Thursday, April 30, 2020

POST #914: Random Observations

Thank you, ma'am. The check is in the mail.

Out of razors
Well, here we are, folks! The last day of the month. Is it my imagination or did April of 2020 last for slightly over a decade-and-a-half? I was just wondering.
The following are a handful of unconnected and random thoughts that I've been brooding about (bitching about) in recent days.
1. He is trying to get us killed Part One
Donald Trump is talking about traveling to Arizona next week in order to hold one of his Nuremberg-style political rallies. How might I put this as gently and politely as possible....That is a mind-fuckingly stupid and irrational idea. Why would he openly suggest such an irresponsible thing at such a time as this. Why is he urging the states to open? He said the other day that he is ordering meat packing plants to reopen. Ordering??? Does this asshole think he's Adolf Hitler? I believe that he consciously wants large parts of the American public to die. Why? To create chaos at the behest of Vladimir Putin? To be able to declare a "state of emergency" in order to cancel the national election in November? Maybe I'm paranoid, but something smells rotten here.
2. He's Trying to get us killed Part Two
A couple of weeks ago, the super attendant of the West Point Military Academy (which is just down the road from where I live) ordered all of the cadets in the place to return to their homes across the land. Trump has just ordered all of them to be returned to the school so he can address their graduation in June. Again, this is a reckless and stupid idea during the worse pandemic in one-hundred and two years. Again, the question is screaming to be posed: why wound he encourage such dangerous behavior toward such large numbers of human beings? He doesn't have the power to order cities to reopen, but he can order military cadets to assemble in one place. WHY???

3. Bad Numbers

A few days ago the number of Americans killed since February by the coronavirus surpassed the number of Americans killed in Vietnam between the years 1956 and 1975. This is a depressing statistic any way you look at it. Just yesterday I was talking to a local funeral director who's been operating in the area since 1989. In fact my father's funeral in February of that year was one of his first. He told me that in the last twenty-four days he's provided twenty-one different funerals - a record, he told me. And bear in mind, he lives in a small town.
4. What is wrong with Mike Pence?

Had Trump been impeached earlier in the year, I was not relishing the dim possibility of a President Mike Pence. My one consolation was that, although a complete imbecile, at least he isn't certifiably insane. He cheerfully reminded the nation and the world of his complete imbecility the other day when he visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and walked into a coronavirus unit without a face mask which is required by that (and every) hospital. He was the only person in the entire joint who wasn't wearing one. He looked like a complete idiot. What was the vice-president thinking? His excuse was that he is constantly being tested for the virus and that there was no danger of his transmitting to anyone. Really? When was the last time he was tested before entering that facility? Was it inside the limo on the way to the place? He said he wanted to look the staff and the patients in the eye to thank them. It was a completely idiotic response. Facemasks don't cover the eyes.

His reasoning, I'm sure, is the fact that Donald Trump said he wasn't going to wear one So perhaps donning a face mask is somehow "unmanly"? This is the complete idiocy we're dealing with.


So there you have it, folks. I have no doubt that we'll get through this but it's going to take a bit of time and a lot of intelligence. We'll have to wait for the intelligence. Eight months and twenty days. Hang in there!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


If you're in quarantine with your kids, here's a good chance to show them what cartoons were like before their grandparents were born. Here's a link to watch some classic Betty Boop cartoons on YouTube:

Courtesy of the great Max Fleischer!

Friday, April 24, 2020

A Festival of Lunacy

President Babybrains
I never dreamed the day would come where I would be forced to write these words while simultaneously keeping a straight face. Alas, that day has come, so here goes:
One: The American people (or any people for that matter) should not inject disinfectant into their bodies. Two: They also should not - under any circumstances - ingest bleach. There's a jolly good reason why these products are kind enough to explain to us us what emergency precautions should be taken if they are accidentally swallowed. I'm just sayin'.

Watching the president's daily campaign rally inside the White House press room yesterday stunned me even! I thought I had become completely immune to the comical insanity of the Trump administration. I honestly believed that it had gotten as weird as it was ever going to possibly get, that we had reached the limit to this festival of lunacy. I was wrong of course; and between now and January 20, 2121, it's probably going to get a lot loonier. That's okay as far as I'm concerned. I've always been an insanity junkie and a huge fan of unintentional humor. When this disgusting administration is finally part of history, people like me will find themselves in the wilderness. There will be some adjustments to make. I'm ready for the challenge.

I'm trying to conjure up in my imagination the image of Franklin Roosevelt or Jack Kennedy - or even George W. Bush - doing something as ludicrous as suggesting that the people of a nation going through the trauma we are now experiencing, a trauma that is compounding by the day - that they poison themselves. I have to tell you that I wasn't quite prepared for something as surreal as that. I should have known better. I'll be better prepared the next time, I promise.

But even more shocking than the stupidity of the president of the United States, was the despicable reaction of Mitch McConnell, the senate majority leader. I am descended from generations of Kentuckians. I still have distant cousins who live there. Kentucky's place in my personal heritage is something I have never had a problem with - until the arrival on the scene of Mitch McConnell three decades ago. That a demographic of voters would be so consistently dumb as to keep sending a corrupt buffoon like Mitch to the senate baffles me to the core and beyond. His challenger this year is a woman named Amy McGrath. While she is gaining momentum on McConnell in the polls, it is almost impossible to believe that she is still one point behind him. What the hell is the matter with the people of that state? 

Amy McGrath and Putin's Bitch
When Mitch referred to aid for the state of New York - the state suffering more than any other during this catastrophe - as a "blue state bailout", the old bastard should have been swallowed up whole by the earth at that moment. As my governor, Andrew Cuomo, was astute enough to point out yesterday, New York is one of the states in this union that puts out more cash to the federal government than it takes in. Of all those other states, Kentucky is Number Three in taking more than it gives. Mitch McConnell is, beyond a doubt, the most truly demonic member of that body to come along in m lifetime. And although Joseph McCarthy died the year before I was born, I would include him as part of that equation. For all of his faults, old Joe (at least behind the scenes) was a thoroughly likable guy. He was even pals with Jack Kennedy! I couldn't imagine JFK and Mitch in the same room on a bad day. It boggles the imagination.

The good news is that we have only nine months to contend with the Orange Jackass living in the house that was once occupied by Abraham Lincoln - I think. My theory is that The Donald has been encouraging his idiotic base to do so many reckless things because he knows that a massive second wave of breakouts in the autumn would allow him to use the pileup of bodies as an excuse to shut down the elections in November. What other reason could there be for him to promote such insane behavior on such a mass scale? Or maybe it's merely a symptom of Trump's already obvious insanity. Am I wrong in these theories? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We shall see.

Wasn't sending this nitwit to the White House a really neat idea?

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Michael Cohen is out of prison due to the coronavirus pandemic and will spend the next two and a half years confined to his home. He is in the process of writing about his years with Donald Trump. He promises that the book will be on the shelves before the election. I'll be curious to see how the Trump Mob will try to make this book go away. Cohen says that he plans on exposing EVERYTHING.

Just a little something to look forward to, kids. May you live in interesting times.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

They Doth Protest Too Much

Looking out over the American landscape, I'm astonished to see large numbers of folks out in the streets, huddled together in protest of the Stay-At-Home rules put forward by certain governors, I could not help but think that America's collective IQ is going to be a bit higher when we're finally past this nightmare. And who can say when this will be in our past? Some are saying that this situation could last two years or longer. The pandemic of 1918 went on until 1920. We need to dig in for the long haul.

I was reminded of this earlier today when the husband of one of my cousins made the following, incredible statement on Facebook:

"We're going to crash our economy on a virus that has a 97% survival rate."

My comments and his responses went as follows:

ME: That would only mean 11 to 12 million dead. I don't think you're getting the big picture here.
HE: Tom Degan I get the whole picture very clearly.

ME: So what you're saying is that 12 million dead is acceptable to you?

Governor Kemp of Georgia
"When the freedom they wished for most was the freedom from responsibility, then they ceased to be free."
That was said by New York governor Andrew Cuomo this morning at his daily press briefing. He was quoting from The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.  That seems to me to be a most apropos book to be quoting from these days. The American nation seems to be at the precipice, about to go crashing into the abyss. Nearly eighty years ago during the depression and the onset of the second world conflict in a generation, America was blessed enough to have a man in the White House in the form of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It would seem that, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the United States had wise and intelligent leaders living in the Executive Mansion in times of great crisis and peril. Our luck seems to have run out when we reached the twenty-first century. Go figure.

Shit happens.

In less than nine months Donald Trump will be out of the White House and possibly heading into fugitive exile. It's obvious that, barring a miracle, he won't be removed from office any time soon - which is probably just as well. Mike Pence is such blubbering imbecile that his potential presidency is too depressing to even think about. We need to ride this out as best we can. Trump seems to be egging the demonstrators on. My theory, as I stated two days ago, is that he would like to get enough people sick so that he could proclaim a national emergency and cancel the elections in November. Is that a far-fetched scenario? Perhaps, but there is by now nothing I wouldn't put past this hideous and dangerous dingbat.

Fifty years from now, historians will look back on this period in American history and shake their heads in wonderment and astonishment at how we could have gotten it this wrong. This is where we find ourselves and this is what we are forced to deal with. Will the American people ever again find themselves on the mountaintop? Good luck with that. Keep voting Republican.

Idiot Nation

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Franklin D. Roosevelt's Four Freedoms Speech, January 6, 1941

To even think that, in seven decades, we could have gone from Roosevelt to Trump. This was his 1941 State of the Union address. Here's a link to listen to this incredible speech on YouTube:

Listen and weep for what we have become.

Monday, April 20, 2020

The Implosion of The Donald

As weird as it's ever been or is ever going to be
"LIBERATE MINNESOTA! LIBERATE MICHIGAN! LIBERATE VIRGINIA! and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!"
Donald J. Trump
Why is Trump so gung ho to open up the American economy so soon? Could it be that a second wave even more serious than the first would give him an excuse to shut down the election in November? Could the disgusting little thug really be that despicable? I'm really starting to wonder. It has been comically obvious since he took office that Donald Trump had all the makings of a despot-wannabe. He appears to be on the threshold of making his dreams come true. As I've been saying since the morning after he was elected four years ago, this is going to end badly.
What possible rational motivation would he have for wanting the American people to go back to business as usual when a second wave would be worse than the first? And why are so many Republican politicians - particularly in the south - willing to ignore all of the evidence regarding the dangers of this pandemic and allow open beaches and packed churches? It makes no sense - even for the half-witted freaks that comprise the extreme right wing in that region of the country. Are they somehow complicit in the possible shutdown of democracy that I have no-doubt Trump is in the process of planning? Why would these people be so reckless with the health and well being of the people they are sworn to govern? These are not the actions of responsible leaders dedicated to the welfare of the citizens of this doomed nation.  What gives?
The other day Trump, in probably his most disturbing action since taking over the White House three years ago, tweeted out that three states (with Democratic governors) be liberated. What he was doing was inciting people to take to the streets at a time when they should be quarantining themselves in the safety of their homes. For this act alone he should be forcibly removed from office and prosecuted. But since that's not going to happen any time in the near future....

I get the strong feeling that the president of the United States is possibly encouraging his supporters (many of whom are, after all, armed and dangerous) to an armed insurrection. It's not such an outrageous conclusion when you think about it. Yesterday, in the three states mentioned in in the First Twit's Tweet, an alarming number of people showed up at statehouses and hospitals sporting rapid-fire weapons. How many folks among them became infected with the covid 19 virus as a result is anyone's guess. How many others will be effected by them is also a jolly good question. At a time when the country needs desperately to come to terms with certain realities, it appears to be unraveling; and the very people who are making this bad situation potentially cataclysmic are the ones who have been most susceptible to the right wing SCREAM machine operated by the likes of Fox Noise, Rush Limbaugh and company.

So help me Mitch Miller I never thought I would live to see the day that the United States would have disintegrated to such a volatile and sick condition. Even in the 1960s, when it seemed as if the country was in danger of going over the edge, there was never much doubt among thinking people that, somehow, we would get through the craziness. Now I'm not too sure. I realize that Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, but it's unsettling to realize that so huge a percentage of the voters of this country were so mind-numbingly naïve and ill-informed as to think that sending this unhinged sociopath and common pervert to the White House would be a perfectly reasonable idea.

As Jimmy Page (or was it Robert Plant?) once wrote:

"It makes me wonder."

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Pipes of Peace by Paul McCartney

This is one of my favorite McCartney recordings, but I never saw this video until the other night. It's beautiful. Here's a link to watch it on YouTube:


Thursday, April 16, 2020

No Ordinary Time - and Then Some

I heard a fact early yesterday morning that floored me. If the coronavirus were the size of a tennis ball, the average human being would be five hundred miles tall. Ain't that something?
As of this morning, there have been 32,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus. Donald Trump didn't want to upset the economy in order not to hurt his chances for reelection in the fall. As a result, he refused to sound the alarm on the incoming pandemic. For two crucial months the homicidal little sociopath did very little to stem the tide of this tsunami. This isn't mere speculation on my part, folks, this is an indisputable, documented fact. Why, then, hasn't the old freak been indicted on 32,000 separate charges of criminally negligent homicide?
Any answers, Quiz Kids?
And now The Donald is telling us that he wants the country up and running by the first of May, and that he - and he alone - has the constitutional authority to make this happen (although there is nothing in the constitution that gives him any such authority). Let's say, theoretically, that Donald Trump could, indeed, force the states to end this national lockdown in a little over two weeks, as he seems to be threatening to do. This would no longer be a mere case of criminally negligent homicide. He would be remembered as the worst mass murderer in American history. 624,000 people ended up dead in the mid nineteenth century because of the ineptitude of President James Buchanan. Trump has set the course to surpassing those numbers.

He has already made it perfectly and disgustingly clear that those purple and blue states, the ones who support him, the ones whose support he so desperately needs in the November election, will receive the supplies they're asking for. Florida has been receiving most of what they have requested. But blue states like New York and California, epicenters of this pandemic, have been reduced to begging. Governors Cuomo and Newsom have been admirable in their composure during this emergency. But Andy Cuomo, patient and respectful throughout - no doubt for fear of angering the Petulant-Half-Wit-in-Chief - is starting to show signs of increasing impatience and frustration. Who could blame him? Sociopaths can have that effect on the most sanest among us.

The other day, Senator John Kennedy (WHY DOES HE HAVE THAT NAME???) of Louisiana appeared on the Tucker Carlson program and stated that, sure, reopening American society soon would result in more exposure to the coronavirus and more deaths, but hey, that's the price we have to pay! Rarely in the last forty years have I witnessed a more perfect illustration of the utter corruption and indifference-to-the-common-good of that disgusting party. When this horrible saga is finally over with, this will be a progressive nation. That will be one of the very few positive outcomes.

As General William Tecumseh Sherman said to General Ulysses S. Grant after a long day of ceaseless carnage at the battle of Shiloh, "Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?" To which Grant replied, "Yeah. Lick 'em tomorrow, though."

We'll lick 'em tomorrow.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Imagine if Boss Hogg had, somehow, become president of the United States.

Do you see where I'm going with this?


Miracles are still happening, folks. Look all around you. Imagine if this catastrophe had happened a mere twenty years ago. We would not have had the technology to create, share and experience something as wondrous as this.....

The Self-Isolation/Virtual Choir

Thursday, April 09, 2020

A Despicible Criminal Organization

In previous elections, the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin had one-hundred and twenty-five polling places for their elections. This year, thanks to the Republican-controlled state legislature, they have five. Milwaukee is a fairly large city that is also quite liberal - and quite black. This will force thousands of human beings to be in close proximity with one another - and during a pandemic. This leads me to the only conclusion I can possibly muster: Republicans want dark-skinned people dead.
So horny are they to get the corrupt, unhinged sociopath with the orange skin reelected to the presidency this coming November, they would risk the lives of thousand of men, women and little children to do so. As I have stated on this site too many times to count: that's not a political party, that's an organized criminal enterprise. When the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed by President Lyndon Johnson, it was widely hoped that the kind of civil atrocities that kept the ballot out of the hands of people with dark skin for over a century would be a thing of the past. A few years ago the Supreme Court seriously weakened that law. The result has been the return of Jim Crow - with a vengeance. We are at the precipice of falling into a fascist dictatorship. Am I overreacting? Pay close attention - or as the late, great Molly Ivins once said, "Keep your eye on the shell with the pea underneath it."

Bernie Sanders withdrew from the race yesterday. While I respect and even love Joe Biden, he was not my first choice the be the nominee; in fact he was my fifth. That being said, while scrolling down my Facebook homepage early this morning, I could not help but notice the myriads of Bernie-fans in a blind funk, threatening to go with a third party candidate - or not vote at all. One even had the absolute gall to suggest that there was not a bit of difference between Trump and Biden. That is a completely insane notion. There is an ocean of difference. The Sanders voters made the same mistake four years ago - and what was the result? The most insanely corrupt and incompetent administration in the history of human stupidity. We all need to take a deep breath and focus. I was less enthusiastic about the candidacy of Hillary Clinton four years ago than I am about Joe, but on Election Day 2016 I dutifully went down to my local polling place and cast my ballot for her. Like too many Progressives, I did not stay home pouting.

I was just thinking: in 2016, in the weeks leading up to the election, Michael Moore said that if Trump were to be elected, he would get a lot of people killed. He also predicted, when nearly everyone was saying that The Donald didn't have a chance in hell, that he would more-than-likely be elected. The man is astounding in his prescience.

Kamala Harris
If Joe Biden is smart (and I know he is) he will choose a running mate that will appeal to young people and progressives like me, and motivate them to get their sorry asses out to the polls on Election Day. My nominee is Kamala Harris of California. Other than Pete Buttigieg (mayor of my late mom's hometown of South Bend, Indiana) she is the most brilliant person to run for the office in my memory. We don't want another elderly, graying white guy on the ticket with him. This country is changing fast and a woman - preferably a black woman - would be just what the country needs to reflect that change. As Uncle Bobby once intoned, "The times, they are a'changin' ". As pessimistic as I tend to be at times, I still believe that it's not too late to save this country from the weirder angels of our nature.

So - FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE! - get out there and support the Democratic nominee seven months from now. Get out there and vote for Joe as if your life depends upon it, because, as has become painfully obvious, it does. The one positive outcome of the era of this deranged piece of shit will be the end of conservatism in the United States.


Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The In Crowd
by The Ramsey Lewis Trio

For decades I have occasionally listened to this tune  on the radio, but I was never able to catch the name of the band. I finally found out yesterday. This one is a real beauty! Here's a link to listen to it on YouTube:

As good as it freakin' gets!

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Hard Times Indeed

I was born in 1958. I can remember the assassination of an American president; human beings walking on the moon; the resignation in disgrace of another president. I can remember the continental United States being attacked with almost three-thousand fatalities. Up until less than a month ago I believed I would never again bear witness to a historical event on the magnitude of the ones just mentioned.
I don't think I've ever been that wrong.
And now they're telling us that the next week or so is going to be even worse. I could spend this time criticizing this administration's completely incompetent, criminal, response to what the professionals warned him what was coming - waiting three months before proclaiming a national emergency, calling it a "Democratic hoax" - but I would sound like a broken record. I'll just limit this short posting to reminding everyone to stay put.
Fortunately in recent months I have not spent much time outside of my home and have received  few, if any, visitors. I had a bout of flu last week that was pretty bad and thought I might have contracted this virus, but I seem to be back to normal. I was finally able to obtain some face masks yesterday thanks to my sister Susanne, whose husband, Dr. Jack Dermigny, is a physician (obviously). Millions of people out there still have no access to these basic essentials for staying healthy.

Aunt Audrey
I was just thinking of my aunt Audrey Gargiulo, who passed away on March 22, one month shy of her 101st birthday. The oldest of my father's siblings, she survived all of them all by a decade or more. She was laid to rest at the family plot in Chester, NY three days later. A much beloved and respected woman, she would have had a Standing-Room-Only wake and funeral. As it happens, because of health precautions, the wake and burial was not announced and only nine of us were in attendance. Irony of ironies, she was born during the pandemic of 1918-1920 and stepped into eternity during the pandemic of 2020. At her baptism probably more than one person in attendance were wearing face masks.

Stay safe, folks. This has the potential of being more catastrophic then the two world wars and the great depression combined. Love one another - but keep your distance.


Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here's a film to watch if you're in isolation which I certainly assume you are! Most critics believe that Citizen Kane is the greatest movie ever made. I'm not too sure that it is, but I won't be surprised or disappointed if someone proves me wrong. For the time being at least, you can watch it on You Tube for nothing. And please be aware of the fact that Orson Welles was a mere twenty-five when he co-wrote, directed and stared in this film. A masterpiece. Here's a link to watch it:


Sunday, April 05, 2020

Bad Times. Severe Craziness....

What is happening at the moment is simply that the American people are in the process of relearning a vital lesson they should have learned over a century-and-a-quarter ago - during the administration of Benjamin Harrison. Wait for it....
They have been telling us for forty years that BIG GOVERNEMENT is not the answer to our problems, it is, in fact, the problem. Ronald Reagan is famous for telling us at his first inaugural that government wasn't the answer to our problems, government was the problem.
Reagan was a feeble-minded, failed B movie actor who, at the time of his presidency, should have been living in an assisted living facility, being spoon-fed oat meal. The damage that this dirty old dingbat did to this once-great nation is so immense that it will never be accurately assessed. We're talking incalculable, kids.
I went through a bout of flu last week, thinking I had contracted the deadly corona-virus. It seems that the symptoms have made a turnaround and that I am fine, thank you very much. Although I am still as tired as I have ever been, I cannot emphasize enough that we all need to keep to ourselves as much as we possibly can and continue to practice "social distancing". It's our only hope.

Did you ever - in a million years - think that our once-great nation would sink this low? No, neither did I. Get used to the shit-storm. It's gonna be around for a while.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY