Thursday, December 31, 2020

End of Days

 The winter solstice of 2020 is unique in history in that the world just keeps getting darker and darker when it should be getting lighter.

Some Random Observations. People keep blathering at me about the supposedly Multicultural world they claim is on the horizon. I'm going to say this once: WE DO NOT LIVE IN A MULTICULTURAL WORLD. We live in an Omnicultural, MICRO-cultural World in which, by definition, everyone can create their own facts, live in their own bubble, believe what they want to believe, and find others who will support and agree with them. The Internet has done this to us. First it killed Pop Culture and then it killed anything and everything that Unified us as a people.
Tolerance and respect is a thing of the past. The New Liberals are as much of a danger to the culture as the Old Conservatives were. They are not even True Liberals, because they do not believe in freedom of speech: they believe that any idea, theology, concept or opinion that differs from theirs must be stamped out, silenced, and banished to what Harry Nilsson once called The Pointless Forest (track down a copy of the short animated film THE POINT for reference. It'll do you good).
In 2020, it is impossible for any two people to be "on the same page" of ANY-damn-thing, because the structure that supported a stable body of reliable news sources has been utterly destroyed. People get their news now from whatever source supports and encourages their particular beliefs, and they can find professionally-produced sources to support ANY beliefs they might have, no matter how crackpot.
In 2020, everyone is their own Programming Director. Everyone with a keypad is a damn critic. Everyone believes they are an authority on any and every subject, no matter their level of education or where their information comes from.
We've been living in dangerous times for a long while now. The pandemic is merely a headstone marking the grave of a culture that has been decaying since the advent of the internet and the election of Ronald Reagan. Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

-- Thorn.

Saturday, May 9, 2020


On Sunday, May 3, 2020, I was forced to make the decision to end the life of my little Hunny. You may know her from the SUN card from my TINKER'S DAMN TAROT revised second edition. There was a reason she graced that card with her presence. For fifteen years she was the light of my life, the best part of my life, the best thing that ever happened to me. And now she's gone.
She died from a combination of heart disease AND kidney disease, both of which were farther along than I think the vet ever admitted to me. In late March, I noticed that she was breathing awfully hard. By the last week of April, I knew that the end was near. There were no good days -- just every day worse than the one before it.
My heart is broken. Even now, I can hardly bear to type these words. I miss her so  much.
I'll try to write her whole story out here on the blog; I think I have to. But it will have to wait until I think I can get through the task with a minimum of waterworks. For now, this is all I can bear to do,
Hunny, my little sweetie, my angel, my baby -- I miss you so much. I loved you so much. Please forgive me. 

Saturday, April 11, 2020

In the Midst of Pandemic....

image from LES TAROTS DES ANIMALERIES, coming soon from Duck Soup Productions © 2020

What a night and morning it's been. On Wednesday it was sunny and in the 50s, then last night a ginormous storm blew in and blasted the whole state with heavy wet snow. In the early stages (NOT making this up!!) the snowflakes were the size of vintage half-dollar coins.

It came down and it came down. My only worry was just that I had an 8:30 AM vet appointment for Hunny, and I well know the length of my driveway and the limits of my car in getting through heavy wet snow.

Just after midnight, the power went out. From years of living in the country (and from recent New Agey Interests) I have plenty of candles in the house, so that was not a problem I was concerned about, either. Except that my phone and internet both go out when the power does. And as the night rolled on and on, I began to imagine not being able to get out of my house to make the appointment, and not even being able to call to cancel it!

But by 7:00 AM the power was back, and my plow guy had been here, too. It was still a bit of a struggle to get out at 8:15, because there was a solid ten inches of heavy wet snow all over everywhere, and the damn stuff was still coming down.

Due to the Covid-19 protections that my vet has in place, the New England Animal Hospital offices in Waterville are now virtually a Drive-In service. They don't you in the building, and I don't blame them! They picked up my little Hunny at the car and took her in, and I waited. I knew this was going to happen, so I'd written all the information I had down on a piece of paper that went in with the cat.

Then you wait in the car. Ten minutes seems like a long time under the circumstances.

If you have a cellphone, they call you with the exam results. I don't, so the vet -- trusted, caring and lovely Dr. O'Brien -- came out to fill me in personally. She thinks Hunny may be having a flare-up of feline herpes; but she also said that in all other respects (heart, lungs, and other vitals) Hunny is doing fine. That news alone was worth the $80. In addition to the Clavemox I'm already giving her, they gave her (I think) an antibiotic. I'd have to look at the receipt to be sure. 

Hunny is now sleeping comfortably by the fireplace, after she almost threw up her morning does of Clavemox.

After all that, I ordered a face-mask on Etsy. I've been getting by with a couple of bandannas, doubled-up, tied at the ears and stuffed with three coffee filters.

And I haven't even checked my email yet.

This afternoon I'm going out to the post-office to mail out the few little orders that I have, and then make a stop at the supermarket. I hope they have something left to buy..... Mainly, I need two particular flavors of Fancy Feast Quat Fud, and whatever garbage is on the shelves at eye level for me to eat on...

Have a Good Day, and pray that the peak is really here....


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April Fool's Day

"The Hanged Man" from TAROT DADA, ™ and © Duck Soup Productions, 2020.

As today is the last day that Mainers can legally leave the house for "less than essential" reasons, I feared that there would be another run on the stores.... waking at 5:55, I threw on some clothes and went out to catch "senior hour" at the supermarket. 

Aside from the personal disgust at the fact of being old enough to partake of such a thing, I actually felt less safe shopping with the geriatric crowd than I did last week during normal hours. But under the circumstances, I was afraid they would run out of eggs -- if they even had any. And I need eggs to make Whitey's Magic Tummy Mixture.

I needn't have worried, the supermarket had tons of eggs, and really, they have done a smashing job re-stocking everything: which reinforces the fact that THERE ARE NO SHORTAGES. THERE IS PLENTY TO GO AROUND, if you just don't panic and buy up a shit-ton more than you really need.

But they were out of hand-sanitizing wipes for the carts and I was glad I was wearing gloves. Even then, I panicked when I absent-mindedly touched my cheek because it was itching. I thought, "It's all over. I touched the side of my nose. Contagion will surely follow."

Returning home was not the happy experience it usually is, because I knew that I needed to go back out again in a few hours. Not enough time to do anything productive, too much time to have on your hands. And I did worry about what I had brought back on my hands. I washed my hands and face intensely, killing my iPhone (which I'd absent-mindedly left in my shirt pocket) as a result.  Pussyquats being the perceptive creatures they are, both Whitey and Hunny picked up on my distress. 

I did venture back out into the war zone after about 2 PM. The mailman did deliver my last paycheck for my freelance job, bless him -- and really, bless and keep the U.S. and Worldwide Postal Services for keeping the world up and running. Imagine how bad this would be without a basic service like the mail. I have heard rumblings that the USPS will be forced to shut down within three months. Folks, if that happens, especially without a viable replacement service, it's literally the end of Civilization as we know it. Burn the set: it will all be over. 

Part of the reason for my going out this afternoon was to ship out the tiny handful of Tarot orders that have trickled in. The Post Office was open, and the folks there were safe and friendly behind new plexiglass panels. Clearly marked intervals on the floor showed the safe distance to stand in all areas, and with mechanical door openers in place, I didn't have to touch any surface at all while I was there. Honestly, it felt like the safest place in town.

So, once again, raise a cheer for the mail system: keeping the whole world going in a time of genuine crisis.

In other areas of the town, traffic was about close to normal as the people of Maine took advantage of their last day as Free Range Cattle. The local bank has wisely closed its lobby. All business now being transacted at the drive-through. This made me feel good about the safety of the people inside. And if they're safe, I am too. 

The vet was shuttered. Not a big, deal, I have enough meds to last Whitey a few days, and because I have a good relationship with them, I know I can drop them an email and pop down to pick up the pills Whitey needs sometime in the next few days.

If the first part of my day had been as angst-free as the second part, I'd be feeling pretty complacent by now. Unfortunately, ANY trip out these days means that the infection clock re-sets. Covid-19 has a 2-14 day incubation period, with 5 days the average. No matter what, I'll be a little bit on tinter-hooks until next Monday rolls along. By then, the numbers should be getting genuinely alarming. Stay at home, folks, and stay safe.


Friday, March 27, 2020


Just back from venturing Out for the first time in a week.

It's looking more and more like LOGAN'S RUN out there. Last week I reported that the traffic was down by probably about a third, to about 65 percent. This week I think those numbers are about reversed: traffic only about 1/3rd of normal.

Except at the stupormarket, of course. That felt very normal.


BRAIN: Calm down. Relax. Most of the people in there are probably not infected.

GUT: And THAT'S supposed to relax me? Do you HEAR yourself?

BRAIN: They're taking all kinds of measures to keep it safe.

GUT: Are you INSANE? I can FEEL myself getting infected just from LOOKING at the place!!!

BRAIN: Go on in. Look: See? They have hand sanitizer wipes so you can mop down the handles of your cart, and they have hand sanitizer in a dispenser.


BRAIN: See? It's all very normal in here. No one is dying in the aisles.

GUT: I'm STILL not touching the cart handle.....

Anyway. The supermarkets are doing a great job of keeping things in stock despite the panic-driven run on things. After last week, it was most re-assuring to see the meat counters full up again. I was able to get dishwasher detergent at last -- not a moment too soon! (Why would there be a run on dishwasher detergent? Go figure.)

You won't be able to get absolutely everything on your list, and you might not have your pick of brands, but the essentials are all there (so long as you don't buy more than your fair share) and produce and meat were available in abundance.

At the registers, they've put up plexiglass barriers between customer and cashier: a good idea. At the post office (which looked like a Ghost Town inside, if not in the lobby and parking lot), tape has been put down at six-foot intervals to show how far you need to stand back from each other.

I don't plan on going out now for another week. We shall cross that bridge when we come to it. 

Hopefully I managed to transact my chores without swallowing a whole bunch of Covid-19 germs. 

Life Goes On.

-- Thorn.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

No Soup For You

I don’t understand why nobody cares that Popular Culture is dead. I don’t understand why nobody seems particularly interested even in marking its grave. 

People just look at me funny when I tell them that mass media burned itself out about 15 years ago, that Popular Culture was completely wiped out by the internet and replaced by a new era of PERSONAL Culture. 

In the age of Popular Culture, we had just three TV networks in the U.S. of A., four if you count PBS, so if your neighbor wan’t watching the same show that YOU were watching on a Tuesday night, you at least knew what they WERE watching. The news came from Walter Cronkite or Huntley-Brinkley. Music came from one of a handful of local radio stations. People regularly read paperback books and magazines and subscribed to their local newspaper.

Despite the inherent limitations, we got a pretty good variety of content and, especially during the 60s and 70s, experienced a vibrant counterculture that offered alternatives to the mainstream and encouraged dialogue on the important issues. 

It was a culture that allowed us to be on the same page for the important issues, but also encouraged creativity and difference. It was a culture that united us, even when we weren’t always united. 

It took a good solid twenty years or so, but the rise of the internet and first cable then streaming media put an end to all that. Pop Culture, defined and derived from the word “Popular,” is not just dead: it has been annihilated. 

Our culture no longer serves to connect us, but instead offers millions of smaller pipelines that feed our individual and personal mind-set. Far from offering connections, these steaming pipelines feed billions of us whatever it is that we want to hear.

And if you don't think that's an important change, think again. THIS is how a catastrophic thing like The Don could happen, THIS is why neo-Naziism, fascist and hate groups are on the rise. The mass media would never have tolerated a Rush Limbaugh or a Sean Hannity: mass media encouraged blandness, after all… and sometimes blandness is not a bad thing. Many critics insisted that we were being fed pablum: but at least we weren’t being fed a diet of cold undiluted hate.

For just about a solid century, the rise of mass media had us in an opportune place where humanity could more or less all be on the same page, without having to all agree on every issue. It was an opportunity for humans to succeed as a race. It failed. Now we are seeing the rise of cultural feudalism. No good can come of that. 

While I am enjoying the New Age of Personal Culture, having more than enough of everything at my fingertips, and allowing me to play the fun game of being my own Programming Director, the wider picture is not a good one. Climate-change deniers and Holocaust deniers alike are free to live in their dangerous fantasy worlds, because they can always find a feeding tube for their demented diet of lies. Conservatives and Liberals alike will grow more extreme, but also less effective. The middle ground will occupy whatever space the one percent allots to it. Individualism, ironically, will fade, as the world grows more and more tribal. “Standards” will vanish. To a great extent, they already have. 

-- Thorn.

Friday, January 24, 2020

A Lament for Sanity

Heavy sigh.

I am having a harder and harder time being civil about that cretin in the White House, and treating with respect the people who support him.

And I do believe that everyone deserves to be treated respectfully even if they're ... let's be polite and call them "gullible."

But the fact is that I don't understand. I've known what Donald Trump was since the '80s. In fact, I thought we were safe from him, because I didn't believe that the American people could be so stupid as to vote for such an obvious con man, such an obvious caricature of self-centered evil and stupidity. If you'd told me then that he would one day be President, I'd have said it was too ridiculous a concept even for a science fiction story.

What are they not seeing? Does a person have to have the word "GANGSTER" tattooed across their fucking orange forehead before people can spot an obvious gangster when they see one? 

And yet just tonight, someone typed this as a reply to one of my more impolite statements about that Rat Bastard and the people who are Too Goddamn Stupid to see what he is: "You are the moron and brainless if you can’t see all Trump has done for this country and changed the destruction that Obama caused including the split he did with his racist actions. You lack intelligence needed to survive."

This is a person who has swallowed the Kool-Aid. This is a person who is so deluded that if Donald Trump told them to jump off a bridge, they'd do it.

And I do NOT understand. I CAN'T understand. I can't accept that ANYone can be so flat-out, and I'm sorry but there's no polite word for it -- STUPID.

It's like I'm living in a world where Up is Down and Down is Up and the basic facts of Reality Itself are being denied by millions of people, AND THERE'S NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT.  I feel completely helpless as I watch the world headed straight off of a cliff.

"Moral Compass?" What's that? The dials are spinning out of control. The person now occupying the White House is someone who makes Richard Nixon and Huey Long and all the political villains of the past look like freakin' SAINTS. Hell fire, he makes Don Vito Corleone look like a saint!


I've been saying right along that this isn't about politics anymore, and it isn't. I'd take Richard Nixon any day of the week over this dangerous, idiotic clod that the Republican party has, against all reason and rationality, made into their deity.

I'm not even sure any more that we can safely get rid of him. His ego is so warped that if he loses the election I'm convinced he'll push the fucking button.

I cannot recall any period in my lifetime when things have been so bad as they are now. The One Percent have it all worked out exactly as they want it: look at how easy it was for them to create a state of perpetual war: all they had to do was wreck the economy and get rid of the draft to make millions of young people line up to throw their lives away.

I've always believed the best about people and until now I always wondered how Nazi Germany happened. But it turns out that it was probably more stupid and naive of me to believe that humans were inherently good hearted and could recognize a Snidely Whiplash, a villain dressed all in black with a sign on his back saying "VILLAIN," when they saw one. 

It hurts to be wrong about that. But it hurts more having to watch it all play out like a bad episode of THE TIME TUNNEL. You can't even REASON with these people. They will knowingly lie and bend reality all out of shape rather than admit that Donald Trump isn't even a smart villain. They are prepared to blow up the world rather than acknowledge a mistake. 

I don't see any way out. Republican Senators are going All-In to support this piece of Human Filth, and the next Presidential election is something that I am too terrified even to contemplate. We couldn't be in a worse position than if Doctor Doom was president in Rump's place. In fact, we'd be better off if that was the case: because then we would be living in a comic-book world, and that kind of world is at least more comprehensible the one we actually are faced with.

-- Thorn.
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