Monday, October 18, 2021

The Final Print Issue Of The Weekly World News

Maybe I noticed this a decade and a half ago and just forgot, but I was in a newsstand the other day (yes, some do still exist--this one sold new magazines and newspapers and ones that have been sitting on the shelf since 1992 as well; oddly enough, the middle of the store was given over to a yard sale) looking for something interesting to read, and I found an issue of The Weekly World News.  In fact, it was the final print issue of the tabloid, which was in 2007.  Since it was on sale (hey, if you wait 15 years, stuff gets discounted), I picked it up.

It was a fun read.  Completely ridiculous as always from when I read the WWN while waiting in line at the supermarket many years ago.  My favorite part might have been the advice column from Lester The Typing Horse, just for the sheer absurdity of people writing a horse for advice.  I also enjoyed seeing some contributions by comic book folks such as Paul Kupperberg and Sergio Aragones.  I guess writing stories about men flying is one thing comic books and over the top tabloids have in common.

Since I didn't really notice the tabloid's absence for years, I can't say that I am particularly brokenhearted that it is no longer found on supermarket checkout lines (it is still on the Web at https://weeklyworldnews.com), but it is a duller world as a result.  It's also sad to see that mainstream journalism has descended to WWN levels as well (at least the WWN was being silly on purpose) such as this article which I read today:  https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/18/health/covid-19-vaccination-colin-powell-death-wen-wellness/index.html.  In it, we're supposed to believe that someone who is vaccinated who dies from a disease is somehow proof that the vaccine works and not the opposite.  The best part is the way the CNN folks basically blame Colin Powell's death not on a crappy rushed vaccine from Big Pharma that doesn't work as they claimed but on people who didn't believe the hype and get vaccinated like the gullible did.  Presumably, this is because Big Pharma and other corporate advertisers pay the bills for CNN and the pundits don't want to admit they were dead, literally dead in this case, wrong, but, regardless of the reasons, corporate journalism is working hard to turn us into George Orwell's fictional Oceania.  Maybe CNN and the rest can explain next how war is actually peace and whatnot.  If you watch too much corporate news/government propaganda and are somewhat brainwashed as a result, here's another point of view on the vaccines that's more realistic: https://eugyppius.substack.com/p/maximum-vaccination.

Start thinking for yourself, except when it's a Weekly World News article about the human/alligator hybrid known as The Manigator.  Then just roll with it.

Did General Powell meet a Question Dude?  What's a Question Dude?  If you don't know, then you need to read Frequently Asked Questions About Being Dead.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Living In Joe Biden's America

*Your washing machine breaks, so you have to order a new one, but there is a one-month back order before it can be delivered, so you have to go to the laundromat in the meantime, where you go and the change machine isn't working because there is a shortage of coins in the U.S. so you have to go home and go back the next day once you scrape up enough coins around the house.

*The government wants to give your five-year-old a vaccine (even though his risk of dying from the disease is lower than his risk of getting hit by lightning) that countries such as Iceland have banned.  You wonder how American anatomy is different than Icelandic anatomy, then you realize that it's just American politics is bought by Big Pharma.

*The school district makes your five-year-old wear a mask, which is actually progress because last year when they panicked they just closed the schools entirely.  Meanwhile, virus rates rise and fall regardless of mask mandates (showing they don't matter, so they should be dropped).

*The library makes you wear a mask to go inside, which is actually progress because last year when they panicked they just closed the library entirely.  It was optional, but when social pressure didn't work, they just mandated it again.

*Your car is approaching 200,000 miles and rather than put more money into it, you decide to buy a new one, but there are no new cars to buy because the supply chain is broken and there is a computer chip shortage due to the virus panic.  When a car does show up, the dealers want to change 5 grand above MSRP due to "market fluctuation".  You decide to just take the bus, where they require you to wear a mask that does little to nothing to prevent disease but makes public health officials feel that they can do something about something they cannot.

*You work remotely but you have to either get a rushed vaccine whose long-term health effects are unknown or you have to stick a Q-tip up your nose twice a week to prove you don't have the virus, even though the tests are notoriously buggy with false negatives and false positives and you are never near any coworkers or customers whom you might theoretically infect.  Or you can quit, which just contributes to the staffing issues plaguing the economy.

*You have to take a flight, but your flight gets canceled because the president is trying to force airline workers to get the vaccine, so they just keep calling off work to protest.

*Your elderly parents get hungry on a long car trip and want to stop for a snack, but the fast food restaurants all close early due to staffing shortages or only have the drive-thrus open and the lines are too long.

*Your elderly parents watch the network news which just promotes the party line on the virus panic, regardless of facts, punctuated by commercial after commercial for Big Pharma products, terrifying them.

*Your elderly parents get the vaccine and then you have to take them to the emergency room for blood clots and swelling.  The emergency room is short-staffed because vaccine mandates have caused some health care workers to quit.  Some of their friends die or get serious illnesses such as a form of blood cancer after getting the vaccine.

*The president nearly falls down the stairs of Air Force one because he can't see his feet because he is wearing a mask.

*You drive through suburban and rural areas and see "Trump 2024" signs, as well as signs and flags wanting to have sex with the president, though they mean that figuratively.

*Real problems in the country go unaddressed as the politicians spend their time fighting over a virus that is a manageable medical issue and would have been on page 28 of The New York Times in 1969.

*People who are vaccinated get sick and die from the virus, yet when people get mad, they seem to get mad at people who don't want the vaccine, but if you are vaccinated and supposedly protected from a disease, how does anyone else's vaccination status actually affect you?

*Democrats give up the logical stronghold of "pro-choice" and declare that people can be told what to do with their bodies, then don't understand why the pro-life side of the abortion debate starts gaining headway and why they can't see that there's a difference (because there isn't).

*Everything in the grocery store and everywhere else costs more or else comes in smaller containers (when it's in stock at all) due to inflation picking up because of all the free money sloshing around the economy, so the money in your hard-earned savings now is now worth less.

*The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices doesn't do what the President wants, so the CDC Director follows the politics and overrules them, then tells everyone they should follow the science.

*Media pundits and politicians tell you incorrect things, then accuse anyone who corrects them of spreading misinformation and try to get that person censored, fired, and so forth.

*The Republican Party was on the edge of extinction, but now it looks like they will return to power for an entire generation and do all sorts of dumb things like force women who had abortions to bury their fetuses because they are right on one issue and The Democrats can't admit they were wrong on it and keep doubling down on it instead.

*You post a complaint about how living in the country seems like living the final days of the Soviet Union, complete with the corporate media serving the role of Pravda, but Big Tech censors it since leaders don't like to be told when they are wrong, and will even double down on mistakes and kill people rather than admit they were wrong and finally do the right things.

Welcome to living in Joe Biden's America, where everything is a pain in the ass.  Trump is a con artist, but it's enough to make one nostalgic . . .

If you need to laugh, so you don't cry, then please read Edna's Employment Agency.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

New Song!: "History Of Our Home"

This song was inspired by having places reoccur in my dreams. Some of them were places that I had lived, while others were not, but it was interesting that I had a bit of dream geography to return to each night. It got me thinking about how we internalize the external and carry around memories of places where we lived.  The lyrics are below.  It's the same deal as always.  If you like a song, then feel free to cover it if you're in a band or whatnot.  I love to hear covers of my songs, so please let me know about your version.  If you start making money, then send me a check/we can work out a deal.  Similarly, if you want to use a song for your Youtube video or whatnot, then just let me know.  It's usually fine by me unless it's a commercial product or whatnot (and then it's likely fine as well--I just want my cut).  Find out first though.  Write me at wredfright ATATAT yahoo DOTT com.

Dandelions are growing in the front yard.
In the backyard is buried a cat.
When we moved in, we found a slide projector in the basement with some slides from the '70s, how about that?
Grandma's got a painting of a flower hanging in the hall.
In a doorway, there are some smudged pencil marks.  They were a growth chart; how the kid's grown tall.

The history of our home is written on the walls of our hearts.

In the living room is the beat-up yellow chair my wife always complained about.
It's still here, but she's long gone.
In the kitchen, there isn't an inch of counter space that Grandpa hasn't put something on.
Over the driveway, the neighbor's mulberry tree grows.
Don't park under the branches unless you want your car to have a purple stain.
I gather the berries and make pies, so I don't cut them down or complain.

Some places reoccur in my dreams.
Night after night, I walk their halls and climb their stairs.
Though I haven't lived in them for years, it's nice to know that inside they are still there.
We change the places where we live, but in return the places change us.
A place can be abandoned or demolished, but inside us it can be as it once was.

Written October 2021
Recorded October 2021

Want more Wred Fright music?  Order the Yeast? 7" here!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Cuyahoga County's Creepiest City?

Cleveland Magazine often includes bonus magazines, usually puff pieces for area industry and municipalities.  A recent one is for Independence, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio USA.  Usually, these are pretty boring reads, basically press releases for the city as it tries to compete against others for residents, businesses, and so forth.

As an aside, my gut instinct is that these magazines seldom accomplish little aside from wasting some taxpayer dollars and employing a few writers and graphic designers briefly.  I didn't know much about Independence other than they don't like homeless people, so I suppose the magazine was informative.

Anyway, I found it surprising that Independence brags about being a surveillance camera police state basically.  Apparently, they've ringed the town with security cameras and license plate readers and run everyone's license plate through a national crime database.  What's not astounding is that they're doing this.  Plenty of other cities do this as well, a practice that does raise civil liberty issues (for an overview, check out https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/automatic-license-plate-readers-legal-status-and-policy-recommendations).  What's astounding is that the city, instead of keeping their 1984-style creepiness on the down low, tries to use it as a selling point to attract businesses and residents to the city.  Maybe there are people out there who are comforted by the fact that the police will know every time they go to the grocery store, but I am not one of them.  Despite the recovery of stolen cars trumpeted in the article, I suspect this is overall a waste of money that provides a patina of security rather than the real thing.  While the police and their computers are busy scanning every car on the road, criminals are probably busy stealing and switching license plates before they pass through town to commit another crime.

But if you really want to live in a dystopian, panopticon suburb, then this may be the place for you!

For more fun with surveillance society, check out my novel Blog Love Omega Glee!

Friday, October 1, 2021

What Happened To The ACLU? What Happened To American Liberalism?

 

I got a letter asking for money from me from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  I have been a member of the ACLU for years, but I ripped up the contents of the letter, stuffed them in the envelope, wrote the above message on the back of the envelope, and mailed it back to them.

With luck, they'll get the hint and take me off their mailing list, or, better yet, reconsider their cowardly and erroneous support for vaccine mandates.  I was aghast when I read the following Glenn Greenwald article:  "The ACLU, Prior to COVID, Denounced Mandates and Coercive Measures to Fight Pandemics".  I actually went and checked it out myself, and yes, after years of defending people and their rights to make their own healthcare decisions, the ACLU seems to be so scared of SARS Jr. that they abandoned their principles in the manner that Greenwald describes

You can argue that the ACLU themselves are not the writers of the article, only a pair of their senior lawyers, but it's fairly clear that supporting vaccine mandates is a de facto position now of the organization, as the following article explains:  "Why the ACLU Flip-Flopped on Vaccine Mandates".  In the past, the organization seemed to stick to their civil liberty principles regardless of how unpopular their lawsuits and campaigns were at the time.  You can see a timeline of the ACLU's fine work here:  "The Successes of the American Civil Liberties Union".  They supported Communists, African-Americans, abortionists, pornographers, Nazis, and other minorities from the tyranny of popular opinion.

That's why it is so disappointing to see the ACLU now play the role of the bully, seemingly only because their staff members are scared of a virus that, while annoying and even deadly, clearly is not The Black Plague.

For those of you unfamiliar with The Black Plague, here's a primer:  https://www.history.com/topics/middle-ages/black-death.  Basically, in 5 years, it killed a third of Europe.

Now that's a pandemic.

SARS Jr. (I call COVID-19 SARS-Jr. because that's basically what it is:  "The Naming System Behind SARS-CoV-2"), by contrast, doesn't seem to be making the same dent in world population.  In 2020, world population was estimated at 7,794,798,739.  Now, it's estimated at 7,896,921,101 and counting (you can follow the fun at https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/#pastfuture).

So the virus is nasty, but there are more people on earth in 2021 than there were last year, so it's not that nasty that we need to abandon all sense and principle, and I am not sure if anything is worth abandoning sense and principle.  Panics, and this is a panic, usually end badly.  We're already seeing the effects with people fighting among one another, blaming one another for illnesses and deaths (guess what, it's a virus that's responsible, and not one another--OK, if you're a conspiracy theorist, you can blame Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszek, Fort Detrick, The Wuhan Institute Of Virology, and everyone else who likes to fund and conduct gain of function research in coronaviruses:  "Rep. Roy Demands Pelosi Open Investigations On COVID Origins").  We've all seen nasty sideeffects from the attempts to stop the spread of the virus, whether medically, economically, and personally.

One of them is now the ACLU losing all sense.  As Alex Berenson has bravely reported (they threw him off Twitter because the facts, studies, and observations he notes do not fit the party line), the Sars Jr. vaccines are not as effective as people hoped they would be and they have harmful sideeffects and consequences.  Given that situation, it's odd that there is such a push to get everyone vaccinated.  If Biden and the others pushing vaccine mandates thought the vaccines worked, why would they care so much about others making different health decisions as the vaccinated would have nothing to fear from anyone unvaccinated?  Even Noam Chomsky, historically a smart guy, can't seem to grasp this point.  Greenwald again had an excellent article about this entitled:  "An NBA Star and New York's Governor Show That Liberal COVID Discourse is Devoid of Science".

Liberals are all concerned for the moment about protecting the right to choose when it comes to abortion, and I'm with them; that's a big decision about one's own body and it should be left to the individual whose body is in question.  But the same goes for the vaccine.  I guess when it comes to killing babies it's "my body, my choice", but for anything else, it's "my body, Biden's choice, ACLU's choice, your governor's choice, your school board's choice, and so on and so forth").   

Which brings me to my second point:  what happened to liberalism?  What happened to the ACLU seems to have happened to liberals across the board.  For example, I got a fundraising email from Democratic Congressional Representative Tim Ryan, who is running for Senate in Ohio.  He discloses that he is fully vaccinated but he has the virus.  Rather than blame Big Pharma for making a rushed, crappy product and Big Media and Big Government for foisting it on him, he writes, "And I’m grateful to have the protection of a safe and effective vaccine that's kept my case fairly mild."

I guess Ryan is trying not to get me to give his campaign money by writing something as stupid as that.  Ryan is young for a politician (48 years or so) and seemingly healthy (he does yoga and whatnot), so he would likely have had a mild case of the virus even if he didn't have the vaccine.  Like most nasty viruses, it hits the old and sick the hardest.  And guess what, no one is going to live forever anyway.  If the virus doesn't get me when I am old and weak, then something else will.  I just hope I don't have to live in misery because public health officials and politicians want to go on power trips trying to do something about something they are powerless to do anything about.  Viruses spread.  At this point, the genie is not going back in the bottle.  All they can do is make other aspects of life miserable.  In the past, this virus would have been kept to a manageable medical matter and not something that is causing so much collateral damage in other aspects of life.  Today, our leaders are morons, so we get two years and counting of dumbness.

As a warning to liberals, you're opening the door to con artist Trump's return and Republicans taking over Congress.  They're wrong on nearly every other issue, but this is the issue that currently affects everyone's lives most directly, and you're on the wrong side of it.  Don't get involved.  If people want to get the vaccine, then let them get the vaccine.  If they want to wear masks, then let them wear masks.  But don't force people to do things that have been demonstrated to not work, despite every little doctor and politician on the news claiming the opposite (makes me wonder if these people know how to do math and logic because the virus keeps going regardless of these efforts, even in localities with very different approaches to things).  When you shove unwanted medicine down a population's throat, they're going to eventually shove something back that you don't want.  This article on Biden's growing unpopularity is probably just the top of the roll down the hill:  "Biden's Slide With Key Voters: Momentary Blip or Danger Sign?".  It's not too late for liberals and the ACLU to gather some courage and go back and find their principles.  2022 and 2024 are still a ways away.  Biden should have just declared victory over the virus early on and moved on.  Now it's his problem and not Trump's.  Banning people for expressing dissident views doesn't exactly help your side's credibility (the ACLU has been fairly silent on these big tech free speech issues as well, leaving it to The Republicans, who a generation ago wanted to censor information about sexuality); it's like you're just conceding the debate by trying to stifle the other side (along those lines, I was particularly disturbed by Elizabeth Warren's attempt to pressure Amazon to censor Berenson's books because Berenson's stuff seems to hold up; unlike most of the other American reporters who read press releases and lack critical thinking skills--watch the network nightly news and count how many Big Pharma commercials air for fun--when I factcheck Berenson his analysis bears out).  Even if Berenson were dead wrong, it's not for Warren to pick what I or anyone else can read.  She can stick to picking her own reading.

But since she's opened the door to having others pick what one reads, then I suggest she start rereading The Bill Of Rights she swore to uphold.  Apparently, she needs some remediation there.  

And so does the ACLU. 

New James Nowlan Film!

 

One of my favorite contemporary novelists, James Nowlan, also makes films.  The previous one was about a sadistic game show host who captured a number of people to force them into a reality show competition in which most wouldn't survive.  It was in French, a language which I do not understand very well, but I still dug it (I think I eventually saw a version with English subtitles).  His latest film is a short, and it's in English (mostly anyway).  Check it out if you get a chance; it's more fun than most of the latest stuff being hyped on tv, movies, and streaming services.

For more Nowlan, check out The Underground Literary Alliance anthology!