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June 30th, 2017

#resist: Setting aside hysterics and indignation

When I was a high school senior the teachers in my district went on strike. It was ugly. They stood outside the school with picket signs, yelling at the substitute teachers that were brought in to continue our education. There was a comically ugly, publicly waged campaign filled with name calling, false equivalencies and misinformation. I, being me and the president of the senior class, was neck deep in all of it. I was on the radio and tv and in the newspaper doing by best to use my wit to point a finger at childish and boorish behavior.

It was easy to rail against the teachers I thought were assholes. Hell, it was fun. But there were those that I respected. My art teacher and I were "friends". I loved learning from her and I think she enjoyed teaching me. We shared a similar sense of humor and got along swimmingly. Until one day, after largely staying above the fray, she appeared on the front page of the Northwest Signal, holding a sign and yelling at a car leaving the high school parking lot. When I saw her the next day, she came in to the classroom, half smiling and saying "OK, let's hear it. I'm ready for you to make fun of me." I just looked at her straight faced and said "No. I'm just disappointed."

I couldn't believe the outrage over Orange 45's tweet yesterday about Mika Brzezinski. Not because it wasn't horrible and misogynist and a sad day for the dignity of the office of the president, but because who is surprised by his boorish behavior at this point? He bragged about sexual assault and got elected. It was a matter of time before his long storied history of misogyny reared its ugly head again.

At the end of my senior year, my art teacher told me how much my reaction to her newspaper photo op affected her. I don't want to take any sort of credit for trying to teach my teacher anything, or even having any sort of plan, but her honest reaction to mine stuck with me. As I write this anecdote down now and tenuously try to apply it to what's going on in our country, I don't even have a concrete throughline much less an action plan for you to follow.

There's a dopamine rush to yelling and screaming and trying to excoriate those you think are wrong on a moral and intellectual level. God knows that I didn't stop wearing my anti-strike pin to school or writing op-eds in the newspaper after the above incident. I think we'd all be better off however, to occasionally take a minute and quietly look at the opposition and say "I'm just disappointed." Maybe if that person gives two shits about you they'll take your disappointment to heart. When they don't, feel free to write that person off and go back to that sweet, sweet point-and-laugh excoriation, but anything is a worth a try at this point, right?

Posted 9:56am
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June 28th, 2017

#resist: This would be hilarious if we weren't imploding

Our Kremlin Kontrolled Karrot in chief is a cartoonish buffoon. He's dumber than Sarah Palin and less competent than your average fast food employee. He dresses like a child playing "businessman" and boasts about his physical prowess despite having an ass the size of the Taj Mahal. He's Kim Jong Il, Dr. Evil and Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper all rolled into one.

Yes, he's doing long term damage to this country. He will make life demonstrably worse for people you know because his only guiding principals are serving his ego and making rich people richer. It's a sad, infuriating situation that is omnipresent and unavoidable. But look how dumb! Look at this ridiculous sack of shit! You're telling me we can't bring down a septuagenarian who couldn't find his behemoth of an ass with both tiny hands and a flashlight?

We can do this. We can come out the other side with single payer healthcare, the end of gerrymandering and a progressive agenda that makes people's lives better. The only permanent damage done so far is goddamn Gorsuch, and if we all stay woke, there will come a day when we can all laugh at this, without simultaneously crying.

Posted 10:16am
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June 19th, 2017

I was a teenage shithead

I was an asshole to my mother when I was younger.We had differing opinions of how I should act as a teenager and I gave her no quarter for having a.) given me life and b.) 30+ years of life experience on me. I mean, my side wasn't without merit, but I was a class A dick to her.

I was a teenager, what do you want? All teenagers are assholes. It's part of the job description. You don't have to be a spectacular asshole like I was, but slack should be awarded, because we've all been there.

In my worst times, when I would defy my mother, come home late and lie to her face ("I'm not drunk, YOU'RE DRUNK") she would often say to me "Someday, I hope you have a kid just like you."

That's about as nasty as it got, but that's pretty heated for rural Ohio. Later I had a kid (at 19) and we buried the proverbial hatchet. She realized I was going to do what's right, and I realized she was just looking out for me and trying to prune by potentially destructive behavior. Detente reached.

She died before I hit 30. In her magnanimous way, her final words to me were "I know you're going to be OK. I know you're going to be a good dad." I always half assumed she was blowing smoke and telling me what she thought I needed to hear, because she was an amazing person and I was a jackass. but even acknowledging that, it was pretty awesome.

And for the next 15 years those words buoyed me and I thought that my mother's final thoughts would be my through line and the story of my admittedly stupid adulthood, all the while feeling pretty smug about her former wish that the sins of the father would be revisited upon me by my son. Of course, my mother always gets her way.

Six months ago I was doing my taxes and long story short, something wasn't right. Specifically, something wasn't right with my son's enrollment in the University he was supposedly attending. We had just spent a family vacation in Montreal, so I assumed major problems would have been copped to, so it was probably a mistake on my end. Or the University's end. There was a form that was incorrectly filed. Something.

I asked my only begotten son. He assured me everything was OK. So I dug. I asked him again "The University says you're not enrolled. What is going on?" This is what I received:

And that's the last I've heard from him.

So I have no idea what's going on. If you're a parent, you can probably imagine what it feels like. If you're not, you probably still get the idea. My mom won. At least that's what been going through my head for six months.

I have many people in my life that assure me that I was and am a good dad. They similarly say that this is a phase and that he will come back to me, embarrassed by his actions, penitent for being a teenage shithead.

I am completely unconvinced.

My kid owed me nothing until the point he lied and stole from me for six months. It's been six months since then, and I've received nary a text message. He now owes me approximately $3,000 and an apology. But after your kid, whom you struggled through long odds to raise for over 20 years, can't even electronically say happy father's day, I'm done holding my breath.

Posted 10:14am
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June 2nd, 2017

#resist: Ask what you can do for your country

I understand that not every one has the same priorities that I do. I get that people can interpret scientific data in different ways at times. What I'll never understand is how anyone can support a racist, misogynist, imbecile who completely eschews both popular and scientific opinion in order to get his ego stroked.

Just today (because the idiocracy tap is all the way open) our Oompa Loompa in chief pulled out of the Paris Accord and made it more difficult to get birth control. These are colossally stupid ideas based on popular opinion, scientific data and common sense. They were carried out merely so a gigantic baby can have a group of morons with the collective brain power of a nursery school whoop and holler when he comes to their town. Well, that and praise from the pundits at Fox News looking for trickle down off of his bib.

I lose sleep over this on the reg. Every day I continue to write a letter or donate money to the organizations fighting the good fight. I'll march in every protest I can get to and as much as it hurts, I will endeavor to remain informed about what is going on in this mess of a country. Because every day this bloated sac of dementia has the reigns, things get worse. If it hasn't hit you personally (outside of shame and embarrassment) yet, rest assured it will. So please, take time every day, once a week or whenever you can to try and save this republic. Every little bit helps, because otherwise this becomes normal, and at that point, we're all fucked.

Posted 9:18am
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May 12th, 2017

#resist: Living through a coup

We elected a demagogue. That was always clear. The slide to dictator has been quicker than even I imagined.

The fact that the President met with Russian operatives (behind the back of the American but not the Russian press) and Henry fucking Kissinger while firing the director of the FBI for investigating him, is treasonous. It's a cover up.

The fact that he simultaneously is on twitter constantly trying to disparage the media, signing an executive order to "study" voter fraud as a precursor to massive disenfranchisement and defunding the census in order ensure improper representation of American citizens is the beginning of a coup.

This was always clear. In the run up to the election he warned of not accepting the results of the vote. He's spent every day of his presidency lying and complaining about an outcome that he won. And most of the people who voted for him are still OK with all of this.

So I'm on the verge of done with the American experiment. It's finally failed. Too many people don't give two fucks about what happens to this country as long as abortion rights are rolled back. So many of us can't abide a woman in power, or still want vengeance for the fact that we had a black man in charge for eight years. That's paramount to them. Not the rule of law. Not our cherished institutions nor civility nor decorum.

In a sense, they're asking for a dictatorship. They think it's neat that they scammed the electoral college so minority viewpoints dominate our public policy. They elect officials who screw them over so that well healed donors can be just a little bit richer on the backs of the working poor. This isn't civilized. This isn't America. At least not one I want to be a part of. Fuck the GOP. Fuck their enablers.

Posted 9:33am
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May 5th, 2017

This Week in Indie Rock

- Returning Favorites!

- LCD Soundsystem un-retire
- Chris Bathgate, now hailing from California
- Matthew Sweet sounding more like it's 1992

- Video goodness!

- clipping. plays spaceman
- explore The White Stripes collaborating with Michel Gondry

- Explore new music!

- At my age, Sorority Noise sounds like something I call the authorities about. This is not that. This driving depression anthem rock. One of my favorites.
- Aging hipsters such as myself are probably familiar with Cayetana. The rest of you should get on board with their post pop-punk.
- I want to be friends with Trophy Dad, back when I was in my awkward 20s. I probably wasn't cool enough.

Finally, maybe for the first time, one of my children suggested I might like some music and they were dead on. It's naturally the littlest getting me to listen to the cast recording of Dear Evan Hansen, which hey! Alright. Also, speaking of musicals, Steve Bannon wrote a rap musical based on Coriolanus. Yup. Happy Friday.

Posted 10:06am
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April 26th, 2017

#resist: True North beckons

The question remains: how much do I love Montreal versus Canada in general? I could probably move to Canada tomorrow. Not literally, but I could find some University in Toronto or Vancouver to give me a job. It'd solve my Orange 45 problem, insulate me from the stupidity of the GOP in general and make me a member of a saner, more egalitarian society that understands the simple truth that we should take care of each other.

I mean, in the last few weeks Canada has announced its plans to legalize marijuana and just strengthened its net neutrality laws. You know, the common sense positions anyone takes when looking at these issues analytically. Remember Obama? Like that, but consistently better. I mean, speaking of analytically, why sit around waiting for one country to stop dragging its progressive feet when you can fast forward 20 years by traveling 30 minutes East?

The fact remains that we have someone who still lives with us and starts high school in the fall. She's not as eager. Plus there's the difficulty of immigration and pulling up stakes. Most of all, there's the fact that as great as Canada is, it's Montreal with which I'm really in love. I also enjoy having it as an oasis. Like falling in love with anything, it makes me smile just to think of it, and the anticipation of being together again gets me through a lot of days. Is it better to make that permanent and have returns to the States to look forward to?

Fortunately/unfortunately it's not really a choice at the moment. Working towards it is, and that's still an exciting prospect on a daily basis. Why settle for Toronto when I could shore up my French and go to the place I really love? Or why not find a job where I can just spend my summers in Quebec so I can fight to change things here and then escape to sanity when the weather's nice? Open to opportunities is probably the current state, which is where we should all be all of the time. Of course don't be surprised if you see me on the street gathering signatures for this initiative. Assuming we can leave out Ohio, naturally...

Posted 11:33am
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April 14th, 2017

#resist: beware the vermicious knid

The Tax March is tomorrow, and instead of fighting the good fight, I'll be eastering with the family. C'est la vie. I made a poster anyway.

Kudos to everyone out there protesting. He lies. He obfuscates. He cruelly ruins peoples lives for his own edification. As Dan Savage and my button say, impeach the motherfucker already.

Posted 9:01am
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