An Early Spring

For a man of whose forebears inhabited the summery Mediterranean for millennia, living in New England is akin to imprisonment on Pluto.  Even when you aren’t personally thrust into the jaws of hyperborean cold, you still are surrounded by vistas that at best include the endless blank-white of snow and ice and at worst are restricted to stygian blackness.

There have been recent winters where it snowed relentlessly from New Year’s Day to April Fool’s Day.  The ordeal of clearing snow and going back and forth to work basically took up every waking hour.  And because of the short winter day it seemed like your whole existence took place in snowy twilight or inky darkness.  After living here for the last thirty years I’ve come to completely sympathize with Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining and see the wisdom of cutting his losses.  Although, to be fair, my wife is nowhere’s near as annoying as Shelley Duvall was.

But this year is quite different.  We’ve probably had only about thirty inches of snow all winter and we’ve had so much balmy weather and rain that my entire roof is free of snow.  There’s been so little snow removal that my back is in excellent shape.  And today I saw a small shoot poking out of the exposed dirt.  My wife said it was a Shasta Daisy plant that she planted a few years ago.  And even the chipmunks have awakened from their winter stupor and begun racing around looking for trouble.  Without a doubt, Spring has sprung.

They say in Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.  Well, young I ain’t.  So, to thoughts of what will my fancy lightly turn to?  Why, Supreme Court appointments of course!

Yes, there is no poetry left in my soul.  The progressives have rotted it all away.  In its place is spite, a desire for revenge.  And what better vehicle for this petty malice than the Trumpian blitzkrieg!  Trump’s current nominee is slated to begin hearings next month and be approved by Easter (April 16th).  This will allow his executive orders on immigration to be upheld in SCOTUS and begin the work of challenging some of the other federal court outrages that have cropped up since Scalia’s death last year.

But I must confess I have a fonder and more nefarious hope than Gorsuch’s succession to Scalia’s spot.  What I really want (and actually hope for) is a replacement for Kennedy.  There have been rumors that such an occasion is coming up this year.  Kennedy will be eighty and he has said he wanted to allow a republican to pick his successor.  There are some circumstantial events that have encouraged these thoughts and even though Kennedy has denied any present intention it is not unlikely that he is planning a retirement soon.

This I look forward to with great enthusiasm.  I envision a reversing of all the recent social over-reach that Kennedy allowed and returning these decisions to the states where they can be decided to the satisfaction of the people, the outraged, frustrated, spiteful, vindictive people.  I think that would be true social justice.  So, here’s to an early spring.  In the words of the poet George Costanza, “life, renewal, all that crap!”

Post 100

(Scene 1: Outside the White House Press Conference Room)

President Trump (PT): – Hey Smith, how’s it going today?

Secret Service Agent Smith (AS): – Very well, Mr. President.

PT: – What’s next on the torture chamber assembly line?

AS: – Sir, the reporters are assembled for their 3pm disembowelment.

PT: – Hey Smith, that’s actually funny. I thought you weren’t allowed to have a sense of humor.

AS: – If the room is empty sir, and we’re at ease, I can be reasonably at ease.

PT: – Good, this job is worse than TV sometimes. It’s nice to be myself with an actual human being sometimes.

AS: – Well, I consider myself almost human most of the times.

PT: – Compared to those vampires in the press room, you’re a regular saint.

AS: – That’s a pretty low bar to jump sir.

PT: – True.

AS: – Mr. President, can I ask you a question about these press conferences?

PT: – I guess. What do you want to know.

AS: – Well, if I had to talk with those batshit vermin I’d probably pitch a few of them out a window. How do you keep from walking out on that pack of imbeciles?

PT: – Smith, let me guess. You’re retired military?

AS: – Marines, Iraq, three tours.

PT: – So you know what your enemy looks like and you know how to engage him.

AS: – Yes sir.

PT: – Well, those reporters are my enemy and this how I engage. In fact, it’s sort of like when you guys rolled through Baghdad, not even a close match. And to be totally honest I enjoy pummeling these losers almost as much as I enjoyed kicking Hillary’s ass in the election.

AS: – Well, I guess there are all kinds of different skills out there. But yours is certainly strange to me.

PT: – I dunno. I think we’re both trying to get a job done. This country is under attack on all sides. You guys in the military have a pretty clear cut job. But terrorists aren’t the only enemy. The progressives are trying to dismantle our way of life. And if a big city boy like me sees it then it’s not something at the fringe. I’ve seen stuff like this becoming more and more of an impediment to business, culture and even personal life. The republicans aren’t up to stopping it. Hell, some of them are part of it. So what you need is someone willing to take the fight to them. And if I do say so myself, I really know how to cut these dimwits off at the knees. And, God help me, I really do enjoy it.

AS: – Well, fair enough. If that’s your bread and butter, then more power to you. But tell me one other thing. Why hasn’t anybody else been able to do this before you?

PT: – Because, they’re amateurs. These guys couldn’t sell a life preserver to a drowning man. They think the good guys win automatically. I’m hoping to start teaching some of the better ones how to get things done. But for now I’ll be running this circus. My next trick is gonna be building a public voice to force the democrat senators up for re-election in 2018 to support the platform the people want.

AS: – Sounds like you’ve got things well in hand.

PT: – Oh, hell no. This thing is a flying circus and every five minutes it starts spinning out of control again. But I don’t know any other way to get these things done.

AS: – Well, good luck today Mr. President. I hope you have a successful campaign.

PT: – Thanks Smith.

(Scene 2 – Later inside the Conference Room, President Trump is at the podium)

PT: – Alright, I think there’s time for one more question.

Reporter (RPT): – Mr. President, I’m Rash Partisan for CNN. My question is, since it’s going to take you two years to build your wall how will you prevent the “bad hombres” from doing whatever the hell they want until then?

PT: – Short term, I’d say about a dozen attack copters will handle any really major force of narcotraficantes or other bad actors we have to deal with.

RPT: – That’s not legal, that’s a war crime.

PT: – Yeah, sure. Do me a favor. Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares. Alright, that concludes our press conference. Now get the hell out of here. We’ve got work to do.

The Great 100th Post Contest


Greetings esteemed readers of OCF.  Well, we’re coming up to the 100th post and in honor of this momentous occasion I would like to use feedback from you the readers to decide what the 100th episode should be about.  Should President Trump fire Melania (No! Not Schmoopy!)?  Should Steve Bannon reveal that he actually is Satan?  Should the Donald order the Treasury to print up enough money to give every tax payer a billion dollars?  Should Trump name Deadpool as Secretary of Coolness?

You tell me.  Leave your suggestions as comments on this post and I’ll pick from the best ones.  The winner will be announced and can even personalize his story for all the interwebs to see.  So hurry, contest ends by Sunday February 19th 2017 at noon EST.




Trump vs PLOTUS

President Trump (PT):  Mike, where are you?  I need your help.

Mike Pence (MP):  Right here, Mr. President.  What can I do for you?

PT:  I need to announce another appointment.

MP:  Uhh, Mr. President, those are all finished.

PT:  Wrong, Pence.  I have selected the next PLOTUS.

MP:  I’m not familiar with that acronym.

PT:  Poet Laureate of the United States.

MP:  Oh, Mr. President, I mean, I enjoy trolling these people almost as much as you do.  But isn’t that a bridge too far?  Oprah may have a stroke or something.

PT:  Hey look, I need to have some fun with this job.  I’m also gonna make this a twofer by appointing him to the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

MP:  Alright, I’ll bite.  Who have you picked?

PT:  A man whom I have fired.  A former business associate who does not like me.  I have been completely impartial.  The most impartial.  This appointment is strictly on the merits of his poetry.  His greatness is well known.  Like me he is from New York City.  He hails from the famous neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay.  Not far from Trump Village.  A truly great building complex.  And like me he has appeared on SNL.  His name is Andrew Dice Clay.  His poetry is probably best known for incorporating traditional English nursery rhymes.  His haiku on Mother Goose is legendary.

MP:  Oh good grief.  This is going to cost us on the evangelical vote.

PT:  Nah, we may lose some feminists, but let’s be realistic.  I’m not getting them anyway.  Plus can you just see the headlines on the Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic?  They’ll be marching with those stupid hats for weeks.  And I’ll commission PLOTUS to write a commemoration.  Possibly something to do with Nantucket.  And while everyone is busy I’ll get a replacement for Kennedy onto SCOTUS.

MP:  You know, this one almost makes sense.  Alright count me in.  But to truly do justice to this action I believe you should make the proclamation on SNL.

PT:  That’s a tough one.  They really hate me there.  But that’s an interesting idea.  I’ll think about it.

MP:  You know, I didn’t even know Clay was still alive.

PT:  Yeah, he’s been on a downward trend since I fired him on the Apprentice.  He could probably use a full-time gig too.  I think I’ll get him a spot in the Justice Department.  Possibly running Title IX enforcement.  That should balance out some of the social justice holdovers from Obama.

MP:  Now that actually kind of is poetry.  Poetic Justice, if you’ll pardon the pun.

PT:  Wow, Mike.  You really need to loosen up.  That was a lead balloon.  I tell you what.  I’ll rent you a copy of Ford Fairlane and have PLOTUS give you a few lessons in funny.  What do you say?

MP:  Hickory dickory, dock?

Trump vs Photog

(Scene 1 – White House West Wing)

President Trump (PT):  Steve, who’s this guy Photog from Orion’s Cold Fire that you’ve put on my appointment calendar?  Is he safe to see?  He sounds like some kind of cult leader.

Stephen Bannon (SB):  Mr. President, he’s a strange but brilliant man who has parodied your campaign and presidency in posts on his website.

PT:  Oh, he’s that blogger nut that makes fun of me?

SB:  Pretty much.

PT:  What has he got on you?  Pictures with a hooker.

SB:  Not quite, just professional courtesy.

PT:  All right send the jackass in.

Photog (PH):  Hello Mr. President.  It’s an honor to meet you.

PT:  You have a funny way of showing it.  Schmoopy?  What the hell is that?

PH:  Well Mr. President, it was a Seinfeld joke.

PT:  Seinfeld?  That guy hates me.  He’s a total jerk!

PH:  Well artists are a strange bunch.

PT:  So, why are you here wasting my time?  Don’t you know how much I’ve got going on?

PH:  I do.  But I know you’ve got a lot of capable staff to get it done so, I thought I would make some suggestions and hope for the best.

PT:  Like what?

PH:  Well, for one thing, I think you should be on TV.

PT:  Hey Einstein, I just got off TV.  I have a new gig.  Maybe you’ve heard of it POTUS?

PH:  Hear me out.  I think you should have a weekly show.  Each week you can speak directly to the American people.  Give them a highlights reel of what’s happening.  Tell them about some problem that you want them to know about.  Maybe read a letter from one of them.  Also, get them involved in some initiative.  Maybe a contest or two based on the most popular suggestion or maybe the least crazy one.  And make sure you give them a little good news every once in a while.  You could even get some celebrities, the ones who aren’t against you to provide a little entertainment.  Your first guests can be the New England Patriots.  You’re supposed to congratulate them anyway.  Might as well get some mileage out of that to start things off.

PT:  Sounds kind of hokey.

PH:  Hokier than the Apprentice or a beauty contest?

PT:  Hmm.  Good point.  Well what else have you got?

PH:  I think once you have two of your Supreme Court selections approved, you should get Congress to pass legislation outlawing affirmative action.

PT:  Are you crazy?  The women and the minorities will go crazy.  It’ll star a civil war.

PH:  Actually, it will avert one.  Don’t you realize that you were elected because you addressed some of the grievances that white men are experiencing because of the same nonsense that allows the affirmative action travesty to continue?  How is affirmative action anything but government mandated discrimination?  Really, it’s time to end it.

PT:  You’re a dangerous individual Photog.

PH:  Quite the contrary, I think ending affirmative action could act to avert danger.  Think of it as a relief valve to release some of the pressure building up among white men.  There are forces on the right that are getting tired of the war against them.  This might calm everyone down a lot.  Plus, everybody would get the respect they deserve by earning it on the merits.

PT:  I’ll think about it.  Anything else?

PH:  Yes.  Change your image.  Drop forty pounds.  Lose the spray-on tan and go with a razor cut.  You’ve got to look more professional.

PT:  All right that’s enough.  Don’t call me I’ll call you.  Maybe.

PH:  Goodbye Mr. President.


Trump vs Photog – Part 2 – OCF Goes to Washington

Rolf Nelson’s Back From the Dead – A Short SF Book Review

I just finished this first volume in a series named “The Stars Came Back” and I’m sure I’ll be reading the sequel when it appears.  The back cover says that the series “combines military science fiction with the classic space western” and I will agree.  The universe that this book inhabits has humans spread out on over a thousand planets.  These worlds were terraformed during an expansion era that ended with a supernova occurring nearby that disrupted faster than light (FTL) travel for an extended period of time and threw these new worlds on their own devices to survive (or perish).

The various inhabited planets we see or hear about contain bits and pieces of one or more Earth cultures.  One of the problems that seems to exist in most of the locales we see is a bureaucracy that preys on the citizens using stifling regulation to punish citizens monetarily and otherwise.  The tone of the book shows a preference for more personal freedom and less government interference.

The main characters become involved in a project to rehabilitate an unusual transport ship that brings together military and civilian personnel in an interesting cooperation that slowly unfolds some puzzling characteristics of this odd “Flying Dutchman.”  The cast is a mixture of men, women, a child and even an AI who runs the ship.  The military component of the story I found most engaging.  The interaction of the NCO with the recruits and his officers is familiar and adds the familial attachment and common cause aspects of the story that makes mil sf so enjoyable for many.  There are several battles both on planet and off that I thought were well done.  I found most of the characters engaging.  It will be interesting to see how the various interpersonal dynamics work themselves out over the course of the series.  And, of course, the secrets of the ship will be interlaced with them.

So, I’ll give an enthusiastic endorsement to “Back from the Dead” and recommend it to anyone who enjoys classic sf and especially mil sf.

Publius Decius Mus and his Enemies

Publius Decius Mus (author of the anonymous and influential article “The Flight 93 Election” has been revealed to be Michael Anton.  And he has taken a job as the White House’s,  Communications Director of the National Security Council.  Anton immediately found himself attacked by the usual suspects, leftists and never-Trumpers.  He’s all kinds of bad things.  He’s a Nazi (of course), a fascist, a reactionary.  He’s too smart to just be a deplorable.  He must be an evil genius.  Anton was part of the George W Bush administration and a card-carrying neo-con.  But he saw the mistakes that were made and recognized the overreach and delusion that defined the Bush view.  He saw that Conservatism Inc. (his term for the pundits) was not interested in the issues that faced the everyday people.  They were uninterested in either rampant illegal immigration that depressed their wages, rampant globalism that exported their jobs or unchallenged cultural Marxism that demeaned their beliefs and proselytized their children.

The Flight 93 Election article was clear and I think convincing.  It provided the logical reason for even a high-powered intellect to embrace the Trump presidential bid as the only hope of avoiding a fundamental and probably irreversible degradation to the American way of life.  I remember agreeing with the article completely and finding comfort in knowing that someone clearly intelligent and literate had expressed in the public square what I also believed was at stake in the 2016 election.

So why am I writing this post?  Because once again, the Trump administration has done something good.  They have plucked a former W insider who was part of the Iraq War catastrophe and because he believes in what the Trump White House wants to get done, they’re using him.  Smart.

People keep telling me how crazy Trump is, how dumb he is.  Well if he is then he sure knows how to hide it.  Admittedly when he goes off script he sounds like Ralph Kramden of the Honeymooners talking to the members of the Racoon Lodge about how he is going to put one over on their wives.  But every time he makes a move it turns out to be the right one.  One theory I’ve been trying out is that Melania is the puppet-mistress pulling The Donald’s strings.  Well, if this is so then lucky him.  But more likely, he has learned how to size up advisers.  And he’s surrounded himself with people who know what they are doing.  If that is true, then hiring Anton is just another good example of Trump recognizing good people.  I’ve read some of Anton’s non-political writings and he is witty and clear.

Well, all this sounds just like a puff piece.  Where’s the dramatic tension?  I’ll tell you where.  I’m disgruntled.  Trump and his people knew Decius was a Bush guy but reading his articles must have convinced them that he should be part of the team.  I consider myself a great intellectual too.  And I’ve written dozens of posts on Trump that put him in a good light (well I do poke some gentle fun at you, schmoopy).  So where’s my cushy Washington job with a view of Pennsylvania Avenue?  Come on Donald, you know where to reach me.  Send the helicopter and let’s do a meeting.  As your science and technology adviser I can streamline all these boondoggle programs and actually get something useful done.  With my help, you can make nerds great again.  But this is a short-term offer.  On January 9th 2025 this offer will be null and void (well, unless you’re listening too Mike Pence, errr, sir).  So, hurry up schmoopy.

Groundhog Day and Still Winning

Happy Groundhog Day! All fans of Bill Murray’s classic know that in order to escape from the Purgatory of endlessly reliving a day trapped in a boring hick town in winter you have to recognize your fatal sin and eliminate it.  For the democrats the endless loop is Trump giving them another hot foot.  Their sin is contempt for the average non-elite American.

Luckily for us Deplorables, they’re highly unlikely to even recognize this as a fault. They’ll continue to rage and riot and show the rest of the country how little respect they have for any of the things regular Americans want done.

So it’s been a meme for quite a while to ask yourself if you’re tired of winning yet. This is a play on a statement by Trump that his administration would be winning so much, that Americans would get tired of winning.

So every morning when I get to work, I talk to the Coffee Walk Baunch and I ask them if they’re tired of winning. They’re not.

I have a good memory of every presidential administration going back to LBJ. I can honestly say that even Reagan never produced this much glee.  I am honestly glad every morning to hear what Trump has accomplished and even happier to hear which lefty loon is apoplectic about it.  And like clockwork, whatever reaction they commit blows up in their faces like it was in some kind of Road Runner cartoon.  Only under this administration the democrats are always the coyote.

Almost as amusing, is seeing the old guard republican pundits warily sizing up every new Trump action to see if it’s safe yet to attack it. They’ve been burned so many times doing this  that they are gun shy of just jumping in and condemning him.  But you can tell that they just can’t whole heartedly accept that Trump is the real deal.  After all, he looks and sounds like an extra from a Seinfeld episode.  How can he be smarter than them?  Well, earth to pundits, he is!  Supreme Court picks, wall construction, cabinet picks, immigration policy, bureaucracy reduction, environmental policy, energy policy, education policy, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check!  Yep, he’s way smarter than you and he’s way more useful than you and, shock of shocks, he’s actually way more “conservative” than you.

And so I’ll bring this back around to Groundhog Day.  I wouldn’t mind waking up every day and hearing that Donald Trump had shocked and offended the democrats.  I would even be willing to have  my alarm clock start every single day with Sonny and Cher belting out “I Got You Babe” if it meant that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and The New York Times and CNN were also waking up to it along with some new bit of Trump jiu-jitsu that was just for them.  Because “He’s Got Them.”

But I want to get involved in it.  I think Trump should contact all his campaign donors and take a poll of what new affront to democrat dignity would be especially popular with the troops.  Maybe the best idea could be announced at a presidential address (or at least given a tweeted shout-out).  My suggestion would be to stop all support to California until they stop violating immigration laws.  This would be especially effective with respect to college money being lavished on illegal aliens.  But I’m sure there are thousands of good ideas out there in the American psyche just waiting for Trump to add it to the endless winning that is our present life.  Long may Ground Hog Day continue.  Amen.

Trump vs the Martian

(Scene 1 – White House West Wing)

Mike Pence (MP):  Mr. President, I got your message.

Donald Trump (DT):  Hello Mike.  Yeah, I need some help.

MP:  Yes, what can I do?

DT:  Until our NSF man is appointed I need to get someone to get the eggheads working on something for me.

MP:  Sure I’ll get someone on the phone right away and have them line up the subject matter experts you need.  What is the subject?

DT:  Nukes.

MP:  Mr. President, isn’t it a little early in the term to start rattling sabres?

DT:  No not bombs, power plants.

MP:  But why Mr. President?  With fracking and the lower prices it isn’t economical to build nuclear power plants.

DT:  Think big Mike.  Sure, oil’s cheap now but it isn’t infinite.  We’ve got to look for a fuel that will still be around in a thousand years and solve the problems before we’re already using it.

MP:  Alright, that’s true.  But right now the environmentalists are up in arms about the climate change thing and are ready to start a war with you.

DT:  Exactly.  And that’s how I’m gonna sell it to them.  I’ll make them put their money where their mouths are.

MP:  How?

DT:  I’ll simply say if they believe that global warming is real then they must support an alternative to fossil fuels.  It’s just been shown how useless wind and solar are for practical power generation.  I’ll tell them if they want to save the planet, they’ll have to sign on to this initiative.  They’ll be too scared to admit the whole thing was a hoax so they’ll be backed into a corner.  And once they agree it’ll utterly piss off the Gaia crowd who hate nukes worse than they hate me.  It’s a real win win.

MP:  Sounds like an interesting idea.  Where do you intend to locate this new project?

DT:  Detroit.

MP:  No, Mr. President!  The optics would be terrible!

DT:  Wrong again.  This program would generate jobs all the way from PhD’s down to janitors.  Putting Americans to work is the best kind of optics there is.  And Detroit needs jobs like nowhere else.

MP:  Maybe you’re right about this.  But why are you suddenly interested in nuclear power?

DT:  Because I’m from Queens.

MP:  I don’t understand.

DT:  Have you ever seen the site of the 1963 World’s Fair?

MP:  Well yes.  The Unisphere and the flying saucer towers that they showed in Men in Black.

DT:  Yeah.  Well I was a teenager when my parents brought me to it.  And I saw a vision of the future that included unlimited power, space travel, a cure for cancer and flying cars.  Well I’m seventy years old and the only space age thing I see is the cell phone in my pocket.

That doesn’t cut it.

My grandkids are going to live in a world without limits.  I’m tired of losers whining about why we can’t do the things we know we can do.  And I think it’s about time we start doing them.  I’m also going to restart the space program.  But we’re gonna need a better propulsion system to get to Mars.  I saw Matt Damon raising potatoes in his own poop because it took two years to get to Mars.  With nukes we could get there in two weeks.  That’s what we’re gonna do.

MP:  I’ll get them on the phone.

DT:  Oh, and see if anyone has a background in underwater construction.  I always wanted to build a hotel in the Gulf of Mexico.  Good winter vacation spot.