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Monday, December 26, 2016

A Donald Trump Worst Case Scenario

If someone had asked me in January of 2001 to opine on a worst case scenario for the incoming president there is just no way that I could have predicted two failed wars and an absolutely ruined economy. I thought that George W. Bush was an idiot and a clown but I just didn’t have the sort of warped imagination necessary to project so much mayhem. I think that the results of the Trump presidency will be pretty much what you would expect from having a reality TV star as president of the most powerful country in the history of the world.

Jump ahead to January of 2009 and look into the same crystal ball for Obama’s eight years and most of the Republicans' promises during the elections in 2008 concerning the economy were exceeded in the Obama administration. Critics of Obama’s rule point out our excessive debt and the fact that growth never hit 3% during his eight years (3% was hit in December 2016). If you can think of a better reason than taking care of the health needs of poor citizens for a country to take on debt please tell me what that is. Most of the people moaning about our national debt have no idea what they are talking about and also refuse to put any of the blame on Republican tax cuts for the rich or Bush’s two disastrous wars. As far as the U.S. economy not reaching 3% growth (fast enough) all I can say is welcome to the world financial meltdown of 2008.

Only a few weeks before he is to take office Trump has already been saturating the media with stupidity via his Twitter account. Twitter is, without a doubt, the most asinine aspect of modern technological communications. Our new President is addicted to this idiocy like a 13 year old child with a new toy except unlike a child he will soon be the most powerful man in the world. His unhinged Twitter proclamations are frightening.

If ever I posed a more rhetorical question, a question that I wouldn’t dare touch with a ten foot selfie-stick it would be to ask about a worst case scenario for the Trump Presidency. 

While I refuse to speculate on any worst case scenarios I will say that Trump will soon tire of the exigencies of his elected office. He seems already overwhelmed with the prospect of taking on actual responsibility. In the past he could simply drive a company into bankruptcy and then have his legal team pick over the debris.

I will also say that many of the working class folks who voted for Trump will quickly realize that he is not their champion. Indeed, his cabinet picks have all but ruled out that the lower classes will make any gains under his administration. More than anything I think that Trump will hate the fact that almost everyone hates him. George W. Bush—if you will remember—barely spoke to the American public and any time he did speak it was in a very controlled environment, like a military base or weapons plant. Trump’s Mussolini-like rallies won’t be possible once he takes office and these love-fests are open to the public.

Just how Trump’s displeasure with his unpopularity will manifest itself is anyone's guess but I’m almost sure it will provoke a Twitter battle.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

More Reasons To Be on Facebook

1 – You can look at the photos of the fancy food your friends eat while sitting at your desk inhaling microwave popcorn and a cold hot dog.

2 – “Funny” videos in which people probably end up dead or at the very least permanently injured but we never see the hospital or cemetery part so LOL!

3 – Life-affirming slogans attached to a picture of a sunset or some inspiring landscape until you find out someone was pranking you and the slogans were all shit Hitler said.

4 – Looking at pictures of friends who look a little dumpy these days makes you really appreciate the value of schadenfreude (just unfollow the vast majority of friends who make you feel like a total slob)

5 – Fake news! Tons of it!

6 – Friends like me who provide links to the really important stuff.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Monsoon Season in Valencia

OK, it’s finally official: I have become a Spanish grandmother. How else is it possible to explain the fact that I am talking about the weather? I’ve been called worse and the shitty weather just gives me an excuse to stay home and read my eyes out. At the moment I am discovering C├ęsar Aira, a writer from Buenos Aires. Sui generis is not too strong a description of what I have read thus far. 

The upside to all this rain is that many of the wetlands around the city are returning after being absent for many years. I haven't seen water in this little lagoon behind El Saler Beach in 4-5 years, maybe even more.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Rocked Out

Looking back over the year of celebrity deaths it doesn’t take a philosopher to show us the price we pay for completely over-valuing the talents of a handful of performers. Most of the celebrated deaths over the course of 2016 were premature and attributable to bad life choices such as drugs, booze, cigarettes, sexual promiscuity, et cetera but it was mostly fame that put them into an early grave and we are to blame for that.

Eventually—and I hope that day is very, very far in the future—legends like Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger will no longer be with us—I’m not so sure about Keith Richards as he just may find a way to morph into an eternal life force. When this day of reckoning comes I can only imagine the outpouring of grief and gratitude that will overwhelm the world’s media. I will say the same thing regarding this eventuality as I said when the Nobel Prize in literature was awarded to Bob Dylan: haven’t we compensated these people enough—both financially and with wild adulation—over the course of the last 60 years without falling to our knees once again?

I’m done with rock music and ready to move one. I said this a couple of decades ago so it isn’t news to anyone who knows me. Rock and roll had a very good run but ran out of new ideas around 1990 and then just started repeating itself. That was 26 years ago. If I never hear another note of a rock song for the rest of my life I would be OK with that. I could listen to nothing but Bach solo piano pieces and I’d be happy as a clam and I definitely don’t need to hear Stairway to Heaven ever again.

Rock music has been the most over-valued aspect of popular culture for all of my life. We have made billionaires out of a lot of fairly mediocre musicians and songwriters. I find much more brilliance in a single mazurka by Chopin than in the entire pantheon of rock, but that’s just me and by “me” I mean one of the worst piano players to ever touch the instrument.

...and you absolutely can't dance to rock and roll so what good is it?

This piece always kills me.