Monday, November 28, 2016

He knows what 'scam' means, right?

Just so I'm tracking all this, before the election Trump was only going to accept the results if he won. Then he did win, you know, technically, so the results were fine. A triumph of democracy. But then it became clear that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote so he said-sorry, he Tweeted that if there was no electoral college, he would have won even bigger and more easily. Great, sure. So then Jill Stein was all, 'Let's do a recount, because you know, democracy is at stake.' And Trump's like, 'hey, what a scam.'
"Yeah Donald, it's all a big scam. Life's incredibly unfair. To you."
-the woman most of us voted for
Yes, it's exactly this level of
bananas, but here we are.
Leaving aside the fact that most of us, like by a margin of more than two million people voted for a completely different person to be President, that's a lot of nerve right? I mean at no point did Jill Stein suggest that the recount would change anything, it's just about making sure Russian hackers didn't screw with our election-which, a few weeks ago would have sounded like paranoid delusion but now is actually on the table. Not likely, but also not entirely in the realm of tin-foil hats because holy shit they've totally been screwing with our election.

And then, and then, the crowning pièce ce de crázy:
Sure. Why not?
Just so were clear, not voting
for Trump isn't in itself illegal.
Millions who voted illegally based on what? I mean, if you're the president-elect and you're going to make a public statement that calls into question the validity of the electoral process that made you the president-elect, shouldn't you, I don't know, have a shred of evidence? And look, at no point am I ever going to be convinced that Trump is not a dangerous, hot-tempered, thin-skinned narcissist who acts before he thinks and then doesn't even think, but holy shit, take his phone away.

Also, if it was widespread voter fraud that gave Clinton the popular vote win, shouldn't the vast cabal of Democratic operatives have rigged it so that she won the electoral vote too? I'm not like an expert election rigger or anything, but that seems like a no-brainer.
For those keeping score: the election was fair because Trump won the electoral college.
Sure, he didn't win the popular vote but that was definitely because of cheating, but don't look
at the results too closely because that's just a scam. Got all that? Cool. Is America great again now?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Today in other national embarrassments...

Hey, guess what today is? Yes. Black Friday, that manufactured observance which retailers have convinced us is not only a day to shop, but also one where the basic rules of human decency are suspended in the name of deep deep discounts.
You know, back in the good old days, Christmas shopping was orderly and polite and men
wore hats. Of course they also had separate water fountains and the careers available to
women were limited to secretary or flight attendant, so in many ways the 1950's can suck it.
Why can't it be both?
This is America after all.
I'm only pointing it out today because I didn't want the elevated tension, anxiety and violence to blend unnoticed into the background radiation of tension, anxiety and violence that has been bombarding us recently. This year, when shoppers get into a taser fight over the last Big Bang Theory Season 9 box set or a standing mixer or something, we're seriously going to have to ask ourselves, as a nation, is this because of the election or because you can't beat the outrageous door-buster savings at Target?

Sure, she got the most votes, but she didn't
get the right votes. Thanks Electoral College...
I mean the only thing more embarrassing than the national pantsing that was the 2016 election is the idea that one thing that actually gets us out of our hovels and brings us together as a nation is goddamn Black Friday-a pretend shopping holiday. According to the Washington Post, 151 million people shopped on Black Friday in 2015. Do you know how many turned out to vote this year? Just under 135 million. And the icing on the shitcake here (is that even an expression?) is that despite most of us voting for Clinton we got Trump.

Yes, I'm making this about the election. It's like we all went out Christmas shopping and instead of the My Little Pony our kid asked for we came home with some off-brand knock-off and the only one willing to grab the receipt and go back to the store is Jill Stein. Jill. Stein. Holy shit if she pulls this off, can we give her Pennsylvania? Like give it to her?
Above: Funny Pony, a metaphor for our Next President. Funny Pony is not
not at all the one we asked for, but it's the one we're probably stuck with.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Texas: It's Like a Whole Other Century!

So I said I'd try to be nicer to the goons in the red states, but then this. Yeah, this is why Texas can suck it. Not all of Texas mind you, they're not all goons, but when conservatives blink uncomprehendingly at our anger at them, we can point to this and say 'shit like this is why people can't stand you.'
No really, everything you stand for is terrible. I mean it.
Stop laughing! I don't understand how you sleep at night.
You don't support SB242?  Ok, but
tell me, why do you hate families?
The shit in question is a bill proposed by State Representative Konnie Burton that would require schools to turn over any knowledge or records relating to their child's health and emotional well-being, grades, disciplinary action, etc. SB242, which she's named the Parent's Right to Know bill (because Republicans love to give things names that make you sound like an asshole for opposing them), calls for disciplinary action against any faculty or staff member, including school councilors, who don't comply.

American schools, 1st in transphobic
bathroom laws, 25th in math. U-S-A!
Ok, that almost sounds reasonable, but hang on half a tick, according to Burton's chief of staff, the bill was written in response to guidelines issued by the Forth Worth school district that requires faculty and staff to recognize students gender identities and use the facilities consistent with those identities. Yikes. Doesn't that kind of sound like schools are supposed to out students to their parents if they've expressed questions about their gender identity or sexuality?

Steers, queers and debunked
pseudo-science. Welcome to Texas!
Like, is Burton unaware of how many parents, despite the fact that this is 2016 will kick their kids out for being gay or trans? So back to my original point of 'hey red states, this is why you scare the shit out of us.' Don't get me wrong, I know how important it is to conservatives that they only pee next to someone born with the same genitals as them, but is that really worth putting LGBT kids in real danger of homelessness, abuse or conversion therapy? Yes, conversion therapy, because Texas.

Yeah, yeah, I know, childless shut-in weighs in again, but for serious, no matter how well-intentioned Konnie Burton thinks this bill is, it will obliterate what for many kids might be the one safe outlet they have to speak to an adult who isn't their parent.
Burton's next measure, SB 243, the Don't You Love Your Children? Bill is due to be
brought before the House next spring and would require all minors to turn over all diaries,
texts, notes passed in class and cootie catchers for review and evaluation at PTA meetings.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Safe and Special Place

Are you for goddamn kidding me? Seriously, are you kidding me:
You'd think someone would have
told him that Broadway is like, full
of gays. I mean, was he lost?
So what's all this about? Why this. No time to click? No problem, I'll explain. Last night VP-elect Mike Pence went to see Hamilton, you know, the musical? You know, the one about some of American history's whitest, slave owning-iest founders performed by a super-diverse cast singing hip-hop? Yeah, I don't know what Pence was doing there either, but during the curtain call Brandon Dixon Victor, who plays Aaron Burr, took the opportunity to address the running mate of the guy most of the country didn't vote for:

"...and another thing..."
-Dixon, last night
"We welcome you and truly thank you for joining...We sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, or children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us." 

-Brandon Victor Dixon, very politely letting
Pence know that he scares the shit out of us
Yes. Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump responded with the Tweet you see above. The one that elicits the 'are you for goddamn kidding me.' Because for real, are you for goddamn kidding me? Camera's blazing? Are we supposed to be upset that the cast might have publicly shammed Pence for all the shameful things he's done and said over the years? And then the follow-up Tweet:
Um, In order: it is, no they weren't, he
sucks and they should absolutely not apologize.
The arts are going to have
a lot to work with.
'The Theater (sic) must always be a safe and special space...?' Safe. And special. Just...fuck you. Like, fuuuuck you. Sorry, but for real. The guy who just ran for, and electoral college-won the Presidency entirely on a platform of racism, misogyny and homophobia does not get to call out the cast for being rude to the guy who signed Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This is exactly what theatre and the arts as a whole are supposed to do: call bullshit on bullshit.

Yes of course the theatre (that's right, '-re') should be a safe space. It is a safe place. What's not feeling so safe right now for most of us is America's immediate future, say everything after January 20th.
Ok, fine, other than the Astor Place Riot of 1849,
Fords Theatre in 1865 and the Iroquois Theatre in 1903.
But most of the time, the theatre is a pretty safe place.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Mother of the year doncha know...

Hey, have you got kids? I don't, but I understand that most parents are usually pretty attached to them and in general have their best interests in mind. After all, children are a form of immortality and until having children can finally be rendered pointless by a combination of cloning and brain-upload technology, they're all we've got.
Soon cloning technology will spare us from ever
again having put up with teen angst and all the whining.
Typically judges don't haul you into court
to tell you you've been doing a good job.
But then what do I know? As a childless shut-in, I don't really have a basis upon which to form an opinion on the subject, but then again this is the internet, so when has that ever stopped anyone? Anyway, I think we can all agree that anyone who can bring up a child without taking them to court has done a good job of being a parent, right? Like, if you're suing you're child, you've probably done something wrong. Take this Minnesota woman who filed suit against her own daughter. How come? Well brace yourself because the answer might surprise-wait, no, no I think that after last week we're beyond surprises.

From here on out it's just going to be a parade of increasing disappointments in the shitiness of our fellow Americans.
Yes, I understand that this has nothing to do with the election and that
Clinton actually won Minnesota, but for right now I'm just going to be
 putting everything under the category of 'the red states can suck it,' ok?
"What's next, dancing? Where does it end?
Disrespect for authority that's where."
-The Dad from Footloose
Get this: she's suing her daughter because she got gender re-assignment surgery and didn't ask her first. I think the phrase you're looking for is 'are you for goddamn kidding me?' And no, I'm not kidding you. Anmarie Calgaro is upset because her daughter, who was born biologically male, received hormone therapy without her (Calgaro's) consent. Consent which is not at all required in Minnesota in cases where a minor does not live with the parent as is the case here. At least that's why she says she's upset.

Above: Calgaro giving a statement to
the press and-you'd think they could
give her a phone book or something
Here's what she said at a press conference behind a comically large podium:

" know I asked him to wait until he was 18 to make any major decisions with his life, just hang on and you know, let time play out here and just wait until you're 18 to go about changing your name or your identity and uh, he was eager to have that done..."

-Anmarie Calgaro on why she's suing her own 
daughter at the most vulnerable point in her life

Instead of a 400% increase in the
likelihood of being awesome.
Oh, so she was just asking him to hold on for-hang on, him? She must have misspoke, it's an easy mistkake....she just wanted her daughter to wait until she was 18 before making any major life decisions, right? That's just parenting. Like, if she wanted a tattoo and Anmarie wanted her to wait, but she went around her back right? Yes, just like that, if wanting a tattoo carried a 400% increase in likelihood of suicide. Yeah, the suicide rate among trans people between 18-24 year-olds is 45%. Forty-five percent. Holy shit.

That's lawyers for you, always helping
people who can't afford counsel. Jerks...
Ok, maybe she's unaware of this chilling statistic and doesn't realize that she's putting her daughter through even more stress and turmoil.

"Last year without my knowledge or consent, without any court hearings or legal process, without any involvement on my part whatsoever, a legal aide group who gives services to low-income people created a notice of emancipation for my fifteen year-old son..."

-Calgaro, on how-wait did she say son?

See? That's what this is really about, overreaching social services interfering with her parental-wait, did she-yes, she totally said 'son.' So either she's refusing to acknowledge her daughter's gender identity at all so either she's unclear about how the whole transgender thing works. Too harsh? I don't know, it's just that her outrage would seem a little more plausible if she led with something like, 'I love and support my daughter, but...' Oh, and also it would help if she was just suing social services and not, you know, her own kid.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Oh brave new gimmick!

Check this out. If you're even slightly nerdy or just want to think about something that isn't the unrelenting horror show that is America's next President, check this out. The Royal Shakespeare Company (or RSC if you're sassy) in Stratford, England has goddamn holograms in their production of The Tempest. Holograms!
Above: a CGI character from the RSC's production of The Tempest.
Wait, refresh my memory, was Lawnmower Man always in The Tempest?
There's nothing kids love more than a
good William F. Buckley impersonation.
Ok, so obviously we're going to have to walk this back a bit. The production doesn't really have holograms but it does use fancy projections to create the magic effects on stage. If you're not familiar with the play, it's about a Duke called Prospero who lures his dick of a brother to an island so he can take revenge using magic (like most Dukes, Prospero is also a wizard) and an enslaved sprite called Ariel who can change shape to carry out his master's will. He's sort of like the Genie from Aladdin but with fewer anachronistic pop-culture references. 

Pictured: Noted British thespian
Sir Lawrence Olivier, wasting our time.
In the RSC production, Ariel will be played by an actor who will spend part of the show backstage in a motion capture suit with his movements animated in real time. That way Ariel can do all the shapeshifting and cool magic shit that generations of Shakespearian acting had to convey through words and you know, acting. It sounds pretty similar to the technology used suck the joy out of filmmaking but since most theatre companies can barely afford to keep the lights on, much less motion capture suits, I suppose we don't have to worry about it ruining theatre any time soon.

Above: Ariel Actor Mark Quartly,
reevaluating his career choices. 
While it's cool and all, I'm not clear on how this is different from pre-recorded footage being projected on a screen. Unless Ariel holds up today's newspaper in the middle of Act IV, for all we know he could be as live as an Xbox cutscene. I came across a review for the show which says that the production is ok, but that the whole Airel thing comes off as gimmicky, but they're probably just saying that because it's a transparent gimmick. But kind of a cool gimmick, right? Like in theory?

Pictured: The RSC's Gregory Doran
cosplaying Hagrid for some reason.
(source: snark)
Obviously, the most important thing is whether or not Shakespeare would have approved:

"I'm sure he would, um, I think Shakespeare absorbed anything, the new, that was around. I think theatre has always embraced all sorts of new technology...we've always embraced that technology, so this is just an extension of that, really..."

-Gregory Doran, in no way justifying the 
immense cost of the motion capture gear

Yeah, ok, theatre does adapt new technology, but as for Shakespeare approving, I'm not so sure. I mean, I think he'd accuse the cast of being witches in league with the devil and then run screaming from the theatre into the nightmarish neon hellscape of 21st century London only to wander dazedly into traffic and be run down by one of those double decker buses.
Way to go Gregory, you've just killed time traveling Shakespeare.
Any resultant temporal paradoxes are on you. Way to go.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Because we'll buy anything. Anything.

I mean, you can't show up to a king's
birthday with a gift card. That'd be lame.
Wondering what to get the person who has everything? I mean, literally everything. Like a super rich person, or a king or something? Because that scenario is the only reason I can see for this. Yeah, Apple in what I assume was a totally serious move, announced today that they will be releasing a book filled with pictures of their products. Yes, with a straight face. And because this is Apple, you could pay $199 for it, or you could get the slightly larger version for $299. I mean, you'd be an idiot not to, right?

The book is called-hang on, let's refer to it as a coffee table book. A book-book should probably be mostly words and not say, pictures of iMacs. Anyway, it's called 'Designed by Apple in California' and to quote the website 'Tells the story of Apple's design.'
"Yes, gather 'round children and I shall tell you of the legend
of Apple's sleek, industrial design and hip brand image.
According to the book's forward, it's more than just a fancy coffee table book. It's-
Come for the intensity, stay for
the corporate self-aggrandizement.

" objective representation of out work that, ironically, describes who we are...We have always hoped to be defined by what we do rather than what we say. We strive, with varying degrees of success, to define objects that appear effortless. Objects that appear so simple, coherent, and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative."

-Jony Ive, Apple's chief of design
and staring intensely into cameras

Apple I. It's from  the 'here, you deal with it'
school of consumer product design.
Holy shit, right? Does it come with a packet of poison Kool-Aide? I bet you thought this was just a book about Apple unabashedly patting themselves on the back for their designs, which, can we talk about that? The book walks through the company's various product lines from their early days of sending you a box with some loose wires and a circuit board (no really) all the way up to today where we hand over absurd amounts of money for an iPhone so we can feel slightly more cool than the people who bought a Galaxy. You know, the one that actually explodes.

From the people that brought
us small, glass and frictionless. 
So I guess my question is, are they all that good at design? I mean sure, Apple's stuff is (usually) pretty, I'll give them that, but doesn't design extent to function as well as aesthetic? Like, they're kind of famous for making phones that shatter into razor sharp spider webs of agony at the slightest provocation and I'm not sure that dropping a useful feature like, say, the headphone jack and then selling you a dongle to replace it is so much an innovative design choice as it is a cost cutting measure.

I think the real heroes are their marketing department that manages to convinces us, the gullible public, to not only pay extra for their stuff but then to cough up another couple hundred bucks for the extended warranty because there's a decent chance your new MacBook or whatever will shit the bed within the month. Which, can you get Apple Care for the book? It'd be a shame if it got bricked by a bad update.
Pictured: Apple's new coffee table books. At least I think it's pictured above. You know, for
a company that's releasing a book about design, you'd think they'd be familiar with contrast.

Friday, November 11, 2016

So which gods have we offended this time?

Damnit this week, could you be any more disappointing? Goddamn Biff Tannen electoral-college won the election, Leonard Cohen died and then and then as if to add insult to injury Amazon sold out of NES Classics.
What? Don't look at me like that, I said the election thing first...
It's an NES, but tiny. Nostalgia + tiny version
of something = we nerds will buy anything.
Ok, so obviously I'm not really putting these things on the same level or anything. I really do have a sense of perspective, but I was really looking forward to handing Nintendo another sixty bucks for a bunch of games I've already bought like four times so I could forget the imminent collapse of our democracy while giving myself early onset arthritis wrapping my giant man-hands around those tiny, un-ergonomic NES controllers of yesteryear.

Or can't we cut a deal where Trump's
just President of the red states? What?
Oh, like you'd ever set foot in Florida.
But for serious, it's been a terrible week and we all deal with it differently. Some people have recommitted themselves to volunteering and public service, some are taking to the streets to voice their outrage and others are straight up threatening to secede. Yeah, it's called Calexit and it sounds pretty crackpot. I mean, I'm horrified that Trump won too, but secession's pretty illegal. Like, the Civil War settled that. Secondly, and more importantly, it's the red states that made a shitty decision here, if anything they should leave.

Above: Wyoming-ians. Electorally
 speaking, they just count more then us. 
I don't know. In the meantime I say we work on the electoral college. As in getting rid of it and the undue significance it gives to states whose only contribution to the national discourse are suing over not having to bake gay wedding cakes and screwing up our elections. I mean, goddamnit aren't we tired of-huh? Oh, right. Sorry. I did say I'd try being nicer to goons, but the last time something like this happened we got George W. Bush. Holy shit, I'd take Bush over Trump at this point. Has it come to this?

Oh well, I suppose I can take solace in the idea that somewhere some eight-year old is going to find a tiny Nintendo under their Christmas tree and begin a life-long, yet sedentary love of classic video games and not going outside.
...or a bunch of jerks bought them all up so they
could resell them for three or five times as much.

Today in sore winners...

Wait...wait, unfair? Seriously? Also, did his handlers give him his Twitter account back? Because, they might want to re-think...but for real. Unfair. Huh? Oh, this:'s really handing you a shit-sandwich. 
"Trump? Is the next President? As in grab
them by the-that Trump? Is this a prank?"
He's referring to the nation-wide protest of his surprising win on Tuesday. And by surprising I mean, shocking, unbe-goddamn-lievable, 'Bigfoot-is-real' surprising. And professional protesters? Is he suggesting that the people taking to the streets to register their disgust/shock/dread at the thought of him in office are what? Hired by the DNC? Sponsored by NASCAR? Because I'm pretty sure nobody's getting paid here. If they are somehow professional protesters, which I'm pretty sure isn't a job, then this is pro-bono work.

Oh, and also, what does he mean by 'incited by the media?' I mean, yeah, we all watched the results come in abject terror as a sure-thing Clinton win became a nightmarish horror show, and yes maybe we saw it happen on CNN or whatever, but that's not the same thing as inciting. We're angry and afraid and have every right and obligation to be.
Above: the media inciting people to flee a rampaging monster bent
on their destruction. Pfft...that's the liberal media for you. Always startin' shit.
"At first it looks like Hillary won, but if we
carry the one, take the cube of π, then multiply
by a factor of penis...violá! President Trump."
We're angry because for the second time in memory we had to watch while some ridiculous space math that gives voters in the empty wastes of Wyoming like, double votes compared to say Californians or New Yorkers, stuck a Republican buffoon in office when, by any measurable standards of a modern democracy, Hillary Clinton should have been wading waist deep in balloons Tuesday night. And we're afraid that he's going to roll back LGBT protections, erode reproductive rights and de-regulate the fuck out of banks and plunge us into another global financial meltdown.

Protesting is a natural reaction to this goat-rodeo of an election. Clinton won all three debates, has had a successful thirty-year career in public service and got more votes than the winner so why in the name of fuck is Donald Trump getting sworn in in January? It's like Clinton bowled a perfect game, while Trump was allowed to play bumper bowling, still lost and yet goes home with the gift-certificate to Pizza Hut and Air Force One.
It's about time someone put this thing in bowling terms, right?