As Sarah walked from the diner’s serving room to the kitchen, she knew two things: her blood pressure had already begun to rise, and that it was only a matter of time before her latest customer began screaming like a psychopath. Sadly, it was a routine that they had all become used to.
She really used to love her job. The extra cash she earned from picking up an odd late night shift at the Heartland Diner in D.C. helped her keep her family’s heads above water. The diner’s customers, for the most part, were regular folks who occasionally passed through town: friendly, honest, polite, good tippers. The D.C. locals, however, felt that the Heartland’s ambiance was a bit too low-rent for their refined tastes, and that was fine by Sarah. She really did used to love her job. But then he started coming in.
And whenever he did come in, Sarah and the rest of the Heartland crew knew that all they could do was play along – that and get the hell out of the way. No matter how crazy he got, they knew that no cop in D.C. was going to come down and tell the most powerful man in America, and he was the most powerful man in America, to knock it the hell off.
So, tonight, as on previous nights, Sarah and the crew watched nervously from the kitchen doors and waited for the most powerful man in America to finally leave.
Robert Mueller sat alone in a corner booth. Across from him, placed as if it was intended for an absent guest, was the dinner he had ordered – his usual. The left corner of his upper lip began twitching into a barely subdued, reflexive snarl as he stared down his quarry – a lonely sandwich on a plate on the other side of the table.
This went on for many minutes.
Finally, Mueller reached down beside him and produced a manila folder. He opened it and placed it down on the table in front of him. The document inside was oriented print side up and upside-down, so the sandwich could read it. He then reached into his jacket pocket.
Carlos the line cook, not looking away, whispered to Sarah in disbelief, “Jesus! He brought the packets again!” But before Sarah could answer, Mueller, instead of a packet, pulled a pen out of his pocket.
He laid that pen on the document. And then, using two fingers, slowly pushed the folder, document, and pen over to the sandwich.
There was a long pause. At last, with his patience nearing its end, Mueller whispered menacingly, “don’t make me send Weissmann to your house…”
The ham sandwich, however, remained steadfastly uncooperative.
Mueller’s back began to stiffen and Carlos again whispered in horrified yet amused anticipation, “He’s going for the packets! He’s going for the packets!”
Mueller leaped from the booth, ripped the top slice of bread off of the sandwich, jammed a hand into his jacket, pulled out two condiment packets, tore them open, shot the Russian Dressing contents onto the sandwich, threw the empty packets onto the floor, slammed the discarded slice of bread back on top of the sandwich, and began screaming, “You’re dirty and you know it! You’re all dirty, goddamnit! Now, sign ze papers! Sign ze goddamned papers!”
This also went on for many minutes.
And so, another night passed at the Heartland with Robert Mueller raving at a dinner plate. And as Sarah stood there, watching from the kitchen, she thought about her bills, her high blood pressure, her husband’s diabetes, the ridiculous excuse for health insurance that they were mandated to buy, the second jobs that they both must now work despite welcome relief from the latest tax cut – and she sincerely wished that there was some way that she could make the rest of D.C. understand just how the Heartland really sees them.
10 Cents and I were discussing light bulbs on the late night phone call. And it brought to mind an old piece of text explaining why we should not call them light bulbs, but rather “dark suckers”. I have not the time to convert this old text to incorporate the newer LED type of dark suckers, but here it is in the older format.
Regarding John’s recent post about daylight saving time, I did some more research and found an image from last year. It shows the unusual effort necessary to accomplish this task in some areas. I don’t doubt the same thing will happen again this year.
I am above being a poor winner as I know the rest of you are. Why should we say anything about “Leakin'” Diane? That is beneath us. We will humbly be nice to “Pocahontas” Warren and “Danang” Dick. I will walk softly by “Sleepy” Joe Biden. Because who am I to say anything mean to a crowd of people who are chasing elevators to the bottom floor? Please take time today to pledge not to be unkind. What will you do to show comity? (Comedy?)
I pledge to not always use the tears of my enemies. (I have enough for a while.)
I pledge to not take too many victory laps. Not just yet, after this last one, okay?
I won’t even be unkind to “But Gorsuch”, “But Kavanaugh”, “But Trade Deal”, “But Low Employment”, and “But Civility Matters” people.
I cannot reveal my credible source from planet Zork but it has to be true because Zorkians never lie. Just imagine the worst possible things and that is nothing compared to what my very credible source tells me.
For those that don’t know Zork, it is an advanced civilizations that outlawed plastic straws decades ago.
You may think I am trying to Bork a Supreme Court nominee. Not I.
There is only one way to read this data. The officials are deeply prejudiced against men. I think if we dig deeper we will find that they had problems with their fathers. I think Congress should hold hearings and the Tennis Federation should pay money to these men who were so shabbily treated. I think only officials who access penalties equally between the sexes should be able to work.
When you regard the madness and serial hysterias possessing the United States: this week “bathroom equality”, the next tearing down statues, then Russians under every bed, segueing into the right of military-age unaccompanied male “refugees” to bring their cultural enrichment to communities across the land, to proper pronouns for otherkin, “ripping children” from the arms of their illegal immigrant parents, etc., etc., whacky etc., it all seems curiously co-ordinated: the legacy media, on-line outlets, and the mouths of politicians of the slaver persuasion all with the same “concerns” and identical words, turning on a dime from one to the next. It’s like there’s a narrative they’re being fed by somebody or -bodies unknown, which they parrot incessantly until being handed the next talking point to download into their birdbrains.
Could that really be what’s going on, or is it some kind of mass delusion which afflicts societies where an increasing fraction of the population, “educated” in government schools and Gramsci-converged higher education, knows nothing of history or the real world and believes things with the fierce passion of ignorance which are manifestly untrue? That’s the mystery explored in this savagely hilarious satirical novel.
Majedah Cantalupi-Abromavich-Flügel-Van Der Hoven-Taj Mahal (who prefers you use her full name, but who henceforth I shall refer to as “Majedah Etc.”) had become the very model of a modern media mouthpiece. After reporting on a Hate Crime at her exclusive women’s college while pursuing a journalism degree with practical studies in Social Change, she is recruited as a junior on-air reporter by WPDQ, the local affiliate of News 24/7, the preeminent news network for good-thinkers like herself. Considering herself ready for the challenge, if not over-qualified, she informs one of her co-workers on the first day on the job,
I have a journalism degree from the most prestigious woman’s [sic] college in the United States—in fact, in the whole world—and it is widely agreed upon that I have an uncommon natural talent for spotting news. … I am looking forward to teaming up with you to uncover the countless, previously unexposed Injustices in this town and get the truth out.
Her ambition had already aimed her sights higher than a small- to mid-market affiliate: “Someday I’ll work at News 24/7. I’ll be Lead Reporter with my own Desk. Maybe I’ll even anchor my own prime time show someday!” But that required the big break—covering a story that gets picked up by the network in New York and broadcast world-wide with her face on the screen and name on the Chyron below (perhaps scrolling, given its length). Unfortunately, the metro Wycksburg beat tended more toward stories such as the grand opening of a podiatry clinic than those which merit the “BREAKING NEWS” banner and urgent sound clip on the network.
The closest she could come to the Social Justice beat was covering the demonstrations of the People’s Organization for Perpetual Outrage, known to her boss as “those twelve kooks that run around town protesting everything”. One day, en route to cover another especially unpromising story, Majedah and her cameraman stumble onto a shocking case of police brutality: a white officer ordering a woman of colour to get down, then pushing her to the sidewalk and jumping on top with his gun drawn. So compelling are the images, she uploads the clip with her commentary directly to the network’s breaking news site for affiliates. Within minutes it was on the network and screens around the world with the coveted banner.
News 24/7 sends a camera crew and live satellite uplink to Wycksburg to cover a follow-up protest by the Global Outrage Organization, and Majedah gets hours of precious live feed directly to the network. That very evening comes a job offer to join the network reporting pool in New York. Mission accomplished!—the road to the Big Apple and big time seems to have opened.
But all may not be as it seems. That evening, the detested Eagle Eye News, the jingoist network that climbed to the top of the ratings by pandering to inbred gap-toothed redneck bitter clingers and other quaint deplorables who inhabit flyover country and frequent Web sites named after rodentia and arthropoda, headlined a very different take on the events of the day, with an exclusive interview with the woman of colour from Majedah’s reportage. Majedah is devastated—she can see it all slipping away.
The next morning, hung-over, depressed, having a nightmare of what her future might hold, she is awakened by the dreaded call from New York. But to her astonishment, the offer still stands. The network producer reminds her that nobody who matters watches Eagle Eye, and that her reportage of police brutality and oppression of the marginalised remains compelling. He reminds her, “you know that the so-called truth can be quite subjective.”
The Associate Reporter Pool at News 24/7 might be better likened to an aquarium stocked with the many colourful and exotic species of millennials. There is Mara, who identifies as a female centaur, Scout, a transgender woman, Mysty, Candy, Ångström, and Mohammed Al Kaboom (né James Walker Lang in Mill Valley), each with their own pronouns (Ångström prefers adjutant, 37, and blue).
Every morning the pool drains as its inhabitants, diverse in identification and pronomenclature but of one mind (if that term can be stretched to apply to them) in their opinions, gather in the conference room for the daily briefing by the Democratic National Committee, with newsrooms, social media outlets, technology CEOs, bloggers, and the rest of the progressive echo chamber tuned in to receive the day’s narrative and talking points. On most days the top priority was the continuing effort to discredit, obstruct, and eventually defeat the detested Republican President Nelson, who only viewers of Eagle Eye took seriously.
Out of the blue, a wild card is dealt into the presidential race. Patty Clark, a black businesswoman from Wycksburg who has turned her Jamaica Patty’s restaurant into a booming nationwide franchise empire, launches a primary challenge to the incumbent president. Suddenly, the narrative shifts: by promoting Clark, the opposition can be split and Nelson weakened. Clark and Ms Etc have a history that goes back to the latter’s breakthrough story, and she is granted priority access to the candidate including an exclusive long-form interview immediately after her announcement that ran in five segments over a week. Suddenly Patty Clark’s face was everywhere, and with it, “Majedah Etc., reporting”.
What follows is a romp which would have seemed like the purest fantasy prior to the U.S. presidential campaign of 2016. As the campaign progresses and the madness builds upon itself, it’s as if Majedah’s tether to reality (or what remains of it in the United States) is stretching ever tighter. Is there a limit, and if so, what happens when it is reached?
The story is wickedly funny, filled with turns of phrase such as, “Ångström now wishes to go by the pronouns nut, 24, and gander” and “Maher’s Syndrome meant a lifetime of special needs: intense unlikeability, intractable bitterness, close-set beady eyes beneath an oversized forehead, and at best, laboring at menial work such as janitorial duties or hosting obscure talk shows on cable TV.”
All is as foreseen in the epic poem by Ernest Lawrence Thayer:
A sneer appeared from Peter’s lip, his tongue looked like a snake; And his head did that funny little shimmy-shudder-shake But then the deputy stepped up and said the time has come “You are fired!” he cried, “Out of here, you bum!”
Oh, all about this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing happily, and all our hearts are light, And Americans are laughing, and little children shout; But there’s no joy in Progville – mighty Peter has Strzok out.
OK, that’s not quite how the original goes. I’m in hiding, hopefully safe from the dead poet’s vengeance.
This is related to the persistent bugger post I made a little while ago.
OK, I did some looking around on Youtube regarding “telemonsters” or Robo-callers. There was everything from actual conversations that people had with them, especially the hard to understand Indian scammers,to people with the technical know how to initiate their own robocallers to flood the telemonster’s phone center preventing them from making outgoing calls.
The New York Times has seen fit to place an apparent racist, Sarah Jeong, on their editorial board. I describe her as such on the basis of numerous tweets of hers that surfaced immediately after the NYT appointment. One of them reads “it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men.” Another proclaims “Cancel White People”.
These examples are among the least hateful. But, don’t worry, dear readers. We are assured this all of this is actually white peoples’ fault. Subsequent to Ms. Jeong’s hatred being propagated to a wider audience, the NYT informed us that as “a young Asian woman” she has been “a subject of frequent online harassment” and that she was merely “imitating the rhetoric of her harassers”. In other words, the same “Don’t blame me, HE started it!” of any pre-adolescent row. Jeong herself is reported as saying her missives were merely satire, a word that now applies to both everything and nothing .
Anyway, in the rush to excuse Ms. Jeong’s toxic effluvia, a fundamental opportunity has been missed. Think about it: why shouldn’t racists be represented on the editorial board? As loathsome as they might be, racists are citizens, too. They pay taxes, they ride the subways, and Lord knows many of them vote for Democrats, even before they’re dead. Aren’t progressives always preaching about inclusivity? What is inclusion without the least and worst of us?
And even if Ms. Jeong isn’t a racist herself (heh), she can certainly represent this constituency faithfully after seeking to imitate them with such vigor and for so long.
So, I wish Sarah Jeong a long and productive stint on the NYT editorial board. Nothing is beyond the pale(face), just as long as she does not sleep with her sources. Oh wait, Ali Watkins has shown that’s acceptable at the Times, too. Ah, the Times, they are a-changin’.
 Including this post. Dime, we need a satire tag.