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[California Seething]- Hurray for Donald Pumpkinhead

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Look, pumpkins are gross. They’re like Donald Trump’s head- orange, bulbous misshapen things filled on the inside with disgusting slime. And, just like Donald Trump’s head lots of white people are obsessed with them. Sure, there are a few differences- pumpkins don’t insult war widows, throw paper towels or Tweet. And no matter how popular pumpkins were last October, they were all gone and forgotten by November 8th. But the big difference is that not everyone who likes pumpkin is a loathsome sack of shit.

See, I may not be a big pumpkin fan but if you like them, I’ve got no problem with that. Get your ass down to TJ’s and buy every damn thingCal Seething- Oct 30- TJ in the October Fearless Flyer (the Fox News of pumpkin propaganda): pumpkin cheesecake muffins, pumpkin chai spice cake, pumpkin cream cheese, Greek pumpkin yogurt, “Pumpkin Walks in to a Bar”, Joe’s Pumpkin O’s cereal, pumpkin tortilla chips, pumpkin salsa, pumpkin beer, pumpkin butternut squash bisque, pumpkin rolls with pumpkin spice icing and yes, even pumpkins. If you want to hit Starbucks five times a day for pumpkin spice lattes- go nuts. Get down with your yoga pant self. I may think they taste like caffeinated vomit juice – but I don’t judge you. When it comes to pumpkin spice lattes- it’s hate the sip, love the sipper.

And at this point, Republicans are gonna say- “well, why can’t politics just be like pumpkins and we can agree to disagree over Trump”- because of course they set such a good example of civility by screaming for Obama’s birth certificate, chanting “lock her up” at political rallies and losing their goddamn minds six years ago when the President wore a tan suit. Cause CLEARLY it was just the tan suit they objected to and not the black skin that happened to be underneath it. But, OK, all that aside- you want to know why I can’t just treat Trump lovers like pumpkin lovers- I’ll tell you:

Pumpkins aren’t stripping away healthcare from millions out of spite, greed and malice.

Pumpkins aren’t undermining environmental protection using the goddamn Environmental Protection Agency.

Pumpkins aren’t stoking the flames of racism and xenophobia

Pumpkins aren’t deporting children who’ve grown up in this country to satisfy the blood-thirsty howls of a deranged mob.

Pumpkins don’t ban people from traveling to America based on their religion.

Pumpkins don’t rip away the civil rights of people I love.

Pumpkins don’t joke about lynching people I love.

Pumpkins don’t speak in front of known hate groups that target people I love.

Pumpkins aren’t alienating our allies.

Pumpkins aren’t taking us to the brink of nuclear war

Pumpkins don’t try to squash peaceful protest.

Pumpkins don’t try to intimidate the press into complicit silence.

Pumpkins don’t blatantly lie to the American people with every word that comes out of their jaggedly carved, slime crusted mouths.

Pumpkins haven’t made our nation a global disgrace.

Pumpkins don’t represent a terrifying threat to American democracy and the very continuation of life on this planet.

Oh- and – one more thing- Pumpkins aren’t using the Presidency to cynically enrich themselves and their soulless, dead-eyed, repulsive family members. Yup- that’s just one more difference between pumpkins and Trump’s kin.

Much like pumpkins, there are a lot of subjects I can agree to disagree over The Lakers vs the Celtics, the Patriots vs the Good of Humanity, Cris Collinsworth vs Jon Gruden vs the voices in my head telling me to KILL CRIS COLLINSWORTH AND JON GRUDEN BEFORE THEY SAY ONE MORE ASININE INCOMPREHENSIBLE THING, books, movies, music, which House Hunters would be most fun to punch in Cal Seething- Oct 30- PBthe face (uh- Tiny- duh), which Property Brother’s mangled corpse would be most fun to feed to a pen full of blood thirsty pigs (oink oink chomp chomp- there goes Drew!!), whether subjecting a fellow human being to Lottery Dream Home is in direct violation of the Geneva Convention (HGTV is the only channel on DirecTV’s Guantanamo package.) I can even agree to disagree about politics- assuming that we share a mutual respect for the values this country was founded on and not merely the symbols that represent us. A shared commitment to the equality of all people and to the idea that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights- even for aliens. If we’re both committed to this idea then, sure, I’ll carve up a political pumpkin with you all day. But the minute you start carving out certain groups of people as being inherently less equal than others- I’m done with you. You can gourd fuck yourself.

My best advice to you, Trumpeters is to take a lesson from Pumpkin Heads. No matter how beloved your repulsive, bloated orange lumps are in October- they will fade to insignificance and rot in November….although, sadly, not this November but a November coming soon…right? Wait- what? Three years??? Are you kidding me? WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE.

OK, well, three more years. Sigh. Until then, if anyone needs me, I’ll be in solitary confinement watching Flip or Flop: Fort Worth. May the Great Pumpkin have mercy on us all.

Cal Seething- Oct 30- GP

 

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A Walk Through the Store

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In 1987, I spent the summer in Israel with my middle sister and my Dad. We’d lived in Israel from around 1978 to 1983 in Arad, a small town in the middle of the dessert that was far enough from any armed conflict to be safe for seven year old kids to walk home from school alone. After 1983 we moved back to the States to the leafy green and profoundly disappointing suburbs of Albany (Smallbany), NY- specifically, the town of Delmar (Dullmar).

My Dad was still a partner in a small apparel company with a factory in Arad, so we spent summers and holidays and every week we DadPost-Aradcould in our apartment there. I loved that apartment. The cool tile floors and big balcony window from which I could see past the end of town to the blue mountains of Jordan beyond. So much better than our US brown two story carpeted house which overlooked nothing but the construction sites of our Dullmar development and the high school that would someday form the backdrop of all my grown-up anxiety dreams (for the love of God, when do I stop panicking about failing French???)

Anyhow, the summer before my Freshman year in High School in 1987, my mom and oldest sister stayed back in Dullmar while the rest of us went back to Arad. It was probably the greatest summer of my life. Not because of all the touchy-feely lovey-dovey family bonding crap we did- but because my Dad worked all the time, my sister and I were teenagers and he left us THE HELL ALONE. The only time we HAD to be home was when my Mom called so that we could reassure her that he was doing the bare minimum to keep us alive. Though, of course, there was the one week I missed that call because I was hiking up north. When she called, he just said I was “outside…somewhere” – which was technically true- I was, in fact, outside…six hours away, straddling the fence to the Lebanese border, rappelling down a dry waterfall and eating lunch on an overturned tank in a river. I don’t know how the rest of that conversation went, but I do know that no simple phone call would suffice when I came home- NO SIR! I had to sign an affidavit as proof of life and fax it to her post-haste. I’m surprised she didn’t make me take a picture holding the newspaper.

Of course, we did do some stuff as a family- like when my Dad took me and my two best friends to Jerusalem and made a brief pit-stop in the West Bank so he could pick up some Hebron wine glasses. He made each of us memorize three items on his to-do list of the day. I suppose in the days before Siri, taking three freshly bar-mitzvah’d boys to an incipient war zone was the next best thing.  Naturally, the Hebron glass guy knew my dad. Wherever he went, everyone always knew my dad. There was one time, several years before this amazing summer, when we were hopelessly lost in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. We drove around in circles for what to a restless 10 year old seemed like FOREVVVVVVVER until he finally stopped at a restaurant to feed his weary and hungry family. How noble. How heroic. He positively insisted he had never been there and we believed him completely right up until the owner greeted him with a convivial “Shalom Alan!” as soon as he walked in and the waiter brought him a big bowl of Ful Medames right after we sat down. His Ful made fools of us all.

I thought of this recently when we went to his favorite ice cream place, “I Scream for Ice Cream”- or “Bill’s” as he called it- referring to DadPost-IceCreamthe owner’s name, a few days after he died. He loved that place. In fact, during one of the very few conversations my Mom and he had about the afterlife, she asked “where do you think we go?” and he said without hesitation “Bill’s.” Anyhow, we all walked in dreading the moment that Bill, would smile broadly behind the counter and ask “where’s my friend?” But he didn’t. Bill came out from behind the counter and hugged my mom. We didn’t run an obituary but somehow Bill knew, just like the owner in that long ago restaurant knew my Dad’s name and favorite order. That’s just who my Dad was.

It may come as a surprise to those that met my Dad later in life that so many of my memories involve him being in motion. Walking, driving, flying, playing racquetball. Either that or working. He was always working until Parkinson’s made him stop. I didn’t think about it then but as I get closer to the age he was when he was diagnosed I find I work like he did- wrapping myself in my work like a familiar scratchy blanket. And so the thought of just giving it up is as unimaginable to me as I’m sure it was to him. And yet- he did- without a moment of regret or remorse. He just gracefully moved on to a new phase of his life as he gradually pursued what would become his longest standing occupation- working with Bar and Bat Mitzvah students on their D’var Torah, or as it’s more commonly known “speech”. When I was a Bar Mitzvah student there was a simple formula to follow – all platitudes, no insight. The Torah portion wasn’t something to be digested- simply regurgitated to the tune on the tape the Cantor made. But he expected his students to dig deep into their Torah portion- to savor it in all its richness and share the complex flavor with the congregation. So many of his former students came up to us after his Shiva services at Congregation Albert, the Albuquerque temple that became my family’s spiritual home. Time and time again they said the same thing “your Dad was the best teacher I ever had.”

Everyone who met him after they moved to Albuquerque knew him as this inspiring guy in a wheelchair spreading wisdom. The Yoda ofDadPost-Yoda Torah. A wise and spiritual man. Funny, patient and infinitely generous of spirit. And, to be sure, he was all of those things. But one of the things he and I were talking a lot about as his days were winding down, was the way in which Torah refuses to make saints of our teachers and leaders. And as so many people told me how amazing he was, I kept thinking about the other side of my Dad- the guy who could be exasperating, stubborn and infuriatingly single minded- especially when food was involved.

In 2002, I directed The Lonesome West at the Powerhouse Theatre in Santa Monica. It was my first show in LA and my parents came. Even back then, it was challenging for them to travel and I was extremely grateful that they had made the effort. It was an older theatre, and our idea of ADA accessibility was getting the whole cast out to carry the guy in the wheelchair up the four steps from the small lobby to the back row.DadPost-Powerhouse

Anyhow, once we got my Dad situated, my friend Julie sat next to him in the back and I went to the front with my wife, and my Mom so she could hear better. I was pleased we had gotten him in and proud to share this play that I felt I directed so beautifully. I thought rather a lot of myself then.

What I didn’t know as I moved to the front row, was that he had brought with him a GINORMOUS bag of jelly beans. To this day, I don’t know where he had those hidden and how he smuggled them in. Now, it’s one of the mysteries of the universe.

Anyhow, about halfway through the play was my favorite scene. It was a quiet conversation shared by a young girl and a priest in torment. I thought it was some of the best work I had done, subtle, nuanced and suffused with the pain of unrequited love. And half way through, as the audience sat in rapt attention and the theatre was absolutely silent… CRASH!!!!! The whole bag of jelly beans came splattering to the ground. And I was in the front row just fuming- where did the jelly beans come from? How did he sneak them in? Why did he bring them to the show? Who, who WHO eats jelly beans at the theatre? And WHY IN THE NAME OF EVERYTHING THAT IS HOLY did he have to pick this exact, beautiful, perfect moment to drop them all over the ground???

And then, while most people would have just left them on the ground quietly and gone back to focusing on the UNBELIEVABLY BEAUTIFUL FREAKING SCENE THAT I DIRECTED – he started rustling around and picking them up and I was sitting in the front row going out of my mind silently screaming at him to CUT IT OUT. One jelly bean….rustle rustle rustle….. Two jelly beans STOP IT! Three jelly beans…rustle rustle rustle….four jelly beans….JUST LEAVE THEM! My friend Julie leaned over to him and said “Mr Sims, what are doing? Just leave them on the ground.” But he wouldn’t. He wanted those stinkin’ jelly beans and nothing was gonna stop him. Five jelly beans….rustle rustle rustle….six jelly beans…and then…. CRASH… One jelly bean….rustle rustle rustle.

And the best part was, later on that night, my brother-in-law told me that the best piece of advice he ever got from my Dad was “Don’t spill your candy in the lobby” And I thought, of course, yes, that’s great advice! Why drop your candy in the lobby when you can drop it RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE QUIETEST MOMENT of the show and then try and pick it up again piece by piece by piece AND DROP IT AGAIN. Oh yes. OH YES. CLEARLY THAT’S MUCH BETTER.

And there you have my Dad. If there was something in life he wanted to taste, he wouldn’t just leave it lying on the floor. He would try DadPost-GardenPicjpgand try and try again to experience the full sweetness of life and wasn’t going to let anything stop him. And I thought of that when I saw a picture of him sitting in the garden after being in bed for three months, about a week before the end. I’ll admit, I didn’t think he would ever make it outside again- but then I realized- ah! There was one more piece of candy left, and with all his might, he managed to eat it.

The last time my Dad was in the hospital, he started working on a book called Walk Through the Store. It was his guide to common-sense leadership inspired by role models in his life and biblical figures. The title came from his experience at Jordan Marsh as a very young manager. Every Saturday, store Vice-President Cameron Thompson would walk through the whole store engaging with employees, hearing their concerns, observing customer interactions and making notes to share with his fellow executives. This made a profound impact on my Dad. While I don’t remember him ever talking about it before he started working on the book- I certainly observed the impact of this experience on his leadership style.  He got to know the people working for him, talked to them with respect, got involved in their lives. When we were in Israel, that crazy summer of ’87, we had dinner at the home of one of his Bedouin employees- though it was really more of a compound than a home. A large, sparsely furnished concrete structure with beautiful rugs on the floors, a kitchen swarming with women covered in head scarves making pita bread, some windows with glass, some just rectangular openings to the outside, kids everywhere running around and playing soccer and a permanent tent where his older parents lived. They had come to terms with staying in one place, but living encased in concrete was more than they could adjust to. We sat in the tent drinking mint tea and eating watermelon. My Dad’s employee was so proud to share his world with my Dad- and my Dad asked questions, engaged with the whole family, made sure they knew what an honor it was for us to be there. I remember thinking “this is pretty cool. I’d like to be the kind of boss my Dad is. You know, Someday- after I retire from the Boston Celtics.” Anyhow, I guess that’s what he thought when he saw Cameron Thompson walking through the store. And fifty years later, as he lay in bed eating pureed food, he was determined to convey this message to future generations.

As my sisters and I each came to visit, we would sit with him, talking as much as his energy and Parkinson’s would allow, taking notes on our conversations, inching the book forward like a relay race of mismatched penmanship, with mine being the worst of the bunch. He and I talked a lot about Abraham as a biblical role model of leadership, and I encouraged him to include Moses as well since there are a lot of tricky aspects to Abraham’s story (e.g. the whole “Sarah? Oh no, she’s not my wife, she’s my sister” bit.) A couple of weeks before he died, my Dad asked me to think of examples from Moses’ life that we could use in the book. I took that as a win. Luke scores a point on Yoda.

I was scheduled to fly out on Rosh Hashanah- Thursday, Sept 21. The night before, my Mom called. It was a call I had been expecting for almost a decade. Every time she called at an unusual time, a small pocket of dread would open up in my stomach. Usually, it was nothing and the pocket would close up again releasing a sweet cloud of pink relief. Sometimes there was serious news- emergency room trips, hospital stays, falls, new symptoms. Each of these developments was like a step down on a ladder of wellness- and after each step, they would fight their way back to a new version of normalcy. But this time, there was nowhere left to go.

He talked to my sisters first and then me. He couldn’t really say much on the phone, so I did most of the talking. I talked to him about Moses. I reminded him that, at the end of Moses’ life, he couldn’t enter the Promised Land. He could only see it from the mountain top. I told him that he too was at the mountain top- and from there, he could see his legacy carried forward. He could see his kids, his grandchildren, his students, his friends. All of us that learned from him. All of us that were touched by him. All of us who were better people for having known him. He might not finish the book- but he could see from the mountain top that his lessons were secure and a new generation would carry them forward. It wasn’t fair. It never is. It wasn’t fair for Moses and it wasn’t fair for him. But at least he could see his promises fulfilled. At least he could see us walking through the store.

And so he spent Rosh Hashanah on the mountain top while his body struggled for breath in bed. I arrived on Thursday. He slept a lot. He couldn’t eat or drink. When his eyes opened, he looked up at the ceiling towards a fixed point. I hope it’s a long time before I know what he was seeing. He couldn’t talk, sometimes he gasped and we thought….and then he would start breathing again. CNN was on TV but the sound was off. So when no one was talking, there was just the oceanic rhythm of the oxygen machine endlessly pounding the surf.

On Friday night, we welcomed Shabbat in the bedroom standing around him. We lit LED candles, so as to not blow up the oxygen tanks, and did Kiddush. He hadn’t spoken or even really verbalized all day. And then- as I finished the blessing on the wine we heard “Amen”. It was the clearest thing he said in days. It was the last thing he said. He died on Saturday morning, holding my mom’s hand while she talked to him about the lesson plan she was preparing for Sunday School about the High Holidays. A team to the end and beyond.

At 7:30 AM on Saturday morning, September 23rd, the 3rd of Tishrei, she called me into the room.
“I think he stopped breathing”dadcoverpic-crop
I put on shorts quickly.
I entered the room.
His eyes were closed.
He lay still.
We said our first goodbyes.
We talked about what to do next.
Who to call,
When to call,
What to say.
She turned off the oxygen machine,
And the room
went
quiet.
It was jarring,
how quiet the room was
then.
It’s jarring,
how quiet the world is
now.

There is a line in Hamilton- in the song “It’s Quiet Uptown”, which is sung right after Alexander and Eliza Hamilton have lost their son Phillip to a duel:

“If you see him in the street,
Walking by himself,
Have pity.
He is working through the unimaginable.”

When I saw the show, three weeks after my dad died, that line broke me open, weeping.
Because that’s how I feel.
Nothing in my life has changed.
Everything is fine.
I’m just working through the unimaginable.
I’m just working through the unimaginable.

I love you, Dad.
I miss you.
I hope that you saw me from the mountain top.
I hope you were proud.
I hope you’re free now.
To go where you want eat what you want do what you want.

And if you see me by myself, talking to myself.
walking through the store,
Don’t worry.
I’m just working through the unimaginable.
I’m just working through the unimaginable.

Enjoy Bill’s. I’ll see you at the mountain top.

DadPost-WheelchairPic

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[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Are These Facts Learned in School Still True?

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Are these 6 facts that you were taught in school still true, today?  Jersey Joe plays a game with his friends.  Let’s see who can pass the test and who still thinks Pluto is a planet.

THE 411

What: Facts You Learned in School

For: Jersey Joe plays a game to see if these facts from school are still true

Are They: You Have to Watch and See

JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:

Hope you enjoyed this fun game!  I’m always looking for volunteers for round 2!

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[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Bacon Fun Facts

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Everybody loves bacon! Jersey Joe has some fun and interesting facts about our favorite breakfast food.

THE 411

What: Bacon

For what: food, side dish, or sandwich add on

JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:

Who doesn’t love bacon?  Enjoy these bacon fun facts!

BACON IMAGE

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Weird Liquor Laws

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Jersey Joe explores old, outdated, and weird laws on the sale and consumption of alcohol across the United States.

THE 411

Name: blue laws

What: laws created the keep society at peace

Location: each state has their own unique set of these laws

JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:

Blue laws vary from state to state and also cover a variety of issues.  A non-liquor example in Bergen County, New Jersey forbids several large shopping malls from being open on Sundays.  So, when you travel, be sure you know these restrictions, so you don’t get busted.

A glass of golden hard liquor on the rocks. Could be scotch, bourbon, or whisky.

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Walking the Brooklyn Bridge Funny Quiz

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Jersey Joe takes a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City and takes some funny photos along the way.

The Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883 and features a pedestrian walkway above the road bed and subway lines.  A popular spot for tourists, about 10,000 pedestrians cross the bridge every weekday.

THE 411

What: Brooklyn Bridge

Location: New York City, connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn

Year Opened: 1883

JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:

It’s a great, free, tourist attraction in the city.  In all the years I’ve lived here, I never actually took a walk across.  I definitely recommend that both tourists and locals do so.  Just make sure you keep right.  The bike lane is quite busy and New York City bikers are notorious for NOT obeying traffic rules.

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[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] New York City’s Top 311 Complaints 2016

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From noisy neighbors to bad parking jobs… New Yorkers love to dial 311 to complain to the city.  So, what are most complaints for?  Jersey Joe explores the top 5 complaints to the city from 2016.

 

THE 411

What: 311

Use: New York City telephone line for residents to report anything from noise complaints to dangerous construction sites

Location: New York City metro, although many cities around the United States have their own local versions

JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:

Many cities around the country are adopting this special 311 line.  Not be confused with 911 for emergencies, this line is only available inside the 5 city boroughs.  I could imagine what working there must be like — having to field non-stop angry calls all day long.

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[California Seething] 2016. Ugh.

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Once upon a time, when I was a ambitious young know-it-all moron in New York, I worked at the Strand Bookstore. The slogan for the bookstore was Eight Miles of Books (no cal-seething-010317-strandrelation to the Eminem movie. I know, I was disappointed too). My job was to shelve books along with an army of other ambitious young know-it-all morons. The Strand was constantly buying used books for resale. Every day New York’s Desperate Class would line up with hungry eyes, hoping to trade books for cash and, like an eight-mile long coiled python, the Strand would spit out loose change, devour the books and deposit them in some corner of its endless belly. Our job was to help the serpent digest.

Every day we walked in to work with dreams in our hearts and crumbs in our beards and were assigned a section of the store. No matter what the section was, there was a waist high stack of books lining the aisles. Our job was to find room for these books in the alphabetically correct position on the already bulging shelves. After a few hours of this, when we were about half way through the stack, we’d go to lunch. And when we returned 30 minutes later, the stack was exactly as high as it had been in the morning and while there were more crumbs in our beards- the dreams were gone. When I asked my boss if I could put “Sisyphus” on my nametag, her cold, dead eyes told me that she’d heard that joke. A lot. I didn’t last.

Anyhow, I bring up this unpleasant chapter of my work history as way of explaining why I haven’t written much in 2016.

Every day last year, I woke up with my head crammed full of information in various sections- Family Tragedy, Syria, Celebrity Death and, of course, Election.  And just as I was in the midst of formulating a coherent (by my standards) reply- another load of horrible news would be dumped in the section I was working on, and I had to start over. And so my mind is filled with fragments of posts that chart the mood of 2016- grief, numb horror, outrage, frustration, exhaustion, cautious optimism, fleeting hope, crushing disappointment, grief, daily mortification, rage, terror, grief, grief.

And now I find myself wanting to write something funny and wise or at the very least comprehensible (again, by my standards) which will wrap up this terrible year- but what to say? Usually, one can rely on Top 10 lists in these situations- but what kind of list would suit 2016? “Top 10 Deaths that Ripped the Heart Out of My Chest Still Beating Temple of Doom Style”? Or maybe “Holy Crap! These 10 People ACTUALLY Survived!” or maybe the “Top 10 Totally Inappropriate Tweets that Demonstrate the Terrifying Degree to Which Trump is Not Suited to be President Sent Since 3:35 This Morning”?

cal-seething-010317-heart

I mean, sure- all good- options- but I think I’ll cut right to the chase and go with the “Top 10 People or Groups in 2016 Who Can Seriously GO FUCK THEMSELVES”cal-seething-010317-trumpcave

  1. Who Else? The most dangerously underqualified person to ever be elected to any public office in the entirety of human history since Og beat Zog by a landslide promising to “make cave not stink again.” Even though Og failed to keep this promise by constantly farting in the cave, his supporters called his shameless flatulence “refreshing” and said “his butt say what people are thinking”. And he was still soooo much more qualified than the brainless hateful demagogue who won. And so before he fucks the country like he wishes he could fuck his daughter- he should go fuck himself.
  2. The idiotic idiot racist idiots who voted for Trump and are also idiots. Now – I know that you Trump voters resent us coastal liberal elite types for looking down on you and thinking you’re dumb. But the only reason we  think you’re dumb is that you actually are.  And the way we know for sure you’re dumb is that you’re TRUMP VOTERS.
    Also – I know that you get upset when we accuse of being racists- but….I mean…..you did vote for the dude who was endorsed by the Klan. Which cal-seething-010317-fluttershyis….you must…admit…kinda racist. I mean, if he was endorsed by My Little Pony, I’d say you were Futtershy fans, but it’s the fucking KLAN. And it wasn’t just some half-assed, obligatory “oh, I guess he’s the lesser of two evils for the white race” kind of endorsement. No- they gave Trump their full throated, whole hearted support. Hell, if the Berniecrats supported Hillary like the Nazis supported Trump we would have WON THIS GODDAMN THING. So- yeah- I’m calling you racists and worse. Cause if you walk like a duck and quack like a duck and Sieg Heil like a duck and degrade women like a duck and support conversion therapy like a duck and rip of Hijabs like a duck and deface synagogues with feces and Swastikas like a duck AND VOTE LIKE A DUCK then yes, yes you’re a misogynistic, xenophobic, gay bashing, hate mongering, anti-Semitic RACIST ASSHOLE DUCK and that’s exactly what I’m gonna call you (also- I’d like to apologize to ducks- not sure why I dragged you guys into this). Oh- and- yes- as I mentioned earlier- you’re also quite dumb.And don’t give me any of this cutesy-pie “Alt-Right” nonsense. This isn’t “Alt Country”. You’re not Wilco fans- you’re Nazis and you should all go fuck yourselves. Oh- and- right- did I mention already that you’re all very dumb?
  3. Anyone over the past few months who uttered the phrase “Clinton and Trump are basically the same”- especially if you didn’t vote or voted third cal-seething-010317-cokeparty.I know that in America we’re often asked to choose between two products that are basically the same- but let’s be very clear- Clinton vs Trump was NOT Coke vs Pepsi. No- Clinton vs Trump was Coke vs shoving your face over a streaming geyser of raw sewage and holding it there with your mouth forced open by Kellyanne Conway for four years – taking breaks only to go bobbing for bullshit in a tub full of Mike Pence’s puke. Boy – I bet that can of Coke sounds pretty refreshing right about now doesn’t it, sugar, carcinogens and all? Well- it’s too bad- you didn’t think it mattered- so it’s sewage for everyone! So- yeah- thanks a lot. When nobody has healthcare, Russian tanks roll over Europe, Exxon is drilling in Yosemite, Muslims are rounded up, Planned Parenthood has been replaced by a wire hanger and a punch in the gut and you shake your fist at the heavens (Facebook-wise) and say “oh- if only there was something I could do to stop all this!” – just remember- there was – and you didn’t. So go fuck yourself.
  4. Hillary bashing liberals. Hey guys- remember the Primaries? Weren’t those fun! Posting all those memes about how lame Hilary was, spreading right-wing Clinton basing propaganda repurposed for the left, crucifying her on Facebook because she gave a couple of speeches to stock-brokers and GASP helped raise money for Malaria drugs, cal-seething-010317-hilarymemelambasting the DNC for being annoyed with your petulance. Sigh. Good times. So many fine memories to look back on between waterboarding sessions at the internment camp. Oh- but wait- I forgot- you’re a white, straight male- so you won’t actually experience any consequences for the reckless role you played in destroying American democracy. Why your 401(k) might even go up! Hell, the closest you’ll come to internment camps  is reading about them while you’re in the doctor’s office waiting for the free physical that comes with your employer sponsored health insurance. But boy you sure will be outraged when you find out about them! You’ll sign all sorts of petitions on Change.org and share links from USUncut and DemocracyNow! And all your little Bernie Bro Buds are just gonna be so impressed with you that they won’t be able to resist responding to your post with Outrage Face Emoji. There’s sticking it to the man! The power elite is simply shaking in their boots thinking about how many Likes you get from your skinny-jeans friends and I can’t wait to hear all about it while I’m busting up rocks in Jew Camp and thinking just how much you should all really go fuck yourselves.
  5. The thieves who steal email, the crooks that put them up to it, the sleezeballs who publish the emails and us suckers for lapping it up. So- you know how like 44 years ago a couple of burglars broke into the DNC headquarters to steal some documents and the nation was so aghast when we discovered the President was involved that he had to resign in shame? I know right- how adorable we were! Clearly we hadn’t yet learned that the right way to react when confidential information is stolen cal-seething-010317-julianis to scrutinize it for petty, irrelevant nonsense scandals while totally ignoring the criminality of the act committed and rampaging corruption behind it.
    Let me put this differently- let’s say your credit card number was stolen and used fraudulently. Which of these two responses would you prefer?

    1. Bank contacts you immediately asking to confirm charges. If you can’t, the account is closed and flagged in case there are any future uses, the fraudulent charges are reversed and a new card is sent out with an apology.
    2. Credit card thieves publish your entire purchase history which is promptly scrutinized by everyone in America. Outraged imbeciles share click bait headlines with fake scandals (“These FIVE purchases by Eric will PUT HIM IN JAIL FOR SURE!” like there’s some law in this country against a 44 year old man visiting the American Girl Store and Build a Bear Workshop which of course there only is in North Carolina and we’re hoping it gets repealed). The credit card company does nothing cause they don’t want to seem like sore losers and the scumbags who ripped you off are hailed as folk-heroes and “whistle blowers.”
      Oh, shut up, you would pick A and you know it. But that’s not the choice we made during the election, is it? We chose to be outraged by the stolen emails so now we get to be terrified by Donald Trump’s tweets- lucky fucking us. And for that we should all go fuck ourselves.
  6. James Comey. Oh, go fuck yourself
  7. Vladimir Putin. Oh- you- SERIOUSLY go fuck yourself
  8. Jimmy Fallon. This one hurts. I really liked you but you just couldn’t stop humanizing Trump. I mean – bringing him on the show during the height of the campaign after all the terrible shit he said, so you can ruffle his hair like a lovable golden retriever? That’s like bringing Hitler on after kristilnacht and doing Movember bits about his mustache. And cal-seething-010317-fallontrumpI know you don’t want to live in Trump’s America any more than the rest of us – you just can’t help yourself. Ass kissing is heroin to you. So now make it up to us- use your show for the next four years to spread the message of love, equality and acceptance. Show us with joyous enthusiasm how great this country can be when we celebrate our diversity and play together. Or just bring Billy Ocean back on. That would be cool too. Meanwhile, I’ve sadly got to ask you to go fuck yourself.
  9. Colin Kaepernick. So let me get this straight- you kneel during the anthem to protest injustice but you can’t even be bothered to vote? Fuck that. It means nothing to be “woke” when you sleep through election day. You want to be a leader- lead to the polls. Now you might as well take pride in your choices and stand tall during the anthem- cause  like it or not- this is the country YOU made through inaction. Thankfully you’re a terrible quarterback and nobody’s gonna care next year if you kneel for the anthem while you’re eating Cracker Jacks in the stands. Meanwhile, please go fuck yourself.
  10. The Grim Reaper. Dude- you were off the chain this year. How about giving us a fighting chance next year? Like maybe instead of chess, we could play vintage Atari? Cause you may be able to checkmate us into the grave- but we will kick your bony ass in Frogger.
    And I’m not just talking about all the beloved childhood icons you took or the artists and leaders whose voices will be sorely missed during the difficult years ahead. I mean, that all sucked, but I’m particularly referring to the two people I love that you took within a week of each other.
    Mike & Sheila – you each deserve a much fuller and more articulate tribute (by any standards) than I can give you right now 2000 words deep in this post. Suffice it to say that we love you, we miss you, and we feel you absence every day. The world is a better place for the time you spent here, but God, it could be so much better if you were with us still.
    And so Mr Reaper, for everyone you took this year and all the sorrow you left behind, you can seriously go fuck yourself.

So, yeah- that’s my list. There are a lot more people I could have put on- Kellyanne Conway (the answer to the SAT question _____ is to Ann Coulter as W. is to Trump), the Fox News Legion of Doom being considered for the cabinet, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for mostly sucking at her job and, of course, GFY list perennial Bill Belichick – Trump’s pick for the Director of the Bureau of Weights and Measures.  But I’d like to wrap this up on a positive note and I need to finish before the end of 2017.

So….here we go:

Ending on a positive note!

Yellow emoticon cartoon character eps 10 vector

This past Hanukkah, I lit candles with my parents on Facetime every night. This may not seem like such a big deal- but my dad’s had Parinkson’s for 25 years, and this year was particularly difficult (cause of course it was.) There were times back in the spring that I doubted that on December 31st we’d be singing the blessings together.  And yet- there we were. And it was a miracle. That we’re lighting candles together while thousands of miles apart. That another year has passed and we’re singing the blessings off-key- thanking God for the gift of the candle lighting ritual, for making miracles, for sustaining life. And I was, in that moment, truly thankful for the miracle we were experiencing. And I will be thankful for it always.

Yes, there are many lights which are extinguished much too soon. But Hanukkah we remember: sometimes there’s only oil enough for one day but it miraculously lasts for eight. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Alright- so 2016- we’re done with you- go fuck yourself. Bring it on 2017- death, injustice, love and miracles. We’re ready for you.  No matter how bad things get- they could be a lot worse. I could still be working at the Strand.

cal-seething-010317-books

Ugh indeed.

[California Seething] A Modest Proposal

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It’s been quite common recently for Republican leaders to declare that there are people in this country who don’t belong here. People that are just here to make trouble- spreading violence and chaos, with no respect for the laws of the land. People who have different values then we do- who don’t appreciate the freedoms this nation was founded upon and wish instead to impose their own religious law. People who take advantage of the inherently permissive nature of this great nation and use it to perpetrate mayhem and destruction. It is the opinion of Republicans leaders that these people need to be dealt with- monitored, rounded up, tracked and maybe even deported. And I have to admit- they may have a point. There are people in this country who are crazy, violent, fanatical, destructive and up to no good- and they do need to be dealt with harshly.  I think you know who I’m talking about- and frankly, I’ve had enough. And that’s why I’m proposing that we deport all the white people.

I know that may sound harsh- but, come on, white people, we’ve been tolerant long enough and you’ve been nothing Cal Seething- 113015- firstthanksgivingbut trouble since the day you got here. You show up in this country as a bunch of dirty refugees from political persecution with weird clothing and customs. You have no jobs and no useful skills. Even though you make no effort to learn about the culture of your adopted land – or even to learn the language, you still gladly accept handouts from hard working native Americans. And then, as soon as you get settled, you so-called “pilgrims” start spreading disease, grabbing up all the land, killing everyone who’s already living here and imposing your twisted, puritanical version of religious law- like ISIS with buckles on your hats. And, on top of everything else, you have the audacity to create a holiday celebrating the fact that you suckered real Americans into helping you out so that you could butcher them and take their homes. It’s a little known fact that the Native Americans actually named the holiday “Thanksgiving”, but of course nobody realized they were being sarcastic.

Cal Seething- 113015- protectamericaThis is why white people freak out when somebody new wants to come to this country. They’re terrified that the newcomers will be as bad as they were. They’re all like: “On the one hand, the Syrians seem to be in a tough spot and could really use our help. Then again, I bet that’s exactly what the Indians said when they saw us- and just look how that turned out….so- sorry Syrians. No Thanksgiving turkey for you! Maybe you should try Germany- I hear they actually feel bad about their genocide.” So, yeah, it’s not foreigners that white people in America fear at all- it’s KARMA.

But all that is in the distant past, and it’s not the reason we’re calling to deport you guys now. Nor are any of the other terrible things you’ve done in the last 400 years including, in no particular order: Slavery, Jim Crow, Japanese internment camps, Wal*Mart, the NRA, Salvadoran death squads, Thomas Kinkade, the rise of the Taliban, the Hollywood blacklist, Vietnam, inflatable lawn Santas, supply-side economics, segregation, sub-prime loans, the systematic racism and brutality of the so-called American “justice system”, and car-antlers among many Cal-Seething--113015--caranmany things. No- the real reason I’m calling for your deportation is that I’m afraid for my life. Practically every day there’s another news story about a terrorist attack by a heavily armed white guy on a school, church, Planned Parenthood clinic or other public gathering place and, frankly, I’m sick of it. Sure, sure you say- but those are just isolated incidents by extremists- surely not ALL white people are bad. And, OK, that might be true- but how am I supposed to tell the good ones from the bad ones? I mean, you do kind of all look the same- all pink cheeked and petrified- is it really worth the risk if I’m wrong? You say you don’t feel safe with Muslims on airplanes? Well I don’t feel safe with white guys in movie theatres. And- if these attacks are just isolated incidents committed by extremists- then why aren’t the so-called “moderate” white leaders condemning the perpetrators as terrorists? Instead, all I keep hearing is nonsense  like “oh, they shooter’s motivations are unclear.” Seriously? Cause dude was shouting “No more body parts” when he shot up a Planned Parenthood- that sounds pretty fucking clear to me. Or- what, you think maybe he was pissed he couldn’t get replacements for his Mr. Potato Head and he remembered there used to be a KB Toys on that site and then started shooting when he saw it had been replaced by a Planned Parenthood??  Or, even worse, you refer to the terrorists as “protesters” – because evidently when white terrorists kill innocent people that’s just a form of legitimate protest- which is funny, cause when black people engage in legitimate protest they’re pretty much treated like terrorists. Huh. Wait- that’s not funny at all. Anyhow- if you’re not acting all baffled by the motives of killers or downgrading them from “terrorist” to “protester” then you’re make excuses for them- saying stuff like “it’s not their fault- they’re just mentally troubled kids from messed up families” Well, that’s too damn bad- you know who else was a mentally troubled kid from a messed up family- Osama Bin Laden- and I don’t hear anyone saying we should have cut him a break.

Look, OK, so maybe we don’t need to deport you guys. Maybe we can just round you up and put you in camps or something. It won’t be so bad! You’ll have Fox News and NFL Sunday Ticket and we’ll make sure each camp has a Chick-Fil-A and a Hobby Lobby. Yes, I think you’ll find that Camp Trump is just like home. Well, almost.  You will have to work a lot harder than you’re used to- can’t have you freeloading off the government, after all. And while you may find 12 hours a day of forced agricultural labor to be challenging- you can take comfort in the fact that you’re finally taking  good, American jobs back from the illegal  immigrants who’ve been stealing them away. Oh- and I guess, you’ll need to learn Spanish. I mean, it’s not required or anything- but you’re probably going to want to be able to talk to the cop who drags you out of your truck and starts beating the shit out of you because you have a broken taillight.

But aside from the Spanish and the forced agricultural labor, it’s just like home. Oh, well, except I guess for the six hours per night of Mandatory Re-Education where you’ll learn all about Sharia law, gender neutral pronouns and spotting a racially offensive Halloween costume (HINT: they all are) among many other things. And I know that sounds like we’ll keep you awfully busy- but don’t worry- you’ll still get 6 Cal Seething- 113015- 2dadshours per day to sleep. Assuming, of course, that you can sleep with your eyelids pinned open watching the Campbell’s Soup commercial with the two dads over and over and over again.

But it’s not all forced labor and Re-Education (or Re-Edu-tainment as we like to think of it). There will be festive occasions as well, just you’ve always had. Well, sort of. Every December 25, we’ll bring all of you together to observe “Holiday” by gathering around a 40 foot tall undecorated red Starbucks cup and singing “Imagine” in Arabic to honor the memory of an unwanted Middle Eastern refugee who spoke out against violence, condemned rich people and had two dads. And, of course, on the fourth Thursday of every November we’ll all celebrate “Thanks-for-Nothing” by throwing you out into the woods with a Smallpox infected blanket and sorta hoping you die.

And, don’t worry, you won’t be held there forever- just until you’re able to pass a little loyalty test- which will include:

  • Changing your profile pic to show that you Stand with Planned Parenthood, support Marriage Equality or believe #BlackLivesMatterCal Seething- 113015- yoga
  • Using “white privilege”, “microaggression” and “cultural appropriation” correctly in a sentence. Bonus points if you use all the words in one sentence. Double bonus points if the sentence involves white rappers or yoga.
  • Listening to Colin Powell speak without saying “my, my, my – he’s so well spoken”
  • Listening to Straight Outta Compton in it’s entirety without once saying “I don’t know what this is – but it certainly isn’t music” or “All they say is N-word this and N-word that. But, of course, if I say the N-word- then everyone thinks I’m a racist.”
  • Memorize the rainbow alphabet- LGBTQQIAA (try using the ABC song! “Now I know my LGBT’s. Won’t RuPaul be proud of me”) and know what each letter stands for. When your kids tell you which one of these they are- listen carefully, then hug them and tell them they can always count on your love and support. And if you add “and I’ll be praying for your soul because you’re going to hell” I’ll come down to Camp Trump and beat you myself with the Tolerance Stick.
  • Saying “Thanks, Obama!” without being a total sarcastic dick about it.

And if you pass this little test, we’ll know you’re rehabilitated and ready to live among civilized people.

Or….you could avoid all this unpleasantness and STOP FUCKING SHOOTING PEOPLE. The choice is up to you. We can all come together and stand up to hatemongering extremists everywhere who pervert the teachings of their religion to justify their unthinkable brutality – or you can give them tacit approval by supporting politicians and pundits who fan the flames of destruction with the hot air that spews from their fetid mouths. It’s up to you, really- just don’t take too long, because we’ve got a warm bunk just waiting for you in the gender non-conforming dormitory at Camp Trump and we’re eager to Re-Edu-tain you. Don’t test us.

Hope you had a great Thanks-for-Nothing and wishing you all the best this Holiday season. Maybe try celebrating Cal Seething- 113015- shooteyethis year without guns. Cause, best case scenario, you just shoot your eye out- and worst case scenario….well, let’s make that a Christmas story we don’t have to tell this year. Crap! Sorry! I mean “Holiday” story. I guess it’s off to Camp Trump for me…