Thursday, October 7, 2021

Is THIS the column you are looking for?

     I'm no fan of cinder blocks, not on an aesthetic level. They're big, crude, grey. Nor on a practical level. Rough and heavy, tough to pick up.
     I'm a much bigger fan of bricks—deep red, smooth, they fit easily in the palm of the hand. Dense, yet portable. An old brick, worn by time, can be a beautiful thing.
     So bricks over cinder blocks, every time.
     Were I in a house on fire, and the only way out was a big plate glass window that wouldn't open, and there was a cinder block right there, I would happily alter my view of cinder blocks to adjust current conditions, and regard the cinder block gratefully, happy that it is there to be thrown through the window so I could escape. It would suffice.
     That's my view of Joe Biden. I was no fan of his before the 2020 election, as I've written. But since he became the nation's last, best hope, the free safety standing between Donald Trump and spiking the ball in the end zone for a second term, Biden became Abraham Lincoln and Solon the Lawgiver and Clark Gable, all in one. I wrote a column about this before the election, "Hand the baby to Fireman Joe."
     At one level. Am I happy that he, oh, lies about what military brass told him to do in Afghanistan? Or about his unleashing security forces on horseback to whip Haitian refugees? Or his inability, so far, to herd all the Democratic cats into one spot long enough to get this big multi-trillion dollar bill done? No, I am not. That's bad. But so long as Biden is going to face Donald Trump again in 2024, and he will, then he's my man, and I will support him. If he goes on national television and kills a wicker basket full of puppies, one by one, with a crochet hook, I will feel disgust and disappointment. And still support him, because animal cruelty just doesn't compare to undermining our democratic system and selling the country to the Russians. 
     Trump supporters, sitting cross legged in patient rows, fingertips pressed together, eyes narrowed, heads tilted back, scanning the skies for the arrival of their god from above, just don't get this. They see Biden's mistakes and apply the critical thinking they never, ever directed toward Trump. Suddenly, the measuring tape of good government has fallen into their laps, and they hop up to use it. And they want us to applaud.
     Consider this email from Brian S. of Oswego, regarding Wednesday's Facebook column:

     Neil, unfortunately there are some people who live on or for Facebook. I believe they are lonely or in search of some self worth by constantly posting their daily lives or thoughts. I rarely post anything to FB (maybe two times a year) but if it helps people cope or grieve I vote to not take that away from them.
       P.S. Perhaps you can write an objective column about the effect of all President Biden's policies have had on American life over the past 8 months.
     I saw through that postscript in a heartbeat. He tried to play it all cool and neutral, but "objective" was the tell. Usually I just leave these people to be judged by God at Doomsday and sent to the fiery perdition they deserve. But he backed into it so disingenuously, I couldn't resist serving him the lunch he had ordered. I replied:
     Of course. Some people live for Beanie Babies. It's a big world. I can write that column for you now: Biden has been a tremendous relief from the liar, bully, fraud and traitor of Donald Trump, and it is only sad that those duped by him continue to deceive themselves, and scan the skies, a pathetic cargo cult of delusion that runs contrary to every principle of intelligence, patriotism or human decency. Thanks for writing.
     No answer, of course.


  1. Mmmmm...GOOD...
    Hey, Mr. S, you served some great snark for lunch.
    Snark like my Mum used to make.

    I do hope you're wrong about a 2024 rematch.
    If we're really, really lucky, Sniffy might choke on a peach pit.

  2. Thank you, Neil. Literally. Woke up to an old friend's link to John Kass' oline column regarding Biden, COVID & Chicago violence. Mind you, my friend's opener was "I can't stand this guy but" the violence issue helped him to decide not, in fact, to retire the Loop (plus when bored he likes to rattle my cage). I was NOT happy about starting my day this way, but this friend is reasonable and learned and, well, mostly agrees w/me, which I find rather alluring. Anyhoo, long story: I msg him my kind rejoinder PLUS a direct link to this column (I, too, am 60 and amazed I figured out how to do that on my phone!). Very, very handy indeed. Thanks again!

    1. One of the greatest pleasures of all the Trib buyouts is not seeing Kass anymore! I don't even have to ignore his useless rantings, as I never see them, even in the digital Trib.

  3. I can't for the life of me understand the appeal Donald Trump has for anyone, much less for millions of fellow Americans who managed somehow to graduate from high school, presumably after passing History and Civics tests, but I do understand brand loyalty and share the Trumpist penchant for ignoring or excusing the faults of those we've chosen or been drawn to follow. President Biden didn't lie, but just mispoke; he didn't fuck up the troop withdrawal, it was an impossible task; etc, etc. He's my guy now and can do no wrong, right?


    1. Being somewhat familiar with military briefings, I agree he didn't lie. He would have been presented with a complex set of alternatives and may not have chosen the one the generals preferred, but it is doubtful that keeping 2500. largely non-combatant troops there would have affected the outcome. In Afghanistan he was handed a lemon and made somewhat sour tasting lemonade.

      Things have not gone as smoothly as progressives in the party expected, but Biden has been around and in the thick of it to understand what former Prime Minister meant when he responded to a question about what would alter his plans with "events dear boy, events."


  4. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who wrote or uttered anything positive about Trump's presidency permanently loses the right to criticize any Democratic president for anything, ever.

  5. Biden got our troops out of Afghanistan after 20 years. He has not attacked the suburbs. He has not attacked God. Relax.

  6. Oh Neil, I love You. That answer to Mr. Objective was spot on. Copying and saving that answer for future use, hope you do not mind.

  7. Neil, as you are a fan of bricks, I'm tempted to present you with something I turned up at an estate sale perhaps 30 years ago now, and bought for its sheer bizarreness, if that is a word: a box of five sample bricks, all in a handy carrying (*oof*) case, separated by thick cardboard dividers so they don't get chipped. Oh, to live the life of a brick salesman! Carrying those samples door to door... I'd go through arch supports at the rate of two a week.

    My main reason for writing, though: Isn't anyone going to comment on that "LIFE NEVER BECOMES DULL" EGD poster lurking in the photo at the top of today's blog? I suspect that in Neil's yearbook, he was voted Most Quotidian of his graduating class.

    1. Sounds like a conversation piece.

      That poster seems eminently ignorable. I think I sold eight of them at $15 a pop. If you want your own, I've still got plenty.

  8. Needless to say, I'm on your "side" about Biden. But I still don't like the rhetorical device of saying that if he "kills a wicker basket full of puppies ... I will ... still support him." To me it recalls the biggest loser saying that he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose voters.

    My point is, Biden wouldn't do that, obviously, and saying it undermines the important fact that Biden supporters *are* more objective and self-critical than Trump cult members. A Repub. response to it, which has informed their actions all along, enabling Don the Con's grift, might well be that overturning Roe v. Wade is more important in the long run than "undermining our democratic system and selling the country to the Russians."

    "Perhaps you can write an objective column about the effect of all President Biden's policies have had on American life over the past 8 months." In my view, the biggest problem with the country right now is that your correspondent is unaware and uninterested in the fact that he could have found objective information about Biden, and most other things going on, via objective news sources every day of the past 8 months. There are plenty of Democrats on all flanks who critique various aspects of the current administration. He doesn't need to have a column tailored by you for his benefit. Alas, he sounds like the kind of chap who refers to the longstanding conservative local paper as the Chicago Libune.

    But, as you replied to him, many folks prefer to delude themselves via the outlets of the right-wing blabosphere, thus, for instance, latching on to the idea that the events of January 6 represented "a normal tourist visit."


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