Some businesses in America are finally opening up, giving ordinary glove-wearing mask-wielding, Purell-scented citizens the ability to shop in only a mild state of terror. Personally, we're going to give it a little more time (we're old, have underlying health issues, and have the kind of personality that makes medical personnel feel so-so about saving you).
Fortunately for the homebound, there is still pleasure to be found in shopping the way we did before the Internet: reclining in an overstuffed La-Z-Boy with a calming adult beverage and another odd edition of Spensive Gifts...
ALSO IN THE NEWS: THE GREENS PARTY CANDIDATE
Yesterday Joe Biden finally received Hillary Clinton's endorsement for President of the United States, surprising a number of Washington insiders who thought she would have had him killed by now.
Apparently the former First Lady's endorsement was a direct result of a long conversation with husband Bill Clinton, who pointed out that Hillary was obliged to support any Democrat who is a member in good standing of Washington's "Stinky Pinky Club," over which Slick Willy presides.
Biden himself has not issued an official statement, but one is expected to be forthcoming as soon as he can be lured out from his pillow fort with a plate of warm cookies.
Okay, Shotgun Joe didn't actually say this about coronavirus. Or much of anything else, for that matter, which is starting to puzzle a number of people. Well, it puzzles people who aren't quite clear on the concept that if the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is given airtime, he's likely to forget about coronavirus entirely and start babbling about how the raisins in his oatmeal look like flies and, importantly, it's pee-pee time again.
Meanwhile, President Trump is not only continuing to actively manage the Covid19 crisis, but he's also still fully up to speed on world events...
But politics and pestilence aside, there really IS some exciting news today...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAUGHTER JARLSBERG!
Yes, today is Daughter Jarlsberg's birthday, which will be celebrated by staying indoors, avoiding other human beings, substituting K-rations for ice cream and cake, and unwrapping presents which were scrounged from our survival pantry ("Oh, boy...a First Aid kit!").
Okay, it's not an ideal time for parties. But it is an ideal time for families to be together, and the fact that she moved back home (for career advancement) on about the last day the world was normal-ish is something we're grateful for.
Of course, that career advancement is on hold for a bit; she's a speech-language pathologist at a time when mouth-centric jobs are more dangerous than having dirt on Hillary Clinton. But she is creative, witty, intelligent and talented and using this time for self-improvement. She'll definitely be kicking post-apocalyptic ass!
So please join us in wishing her a very happy socially-isolated birthday!
We've all been under considerable pressure lately and could stand to blow off a little steam. To help with that effort, we present this indescribably rare recording of the legendary "Red Rooster Band" live in concert, complete with onscreen lyrics for your singalong pleasure...
The Backstory: Okay, this was my band many eons ago. "Red Rooster and the Crimson Cocks" didn't play many gigs, but when we did we stomped the hell out of the joint. Audiences loved us because they were drunk, we were drunk, and all of our songs were deliberately tasteless (albeit performed with great enthusiasm).
I'm the lead singer who is so desperately in need of auto-tune, a sense of shame, or both. My non-identical twin brother (honest!) in the scarlet wig is Red Rooster. We co-wrote all the songs, then rounded up a wildly talented group of players who - like us - enjoyed doing something flat out stupid from time to time. Ah, youth.
All of this predates personal video cameras, so we really didn't have a way to capture a live performance. Fortunately, a friend shot a handful of 35mm slides (remember those?) which we were able to combine with a cassette recording to create this video.
Interesting fact: if you're nursing a blood alcohol limit above 0.08 it is literally impossible not to sing along with the "Bah-bah-bah" chorus. And if you doubt me, well, it's Friday - so knock down a few drinks and put it to the test!
FROM THE VAULT: FRANKLY, MY DEAR, I DON'T GIVE A RAMADAN
Yesterday was the beginning of Ramadan - a perfect time to look back and reflect on things like what a complete ass-hat our last president was...
(6/17/15) As if one couldn't tell by the throngs of shoppers at the malls, the beloved songs on the radio, and the twinkle in every child's eye, today marks the beginning of Ramadan - a sacred, month-long Islamic holiday marked by fasting, prayer, and (as the president just impishly proved) "some surprises."
The prisoners, all of whom were classified as "high risk" by US intelligence in 2008, were reclassified as harmless (if not downright cuddly!) by Obama's "Periodic Review Board," which is charged with "finding a way to empty Gitmo - period."
To accomplish this, the Review Board takes into account things like whether the jihadists have been good about attending taxpayer-funded yoga classes designed to curb their violent impulses, and the detainees' expressed desires to return to the war torn Middle East only for the purpose of starting "milk and honey farms." No, really.
Oh sure, skeptics are going to point to the fact that nearly 30% of detainees released from Gitmo go back to killing on the battlefield. But shouldn't the holidays be a time to set aside skepticism and simply believe wholeheartedly in peace on Earth and good will to enemy combatants?
Apparently Barack Hussein Obama thinks so.
NO, BUT SERIOUSLY...
Actually, we are going to get completely serious for just a moment. It will come as no surprise to anyone here that a lot of what we're hearing about coronavirus/Covid19 is highly politicized bullcrap, MSM spin, or just plain stupidity. But we don't have to settle for that.
Dr. Chris Martenson, a pathologist and economist, has been posting near-daily Youtube videos (usually between 30 and 40 minutes) for three months now. It's the single best, smartest, least political, and most accurate source of coronavirus news that we've found. You can see his latest video at this link, and you should hit that "subscribe" button to stay weeks ahead of everyone else.
For instance, you may have seen recent stories from Reuters, the AP, NY Times, Fox News and more that hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug touted by President Trump, is not only ineffective but actually harmful to patients per a Stanford study. And it's shameful the amount of glee most "news" sources exhibited when snuffing out this ray of hope, because they'd rather Trump be wrong than have an actual treatment for Covid19. But here's the thing...
They were lying. Or, charitably, idiots.
Dr. Martenson breaks down the real information flowing in from around the world, and it seems likely that hydroxychloroquine (when administered at the right time, and with an antibiotic and mineral combo) is actually tremendously effective in treating Covid19. And it pisses us off that such potentially good news is being buried (although it won't stay buried for long). You can get the full scientific breakdown from Dr. Martenson in this video.
Some of what Dr. Martenson shares is scary, because truth can be scary. But that's a price worth paying to avoid being misinformed during a time of crisis.
Now that the world is officially composed of tumbling dominos, it's interesting (like staring at a car wreck) to look at which one has fallen the most recently...and hardest. In this case it's oil futures, which went deep into negative territory on Monday (meaning suppliers were actually paying people to take oil off their hands) before staging a feeble recovery on Tuesday.
Former and future bartender, democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, tweeted of the unprecedented below-zero oil prices "You absolutely love to see it. It's the right time for a worker-led, mass investment in green infrastructure to save our planet. *cough*" (Note: AOC's "cough" was, disappointingly, an attempt at humor and not indicative that she's in the final throes of Covid19.)
The mind-boggling idiocy of her pronouncement is so bad that the Board of Regents at Boston University, her alma matter, is not only talking about revoking her degree in economics, but also tarring and feathering her while tar is essentially free.
When there's no money to be made from drilling, refining, or transporting oil, the supply lines will stop. As will everything that ran on oil, which is pretty much civilization as we know it. And at that point, it's highly unlikely that roving bands of starving survivors will take much interest in windmills, solar panels, or replacing our nation's entire infrastructure with only the tools that the Amish use to raise barns.
Of course, the governments of the world will attempt to keep that from happening by propping up the oil industry with yet more trillions in monopoly money hot off the printing presses. At which point AOC may finally be exposed to fiscal terms like "hyper-inflation" which she clearly never encountered while dancing on rooftops at Boston U ("home of the Fighting Baked Beans").
FROM THE VAULT: HAPPY EARTH DAY!
Today is Earth Day, meaning that if any restaurants were open, Earth could get a free dessert and have an embarrassing song sung to it by hand-clapping waiters and waitresses. Sadly, that's not the case this year, and large public celebrations are unlikely what with the whole "go outside and die" thing.
That's why we're going back to 2013 for this Earth Day visit with Bark Obama and Joe Bitem!
The cartoon above is posted as a public service reminder that no matter how much we're all desperate to get back to normal life, masks are going to play a hugely important role in making that happen.
And not everything is bad about wearing a mask. For instance, many of us now appear to be only half as ugly. A piece of spinach stuck in your teeth? Who's going to know! Plus, masks give everyone a certain air of mystery and drama; just this morning, while walking our dog, a wary neighbor declared that we looked "threatening." A sentiment we tried to defuse, unsuccessfully, by sounding a loud, villainous "bwah-ha-ha!" laugh. After which, social distancing was no problem whatsoever.
Of course, if everyone is healthy at home, there's no need to wear a mask in the house (unless you're taking "playing doctor" to a kinky new level). Rather, you can just relax and spend this time with simple, shared family activities to help you beat cabin fever...
Sure, these are semi-apocalyptic times - but to remind people just how good they've still got it, we're paying an actual visit to Hell today guided by my father.
Not that he's in Hell (as far as I know), but rather because, decades ago, my Dad wrote funny captions for the many illustrations in a tattered, century-old edition of Dante's Inferno. Which may help explain why I've been inspired to do the same sort of nonsense my whole life. The nuts, as they say, don't fall far from the tree.
But now, let's check on those who fall from Grace. And for anyone sensitive to the smell of sulfur and brimstone, be sure to wear your N95 mask...
It's a moth joke - get it?
Have a great, safe, and socially isolated weekend! -Stilt
This was even harder for him to say than "radical Islam."
The big moment that virtually no one was waiting for finally happened yesterday, when Barack "Sorry about using all the N95 masks" Obama officially endorsed Joe "Where am I?" Biden for President of the United States.
Obama gave the endorsement in a 12-minute video posted to Joe Biden's Youtube account. Or at least, we're told by media outlets like NPR and CNN that the endorsement was in there somewhere, because we'd rather go into an emergency room and have total strangers cough spittle directly in our face for 12 minutes than spend that much time listening to a skeevy America-hating douchebag that we've already had our fill of.
Biden himself, sequestered at home with padlocks on the outside of his doors, is dividing his time between selecting a female VP candidate ("We need someone with a...um...whatchamacallit. Damn. No, wait! Virginia!") and excitedly trying to catch a bright red dot being projected by a laser pointer scotch-taped to a slow-moving ceiling fan.
Meanwhile, out in the real world (which you may not have recognized since it's wearing a homemade mask)...
Tip of the hat to Mrs. J for this one!
There is still an inherent tension between Dr. Anthony Fauci's understandable desire to extend Covid19 lockdown measures, and President Trump's understandable desire to restart the economy before our national house of financial cards collapses. And that's fine - it's a complex issue which isn't going to have a simple answer.
What really concerns us is the mainstream media's ongoing attempts to drive a wedge between the two men, reporting gossip and planting false rumors, just to cause trouble. While this kind of crap is sadly normal in normal times, these are anything but normal times. This sort of juvenile game-playing during a time of severe national medical crisis amounts to attempted sabotage which could cost lives.
Which is why it's more important than ever to ignore the purveyors of fake news and, if at all possible, to try to convince them that plastic laundry bags can be used as personal protective masks.
We thought it was high time for the cartoon above, which is intended to lift the spirits of those who only see the unpleasant side of plague, famine, and the looming risk of societal collapse. Remember, every dark cloud has a silver lining - although what looks like a silver lining is frequently a lightning bolt with your name on it.
Still, we can take heart from the many examples of families who are doing just fine while under lockdown...
BONUS: SHOP AT HOME WITH MORE SPENSIVE GIFTS!
Here are some more poorly-xeroxed items from our 30 year old "Spenser Gifts" catalog parody. The longer self-isolation goes on, the more you're going to actually want to buy one or more of these items...
On Wednesday, Democratic Socialist and petulant scold Bernie Sanders announced that he was suspending his presidential campaign owing to the fact that, within the last few weeks, his entire agenda for America had been successfully realized.
"The government is emptying the prisons, spending trillions in make-believe money, and locking up churches while making sure Planned Parenthood stays open," explained Sanders. "I keep pinching myself just to be sure this isn't just some kind of wonderful dream!"
In a nod to his roots, millionaire Sanders plans to bring a number of young Jewish people to one of his three homes and turn it into a kibbitz, "Which is like a kibbutz, only I just watch everyone else work and tell them what they're doing wrong."
Presumed Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, could not be reached for comment because he's farting in a bathtub and giggling about the bubbles.
Although Bernie has "suspended" his campaign, he's not taking his name off the ballot in upcoming primaries, and he's not releasing the delegates he has nor the ones he might subsequently win. His goal is to head into the convention with enough clout that he can force Biden to adopt Sanders' far-left policies.
According to the Wall Street Journal,"The only thing that would make (the Sanders camp) support Mr. Biden is his agreement to meet their demands, which include endorsing the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, a 50% reduction in prison populations, a wealth tax, cancellation of student debt, free undergraduate tuition in public institutions, abolishing the filibuster, packing the Supreme Court, federal gun licensing, and abortion subsidized by federal taxpayers."
None of which should present much of a problem for Biden, who will happily (and unintelligibly) voice enthusiastic support for whatever nonsense is written on his cue cards.
FROM THE EASTER BASKET (OBAMA YEARS): HE DYED FOR YOU
Yes, that's the actual "crucified Easter Bunny" artwork that your taxes paid for.
Easter is a day when people stop to reflect on the importance of faith, morality, and responsibility in their lives and ask: "What would Jesus do?"
And the answer, according to the Obama White House, is push-ups. Jesus would do lots and lots of push-ups. Or at least this seems to be the thinking at the 2015 White House Easter Egg Roll being held today (Sunday was reserved, of course, for golfing) which has once again been turned into a fitness event.
Picking one of the lesser known passages from the Bible, the event's theme is "Gimme Five," and will feature healthy eating tips, cooking demos, and activities which will "encourage children to lead healthy, active lives in support of the First Lady's Let's Move initiative."
To make sure the 35,000 attendees don't forget the true meaning of the day, the official (and safely inedible) White House Easter Eggs each carry a portrait of the Easter Bunny wearing running shorts and a sweat band...which is a lot like a crown of thorns, only washable.
On the flip side of the eggs, a few words are inscribed to give comfort, strength, and a renewed sense of faith in these troubled times. The words are: "Barack Obama" and "Michelle Obama." And in the spirit of eternal sellvation, you can buy the official set of five eggs for $29.99. Which means you'll get a penny back from your 30 pieces of silver.
Predictably, some people are annoyed that the White House has taken one of the most sacred days on the Christian calendar and turned it into an entirely secular jazzercise class. But out of journalistic integrity, Hope n' Change won't pass judgement on the Obamas quite yet.
First, we want to see if they ask any of the guests at this year's White House Ramadan celebration to do squat thrusts.
Okay, pretty much nobody is actually going to work these days, let alone having to explain why they are late. So let's turn the clock back to 1989...
I've mentioned here before that I am, among many other things, a radio kind of guy. I worked in the business for years, doing writing, production, and voice work - usually with an emphasis on comedy. I love the ability to create "theater of the mind" with audio and, even now, have nearly 8,000 sound effects and 14,000 pieces of production music on my computer. All of which falls somewhere between overkill and obsession.
When I first moved to Texas, I was hired to write syndicated radio scripts for "Hiney Wine" - a purely fictitious product which was perfect for radio-friendly double-entendres: "Founders Harry Hiney and Big Red Hiney remind you that there's no better way to relax after work than with a little Hiney." It was I who introduced the winery's upscale brand "Snifter Hiney," and yes - the jokes wrote themselves.
Which made me think, "why not create a syndicated comedy series of my own and get rich?" And thus was born "Why I Was Late for Work," a daily 60-second skit in which ridiculous characters offer up preposterous excuses for being late. The idea was for radio stations to sell sponsorships and then feature the bit every day during morning drive time (I simultaneously offered up a second series called "Gripe Line" in which fake callers phone in to the radio station to complain about moronic things).
Of course, a demo was needed, so I wrote and produced one (using some of the top radio voice talent in Dallas) to send off to various syndication companies. "Wow!" they all said. "That's really funny! Good luck selling it to someone else! Go away!"
But their (and my) loss is your gain, because some 30 years later, you are about to hear what almost no one else has ever heard. And you can decide whether or not I should have just let this ancient artifact continue to collect electronic dust on my hard drive.
In order to host this on Youtube, I've cobbled together a very rough video to accompany the audio demo, but the intent is really to give you something fun to listen to rather than look at.
Yes, the "coffee couple" we've been meeting with for ten years are back at work for your entertainment, albeit with a somewhat modified wardrobe. How any coffee actually makes it to their lips in those suits isn't quite clear, but there's surely some benefit just from seeing friends and holding a hot cup.
On a barely related note, we created a political cartoon to run today...but then decided against posting it. Frankly, it just feels wrong to engage in partisan politics (even if we're entirely right, and the other side is entirely wrong) during a "we're all in this together" crisis. Hopefully this sentiment will spread, but even if it doesn't, it feels like the right call for now.
Instead, we'll simultaneously keep things light and focus on the matters at hand. Which is pretty much what's going on in the cartoon below...
BY POPULAR REQUEST: SUPPLY AND DEMANDS
Okay, here's the cartoon that I hadn't posted. Discussion to follow:
The genesis of this cartoon is that I'm sick of hearing people on the Left claiming that the emergency funding measures being undertaken are an admission that "socialism is the answer and always has been." Wrong, wrong, wrong. And I thought relating that to something tangible like the availability of masks (and the ability to gear up factories in a hurry) might make my point.
However, Bernie hasn't said anything like the specifics above - I was just using him as a handy (albeit pretty accurate) straw man. Which made me feel like the cartoon was sort of petty; Bernie's campaign isn't going anywhere, and the overall tenor of the cartoon has an "us against them-ism" which I'm not comfortable with right now, even though the Left is definitely not in the mood to treat this as a time for unity.
So your thoughts are welcome - was I right or wrong to have reservations about this one?
The coronavirus siege continues, and doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon (you can visit this Youtube site for the best and most accurate daily updates we've found). And although we take the matter seriously, we still refuse to take it solemnly - believing that laughter is the best medicine even if, like a ventilator, it needs to be shoved down our throats.
Which is why we're eschewing (gesundheit!) politics here except when absolutely necessary. Rather, we'll continue to post amusements, diversions, witticisms, and hilarious cartoons like this one:
Yikes! That was dark. We're starting to regret bartering with the neighbors and trading our antidepressants for toilet paper.
But on a different note entirely, our publication of a few pages from the "Spensive Gifts" parody catalog reminded us of the Johnson Smith novelty catalogs we enjoyed in our youth. Which prompted an online search and the discovery of goodies like this...
What you see above is a page from the 1938 version of the Johnson Smith catalog, which you can read online right here in its glorious 600-page entirety!
Relive the excitement surrounding the first appearance of the Whoopie Cushion! Thrill to the comic hijinks of a kid using the "Ventrillo" voice-throwing device to make an unsuspecting man say to a policeman "Hey copper, I'm gonna punch you in your big, fat nose!" Delight in unknown wonders like the crank harmonica which uses tiny player piano-style rolls of paper to give you "a jazz band in your pocket"! Marvel that there was once a time in America when kids could order actual "live baby alligators" for $1.50 (or a living 3-footer for just $6.50)! And cringe at a sprinkling of absolutely jaw-dropping items which are now career-ending, code red objects of political incorrectness!
We may well be starting a long rough patch in our country, but it's refreshing and frankly inspiring to see the kind of marvelous foolishness people were still enjoying despite the Great Depression. There's a lesson there for all of us. Albeit a fairly stupid one.
During this extended period of self-isolation, it has been suggested that we all spend some time reflecting on our past and coming to new insights about who we are, deep down inside. We've done that and, based on everything in our past, determined that we've pretty much always had a screw loose...and enjoyed it!
For instance, about 30 years ago, we made a parody version of a "Spenser Gifts" catalog just because the idea tickled us. We used actual products from their pages, but substituted our own text - attempting to match the clipped and overly-enthusiastic style of the actual catalog.
Because desktop publishing wasn't really a thing back then, the original "Spensive Gifts" catalog was assembled with clipped bits of paper and a glue stick. Copies were created with a Xerox machine. And while the original catalog has disintegrated with time, the Xeroxed copies live on in all their low-rez, black and white glory.
The whole shebang is 24 pages long, and we've been toying with the idea of making it into a Kindle ebook. For now, here are three pages - let us know if you'd like to see more!