Exit 90

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I drove myself to Mountain Home, Idaho. To do a reading of my short story, Bunny Slipper, for the tenth edition of Whistle Pig, the Southwest Idaho’s literary journal.

It’s a two hour drive, at least.

The legislators in the Gem State raised the speed limit to 80 MPH.

So, my hundred mile or so drive took TWENTY MINUTES. 

No, I didn’t, but it’s nice to look down at the speedometer, realize I’m not speeding recklessly. Or that the Idaho State cops won’t be yanking my backside over for a ticket. I don’t go eighty. No. About seventy or so. I used to drive like a speed fiend. I have the tickets to prove it. I’ve turned into that slow duffer. In the right lane, putting along. With others whizzing by at a hundred, all of them praying the cops are elsewhere…!

A lovely day. The gauge hit in the mid-sixties. Sunshine. No wind. I had the radio on, noticed the station, the River as it’s referred to, seemed to play the same set of songs. From a U2 combo of Pride, in the Name of Love and Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For to some whiny men singing about friends and weed. I seriously cannot hear the difference in today’s musical men or women. It all sounds alike. I have Old Man Get Off My Lawn Tin Ear-itus these days.

Oh and the River plays Love Shack, a lot, by the B-52’s. I turn that shit up! It feels so decadent to be tooling down I-84, on my way to not the love shack. Tin roof. RUSTED.

No, I don’t have that fancy thingamabob where you store every song every invented, that hooks into your car something or other. I, gulp, jab the buttons on the car stereo, like some old-fashioned dope. 

Now, this stretch of the freeway is known to me. I attended UNLV way back when, so I usually entered Idaho after taking the three seconds it takes to drive through Jackpot, Nevada. Up the 93, with other highways thrown in.

I would then head for the freeway, head back to Eastern Oregon across southern Idaho. I never stopped in Mountain Home, that I remember. I drove past it, a lot. There’s also a rest stop just outside Boise, which I did stop at if my back teeth were swimming.

It’s really hard to pee if you’re on a freeway. You can’t just pull over and go. Like you can on a mostly deserted back country highway. Which I’ve done. You gotta go, it’s urgent, there’s no cars in either direction.

You yank the vehicle over, you listen for motors. You hastily squat and yeah, you hear a car approaching…yep. Every. Single. Time. You can drive for literally miles without seeing another car on a Nevada highway and then, the moment you give in, decide to water the weeds a bit, yeah. There’s a freaking parade going by.

Here’s where guys have it easy. They can just casually stand by their collection of metal and rubber wheels, whiz discreetly while pretending to be looking at something by the side of the road. Oh sure, we all know what that guy, standing by his pulled over car or truck is doing. Sure. But we pretend he’s looking at a tree or a river or a crumpled Arby’s sack hanging artistically from a clump of sagebrush.

Whereas women have to yank pants down or lift a skirt, squat. It’s a whole rigmarole. What? Wait until you get to a rest area or a truck stop or a gas station?? Yeah, when the next one is fifty to a hundred miles off? Sometimes the bladder wants what the bladder wants.

Where was I???

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Oh yeah, reading a bit from a short story in Mountain Home, Idaho.

It went well. I enjoyed the other selections. There was local art work, from young kids to the elderly. Idaho has talent and it’s rather surprising how thriving the arty community is. I felt energized. It’s write a novel month coming up in November. I plan to tackle my Starved Out Eastern Oregon ranchers versus Big Gubbermint attempt. No ghosts, goblins, zombies or vampires. None! Just people being all people, as they do at times.

Exit 90 is the exit I took. You then turn right, drive a bit. If you want, you can head off to Bruneau, and the famous sand dunes.

The place I sought sits on the right. El Herradero. I treated myself to enchiladas, pork. I had to go back out, find the other room where the readings would take place. I got there to Mountain Home a bit early.

I managed to read without sounding like a squeaky mouse. I kept my reading fairly short. I used my actor training to modulate my voice. I did not touch the mic which kept going on and off for others, as microphones do at times. The atmosphere for the Whistle Pig gala was pretty laid back, warm, charming and gracious. Everyone seemed to know each other. As you do in a close-knit artist’s community such as this.

Now, I parked across the way, in the Albertson’s parking lot, the Jimmy [GMC] pointed at the one-way street I needed to get back on to get back out to the freeway heading west. I’m always thinking, when I have to get to a new place, how do I get back again. I did manage to find the freeway entrance, in the dark, and got back again obviously, instead of heading off to Twin Falls. Though, if I had gotten on the freeway going the way I did not want to go, I could just take an exit, yeah. Though, that exit might not be for some miles, so. And the cops, even in Idaho, frown at doing a u-turn on the freeway. I joke. Idaho cops would find that a ticket-worthy offense. Among other things.

Speaking of cops!

It was Friday night, so the cops were out IN FORCE. Saw lots of red and blue lights! Even when I got super-close to home, there were cop lights going off. I even thought one was going to pull me over…but it didn’t come after me creeping past the Malheur Butte, wondering where all the papers were, if my license was even in my purse and…yeah.

I had had a Pepsi and a glass of water, so no worries that way. Yay!

Also didn’t take many pictures. I just. Ugh.

To sum up, I got to Mountain Home and back home again. I left at about three thirty, got back at eleven at night on the dot. I read my piece, I didn’t embarrass myself.

It was called Bunny Slipper. About a man who buries his unwanted convenient sort of wife in the Nevada desert and she crawls out of that hole to come find him. Sad, with maggots. Yeah. The usual dreary stuff.

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Molly, the chocolate lab, happy to hear my sedate account of the Mountain Home excursion. 
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Death Rattle- Nampa, Idaho

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As I mentioned, I went to a writer’s festival in Nampa, Idaho. It took place downtown, as they say. Outside of the Prefunk Beer Bar on 1st Street, South. You get off on Exit 35, take Northside Avenue.

Saturday, I went to try and sell some books. I roughly had the mood equivalent of a dead turtle, so…won’t go into that because I don’t want to. It rained a bit. I bought some raspberry lemonade fudge from the farmer’s market. Pigeons.

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Setting up on Saturday.

Sunday!!

I drove over, somehow got there in about twenty minutes. As it’s nearly fifty miles to Nampa from my den of utter aloneness, I bent the laws of time and space! Also, the day proved to be a nice one. No rain, no wind, perfect fall weather, though a bit chilly as the day drew onward into the star-smeared night.

A workshop, where everyone there began the initial creation of a comic strip. Led by a lovely woman comics artist from Seattle, I believe. Thu Tran.

How to break up the dialogue. How to create the character or characters that will speak the words.

Write some lines. Try to draw the ones speaking those lines. Practice getting a creation you can draw over and over, until it’s almost automatic.

I did okay. People around were smart, drawing animals or bottles of spaghetti sauce. I drew people. I eventually just got to circle and triangle, with faces on each, for my characters. With differing expressions. I also drew them in profile. This actually helps me, as a playwright and prose spewer, to cut unnecessary dialogue.

What absolutely needs to be said? What can be cut? What is essential? Also, sitting for nearly two hours, drawing, helps calm the anxiety I have being AROUND OTHERS.

I also want to mention another writer I met. Javier Luna. Super-nice, friendly and talented. Thanks for talking to me. I’m an awkward social outcast right now, so thanks. 

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At one of the Lloyd buildings for the poetry readings.

The next big group thing: poetry readings. It took place in one of the buildings over where the farmer’s market had been. I just trailed after people like a stray dog, as I had no idea what building. Was. The building.

I’m also one of those people that when told something will start at X time, I actually expect it to start at X time, not whenever people stop farting around…Okay! But! If you have to set up microphones and move equipment, yep. I get it, I do. Been there myself. I’m always early to stuff, I’m also one of those pests.

I did enjoy this. Some poets more than others, as you do. I rather like the idea that there are so many poets within a hundred mile radius. It’s rather heartening. I liked the humor that crept out or blasted from the get-go in some of those readings. I got to thrill to odd phrases that caught my attention.

I noted that I was not wearing the writer garb nearly everyone else wore– dull colors, sweats, knitted caps, black the primary color…dang it. I wore a bright yellow top with a silver sparkly sweater, and BLACK PANTS. I got part of the Writer Uniform right.

If you’ve ever been to a poetry reading, then you pretty much know how this one went. If not, you should go. Hearing people read their own work should be a life goal if you’ve not done so already. Often times, these readings are free and open to the public, and you get to support a local poet or group of poets. In these times, yeah.

We need our artists. We need them. We need them when things are not whack-a-mole off the charts batshit insane, too.

Slight break, then the flash fiction portion of the evening would begin. Here, the entire kit and kaboodle got moved back to the alley outside the bar. Running a bit late. It’s Sunday night.

Did I mention I’d had two drinks and no food? That I’m trying not to just go home, forget the whole thing? That I kept wondering why I’d worn such bright clothes?? Why hadn’t I slipped a dull hat over my grandma-ish-fixed-and-sprayed hair?? Why??? I had slapped makeup on! Dang it! I have knitted dull hats! Somewhere. 

I had a dragonfruit cider, and then a giant huckleberry one. Prefunk is a microbrewery kinda hipster place. Not really, but sorta, yeah. I thought the dragonfruit cider tasted like a wine cooler. But the huckleberry one tasted swell. Like huckleberries.

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We’re now back outside Prefunk, with the flash fiction portion of the evening about to start.

The flash fiction reading had a theme. High fantasy, fantasy, sword and sorcery, etc! I happened to actually read the submission blurt, and sent in a quick take I had of Rapunzel called Vineheart and the Stolen Daughters.

Originally, this one started off as Prisoner. What a dull, pedestrian title! I wrote the first draft of this for some themed contest, about prisoners or being locked up or blah. I know it had a theme to do with being locked up, breaking free of that. Something like that.

Did my piece win over those who read it? Nope! So I kept reworking my Rapunzel take, renamed it, renamed it again. Have super-long versions, then did a shorty version. Which ended up as a piece to be read at the Death Rattle Flash Fiction portion.

I went third. The night had turned cold enough for coats. October. Sunday evening.

Now, I thought my voice sounded like one of the squeaky mice from Cinderella. Ugh! I did manage to get through it, people listened. It was eight hundred words or so. I didn’t embarrass myself. That’s pretty much all I’ve got to go on these days. That I didn’t embarrass myself in public too badly.

People did stop by to say they enjoyed it. 

The other pieces had a mostly light-hearted, funny bent to them. Very enjoyable to sit there and listen to them. Lots of fun word play, alchemists and witches and dragons. Even an appearance by Persephone. For a tiny bit, the real world couldn’t intrude here. For a tiny bit, one believed everything would turn out okay.

Then, you drive home, after discovering a Burger King on the corner where you need to turn to get back to the freeway. Nothing since a dubious lunch. Burger King it is! Money? Sure, I got some of that scattered in small coins across the bottom of my purse…

To sum up– I attended a local writer’s festival. I enjoyed it. I read a flash fiction piece. I drove home. The end!

Not quite the end yet– I also want to say a big thanks to Sarah, Reed, the tall guy in the baseball cap who did bad high fantasy punning, and the other organizers of this event. Thanks for being welcoming, and inclusive. 

 

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The alley where things took place!

Death Rattle Arts and Crafts

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Well, it’s almost here. Book fair in Nampa, Idaho, for the Death Rattle writer’s festival. I airily asked for booth space to sell my stack of unsold books. Then, I decided I needed posters to advertise I’m a REAL WRITER. So I’ve been obsessing over that. Redoing them. Discovering I had some green body glitter from way back that, yes, can be used accordingly. I’ve been using spray paint. 

I’ll also be reading a short piece called Vineheart and the Stolen Daughters, which is a quickie take on Rapunzel. 

My mood is low, and I almost want to bow out of this whole thing. Just hide in my room. I had a job interview, I botched it, I did something very wrong. I didn’t get a job I could do in my sleep half-dead with typhoid. With two degrees in that subject. I seem to have “loser” tattooed on my forehead…I know, you’re supposed to be positive all the damn time. Sorry. I’ll buck up. Write some zany review of a television show that’s been off the air for years. Yeah. It’s been raining. We needed it. 

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First draft efforts!!
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Placement of this and that.
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My Aftermath masterpiece! Nail polish, cheap supermarket watercolors and old magazine pictures, oh my. 

Library Talk

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From a local fire we had years ago. Taken from my window.

I’m an agitated little poster maker these first days of October. I’m trying to get ready for my booth, and gear up for a public reading. Two of them, actually. So that’s good! Nampa, Idaho for the Death Rattle festival. Mountain Home for the tenth anniversary of Whistle Pig. Both in Idaho, so local events I can drive to easy enough.

Now, yesterday. I had a visit with an old friend. At the library. We sat in the far back, hushed voices. Talking about. Politics. We’re both a bit blue in a very scarlet area of Oregon.

What??

Oregon has conservatives??

Yeah, outside of that Portland-Salem-Eugene strip, the rest of the state is mouth-breathing methheads who still think Obummer is comin’ for theirz gunz. I know this because I’m related to some of them.

We’re a blue state only because that I-5 corridor consists of staunch liberals, for the most part.

Anyway!

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Vale, Oregon

I’ve written about this friend before. The gentle peacenik sort with the high ideals of society and people. Right now, he’s ready to move to the bluest commune he can find, leaving behind his beloved animals if he has to. He feels sick all the time. He’s fighting with those around him who are Trump-supporters. He’s left his church over it being too pro-conservative. But he is writing. It’s helping him cope. He wants to hold a poetry workshop. 

Cope.

Those not in the cult o’Mangled Orange Hellbeast seem to be on coping mode right now.

Old movies, binge watching something familiar, listening to the same pieces of music over and over, eating too much, not eating enough, sleeping too much, not sleeping enough.

There’s this stunned, this cannot be happening take to America’s direction right now, from Americans who have to live here. We’ve become an army of zombies who want comfort, fattening food, mental candy and long snoozes in a soft, warm bed. To wake up to it was all a dream, everything’s okay, we’re still the good guys in the world. 

How to turn that survival mode switch off? Turn the LET’S FUCKING TAKE THESE MOTHERFUCKING ASSMUNCHES TO THE TRASH switch on?

We don’t need more opinion pieces on why so and so is a supporter of Fat Nixon. STFU, New York Times. Enough!

We don’t need more earnest discussions on what to do if this becomes a dictatorship. That fucking ship sailed a while ago, kiddos.

We don’t need any more the politicians on the left are as bad as the ones on the right snooty snoots.

Fuck! Are you kidding, far lefties?? Are you actually trying to make sure shit goes down that will get America listed up there with North Korea, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Hitler’s Germany?

How bad does it have to get before you unicorn-seeking far lefties start fighting back with more than long blog posts on how no one is woke but you and about three others named Dreamstar of Nowhereland, Xena Cloudwarrior for Vegan Harmony, and Jangles the Non-Materialistic Clown for World Peace?

People mention civil war more and more here. That’s what has my hackles raised, my teeth bared. Because, frankly, it would be a relief to watch Trump supporters getting their heads blown off in mid-love fest of that thing they’ve chosen to worship. I know. I’m not supposed to voice such a thing, ever. I’m not even supposed to imagine that, I’m on the ‘nice’ side, that plays by the rules, takes the high road and loses about every election there is to lose lately. Which is the problem.

People still think there are rules, checks and balances, in place. BWHA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH     um, I mean, tee hee, tee hee.

There’s not. Rules and fair play left years ago, you idiot grinners, you mannerly snitchheads.

Yeah.

The limping left keep waiting for Republicans to DO THE RIGHT THING.

Waiting. Waiting.

Waiting!

While assuming crash positions, knowing full well that those on the right will allow this creeping tide of fanatics to unleash the dogs of war on all of us. Yet waiting for the GOP in America to PUT A STOP TO IT.

Though, some on the right are sounding the alarm quite loudly. Going– hey, look over here, bad dudes and bad dudettes doing shitty things! LOOOOOOOK.

With the left using their inside voices and their company manners, telling those on the left using their outside voices and pointy fingers to pipe down, don’t upset people. Always Be Cautious Abused Wives seems to be the real slogan of the left these days. Placate, placate, placate, is the battle cry of the left. Those not placating get treated like something stepped in when walking the labradoodle at the dog park. 

Yeah. You notice that, you suppress the crappy crap, you sit through a literally hellish week of watching Kavanaugh blah blah.

And now the White House released a four person list that the FBI could interview, yet no one on the left seems to be screeching a screech that will be heard round the world about that…!!!!!!!!!! FUCK

BOOM BOOM BOOM

CLANG CLANG CLANG WENT THE COUNTRY

Until your head explodes after your tenth viewing of that song from the new Star is Born, where you melt with happy numbness over Lady Gaga hitting that middle shouty bit about being shallow or something. Bradley Cooper can sing? What?? Where’s that ten pound bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! I need some Hot Cheetos! Hit replay! Oooh, Lady Gaga, girl! Who knew Bradley Cooper could grow a beard and sing??! Lindsey Graham said what??

REPLAY REPLAY REPLAY–https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo_efYhYU2A

Wheeee! Brains! Wall!!

So, I went to the library to talk to a friend. I’m redoing my posters for the writer’s event so they don’t look like I did them when drunk, asleep, depressed to the point of turning into an actual slug. I’m wondering what the uniforms will be like for American Civil War II, the Return of the Orange King.

I hope it’s flattering for all body types, and that blood washes out of it. No sense getting a uniform that stains too easy.

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New Play Exchange

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A quickie. I have followed the herd over to the New Play Exchange. I am listing my plays well received to those indifferently passed over. Plus everything in between. 

 

newplayexchange.org/users/22994/ann-wuehler

 

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from the Mating Season of Flying Monkeys

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Justyna Cross, Ireland. From Cinnamon Rainbow

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http://thebnff.com/traces-of-memory/
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Fancy Meeting You Here & The Care and Feeding of Baby Birds, Hollywood

blank-eyed eidolons

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Wheat field being harvested. Eastern Oregon. 

It’s rather sobering how the people around you get revealed. How that top layer of niceness and decency just go away. And you see the rotting bones beneath, the strips of moldering flesh.

You notice you’re talking to ghosts, who cling to things they know with all their might and mistake the screeches of a selfish idiot for truth, beauty and the American way.

He speaks for us. He’s saying what we’re saying.

Um, wow, I hope not. Have you actually listened to that thing speak/shout at the multiple rallies?

This isn’t strangers around me saying that. I’m a lone island in a sea of blank-eyed eidolons.

I grew up around these desperate little spirits, who can’t understand that their wages going down, and everything else going up isn’t because of welfare queens taking advantage of the system.

Well, it sort of is. Those welfare queens run giant companies like GE and Exxon and Bank of America.

The welfare queens, usually portrayed as a black woman or an immigrant-colored sort of gal, that my relatives and others are told to hate, holds some sort of legendary status right up there with Bigfoot, Nessie and the Abominable Snowman.

Everyone knows about them, but nobody’s actually seen one. There’s the tales about so and so in line at the grocery store. This woman, with a fancy phone, fancy clothes, blah, is buying steak and lobster with food stamps. The details! The more details piled on, the more people lap it up! She’s got her hair done, she’s got fancy salon-looking nails! She’s wearing clothes!

How dare this food-stamp mama WEAR CLOTHES?

Outrage, outrage, get your outrage here! We need to cut those programs…! Yeah. Yep. 

It’s on par with an urban legend.

Except. People repeat it and repeat it, like an urban legend. Going back, fact checking that, boring!

Welfare queens milking the system, sexy as hell. And the fault of the left who wants to give all your hard-working money to gang members, those welfare taker milkers of the system, slutty single women who want abortions every other weekend and…yeah.

I can hear Fox News from the other room. Hyde Amendment, ever heard of it? You have to wait five years to apply for any sort of assistance in America if you immigrated here legally or…ugh.

I hear  the loud, very angry hectoring that makes up the bulk of Fox News programming. Hannity to Laura Ingraham, screaming how Pumpkincunt is a savior of the American Way of Life while Obama and Hillary and the Left want to turn everyone into scary words scary words. It’s not the words at this point, it’s the tone that people respond to. That’s what I get from just hearing that shit from another room. That comforting outrage that pours into the ears like oil squeezed from snakes. I get a sick, hot feeling and a need to FACT CHECK EVERYTHING around me, then a need to take one of those showers you take after exposure to anything nuclear. I’m contaminated. I’ve been exposed to radiation. 

I’m in a terrible place right now. Mentally, physically, the whole kit and kaboodle.

I walked out to get the mail. A beautiful day. Cooler than it has been. Clear skies, that smoky haze pushed out a bit. My thoughts full of what am I hanging on for. What. What am I hanging on for. There’s no reason for this.

It’s just this passing clot of darkness amid, should I make some biscuits, is my pumpkin ripe, I need to find a play for such and such. There’s even some fancy name for always having suicidal thoughts. Being always on that cliff. Looking into the abyss. Wondering. How soon. How soon.

My relatives, over on Facebook, posted a meme. Here, you can see it, too. Or curse me, wash your eyeballs with bleach and go get drunk with bikers. Or acrobats, hey, I will not judge you.

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This doesn’t appear to be a joke or hoax

I know her. She’s a good person. Like, deep down nice. Funny, tough, one of those women who stand by their man sorta woman. She’s a throwback country song, sung by George Jones, with Mo Bamby singing backup. A bright spot during the family Christmas Hell-Eves.

And yet…that meme. Does she believe that? Is there some part of her that goes, some tiny still voice in the center of her head, that goes…I’ve been fooled.

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Apricot Hellbeast’s speech in West Virginia. Actual excerpt. 

She’s got a medically fragile kid. She’s on all sorts of assistance to help that kid, to keep him alive. Medical bills that way, ouch!

To pay for those massive tax cuts, the regime that holds all three branches of the American government will go after everything she depends on. Those programs to help kids in that manner already cut to the bone or going away.

This will be blamed on immigrants clogging the welfare system…or lazy Millennials who don’t  know the value of working or people with arts degrees or Hillary. Or avocado toast. Or Starbucks coffee runs. Or. Or anything but pointing out the hoary old there’s always money for anything military, none for social programs.

Oh sorry. Anything military contractor. As veterans getting help when they come back from the never-ending war/s, pfft. We’ve never taken care of our veterans, why start now?

It’s all the Democrats fault, of course, that veterans blah dee blah.

They’re into BIG GOVERNMENT and red tape! It’s not us nice Republicans who love family, the military, guns and Jesus and tiny tiny government! Wheee! Sorry, veterans. If only the demoncrats would work with President Orange Jesus, everything would magically just become magical!! Unicorns in every cooking pot!

We’re the party of Lincoln! We must all tighten our belts, some must tighten their belts so much they get cut in two and die under a bridge having frozen to death. But that’s the fault of  Nancy Pelosi. Nothing is ever our fault, we’re the party of Lincoln!

Doesn’t…doesn’t she know this? Doesn’t that compute? Hasn’t she been paying attention at all?

No.

No, she hasn’t. It seems my entire family turned into members of some sort of weird cult. I’ve never fit in with my family but this is…so much worse. I feel afraid. For me. For them. For all of us. I can’t forgive that they embrace that thing. They can’t forgive that I don’t. I don’t want to talk to them or be around them.

They don’t seem like my family anymore.

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At the Western Idaho Fair, Boise, Idaho. This is the Republican Party these days? 

I think that’s the worse thing that has happened to this country, well…not even close, but still. Dividing friends, family into hostile camps dedicated to erasing the other.

Maybe this is a tiny taste of those pre-Civil War years. People divided so sharply that there was no reasonableness left. No logic, no reason. Just hasty words, slogans, propaganda and shouting. Promising things would be done to protect their side. Swords rattled. Before they really got rattled for four years.

Fuck, we’re still fighting that damn war to this day. It never ended. 1861-?. The South will Rise Again! Um, does that mean we’re gonna have to wear hoops skirts and own slaves and shout that cotton is king? Holy barfballs, ‘murikkka!

How long do you ignore this cult brouhaha from the ‘other side’?

When you remember a snowy Christmas Eve night– that hulking MAGA hat wearing sort used to be a tiny tot in a blue knitted stocking cap, delighted over all the Christmas wonderfulness.

When you remember your dad coming to get you after you flipped your truck but didn’t die or even get hurt that much. When…yep. How much do you have to give up to live with yourself a bit?

Because you can’t put the “nice” faces back on the rotting ghost visages.

You can’t unring the bells, that one is very true. You can’t unsee. You can’t unhear.

I don’t have any answers.

Others have cut all ties with their Trumpkin relatives and friends.

Others have given up on anything political, thrown up their hands with a ‘Can’t we all just get along’ darty-eyed look.

Others don’t discuss politics or religion with family or friends. I guess they talk about the weather or traffic. Or old Bewitched episodes. Who didn’t love Serena? Uncle Arthur! Dr. Bombay, what a hoot! Derwood!

And how, after all this is over and it will be, one way or another, how do you reconcile or reconnect? Or just find those you cut loose to point at them and laugh?

America will either right itself, ha ha, or it won’t.

We might very well find ourselves with an actual dictatorship in place.

And people writing careful puff pieces on the “right” people who had faith in Apricot Hellbeast and Sunny Jesus, and never wavered in faith for either. Because writing anything else. Mm. We’re already kinda there at that point. The lying media. Fake news. Enemy of the people. Yeah, we’re there. Fun!

We might find America will shake this off, with a lesson learned.

HA HA HA HA HA.

America flunks history every damn time. We have those Etch-A-Sketch memories. We in America are always AMAZED AND HORRIFIED at the latest wave of racism or awfulness.

America has never been this bad. Yeah, um, yeah it has. I’m outraged and horrified, this is unprecedented! Ten years ago, then five years before that and then…

It will all get blamed on the Democrats. All this now going on, when it’s over, will get that patina of Right Wing Blame It On The Democrats. People will fall for it, the same people now who think Hil Clinton is running a pedo international child sex slave operation out of a New Jersey pizza parlor. [See QAnon crap]

Or think that Obama is a secret Muslim born in Kenya to outer space lizard lords. Who then rigged the elections, twice, to ruin America so that Pumpkincunt had to save it…

to make amerikkka grate again and put amerikkka firstest. cause obummer fucked us for eight years and trump had sex like a boss with porn stars. he wasn’t prezident when he fucked them porn stars and cohen a big jew baby lied about all that, trump didnt no abut that money. he sed so i beleeve him. the russans helped killery not trump has anyone investigated the dnc?? lock her up!! crooked killery who had all those people killed but nobody went after her she’s a real witch kill that cunt we should kill her shes evil. baby killer killery. obama probably brought in those mexicans. maybe we should send the national guard to CHICAGO. fire muller it’s a witch hunt! clean coal! MAGA!!

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People believe this. Actual real people believe this. 
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Why mother fact-checking, CNN? Why? What’s the fucking point now? 

That’s what I hear. That’s what I hear. That’s what I read.

And worse. And funnier. And far more jaw-droppingly WTF. With bad spelling and monstrous trembling outrage and jumbled conspiracy theories galore, oh my.

I dread any meeting with relatives right now. I don’t want them watching me as they speak about…whatever they heard on Hannity or the Five. I feel any love I bear them get a little bit less each time. Each time. Until they’re just strangers to me. And if it came down to it…I’d be very ready for the Nu Civil War. And that goes a little deeper than some cheap tears and a hasty blog post.

Mississippi Wind Chime

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Adam Driver and John David Washington in Spike Lee’s BlackkKlansman

I took a trip. To Meridian, Idaho. Why, you might suddenly ask yourself. To go see a movie. Why??

Ah, because BlackkKlansman was not playing in a town near me. Mama Mia 2, sure! Spike Lee film, no. That’s fine. You gotta show movies that will turn a profit, I get it.

I’m totally a capitalist. I have that word as my tramp stamp.

I found the place, with about ten minutes or so to spare. The directions from MapQuest were shitty. Why didn’t it just send me to Millennial Avenue, as the Majestic is RIGHT THERE. Why send me to this barely marked street, then give me WRONG TURNS? I swear to Baby Jesus and Satan’s Nipple Piercings the MapQuest site thought, hey, let’s do something funny to the hermit girl.

Great big nice place. Comfy red seats that reclined. Great!

About three people at that first showing. Wheee! Saw some very earnest trailers and learned Sigourney Weaver’s first name is Susan.

Susan.

Some things you can’t unlearn.

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So. Briefly, the story– a rookie cop, in Colorado Springs, CO, infiltrates the local branch of the KKK, or the Organization, run nationally at that time by, wait for it, David Duke. Ron Stallworth sees an actual ad in the local paper and calls the number, setting up a meeting with the local good ole boys. Problem! Ron is black.

And the Klan, yeah, is against any skin color but European. So Ron gets another cop– Darth Vader’s grandson, no less– to pretend to be him. He even uses his “white boy” voice on the phone, because yep, you can tell a black person from a real American just by listening to em butcher the King’s English.  Jive talk, ya’ll. Hijinks ensue!

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Topher Grace as David Duke

We get to watch Flip or Philip, who’s Jewish, hang around these good ole boys and good ole gals.  Oh yes, the Klan doesn’t exactly like Judaism, either. Or immigrants!

The KKK does seem quite a boy-heavy operation in the seventies. The women folk pretty much bring in the platters of spray cheese and saltine bites. Then speak with real hope that they, too, will be able to yell rape during a protest or march…sort of exaggerating there, but not really. That’s the impression I got from those shiny Klan gals. The women libbers were going hot and heavy during this time period, that seemed absent from the Klan Barbies. Kind of like now…mm. 

Something that stuck out, to me, was the contrast between Kendrickson’s wife [Ashley Atkinson] and Patrice Dumas [Laura Harrier]. The good wife versus the liberated, gonna change the world firebrand. Because we still have that to this day. Who is considered a good woman and who’s not. The sexism, mm.

The ones who act like ladies and the rest of em, eh, boys, dudes, mens of all kinds? We never seem to shed that one. Ever. Okay!

Watching Flip flip that holocaust denier [Kendrickson] with hey, the Holocaust was awesome sauce, amen. Uncomfortable barely manages to cuddle that moment. Oh yes, the N word got thrown around, whee. And all the other words we pretend don’t exist anymore and that no one says them. Whee.

There’s of course some violence planned, some good ole cross-burnin’, not wearing the hoods in public. The Klan remade for modern times! The same turd gilded over with shit glitter. Way to go, Mr. Duke. 

 

Lynching_of_Laura_Nelson,_May_1911The lynching of Laura Nelson in Okemah, Oklahoma, on May 25, 1911.jpg
from Wikipedia. The lynching of Laura Nelson. May 1911.

Then the ending, which marries what was going on THEN to what’s going on NOW. Boom!

Cinematography, it had that, a lot. I had to love that bright red VW Beetle tootling about town. Dang. The plaid and vests and guns against the Colorado vistas. My my.

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The movie.

I liked it.

That’s my in-depth, went to college and everything take on it. Was it on the nose, in your face, not trying to be subtle? Well. Yep, yep, it was.

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Every man I am related to has that shirt. Not even kidding.

And it worked.

If you can totally ignore the crap around you, you might say this movie was a bit too much or too broadly painted. If you can ignore the rather obvious rise of white nationalism in America and elsewhere, you’re probably at Mama Mia,  we made a sequel! or watching reruns of Bonanza. 

The racists were not presented as balanced or that deep. Cartoonish. Stereotypes. Except, eh. Well…!

Except.

I grew up to talk like that. I heard it a lot.

People don’t talk like that guy in the movie, I hear. And then I just laugh.

Yeah, people talk like that, people are talking like that right now, this minute. The string of words for people not white or Christian. The desperate frothing about taking back our country. The rabid weasel screeching about them people, them people. Build the wall! America First! Shithole countries. Actual Nazis are running for political offices in America. Nazis. Real ones.

Fuck a duck. Come on!

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Jasper Pakkonen as Felix Kendrickson. This could be from my family Christmas Eve gala.

This happened near the ending of BlackkKlansman.

A story about a lynching, a real one, interposed with Duke, played by that guy from That Seventies Show. Who should probably get some sort of acting award, because he NAILED IT. That’s my professional writer take, uh huh.

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Harry Belafonte telling a story about America.

Eerie, gut-wrenching, hands clenched moment. The hoarse tired voice of the storyteller [Harry Belafonte], the smooth reasonable speech about hating and killing people not of your race or creed [Topher Grace].

The back and forth between the two speakers. Taut, quiet film scene.

Breath being held to hear the two better kinda movie moment.

Remember that speech of Quint’s in Jaws? Yeah.

I was a kid when all that was going on with the fall out of the Civil Rights movement. The seventies where America started to lose her sparkle as the GREATEST THING SINCE JESUS.

The sixties gave us protests and love ins and freedom rides.

Seventies–Nixon bruising, quite badly, the “sacredness” of the office of the President of the United States. We can’t trust the president anymore. Watergate. Deep Throat. Washington Post. Oh. My.

Vietnam.

The end of good wages and the advent of insurance companies taking over health care. Thanks, Nixon!

I’m not a kid now. We have our own updated version of FatNixon, our own kneejerks to people losing their rights. Get over it, snowflakes. Lock Her Up! Make America Great Again. Drain the swamp. Free speech, libtards! Clean coal! The intolerant left. Witch hunt. There is no Russian collusion. Dogs. Animals. 

We have those standing up for some stuff and things, in some cases silently kneeling. Which has set off a shitstorm of retread-ish screeches about hating the flag, the military and America itself. [Get a haircut, hippie!]

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from the Mercury News

That same ole Klan shit now called Alt Right with fucking David Duke still here, still making those soft reasonable speeches about hating everyone not white or a Christian. Richard Spenser doesn’t have Duke’s charisma, ouch.

I think Spike Lee hit this one out of the park and hit the rotting side of the moon with it. I also picked up a new, horrible bit of slang. Mississippi wind chime. Guess what that stands for.

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the_hangman__s_tree_by_usefullidiotMaybe a few Mississippi Wind Chimes are in order.jpg
I don’t know the artist for this. All I could find was Hangman’s Tree but it did come up for a search for Mississippi wind chimes.