’s a bug under that rug.

Vladimir: Let me congratulate you on your election victory.

Donald: Thank you my friend, and let me congratulate you. You’ve got a great country and you’re doing a great job with it.

Vladimir: If I may give you a piece of advice…

Donald: Sure. Sure.

Vladimir: You should prosecute Hillary Clinton.

Donald: Absolutely. She broke the law and she should pay for it.

Vladimir: In a very public manner. Make an example of her as a lesson to those who would oppose you.

Donald: We’re already doing it, believe me. Jeff Sessions wants to do it in front of Congress.

Vladimir: He will be a capable prosecutor. Perhaps Attorney General? But not in front of Congress. Continue reading

ArtSunday: LIterature

The World’s 100 Best Short Stories, sort of…volume 9: ghosts

Perhaps it’s all just a cock and a bull. But it’s a great one.

“There is neither ghost of earl nor ghost of countess in that room; there is no ghost there at all, but worse, far worse, something palpable….” “The worst of all things that haunt poor mortal men…and that is, in all its nakedness – Fear!” – H. G. Wells

Edward Everett Hale (image courtesy Wikimedia)

Edward Everett Hale (image courtesy Wikimedia)

This, the penultimate volume in The World’s 100 Best Short Stories set, takes as its subject matter/theme ghosts. As has been the case with other volumes in this series, the editor has chosen to interpret his choice broadly. Certainly in every story the characters find themselves haunted in some way, but this comes in most of the tales as a result of actions or circumstances rather than from any supernatural force.

The list of authors in this volume represents the most canonical or near-canonical group of any of the volumes thus far. Besides the above quoted Wells, Alexander Pushkin, Washington Irving, Sir Walter Scott, Prosper Merrimee, and John Galsworthy are all represented. There are some now forgotten (by contemporary audiences, anyway) writers, too, such as Johan Bojer, Stacy Aumonier, and James Hopper.  Then there’s the pictured Edward Everett Hale, known to generations of American school children for his story “The Man Without a Country” which is part of this collection.

Hale is the most fascinating of this latter group because he is known for a single work. Like Richard E. Connell (whose “The Most Dangerous Game” was discussed on my essay on volume 1) or Frank R. Stockton (known for “The Lady or the Tiger?” who will be discussed in the next essay of this series (though for  a different story), Hale’s literary legacy, though he was critically well regarded in his lifetime, hangs on that single story. This the topic for another essay, however, so let’s move on to the works in this collection. Continue reading

Donald meets Henry Kissinger

Wiggy Leaks – There’s a bug under that rug.

Donald: First, I gotta ask this. Where did you go wrong?

Henry: I’ve been advising Presidents for fifty years, including President Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Donald: So you hang around with losers. But you were a loser first. You’re like a thousand years old. Continue reading