Thursday, January 22, 2009

La Cosa Nostra

cross-posted at Broadway Carl's Blog-O-Mania

-- NOTE : I am now guest posting over at my friend Broadway Carl's place, this site is still otherwise shut down --

Please allow me to introduce myself.

My nom de plume is Armadillo Joe. My old blog was (is?) called Expatriate Thoughts ...from a Texan living in New York City because, well, because Texans and New Yorkers each think they've got it all figured out, have outsized egos about their own importance and no qualms about telling everyone else what they think. I guess I thought if I could combine the reflected glory of my heart's two homes, I could reach out and change some minds and, well, make a difference.



After three and a half years of blogging, about three weeks ago, I shuttered that blog with fewer cumulative hits than driftglass gets on an average weekday afternoon. With no audience, I really had to ask myself what I was doing when I realized that my readership was limited to people I could actually call but more probably would just poke individually on Facebook. Who was my audience?

Frankly, I had hoped it could be my dad. My Nixon-hating, Vietnam War-opposing, gun control-supporting, tree & greenery-loving, Navy vet dad. My Reagan Democrat dad. My Clinton-hating, Limbaugh & Hannity-worshipping, Fox News-watching dad. My Texas Republican dad. Who lives in Dallas. Where the most recent ex-President is calling home. Where our last great president died. He chose well, Mr. Bush, as Dallas is an intellectual cesspool swimming with brain-washed Fox News zombies who will loudly and proudly and with guns defend their man should the nation turn on him and demand retribution for any of his crimes, from looting the treasury to authorizing war crimes. My dad would man the barricades with them. And I thought he'd somehow read my measly little blog and get his mind changed.


So, not so much. As I learned about a month before the election. More to come on the fine-grained details of that topic.

But it was such a glorious plan, though, really. Because it seemed to me, and to all us bloggers madly clacking away on our keyboards at every outrage emanating from the putrid soul of Nixon's GOP, that in George W. Bush's America, that post-9/11 Märchenland of metasisizing corporate feudalism and billowing pollution with visions of torture and death and drowning amid waking authoritarian nightmares where sons turn their fathers in, it seemed to a few of us that perhaps arranging electrons on a glowing screen into black squiggle-marks expressing thoughts and ideas in a new variation of the ancient Art of Writing in service of our own Résistance française -- our own Radio Free America -- broadcasting it out there into the vast and nebulous inter-webs in an attempt to express our inner anguish, hoping to find like-minded souls from the safety of our homes and apartments (better than a street corner -- beset as they were by GOP brownshirts -- or the Tee-Vee -- infested as it was with bootlicking opinion enforcers), somehow trusting that it all was connecting to someone, somehow, somewhere...

...and trusting that it all mattered.

The seeming futility of it all, at first. When John "Glass-Jaw" Kerry went down in 2004 with $15 million in the bank (some of those were my dollars, BTW) and barely a whimper, I know that I retreated in anger from the internet and almost all other news sources beyond weather and sports for almost six months and it never occured to me to actually post my thoughts on anything like a blog. When I emerged in mid-2005, I read and read and finally had to start writing. And writing. At LiveJournal, here. Then I switched to Blogger, here.

Such grand plans we all had, eh? Well, by the fall of 2006, yes. We helped to turn the tide. And 2008 belongs to us, too. The hard work isn't done, but it is all starting to seem worth it, just a little.

I never changed my dad's mind and I think I may have hardened him in the other direction. Alas, a new day dawns in America without him. I'm with Fraulein here in enjoying how much Barack Hussein Obama drives the racists, and my dad, nuts just by being who he is: post-racial, erudite, urban, intelligent, worldly, classy, urbane and, well, black. Beautifully, dashingly, unambiguously black.

He inspires me.

I'm guest-posting here at Broadway Carl's invitation, because if Billmon can return from the dead, I guess I can too.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Signing Off

So, after much internal deliberation, I have realized that this blog is pretty much a waste of time. Besides being a place to vent my opinions for the eyes of a couple of friends, to whom I will likely just repeat the same bloviations in person over beers in the near future, I don't really see the point of this exercise. It sort of helps me to organize my thoughts about the current events and how they relate to larger ideas that bounce around in my head, but why do I have to do that in a public forum? Other bloggers say pretty much what I want to say, just much better and more incisively. And quicker, too. I'm looking at you, drifty.

I'm not changing any minds or influencing policy or deconstructing important issues in a fresh and exciting way here and I just never found the audience I hoped to one day have. Maybe I even thought I might, but besides a forum for my bitching about random shit, the inchoate vibe of this particular stop on the inter-webs never really gelled into an interesting and coherent identity.

I've been at this blogging thing for almost three years now and my readership has never grown beyond people I actually know personally, and even among that limited group, I remain stubbornly stuck in the single digits for readership. And as for actual dedicated, interested readers... those I could count on one hand. Twice.

Granted, most of the fault for this paucity of traffic is my own. I know that in the blogosphere, much like in Life, one must give love to get love. You really do get back what you give out and in this venue I am about as generous as a frozen stone. I don't do much commenting on other blogs, which is far and away the best way to generate traffic. Too busy trying to read them all and compose my own posts in my limited time, I guess. Since I have a day job (OK -- evening, actually), my chances of having the free time to do enough research and composition to become the go-to blog on some emerging hot topic hover somewhere between nil and oblivion. Blogging is hard work.

So, until further notice, I sign off with my favorite literary quote from Walt Whitman's epic poem "Song of Myself" from the 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass (of "Look for me under your bootsoles" fame). Later editions put a period after the last word, in fact they added all the requisite commas at the ends of lines and periods after stanzas and other such "proper" following of poetic rules, too. Which is why I love the version from the earlier edition so much. A period is too final and not in keeping with the openness and rebellion embedded in the sentiment. I tried to find the exact version on the web, but only the punctutation-laden late versions seem to be out there. This is from memory:
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged
Missing me one place search another
I stop somewhere waiting for you

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Fucking Democrats, doing the Republican's work for them.
  1. DiFi throws a hissy because Obama didn't check with her first before appointing someone, though for the last eight fucking years she always seemed all too keen to slurp the cock of whatever wild-eyed wingnut neocon loser the GOP submitted for a dog-and-pony show of approval. Now she decides to show a little independence. The FISA vote would have been a much better time to grow a spine, bee-yotch.

  2. Harry Reid, in a predictable show of spinelessness, folds at the mere threat of a GOP filibuster (as per usual) over seating Al Franken. Which is OK, in one sense, because...

  3. ...Harry Reid, in a predictable show of misapplied vigilance, was so keen on scoring a couple of cheap tough-guy points to butch up his well-oiled Über-wimp image to all those dumb jocks in the GOP that he very publicly painted himself into a corner by piling onto the "Lynch-Blagojevich" Bandwagon with the expectation that Blagojevich would simply fold (for some reason) under the frowning but basically unthreatening glare of widespread Democratic mucky-muck disapproval. Well, it seems Reid forgot The Chicago Way. He and most of the rest of the Dems brought a (rubber) knife to a (live-ammo) gun fight. The Windy City crook with the bad haircut proved some mad skillz by appointing the one guy in the whole state who was both eligible and completely unobjectionable in any form by anyone of any color, race, creed, religion or political persuasion and then daring the Dems to put-up or shut-up about how ba-a-a-a-d they were gonna fu-u-u-u-uck him u-u-u-up, yo. Dude, Reid and the whole slithery lot of them got punk'd. What's more, they deserved to.
Now, ladies and germs, we are treated to the sight of a national party with a freshly-minted president (dashing, smart & handsome) with an actual popular mandate backed up by the largest margins in Congress since before Word War 2 opposed by an increasingly minor regional party in the midst of a disorganized intra-party feeding frenzy and weighed down by a crushingly unpopular outgoing president folding -- FOLDING! -- when they should be standing up to Republican bullying and then -- THEN! -- shivving one of their own, like they're trying to establish street cred on their first day in prison. I have thought for a long time (OK, since the initial excitement over the 2006 election gave way to resignation at Democratic wimpiness) that the D's suffered from some political form of battered-wife syndrome. Until they actually stand-up and fight on our behalf as we have hired them to do by, you know, electing them, instead of depending on us out here in the Land of Average Voters to deliver unto them some magical, insurmountable margin of victory, I don't think they can do anything but talk tough. Remember Nancy "New Sheriff In Town" Pelosi's first few days as speaker?

With Democrats like these, actual card-carrying Republicans seem rather, well, redundant.

I want a new party.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


My friend Broadway Carl gets some love from The Rude One in the wake of his call for 2008 End od the Year political haiku:
One day soon Limbaugh
Will clutch his chest and collapse
I will dance a jig
Other good ones:

From Chuck D. (no, not that one):
Farewell, W.
Please accept this flying shoe
As your good-bye gift.

From The Rude One:
Did Giuliani
really think America
needs Nosferatu?

Obama said, “Yes,
we can.” And we finally
believed that we could.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Friday, January 2, 2009


Well, the Texas Tech Red Raiders once again proved that they are not all they want to be, nor even what they seem to be, nor even what they're cracked-up to be. Ole Miss kicked their asses 47-34.

It was not as close as the score.

Well, the Texas Longhorns will hopefully do some damage against Ohio State next week, but I don't have high hopes.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I feel longer, more frequent posts will be forthcoming this year. It is, afterall, one of my many New Year's resolutions (along with finally really using Rosetta Stone to get fluent enough in French to have a conversation in French with my friends in Paris - which connects to my resolution to be more in touch generally with friends and loved ones not in my immediate work orbit, finally learning to play a complete song - however simple - on my guitar instead of the three tentative chords I can barely muster now, exercising more, volunteering more of my time instead of just donating money and being better at handling the money I do make... these resolutions don't ever really seem to change from year to year). For today, though, the best I can do for a blogpost is this YouTube, a year in 40 seconds (via Elliot at FireDogLake):