The doctor  tells his patient “I have good news and bad news.”

The patient says, “Tell me the bad news first, doc.  I can take it.”

The doctor says “Well, after an exhaustive battery of expensive tests, I’m forced to conclude that I  no longer have the slightest excuse to charge you massive amounts of money for supposedly treating the terminal disease that  I previously jumped to the conclusion you may conceivably have begun to suffer from.  Without an excuse to treat you,  this also means no juicy kickbacks for needlessly exposing  you to incredibly toxic drugs that would  guarantee your continued dependence on the very substances exacerbating your condition. Even worse:  you strike me as slightly too educated and proactive for me to get away with trying to pull a fast one on you.”

The patient says, “So what’s the good news, doc?”

The doctor looks at the patient closely for a moment or two, puts on his glasses and opens his appointment book.  “I can squeeze you in for your first round of treatments as early as the 14th.”


X: Knock knock.

Y: Who’s there?

X: We ask the questions here, asshole.


Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

A:  Stop being racist.


Things are so bad now. Have you noticed? They’re so bad that even the distractions from the bad things are bad things themselves. Right? Remember way back when,  when the distractions from the bad things were, like,  hula hoops, The Beatles,  the president gets a new dog or  “who shot JR?” or, like,  a so-called royal birth or wedding?  Who remembers that? The good old days. This time around the distraction is a war with the potential to trigger World War Three.  If they want you to think about a war, with the potential to trigger World War Three,  all day long, every week, for months or years, how fucking bad must the shit be that they don’t want you to think about?

(Just kidding.)


Q: Why were the Nazis so stylish?

A:  They were definitely more stylish than the Allies. The Allies were so….  straight…



Angela Trimble (Debbie Harry)

Sofia Villani Scicolone (Sofia Loren)

Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto (PABLO NERUDA)

Jeroen Anthoniszoon van Aken (Hieronymus Bosch)

Joe Yule Jr. (Mickey Rooney)


button and/or t-shirt and/or bumper sticker:   KISS ME I’M A METOO SURVIVOR


bumper sticker: WE WERE KINGS (but only of other Africans, which is admittedly less impressive when you put it that way but still)




I mean, if the argument is that we can’t have mass-produced cupcakes without adding trisodium phosphate to them, the obvious option is to do without mass-produced cupcakes and rely on local bakeries for that delicacy. That’s win/win, no? A renaissance of local bakeries using old fashioned recipes, a reduction in cupcakes full of trisodium phosphate? Who or what would such a change hurt? Only the bottom lines of mass-produced-cupcake makers. Maybe they could switch to producing industrial cleaners instead? How radically would their factories have to change in order to switch from mass-producing cupcakes made with trisodium phosphate to making industrial cleaning products with trisodium phosphate? Not terribly much, I imagine. In any case, what’s more important: their bottom line or our health?

“It’s just a tiny amount of trisodium phosphate in those cupcakes,” some Devil’s Advocate may say.

Well, how many cupcakes do people eat in a year? How long does the trisodium phosphate remain in the body? What are the cumulative effects of all the other “small amounts” of toxins in our “food”?

What’s the argument against buying cupcakes from real bakeries? Are people fundamentally averse to real cupcakes or real bakers?  If mass-produced, slightly toxic, pseudo-cupcakes were no longer shipped from industrial factories around a city/ a nation/ the world, wouldn’t a demand develop for local sources of the product (and similar products) that would be sufficient for supporting healthier businesses,  with a positive knock-on effect on the standard of living of local neighborhoods?

The essence of the problems of our post-Industrial existence is the problem of scale.

We have been scaling-up for well over a century. Now it’s time to scale down. Now it’s time for local bakeries where actual  bakers can produce a few dozen cupcakes per hour; a few dozen loaves of bread a day; half a dozen cakes or pies a day.  Multiply that by several local bakeries per neighborhood and the amount of goods produced (naturally, with good ingredients) will probably satisfy the demand and in a much more satisfying way.  If the undesirable trisodium phosphate cupcake model we are analyzing has at its core an unappetizing industrial process, what does McDonald’s have at its core…?

Let’s scale down the levels of interstate and international shipping and produce the overwhelming bulk of our local needs locally. What’s the downside:  more local and skilled and dignified and interpersonal employment? More bakers, butchers, tailors, grocers, diners, hardware stores and waiters, clerks, cashiers… ? Would that not be win/win?

Who says Capitalism has to feature constant growth… the capitalists who want to grow, constantly? Is Capitalism not possible in a system that achieves equilibrium? Why not? Who says? People who profit from Disequilibrium?

What if, rather than drive through a McDonald’s drive-thru for sacks of questionably-edible plastic laced with sugar and industrial cleaning chemicals, you walked to the local diner for a seat in a pleasant space for a relaxed plate of real steak or scrambled eggs and warmly interesting chit chat with a well-paid waiter while settling the bill in coin?  And Humanity…

(A shot rings out.)


So many dazzling innovations, so few genuine advantages (except for the power and wealth  accruing to some of the people behind the implementation of the “innovations”), right?

How is the word “progress” defined and who’s defining it for us?

What happens when the Consumer’s consumption of progress is mandatory?

Fun? Like being force-tickled?


looming nightmare


Reader’s Digest Cover Story of 2025:




I am still looking for a German with whom I could be serious—and how much more for one with whom I might be cheerful!—Twilight of the Idols: ah, who today could grasp from what sort of seriousness a hermit is recovering here!—Our cheerfulness is what is hardest to understand about us .




—German Language Edition


From my father’s journal about his revolutionarily misbegotten gesture of moving his second family (with his academic second wife) to Liberia in 1980 (aka HOW NOT TO RESPOND TO A FASCIST REGIME)

“For the first seven months after we arrived, we travelled on every road that we could, just to find out about the place. That all changed after the eighth month, because of a coup d’etat. I watched the young revolutionaries go from the saviors to the oppressors. They have a saying over there: ‘New taxi, same driver.’

“I had a great deal of despair for the carnage that happened—summary executions on the beach. Gluttony and greed were the models for the formerly oppressed.

“In all third world countries, corruption runs deeper than can be imagined. The checkpoints on the roads…. I refused to become part of that corruption, so I put up with a lot of hassles instead of giving bribes.

“The atmosphere was very heavy politically, and I had to be aware of what I was writing.

“We as middle class Americans were special objects of scorn. You wave your fist at them, and they answer you with bullets. It was very stressful. I was always anxious. Even to go shopping….

“For the first time, I felt helpless, there among the 15 to 20 thousand people in Gbarnga. Lack of power became a way of life. It would be pitch black and you could hear sounds around your house that you would be afraid to investigate.”

“Soldiers after the coup were drunk on sudden power. They would take what they wanted with guns.”


bumper sticker and/or or t-shirt: “Pain is Evolution’s way of keeping us from eating ourselves”



Deceased Classmate: Michael (Mike) T. Dinino
Obituary Link: Las Vegas Review Journal
Date Of Birth: 02-05-1957
Date Deceased: 01-27-2018
Age at Death: 60
Cause of Death: Flu/sepsis
Classmate City: Las Vegas
Classmate State: NV
Classmate Country: USA



Punk always struck me as a way for White kids,  who weren’t terribly talented,  to get famous.  Without the context of Punk to make him look talented in comparison, can you imagine Paul Westerberg becoming famous for anything?  Without Punk to set an infinitely-accommodating  standard by which to judge them, The Replacements could never have happened. What was Westerberg but a total mediocrity (who looked good from certain angles)  to whom they (you know, THEY)  handed a platform?   Westerberg’s singing couldn’t hold a candle to Scott Walker or Bill Medley or Stevie Winwood or Alex Chilton and his songs were one-hook trifles compared to The Beatles or Kinks or Dylan or Bowie or Squeeze or XTC or Leo Sayer  or anything out of The Brill Building.  Yes, I see it now:  technical standards were getting too high in the 1970s; even the awful dinosaur stadium rock conglomerates like Toto and Kansas were technically accomplished musicians and crappy novelty records (like Sheb Wooley’s The Purple People Eater or  Bowie’s The Laughing Gnome)  could only cover so much of the market every year.  Musical expectations were rapidly growing in a bombastically Prog Rock  or quasi-orchestral direction and fewer new acts were making it into the Rock Economy. In the late middle ’70s the bars for technique and production values and ticket sales were just floating too damn high. Fame has always been a  numbers game (many are called, few are called back)  and far too few young White Kids, coming along,  could play like Mark Knopfler or Jeff Porcaro or Keith Emerson or Al Dimeola to satisfy the demand. Black American groups, full of talent (but Black) were poised to muscle in… and, very dangerously,  perhaps these technically accomplished Black groups (eg Earth, Wind and Fire or The Ohio Players or Osibisa) might have earned wider influence,  than the influence already afforded by their dedicated niche markets, as the pool of potentially  exciting New White Acts dried up. The mid-’70s was the Golden Age of A&R bidding wars because at risk was White Civilization itself.  The standards had to be lowered very quickly; abruptly, almost;   or  too few White kids would be able to enter the Fame Machine, threatening the Fame Machine (and with it The White Face Economy, the Dollar and the Euro-American Hegemony) with systemic collapse.  Since the PostWar2 era began, what’s always as important  as (and mathematically  linked to)  “Asses on Seats” is “Young White Faces on Screen”  and the Punk Explosion didn’t fill screens with Punks so much as a debilitating fever of technique finally broke, because of Punk,  and allowed lots of mediocre White Kids… New Romantics, New Wavers, Goths, Post Punks (like Westerberg)…  through. This revitalized the White Face Economy. The ’90s saw the brief afterthought of the reincarnation of dinosaur stadium rock technique in so farcical  an iteration (Jack Johnson, Phish,  Dave Mathews Band) that it was less a return of the dangerous bottleneck of high musical standards than a novelty soon dwarfed by Grunge, the handsome reincarnation of Punk, ie a Punk capable of taking center stage; Punk as a Leading Man. Grunge: the last stand of the White Face Economy in Music before a predominately Black  (and intriguingly technique-lite, ironically, post Punk) form  muscled in: behold the rapid market- iterations of  Rap/ Hip Hop.  Call it, collectively, Rip Hop. It reached its ascendancy as The Internet burgeoned, and Music started leaking relevancy in fatal amounts, yet  not particularly talented White Kids… not necessarily as musicians but purely as White Kids qua White Kids... were fed into the Fame Machine on behalf of a desperate public, and a needy system,  on a heretofore unprecedented scale.

Feeding what?





You know you’re living through an era you’d prefer to skip (if you could only do so without going comatose and/or dying)  when people who abhor certain groupings of people (or all people) feel it’s safe to express themselves frankly in public;  when such people even go on talk shows and give lectures and write books fueled extravagantly by their lushly energized disdain for certain groups of people… or all people… and these disdainers aren’t even mocked or chastised for the performance. Far more ominous it is when such people are, in fact, lauded, rewarded, granted larger and higher platforms from which to express their ominous feelings.

We know we’re living through such an era but how long has this era been around? Since 9/11? Since the 1980s? Since WW2?

“Socialism, especially international socialism, is only possible as a stable system if the population is stationary* or nearly so. A slow increase might be coped with by improvements in agricultural methods, but a rapid increase must in the end reduce the whole population to penury, and would be almost certain to cause wars. In view of the fact that the population of France has become stationary, and that the birth-rate has declined enormously among other white nations, it may be hoped that the white population of the world will soon cease to increase. The Asiatic races will be longer, and the negroes still longer, before their birth-rate falls sufficiently to make their numbers stable without the help of war and pestilence. But it is to be hoped that the religious prejudices which have hitherto hampered the spread of birth control will die out, and that within (say) two hundred years the whole world will learn not to be unduly prolific. Until that happens, the benefits aimed at by socialism can only be partially realized, and the less prolific races will have to defend themselves against the more prolific by methods which are disgusting even if they are necessary. In the meantime, therefore, our socialistic aspirations have to be confined to the white races, perhaps with the inclusion of the Japanese and Chinese at no distant date.”

—Bertrand Russell, The Prospects of Industrial Civilization , 1923

(*”stationary”  means demographically stable, in a zero-growth sense)

Socialist Bertrand Russell, hero of progressive sophomores everywhere, wrote that about a decade before National Socialist Mr. Hitler had a go,  at making similar ideas his own,  strutting and mincing across history’s viscera-slick stage. Mr. Hitler certainly didn’t invent his epic notions,  of the Deserving and the Not,  and they were hardly new when he was inexplicably handed the reins of an Industrial Civilization for whom the ideas were far from anathema:  lucky him. Like Russell, Hitler had, coincidentally,  satisfied himself that he met all the criteria, by which he himself calculated  “superiority,” to the extent that he saw himself not only as “superior” but, more dangerously, uniquely deserving to live. The circular logic is tidy but less than compelling. Rare is the Eugenicist who fails to meet his/her own Justified Existence criteria; it’s almost as though the belief in the necessity of upholding such criteria is enough to satisfy…  such criteria. Ha.

If the principles illuminating the stratospheric self-regard of Addy and Bertie were Darwinian in nature (Darwin was all the rage when Bertie was toddling around in skid-marked short pants), how to explain how very feebly either Addy or Bertie would have presented themselves in any natural, no-mercy,   Darwinian lab  of “survival of the fittest” and/or Natural Selection? That is: the bush.  The tundra. A desert.  On the banks of the Amazon. Neither would last a week in the wild or three minutes in a cage match.

Likewise with cuddly old Eugenicist George Bernard Shaw, who stated on camera that everyone should have to, at some point, justify their existence to what GBS called a “Death Panel”. Make a good case for your place in the Universe or off to a little blue gas-filled booth you go. And what would Shaw himself recommend, facing such a panel, as his exonerating contribution to humanity? His knowledge of Wagner? His tedious plays?

All of these monsters suffer from at least three delusions1) that they (should) own Existence and 2) that they are somehow, you know, just better.  Not simply better at math or better at fox hunting or better at screwing T. S. Eliot’s wife:  better. And 3) that they can define “better” with scientifically objective accuracy.

Which brings me to this awful creature.

Greatest Comedy Scenes of 70s Cinema

Great Scenes from 70s Cinema

Famous Scenes from 70s Cinema

Coolest Scenes from 70s Cinema

Best Chase Scenes from 70s Cinema



***This came in 7 minutes after I posted this post:

Yuval Noah Harari joins IAI’s summer festival lineup – speakers and panels revealed

Hi steven,

We are excited to unveil the eagerly anticipated HowTheLightGetsIn panels and speakers. Check them out here.

We’ve curated an allstar lineup – from Nobel Prize laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners to firebrand philosophers and incendiary biologists. Sparks will be flying in Hay this summer when we bring together our full speaker lineup.

The greatest minds of our time, all in one place. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime event. Book your tickets here.

The HowTheLightGetsIn Team x

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