Friday, March 31, 2017
One of the primary ways that Stilton's Place is different from Hope n' Change Cartoons is that we've given ourselves permission to "just blow it off" when the news is unappealing or the wind (for whatever reasons) simply fails to fill our sails.
But we're not going to deny you, the dear reader, at least a spot of levity just because we're sick of the blah-blah-blah about Trump vs the Freedom Caucus, Russian hackers vs the DNC, and Maxine Waters vs a Stylish Hairdo (hey, if she wants to support "Habitat for Black Widow Spiders" it's her business).
Anyway, that's why the Earwigs cartoon is lurking above. As we mentioned in our penultimate post over at Hope n' Change, we make Earwigs cartoons (though have not previously published any) as a fun writing exercise and misguided hobby. We basically find a piece of odd old clipart, and then try to spin off as many different punchlines as possible.
While this is mostly just for fun, we fully intend to self-publish a book of these things at some point, and declare it to be the world's first interactive cartoon book. Specifically because you can highlight your favorite captions and then claim co-authorship when you display the newly-personalized book in the bathroom for guests, family members, and visiting clergy to read.
We'd be tempted to run a Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of this book, only we can probably complete the whole project for a total cost of about $13.99.
Which, by remarkable coincidence, is exactly the cost of a plastic jug of Clan MacGregor alleged scotch!
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
|Let joy be unconfined.|
Instead, we simply feel a sense of weary and melancholy accomplishment, in much the same way we'd feel if we survived a gangbang in a prison shower and knew that it wasn't for the last time.
As mentioned here on Monday, there was no way the 2016 Turbotax program was going to run on our ancient (2008) Mac this year, so we ended up having to do everything using Turbotax's online site. Which was actually fine, as long as you don't mind spending $115 to wade through the government's indecipherable crap, put all of your most sensitive personal information online, and end up having no idea whatsoever if the final result is anything even marginally like correct.
Fortunately, the IRS provides a free service to help you sort everything out later. It's called an "audit."
Owing to this time (and sanity) consuming activity, we don't really have any trenchant political commentary for you today, other than to once again express our disgust with the whole system...and the legal requirement that we have to fund this madness.
Monday, March 27, 2017
Now that healthcare reform reform has been cancelled, two groups of people are celebrating. Those who love Obamacare the most, and those who hate Obamacare the most. In this way, President Trump has brought opposing political factions together in a way which we would like to call united, but will more accurately label as "schizophrenic" and probably dangerous.
At this point, it's moot to debate the relative virtues or failures of the proposed GOP bill, but we are going to take strong exception to the idea that if the healthcare system is allowed to completely collapse in the next few years (which Trump is touting with Caligula-like glee), that America's sick, dying, overcharged, and uninsured will blame the out-of-power Democrats for having created Obamacare, rather than the fat and happy Republican legislators who stood around this national bonfire roasting marshmallows and making s'mores.
Put another way, when Obamacare fails the voters will not reward the party that did nothing (even if the reasons were good), but will instead flock to the party that promises a quick and all encompassing fix - namely, a single-payer "Medicare For All" plan. That's going to be the Democrats, which is hardly surprising: Obamacare was designed to fail after destroying the free market health insurance system, thereby leaving fully socialized medicine as the only viable alternative. And the Dems knew human nature well enough to understand that this would assure their party power.
We really hope we're wrong about this, but ask yourself - if you were the patient in the cartoon above, who would you blame? The bad doctor who misdiagnosed you, or the good doctor who says he'll watch you suffer or die just to teach the bad doctor a lesson?
BONUS: NO TAXATION WITHOUT MEDICATION
Per Friday's post, we're still working on our taxes (yes, that's really our desk in the picture above) and things have just taken a turn for the worse.
Once we finally had all of our data entered into Quicken, all we had to do was fire up our TurboTax program and get cranking on the job of finding out how much of our money the government would steal.
But wait! It turns out that this year's edition of TurboTax won't run on our old Mac operating system (note to Intuit: you suck), meaning we're going to have to upgrade to a newer, fancier operating system which we already know won't really work on our old computer.
To accomplish this without destroying our sanity and life's work, we have to create a "partition" on our internal hard drive (basically just a dedicated space) in which to install Mac OS 10.10, which is code named after a ravenous jungle cat or a mountain prone to landslides or some damn thing.
But to find enough room to create that partition, we first need to find tens of gigabytes of existing data to erase from our hard drive - a process which in itself takes hours.
If you're waiting for this to pay off with a big punchline, well - sorry. We're just venting about the fact that we're having to jump through 17 flaming hoops just to do a task we hate in order to pay the government's ransom demands to keep us from having to grab our ankles in a prison shower.
AND AS LONG AS WE'RE COMPLAINING...
Remember two weeks ago when we were complaining about how long it takes us to adjust to Daylight Saving Time? Well, we still haven't adjusted - making every daily chore more difficult and exhausting.
We're taking caffeine pills to wake up, we're taking melatonin to get to sleep, and we're taking the Lord's name in vain to express what we think of government interference in our lives.
Friday, March 24, 2017
There are plenty of newsworthy things to talk about today, including radical Islamic terror, the impending (or not) House vote on Obamacare repeal, Trump's surveillance accusations, mainstream media burying the story of illegal aliens raping a 14 year-old girl in a school bathroom, and Chuck Schumer declaring that the Democrats will filibuster Neil Gorsuch's nomination for Supreme Court Justice in hopes of being rewarded with 72 virgins in the afterlife.
And why aren't we talking about these juicy topics? Because instead of keeping up with the news, we've spent the entire day working on our freaking taxes.
And we aren't even up to working on the actual, impenetrably baffling tax forms yet - a task which must be postponed until we've made a run to the liquor store. Rather, we're still at the beginning of the process, doing our once-a-year data entry of receipts into an ancient accounting program that we don't clearly remember how to use anymore.
As Life's grand parade passes us by, we're sitting scrunched at a desk squinting at every credit card charge, cancelled check, and crumpled receipt which passed through our underpaid hands in 2016...then peck-peck-pecking the numbers on a keyboard, hands cramping, until we want to scream.
The whole process is a white hot pain in the rear, but it's very important to make sure that everything in our tax return is completely accurate and above board. Because 12 years from now it's entirely possible that an older but no wiser Rachel Maddow may be waving our returns at a TV camera.
BONUS: Since we didn't have time to be particularly witty today, enjoy this clip from the wonderful TV series "Black Books," in which Bernard Black visits his accountant at tax time...
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
We're not at all sure that "ignorance is bliss," but we've decided to at least give it a try when it comes to anything whatsoever that FBI Director James Comey has to say, now or in the future.
As we understand it (and trust us, we're not trying very hard) Comey just testified that there's no evidence whatsoever that Russia hacked the election, hacked election results, or attempted to influence the election any more than they've been attempting for decades.
However, the man who downgraded treasonous security breaches to "extreme carelessness" when Hillary snapped her fingers was perfectly willing to announce, with great seriousness and theatrically cocked eyebrow, that his agency (at the insistence of Democrats) is actively investigating any ties between Russia and Trump's campaign...even though there may not be any.
Are there salient details that we're missing here? It's entirely possible - and we just don't care. Comey is a self-interested political hack who has destroyed the credibility of the FBI, and his meaningless pronouncements only serve as fresh fodder for the fake news mills (yes, we're talking about you, New York Times).
For the good of the country, we'd like to see Trump appoint a new director to the FBI as soon as possible. And to prove there are no hard feelings, we suggest he also appoint Comey to be director of the STFU.
Monday, March 20, 2017
|"Hey Bill, is that a missile in your pocket or are you glad to see me?"|
Even with a famously calm, cautious, and cool-headed President like Donald Trump delicately handling the crisis, it is at least a little bit worrisome to contemplate North Korea's desire to wreak havoc on our nation and the world. Especially since they could quite possibly pull it off, thanks to our old friends Bill and Hillary Clinton.
As you may recall if you don't get all your news from mainstream media, Hillary "That Glass Ceiling Is Thicker Than It Looks" Clinton and her husband raised tens of millions of dollars for their (ahem) "charitable foundation" by peddling State Department access and favors, as well as signing off on highly questionable deals like selling 20% of America's uranium reserves to Russia.
But this was hardly new behavior for the gruesome twosome. Way back in 1996, when the Clintons were actually renting out the Lincoln bedroom for sleazy celebrity romps in return for campaign contributions, Bill struck a controversial deal (again for hefty campaign donations) to let the Loral Corporation sell advanced missile guidance technology to China.
After which, in a spontaneous burst of unbridled capitalism, China sold the technology to the lunatics running North Korea - a terrifying and entirely predictable outcome which the Clintons didn't give a flying damn about as long as their illicit checks cleared. Some things never change.
And are Hillary's supporters outraged over this? They are not - and probably wouldn't be even if they'd heard of this existential nuclear threat and the attendant scandals (which they haven't). Instead, they spent the weekend in breathless distress over reports that climate change could cause mammals to shrink by as much as 15%.
In this nightmarish scenario, horses would become the size of slightly smaller horses, Great Danes would become the size of regular Danes, and the average sociopathic asshole would be exactly the size of Kim Jong-un.
Friday, March 17, 2017
President Trump's budget calls for the complete elimination of taxpayer funding for NPR radio, PBS television, and the National Endowment for the Arts. All of which were things that Adolf Hitler also did just before firing up the big ovens.
Or at least, that's what the Left would have you believe. Personally, we're delighted with the budget cuts and think they're long overdue. According to the Neilsen ratings service, if PBS went off the air (unlikely, as only part of their budget comes from taxpayers), the average viewer would still have 188 channels to choose from. Likewise, there are plenty of free broadcast radio stations with which to replace NPR in the marketplace - not to mention tens of thousands of radio stations and podcasts available online.
As for the National Endowment for the Arts, we think it unlikely that art will stop being created or distributed by real artists just because the government checks dry up. But the faux artists, so loved by the Left, will stop getting huge paydays for dunking crucifixes in urine, and will instead go back to giving the police free samples of their whiz to test for drug use.
BONUS: THE WEARING OF THE GRIN
Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Although you wouldn't guess it from the Jarlsberg name, we actually have Irish blood thanks to a redheaded paternal grandfather who immigrated from County Cork. Once in America, he knocked up our grandmother (who apparently could have used a cork) out of wedlock, then scampered away like one of the elusive little people.
Leprechauns, that is. We're not mocking the short-statured nor implying in any way that they're a shifty and promiscuous lot, no matter what you're heard.
The joke, however, was on O'Grandpa - as it turned out that his bastard son became a talented and delightful man and great father. We'll be drinking a toast to his memory today, and hope you'll join us in raising a glass!
AND ONE MORE THING...
Today is a big day for Daughter Jarlsberg! She's moving to a new apartment which will be closer to her job.
She's excited, we're excited, and her dog Ladybug is excited! Still, the act of hauling all of your belongings across town, loading an apartment, and setting up a new life can be a bit harrowing. For that reason, we'll appreciate any and all positive thoughts directed toward Oklahoma today!
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
|"Snowflakes should seek shelter in 5...4...3...2..."|
That's why we're introducing an exciting new feature for everyone to enjoy on those occasions when, due to unavoidable circumstances (like our EEG flatlining), we can't meet our own rigorously high standards of journalistic excellence. Specifically, we're putting the burden on YOU to come up with interesting things to talk about in the comments section!
We'll start you with several random thoughts to show how the game is played:
• Regarding the GOP healthcare plan, we think that hitching posts should be installed outside of emergency rooms so that when people show up who have chosen not to carry insurance, the providers can decline to provide treatment "for you and the horse you rode in on."
• Kellyanne Conway, who frequently serves as interpreter when communicating President Trump's ill-expressed thoughts to those who are fervor-impaired, recently stated that kitchen appliances like microwaves "can turn into cameras" to spy on people. In the future, we suggest that Kellyanne leave such wacky pronouncements in the microwave a lot longer, because they're definitely coming out half-baked.
And now, let's hear from YOU! (Remember, to get to the comments section just click on the title of today's post, or click on the number of comments just below the post).
Monday, March 13, 2017
We'll apologize in advance if today's commentary lacks our usual snap, crackle, and pop, but we're suffering from a severe case of Daylight Saving Time-induced brain fog.
#BlackCoffeeMatters, but no amount of that precious, steaming, life-giving liquid is enough to repair the grievous damage inflicted on our internal biorhythms by a cruel and uncaring government.
Oh sure, some people (whom we might be married to) can laugh it off, but for many of us the struggle is real. Especially if different clocks in the house are showing pre-DST time, DST time, and (in the case of Mrs. J's bedroom alarm) DST time plus 20 minutes because she likes it that way and has never learned anything from old Frankenstein movies that show the disastrous folly of toying with Nature.
(We pause briefly for a sip from our fifth cup of coffee, and to strike a stunned, unmoving pose like a dopey version of Rodin's "The Thinker" while trying to remember where words come from, how to string them together, and...uh...what were we talking about?)
Research, which we're too damn tired to look up or link to, shows that there may well be no benefit from Daylight Saving Time whatsoever: not for farmers, not for school kids, not for energy savings, or anything else. That same research shows that after any Daylight Saving Time clock change, there are more heart attacks, more car crashes, and marked increases in stress and depression.
Even worse, there's a lot more drooling on desks, although researchers don't like to talk about it.
Recovering from this debilitating "time flu" generally takes us about two weeks. We were going to say "give or take an hour," only this is no laughing matter except to those who are, unforgivably, naturally perky.
|On the plus side, where we're going the coffee will stay hot.|
Friday, March 10, 2017
Donald Trump and the Republicans have rolled out their initial plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, but for many Trump voters the plan (the first of three steps intended to address all aspects of reforming the ACA) isn't finding acceptance.
Why? Because they know (correctly) that Obamacare is riddled with serious problems and is harming our healthcare system and they voted to get rid of Obamacare in its entirety. And that's by God what they want!
Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is very much akin to the scenario depicted above: if you simply cut out the problems all at once with no replacement ready, the patient will die. And in this case, the bloodsoaked, flailing patient happens to be your health insurance.
We can't simply return to "the way things used to be" because Obamacare destroyed that system. It's gone. Kaput. It is not simply pining for the fjords, but has joined the choir eternal. Which is why doing an immediate and total fix is practically and politically impossible.
Rather, we need to accept (unhappily, and perhaps with an adult beverage in hand) that the Republicans only have two choices right now: a series of slow and messy patches to Obamacare that will gradually push the insurance industry back toward free market solutions, or a quick amputation of Obamacare in its entirety which will accelerate the industry's crash and make single-payer care inevitable.
We don't have to like those choices, but to deny that those are the choices can only lead to disaster.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Well, here we go again. Progressives have announced that March 8th is "A Day Without A Woman," a massive protest about women's sacred right to be really angry about something or other, approximately one month after their last massive protest about the same thing. Which suggests that hormones may be involved in the timing, although no man without a death wish is going to say so out loud.
The idea, and we use the term loosely, is to make men (those brutish, testosterone-filled bastards) appreciate women more by making them utterly useless for an entire day. Women are being encouraged to not work (either professionally or in the home), to participate in "pussy hat" marches (with labial flap earmuffs in colder climates), and to "avoid shopping" - which strikes us as ugly and unacceptably sexist behavioral stereotyping.
In fairness, because the "no shopping" rule would be impossible to stick to for 24 consecutive hours, exceptions are being made for the fightin' fems to shop at businesses owned by women or (ahem) persons of color. So social justice warriors can still buy anything on the shopping list from Uncle Ben or Aunt Jemima.
Of course, progressive men (not that we mean to be gender normative, especially when it comes to progressives) are encouraged to participate by "helping with caregiving and domestic chores" for the day. Really?! Frankly, any guys who aren't already helping with caregiving and domestic chores every day aren't men at all - they're just assholes.
So, will the fabric of America be torn asunder by today's protests and, if so, who will do the sewing afterwards? A tough question which we definitely won't voice during the big "I Shouldn't Have To Tell You What You Did Wrong" women's march approximately 28 days from now.
BONUS: EMBED BUGS
The whole question of whether Donald Trump and his team were wiretapped (and the Obama team's denial of same) has just been upended by the latest release of secret documents from Wikileaks.
The whole "Russian hacking" story has been rendered moot by the revelation that the CIA has a program called UMBRAGE which not only allows them to hack computers, but to make it look like the hacking was done by someone else. Like, oh, Russia. Meaning there's no definitive evidence that the real Russia hacked DNC emails at all.
It also turns out that "wiretapping" is soooooooooo last century (which is perhaps why Obama's spokespersons are happy to specifically deny wiretapping) and that the CIA (among others) has the cyber tools to spy on anyone without any need for tapping wires, bugging phones, or planting microphones.
Basically, the intelligence spooks have the technological capability of remotely activating pretty much every phone, smartphone, computer, or smart TV in your home, car, or workplace without you knowing it (and without showing that the device is on) - allowing them to spy using the cameras and microphones you've already surrounded yourself with.
At this very moment, without leaving our office chair, we easily located five video cameras and six microphones (actually fourteen if you count all eight in our Amazon Echo) just waiting to transmit our every utterance to the intelligence overlords in Washington.
Of course, you might say "I have nothing to hide - what do I have to worry about?" We'll be happy to tell you (and thanks for asking). It seems that due to some little "oopsy," the CIA's entire arsenal of cyber-spying tools has gotten into the hands of our nation's enemies and criminal hackers.
Thanks to the "embed bugs" surrounding us, no one is safe from stealth surveillance except the Amish. Which is why if you don't make a regular practice of raising barns, you should be raising hell.
Monday, March 6, 2017
|A mighty wind's a-blowin'...|
And politically speaking, that's the moment we're experiencing right now.
We won't go into all the (ever-developing) details here, but Donald Trump has accused the Obama administration of extensively wiretapping his campaign with ill intent - and so far, at least some of the evidence suggests that Trump may actually be on to something. Have our nation's intelligence agencies been involved in orchestrated attempts to subvert an election and destabilize the new administration?
As much as we usually roll our eyes at Trump's assertions that something is "yuuuuuge," in this case it's perhaps an understatement - because this is either the biggest political scandal in recent history, or evidence (some might argue further evidence) that our shiny new President is somewhat off his rocker.
Make no mistake, we find it entirely plausible that there could be an effort by the flagrantly corrupt Obama administration to abuse power in order to undermine our election process and potentially take down a sitting President of the United States. And if true, it's the sort of thing which not only demands criminal investigation and prosecution, but suggests that there might be an important secondary use for Trump's wall involving blindfolds.
We encourage Trump to use every legal weapon in his Presidential arsenal to bring the truth to the American people and bring the guilty - no matter how highly placed - to justice. On the other hand, if that process reveals that Trump's accusations are baseless, we recommend that he seek treatment for "Twitter Tourette's" as soon as possible.
For now, not knowing which way things are going to go, all we can do is hold our hands up in the air, scream, and enjoy the wild ride.
Friday, March 3, 2017
At President Trump's wildly successful speech to Congress, female Democrats decided to show that they're tough, serious, and independent-minded by all dressing the same, the first opportunity many have had since serving as bridesmaids back in the days of the Eisenhower administration.
Theoretically, the decision for the ladies to wear white was to show their support for women's suffrage...which was codified into law 92 years ago. Disappointingly, none of the Dem dames wore anything to show their support for abolition. Racist much, ladies?
BONUS: FRANKEN, MY DEAR, I DON'T GIVE A DAMN
We don't know all the details of the accusations against Attorney General Jeff Sessions because, and we state this firmly and for the record, we don't give a rat's ass.
For Sessions to have taken part in a Russian conspiracy to elect Donald Trump, there would have to have been a Russian conspiracy to elect Donald Trump. Not only is there no evidence of this, but the whole premise makes no sense.
Whereas Trump was simply free-associating about the possibility of a better relationship with the Kremlin while on the stump, Hillary quietly approved the sale of 20% of America's uranium reserves to the Russians. Moreover, with her bungled Russian "reset" program as Secretary of State, Hillary had already clearly demonstrated to Putin that, if elected, she would be far easier to manipulate than the wildcard Trump.
We're hoping that Jeff Sessions stands tough against the current accusations and that Trump stands behind him. The "Russian Conspiracy" is nonsense of a high order...and the last resort of a failing and flailing political party.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
|This has been a public cervix announcement.|
But in the meanwhile, let us reflect on the fact that those on the Left now need to manufacture a Trump-related crisis every day, and the current one is a doozy: Kellyanne Conway put her knees on an oval office sofa, thereby leaving the Left shocked (shocked!) with her lack of respect for the office.
Mind you, these are the same idiots who didn't complain a bit when Monica Lewinsky's knees hit the carpet, and Bill Clinton's "precious bodily fluids" were shooting around that same oval office like a Red Bull-fueled paintball war. Even now, there's probably more of Bill's DNA in that room than there is in Chelsea.
Of course, while focusing on Kellyanne's knees, the mainstream media ignored what was actually happening in that photo: Donald Trump was meeting with the nation's black college presidents - which you'd think the Left would approve of if they actually gave a tinker's damn about either black people or education (spoiler alert: they don't).
Then again, the ever color-conscious Left may have simply assumed this was the cast and crew of "Moonlight" showing up to demand government reparations after the Academy Awards fiasco.