Sunday, June 25, 2017

Is America Out of Ideas?

I just saw a commercial on the internet for a new shampoo whose featured ingredient is...caviar.

America is officially out of ideas.

I can remember a day when the presence of caviar was sure fire evidence that you had stumbled into the wrong party. Instead of taking the right turn at the bowling alley to get to the FCA mixer, you had gotten lost on the interstate and wound up at Claire Worthington's debutante ball at the Country Club of Virginia. Now, they're dumping the stuff into shampoo for its alleged 24 hour moisturizing properties. Thurston Howell III is probably spinning in his grave.

But somewhere, somehow, somebody sitting around a conference table at some multi-national health and beauty aid company blurted out, Hey, how about we grind up fish eggs into our shampoo? This daft idea carried the day, and now, BAMM...Caviar Shampoo is a thing.

I'm wondering what this development is going to do to the price of caviar. Face it, up until now there has been a limited market for the stuff. It's very much a 1% indulgence. It's relative rarity is what makes it so expensive, I would think. But, if there's now a company using caviar in the mass production of shampoo, maybe the supply starts to get disrupted, causing the cost to skyrocket. What then? What will be the price point on the shampoo? I mean, you can up-market shampoo all you want, but at the end of the day...it's still just shampoo. Will people be willing to shell out, say $50 for a bottle? Sure, rich girls wouldn't hesitate to instruct their servants to pick up a bottle, but what about your average Jane Doe? Or maybe, this fish egg shampoo winds up being the next big thing in the beauty aid game, providing the multi-national company with the insentive to build giant caviar farms,  flooding the supply, therefore driving down the price of caviar. What happens then? If caviar becomes as cheap and abundant as tuna fish, what reason would the rich have for pretending to like it? I foresee the potential for great mischief here.

All because the Western Woman simply must have moisturized hair.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

There's an Elephant Man in My Mirror!!

Woke up this morning feeling very strange. The world looked a bit odd. My face felt...out of place. Then I looked in the mirror and discovered that my right eye was swollen shut. I will not horrify you by sharing a photograph. Suffice it to say that the extreme puffiness made me look like the Elephant Man. What the heck?

For the past half hour I have had an ice pack plastered to the thing, and that has helped. It is still a bulbous mess, but at least I can see out it. It doesn't itch, thank God, and it's not emitting any bodily fluids, so I've got that going for me. Still, today will be a wearing sunglasses inside sort of day.

You would think I could come up with something more interesting to write about on this Saturday morning...but I got nothing. It's been one of those weeks. Summer has this strange way of distilling the tumultuous roar of life down to its essence. It gets hot and thick outside, where even breathing seems like a chore. So, you slow down. Then, people start going on vacation, families packing up their cars all up and down your street in shifts, the Smiths one week, the Joneses the next. Your time is coming. Your life becomes all about counting down, making lines through the days on the calendar until it's your turn. People stop watching the news all day. They would rather surf the web for fun stuff to do during your stay in Virginia Beach. The news will still be there when you get back, so you disengage. It's therapeutic.

The down side is, if you have a blog, you find that your hot-take tank is on empty. It's just too humid out to bother with thinking. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How Bad Can It Be?

Just got back from a very fun couple of days playing golf with my brother up in Gettysburg, Pa. Beautiful course, good people, fun time. But, this blog isn't about any of that. No, this blog is my first attempt at being a travel writer. I've always wanted to give travel writing a try, but the only time I've ever been tempted is after a bad experience, and who wants a travel writer with a bad attitude? Nevertheless...here goes.

When Donnie first asked me to play in this fundraising golf tournament for the really cool touring choir that he's in, he assured me that he was going to take care of all of the details, like booking us a room in Gettysburg, for the night before the tournament. I was nervous at this bit of news. I have had the great fortune in my life to travel all over the place and have become quite the snob about accommodations. I'm kind of a Hilton Rewards Club sort of guy. When Donnie and I were kids, our father had very different priorities when traveling. Dad's tastes were decidedly low brow...think, Econo-Lodge meets the Bates Motel. Whenever the Dunnevant kids were anywhere near an interstate highway, we thought fine dining consisted of a pecan roll from Stuckey's. So, naturally, I was dubious of the sort of place my older, less traveled brother might pick. He assured me that all was well..."Don't worry, little brother. I've booked us a room in the Eisenhower Hotel and Conference Center." Sounded pretty impressive. I mean, it was named after a former President and perhaps this country's best strategic planning General, and, it had a conference center. How bad could it be?

What neither of us knew was that the Eisenhower Hotel and Conference Center was badly misnamed. A more apt description would have been the Eisenhower Inn, Motor Lodge, Kitsch Emporium, and Laudromat. Driving up to the place unleashed a raging bout of cognitive dissonance. Instead of a Conference Center, I saw a parking lot full of restored American Motors hotrods painted up from a palette of incandescent colors found nowhere in the natural world.  It was like we had traveled through time back to 1962. There were Ramblers, Hornets, Gremlins, Pacers and even a couple AMX's. I half expected George Romney to jump out of the uranium green Gremlin parked by the front door and offer to take our bags. No such luck, not a bellhop to be found. But just inside the front door hung a lovely portrait of the 34th President. About the time I was close enough to the portrait to get a good look, I noticed.....the smell.

I don't want to give anyone the impression that the place was a dump. No, it was actually quite clean...always a plus. But there was a distinct aroma to the Eisenhower Hotel and Conference Center, and it wasn't anything you'd find at Bath and Body Works. Bath Iron Works? Maybe. It was a combination of several bad smells, really, producing an aroma that was clearly worse than the sum of its parts. Think...two day old cabbage, moth balls, with just a hint of rotten egg. It's like you arrived at a church basement fellowship hall, two days late for a covered dish supper where no one had done the dishes.

But, the Dunnevant brothers are nothing if not resilient, so we soldiered on. I mean, if old Dwight was good enough to plan and execute freaking D-Day, the least we could do was suck it up and stay in his stinking hotel for one lousy night, right? How bad could it be?

Our room was number 138....which almost matched the room's temperature. Only one of the key cards worked. Once inside only two of the lamps worked. The two queen sized beds were neatly made and reasonably comfortable. To add some light into the cave-like darkness, I decided to throw open the heavy, thick curtain of the sliding glass doors. Our view was quite the shock. There, no more than four or five steps from the glass doors was the very large indoor pool, filled with equally large and loud teenagers blowing off some steam after a long year of school. What architect came up with this design, I thought? Look, Marge...we can keep an eye on the kids while they're swimming right from the comfort of our bed!! All I can say about how I slept is, it's a lot harder to fall asleep while people are taking turns doing cannon balls twenty five feet from your pillow than it sounds.

To be fair, the Eisenhower Hotel and Conference Center had the look of a place that was probably, in its day, something very special. Unfortunately for us, it's day was probably about the time when it's namesake only had one star.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Georgia Post Mortems

Despite spending more money than Ronald Reagan spent running for President in 1980, the Democrat candidate lost the election last night in Georgia. Jon Ossoff, hipster documentary film maker, and major league dufus, lost to the kind of candidate that most Democrats are always lecturing us we need more of...a woman. This morning, the bloodletting begins. The accusations hang thick in the air. Political consultant heads will roll. Pollsters will be fired. Spinners will spin.

Is there no end to the corrupting influence of the Russians?

Our candidates have no chance to win in a country dominated by misogynistic, patriarchal....no wait.

That Georgia voters resented the fact that Ossoff's California donors outnumbered his Georgia donors 8,000 to 800 proves just how provincial southerners are.

Where were the big stars? Sure, Alyssa Milano is great, but we sure could have used some personal appearances from some A-listers like DiCaprio or Matt Damon. 

You know, this election was never really about Trump. It was always a local election about local issues.

What ever happened to the invincible power of white male privilege in the South?

Every dark cloud has a silver lining, and for Jon Ossoff, there are several. First, now that he's not going to have to represent the people of Georgia district 6, he won't have to actually live in that God forsaken hell hole. Judging from his donor list, he has significant support in California...Go West, Young Man!! Losing the election at least trolled him into finally popping the question. The future Mrs. Ossoff would like to thank the voters of Georgia Congressional district 6 for that!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Forgetting How To Laugh

I stumbled across a hilarious Tweet yesterday, at least I thought it was hilarious. It offered this bit of first class snark:

If the Huffington Post and Salon had been around in 1942, they would have been writing about the gender gap at Auschwitz.

Of course, to be fair to my progressive/statist friends, I suppose if National Review had been around in the time of King David, they would have been describing the tithe as an oppressive wealth redistribution scheme.

See what I did there? That's called bi-partisan snark, and it is sorely missing in today's hyper political culture. We are great at zinging our political opponents, but almost completely unwilling to tolerate jokes at our own expense. It's a short trip from not being able to laugh at yourself to wanting to shout people down. Very short. Which brings me to the Julius Caesar kerfuffle...

The Shakespeare in the Park people up in New York City are currently staging a production of the famous play about political intrigue and skullduggery which features Julius as a Trump-like figure. Throughout the play extra effort is made to disparage this Trump stand in. When the climatic assassination scene comes, it's quite brutal. Trump supporters are apoplectic, demanding that sponsors pull their support and now some of them have taken to storming the stage in protest. Liberals are suddenly scandalized at this blatant attempt to silence voices of dissent and have employed fascist/Goebbles comparisons to describe the stage rushers in Central Park. It's all quite hilarious. Honestly? Have these scandalized progressives been living in a cave for the past five years? Have they not seen the tender reeds in Ivy League schools demanding safe spaces and shouting down any voice contrary to their own? And what to make of these stage rushing idiots? Aren't these the same people who constantly malign these college fascists with the tag, snowflake? So, which is it? Are these offended souls trying to shout down Julius Caesar...snowflakes???

Tribalism has taken root in the black soil of politics. It has blinded us to our own hypocrisy. When the other side shouts down a conservative voice, it's an outrage. When our side tries to silence a liberal voice it's called fighting back. The air is now thick with this accusation: They can dish it out, but they can't take it. Neither is true. Neither side even knows how to dish it out with anything approaching civility and fairness. Neither side thinks they should ever be forced to take anything. We can't even define hypocrisy anymore.

And it's all because we have forgotten how to laugh...at ourselves.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Silent.

Yesterday was nice. Fathers Day. Social media was a wall to wall tribute to us. Adorable photographs, heart warming tributes, competing claims to Best Father Ever, turning Facebook into a living, breathing, digital Hallmark card. Mostly, this was a very good thing. Who among us would rather read unhinged, fact-free political debates? No, I'll take pictures of fathers hugging their daughters any day. But...

I don't know what it is with me. Sometimes, among the happiest of times, at the point of greatest joy, my mind can be counted on to find a dark cloud. Yesterday was the perfect example of this unfortunate tendency. As I was reading the glowing tributes by my friends to their wonderful dads, I started thinking, Wow, this must really be painful for people with horrible fathers. I personally know many people who were raised by monumental jerks, don't you? What must go through their minds on Fathers Day? After all, nobody would post something like this:

On this Fathers Day, all I can think of is what a worthless, drunken, abusive, self-centered beast my father was. I have no idea where he is today, and frankly, I couldn't possibly care less.

No, that's not how Facebook works. People who have horrible fathers remain silent. They read the tributes from their friends and wonder what it must be like to have a father who loves them. Or, they tune everything out by voluntarily censoring it for a few days until their news feeds are cleansed of all the love. They wait for summer vacation pictures from the beach, or July the 4th celebration pictures, something with which they can better relate, something less painful.

Much has been made about the unreality of social media, about how it distorts people's perceptions of what life is really like. To judge by Facebook or Instagram, you might think that your friends have all won the lottery, every day is a celebration of accomplishment, every morning bringing more evidence of God's favor and provision. On the one hand, I get it. You want to bankrupt Facebook? Make a rule where only bad news, personal failings and betrayals were allowed on your timeline? I mean, who would want to wade through that cesspool all day? Personally, I enjoy hearing good news about people I know. It's comforting.....right up to the point where it gets annoying. Too many, Can you believe it??...my husband got another promotion?!, posts and something inside me bristles. Heck, I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I'm constantly extolling the many virtues of my wife on social media. Number one, it's easy to do because she truly is amazing, and number two, I'm not about to post something about how what a maniac she can be to live with the week before a vacation. Why? Because I'm not an idiot, that's why. And, well...I'm not sure why. I just don't post things like that.

All I'm saying is, on days like Fathers Day, I feel for the fatherless. On Valentines Day, I feel for the lonely. I suppose I secretly wish that all of life was as clear and undefiled as it seems on Facebook, especially on Fathers Day.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

An Observation.

With regards to the recent acquittal of the Minnesota police officer in the killing of Philando Castile, I should probably not even have an opinion. If I did, I should probably keep it to myself. After all, I'm a white guy who tends towards a law and order stance in matters of crime and punishment. Additionally, I was not on the jury in this case. I didn't sit for weeks sifting through all of the details of testimony. My only understanding of the facts of the case are what I am given by the increasingly unreliable media. Still, I do have an observation and it is this... it seems virtually impossible for a police officer, of any color, to be convicted by a jury of killing a black man in the line of duty. It doesn't seem to matter what the circumstances were, whether one shot was fired or twenty, whether the perp was still or fleeing, high or sober, belligerent or docile. No jury in America seems willing or able to convict an officer of the law of murder, or even excessive force. And, if I were a black man, this fact would piss me off.

That's it. That's all I've got.