A Conversation at Altitude

 

I had 97 percent of this conversation shortly after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which Donald Trump won. That last three percent make it a parable. The actual exchange occurred at sea level, even though it didn’t seem that way.

 

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Last known photograph of flight AA270.

 

T R A N S C R I P T

DATE OF CONVERSATION: WEDNESDAY 11/09/16, 2:29-2:37 AM EST

SITE: BACK LOWER CABIN OF AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 270 FROM AUSTRALIA TO ARGENTINA; DOUBLE-DECKER AIRBUS A830 CARRYING 853 PASSENGERS AND 20 CREW MEMBERS. 43,000 FEET ABOVE CENTER OF SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN; -25.675107, -152.508214.

CONVERSATION PARTICIPANTS (2): 

1. PASSENGER IN SEAT 83J:
MALE, WHITE, USA CITIZEN, 62 YEARS OLD

2. PASSENGER IN SEAT 83K:
MALE, WHITE, USA CITIZEN, 58 YEARS OLD

_____________________________________________________________________

 

83J: Listen, we elected a new pilot. We went with the orangutan.

 

83K: I heard.

 

83J: It was a fair and square election.

 

83K: I know.   Read More »

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This Is Facebook

facebook-illo-6

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Post-Election Ode to Premature Suicide

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“I protest being used in this manner.”

When I was a kid, I had a book filled with little biography blurbs. I remember reading an especially short one about Walter Benjamin, a German-Jewish philosopher and writer I had never heard of and didn’t care to learn anything about. The last sentence caught my eye. It went something like, “Distraught by the rise of Nazism, he committed suicide in 1940.”

I immediately envisioned that he looked out of his window, saw the jack boots and swastikas and said, “welp, I’m out” and grabbed a gun or poison and was later found slumped on the desk where he wrote all the impenetrably boring, smart things that got him in the book. (Years later, I would learn that his offing himself was considerably more involved than that, but no matter.)  Read More »

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Offensive Chart

 
chartsane__secondd

 
 

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You, For One, Will Welcome Your New Serpent Overlord

Gaboon6The nation is in a struggle to choose its next animal.

Many couples can relate. Let’s say you’re moving and debating which furry quadruped will bedevil your family for the next decade.

“I’d like a dog,” you say. “They’re not perfect, but they’re fiercely protective and they force you to get off your ass, if only to clean up excrement.”

“I want a cat,” your wife says. “They don’t go bat-crap berserk on visitors.”

“I hate cats,” you say. “Don’t you know they secretly despise you? A dog will keep us safer.”

“I want a sub-Saharan Gaboon viper,” says Uncle Joe. Read More »

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1905 Reporter: Election To Wreak Salvation of Journal-ism

1905reporter2

——
News-Papers Must Support
Wealthy G.O.P. Gentle-Man
Ridiculed For His Comb Of Hair
—–

News-paper men, and ladies in the Trade, reporting on the ongoing in-state contests to choose the candidates for the U.S. Presidency, are displaying hostile aversion to one of the gentle-men of the Republican Party. They strongly fear this gentle-man, known for the constructing of conglomerate dwellings and appearances on the tele-vision, will now irrevocably win the nomination and lay destruction to Lincoln’s Party, and—should he prevail in the Presidential election—destroy any well-being of the United States.

While this gentle-man’s name is written daily in this broadsheet, my reckoning of the shoe leather sentiment held by the finger pecking ranks in this foul smelling office, usually cloaked well under-neath their inked stories, was deemed invective and I was requested to “not go there,” which our night broom man informed does not reference any existing place a man could go.
Read More »

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With Great Sadness

momMy dear, beautiful mother, Joan, passed away this past Sunday afternoon, August 16, after fighting lung cancer. She was 81. She was my best friend, my best editor, and my reason for living. I miss her more than words can express.

Everyone who knew and loved my mom knew she was an incredible human being. I’m heartbroken that she’s left me, and I’m trying to just get through each new hour without her gentle eyes and warm smile. She was the life and light of our family and her leaving has left a void that hurts unbearably. Read More »

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Brian Williams Still Can’t Say the “L” Word

Brian_Williams_color7Brian Williams still won’t say he lied.

After four months.

In his first post-suspension interview on June 19, safely on the home NBC turf of the Today show, he persistently dodged a pivotal question Matt Lauer asked but didn’t press forcefully enough: Did he actively know that he was lying when he was telling his many exaggerated tales?

He wouldn’t go there. He just repeated that he got things wrong. Said things “that weren’t true.” His ego made him pump up his stories, but he never intended to mislead anyone.

What?

As genuinely ham-fisted as he’s trying to appear in his sorry-soaked reemergence, Williams is still far from genuine. He’s still putting forward a persona, still trying to sell a man sitting across from him on buying the product he’s creating. Those long-breathed mea culpa sentences are meant to seem clear and naked enough to distract you from noticing they are still equivocations, still conspicuously never add up to I knew I was lying and I kept doing it. Read More »

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On Cooking

TheCookHiRes

I’ve become a fair to middling cook in the last year, due to repetition. Chopping, mincing, sautéing, grilling. Watching how heat changes and destroys something. Learning to control the destruction. That’s what cooking is. Controlled destruction.

It’s tactile. If you mainly work with words and other brain figments, attempting to distill air into digital bits that will be inked on a pulverized tree weeks or months down the road, or left as bits, doing something tactile and physical is welcome. The simpler tasks in preparing food can be meditative and unwind a worded-up brain much like drinking alcohol. You’re doing something with your hands that’s tangible and multisensory. It can start and end in the same slice of day. It produces a result that you can hold and taste, one that hits the first slab on the Maslow pyramid. Cooking is what writing isn’t. Read More »

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Seven Humble Pleas to the General Contractors of Earth

ManHammeringNail copyIf I’m trying to get a project bid from you, I’d appreciate it if you would…

Get a fucking website. It’s not 1975 anymore. I’m going to look you up after someone gives me your name or I find you on HomeAdvisor or Thumbtack or any of the other referral services. You have no website? Game over. I’m not gonna hire you for anything important. How fucking serious could you be? Okay, maybe “you have so much work you don’t need one.” Keep in mind you sound like some 70-year old fool who said he didn’t need a telephone in 1960.

Refrain from only sending out the fucking sales dude. I know, you’re paying a commission to this guy with the polo shirt and brochures to be your front man while you’re off working and earning money. I get it. You can’t be doing estimates all day. So I’m here talking to Cliff or Joe or Derek and wondering if anybody tells him he wears too much cologne. Thing is, I know I’ll never see this schmoe again. I want to talk to the guy who’ll be swinging the hammer. Or onsite telling somebody else to swing the hammer. Until that person comes and looks at the job, I won’t take your bid seriously. Read More »

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