The First Person To Experience This Should Be Trump…

In the very early hours of Saturday, March 14, CNN announced:

CNN (3)

This bill, H.R. 6201, is the Families First CoronaVirus Response Act, a multibillion-dollar stimulus package aimed at assisting millions of Americans directly hurt by the coronavirus outbreak.

What only a select few know is that’s there’s a provision buried in the bill that reads, in part:

“To ensure that the President is receiving the most up-to-date information on the well-being of the American people, we require that he be the first of the American people to experience the hardships they, too, will be experiencing.”

As a result of this provision, my hope is that in the very near future, when Trump ducks out of an Oval Office meeting into his Executive Bathroom, he’ll experience this:

No toilet paper

He’ll yell out and several of his toadies will rush to the door:

Toady #1:  Yes, sir?

Trump:  I’m out of toilet paper!  How the #!*$!%*#!! can my bathroom be out of #!*$!%*#!!ing toilet paper?

Toady #2:  Well, you see, sir, the store shelves are empty and –man_01

Trump:  I don’t care about that!  Just get me some #!*$%!%*#!!ing toilet paper!

Toady #3:  Yes, sir!

(A few minutes pass)

Toady #1:  Sir?  Sir, are you there?

Trump:  OF COURSE I’M STILL HERE, YOU #!*$!%*#!!ing IDIOT!

Toady #1:  Sir, we have everyone out checking the other bathrooms and the supply cabinets, we haven’t found any toilet paper so far but we’re moving as expeditiously as we can, and…

(Long pause)trump cropped

Trump:  Are you wearing a tie?

Toady #1:  A tie, sir?

Trump:  YES!  A #!*$!%*#!!ing TIE!  ARE YOU WEARING ONE?

Toady #1:  Well, yes sir, but…?

Trump:  Crack open the door and toss me your tie.man-loosening-tie

Toady #1:  Yes, sir!  Right away, sir!  (Pause, then door opens slightly) Here you go, sir.

Trump:  Close the #!*$!&*#!!ing door!  (Short pause) Why the #!*$!%*#!! do I have to solve all these big problems myself?

(Sound of flushing, and more swearing)

Of course, to fully ensure that Trump is experiencing what we’re experiencing, in addition to the toilet paper shortage, let’s include supermarket shelves empty of paper towels, baby wipes, hand sanitizers, bottled water, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, soap, peanut butter, pasta, rice, beans, canned goods and many other food items…

Image: Fears Of Coronavirus Spreading Causes Shortages Of Supplies At California Stores

And of course, Trump can’t be tested for coronavirus because we can’t, and we can’t be tested because…

ATlantic (2)

Oh, wait.  It appears that most of us 331,000,000 U.S. residents can’t get tested, but somehow, Trump did:

Hill (2)

But most of all, let us remember the people who are losing their jobs and incomes.

Trump claims he doesn’t take a presidential salary, so instead we’ll deprive him of the income from his businesses, which is substantial, according to this article:

Newsweek (2)

No income for Trump till further notice.

No toilet paper for Trump till further notice.

No employment for Trump as of November 3, 2020:

No_01

Movie Review:  She Was Smart And Powerful And Guys Were Afraid Of Her

Broadcast date:  2005movie larger

Review, short version:  All thumbs up.

Review, long version:

I remember as a kid repeating something I’d heard somewhere:

“Catherine the Great of Russia died after she had sex with a horse!”

At the time I thought this sounded very adult, and daring, though I didn’t have the slightest understanding of sex, of women having sex, or of the mechanics involved in a woman having sex with a horse.

And I barely knew what Russia was; I certainly didn’t know who Catherine the Great was.

But I’d heard it, and it was fun to say it for shock value, and being the bearer of such an adult, probably dirty, and maybe true event made me – momentarily – feel like the Queen of the Playground.

catherine young
Catherine:  From obscure German princess to Grand Duchess and wife of the heir of the Russian throne.

This is why propaganda thrives.

Ignorant people – like me – hear it and repeat it.

The story about Catherine the Great having sex with a horse was propaganda, and it wasn’t the first time the spin masters who manufactured it had turned their attention to her.

And why the propaganda campaign against her?  According to PBS’ excellent documentary, Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia:

“France and England, fearful of Catherine’s success in southern Europe, began a propaganda war, concentrating on her sexuality with cartoons, portraying her as a nymphomaniac to subvert her reputation for success.”

And that success was extensive.  One of the commentators in the film spoke of Catherine’s “Massive status as a statesman and as a woman,” and called her the “greatest of Russia’s rulers, including all the great empire builders.”

But guys in power didn’t like her, as illustrated in this 1791 political cartoon.  A colossal figure of Catherine steps from “Russia,” a rocky mound on the extreme left, to “Constantinople,” her toe resting on the horn of a crescent which surmounts a spire on a group of buildings, with a dome and a minaret.  Her head is turned in profile to the right; in her left hand is an orb, in her right she holds out a scepter over Constantinople, at which she looks with a determined frown:

Image cropped

Beneath Catherine’s petticoats, and strung out between “Russia” and “Constantinople,” are the heads and shoulders of seven sovereigns, gazing up at her.  On the extreme left is a man wearing the cap of the Doge of Venice, saying, “To what a length Power may be carried.”  Next is the Pope wearing his triple crown, saying, “I shall never forget it.”

Next is the King of Spain saying, “By Saint Jago, I’ll strip her of her Fur!”  Louis XVI says, “Never saw anything like it.”  George III says “What!  What!  What!  What a prodigious expansion!”  The Emperor says, “Wonderful elevation.”  The Sultan says, “The whole Turkish Army wouldn’t satisfy her.”  Below the design is inscribed “European Powers.”

These guys really didn’t like her.

Jealous, perhaps?  Afraid, perhaps?

grand-duke-peter-fedorovich-grand-duchess-catherine-alexeyevna
Grand Duke Peter and Grand Duchess Catherine; Peter became emperor in 1762 and was assassinated six months later.

Catherine the Great lived from 1729 to 1796, and she reigned as Empress from 1762 until her death.  She’s been the subject of numerous books, both non-fiction and novels, as well as feature films and TV miniseries.

So this film’s two hours couldn’t begin to cover all the highlights of Catherine’s life, but it does a great job with her overall story, beginning with her arrival in Russia as an obscure, young German princess who transformed herself into an Empress, and reigned for 34 years.

You’ll see how Catherine strengthened Russia’s standing in Europe; how she sought to modernize Russia’s culture through progressive views on arts and education; that she had an astute intellect; and was able to survive dozens of uprisings and court intrigues to keep her crown.

Catherine also chose her lovers, and there were many.  And she decided the hows and wheres, and when it was time to move on.

I can assure you that none of those lovers was a horse.

Catherine_II_in_front_of_a_mirror_by_Vigilius_Eriksen_(1762-4,_Hermitage)
This 1762 portrait, “Catherine in Front of a Mirror” by Vigilius Erichsen, shows the two sides of Catherine’s character – the imperious monarch and the sensitive woman.

But that didn’t stop the propagandists from perpetuating lies, even after her death.

I recently read, “When myths and stereotypes predominate, facts, logic and evidence lose out.”  That’s why the myth of Catherine and the horse survived all those years to reach my ears.  And just like the fools who believed and spread the lie back in the 1700s, I believed and spread it, too.

And that story is still out there.  A google search brought me 84,000,000 results.

I recommend skipping the lies and propaganda and watching Catherine the Great.  It’s informative and entertaining, and made me want to learn more about her.

And it’s a great film about the “greatest of Russia’s rulers.”

catherine 50s
The “greatest of Russia’s rulers”:  Portrait of Catherine in her 50s, by Johann Baptist van Lampi the Elder.

 

Only In Texas Could They Turn Toilet Flushing Into A Competitive Sport

I’ve heard of the card game Texas Hold ‘em, but I’d never heard of Texas Super Flush.

I wondered if Texas Super Flush was another card game, with a Super Flush being even better than a Royal Flush?

But no!  The Texas Super Flush was this mid-February breaking news:

first

It appears that the Texas Rangers – the baseball team, not the law enforcement agency – have a brand-new stadium in Arlington:  Globe Life Field.

And before the first event there on March 14 – a country music concert, not a baseball game – the stadium builders proposed an even more important event:

They wanted the plumbing system – 860 toilet stalls and 260 urinals – stress tested.

So the builders brought in 300 local high school students who headed for their battle stations…

Image 1 smaller

Waited for the countdown…

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And let the games begin!

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There was much sprinting from bathroom to bathroom – remember, only 300 students and more than 1100 toilets and urinals – and the competition was fierce:

“Dude!  That was, like, my fifth toilet!”

“Ashley, I own that urinal, get away from it!”

“It’s kinda weird flushing when I haven’t used the toilet – I don’t flush half the time at home!”

There was up-to-the-minute live coverage:

Picture1

And more live coverage:

Picture2

Of what one reporter called a “synchronized simulation of the seventh inning stretch”:

Picture3

“Seventh inning stretch” being a baseball euphemism for “when everyone goes to the bathroom.”

Those students gave it their all, testing those toilets, flushing and moving on from one to the next, while others flushed the same toilets – they were keeping score, after all:

“Dude, I’m up to 26!”

And then, after much sprinting and flushing and flushing and flushing:

Fox headline (2)

But they can’t fool me.

I know what was really going on there.

It was, after all, Texas, home to lots of Trump supporters.

And they wanted to let the world know that they love Trump, no matter what.

Remember when Trump said this:

CNN (2)

These are the people Trump was talking about!

These proud Texans…

Students

Flushed and flushed and proved Trump was right.

You might even say they were…

Flushed-with-Success cropped larger

The WHAT? Of WHO?

When I read the book section of the Sunday newspaper – yes, I’m a dinosaur, I still readdinosaur cropped FIXED and enjoy the daily newspaper – I always look at The New York Times hardcover fiction and non-fiction best seller lists.

This section is usually followed by a list of top sellers from a local bookstore, and on a recent Sunday that store was Warwick’s, which proudly states it’s “The oldest continuously family-owned and operated bookstore in the United States…since 1896.”

So I’d say Warwick’s has some credibility.

Or it did.

Until I saw this:

Warwick's (2) with arrow

That’s right – coming in at #6 on Warwick’s top sellers:  The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump.

Now, Trump has been in the White House for a nightmarish what-seems-like forever, and while I have many words to associate with him, “beautiful” and “poetry” are not two of them.

Never once has it occurred to me to put “beautiful” and “Trump” in the same thought, nor “poetry” and “Trump.”  Never until this very repulsive moment.

Is this a joke?amazon

Well, the book is on Amazon, hardcover, in stock, with 105 customer ratings, published by Canongate Books.  With this description:

Does a poet’s heart beat under Donald Trump’s brash exterior?
Experience his best quotes and tweets, rearranged into poems and haikus.
It’s a new word order.

This called for:

  1. Anti-nausea pills, followed by
  2. Research

Looking at the cover above, in very small print we see that Trump is not the author of the book – on the cover it says, “Created by Rob Sears.”

It’s also immediately apparent that the creator(s) put Trump’s head on someone else’s body.  Seriously – Trump, in a cravat?

And look at the hands on the cover – compare those graceful, slender fingers to Trump’s, which are stubby and thick:

trump hands cropped

So far we’ve established that Trump neither wrote the poetry, nor posed for its cover.

Next research:  “Creator” Rob Sears, who proved easy to find.

Sears has a page on the publisher’s website, where I learned that Canongate Books is in the United Kingdom, and Sears lives in Finsbury Park, a bit north of London.

In 2017 – the year the book was published – Sears was also featured in this September article in the UK’s Guardian:

Guardian (2)

From the article:

“‘He [Trump] does speak in very compact, distilled phrases that tell you a lot about who he is, in a small number of words.  So it’s not that far away from poetry,” says Sears.  “Lots of declarative sentences, a staccato rhythm.  There is no complexity to anything he says.  People have said he writes like a third grader with a limited vocabulary.  I’ve read so many of his words and there really are no exceptions.’

And of the book, the article says:

“More than 30 years of Trump’s misogyny, xenophobia and taste for vengeance are on display – all fastidiously footnoted.”

OK, I get it.

The book is a joke.  If I’d scrolled a bit further down the Amazon page, I would have seen the category “Satire.”

Apparently Sears was motivated to – and found a publisher for – a collection of Trump’s tweets and other statements which Sears cut up, reordered, and pasted together.

Without further ado, but with the anti-nausea pills, here’s an excerpt:

First Poem (2)

Here’s another about – of all things – Trump’s hands:

Hands (2).jpg

And here’s the one on the back of the book, in case you couldn’t read it in the top image:

book jacket cropped larger

I knew those anti-nausea pills would come in handy.

So of course, I get it – the Warwick top seller list is serious, but the book is a joke.

What I don’t get was how the book ended up on Warwick’s top seller list – who was buying it?  Were they people who thought Trump actually wrote poetry?

Based on some of the Amazon reviews, it appears so:

“I was expecting poetry from Donald Trump!” Seriously cropped

“This book is not Trump’s poetry…written to put the President in a negative light, probably penned by a Democrat.  It should not have been allowed to be published.”

“This book is horrible and is an attempt to make President Trump look stupid?  The book is not what I thought it was going to be…”Seriously cropped

“They are poking fun at the WONDERFUL INTELLIGENT president of the U.S.A. in this waste of paper.  He is a genius, and the reason this book only has two or three words per page to attempt to insult him is because the TRUTH is – they could fill volumes with his meaning and wit.”Seriously cropped

“More liberal hate and attacks on the greatest president since Lincoln!”

Pathetic.

Or did they buy it thinking they’d have a good laugh?

Because…I’m not laughing.

I’m not laughing because what Trump says isn’t a joke.

Trump, and what he says, are a tragedy:

Loves Me (2)

Update, March 9:  And now, from a different author, these more recent examples of Trump’s poetry:

March 9 Update (2)

“Turn Right!  No, Your OTHER Right!”

In mid-December 2019 there was a lot going on in the news, like this:

Australia (2)

And this:

Brexit (2)

And this:

Star Wars (2)

And, oh yeah – the House voted to impeach what’s-his-name.

There was that, too.

So it’s no wonder that I – and perhaps you – missed this mid-December story:

Wrong Orbit (2)

It appears that Boeing – yes, the folks that brought us the 737 Max airplanes that have been grounded for…let’s see…coming up on a year now, isn’t it?

Even though last October, Boeing’s CEO said this:

737 grounded (2)

Clearly, the Boeing higher-ups are rocket scientists, and I mean that literally, since they decided, “Hey, we built the 737 Max – let build rocket ships, too!”

So they built this thing called “Starliner,”

starliner_01

With the goal of taking astronauts to the International Space Station.

But…after lifting off on its first test flight December 18, Starliner ended up in the wrong orbit:

Starliner
Starliner:  A picture-perfect lift-off following by Boeing’s total screw up.

There were no astronauts on board this test flight, so instead I’ll imagine the conversation by whoever was in charge at Mission Control Center:

Rocket Scientist #1:  Wait a minute – isn’t the Space Station in the other direction?

Rocket Scientist #2:  Make it turn right!  No, your OTHER right, you dummy!

I don’t know what orbit Starliner ended up in, but somebody hit the brakes and Starliner made what one article called “a hastier-than-planned return to Earth.”

What brought this background information to my attention was this recent update:

Incomplete testing (2)

According to the article,

“A software error left the Starliner capsule in the wrong orbit in December and precluded a docking with the International Space Station.  Another software flaw could have ended up destroying the capsule, if not fixed right before reentry.

“A Boeing vice president, John Mulholland, said both mistakes would have been caught if complete, end-to-end testing had been conducted in advance and actual flight equipment used instead of substitutes.”

computer
But it worked great in 1981!

So when testing a space capsule that was intended to carry humans to the Space Station, Boeing skipped thorough testing?

And used substitute instead of actual flight equipment?

Substitutes like…an old blender they had sitting around?  An out-of-date throwaway camera?  A computer from the 1981 space shuttle?

I wondered, was Boeing trying to cut corners?

Not so, according to the article,

“Mulholland stressed that the situation had nothing to do with saving money.”

Wow!  Finally, someone at Boeing is telling the truth!

After all, it’s not their money Boeing is spending.

It’s ours.

And take a guess how much the government – meaning we taxpayers – have thus far spent on the Starliner debacle:

5 B cropped larger

That’s right.

Taxpayers have given $5 billion to Boeing to develop Starliner.

Clearly, “saving money” is not on Boeing’s priority list.

billion cropped fixed

But the real bummer was that Starliner – this was back in December – carried taxpayer-paid-for “Christmas treats and presents for the six space station residents.”

Those treats and presents never arrived.

And neither did this:

starliner test dummy cropped

Meet Rosie the Rocketeer.

In this photo provided by Boeing, the space test dummy that would be aboard the Starliner was “named after the iconic WWII character, Rosie the Riveter, and is headed to space decked out in her famous red bandana and a Boeing blue space suit.”

Boeing got the red bandana right, but not the Starliner.

I’d say Rose the Rocketeer isn’t the only dummy at Boeing.

starliner landed in new mexico
“We made it!  Starliner landed!”
“You dummy, it landed on the moon.  It was supposed to go to the Space Station!”

Mix Airplanes And Cruise Ships And…

1967 summer ofFifty-some years ago someone I suppose we’d call an “artist” wrote something I suppose we’d call a “song.”

It became fairly popular among rock ‘n’ rollers, and actually rose to the height of anthem among a certain segment of popular culture.

It was 1967, the song was “White Rabbit,” and it’s all about drugs – ingesting them and tripping out on them, with lyrics that made no sense until you were, indeed, ingesting and tripping.

Here are the lyrics:

One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all.

Go ask Alice, when she’s 10 feet tall.

cater_02
The song’s references to “a hookah-smoking caterpillar” and other Alice in Wonderland characters made sense – if you were stoned.

And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you’re going to fall
Tell ‘em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call.

And call Alice, when she was just small.

When the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go
And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low.

Go ask Alice, I think she’ll know.

When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen’s off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said:
Feed your head, feed your head.

woman
Celebrity Cruises say passengers experience an Alice in Wonderland-inspired journey through the ship’s amenities.

See?

No sense at all.

Unless you’re stoned.

Fast forward to 2020.

A cruise ship line – for reasons that also make no sense at all – has incorporated these 50+-year-old lyrics and the music into their commercials.

Well, it makes no sense to me, so I took to the Internet and found plenty of explanations from back when the commercials came out, on websites including AdWeek, the bible of the advertising industry:

Adweek (2)

And Travel Weekly, which bills itself as “The Travel Industry’s Trusted Voice”:

Travel WEekly (2)

And this:

JA (2)

From JeffersonAirplane.com, or “JA,” Jefferson Airplane being the band that recorded “White Rabbit” in 1967.

The articles state that the commercials are for Celebrity Cruises and their newest ship, Celebrity Edge:

Ship

Which, according to the Celebrity Cruises website is “A ship designed to leave the future behind.”

Which also makes no sense at all.

So, let’s hear from the experts, as quoted in Travel Weekly:

Celebrity Cruises said:

“The ad ‘follows a female protagonist on a voyage of discovery through a dream-like wonderland of world-class cuisine, cocktails, Eden-istic experiences and alluring accommodations, all on the brand’s newest ship, Celebrity Edge.

“Eden-istic experiences.”  Uh-huh.

woman_01 cropped
Woman overboard?  No, she’s just having an “Eden-istic experience.”

‘…bringing the experience of cruising with Celebrity to life in a dramatic, beautiful way.  We wanted to show how unexpected moments, impeccable service and stunning design create a trip that is truly wonderful, and provides our guests with a break from reality, even just for an instant.’”

“Create a trip.”  Well, the “trip” part sounds right.

And this, from the ad agency that did the airplane-cruise ship mix:

“We want viewers to see Celebrity the way we see Celebrity, as a modern and progressive brand with an incredible and unique product.  We hope to convey the same feelings of wonder and intrigue you get from being on a Celebrity cruise, in a fresh way.”

“Wonder and intrigue.”  I see.

Only I don’t.

Perhaps only a hookah-smoking caterpillar could:

cater_02

WOW!  Mail – AND Money – From Melania!

I am humbled.

Seriously humbled.

To think that Melania Trump – busy as she is, picking out clothes and shoes and accessories, getting her hair and makeup done, and following behind Trump like in this famous image, where Trump is bounding up the White House steps, Melania apparently forgotten…

melania image 1

That she would take the time to find MY name, MY address, write to me AND send me a check?

And not only that, but to write a two-page letter, personally addressed to me?

Just a cursory glance at the letter showed me it was filled with her own personal words of wisdom, like these…

Words 1

And these…

Words 2 (2)

And these…

Words 3 (2)

WOW, again!  Melania is going to tell Trump – about me?

And she personally signed it with an authentic Trump-style Sharpie?

Seriously, all I can say is…

Im not worthy cropped larger

So there I was, basking in the glow of Melania’s personal attention, picking up the check again to admire her other authentic Trump-style Sharpie signature, when…

check (2)

Wait.

The check isn’t made out to me.

It’s made out to “Republican National Committee.”

Oh no cropped larger

Did Melania mail me the wrong check?

I went back and this time I read the letter closely, and…

I' crushed cropped

This wasn’t a personal-from-Melania-let’s-be-BFFs missive at all.

It was a pitch for money!shoes_01 cropped smaller outlined

For the Republican National Committee!

And here I’d had visions dancing through my head of us shopping together, and finding these Jimmy Choo Metallic Avril 100 Crystal Pumps – a steal at $4,215…

Well.

If you see Melania (look for her following behind Trump – he’s the one with the umbrella) …

melania and baron behind

Well, if Melania wants to write to me again, please tell her my new address…

lonely cropped larger

At…

Heartbreak hotel