The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Situation

It has been seventeen years since the populace, including, in the interests of full disclosure, your humble correspondent, re-elected Bill Clinton President of this our Great Republic. I bring this up not to say anything negative about Bill Clinton or his administration--at this point, I am sure that neither you nor I have any interest in that--but to point out that it has, in fact, been seventeen years since his re-election, and here in our happy burg the arrival of the seventeenth year means one thing and one thing only: the cicadas have returned. Yes, they have, billions of the ugly little bastards, swarming up out of the ground in never-ending waves and shrieking from sunrise to sunset for sex. That’s all it’s about, kids, just sex morning, noon, and night, a fact brought home forcibly to me when I found two of the loathsome little bugs having at it on my windshield wipers.  I was late for work that day, so I just drove in with them still having at it the whole way in.  They were not there when I went home, so I am assuming that they toddled off after a post-coital cigarette and maybe a cup of coffee. I also assume that the guy involved bragged to all his friends about how he made the earth move for her.  That these damn things are going at it hammer and tongs is fine by me; a species must do what is necessary to preserve itself, after all, but I would prefer that they not use my car for such purposes and I would really prefer that they keep quiet about it, which is not at all what they are doing.  The decibel level of their shrieking varies from place to place, I’ve found, and one of the places the horny little bastards are shrieking the loudest is in the woods around my house.  Because of this, I can’t hear myself think in the morning, thanks to the hormonal jackhammering going on all over the place. It’s like being stuck at the junior prom with the heavy metal freaks for weeks on end.  People tell me that all of this shrieking will end in just a little while, when the cicadas are all done mating or the birds and the squirrels have finished eating their fill of them, which is what they were telling me a month ago and it still hasn't happened. To tell the truth, I can’t wait for them to go away, a trait they share with the former junior Senator from Illinois, although I am already feeling a bit sorry for the last one out of the ground.  He finally makes his way to the surface, climbs a tree, molts his exoskeleton, dries his wings, and then starts shrieking, “Yo yo yo, the situation has arrived, where the babes at,” only to have the katydids and the grasshoppers tell him that the party’s over, dude, and you missed it. That really must suck big time.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

June 21st

Yes, boys and girls, if you are here in the Northern Hemisphere today is the longest day of the year and from here on out the days will be getting shorter. You might as well crack out the shovels and the snow blowers now and save yourself the trouble later.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A question

My brother grunted something at me the other day.  He’d been watching the former junior Senator from Illinois blame American business for the unseen rise in costs associated with the former prairie solon’s eponymous legislation and my brother, being the sort of flyover, slope-headed, knuckle-dragging bitter clinging Neanderthal that he is, grunted as he chowed down on his Cheerios and honey [please do not confuse this with the breakfast cereal with very nearly the same name; my brother likes to put the honey on the cereal himself].  Running the grunt through Google Translate an hour or so later at work, I found that what my brother said was this: “Amazing how nothing’s ever that guy’s fault, ain’t it?”

It is amazing, or at least large numbers of people who should have known better in the first place appear to think so these days.  What amazes me, though, is that it has taken so long for so many people to see what anyone who chose to see could have seen five years ago: the One of the Left’s fervid political imaginings and the actual man are two very different people.  The first is a modern secular Messiah sent by whatever God the Left does not choose to believe in today to redeem AmeriKKKa from the original sin of racism, while the second is a left-wing Chicago political hack with all the concomitant commitment to American constitutional rule that one would expect to find in the representative of a Third World tinhorn one-party kakistocracy.  That anyone could have mistaken Senator Whilom for Jesus Christ’s younger brother is, for me, one of the great mysteries of our time.  

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Monday, June 10, 2013

The civil service, or how to stay out of the slammer, in one easy lesson

My apologies for being nearly invisible here for the past few weeks, but the best laid plans of mice and men aft times gang agley, as Robert Burns put it. Life has a nasty way of imposing its own demands on one’s writing schedule, whether you want it to or not, or even if you know what agley means or not; I know I don’t.  This morning my co-workers here at the egregious mold pit wherein I labor for my daily bread reminded me that I have been laboring here for my daily bread  for twenty-six years, yesterday being the anniversary of the inglorious day that I first wandered into this dump as an employee.  This, plus the fact that we have had a slew of recent retirements here, now means that I have been laboring here longer than anyone else has been laboring here, which in itself, apart from the actual number of years I’ve been doing this, is pretty damn depressing.  Combined with the actual chronology, it was enough to make me vaguely suicidal in an annoyed sort of way. I tamped down quickly on my immediate urge to sever an artery with my own teeth and went out for some pizza.  There’s not much that a nice hot slice of pizza can’t make better, and if can’t actually make it better, pizza makes the bad news seem less depressing.  I’m thinking of wangling the pizza concession on the Day of Judgment; I figure the saved will like a nice hot slice to celebrate and the damned will need something to lift their spirits before they become toast on a more or less eternal basis. 

In any case, I should point out that twenty-six years in the civil service has convinced of one great lesson: no matter how well you’ve covered your ass, you can always cover it better.  This leads inevitably to the scandals the Internal Revenue Service has gotten itself embroiled in.  If we listen to the big shots in Washington, the targeting of the Tea Party in particular and the American conservative movement in general was just something those crazy kids out in Cincinnati dreamt up all by their lonesomes without any sort of input from the head honchos, and especially without the input of anyone within breathing distance of the former junior Senator from Illinois.  Yes sirree, no one here in Washington was involved at all.  Cincinnati is out there in flyover country, Mr. Chairman, and flyover country is a nice place to visit, or so people have told me who’ve been there, but I’ve never been there myself and I’ve never talked to anyone who has.  They do strange things out there in the Ohio River valley and it may be the fault of the funguses.  I have to tell my rheumatologist if I ever want to go to the Ohio River Valley because there are funguses there that might interfere with my medication, so no, I couldn’t tell you why those people out there might want to do this sort of thing.  It’s Ohio, Mr. Chairman, and they do things differently out there.

The problem with blaming the frontline civil servants is this: it’s bullshit.  Sorry if that offends, but after twenty-six years here I can tell you that no one, but no one, at the frontline level of the civil service, even someone in as small a shop as my egregious mold pit, sticks their neck out like this without someone higher up in the food chain telling them to do so.  The only times I have ever gotten my ass chewed out big time here is when I cut people slack I shouldn’t have in direct violation of the policies spelled out in our staff manual.  It is inconceivable to me that long-time civil servants working at the Federal level in an agency like the IRS just did this because it seemed like a good idea at the time and because they didn’t like the political opinions of the applicants; their jobs do not include vetting groups on the basis of partisan politics; civil servants are not, or at least they shouldn’t be, in the business of helping one party or another win elections.  No, the only, and I mean the only, way the people in Cincinnati did this is because their politically appointed bosses in Washington wanted this to happen, and they only way those bosses gave them these orders is because they got the approval from the top.  There may not be a smoking gun in this case, but there is no possible way that people at the frontline, the middle management, and the top tiers all decided to break the law and suppress the constitutional rights of hundreds of thousands of Americans without our erstwhile Illinois Incitatus and his clique of Chicago political thugs giving them the go-ahead.  Civil servants do not think outside the box, folks, we are one with the box, we are in psychic unity with the box, we are the box. We don’t do things that can cost us our jobs, our pensions, and land our sorry asses in prison spontaneously. We just don’t, that’s all.

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