Love ‘im or hate ‘im — and there are plenty of partisans on either side of that fence — there’s no denying Steve Volan adores his work as a municipal legislator. That, and he’s got a crush on this sprawling megalopolis. He gives his all for the cause of city government.
And now he’s sharing some of his voluminous knowledge thereof. His Councilmanic web site is a must read. His latest blast, posted yesterday, explains how kooky intersections and crumbling curbs get prioritized. His elucidation answers the age-old question: Why the hell don’t they fix… (fill in the blank.)
Natch, people want whatever problem they’re looking at this very moment to be fixed, eliminated, or at least verbally addressed. Steve reminds us that cities and town have budgets to do a mere fraction of these patches and replacements so odds are the busted-up concrete or death-defying crosswalk you’re staring at isn’t on the schedule for remediation at this moment.
So, add Councilmanic to the Big Mike-endorsed list of fab blogs & sites you, loyal Pencillista, should consult daily. In fact, here’s the list (and if I forget one, I’ll flog it at a later date):
- Councilmaniac: Volan’s cityworks primer
- in53–MoCoGov: Geoff McKim’s explication of the ins and outs of Monroe County gov’t
- Every goddamn day: Neil Steinberg’s uncensored, sometimes unpublished, columns
- Dave Hoekstra’s Website: The bard of Middle America
- The Oatmeal: Bizarre, outré, macabre comix
- Adria Nassim: Technically not a blog but close enough; life with autism
- Infinite Gestation: Farmer/engineer Sam Zurcher and his pals’ literary ramblings
- xkcd: Funny & informative
- FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver & Co.’s deep peek into the data ocean
- Atlas Obscura: Pix & tales of the wacky, wonderful world we inhabit
- Space.com: Pix & tales of the wacky, wonderful universe we inhabit
Which reminds me — remember when blogrolls were de rigueur features of blogs? They’ve gone the way of chat rooms, bulletin boards, twerking, and Gangnam style.
I was just reminded in a conversation (don’t ask me how, it was an indescribably circuitous path) that my maternal grandfather, Vincenzo Parello, worked in the Sicilian sulfur mines as a nine-year-old.
Let me repeat that: he was nine goddamned years old, toiling away in the bowels of the Earth from sunup to sundown. Yeesh.
And get this — he had to work in the nude. Why? The sulfur and other caustic stuffs would actually eat away at workers clothing so that it was determined the wearing of duds was cost prohibitive. Oh, and the temp in the mines often reached 113℉ with 100% humidity. Kid’s stuff, eh?
Sicilian Sulfur Miners
Hey, who needs workplace regulations?
Pulling No Punches
University press editor and exactitude maven Renaldo Migaldo points out this screed in GQ mag directed against those tens of millions of misguided souls who’ll vote for D. Trump this Nov.:
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Sure, there are those who are four-square in favor of the grifting uber-materialist but, the author of the piece asks, what of those who are considered swing voters this year? What kind of logic are they employing? Here’s a snippet from the piece:
Note to the people causing the polls to fluctuate: What the fuck is wrong with you? I gotta meet the five percent of people who saw Hillary come down with pneumonia and were like, “Forget her, gimme the dictator with dryer lint hair.”
Article author Drew Magary comes to this unhappy conclusion:
And so I’d just like to say to that portion of the electorate: Fuck you. No, seriously. Go fuck yourselves. I’m not gonna waste any more time trying to convince you that you’re about to do something you’ll regret forever. I’m not gonna show you old clips of Trump saying rotten things. I’m not gonna try to ANNIHILATE Trump by showing you records of his hypocrisy and greed. I’m not gonna link to a John Oliver clip and be like, “THIS. So much this.” Nothing’s gonna take down Trump at this point, so I’m not gonna bother. No no, this post is for ME. I am preaching to the sad little choir in my soul here.
Lemme add to this Keith Olbermann’s laundry list of some of D. Trump’s most recent sins, venial and cardinal, a task that takes him 17 minutes and 24 seconds and encompasses 176 line items, presented on GQ‘s The Closer podcast.
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Olbermann calls him ” the most dangerous individual ever nominated by a major party for the highest office in this country.”
To that I add, the first certified, bona fide, incompetent, indubitable jerk ever to entertain the a real hope of leading us into a very bleak future.
The point of all this? It doesn’t matter one single little bit if D. Trump wins or loses this fall. The very fact that tens of millions of anencephalics are gaga over him is prima facie evidence we, as a nation, are fucked.
America’s Fantasy Industrial Complex
Theater big shot and Columbia College instructor Albert Williams has found, perhaps, the reason mega-many Murricans are in thrall to this previously risible reprobate. Williams quotes The Guardian writer Ben Fountain who posits that Americans are living in a nightmare alternative to the American dream wherein:
[The] numbed-out, dumbed-down, make-believe world where much of the national consciousness resdies, the sum product of our Fantasy Industrial Complex: movies, TV, internet, texts, tweets, ad saturation, celebrity obsession, sports obsession, Amazonian sewers of porn and political bullshit, the entire onslaught of media and messaging that strives to separate us from our brains…. Most of the time most Americans don’t know what’s real anymore. How else to explain Donald Trump, a billionaire on an ego trip….
Babies, I gotta go wash my mind and soul out with strong bleach or else I’ll be looking to stick my head in the oven late tonight. Come Nov. if the Orange-utan wins the election, it’ll take a lot more than bleach to set me right.