My “fight Trump and everything he stands for” January 2017 page-a-day calendar


Trump types, in their braying, middle-school attempts at putdowns, love to mock my choice of a comic book character as my Twitter avatar. Well, rot in hell, trolls—Ted stood in defiance of seemingly impossible odds and, even knowing it was hopeless, refused to capitulate. I’ll take a hole in the head over sucking up to a fascist any day. (Also, these are the same people who flock to superhero movies, just like the rest of us.)

The soul-grinding awfulness of 2016 gives way to the promise of more of the same in 2017. Donald Trump is due to be inaugurated in 20 days, having fulfilled and surpassed even the most pessimistic estimations of how he’d behave. His chosen appointees embody the ugliness, ignorance, and cupidity that are essentially stereotypies of the worst excesses of the Republican party. Trump has engaged a private security force in lieu of the Secret Service, there are emboldened neo-Nazis openly marching against Jewish communities, the press remains shut out and vilified, and, oh yeah, the evidence of Russian interference in the election, Trump’s obfuscation about his finances, and his brazen championing of Putin all point to some seriously, unprecedentedly heinous shit on the horizon.

Happy 2017.

It’s just after midnight now, and I’m writing this and living with the same, dull, gnawing ache of fear and loathing in my guts I’ve felt since early November. It’s going to be a long, long fucking year and I’m going to have to continue to develop ways to dull the feeling in my guts—and fight this evil, dimwitted, soulless motherfucker. So here goes, 2017.

“Peace in our time/Oh thank you, Herr Hitler…”

Sunday, January 1

—Donated $25 to She Should Run, which supports and encourages female candidates. Trump’s cabinet picks are all nearly all sagging, pig-eyed old white creeps. New blood is most definitely needed, on all levels.
Petition to make Election Day a national holiday. Weird how the Republicans always want to make it harder for working people to vote, huh? Oh, no it’s not—they know their ideas are shit and the only way they can get enough votes is to suppress poor and minority voters in any way they can.
Fairly certain I donated $50 to the NAACP. Let me explain. Tried donating $25 twice because the site said it wasn’t going through. Then got an email today from the NAACP thanking me for joining the team. Hmm. Well, I’ll keep an eye on the bank report and, if I did, well, I would have given $50 gradually through the year. If not, I’ll give $50 next month.
Trump would like to “cancel” the Paris climate accords. God, what an asshole. Petition, telling him not to do that, as it makes him an asshole.
—And another, this one from EarthJustice.
Petition supporting Keith Ellison for DNC chair. Now is not the time to play it safe. And, frankly, I’ve found the spurious attacks on Ellison to be particularly Trump-esque.

Trump voters in the crowds.

Monday, January 2

—Wrote to Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin urging him to vote against the Republicans’ most recent shocking bit of corrupt fuckery, weakening the power of the Office of Congressional Ethics and eliminate its independence. Like the recent North Carolina fuckery, this is what the GOP stands for—fixing the game while they can to consolidate power in despite of ethics, American rule of law, or, essentially, any semblance of moral character. Fuck these people and anyone who votes for this.
—Same goes for Maine Senator Susan Collins.
—And Maine Senator Angus King.

Tuesday, January 3

Called the Washington office of Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin to urge him to vote against this OCE bullshit. A very nice young man also named Dennis assured me he was voting against it. We’ll see.
—Petition against cartoonishly corrupt Russian puppet and oil-monger Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.
—ActBlue petition to “hold Republicans responsible,” specifically citing their secret, bullshit power grab (which they withdrew after a LOT of constituent calls and general outrage—for now).
—Hey! The vice president to be of the United States things gay kids should undergo electro-shock treatment to turn them straight! This petition calls out that medieval bullshit.

Wednesday, January 4

Called Paul Ryan’s office ((202) 225-3031) to protest the GOp’s plan to kill Obamacare. You get about 20 seconds on his answering machine, so heads-up.
Called Mike Pence’s Indiana office (317-232-4567) for the same reason.
Fuck incompetent bigot Jeff Sessions petition. Again, paraphrasing
—Called Paul Ryan’s very slanted & wordy anti-Obamacare push phone poll. Here’s the number: 608-752-4050. Just press 2 to get to the poll, then 1 to say that you approve of the Affordable Care Act. Then you get a chance to leave Ryan a message. I did.
—Called Susan Collins urging her to oppose the Republican plan to kill Obamacare. Here’s her Washington number: (202)224-2523.
—Petition to tell Republicans to keep their mitts off of marriage equality legislation.
—Keep those anti-Sessions petitions coming.

Thursday, January 5

—Trump has unprecedented business conflicts of interest. This petition says, Hey—why not force him to disclose all that stuff? Crazy, right?
—Petition calling on Democratic Senators to block all Trump appointees. Fuck this collection of bigots, plunderers, and halfwits.
—Petition demanding that said collection of bigots, plunderers, and halfwits release their undoubtedly crooked tax returns.
Another open letter against Jeff Sessions. The petition said it was going to “my senator,” so I think that mean Collins.
Called that Paul Ryan survey again the mailbox is full, which I take as a good sign), now that the GO-fucking-P has threatened to defund Planned Parenthood. Fuck them.
Called Susan Collins to urge her to, somehow, find a spine and oppose the Republicans’ cartoonishly evil plan to deprive poor people and women (and poor women!)
—Petition from Corey Booker to restore the Voting Rights Act, which Republicans oppose because they know their shit ideas aren’t capable of winning Americans’ minds without disenfranchising people of color and the poor.

Friday, January 6

Anti-Tillerson petition.
Called Senator Chuck Grassley’s office (515-288-1145) calling him on his bullshit maneuver of limiting the confirmation hearings on bigoted and incompetent Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. I hate talking on the phone, but the lady at Grassley’s office was very nice before she pretended to pass my message along.
—Sierra Club petition to keep the Koch Brothers and uranium miners from despoiling the Grand Canyon.
—Petition for Simon & Schuster to dump loathsome gay Nazi Milo Yiannopoulos’ book deal. Of course, he’s not loathsome for the gayness—he’s stupid for being gay and throwing in with Nazis who genuinely despise him for being gay. He’s loathsome because he’s loathsome.

Saturday, January 7

Anti Tillerson.
Petition from Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin attempting to close a loophole Trump and his ilk use to avoid paying taxes like the rest of us.
—Twitter. (I’m on mini-vacation and don’t have phone access. Back off, you.)

Sunday, January 8

—Elizabeth Warren’s petition on Trump’s myriad conflicts of interest.
—Senator Kamala Harris’ petition to save Obamacare.
—Petition for NBC to cut business ties with Trump, since that’s just a mammoth conflict of interest when its three networks’ news divisions, you know, cover him and stuff.
Petition against Sessions—this time focusing on his anti-LGBT bigotry. He’s diverse in that, at least.

Trumpies have spent all day comparing the relative worth of Meryl Streep (who criticized Trump at the Golden Globes) and, say, MMA (which she criticized as well) via relative box office. Which is, well, let’s say Mr. Show is more ahead of its time all the fucking time.

Monday, January 9

—Petition (which gets sent to King and Collins directly) opposing the GOP power grabs that are the Reins and Midnight Rules Relief Acts. Jesus, these fucking people.
Called Susan Collins’ Washington office urging her to reconsider her support for noted bigot and civil rights enemy Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.
Leave the Affordable Health Care Act alone, you ghouls.
—Trump lied about Sprint saving US jobs, saying it was his doing. It was not. Like, at all. The head of Sprint contradicted his own spokesperson in saying Trump was right. This is the sort of misinformation (aka bullshit) Trump pulls on a regular basis. Petition calling on Sprint to disavow.
—Petition urging lawmakers to oppose Trump’s Labor pick, Andrew Puzder, a noted opponent of labor laws, overtime pay, workers’ rights, the minimum wage, and an all-around sexist piece of shit.
—Petition calling on President Obama to declassify the CIA report on torture before he leaves office.
Betsy DeVos is unqualified to be Secretary of Education, not least because she’s a stealth segregationist under the banner of publicly funded charter schools.
—Senator Tom Udall’s petition urging Republicans to leave the Affordable Health Care Act the fuck alone.
— petition calling for all Trump’s thoroughly unethical cabinet picks to be fully vetted by the Ethics Committee.
—ACLU petition (also sent to Collins and King) urging them to grill Sessions on his appalling record on protecting Americans’ voting rights.
—Wrote to the following Republican Senators: Bob Corker (TN),  Rob Portman (OH), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Bill Cassidy (LA), and ol’ Susan Collins to applaud their provisional opposition to the GOP’s call for an immediate repeal of the ACA. No doubt they’re getting abuse from Trumpies everywhere, as well as Trump himself. Encouragement. (Plus, their exposure to a good ol’ helping of Trumpies’ simpleminded hatred might just open their damned eyes.)

Tuesday, January 10

—Petition to Jason Chaffetz (or jasoninthehouse Twitter fame—vomit) to examine all Trump’s massive conflicts of interest before he takes office.

Wednesday, January 11

—Spent the last three days in a pain fog from some hideous stomach ailment. I’m not on trial here.

Thursday, January 12

Wrote pissy email to Susan Collins condemning her for voting with her plutocrat GOP cronies to gut the ACA. Fuck these people.
—Petition that law enforcement must report all deaths in custody to the DOJ. Because why isn’t this mandatory already?
—Petition calling on the White House Press Corps to grow a fucking pair against Trump’s fascist bullying.
Release your fucking tax returns, asshole: A Petition.
—INvestigate the fact that Trump was aided by Putin. Seriously.
—Against Trump’s clown car of climate change deniers.
—Letter supporting Corey Booker for testifying against Sessions.
The Twitter. Hey—If you want to see some great coded racism and all-American stinginess, defend health care for poor people on the internet!

Friday, January 13

Scott Pruitt to head the EPA is a sick, cynical joke.
—Petition supporting the Equality Act, which forces assholes not to be such assholes to LGBT people.
—Tammy Baldwin’s petition to save the ACA, which Republicans are voting to destroy as we speak.
—Another petition from a Senator telling the Republicans to, crazily, not pull millions of Americans’ health care.
Attempted to call Paul Ryan ((202) 225-3031) and Mitch McConnell’s (202-224-2541) offices to express restrained anger (they’re just staffers on the phone) about their attempts to kill lots of people by repealing the Affordable Care Act. Strangely, both mailboxes are either full or there a busy signal. Leaving these numbers here for easy reference. (Both still out on Saturday. Oh, and now Sunday.)

Donald Trump just attacked John Lewis for Lewis calling him an illegitimate president. Imma leave this here so you can draw your own conclusions about the relative worth of John Lewis and Donald Trump. Oh, and Trump attacked Lewis on the eve of Martin Luther King Day. 

Saturday, January 14

—Petition against Trump’s Education pick, the neo-segregationalist Betsy DeVos.
—Against Trump’s Treasury pick, Steve Mnuchin, a Wall Street predator dubbed “foreclosure king.” Swell.
—George Takei-sponsored petition against the unconscionable “Muslim registry” being floated by the Trump fascist scumbag patrol. Fuck these people. Thank you, George.
—LGBT petition calling out Trump and Pence for being homophobic assholes. (Again, paraphrasing.)
The Tweeting.

Sunday, January 15

Make Election Day a national holiday. As opposed to the Republicans traditionally putting all their fucking energy into making voting as hard as possible, especially for people of color and those who they know think the GOP is a bunch of vote-suppressing assholes.
Social justice petition. Sort of a wide net.

Monday, January 16

—Petition telling Trump to not scuttle the Paris agreement before he’s jailed for corruption and being a Russian asset. What, a guy can project forward a little.
—Petition backing Elizabeth Warren’s bill to force Trump to divest from his various businesses and myriad conflicts of interest before he takes office—and then is jailed.
—Petition asking President Obama to somehow safeguard our nuclear arsenal from the whims of a mentally unstable manchild.
—And stop destroying environmental protections while you’re at it, asshole.
—Petition urging all 17 banks financing the Dakota Pipeline to not do that any more.

Tuesday, January 17

—Save the environment, please, etc.
Stop Scott Pruitt. Which would also save the environment.
—The tweets.

Betsy DeVos wouldn’t rule out putting guns in schools. One reason—bear attacks. (The school she cited has come out to call bullshit even on that bullshit.) Oh, and remember satire? That was fun.

Wednesday, January 18

—Open letter to King and Collins not to attend that inauguration.
Save the ACA.
Save the ACA.
—Calling out Trump’s choice of anti-gay bigot clergy for his inauguration.
—Petition suggesting the Girl Scouts might not want to march in support of the pussy-grabber.
—Tell the Senate to reject know-nothing dilettante gun nut segregationist Betsy DeVos.
—Oh, DeVos wants guns in schools, too.
—And Ben Carson is a raging homophobe utterly unqualified to be head of HUD.
—Aaand Rex Tillerson, Russian stooge and oil company stooge. A stooge, really.
—Elizabeth Warren, on the other hand, is very cool.
—The Twit.

Thursday, January 19

—Sherrod Brown would like people to sign a pledge against hateful Trump-Nazi assholes, so I did.
—More dump DeVos.
—Maine’s Chellie Pingree has a petition telling the Republican’s to leave the ACA the fuck alone. So I signed it. Whee.
—NBC is still using the term “alt-right” instead of, you know, “Nazi bigot scumbags,” so there’s a petition.
Tweeting and tweeting and tweeting…

And here’s a Nazi being punched in the face. That helps a bit. 

Friday, January 20

—Inauguration Day. So, processing that shit, I just set up a $20 monthly donation to the ACLU, to be topped up as needed whenever this shitlord does something especially egregious.
No Tom Price, please, assholes.
—White House petition to tell Trump to reveal all his tax returns and financial conflicts of interest.
Protect immigrant children.
—NARAL petition opposing Republicans’ latest attempt to undermine Roe.
Opposing Jeff Sessions petition. Specifically, this one’s about his gay-bashing, just one of his enduring bigotries!

Saturday, January 21

—Petition to save the ACA.
Reviewed Saturday Night Live. Plenty of stuff in there to piss of Trump and his acolytes. So that’s a win.
—Same goes for this Newswire about the Putin cold open. Beck Bennett successfully creeps me out.

Sunday, January 22

—Petition for dickhead to divest himself of his businesses, as he said he would and as every other president has done. Dickhead.
—Petition telling Senate Democrats to block bigot Jeff Sessions.
—Tom Udall’s petition to support Roe V. Wade.
—Petition for Jason Chaffetz (jasoninthehouse!) to open an investigation on Trump’s finances.
—GOP white male bigots should really just stop attacking women’s rights, huh?
—Petition calling on Trump to have an LGBT liaison in the White House. Even though I can’t imagine that ever happening.
—Oh, only about 12 hours of Twitter. My eyeballs are bleeding. Weird.

Monday, January 23

Save the ACA.
Petition in support of Muslim activist Linda Sarsour, who was an organizer in the Women’s March and, therefore, has become the target of bigots and Trump fans (same diff) online. I hate these fucking people.
—One million hours of Twitter.

Tuesday, January 24

—Petition for idiotboy not to defund the NEA and the NEH.
Opposing Seth Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary.
—Sent email to Susan Collins urging her (again) to vote against Jeff Sessions. This time I cited Trump’s recent bullshit about voter fraud, something he and Sessions will use to destroy voting rights.
—Signed Michael Ian Black’s White House petition demanding to know what Trump is such a “needy little bitch.” It makes me feel a little better, so sue me.
—Trump lied (again) about millions of fraudulent votes. This petition says, “fuck you, ashhole.” Essentially.
—The usual 12-13 Twitter hours. Sometimes I question the wisdom of working from home all day.

Wednesday, January 25

—Petition against the fucking Republicans trying to ban abortion. Again. Fuck.
—Petition against Trump’s plan to ban immigrant and refugees of a certain religion. Just going to let that fucking fact sink in.
—Called Angus King, found out he’s opposing Scott Pruitt, asked the staffer to thank him.
—Another anti-anti-abortion petition, this one from NARAL.
Anti-Tom Price for HHS petition.
—The Twitter.

Thursday, January 26

Called Angus King to urge him not to vote for Jeff Sessions.
—Susan Collins’ office phone has been unavailable for a few days now. Huh.
—Sherrod Brown has a vague anti-Trump-cabinet petition, so I signed it.
—ACLU petition calling for all documents about Trump’s myriad conflicts of interest.
—Petition from good ol’ Al Franken to protect net neutrality from yet another of Trump’s goons.
Called Angus King, found out he’s voting against Betsy DeVos, and thanked him. Susan Collins’ office is still mailbox full.
Twitter. It was my birthday, you bastards, and I spent half of it fighting your racist, moron asses.

Friday, January 27

—Petition for Republicans to not strip necessary, life-saving health care from women because of abortion.
—Sherrod Brown’s petition supporting net neutrality.
—Ha! Trump owns part of the DAPL that he just allowed to start back up again! What an asshole!
—Trump is trying to whip up false support for nonexistent voter fraud in order to kill voting rights. So, don’t do that.
—Called in to Paul Ryan’s ACA poll again. The survey can be accessed by calling either (202) 225-3031 or (202) 225-0600. Wait for the long pause, press 2 to get to the poll, then 1 to support the ACA.
—Sent email to Susan Collins and Bruce Poliquin, asking if they support Trump’s just-announced ban on Muslim immigration. And telling them that we are watching who will come out to oppose it—and who will not.
—Also to Angus King.
—And John McCain. Let’s see if this is one of the issues he decides to have a spine about.
—And Mitch McConnell. Because why not, right?
Reject Scott Pruitt.
Reject Betsy DeVos.
Reject Trump’s Hitlerian Muslim ban, motherfuckers.

Saturday, January 28

Left message at Bruce Poliquin’s office asking for his stance on Trump’s Nazi Muslim ban.
Petition to British PM Theresa May urging her to repudiate Trump’s Hitlerian Muslim ban.
—Petition rejecting Trump’s fascist Muslim ban.
Show us your tax returns, you crooked bitch.
Another form-letter to Trump about his slime-dripping Muslim ban. I may have jazzed up the text a little.
—Possibly the most Twitter ever since this shitshow started. Which is saying a lot.

Sunday, January 29

—Petition urging Dems to block the hell out of whatever backward-ass toady Trump tries to stick on the Supreme Court.
—Petition from Sherrod Brown opposing Trump’s hateful Muslim ban. I’m all out of adjectives.
Open letter with over 3 million signatories condemning Trump. Maybe someone will bullet-point it for him.
—Local petition for Portland’s mayor, police chief, et al to make us a sanctuary city.
Anti DAPL petition.
Twitter, ’til your eyes bleed. Genuinely had a panic attack online today. So that’s a good sign, right?
Ignorant fuckhead wants to cut the NEA, NPR, PBS. He doesn’t read fucking books.

Monday, January 30

—Called Susan Collins to tell her to oppose Betsy DeVos.
—Wrote email to Susan Collins urging her to oppose Jeff Sessions.
—Wrote email to Dianne Feinstein on the same topic.
—Wrote email to Lamar Alexander on same. Currently writing to Republican senators who came out (however weakly) against Trump’s Muslim ban.
—Also Bill Cassidy (LA).
Ben Sasse (NE).
Bob Corker (TN).
Jeff Flake (AZ).
Cory Gardner (CO).
Lindsay Graham (SC).
Orrin Hatch (UT).
Dean Heller (NV).
—James Lankford (OK)
John McCain (AZ)
Mitch McConnell (KY)
Jerry Moran (KS)
Rob Portman (OH)
Thom Tillis (NC)

Tuesday, January 31

Called Susan Collins about Sessions.
Emailed Collins and Angus King about DeVos.
—All the Twitter. And another goddamned month of this is done.
—Here’s to fucking shit up in February.


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My “fight Trump and everything he stands for” December 2016 page-a-day calendar

Almost a month in, and, yup, the Trump cabinet—and Trump himself—is as bad as everyone imagined. Homophobes? Literally every single proposed member so far. Islamophobic bigots? You better believe it! Enemies of voting rights, civil rights, women’s rights, climate change deniers, Goldman-Sachs cronies—pretty much the most predictably awful candidates who’d be laughed out of any respectable government not run by a cretinous, utterly unqualified boor with pretensions to Putin-esque dictatorship. I’m still angry, dispirited, and disgusted. And as tempting as it is to trail off and hide, I’m starting a new month of actions—no matter how puny and insignificant they, and I feel—dedicated to fighting this rising tide of ugly, bigoted bullshit every step of the way. To it.

Thursday, December 1

—Petition to get Facebook to add voting reminders for state and local elections. Fight local.
—Petition for Senators Collins and King to oppose Steven Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary. Here’s why.
—Petition to investigate Trump’s massive web of conflicts of interest before, you know, he can actually start plundering the entire country for his own sleazy benefit. Here’s info on that.
—Petition for lawmakers to reject Trump pick of anti-choice asshole Tom Price for Health and Human Services Secretary. Here are the reasons. And here.
—Donated to ProPublica. Trump and his pinheads operate in a world that denies facts and truth. ProPublica is a non-profit investigative organization that does a good job defending same.
—Another anti-Tom Price petition. This time from a Senator who might actually do something about it.
Twitter. I keep trying to limit the number of retweets and other outraged stuff I throw out there. I don’t know why exactly. A friend chided me for it last night, I can only imagine how tired my family is of it/me (they go automatically to my Facebook page). The urge not to be a stereotypical boor is warring with the momentary release the idea that I’m doing something gives me. The war goes on. (I think I kept it under 10 today.)

Friday, December 2

—Petition to urge President Obama to declare Standing Rock a national monument. Again, not Trump-related per se, but anything dealing in fairness and decency is inherently anti-Trump.
Another Standing Rock petition, this one to the Army Corps of Engineers.
—Petition. Trump is an anti-choice neanderthal.
—Petition for Trump to stop trying to undermine the first fucking amendment. Jesus.
Went to a racial justice event at Portland’s SPACE Gallery. Talked to a few people, joined a few mailing lists. It was fine. If I was disappointed, it’s because of a misconception that this would be more of a mobilizing, action-oriented event rather than well-meaning people sitting at tables, gathering signatures. Oh well, got out there. The Maine ACLU is going to be in touch about volunteering opportunities. Next.
Email to Susan Collins and Bruce Poliquin basically just mocking Trump and the GOP’s willingness to countenance today’s most dangerous piece of incompetent, crooked buffoonery yet! We’re all going to die! Here’s how!
Petition from the Working Families Party (with whom I am not familiar) basically saying “we don’t like you, Trump.” I really don’t like Trump, so I signed, no problem.

A jury today couldn’t return a verdict against white cop Michael Slager for shooting unarmed black man Walter Scott, despite the fact that Scott was running away, the case only went to trial because a bystander filmed it, and, oh yeah, Slager planted evidence and lied about trying to revive Scott before EMTs arrived. There’s apparently a lone juror adamantly refusing to convict a white cop. (UPDATE: Of course. The lone juror flat-out stated he wouldn’t convict a cop. Mistrial. 11-1 for conviction. Going to be retried. Fuck this country. For real.)

Saturday, December 3

—Another petition, this one to Trump, basically telling him we the undersigned think he’s being a prick. (I’m paraphrasing.)
Wrote my Saturday Night Live review which, naturally, meant a lot of writing about Trump, as Alec Baldwin’s still putting on the orange. I’m counting this one—man, I write these ’til 5 in the morning and I guarantee this is read infinitely more than anything else I do. But no pressure.
—Also counting the Newswire piece I did on the cold open where SNL mocked Trump for tweeting nonsense while he supposed to be attending intelligence briefings. Naturally, Trump tweeted his thin, orange-skinned displeasure at the show mocking him. On Twitter. During the show. Can’t make this shit up.

From the same episode. The world could use more well kids right now. 

Sunday, December 4

I’ll buy some unnecessary Kellogg’s products if it helps offset Breitbart racists’ bullshit boycott. Hello, Mini-Wheats. (Still planning to find a food bank to donate a shit-ton to. More later.)
Signed thank you letter to President Obama for halting the DAPL. Credit where it’s due.
—Another fire your racist, rape-y uncle Steve Bannon petition.

Monday, December 5

Petition to Paul Ryan to keep his hands of Medicare. My parents would like to live, thanks.
Petition to investigate Donald Trump for… well, a lot of stuff, really.
Petition to the DA who’s declining to charge the (white) killer of a black man in a road-rage incident.
Donated another $15 to Foster Campbell’s Louisiana Senate campaign. He can take another Senate seat for the Dems. Gonna need every one.
Hail Mary save from the electors? Sure, why not.
General anti-Trump petition from Oregon lawmaker Jeff Merkely. Sure.
Petition to end right-wing slush fund Citizens United.

Tuesday, December 6

—Moveon.Org petition to tell GOP “leaders” to lay the fuck off of Medicare.
—Letter to Ohio GOP Governor John Kasich, urging him to veto a bullshit “heartbeat” abortion law.

Wednesday, December 7

Sent letter to Kasich via his official government website.
Signed letter from Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown attacking Paul Ryan, etc, over stripping a “buy American” manufacturing bill.
Petition from Credo Action urging lawmakers to fight against the nominations of Trump’s, as they put it, “terrifying” and “crony” cabinet. Both are accurate.
Signed petition from Al Franken telling Paul Ryan to not gut Medicare.
Called John Kasich’s office (thankfully getting the answering service, as talking to humans on the phone makes me queasy), urging him to veto this bullshit anti-choice bill. (614) 466-3555
Donated $20 to Grand State
, a new, Maine-based media startup from, among others, Alex Steed, who’s as good a journalist as they come.
Petition to save some damned tigers, because people are greedy fucking assholes.
Petition from the Environmental Defense Fund protesting climate change denier and oil company shill Myron Ebell from being put in fucking charge of the fucking EPA. Jesus.
Twitter. Just for about 13 hours or so.

Thursday, December 8

Petition to end the right-wing slush fund Citizens United.
Donated $15 to the National Democratic Training Committee. They’ve been sending me petitions, polls, and appeals for cash for so long, I finally caved.
Petition from the Sierra Club, basically urging King and Collins to keep Trump from turning our nation’s environment into an Atlantic City landfill.
—Petition to have the party leaders “fix the primaries.” Sure.
—Petition to audit this shitshow of an election.
—Petition from the ACLU asking President Obama to dismantle the NSEERS program, which is the most likely way Trump and his bigoted cabinet can start a registry of Muslim American citizens. Which is something they are planning to do. Which is not a joke. Which is something I plan to reiterate until people get how fucking un-American that idea is.
Sent postcard to Susan Collins essentially pointing out that Trump’s proposed cabinet is a clown car of dangerous racists, crackpots, cronies, and right-wing extremists.
Signed NARAL petition urging cretin Donald Trump to dump racist cretin Steve Bannon for also being a sexist cretin.
Petition opposing Sarah fucking Palin as Interior Secretary? I would legitimately not trust Sarah Palin to run a Cracker Barrel franchise.
Called John Kasich’s office again. Another message to veto the bullshit “heartbeat bill.” And remember, this jerk is the “reasonable” Republican alternative. #(614) 466-3555.
Signed letter from Oregon Senator Ron Wyden denouncing racist woman-hater anal wart Steve Bannon.
—Goddamned Twitter, all goddamned day.

Oh, I’m fine. Why do you ask?

Friday, December 9

Sierra Club petition to close the Arch Coal Loophole, which is something that will despoil the environment. One hates to bother President Obama at this point, but there’s still work to be done, son.
Petition to reject Scott Pruitt for the EPA head. Call me crazy, but someone who’s currently suing the EPA because he a climate change denier is a fucking nightmare clown scenario, right? Is it just me?
Another Sierra Club petition putting pressure on Citibank, Wells Fargo, and other big banks to not fund the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Open letter in my name from the Environmental Defense Fund to my representatives announcing that I’m watching how they fight Trump’s cynical, world-dooming environmental policies.
Petition to prosecute Trump for the multiple and varied illegal and shady activities he’s already committed, and which the Republican Party suddenly seems awfully disinterested in.
Fuck fracking.
Called John Kasich again. Fuck you, Ohio.
Another petition to Kasich—there are not one but two shitty abortion bans on his desk it turns out—this one from the ACLU.
—Called Senator Lindsey Graham (202) 224-5972 and Senator John McCain (202) 224-2235 to say thank you for their announced intention to investigate the Russian interference with the election. I made clear that I am no Republican, but that i salute their intentions. Maybe I’m just feeling the need to throw some positivity out there for a change (and especially on a very, very shitty day, personally), but those standing up to the bullying, petty Trump machine need support as well.
Signed a petition from NY Senator Karen Gillibrand opposing decomposing chicken nugget bigot and misogynist Steve Bannon.
—So much fucking Twitter.

As if lovely, nuanced debate meant anything. 

Saturday, December 10

Wrote my Saturday Night Live review, which I continue to count. Analyzing comedy about Trump wipes me out about as much more than tweeting about Trump equal to the number of people who are going to read the thing. People yell at me in the comments. Counts.
Newswire was a Trump, too. Counts.
So much fucking Twitter, again. Several arguments with Trumpies I let go on longer than I knew was wise.

Sunday, December 11

Petition to get the EPA to uphold emission standards. You know, before it is gutted in a corporate purge.
Petition to stop Exxon exec Rex Tillerson—who’s also super-tight with Putin!—from being named Secretary of State. Ha ha ha—we’re doomed!
Petition to keep an asshole coal company from further despoiling the Great Barrier Reef. Sure, not specifically trump-related (although how can you know, since Trump refuses to release his taxes), but, again, any move toward truth and beauty is a move against that piece of shit.
—Petition urging Democrats to filibuster all Trump’s inevitable and inevitably horrifying Supreme Court picks. Time to play motherfuckin’ dirty.

Monday, December 12

— petition to abolish the ban on students with drug convictions recieving edicational aid.
—Petition for the CIA to release all information about Russian hacking of the presidential election. Like, now.
—Petition to give the electors all information about Trump and Russian hacking before they vote.
—Petition for Trump to, you know, actually attend the intelligence briefings he needs to do the job he’s woefully, terrifyingly unqualified and unprepared for.
—Another petition to Kasich to veto the hateful abortion bills sitting on his desk.
Sent email to Trumpie Congressman Devin Nunes, expressing my disgust that he doesn’t support investigating the Russian election shenanigans.
Open letter to thank Bernie Sanders for being such an ornery old cuss.
Sierra Club petition confirming commitment to fighting Trump on the environment and women’s rights.
—And the Twitter.

Tuesday, December 13

—Petition. Investigate Trump & Russia. Seriously.
—And a different one.
—Signed Jeff Merkley’s petition opposing Wall Street preyer-of-misery Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary.
Prisoners deserve medical care. Even in Iran. Again—anything advocating for justice and decency is inherently anti-Trump. Counting it.
Petition rejecting Tillerson from Senator Chris Murphy.
Donated to NARAL, partly in response to John Kasich signing the 20-week abortion ban, a calculated step toward challenging Roe V. Wade. Fuck that guy. Also, NARAL donations are matched until the end of the year, so only felt half bad about how little I have left to give.
Al Franken petition to urge the GOP Senate to do their damned job and not block President Obama’s Supreme Court pick. This will do nothing, but I can only hope Al’s got some sort of long game here.
—Donated ten more bucks to Alex Steed’s Grand State Kickstarter, mainly because the paper wouldn’t take my pitch to do a story on it. Never underestimate guilt when trying to motivate me.
—Signed Senator Tammy Baldwin’s petition to support LGBT rights from the bigoted scumbags gearing up to scare other bigots with stories of men in little girls’ bathrooms.
Wrote to ABC News suggesting that their nightly news prioritizing Kanye West’s meeting with Trump is the sort of superficial bullshit that got us in this crap-cauldron in the first place.
—The Twitters.

Wednesday, December 14

—Another petition, another shitty pipeline.
—Another petition against comically corrupt Russian puppet Rex Tillerson.
—Petition from Kamala Harris telling the GOP to lay the fuck off of Medicare.
Sent email to the North Carolina GOp which is attempting to steal power from the incoming Democratic governor in a special session. Despite trying to steal the election in the first place.
Sierra Club against Tillerson.


How I imagine myself facing down this horseshit. I’m not quite there yet.

Thursday, December 15

Called the North Carolina GOP HQ to express outrage over their bullshit. Actually, the phone was answered by a very nice-sounding African American lady named Ayesha, so I addressed the issue in slightly confused politeness. Still, message sent. And, as ever, I would rather smack myself with a frying pan than talk to strangers on the phone.
—Petition for people to stop massacring other people in Aleppo.
End Citizens United petition.
Called the US Attorney General’s office calling for the Justice Department to postpone electoral college vote until a full investigation of the Russian and GOP election shenanigans is completed. (202-514-2000)
—And a petition from incoming NC Governor Roy Cooper, calling the NC GOP on their bullshit fuckery.
—NARAL petition calling on Oklahoma anti-choice fuckwits from forcing businesses to put up anti-abortion propaganda in bathrooms. Related: Anti-choice forces are fucking children.
—Hey, tech companies. Helping Trump build a nation registry for all members of a religious community is pure fucking evil. Don’t do that.

Break glass in case of crippling, life-threatening depression. MST3k saves lives. 

Friday, December 16

Petition for NBC to (re)-cut ties with Trump, who is going to be producing fucking Celebrity Apprentice while in office? This after NBC famously (and briefly) cut ties with Trump for being a racist pig, something which only mattered, apparently, when they thought he wouldn’t win.
—Odd. Tried calling the NC GOP again. Same number I got through to before. Now the recording for the HQ picks up, but then transfers to a messaging service where the operators say the number has been “discontinued.” Also called the NC general assembly, where they have no new info and can’t take a message for the GOP if you’re from out of state. So, frustrating. Ideally, they cancelled the humber because they’re getting flooded with pissed off citizens, but I don’t know.
Wrote to one NC GOP Rep. Bert Jones (as he was quoted in a NYT story as supporting this coup). By the way, the NC GOP site is now now displaying its members contact info in any way. Could be a glitch. Hoping for chaos.
McCrory just signed the bullshit. Sent him an email. Feels like the useless shit it is.
—Another “yes, Donnie, science is real” petition.
Email to Maine bigot-bumpkin Governor Paul LePage decrying his mini-fascist move to disregard the recently voted-in minimum wage law for Maine restaurant workers. Also told him to watch out for the guaranteed spit in his food.
Donated $25 to the ActBlue Democratic Governor’s Association in North Carolina. Apparently, gifts are being doubled at the moment, so that’s good. Because fuck those fucking people.
—Open letter thanking Elizabeth Warren for being a fucking badass.
—Maine-based petition against LePage’s attempt to be a li’l mini-dictator.

Eating not recommended before watching or listening to Paul LePage. 

Saturday, December 17

Petition to postpone the electoral vote until all information about Russian interference (and Trump knowledge thereof) is presented. Never going to happen. Strap in, folks. This shit’s about to get ugly.
—Show your motherfucking tax returns, Trump.
—The Tweets.
—The weekly Saturday Night Live review, where I no doubt pissed off many people. So that’s a win for me.
—Same thing for the Newswire, which highlights the best, most pointed sketch of the night—and also pissed off the right people. Here it is:

Sunday, December 18

—Petition supporting Elizabeth Warren. Shit, I forget what it’s for. Man, I’m fucking exhausted, but EW knows her shit.
—Petition from Tom Udall to end right-wing slush fund Citizens United.
—The fighting. On the Twitters.

From the Citizens United Christmas party. 

Monday, December 19

Stop calling neo-Nazis by their PR-firm nomenclature.
Çalling on tech companies not to help Trump build a Muslim registry. Which is something that fucking clown wants to do. Fuck that guy.
—Petition for all of Trump’s clown car full of cabinet appointments to release their tax returns.

Tuesday, December 20

Call on the state Attorney General to investigate Exxon (Rex Tillerson, Trump’s climate change denier monkey) for being climate change denier-monkeys.
—ACLU petition for lawmakers to back the fuck off off abortion rights.
—A thank you letter to President Obama for banning a great deal of ocean drilling today, something making Trump and other awful people furious.
—Hey, did you know FedEx gives huge discounts to NRA members. I sure didn’t. Here’s a petition to get the to cut that shit out.
So much Twitter, including a long, abuse-filled (guess from which side) fight with what appears to be the 75-follower account of the Maine Androscoggin County GOP? Is that possible. Anyway, the person argued like a half-bright middle school bully and the account had 73 followers by the end.

This is just a good, weirdly optimistic sketch from the week before the eve of destruction.

Wednesday, December 21

—Petition for Trump to, you know, not deport people en masse because he’s a horrific bigot.
Anti-Tillerson petition. Sure. Why not.
—Calling on world leaders to act to save lives in Alepppo.
—Sierra Club petition opposing Trump’s climate-denier corporate stooge Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA. C’mon.
—Petition for President Obama to declassify a torture report. Because Trump and his slavering, dead-eyed assholes just can’t wait to start torturing brown people.
—NARAL petition against Trump’s latest pig nominee Andy Puzder, wife-beater, anti-choice fanatic, and all-’round insufferable prick.

This a great little movie that someone should make Mike Pence watch while he’s duct-taped to a chair. 

Thursday, December 22

—Petition urging Democratic lawmakers to skip Trump’s (choking back vomit) inauguration.
—Petition from incoming North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper calling on the NC GOP to stop undermining democracy, etc. Specifically this time by reneging on their promise to repeal the bigot-bathroom law in their backward-ass state.
—Twitter, etc.

The thought process of the average Trump supporter. 

Friday, December 23

Honestly I have no memory of this day. Perhaps alien abduction. Not ruling anything out. Anyway, there was Twitter, because I can’t stay off the fucking thing.

I imagine my day going something like this. 

Saturday, December 24

—It’s Christmas Eve. They’re not going to do anything too fucking evil today, right? Sigh. At any rate, I had/got to drive to see my family and spend a night with my lovely wife. Tomorrow. Sigh.
—Minimal Twitter.

The Christmas you get you deserve.

Sunday, December 25

—Petition from Ron Wyden to audit the Pentagon, which was revealed to be just about as crooked in its financing as you always imagined it was.
— petition for President Obama (who’s admittedly been doing a lot of this sort of thing, thankfully) to pardon a nonviolent first-time drug offender. She’s a Native American grandmother and everything.
Twitter. Nice to see asshole trolls don’t let the day get in the way of being scumbags.

Goal: 2017. 

Monday, December 26

—Petition for Trump and his hand-picked cabinet of stereotypical plutocrat cronies release their tax returns.

Sam Bee elucidates how Paul LePage has made Maine a national laughingstock. 

Tuesday, December 27

—Petition for Trump to back the fuck off his plans to gut environmental regulations & conservation.
—Petition from Senator Tom Udall telling Republicans to back the fuck off from gutting Social Security, Medicare, & all the other programs that keep poor people alive. For they are evil assholes, yea, verily.
Anti-Tillerson petition.
Donated $25 to Color of Change. Racial justice.
—The tweets.

Wednesday, December 28

—Petition to keep land-rapist Scott Pruitt away from the EPA.
—Petition for President Obama to take the US nuclear arsenal off of “hair-trigger alert status.” Basically, it’s another move to hide the matches before the mentally ill manchild very dumb and selfish people elected takes office.
—Petition to make voter registration automatic. Even—to the GOP’s horror—for POC and poor people.
—Open letter to Trump, urging him to not—crazily—gut the Clean Air Act, so we can all breathe and stuff.
—Thank you to President Obama for designating two new national monuments today. It preserves a lot of land (including a lot of Native American sites) and pisses off a lot of right-wing assholes (including the dipshit Bundy clan/klan) on his way out of office. Well done, sir.
Donated $25 to The Wilderness Society, as donations are temporarily being matched X5 by some lovely rich person.
Petition from the National Partnership for Women and Families, basically calling out the GOP & Trump for being woman-hating assholes.
The Twitter.

Thursday, December 29

Leave Obamacare alone, dicks.
—The Twitter.

Daydreaming about Christopher Walken just beating the everloving crap out of Donald Trump.

Friday, December 30

Donated $10 to Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. She’s a good one.
—Shared that “Steve Bannon is a racist scumbag” (I’m paraphrasing) petition.
—Signed another petition urging corporate stooge (also Russian stooge, stooge) Trump to not despoil the environment.


Saturday, December 31

—Another petition for Trump release his tax returns, which he will never do.
— Petition calling on Senators Collins, Rand Paul, Flake and Sasse (and their GOP colleagues) to support a comprehensive, bipartisan investigation into Russian interference in the election. Weirdly, Trump is against such a thing, as is Fox News. Huh.
Environmental Defense Fund letter to Trump to ask him, Hey, why not NOT revoking all environmental protections so you and your soulless corporate kleptocrats can scrape the last remaining beauty from the earth.
Donated $100 more to Planned Parenthood. Someone is triple-matching donations ’til midnight. I’ll take credit for the whole $400.

Posted in Fuck Donald Trump, Me stuff | Leave a comment

My “fight Trump and everything he stands for” November 2016 page-a-day calendar

It’s 2 days since racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, Russia-backed conman huckster Donald Trump won the election. I’ve been literally dazed and crying in heartbreak & shame since then. (Once today at the tire store, since they had Fox News on. Fun!) But I’ve been online, since that’s all I am, ever, and I’ve been reading and listening and fighting with not-shockingly-obstinate and variously bigoted Trump types the whole time. Not fun!

So, fuck it. It’s going to be like a hobby—every day, I’m going to list all the things I have done to fight against this utterly unqualified, piggishly dim asshole. I don’t care if it’s piddling. I’m a relatively powerless guy who, nonetheless, don’t want to feel that way any more. So here’s what I’ve done. (I’m never done with Twitter, so, when I write “Twitter,” assume it to mean I was retweeting helpful (to us) or damaging (to him) things, and/or that I was bashing my head against the wall that are Trumpies’ weakass debate techniques.)

PLUS: each day will be followed by something more entertaining that what I write, because no one needs unbroken me.

Wednesday, November 8
—Wrote a letter to “moderate” Maine Senator Susan Collins, urging her to stick to her (admittedly tardy) renunciation of Trump during the election and oppose his policies going forward.
Twitter: Lots of arguments, lots of retweets of the massive anti-Trump protests going on all over the country, lots of various favorites showing support for people either fighting this prick or sharing stories of already being victimized by Trump assholes.

If you want a banana republic that bad/why don’t you go move to one…

Thursday, November 9
—Signed three online petitions, two concerning Supreme Court Justice in waiting Merrick Garland (who people are urging President Obama to simply appoint, since the GOP has stonewalled the nomination for half a year, because they are horrible, obstructionist bullies who think the system of checks and balances should only be determined by them and not by actual democratic process), and one for the “give Hillary the electoral college victory” (which seems silly, honestly, but which I did anyway).
—Put an old digital camera in the glovebox of my car as aid in documenting any instances of harassment or outright violence by Trump assholes out in the world. Got new batteries, tested it out. I should get a cellphone, but I’ve never had one and don’t really like them. Still.
Twitter: Including sending insulting messages (that’ll show ’em!) to People Magazine (for Trump-arse-kissing coverage just weeks after running a story about one of its reporters being sexually assaulted by Trump), Amazon (Jeff Bezos—suck it), and New Balance (I don’t own any of their mediocre footwear currently, but told them I never will, thanks to their support of Trump).

Friday, November 10

—Spent most of the day in a wisdom tooth-Vicodin haze. Still:
—Signed online petitions to abolish the electoral college (issue more complex than this, but fuck it at this point—HRC is on track to win by something like 1,000,000 popular votes & I’m sick of hearing “mandate”), and to keep Trump’s global warming denier pick, Myron Ebell, from running the fucking EPA. C’mon.
Twitter: Hey! Trump’s already reneging on a lot of promises to his supporters! Shocker. Retweeted with question, “#Trump fans—feeling suckered yet?” This will continue. Also spent several hours fighting with any Trump fan who objected to me calling out Trump’s super-fun Klan connection. Passed the time, although it’s, as ever, enduringly infuriating to deal with the same lame memes, insults, & super-genius “points” they think are nailing this sucker shut. Today lots of stuff about Hillary’s connection to Robert Byrd who was… in the Klan! Until the late 50s. And who completely renounced them, openly. And who was honored by the NAACP. Nailed me, Trumpies! Hillary’s the Klan-lover, not Trump, who is currently endorsed by the Klan (who are holding a “yay Trump!” rally next week.) Fuck everything.

(Plus, woke up to find out Leonard Cohen died today. Because 2016 is the year all god in the world dies.)

Saturday, November 11

—Still with the tooth-coma. Delightful. It’s like my soul is manifesting itself in snotty, violent pain inside my skull.
—Many twitter fights. Every time I resurfaced, 20-30-40 Trumpies were coming at me with the same old shit. It was almost refreshing when one of them finally used the N ward rather than pretending they were being rational and sensible in their bigotry.
—Have to review Saturday Night Live tonight. Sort of a big deal for a couple of reasons. 1. See: tooth-coma. Have a brief window of lucidity now (3pm), but the last two days have been a grunting, barely verbal nightmare of pain and confusion. So, yes, a little worried. 2. Dave Chappelle’s hosting, it’s the 1st SNL since the election, and there are going to be a lot of eyes on both the show and what I wrote about it. No fucking pressure.
Donated more money than I ever have to any organization. Not going to solve anything, considering my financial situation, but here’s to you, ACLU.

(Then SNL and Kate McKinnon did this to me. Typing through tears is not a productive way to work at 1am.)

Sunday, November 13

Twitter. Same non-arguments with people not interested in anything but braying memes and Trump talking points, and don’t forget good old personal attacks. Ugh. Retweeting pics of the ongoing & massive anti-Trump protests, people making solid points, & news stories about horrible Trump people (and/or horrible Trump) doing their horrible things—it’s something to do, I suppose.
SNL review went up. Managed to write it (& the SNL Newswire) by 6am in head-hammering pain because I didn’t take my pain meds to write them. Hope it was worth it, if you read it. Didn’t receive the expected Twitter hate mail, so that probably means I didn’t do a good enough job.
—Signed online petition intended to get a teacher his job back after he, a Holocaust survivor, drew parallels between Trump and Hitler. God, I do not miss dealing with parents when I was a teacher.
Signed online petition from the Southern Poverty Law Center calling on Trump to denounce all the bigotry being carried out in his name, etc. Only positive outcome is that he’ll look worse the more people sign it, so I signed it.
Wrote email to Maine Senator Angus King, urging him to stand up to Trump at every turn.
Cancelled my Paypal account because of their (Peter Thiel)’s support for Trump.
Wrote another email to Susan Collins after she praised Trump’s appointment of Reince Preibus and conveniently left out Trump appointment of hideous white supremacist bigot Stave Bannon (of Brietbart and your nightmares).

Monday, November 14

Sent email to Maine Representative Bruce Poliquin specifically requesting that he come out against the appointment of bigot white supremacist Steve Bannon.
Signed online petition from SPLC denouncing anti-Semite scumbag Steve Bannon.
Donated to Louisiana Democrat Foster Campbell, who has forced a runoff election for that Senate seat. Act locally, baby. Let’s do this.
Signed an online petition for the Democrats to appoint Keith Ellison as DNC chair. I did the requisite Googling and he looks like a guy I can believe in. More importantly, he looks like the kind of progressive who can rally a wider base of energetic voters.
—Goddamned Twitter. For about 12 hours. My soul is drying up inside me.

Tuesday, November 15

Wrote to Susan Collins again. About Bannon again. The Press Herald called for her to come out against this pig this morning. I cannot fathom that the GOP is not finding some backb—Oh, wait. I completely believe that. Still, I wrote. Again.
Twitter. Although only a few hours this morning/afternoon, as I have ungodly deadlines. I even close the tab while I’m working. It almost helps.
Signed another online petition, this time from, about removing racist, sexist, Jew-hating pustule Steve Bannon. I dunno. It’s something to do between feverishly trying to meet deadlines I suddenly feel deeply uninterested in. That had better not be permanent, by the way.
—And another online petition, this time demanding Trump release his tax returns (as every presidential candidate has done, ever) before the electoral college votes in order to check for potential conflicts of interest. like how he owes the Deutsche Bank tons of money and that a foreign power could leverage that against a sitting US President. You know, fun stuff like that.
Made my second substantial donation since the election, this time to Planned Parenthood. Same amount as to the ACLU. I don’t have much, but did just receive an unexpected windfall, which is allowing me to give more than I ever have at once. Little steps still, but that’s what this whole diary thing is all all about, right? Keep track of what I do every day, so I can look back at the end of the day and see concrete evidence for myself. So it all doesn’t just blend into one, undifferentiated mass and my ongoing depressive self- and world-hatred doesn’t rear up and just obliterate me some day. Soon.

Wednesday, November 16

Twitter. Weird how I’m not being called “cuck” and sent pictures of Jews being fed into ovens since Twitter cracked down & booted those white supremacist accounts yesterday. Hm. Nazis must sleep late.
Signed this statement from Planned Parenthood. Which will be completely disregarded by anyone in the Trump coterie of racist, sexist assholes, but still.
Signed this petition from SPLC which basically calls on Trump not to be a racist dickbag. (I’m paraphrasing.)
Another letter to Susan Collins, this time about the fact that she (nor any elected Republican?!?) joined the many Democrats who publicly denounced racist pork-tumor Steve Barron.
And another to Angus King, on the same topic. Of Steve Barron being a bloated, ranting Nazi.
—Signed another petition for the GOP to confirm Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. Honestly, I am losing my shit and trying to beat back the anger and futility I feel with tiny little, probably meaningless, actions. Signed a few more I agreed with. Not helping. The causes or myself, I expect.

Mood, but not as well-written.

Thursday, November 17

Donated the same amount to CAIR as I did to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.
Twitter. Although I think I need to not do that as much, at least for tonight. Or for a while. The incessant march of awfulness and my incessant need to retweet, respond, and all the rest of it left me in a very bad, manic, desperate place by the end of last night. I was online for my usual 12 hours or so, and, between writing assignments (which I barely kept my mind on, honestly) I obsessively watched for the next thing that would make me feel terrible. I feel weak, but I need to hang on for a long time, and I am not sure how long I could do what I did last night without something debilitating happening. I’ll pull it together, I swear.
Called House Oversight Committee to “support the call for a bipartisan review of Trump’s financials and apparent conflicts of interest.” That from the script going around, but that’s what I want and I suck on the phone, so. Actually, the Maine number mailbox was full, so called Chairman Jason Chaffetz, the dick who thinks a cool Twitter handle (Jasoninthehouse) can fool ding-dongs. In case you want in, the central number is (202-225-5074), while Jasoninthehouse’s number is (801-851-2500).
Signed online petition from a joint Jewish-Muslim group protesting heap of bigot-suet Steve Bannon.
Signed online petition urging the country’s mayors to declare their cities “sanctuary cities” for undocumented immigrants.
Signed open letter from Senator Al Franken (still sounds a little weird, but he’s a great Senator) chastising the obstructionist GOP Congress to do their jobs and hold confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
Signed petition for Trump to denounce ranting conspiracy theory psychopath Alex Jones for, among other things, claiming that the children and teachers murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary never existed. Seriously, these fucking people.
Signed another online petition for Trump to denounce yet another racist, dimwit member of his clown car of an administration. This time, it’s bigot Kris Kobach, Trump’s choice for Attorney General, because that’s the bullshit world he’s trying to create out of his fevered, sludgy brain.
Signed online petition to prevent Trump from receiving security briefings until his ties to Putin & Russia are fully investigated. Bonus: Cool fan art of the two making out.
And another! This time from maine Rep. Chellie Pingree, about Trump and sweaty Nazi turd Steve Bannon.
Took an absurdly slanted push poll from Paul Ryan’s office about how shitty Obamacare is and how killing it and depriving millions of people of healthcare would be the American way. (I can slant, too.) Strangely, after I pressed the button indicating that I approved of the Affordable Care Act, there were no further questions. Huh.

This is the video I use when I have to shut out the world and write. Sometimes it’s effective in shutting out the world in general while I’m online. And, yes, there are many such videos on YouTube, but, yes, this is the best one. Trust me. 

Friday, November 18

Signed online petition urging Trump to publicly denounce acts of bigotry against kids being carried out in his name. It’s sort of “Won’t somebody think of the children?!?” but, well, someone fucking should.
Finally got through to 202-225-5074 to call for the House Oversight Committee to “support the call for a bipartisan review of Trump’s financials and apparent conflicts of interest.”
Sucked it up (considering my phone anxiety) and called the offices of Maine Senators Collins and King and Representatives Pingree and Poliquin to urge them to speak out against Trump’s racist trio of Session, Flynn, and Bannon. Chellie Pingree got a “thank you” call, considering she spoke out against Bannon already, and the other three got a brief script I typed out beforehand. Easy to do and fucking hard to do—I hate making these sorts of calls. In case you’re in Maine reading this (and for my future needs):
Pingree: 207-774-5019 (Portland) 202-225-6116 (DC)
Poliquin: 207-784-0768 (Lewiston) 202-225-6306 (DC)
Collins: 207-780-3575 (Portland) 202-224-2523 (DC)
King: 207-622-8292 (Bangor) 202-224-5344 (DC)
Stupid Twitter. Trying to keep myself down to five retweets a day. Partly because my very sweet sister emailed me to worry if I was okay after my incessant, increasingly incoherent such behavior a few days ago.
—And Susan Collins just pledged support for Sessions. So another letter to her.
—Donation number 4:
This time to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Signed ACLU petition opposing Jeff Sessions
, who is a caricature of a southern bigot.
Signed petition demanding an audit of the election, considering the fucking fact that the head of the NSA claims Russia hacked it on behalf of Trump-pet. (Trump+Russian puppet.)

Because Mike Pence and Donald Trump and their dimwitted minions have spent all day whining and making moronic attacks on Hamilton, here’s a song from it that will brook no such nonsense. 

Saturday, November 19

Wrote a thank you to Senator John McCain for coming out against the Trump administration’s intent to say, “Hey, waterboarding isn’t torture, and even if it were, it’s okay.” Keeping track of McCain’s wobbling principles is a full-time job, but thanks where they’re due.
Online petition. Save Obamacare. Why not.
Wrote to Angus King urging him to oppose folksy racist Jeff Sessions.
Another petition for the Republicans to confirm Merrick Garland.
—Had a major sweat-flu or something last night that’s left me wiped out and hazy. So counting reviewing SNL tonight (until 6am or so) as action #5 tonight. Sue me. And here’s the resulting review. The episode gave me plenty of Trump material to pontificate about.
—Oh, and since my SNL Newswire piece is also Trump-related, I’m counting that, too. My tally, my rules, people.
Twitter. Etc.

Trump’s second choice of Attorney General after Sessions. 

Sunday, November 20

Another online petition, an open letter to Trump to publicly denounce the acts of violence, bigotry, and intimidation being carried out every day by his thuggish, asshole supporters. (Who should know I have a digital camera and a baseball bat in my car should I witness any of their neo-Nazi horseshit.)
Another online petition, this one from the League of Conservation Voters, urging Trump not be be such a goddamned fucking dumbass and work to stem the climate change that has produced the most terrifying Arctic temperature rise in recorded history. Dumbass.
Twitter. With the seething, impotent anger and the fighting.
Online petition to get Trump to stop the Keystone Pipeline. Sure, why not.
Another online petition opposing Sessions, this time from Color of
Online petition about restoring the Voting Rights Act.
Another petition about Steve Bannon. Who is a white supremacist.
—Just put a baseball bat in the back of my car. For defusing and defending purposes only.
—Perhaps to counteract all the cozy self-congratulation about what are most likely inconsequential online activism, here’s my final of the five biggest contributions I’ve ever made, to Lambda Legal. A note on this: I’m not trying to be coy about how much I’m donating. I’ll just say that, as a professional freelance writer, I don’t have a lot. but I received an unexpected and moderate windfall and I have chosen to give more than my usual scraps. I chose the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, CAIR, the SPLC, and now Lambda Legal. They represent groups and causes I determined (in my thoroughly overwhelmed way) that I thought would need the cash to fight Trump’s racist, sexist, Islamophobic, homophobic, classist agenda most. If I had more, I would give more, but these five identical donations represent a more significant portion of my yearly income than I’ve ever given. From here, I will survey the landscape and plan to give more when I may, and to organizations that look like they can do the most good.


Monday, November 21

—Called Paul Ryan’s office again to oppose the repeal of Obamacare. (202-225-0600.)
—Donated another $25 to Foster Campbell’s campaign for Senator in the runoff in Louisiana.
—Wrote email to Texas State Senator Konni Burton calling her bill that would require teachers to out gay students the bigoted bullshit it is. Not specifically Trump related, but, hey, work local.
Wrote another letter to Susan Collins, specifically referencing the neo-Nazi in a suit on CNN today who was invited to debate “Are Jews people?” I am… there’s nothing more to say.
—Called the CNN comment line to express my… whatever feeling you have when your soul is screaming in pain… about them allowing that whole “Are Jews people?” debate on their airwaves. Here’s the number: 404-827-1500
Another “Trump, stop being a racist prick” (I’m paraphrasing) online petition, this time from, I think, Working Assets, the nicey-nice phone company.
Called the DOJ to request an election audit. The fact that there is legitimate evidence of election tampering from an outside country and that no one in the government seems to be all that concerned is, well, concerning. Number: 202-353-1555.
Donated $25 to NC Governor-elect Roy Cooper, whose narrow win is being threatened by the NC GOP’s sleazy maneuverings, led by Pat “bathroom bigot bill” McCrory.
Signed online petition from opposing Trump’s tax plan which will, among many other things, hurt single-parent families. Because he’s human garbage.

Tuesday, November 22

—Signed up as a #MulsimAlly at the site Hopefully, this will get me on some sort of watchlist.
Signed a petition for sore loser and bigot Pat McCrory to concede the NC Governor’s election, which he and the GOP are trying to steal. He, of course, immediately demanded a recount, so online petitions continue to be super-effective.
Another petition about beached, alcoholic globfish Steve Bannon. Or maybe the same one. Honestly, it’s all a blur now.
Twitter, damned Twitter.

Wednesday, November 23
—Signed DGA petition supporting Planned Parenthood.
That oughta do it.
Another anti-Bannon petition, this one from friends of the Earth. Oh, and Steve Bannon is a dead-eyed racist crapsack.
Sent email to Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin condemning his choice to switch sides to allow Republicans to strip away LGBT protections. I send these things out there and feel foolish, but I won’t stop. Especially when local politicians are involved—they’re the ones most affected by such things, I suppose. Fight.
Signed online petition for a hand recount of contested states in the election. Russia, gerrymandering, voter suppression, guaranteed to piss of Trumpies. Bring it.
Twitter. Got in some decent yelling.
Ordered David Cross’ standup CD. Sure, I’ll enjoy it (and already reviewed it for the AV Club), but Cross is donating the full purchase price of every copy sold to the ACLU. Win-win.
Gave $20 to progressive journalist Oliver Willis for his launch of I follow him on Twitter and think he’s got a good head on his shoulders, etc.

Thursday, November 24

—Signed this local petition for Portland’s mayor to declare us a sanctuary city.

Back when it was thought America would turn on a hateful, ignorant demagogue if he accidentally said what he really thought into a hot mic. 

Friday, November 25

Petition asking Trump and company to acknowledge that science exists. Essentially.

Soundtrack to my brain

Saturday, November 26
Online petition/letter to Senators urging them to oppose Trump’s pick of elitist Amway charter school scam artist Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.
Online letter to House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (he of the super-cool-guy Twitter handle “jasoninthehouse”) to investigate the slimy web of Trump’s conflicts of interest an outright dictator-style corruption.
Sent my “Not Bannon” postcards to Trump as part of that #postcardavalance weekend thing. Why not.
Bought 20 postcard stamps and have a box of vintage baseball postcards. Sending physical mail is more effective than email, so I’m told.
Another petition “to hold Trump accountable,” etc. I’m going to have to up my game—these things are not providing much relief.
And another, this one about Trump’s climate change-denier dipshit choice for head of the EPA, Myron Ebell, because of course he is.

Save us, Leslie

Sunday, November 27

—Wake up, get out of bed, sign another online petition—this one urges Chuck Schumer, essentially, to grow a pair and not play appeasement with Trump’s evil/incompetent agenda on all fronts.
Wrote one of my shiny new postcards to Angus King urging him to oppose hayseed bigot Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.
—Signed up for Michael Skolnik’s mailing list for some sort of resistance to Trump—who just tweeted that he actually WON the popular vote because millions of people voted illegally. Because he is a full-blown megalomaniac lunatic. If this turns out to be some sort of purge mailing list, well, that’ll save some time.
Twitter. So much goddamned Twitter. My eyes are bleeding.

Monday, November 28

Online petition to get Trump to stop the Keystone Pipeline. Good luck.
Wrote postcard to Susan Collins condemning Nazi fart-bag Steve Bannon, who, revealed today, pitched that only property owners should be able to vote. Old-school racism.
Online petition basically telling Congress to urge Trump to stop acting like an internet troll while he’s theoretically supposed to be preparing to be—[stifles barf]—president.
Online petition from the League of Conservation Voters urging Trump and his anti-science goons to, you know, accept science with regard to climate change.
Another one, this time from the Sierra Club, urging President Obama to somehow safeguard environmental protections before he leaves office. Honestly, I just want to leave the guy alone at this point, but…

Tuesday, November 29

First online petition of the day. Pro choice.
Sent emails to Susan Collins and Angus King, and Congressman Bruce Poliquin, basically expressing the need for them to stand up to this flood of hateful, ignorant, fascist bullshit.
Online petition for the media to stop using “alt-right” in place of the more accurate “white supremacists.”
Online petition for the Republicans to keep their fucking hands off of Medicare. Jesus Christ.
Signed an online petition from Elizabeth Warren regarding a bad bill benefitting Big Pharma.
Twitter. Hot tip: If you want a lot of childish bigots and bullies to send you abusive messages all night, challenge Kellyanne Conway’s latest piece of propagandistic trumpeting.

Wednesday, November 30 

Twitter. Those Kellyanne Conway Trumpies are maaad. And mean, unoriginal, and very, very dumb.
Petition for Paul Ryan to leave Medicare the fuck alone.
Open letter for lawmakers to oppose Tom Price for Health and Human Services Secretary. Price has a 0% score from Planned Parenthood, which is pretty impressive, if you think about it.
Petition urging President Obama to discontinue a Bush-era, discriminatory immigration registry before Trump can get his tiny hands on it.
Another one about Jeff Sessions, comical bumpkin-bigot and Trump’s pick for Attorney General, because of course he is.

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You probably don’t need to read this…

…in point of fact, I don’t see the point much in writing it. But, faced with the ugly, demoralizing reality of Donald Trump being chosen by tens of millions of Americans as their new president, I simply do not know what else to do. I’m a writer, so here’s where I go. I write things down to work them out, to exorcise them. Shit, just for something to do.

The thing is, I’m not much of a writer at the moment. At the moment, I have met three deadlines today, the Wednesday after Election Day, without feeling much of anything. I feel things when I write, at least some satisfaction at doing it well (even if the task doesn’t move me), or frustration at not conveying what I feel properly. I’m scattered, I’m dazed, and I’m hurt and scared. I’m exhausted. I’m heartbroken. I’m rambling. There’s no point in trying to organize all the rest of this cogently. It’s all spillage for the time being. You probably don’t need to read it, but I need, somehow, to write it.

—Donald Trump is not going to be one of those bad presidents I sort of get worn down by and used to being awful. (See: Bush, George W.) He is someone who was elected by appealing to the worst in America. Meaning the worst in white people, overwhelmingly and brutally. He mocked and demonized women, black people, Mexicans, Muslims, people with disabilities, the press, the military, fire marshals, gay people, transgender people, people (women) he finds physically unappealing, Jews, President Obama, his political opponents (almost all of whom were tagged with insulting/demeaning nicknames), the political process, and I know I’m forgetting some. He told his overwhelmingly white base that he was going to stem the tide of diversity and respect that he claimed were undermining America, his “make America great again” slogan a direct appeal to those wishing to roll back any kind of civil rights protections or racial progress. Donald Trump offered no concrete policies other than this childishly hateful bullshit—and a certain receptive element of white America ate that shit up.

—For his efforts, Trump was rewarded with even more boorish and insulting crowds who brayed at his lame, insulting jokes, ate up his message that white Americans were the ones being marginalized in American society, and incessantly seized on his provocations to brutal effect, intimidating protesters, abusing the press there to provide proof of his and their ugliness, and sported junior high school level “funny” Trump merch calling opponent Hillary Clinton sexist and derogatory terms, white power slogans, and Confederate flags, among other things. Can’t choose your friends, I suppose, except Trump cultivated his friends—and then turned them loose. Any sense that this person would call for civility or shut down the racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, all-around awfulness—even once—was a joke. Trump knew what he was doing, and knew what he needed. He hyped up hate for personal gain, and engaged in infantile “plausible deniability” about the things he said. Eventually, he didn’t need to pretend, but did anyway, claiming that the press, by accurately recording his words, were twisting them.

—I wrote some articles about Trump when he hosted Saturday Night Live back in November of 2015. The morning after the first went up, I woke to more than 300 tweets from Trump supporters. Every other one (I’m being generous with the percentages) was variously racist, anti-Semitic (I’m not Jewish, but that’s their #1 target against white-looking writers), personal attacks, and physical threats. I still have the folder (labeled “Trump People” on my laptop, thinking some would prove useful someday, somehow). I was shocked—I learned not to be. As Trump’s campaign went on, I saw how other writers (and God forbid if you were Jewish, or a woman, of black, or gay, or anything but white) routinely fielded dozens of these attacks a day. I responded to some before seeing that there’s a brutally childish willful ignorance involved. Feigning affront that Trump’s racist comments (then confined mainly to Mexicans and Muslims as I recall) were being called racist. Demanding proof, and then deriding the easily-Googled proof I showed them, coupled with more abuse, more threats. I went on a blocking spree eventually—300 the first day, 150 the next and so on, until they dwindled. I still see some other writer dealing with a no-doubt horrific tweet only to see they’re dealing with someone I blocked at some point in the past. It’s an occupational hazard now. A weary price for being a writer, for expressing opinion. Even just reviewing a damned TV show. Again, I’m a straight white guy—I get the merest taste of this foulness. Others have it far worse, and far more incessantly. But it happens every day.

—Trump has released no policies that aren’t childishly simplistic (in deference to what he knows will appeal to his base), and even those are sparse as hell. Mexico is, according to Trump, sending nothing but rapists to emigrate to America? BUILD BIG GAME OF THRONES WALL! The complex issue of international extremism and terrorism? BAN ALL MUSLIMS! He is possessed of no convictions, because his only cause is himself and his ego and glory. He says things, then claims he never said them, even when proof is plentiful and readily available. His fans don’t care. Neither they nor he can be argued with, so committed as they are to maintaining their collective immunity to reason or facts. It’s like arguing with a stubborn and dim child—”No I never said that” is the only argument necessary. Truth is nothing. Trump claims there are thousands of people turned away from an overflow rally when cameras show the venue a quarter empty? Fuck you—the press is crooked! Trump claims never to have met Russian dictator/role model Putin when he’s tweeted about having done so, something everyone can just look up? Fuck you. No followup. Even now, when Trump’s victory hinges of the electoral college, his tweet whining about how the electoral college system made “a laughingstock of our nation” when it looked like Mitt Romney was going to win it, but lose the popular? Fuck you, again. Facts are what they say they are. Braying, bullying obstinance.

—After being elected—Jesus fucking Christ, was it only yesterday?—reported instances of hate crimes, hateful messages, and actual physical assaults on anyone outside of Trump’s narrow, cruel concept of “a great America that was” are everywhere. Trumpies emboldened by his narrow victory (in the electoral college, but not the popular vote, one adds) think that now they can express their previously veiled bigotry with impunity. Again, no concept of shutting this shit down will come from Trump. Why would it? These people got him where he is.

—On a personal level, I’m going to wind up at the center of this sort of thing. I spent a frightened, uncomprehending childhood and adolescence not understanding why bullies were they way they were. I was bullied until I decided I would not be any more. Then  I wasn’t. I’m a big fucker, so I’m rarely the primary target of bullies (who always prefer weaker-looking targets, and only when they think they can get away with it). But I don’t stay quiet. I step in. I’m going to be put in a situation, and soon, I imagine, when some Trump-emboldened dickbag starts trying to assert his assholery on someone in my hearing, I will do so again. Maybe there’ll be a physical confrontation. I won’t hit someone first, but won’t back down—I just constitutionally bridle at the concept now. So, what? Police, maybe. An ambulance.  I don’t know. Inside, I’m still the overly emotional kid who gets so wound up that tears flood his eyes, that is left flooded with adrenaline and anger. I’m no good under pressure like that. I stammer, I clench my teeth and glare. Either it (meaning the bully) will back down, trailing insults as he slinks away, of there’ll be something else. I hate it. I hate the idea. It filled me with anxiety about even going outside today, anticipating the inevitable is going to come. I know other people have it so much worse. But I’m still the one who has to live inside my head, and this is my thing, so I’m stuck with it.

—Trump was endorsed by the Klan. And he never repudiated them. Not one single major newspaper, not one living ex-president—just the Klan. And he won’t say he doesn’t want their support. I simply cannot fathom a mind, a soul like that. Maybe he’ll offer one now that he has what he wants. But I don’t imagine he will.

—He will not be my president. There will be no wearing down or smoothing out of the anger and disgust I have for this man and what he has done, and threatens to do. His ties to Russia are deeply suspect, his influence over the Supreme Court and public policy, his history of sexual harassment (at best) and probable actual sexual assault, his long trail of fraudulent and failed business ventures and deals (he’s going on trial for racketeering THIS MONTH). This person is a conman, a pig, and a betrayal of and threat to the fragile faith I still (dammit) have in this country’s ability to do, sometimes, the right damned thing. I will fight (with words, with my meager donations, with direct action) every step of this person’s path, because it’s a horrible, shitty path. I’m not alone. Right now, hundreds of thousands of people—Americans, in all their diverse glory—are marching on Trump’s vulgar towers and many other places all over the country tonight. They’re getting arrested. They’re getting tear gassed. Hopefully, they won’t think that’s all they have to do, but we’ll see how the grassroots organizing goes. But now, I’m so tired. I’ve been shattered since last night, not sleeping, waking up in fitful sweats. I managed three deadlines today, typing like a zombie. Like I’m doing now. I’m the shattered thing Trumpies imagine I am as they mock and sneer at the “losers” (one of Trump’s favorite insults) hurt to their souls by what we have seen happen in this country. I imagine I’ll pull up somehow, sooner or later. Now, all I do is scroll Twitter and Facebook and other sites, numbly. Hoping for some—something. This man is a disgrace, an affront to anything the American idea could be. Anything good.

—I am tired. I do not know what to do. So I write this. You probably don’t need to read it.



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The radio station at Bowdoin College (WBOR, still going) wasn’t much when I was in attendance there. Upstairs, two-room studio in the student union, packed with saggy, bulging shelves full of vinyl, mostly (I’m old), a couple of turntables, a few newfangled CD players. I wanted to get a show and eventually did, despite my clear-to-everyone lack of musical depth and knowledge. Honestly, most of my shows ended up with me scrambling to fill my few hours.

I habitually came with a small stack of my own records and rooted out some others from the shelves, but always found myself feverishly looking through the recommendations and reviews others had scribbled in ball-point on the record-jackets. I still have the occasional nightmare of watching the needle on the record player working toward the end of the song and staring in panic at the shelves of vinyl, looming high and identical and unreadable, to the ceiling.

I knew I was a poser. I was attracted to the idea of being a DJ more from a desire to stretch myself and not sink into the cosy anonymity that still maintains its allure, some 25+ years later. I wanted to break the shell growing around myself, and to take a stand against the destiny I suspected was my due.

One night there was a blizzard, nothing uncommon in Maine, and I was in the station alone. I had, at the time, the final show on Friday night, ending at midnight or 1 a.m., I can’t remember. Running the scenario through my ever-processing mental filters, I warred between thinking the end-of-week nighttime slot was cool, and that it was where they stuck people who indicated that they had nothing else to do on a Friday night. (Which I most definitely didn’t, as a rule.)

It was even more quiet and peaceful than usual with the heavy snow blanketing the campus, everyone staying indoors for the most part, except for the occasional drunken whoop from some hardy fratboys on the quad. But by the time the show was reaching the end (I always had to call security to let them know I was leaving after the S.U. was shut down), I’d run through my records, and the records I’d scavenged—apart from one last song I’d pulled.

The other reason I put myself out there at the radio station was to make myself more educated, more interesting. I came to college with a pitifully provincial knowledge of “cool college music.” (I hooked onto They Might Be Giants, Elvis Costello, Billy Bragg, and a few others like a dope being sucked into a whirlpool.) Sometimes I heard a song on WBOR, sometimes I found a jotted “awesome!” on a dust jacket and agreed— I don’t remember what prompted this song. But, with the snow falling in those thick, wet, blaps and the world turning white and featureless, and me watching out the one window and imagining the long, lonely night ahead, I put this on. I may have made some attempt at tying the song to the snowstorm raging silently outside (I patterned myself, secretly, after Venus Flytrap—I am old), but then let it play, watched the snow, then—after calling security like a good boy—trudged to my off-campus apartment, the strange words and music echoing in my ears.

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Comedy review: Quincy Jones—Burning The Light


First the backstory, then a bit of whining.

I wrote this review of Quincy Jones’ standup special for The AV Club. A little inside baseball: Each week, we freelancers lucky enough to write there (I am still really quite proud of that) get the “pitch email.” It lists all the upcoming week’s TV stuff available for review, and we immediately pitch to cover like hungry dogs (or, you know, freelancers). I love reviewing standup for the site, and fancy myself pretty good at it, so I generally pitch for any that come up, unless there’s something especially offputting about what I learn about the often-unknown-to-me comics. (“Tired of being PC!” is a big ol’ red flag.) But I didn’t know anything about Jones and, more to the point, pitched without Googling him.

When I did, I almost begged off the assignment. Something I’ve never done before.

See, what I found is that Jones is dying. Like, he has cancer and isn’t expected to live more than a year. The further backstory: He was the subject of a successful crowdsourcing campaign to film an hour-long standup special, something that blossomed into something else entirely once Ellen DeGeneres heard about it and got Jones not only a whole lot more money than he was asking for, but a plum HBO standup special slot. There should be a term for a feel-good story that also makes your heart cry all over itself.

Perhaps “unreviewable” would work.

Anyway, I took a deep breath and dove in—and, thankfully, Jones’ special wasn’t bad. Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done had it been terrible. Although reviewing a good but not great standup special dream project from a terminally ill comedian was one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. I think It came out okay. There’s nothing I take more seriously, weirdly, than standup comedy, and I felt like it would have been the greatest disrespect to Jones to take it easy on him. So I didn’t. It’s a decent set, nothing more. There’s nothing wrong with that—a good standup set is a rare and difficult thing to accomplish, under any circumstances.

Now the bitching.

As I said, I agonized over this, trying to balance professionalism and, you know, humanity. It was hard, and I am proud of how I managed it. So, naturally, the commenters, almost to a let’s call them person, whine about how it’s all confusing that this isn’t “the” Quincy Jones and that it was so confusing for them and I should have put a disclaimer right up at the top so their sensitive commenter brains wouldn’t be all unsettled.

C’mon, people. C’mon.

Anyway, here’s the review:

Quincy Jones was an aspiring L.A. stand-up comic, working the requisite barista job while at one point meeting a goal of doing 1,000 gigs in one year. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2015. He’s undergoing chemotherapy and has a year to live, say doctors. A pair of comic friends (Nicole Blaine and her husband,Burning The Light director Mickey Blaine), knowing that Jones’ final wish was to have his own hour-long stand-up special, set up a Kickstarter to raise the estimated $5,000 budget. After the story was picked up by Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show, they raised 10 times that amount. DeGeneres helped Jones’ special,Burning The Light, secure a spot on HBO. The widely seen clip of him getting the news is here, in case you want a good cry.

The story is both inspirational and wrenching, especially once you see clips of the pre-diagnosis Jones onstage. Just another young, working comic, tall and easygoing, with a winning smile and a relaxed presence. Cancer sucks—and it sucks that Jones will never get to develop as a comic, which is what he’s always wanted to be. It makes evaluating Burning The Light that much more difficult, as separating Jones’ work from the special’s effusive audience and the looming circumstance of his impending death becomes all but impossible.

To his credit, Jones isn’t milking that response. Burning The Light sees the comic referencing his situation from time to time (speaking of his unique difficulties related to online dating, he muses over his OkCupid profile, “define ‘long-term’”), but without letting his and his audience’s shared knowledge subsume his desire to show what he can do on the biggest stage of his career. Jones toys deftly throughout with making the audience uncomfortable with some solid dark comedy. Speaking of his “relief” at his cancer diagnosis (he was originally thought to have coeliac disease), he talks of being able to eat real spaghetti again, and of how embarrassed he used to be going out to restaurants (“Look man, you got any gluten-free pasta in the back?”). He references Ellen (“white Oprah”) and her largesse, before swerving to claim that he’d stick with his current success over a cure any day. (“With all these credits I’m getting right now? Keep the cure—moreEllen money.”) And, noting all the attention his story has gotten, he confesses that he’d better die soon, or people are going to get angry (“I can’t be the Magic Johnson of cancer.”) This bold material succeeds in getting on top of a subject that otherwise could become the whole show. Like all comedians, Jones is incorporating his life into his material. His life just so happens to include a horrifying truth that he nonetheless manages to mine for laughs.

The rest of the time, Jones (it’s mandatory at this point to mention that he’s no relation to another Quincy Jones) is just what he is—a young stand-up comic trying to do a great set. There are reminders of his condition, sure—Jones jokes about how winded he got just running out from the wings, and his delivery has a breathy quality to it throughout. (He confesses that he has another round of chemo scheduled for the next day.) And director Blaine doesn’t cut away from the long minute where Jones laboriously uncaps his bottled water, a poignant choice that he acknowledges with the puncturing laugh line, “I wish I had opened these waters before I came on stage. I was really struggling.”

But, if achieving an HBO special on the basis of his comedy alone was something Jones was striving for, it wouldn’t be fair to judge his performance on any other basis. And if Jones’ material isn’t stellar, it’s certainly consistently funny, with plenty of potential. There’s a fair amount of relationship material (about “celebrity cheat lists,” and storming out on a fight when you don’t own a car) and “white people and black people are different” jokes that aren’t exactly revelatory, but coast along on Jones’ easy charisma. His observational material is likewise pleasant, with occasional flashes. (Regarding the discount supermarket Food 4 Less, Jones proclaims it’s like “if a grocery store building could sigh in defeat.”) He skates over some political material with thoughts on how to get police to stop shooting black people (always carry little dogs, so that PETA gets involved) and the idea that “all bad things in history started with a white girl crying” without delving too deeply. Jones has a way with patience that works for him—he knows when to wait for a laugh, and when to let a joke breathe. But there’s a choppiness to the segues, with premises being picked up and dropped sometimes without developing sufficiently.

Burning The Light is an entertaining, solid set from a charismatic comic (he does some fine crowd work all through the special) who will never have a chance to develop better ones. When Jones, having carried his appreciative audience along with him to the end of the hour, basks in their immediate and emotional standing ovation, it’s hard not to be swept up in the moment. Burning The Light is a good story, a decent comedy special, and a creditable way for a promising comic to go out.



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Comedy Review: Patton Oswalt—Talking For Clapping


I’ve been a fan of Patton Oswalt’s comedy (and acting, and writing) for a long time now, so I pitched like hell to cover his new standup special for The AV Club and got it, to my great pride—and, you know, anxiety. For one thing, reviewing standup comedy is an intensely personal and important thing for me. For another, Patton (yeah, I’m calling him Patton) is someone I respect a great deal as an artist (I said it) and a person. He swings his mighty little morning star around on Twitter against the abusive and hurtful ignoramuses of the world far more than is healthy for him, and far more than someone with his accomplishments and schedule needs to. Clearly, he just can’t help but talk about things that are important, no matter how much misspelled, personally insulting invective he gets for it. But also, Patton and I have written back and forth on said Twitter and he once sent me, unsolicited, one of the kindest and most flattering things anyone’s ever said about me and my writing in response to my review of a completely unrelated-to-him comedian. No, you can’t read it. That one’s just for me.

But I’m one of those professionals. And so the prospect of reviewing Patton’s new standup was filling me with—what’s that stuff?—oh, terror. I’ve had to review things made by actual friends—you know, people I’d have to see in my actual life—before, and it multiplies my anxiety about writing (always pretty high to begin with) by a factor of about 37. Luckily, I loved Talking For Clapping. As smart as ever, and better integrating his evolving sensibilities than I thought his last two albums did (although they were pretty great, really), the special is a warmly, wryly, geekily pissed off paean (not to say elegy) to common sense in a world that defiantly blows fart noises at common sense. (Or calls out “faggot” to a young Patton in one of his earliest standup gigs, as he relates with signature bemused virtuosity here.) Speaking about getting older (he’s about my age), Oswalt examines how things—even for an arrested manboy trapped in his obsessions with pop culture—irrevocably change, just as they, in sneaky ways, never change at all. You are who you are, your life just forces you to deform yourself into new shapes to accommodate you. I laughed, I related, I sat in something like awe at the unexpected run about his young daughter’s preference for her own chosen geek universe over the one he’d prefer, wherein he—naw, I’m not going to spoil that one. I appreciated. Here was one of the best standup comedians I’ve ever loved, doing what the best standups do, laying out his evolving sensibilities in original thought. It’s great.

And, in a horrifying coincidence that knocked me back on my ass far more than I expected, Patton’s wife, writer Michelle McNamara, died the day before his special (and my review) came out. I was having a nice evening with Emily and our friend and fellow AV Clubber Zack Handlen when he checked his phone. We were all shocked—people our (mine and Emily’s age) don’t just die. But we moved on with our night. It’s only when we got home that I read what I could and it really hit me. I spent the rest of the morning (we stay up late) feeling gutted. It was a strange, again horrifying, coincidence, nothing more. And certainly, Patton Oswalt and I have no more actual friendship than a few Tweets and online chats. He was suffering an unthinkable tragedy. I was feeling taken aback. There’s a huge difference.

Still, though—standup comedy is an intensely personal enjoyment. And I’d spent a week or so listening and re-listening to Patton’s new special—wherein he talks, as ever with nimble turns of phrase and undisguised warmth about his often bewildered love of his role as husband and father, among other things. It was baffling to get this terrible news. I felt the foolish, distant grief you get when someone’s work (seasoned here by the smallest dash of personal connection) truly touches you, and they suffer an unimaginable loss. I sent a two line DM (and, fuck, does the phrase “two-line DM” sound especially, modern-ly ludicrous) expressing love, and sorrow. I wrote a paragraph more expressing same in the comments for the review when it went up that morning, adding that I hoped the internet, collectively, found a way to not be its braying, vindictive, soulless self for a while. (The AV Club commenters, at least, seem to have risen to the occasion.) I cried a little. I felt foolish, of course. But then I chose to forgive the tears—someone whose work, no matter what it is, truly touches you is someone who’s important in your life. Doesn’t matter if the connection is only deeply, commercially impersonal or if he once sent you a kind note one time.

Anyway, here’s my review, for what it’s worth after all this. I’m glad I liked the special so much, and relieved. In the grand scheme of things, neither it, nor this, mean anything to Patton, of course. In the end, it’s a funny special from a great comedian, and I’m happy I got to write about it.

And, just in case I thought I was done with crying, Patton just published this obituary of Michelle. The grief of a writer is a potent, powerful thing, and not to be taken lightly. 

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I’ll be honest… this is just restlessness talking


In these eight months as a no-bullshit, no-safety-net fulltime freelance writer, I haven’t written here much. I don’t know what I intended in starting this blog—apart from being a launching pad for all the fascinating, voluminous offers of work my genius would no doubt attract. Honestly, it’s mainly sat. Which isn’t a problem, really. It means I’ve been keeping busy. Busy enough, and usually actually busy, full stop.

This week has been a lull, though. Which, again, isn’t really a problem. One show (Vikings) ended for the time being, two others (SNL, The Simpsons) are taking the week off. So I find THE BIG BOARD (the whiteboard where I keep track of all of my and Emily’s monthly deadlines) largely empty. Last week, I had six pieces. This week—two.


[Insert of my fingers twiddling jumpily on the keyboard.]

Which is, I must reiterate, fine. Nature of the job, which is going, even I must be honest, fine. Steady work, decent feedback, no current need financially*. The issue I find myself struggling with is more that I feel I should be doing more. When I have five reviews, an article, a “what’s on tonight” feature, a newswire piece, all in the same week, it’s easy to listen to the voice always whispering in my head. A constant companion—and constant enemy of true productiveness—it goes something like this: “You did what they demand of you. Now it’s your time.”

Of course, there is no they. Not in any existential sense—that sort of dichotomy is one I adopted for reasons neither I nor my assiduous therapist have yet to figure out. And, now that I work from home, for myself, not in any sense at all. I ask for work, and seek it out. When it’s given to me, it’s my choice. Which is sort of a problem, since my mindset—picture a resentful, deliberately inarticulate teenager—demands a them to shrug and grunt at in spiteful silence.

I love what I do. And I love this life I’m living. Apart from the unimagined freedom of having only to deal with my lovely wife every day, rather than bosses, customers, phone calls, and, essentially any yahoo who might wander in off the street, it’s, well, all I’ve ever wanted to do.

Sounds hyperbolic and facile, I know, but true nonetheless. I’m a writer. So far, I’m making a living at it, in the sense that I can do something I have always wanted to do—and nothing else. And not starve. It should be a lot more buoying than it is, but that’s partly thanks to that super brain o’mine. It resists such things. And, sure, was reviewing Workaholics my dream of dreams? Well, no offense, but how incredibly sad would that be?

I’m writing this, as I always am, lying full-out on the living room floor, my laptop propped up on a ring binder holding one of the three hard copies of the one screenplay I’ve written. I wrote it years ago, mainly to see if I could actually complete something, and no, you don’t want to read it. (And the symbolism of its position as foundation to my current writing wasn’t a thing—I just didn’t want my Macbook sitting directly on the floor, and the wedge shape is the perfect angle to type. Don’t psychoanalyze me, you.) The free time I’ve had (again, mainly through a fluke of network programming) isn’t a big deal. But I’m restless nonetheless.

It’s a function of my mind that I view each day as a test, set out for me by someone else, by forces outside myself. I rise, see the tests, score well, and then I’m done, for the rest of the day. Right? Super-healthy. What I want is to fulfill another vision of myself. Dennis the Professional Writer. Getting up each day burning to write. Simply needing to write. Writing until the inspiration runs out, then—just spitballing here—going out for a brisk walk, watching a challenging foreign film, preparing a balanced, adventurous meal from a new recipe, making love, painting a shed, going out for a beer with a friend, keeping up with a few correspondences, maybe a little light gardening.  Then, mind refreshed and energy restored with all the rich, earthy experiences of a life well lived, get back to work on something I simply have to work on before bed. (I am picturing myself as the author photo from an early John Irving novel or Sam Shepard play while I write this. Always.)

irving, john

Obviously about to run a quick 5K

Instead, I proceed in reluctant jerks and starts. I get out of bed, check my email and Twitter and Facebook—always, and this is not a joke, thinking I’ll be greeted with the stomach-churning news of a missed deadline or a coldly worded note informing me that the AV Club has taken a long look at my work and decided that they’ve made a four-year mistake in hiring me in the first place. I screw around for a while (Gawker, ESPN, Cracked, Deadspin—all the very essence of screwing around on the internet). Then I take a deep breath and check THE BIG BOARD, even though I’d spent the night worrying over the assignment ahead, and feeling vaguely put out at having to do it at all. I plow ahead, do the work, do it as well as I can. Then I submit it and Surly Teenage Dennis (as opposed to Dennis the Professional Writer) tells me, “You’ve earned it—time to turn off your brain for the night.” Surly Teenage Dennis is a little prick, in other words, and he’s holding me back from making the most of of this life I’ve chosen to go all in on. Prick.

So now I’m here. At least its writing, of a sort. I can’t imagine anyone ever wanting to read it, which—not great for the whole “professional writer” thing. But it’s helping to beat back some of the creeping anxiety and self-loathing that comes with inactivity. Too bad we don’t have a shed. I’d paint the fuck out of a shed right now.

*This, it should be noted, comes even after paying this year’s staggering, jaw-clenching tax bill. Hey kids—wanna be a two-freelancer household? Set aside your year’s first two months of hard, passionate work for Uncle Sam! Write two months for free—and buy some damned war bonds, why don’t you?

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Dennis writes stuff for the week of 1/25-1/31

Weeks now are strange. All marked out by deadlines, the need for more deadlines, and fear of both having deadlines and not having deadlines. I joke about being “a gentleman of leisure,” since I work at home (or from home—take your regional pick), which implies a lot more relaxing than is going on in our house. And even fewer silk lounging pajamas. Some, but not a lot. Anyway, here’s how I kept myself alive and beat back the insecurity demons this week!

This week I wrote about:

—The first entry in an AV Club Inventory about people hiding inside animals! Kick that week right off. I wrote about John Irving, which is the first time I got paid to write about John Irving, who is the person who made me want to get paid to write in the first place. This means something.

—An AV Club pre-air review of the WGN America hillbillies are interesting series Outsiders, which was both sillier and a lot more interesting than I thought it’d be.

—The Airplane! entry in this other AV Club Inventory about the very few parody movies that haven’t gotten terribly lame with time.

—This AV Club review of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, promisingly entitled “Dee Makes A Smut Film.” Funny—it’s Sunny after all—but a bit shaky. Still—Greico.

—An AV Club review of this week’s Workaholics, where Blake and Jillian adopt a kitty. It doesn’t go well for the cat, slightly better for the episode.

—An entry in this AV Club AVQ&A about the movie soundtracks you’d like to see performed live. Unsurprisingly (if you’re me), I picked Basquiat.

—This week’s AV Club What’s On Tonight feature, where I squeezed in clips from SCTV, Sleater-Kinney, and Near Dark. Because I’m me. You’ve met me, right?

—And this Portland Press Herald piece on a Portland bar holding weekly Kurosawa movie nights all winter. Portland ain’t bad.


And that’s it. A healthy number that week, but less than the week before—which does not make me feel very leisurely, frankly. (No Simpsons and SNL last week might be an excuse, but if you think that comforts me, you really don’t know me.) Back to work.

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Dennis writes stuff for the week of 1/18-1/24


I keep all my assignments for the week (and Emily’s) on a whiteboard I redo every month. I call it The Big Board and refer to it several times a day, both to reassure myself that I am making my nut for the week and to reassure myself that I am not punting a deadline. (I need a lot of reassurance.) So, in keeping with the first goal anyway, here’s a rundown (complete with links you can click to bump up Dennis’ pageviews and reassure him some more) of everything I did last week. I’m going Sunday-Monday because it’s Sunday and I thought of it today.

This week, I wrote about:

—An interesting episode of The Simpsons for the AV Club that addressed the show’s ongoing Apu problem in a thoughtful and funny way.

—A mini-retrospective of David Bowie’s film roles for the Portland Press Herald. David Bowie is dead, by the way, which is the pits.

—Speaking of, a couple of entries in this poll of the best Bowie songs ever, thanks to my AV Club colleague and Sports Alcohol founder Jesse Hassenger. I was honored and it took over my brain for a few days.

—A Press Herald review of a thoughtful little documentary about Black History Month. Please watch it instead of anything Fox News dum-dum Stacey Dash had to say on the subject.

—An AV Club review of the new Workaholics, which continued the new season’s ill-advised choice of bringing in the most annoying guest stars they can think of.

—An AV Club review of the new It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia which sent The Gang into an 80s ski movie. Funny, but the show needs to get back to basics for this 11th season.

—My AV Club review of the new Saturday Night Live, hosted by kicking person Ronda Rousey. It went about as you’d expect.

—An AV Club Newswire (my first one!) about Tina Fey’s semi-triumphant return to SNL, attempting to out-crazy Sarah Palin, who may have gone beyond satire.

—A pre-air AV Club review of the new Amazon “aging bros in the jungle” drama Mad Dogs. Romany Malco is great in it—the show genuinely tried my patience.

—My weekly What’s On Tonight AV Club feature, wherein I use dumb jokes and random clips to make what’s essentially just the TV Guide entertaining enough to read.

—And an entry in this AV Club AVQ&A about terrible characters that damage your enjoyment of good shows. Nope—you have to click it to find out.

There, brain. There, Big Board. Leave me alone ’til tomorrow.




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