Author Archives: Tom Streeter

Failed State

 

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

A government that can’t keep its own citizens alive isn’t worth a warm bucket of shit. A media system that makes money pretending black and white is a matter of opinion isn’t worth a warm bucket of shit. An opposition that doesn’t openly and vocally oppose rank stupidity and corruption isn’t worth a warm bucket of shit.

And a citizenry that politely lets it all happen to them isn’t worth a warm bucket of shit.

What follows is a rant.  You may not need to see a rant right now.  That’s cool. Don’t read this, then. Save it for another day. Ignore it altogether. Whatever. This is for me, and the last thing I want to do is add to your burdens. Your job is take care of yourself. Do what you need to do. I’ll be fine.

On the other hand, if you’re in the mood to watch a spleen get vented sit back and come along for the ride.

You know what I hate?  I hate that motherfuckers who’ve spent the last — oh, I don’t know — 40 fucking years telling me I was just some soft candy-assed soft-hearted lib’rul who should get on my knees and kiss their rancid knobs of 9mm manly manliness because they were “protecting my freedoms” — are now parading around saying that their “liberties” are at stake because they can’t go get a fucking haircut. Jesucristo en una tortilla, this is worse than those asswipes who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge a few years ago and forgot to bring snacks.

I hate that everyone is sitting around pretending they have to be respectful of people who are perfectly comfortable with the idea of you dying so they can get more imaginary magic beans. Yeah. That’s what money is.  It’s something we made up. It only as value because we pretend it does. It doesn’t occur in nature. My cats don’t give a shit about money. Nether does your dog. And SARS-CoV-2 definitely doesn’t give flying fuck about money. Sure, a  sociopath is perfectly willing to kill you over it, but Jezus Chrystus w kiełbasie playing along with them is is just fucking stupid.

We’ve never not fought a war because it was too expensive. Money is an excuse, not a state of nature. Death, on the other hand, occurs in nature. At a 100% rate. Sure it’s going to get all of us eventually, but 耶稣基督在蛋卷中1 do you have to help? What kind of sick fuck are you if shifting off someone else’s mortal coil is worth it so long as you can have more magic beans? And just what brand of moron are you if you think that’s something worth debating?

What set me off is that Brian Kemp — proof-positive that shit things can come out of Athens, GA, too — announced last night that he’s going to encourage people to start committing suicide by getting a haircut on my birthday so other people can have more magic beans. My cousin who I love like a sister and has the misfortune to be in Texas right now is having to help plan how to best open a medical library full of books that tell you what a completely fucking stupid idea it is to open a library in the middle of a fucking pandemic.

You don’t have to be civil to people who are trying to kill you so they can have more magic beans. You don’t have to be nice. You don’t have to be cooperative.  It’s fine to be a pain in their asses. Not only would they do the same for you, they’re doing worse. Right now. To you.

Just don’t forget to help the people who aren’t trying to kill you.  That’s most people, actually. Be a revolutionary. Be kind.

Stay home. Wash your damn hands.  Stay alive. That’s your job. Everything else is bullshit, and anyone who tells you different doesn’t give a shit about you.

And you don’t have to pretend they do.


1 And yes, I love Google Translate.  Why do you ask?

SARS-CoV-2 in the Time of Everyone Having the Same Idea for Blog Post Titles

Picture of biscuits I baked this morningSomewhere Gabriel Garcia Márquez is wishing people would actually read his book Love in the Time of Cholera rather than just making up riffs on its name for blog titles.

That said, dibs on One Hundred Years of Solitude.

To be honest, the fact that people are brushing off their old blogs is one of the better things coming out of all of this. Just yesterday (or was it the day before?) I saw that George “Loki” Williams (briefly of Cincinnati, now and forever in New Orleans) fired up his old blog. If you ever had one (or even if you didn’t) get off that book of faces or the tweet machine and give it a try. It’s therapeutic. Or maybe add it in to your mix.  There are lots of people I know who I’d read in a heartbeat. That’s a hint, if not a flat-out request. You have the time.  By and large, we all have the time.

So I made biscuits this morning. It’s the second time in a couple of days. Carla made up a huge batch of sausage gravy the other day (in no way a bad thing) and after finishing off the last batch I realized we had enough gravy left for another round. What’s notable about these (and why they rated a picture) is that these are the first biscuits I’ve made using something other than White Lily Self-Rising Flour in quite some time. Any of you who bake know that flour is one of those things that’s pretty hard to find right now.  The last batch exhausted the last of the White Lily I had, so this batch is using the venerable King Arthur All-Purpose and adding the baking powder myself. I’m very pleased with the results. The texture is a little different owing to the higher protein, but they rose well and were in no way tough. Grating frozen butter into the flour and worked the dough as little as possible did the trick. The next “test” will be some of my cinnamon biscuits.  Twice as much butter and 1/4 cup of cinnamon chips. They could probably be classified as scones (since there’s not that much difference between a British scone and an American biscuit anyway.  No egg.  That’s about it, as best I can tell).

The other thing I’m doing through all of this is coding what I’m informally calling the Events Engine for Hoperatives.com. It’s essentially going to be an interactive calendar for beer events around Cincinnati (and eventually elsewhere). I don’t want to go into too much detail because, quite frankly, talking about it can get tedious pretty quickly. Here’s the proof.

I’ve been working on it for a very long time (essentially full-time since Christmas), but the ball is rolling now. My programming skills had become very rusty over the years and an awful lot has changed since the last time I’d done anything seriously. It’s been as much an exercise in learning two programming frameworks (Laravel and Vue for those scoring at home) as well as trying to make something usable for all concerned.

I recognize the irony of putting a lot of effort into a way to advertise and track the exact kinds of public activities that none of us have any business doing right now. If there’s any gift I have, it’s timing. There’s a reason I like to say that the purpose of my life is to serve as a cautionary tale to others. It occurred to me the other day, though, that there may be some real use for this during this time.  Breweries are, for the most part, still making beer (thank the deity of your choice). Buying it can be a bit of a challenge, though. It’s not worth going into a bunch of details here, but I think I’ll be able to roll it out here in a couple of weeks in a limited way so breweries can advertise when and how they’re doing sales. It’s something that changes frequently, so the ability to update it quickly and forget it could be handy. It’s given me a second wind, if nothing else.

The purpose of all of this, of course, is to distract myself from the horror that’s coming:

100,000 deaths.  Or more.  The next month is going to be more awful than anything we’ve experienced in our lifetimes. The world is already different. After this there will be no going back. No one will be untouched. Someone I know and love is probably going to die very soon. Maybe more than one someone. And I won’t be unique in that. I’m hunkering down and I hope you are too, but I know everyone can’t.

Get some perspective on what 100,000 people means.  Fill up the Rose Bowl. Then kill everyone. You still haven’t hit 100,000 (you’re about 7,500 short). You can go over by about the same amount by killing everyone in either Neyland Stadium in Knoxville or Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.  Given the shitty job their state governments are doing, they may not even have to leave their respective states to get that done.

(Never let it be said that I ever pass up a chance to point out how profoundly stupid Kentucky can be, but folks here — and I sincerely mean across the entire  political spectrum — have stepped the hell up.  Except Thomas Massie, Rand Paul, and the Turtle That Grifted, of course.  They’re eternal asshats).

That orange motherfucker in the White House is currently keeping himself half-erect by calling himself a “Wartime President.” Here’s a clue Skippy:  when your completely fucked-up response to an avoidable crisis gets nearly as many Americans killed as were killed by combat in World War I, you lost the fucking war.

Yeah.  I’m angry.  I’m always angry.

Wash your hands.  Stay inside.  Stay alive.  That’s your job.

Let me know if I can help.  That’s mine.

No-class Warfare

Image reading "Worth: Just because you're necessary doesn’t mean you're important"

Image from https://despair.com. Click the image to go to their site.

The Adderall-snorting walking-shitshow has a habit of saying the quiet parts out loud, doesn’t he?

Worse for who, asswipe? And besides Javanka, who the fuck do you mean by “we?”

Where did this quasi-literate shitnozzle get the idea that we give a flying fuck about his problems?  Let’s be clear:  he’s perfectly OK with you dying to pay for his sins.  He doesn’t have your best interests at heart. He doesn’t care who makes his Big Macs. Just as long as they get made.

You really want to go back to work?  You think the same people who steal your shit from the fridge are going to wash their hands when they do it? You want to be carried into the ER the day after your local hospital runs out of ventilators? Let me put it this way:  you have a better chance of getting COVID-19 than you do of winning the lottery. When you hear the words “save the economy,” just substitute “keep the same people in charge of your life” and see if what you’re being asked to do is really in your best interests.

It’s OK to ask “so what’s in it for me?” The scam only works if you don’t think you have a choice. You do.  You’re worth more than whatever your boss gets out of you.  Act like it. Your job is to stay alive.

You really want to die so this guy can live?

Shitnozzle shits on flag

Pity the flag.

Embracing My Inner Bubble Boy

Image of Heimlich from I left the house today for the first time in 12 days. It seemed very weird. I was running a bunch of prescriptions up to Walgreens.  I’m on more than a few meds and this run was the culmination of a months-long effort to get everything sync’d up. Don’t get me wrong:  I like the folks at the Walgreens drive-thru, but I was seeing them so often I felt like I should know the names of their kids and remember their anniversaries.

I’m one of those annoying people this whole societal shutdown hasn’t really affected.  You call it self-quarantine, I call it my preferred lifestyle. No paycheck?  I haven’t seen one since November. Going on the internet to see what part of society has collapsed today?  I’ve been doing that since it became clear the syphilitic shit-pustule was going to take up residence in the White House. I have no criticism for anyone who has freaked out, is now freaking out, or is scheduled for a freak-out at some unspecified time in the future, but that’s not me. I’m not going to say I knew precisely that this was going to happen, but I’ve been living with the full knowledge that something was going to happen that the semi-sentient cold sore wouldn’t be able to handle and he’d get a lot of people killed.

In my mind our condo is now filled with chickens coming home to roost and dropping shoes. None of this is a surprise. It’s actually a little bit of a relief. Hey, it’s my mind, so my metaphors. There’s a reason I’m on a lot of meds.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I find this fascinating to watch. Some large percentage of what we do everyday — I can’t say how large, but it’s big —  is kabuki-theater bullshit meant to demonstrate to people who don’t give a shit about us that we “know our place.”  A lot of culture is defined by ritual. Most people are changing their rituals now. And it’s raising questions that don’t benefit the needs of people who’ve had it pretty good to date.

Somewhere I heard that if you want to establish a new habit, you should do it for two weeks. I don’t know if two weeks is somehow a magical timeframe, but I do know that you can incorporate new behaviors and cognitive models by forced repetition over relatively short periods of time.  I had a professor who called it “unconscious competence.” You might call it muscle memory.

This isn’t going to be over anytime soon. The last 12 days have been an eternity even to me, and I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it. We’re not near the end.  Hell, we’re probably not at the end of the beginning. It’s going to be fascinating to see what “perfectly obvious” social truths are going to be overwritten.

I’ve long thought the movie A Bug’s Life is the best all-around representation of the late-stage capitalism we live in.  The fact that Kevin Spacey is (allegedly) actually evil is just bonus .. kind of.  In a bad way.  A really bad way. Maybe we can not think too hard about that. Anyway, I’ve always wondered what it would take to trigger us ants to figure out the grasshoppers didn’t have our best interests at heart.

Folks?  I think the circus has come to town.

So stay safe. I’ve got emotional bandwidth to spare, so if you need to freak out to someone, I’d be honored if you’d choose me.  If I can help, I will. I’ll have no answers for you, but I’ll take you seriously. If you’re one of the people who actually knows how to get in touch with me I can assure you I really do care (performative social indifference notwithstanding).

Oh, and wash your damned hands.