Wasted Away In Lake Geneva-ville

This pic is from a camping trip to Lake Geneva I took with my friends Tom, Giovanni and Jonathan. Unknowingly, our trip coincided with a Jimmy Buffett concert nearby and just our luck, our camp site neighbors were “parrot heads”.

We did not know this embarrassing fact about our neighbors until they loudly returned from the concert around 2am.

While I’m a very sound sleeper, my tent mate Tom was awakened by their loud, drunken campfire antics. I might have even slept through all their obnoxious laughing and yelling, were it not for Tom yelling every 5 minutes:

“Shut up!”

“We’re trying to sleep!”

Their parrot party went on past 5am, despite frequent warnings from the camp ground security guard. They would quiet down for a few minutes after getting a warning, only to start back up again when the coast was clear.

They finally passed out around 5am and the campground was at last quiet and we were able get some sleep

When we woke up around 10am, our noisy neighbors were loudly snoring in their crowded tent, their site littered with crushed beer cans and their campfire still smoking.

So we started packing up our gear to go home.

Loudly.

Each time we closed the car trunk or car door, it was with a bang; and I also kept “forgetting” to turn off my car alarm, so that every time we opened the trunk the alarm went off blaring.

Then I couldn’t find a lost shaker of salt, which required us to unpack and then repack the car, setting off the car alarm a few more times.

On our way out, with the car fully packed, we wanted to say good bye to our neighbors. So we paused the car in front of their tent and blew our horn until someone poked their head out.

“Goodbye!” we shouted painfully in unison to the bleary eyed, hung over Buffett bores.

My fear that our revenge scheme might have also annoyed the other campers was dispelled when we received a standing ovation from the other campsites as we rolled out of the campground.

Now I’m hungry for a cheeseburger. Hold the paradise.

Praising Pelosi

There’s a media drum beat against Nancy Pelosi, one of the most effective parliamentarians to ever hold the Speaker’s gavel. Don’t fall for it.

The reasoning goes that because the GOP use her as the boogeyman in campaign attack ads, Dems should dump her.

The truth is the Republicans would vilify anyone in that leadership role. They love to use Pelosi to stir up their base because she is a woman representing San Francisco, so there is a lot of underlying homophobia in their demonization of her.

The media obliges the GOP in this endeavor by asking every Democratic House candidate if they support her as House leader. But they never ask Republicans about Mitch McConnell, who polls 5% lower than Pelosi. That’s sexism. And how come we don’t see the media asking every Republican candidate how they are “wrestling” with their vote for Jim Jordan for House Speaker?

The Bernie left hate Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House, because she supported Hillary. Well guess what, Pelosi not only got the Affordable Care Act and Dodd Frank passed, she also managed to pass the public option to the ACA that the same Berners accuse Dems of not supporting – though it passed the House and got the vote of every Senate Democrat, but failed in the Senate when newly Independent Senator Joe Lieberman blocked it. The Bernie folk would be very lucky to have her around to pass their proposed single payer bill if we retake congress. She has the track record of passing complicated bills. The Senate is where progress goes to die, not the House under Democratic control.

The best part of this is Pelosi has given her approval for red state Dems to say they oppose her, because she understands winning those seats is more important than her ego or career.

I can’t think of a male politician who would be as pragmatic a team player as Pelosi.

Voter ID Laws: The Latest Poll Tax

No, you do not need an ID to buy groceries – for the moment anyway. But some states require you to produce a specific ID card for you to exercise your constitutional right to vote.

One of my former hobbies was registering people to vote. I’d do it at street festivals or events and I’d even bring my stuff to parties. It was cool to register first time voters.

So, I have an opinion on voter ID laws, which are just an attempt to suppress minority votes and votes of other economically vulnerable people, who may move often and can’t afford $20 for a government ID each time they relocate. The discriminatory intent of these ID laws is plain to see when you notice they usually allow NRA membership cards but not college IDs to vote.

A person establishes their eligibility to vote when they register to vote, not when they attempt to participate. To register to vote, you have to establish your identity and address. Just like a state ID card, you do this by providing a postmarked utility bill or some other official correspondence received at your current address along with a birth certificate or some type of a photo ID.

You attest to your eligibility to vote when you register and swear under penalty of perjury that the info you provided is correct. When you go to vote, a copy of your registration is there that contains your signature. If a person’s address and signature match, that person should be allowed to vote. Voter ID laws are a thinly disguised attempt to suppress minority voting.

Here are Illinois requirements to register to vote.

Buzzing for Jesus

So, this afternoon some kindly, well dressed Christian lady with her equally well dressed two young daughters just randomly buzzed my buzzer hoping to talk to me about Jesus. I was expecting a UPS delivery, not deliverance.

She was already on thin ice when she greeted me with “I’m so sorry, I see I got you up from a nap.”

Instead of replying,” No bitch, I always look tired and disheveled, thank you very much,” I was gracious.

Refusing her religious pamphlet, I politely informed her I was comfortable with my decision to burn in hell; and unless she had a package from Amazon, she should please move on to her next address.

She then asked me which buzzer was mine, as she was planning on ringing the next apartment in my 7 unit building. “Maybe they want to hear the Good News I bring.”

“Look,” I said, getting a bit annoyed, “I know my neighbors, and they’re also comfortable burning in hell. We’ve made a pact.”

As they left the lobby, I complimented her two young girls, both adorably dressed in their church best.

Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Barbies


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One night, back in college sometime in the late 1980’s, a buddy and I were hanging out at my apartment with a camcorder, and some beer, along with construction paper and a few dollar store Barbie knock offs; and we decided to make a movie we called “Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Barbies“. (We were both huge Russ Meyers fans.)

The plot centered around Varla, a deranged, stiff armed, dollar store Barbie who – out of bitter jealousy over her lack of bendable arms and legs, plots revenge on the real Barbie who can bend and pose anyway she pleases.

A sub plot involved a kinky Ken and his dominatrix interior decorator named Barb Wire. Yup, we beat the comic book “Barb  Wire” by 6 years!

Enjoy!

 

music credit: “The Rich Man’s Frug”

I wish I could credit my friend, who  painted Barb Wire using White-out and magic marker and supplied her voice. I came up with the idea of shoving a coat hanger up her ass to give her some movement. Also, note the funny visual of Barbie on the phone, while literally being on a phone

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Introducing Barb Wire

Quiet Please, There’s A Lady on Stage

Karen Mason

There’s a line from the musical “Gypsy” when Mama Rose accuses her daughter Gypsy of trying to be an intellectual by telling her “You read book reviews like they were books.”

Like Gypsy, I used to read concert reviews like they were concerts. Though I loved music, I didn’t have the dough to hang out in cabarets and piano bars. Instead, I lived vicariously through Howard Reich, the Chicago Tribune’s long time music critic whose column over the years introduced me to a multitude of musicians and helped nurture my unquenchable taste for Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn, and thru him I also found out about a lot of new singers I might never have heard of, like a fresh faced newcomer named Madeleine Peyroux, whose debut CD “Dreamland” I rushed out to buy after reading Reich’s glowing review of her back in 1996.

Another artist Reich adored was a singer named Karen Mason, who got her early start singing in Chicago’s cabaret scene (according to her Wikipedia page, she was once a singing hostess at a place called Lawrence of Oregano!) before graduating to better things. If you’re unfamiliar with this 12 time MAC Award winning vocalist, it’s time to get you up to speed. In addition to being a famed cabaret artist, Ms. Mason’s credits also include starring in several Broadway shows, such as playing Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard”;  she also originated the role of Tanya in “Mama Mia”, and she played Velma Von Tussle in “Hairspray”. Additionally, Karen has appeared on TV in “Law and Order: SVU” and she was in the film version of “A Chorus Line”.

Though I became familiar with her name from reading reviews of her shows at the Park West or at Davenport’s, I never got to see her perform live until she was booked as the entertainment at an AIDS Benefit.

At the time I was hitched to a pharmacist and we attended so many of these events, as his employer Walgreens was a major sponsor and would buy up multiple tables and distribute the tickets to their pharmacists and executives. Over the years of attending these benefits, we got to see a lot of great acts, like the B-52s, Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor and Koko Taylor among others.

No offense to the pharmacy profession, but pharmacists make for lousy audiences. I remember that one of these events was hosted by Saturday Night Live alum Rob Schneider, who was very pleasant and graciously introduced himself to my group of already over-served seat mates, who kept embarrassingly insisting he do the “making copies” guy from SNL, which he declined.

With the B-52s, these overpaid drunks got a band they knew, so they behaved, but Koko Taylor got no such respect. Neither did Karen Mason.

I was so excited when I found out Mason was performing at one these benefits because I’d read so much about her amazing vocal talent, but had never heard her in person.

Well, the pharmacists weren’t fellow readers of Howard Reich, so they had never heard of Karen. Instead of shutting their free wine holes or leaving the room when Karen Mason took the stage, these philistine boozed up bozos proceeded to talk over the music. Now, when they did this to Koko Taylor the year before, the event organizers went around chastising the loud mouths, but no one was coming to Karen’s rescue.

Except me.

I shushed more than a few of those professional pill pushers that night. Despite the rude crowd, I still managed to enjoy the vocal prowess of this amazing talent.

When she concluded her set, I felt an impulse to apologize. I spotted her heading to the escalators and followed after her. There she was, a glittering gowned diva all alone riding a hotel escalator. So I sprinted up to her, “I’m so sorry that people were so loud, I really enjoyed your singing,” I told her.

Then I explained that these weren’t music lovers, but just a bunch of drunks who got free tickets and didn’t appreciate great music.

Anyway, Karen Mason is in town at Davenport’s this week and I’m so excited to be going. And if a mother fucker opens their mouth while she’s singing, I’m going to throat punch them.

Here’s some samples of the great Karen Mason, whose new album “Its About Time” is now available. Check her out and witness the perfect example of a great singer who is also a gifted actress.

Karen Mason in Sunset Boulevard

Karen singing “This Nearly Was Mine”

Karen celebrating equal  marriage, “It’s About Time”

History on Repeat: Trump More Dangerous than Bush

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In the years leading up to 9/11, a proposal was made by the Clinton Administration to require secure cockpit doors on all commercial aircraft. This would have prevented 9/11. The media was more interested in a sex scandal.

The rest is history. On repeat.

“The federal government should consider aviation security as a national security issue. The Commission believes that terrorist attacks on civil aviation are directed at the United States, and that there should be an ongoing federal commitment to reducing the threats that they pose.” The Gore Commission final reportFebruary 12, 1997

In 1997, Vice President Al Gore chaired the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, otherwise known as the Gore Commission, to study and recommend  new safeguards to prevent future terrorist attacks.  The Gore Commission recommended all commercial aircraft install secure, un-breachable cockpit doors to stop terrorists from hijacking an aircraft while in flight. The GOP controlled Congress subsequently rejected the Gore Commission proposals as too expensive and too burdensome on the airlines.

Unbeknownst to all, also in 1997 a radical Islamic terrorist named Osama Bin Ladin was plotting an attack on the United States. This plot might have been uncovered sooner if the Republican Congress wasn’t more concerned with impeaching President Bill Clinton over lying about a blowjob.

Some may argue that in 2016 the Republican controlled Congress likewise overlooked a plot – by the Russian government to hack our democracy because they were more concerned about investigating emails. <sips tea>. But that’s none of my business.

In 2000, Al Gore ended up losing the presidency to the dumbest man in American politics after the media caricatured Gore as a boring and self aggrandizing technocrat and lauded his opponent George W. Bush as the plain spoken guy you wanted to have a beer with.

Gore narrowly lost to Bush by 500 votes in Florida after Ralph Nader, sensing a moment to make a comeback as an election spoiler, ran a negative Green Party campaign casting the devout environmentalist Gore as a corporate owned shill no different from the oil industry’s official sock puppet, George W. Bush.

Sound familiar?

As we know, Bush narrowly won the electoral college while losing the popular vote by 500,000. For only the third time in U.S. History, the election loser was appointed to the presidency. The fourth to win by losing (by 2.8 million) of course is Donald “Traitor” Trump.

Like Donald Trump today, George Bush also didn’t care for his daily intelligence briefings, including the one he should have received in August 2001 titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike on US Soil”. Bush was on a month long vacation at his Crawford, Texas ranch when this alarming report was issued, warning of threats to hijack commercial aircraft.

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On 9/11, terrorists were able to breach the cockpits of multiple commercial aircraft not encumbered by Al Gore’s proposed safety regulations. 3,000 people died horribly that day and two wars were started as a results.

History repeats.

Bernie is No John Lewis or a Democrat

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Putin couldn’t have done it without Bernie

Bernie and his Brats are trying to do a hit and run. They wrecked the election and are now attempting to flee the scene.

History unlearned, or worse, re-written, repeats. That’s why I stand up for examining truth. The Russian government may have installed Donald Trump as President, but they couldn’t have done it without Bernie Sanders, the guy who once honeymooned in the Soviet Union.

For some reason, the Bernie or Bust crowd seems thrilled with Trump beating Clinton, almost as if beating Clinton was always their only goal. Maybe they think Rust Belt voters would have swooned for a leftist socialist atheist who never held a job outside of government, but I don’t.

Now, after doing more than anyone to beat up Clinton, Sanders wants a say in a party he still hasn’t joined. He wasn’t a Democrat before he inserted himself into the 2016 Democratic Primary (a hijacking attempt that DNC leaders should have nipped in the bud by telling him to either join the party or be disqualified) and he isn’t a Democrat now, even after the destruction he caused.

The major reason Bernie never became a Democrat while seeking to lead the Democratic Party is because he’s a narcissist who never voted for anyone until he voted for himself. It is ALL about him.

Despite casting himself as a Civil Rights hero, Bernie Sanders never voted for any of the civil rights heroes of the Civil Rights era. He didn’t vote for anyone until he was into his 30’s when he voted for himself. He didn’t vote for Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey or McGovern. He didn’t care if Goldwater or Nixon won.

His supporters treat him like John Lewis while tossing the actual John Lewis under Rosa Parks bus (for daring to back Hillary Clinton).

Bernie trained his supporters to blame Hillary for the 1994 Crime bill that Bernie actually voted for. He claims he only voted for the bill because of the Violence Against Women Act, but he voted for each component of the bill – and he used to brag about his tough on crime votes, until he decided to paint Hillary as racist because she supported her husband for signing the bill Bernie voted for.

Here’s Bernie bragging about his tough on crime bona fides that he has since deleted from his resume.

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Here’s Bernie bragging about not giving a damn about voting in a 1987 article in the Gadfly, a University of Vermont student newspaper.

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Apparently, Bernie Sanders only liked to talk about politics, not do anything meaningful to change things like organizing voter drives or all the various things real community leaders do, for example: voting. (GOOGLE Obama, Barack or Clinton, Hillary for examples of effective community organizers.)

Some may question the relevance of Bernie’s narcissistic voting habits, but I believe it perfectly explains Bernie’s careless disparagement of the Democratic Party that so graciously endured his constant jabs at its leaders and longtime supporters like myself who have voted in every damn election since I was legally allowed to (and never once been called a “shill” until this year).

Remember when Bernie cried “rigged” over the Superdelegates? His supporters sure do. They still claim the election was rigged. Who can blame them when their leader said so?

Bernie’s top campaign advisor Tad Devine actually invented the superdelegate system in the 1980s, but that didn’t stop his fanatics from blaming Debbie Wasserman Shultz. The Bernie Brats know more about the hierarchy of the DNC than they do their own state governments.

Once Bernie was mathematically eliminated from the nomination, he changed his mind about those evil SDs. He needed them. Hillary had 18 million votes and he only had 13 million. What to do?

So he then called on those same dastardly SDs to reverse the election and nominate him instead of Hillary at the convention. His supporters then began harassing delegates at their homes. (It’s hard to distinguish Bernie’s and Trump’s supporters sometimes).

Bernie stayed in the race too long and held out the false hope to his fans that Hillary would get indicted over emails. His wife Jane even begged the FBI to hurry it up! He refused to concede when any other candidate would have to avoid dividing the party, but he wasn’t a Democrat anyway, so dividing the party he never cared for wasn’t really his concern.

Then WikiLeaks and Russia decided to get involved, selectively leaking hacked emails from the DNC suggesting (GASP) that longtime Democratic Party leaders might prefer nominating an actual Democrat to lead their party. The Bernie kids ate up the Russia propaganda like it was free college.

Hoping to change the outcome, his delegates disrupted the nationally televised Democratic Convention, an event meant to showcase the party platform and nominee.

The 227 year old glass ceiling got shattered when for the first time a woman became the nominee of a major party, but Hillary and her supporters were denied that celebration.

Instead of celebrating this history, instead of celebrating the achievements of a woman who has been an inspiration to millions world-wide, Bernie’s boorish delegates booed and interrupted speakers at the convention, including John Lewis. Even Bernie supporter Sarah Silverman got booed and she told them on prime time TV that they were acting like babies. Bernie more than anyone brought us Donald Trump.

Despite everything, Hillary was up 7-12 points in some polls 11 days from the election. It took the FBI Director’s last minute letter to defeat Hillary, but she shouldn’t have been in that danger zone where 80,000 votes in 3 swing States decided the election.

The answer to Hillary’s question on why she wasn’t up by 50 points against Donald Trump is: Bernie Sanders.

Post Truth AIDS History

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I am no fan of Ronald OR Nancy Reagan, so I’m really, really tired of the uninformed trying to link Hillary Clinton with Nancy Reagan when it comes to AIDS policy in America.

The Clintons were early and crucial champs when it came to AIDS policy. They instituted the Office of AIDS Research and increased federal funding for AIDS research and care by 356% and they successfully fought to outlaw discrimination based on HIV status in employment and housing.

This absurd linkage got created by the Bernie Brats when Hillary stupidly said some kind – but not wise words – at the funeral for a fellow former First Lady regarding AIDS.

“Because of both President and Mrs. Reagan — in particular Mrs. Reagan — we started a national conversation, when before nobody would talk about it, nobody wanted to do anything about it, and that, too, is something I really appreciate with her very effective low-key advocacy,” she said. [emphasis mine]

Although Clinton issued an apology within MINUTES of her comments, some people still won’t let it go. Even on World AIDS Day.

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The irony is, Clinton was almost right about Nancy Reagan’s “low key advocacy”. In fact, the venerable national LGBT magazine The Advocate said almost the same thing in their obituary for Nancy Reagan just the week prior.

“Nancy Reagan is sometimes credited with pushing her husband to do something about AIDS, and he eventually supported some funding for research. The death of their friend, actor Rock Hudson, is often referred to as a pivotal moment.”

img_2263Nancy’s real claim to villainy is her refusal to get her husband to help her dying pal Rock Hudson get experimental treatment in a French government hospital that was closed to non citizens. Nancy coldly declined to get involved, reasoning people would accuse Ronnie of granting special favors to a Hollywood celebrity. This calculated response to a dying friend rightly earns Nancy Reagan her villain award. But this has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton.

Again, I’m no fan of Nancy Reagan, but to let an inconsequential misstatement erase Hillary Clinton’s 25 years of advocacy for AIDS research and care is ridiculous. It is ignorant, dangerous and it is most of all ungrateful.

But expected in our post truth world.