Friday, April 28, 2017

30 Rocks!

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Today we're doing something unprecedented: giving you a youthful perspective on life and living in 2017, rather than our standard fist-shaking "angry old coot with a bullhorn" perspective.

We're doing this in honor of (and with the indispensable help of) Daughter Jarlsberg, who celebrated her 30th birthday yesterday! 

If you'll allow a moment of parental gushing, she's an extraordinary young woman who - among many other accomplishments - has been a National Merit Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa college graduate, Dallas Morning News editorial writer, Symphony Orchestra musician, children's book author, and is a Speech Therapist who has a special gift for working with young children.

She's also faced (and overcome) more than her share of challenges, including significant health conditions, entering the workforce during the "lost generation" of the job-killing Obama economy, and the always-frightening possibility that she could grow up as crazy as her father. Let us all give thanks for the ameliorating qualities of Mrs. Jarlsberg's calming genes and maternal guidance.

With that preamble out of the way, here are 30 Life Lessons that this freshly-minted 30-year-old has picked up along her journey so far. Let us all learn from her wisdom...

1. Nothing good ever comes from clowns. 

2. Never try to blackmail a murderer.

3. Have a flashlight in every room - you never know where you're going to be when the lights go out. 

4. You can microwave regular oatmeal just like instant oatmeal. 

5. Someone doesn't have to be a bad person to still be bad news. 

6. Understand statistics - otherwise people will lie to you with facts. 

7. Understand personal finance.

8. If you're going to speed when driving, make sure someone else is going faster than you. That's who the police will pull over.

9. Driving and competitiveness should have nothing to do with each other. Let the angry speed demons pass you.  My personal zen-like phrase is "be the rock in the river." 

10. Life is too short for cheap, crappy toilet paper. 

11. One's living space should be both tidy and expressive of your life and personality. This ensures that, when you are murdered, the forensics team and investigators will be able to get a clear picture of your circumstances and thus more likely to catch the killer.

12. Large groups of women can quickly turn into war zones about nothing.

13. There are more sociopaths in the world than you would think.

14. All Christmas lights are beautiful.

15. Prolonged self-pity is a form of narcissism. 

16. There is a very tight correlation between parents who refuse to discipline their precious babies and parents that get easily, easily offended. 

17. You can generally identify these parents before even meeting them by hearing the 'creative' names of their children. I'm looking at you, Camelot.

18. Even when they make you crazy, having a dog keeps you sane. 

19. Stick up for people being bullied. You'll probably end up being bullied too, but no one should have to feel isolated and alone. 

20. Very few people tolerate someone making a constant stream of puns. Keep them close and cherish them.

21. Ramen stops being cheap when you have to buy heartburn medicine to go with it.

22. Beware the quiet ones - they are the ones who, when pushed too hard, will lose their minds with rage. As the quiet one, I admit to relishing the look of absolute, pants-staining terror on the faces of those who didn't see it coming. I'm looking at you, jocks who threw french fries at me. ONCE.

23. Running a spoon under hot water, then placing it on a mosquito bite, will instantly stop the itching. I feel sad for all of the summers I didn't know this. 

24. Compatibility with your co-workers makes up to 99% of your job satisfaction.

25. Wear comfortable, practical shoes. You never know when the zombie apocalypse will start, and trying to run in strappy stiletto heels is a recipe for disaster. 

26. Don't try to hide mistakes. It just makes things harder for everyone. 

27. It's nice to have your own theme song. Mine is Academic Festival Overture by Brahms. 

28. Never underestimate Japan's power to screw with your mind. 

29. Life doesn't owe you a thing. 

30. Sometimes, when you get stuck in a routine, it feels like your life is being lived for you. Those are the times to do something a little different - it reminds you that your life is yours.  So yeah, I am going to get that third ear piercing! Sorry Mom and Dad!

Good stuff, huh?  Feel free to add to this list of useful life lessons - and share 30th birthday wishes - in the comments section!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Wall Grins

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Rather than having the Democrats shut down the government and turn the undeserving American people away from Mount Rushmore, Old Faithful, and the Washington Monument, Donald Trump has agreed to let an interim spending bill (is there any other kind?) proceed without the startup money for his border wall - but promises that he'll get better results in September.

Not that he's getting bad results right now - just the threat of Trump's policies has cut illegal border crossings by 70% to 90% in some areas, with the most recent report showing the lowest incursion of illegals in 17 years. That's impressive. Donald Trump is actually accomplishing more with words than Democrats can traditionally accomplish with money and misbehaving. Granted, much of the difference comes from Trump being sincere about his goals.

Frankly, we don't know if Trump is really planning to strike a deal with Hades Holdings LLC to rent Cerberus, the many-headed demon dog, and put him to work guarding our borders. But it's that kind of creative thinking which is giving potential interlopers (and yes, a number of gang members, drug dealers, terrorists, and rapists) serious second thoughts about trying to sneak in...

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, trump, border wall, funding, shut down, cerebus, dog, hell
Not just great security - also great TV!

Monday, April 24, 2017

The First 100 Daze

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Even though Donald Trump's Presidency doesn't hit the 100 day mark until Saturday, April 29th, it was a major talking point in the news media this weekend. This is primarily because the people who claim to be journalists these days just love big dumb stories about big dumb round numbers, and offering their worthless opinions rather than doing anything even remotely like reportage.

So we'll do it too!

As you'll recall unless you drink as much as we do, Barack Obama spent the entirety of his first 100 days being fellated by the press, bowing to foreign potentates, making a famous "apology tour" to explain to foreigners how much our nation has always sucked, labeling military veterans as "potential terrorists," incinerating taxpayer dollars with preposterous "stimulus programs" that only stimulated ACORN and other liberal evildoers and, most importantly, did all of these things while simultaneously being historically black. In stark contrast, Donald Trump has actually tried to accomplish things while being orange. But how has he fared?

All in all, pretty well. For one thing, he hasn't destroyed the Earth in an insane, orgiastic display of nuclear button pushing - so count the pundits wrong on that worry. Similarly, we've noticed no particular increase in "pussy grabbing," other than among feminists (or should we call them fetishists?) who have taken to wearing giant vagina costumes. A trend which, sadly, appears to have driven former Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly mad with lust.

Trump has been great for the stock market, which we wish we would have foreseen before selling a crapload of securities under the assumption that one of Trump's nutty 3 a.m. tweets would quickly crash the market. We stand corrected (note: stock market humor).

Trump has also been good at reestablishing the military significance of "red lines" including those drawn (and withdrawn) by previous presidents. And hey, any President who introduces ISIS to the "Mother of All Bombs" deserves extra style points in our book.

Perhaps most significantly, President Trump presided over Neil Gorsuch's ascendancy to the Supreme Court - a fact which would cause us to hang a triumphant "Mission Accomplished" banner over his presidency even if he spends the next four years golfing and hosting pep rallies.

Of course, some of Trump's campaign promises have yet to be realized. Obamacare is still a cancer on our nation's health system, the Border Wall hasn't been funded yet, and - most tragically - Hillary Clinton still isn't in prison.

Then again, who knows what Trump can get done by Saturday?


Want the original Hope n' Change "First 100 Daze" PDF ebook to remind you of just how godawful Barack F. Obama was from the very beginning? Just click this link and download it for free (note: it's about 12 MB owing to all the graphics).


After several days of panic, misery, and extremely theatrical suffering (sorry, Mrs. J!) we've got our computer up and running again. And by "running," we mean limping, covered in stitches, and with electrodes sticking out of its neck.

There's no way to make computer repair stories interesting, so we'll keep this short and say that it was scary to realize how truly screwed we'd be if we couldn't put the pieces back together again. We couldn't just buy a new computer, because our tangled web of programs will only run on an old computer with an outdated operating system.

So why not just update everything? Because we're not as young as we used to be, and no longer have a sufficient quantity of marbles to mentally adapt to the new tech. Seriously, the Obama years took a toll.

We do, however, want to thank the many readers who sent good wishes, condolences, wisecracks (we particularly liked "those Commodore computers don't last forever"), repair suggestions, and even the offer of a free laptop.

The one and only reason we got through this is because we were good about backing things up (using Time Machine and an external hard drive on a Mac). Please make sure you're doing the same - you won't regret it.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Technical Difficulties

Well, after complaining about everything other than our computer on Wednesday, our faithful old iMac gave up the ghost yesterday. In lieu of flowers, we encourage mourners to send alcohol.

Seriously, we've got a replacement machine heading our way (a snappy used 2011 model) via Fed Ex, but we're not sure how quickly (or completely) we can get things back to normal-ish. We're guessing maybe Wednesday of next week. Or later if enough of you actually send the aforementioned alcohol.

Have a great weekend, and remember to back up your computers. Seriously, go do it right now.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

You Need A Higher Dose of Meditation

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, vacuum, vacuum cleaner, white noise, relaxation, stress
Unsurprisingly, vacuums abhor Nature, too.
Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seems to go right? Well, you're having another one right now, because today we've got neither news coverage, an Earwigs cartoon, or even Busty Ross buffing her nails.

Rather, you've just accidentally stumbled into a whiny rant from which there is no escape, assuming you don't know that there are an infinite number of other websites only a click away.

Our subject du jour is "stress" - and how we personally try to cope with it.

The Stressors:

• Yesterday, daughter Jarlsberg made the long drive back to Oklahoma City (always a source of parental worry). No sooner had she departed than previously unpredicted storms popped up along her entire route. And for those who don't live in Texas or Oklahoma, we should specify that when storms "pop up" (which sounds cute and fun), it can also mean the appearance of volleyball-sized hail traveling faster than the speed of sound, and tornadoes whose sizes are described on a scale ranging from "F1" to "F5" depending on how many times you use the F-word upon seeing the funnel heading your way. (Spoiler alert: she made the trip without incident).

• We simultaneously had a visit from a (ha!) service technician from Frontier Communications. The idea was to increase our Internet speed - a gift from Frontier for having screwed up our account every month for an entire year. When the tech left, our Internet was indeed blazingly fast for the 5 minutes it stayed connected. And - oops! - our television was completely out.

We subsequently spent four agonizing hours on tech support lines - getting hung up on at least three times despite our inordinate civility and goodwill - and ended the day with Internet working sporadically, but still no TV. Which wouldn't be a great loss, but when Drudge is screaming in red headlines "NUCLEAR WAR AT ANY DAMN SECOND!" it does rather pique one's curiosity about what might be happening on the news.

• Added to this, here at Castle Jarlsberg, we're preparing to do some major renovations. How major? Let's just say that the word "gut" is the most frequently used verb. For those of us who are, by nature, barnacles, it can be highly disconcerting to entertain the idea of throwing things out, tearing things down, and then having new things built, painted, patched, plumbed, or plundered by the same sorts of pathological "service providers" that Frontier Communications uses to terrorize their customers.

• And then there's all the usual background stress, including that pesky "possible nuclear war" thing, random Facebook killers (happily, that one has sorted itself out), pro-Trump and anti-Trump people beating the snot out of each other in Berkeley, the infirmities of advancing age, the stock market (we lost a bundle today), and - oh yeah - a blog deadline!

How We Cope With Stress:

• We'll bet you said "by drinking," right?! HA! Well, okay, we do have a snort or so of Clan MacGregor.

• Cheap Chinese food also works in the short term.

• But the most important factor in reducing stress is: listening to a good, loud vacuum cleaner. We're not joking in the least. For us, that jet engine whine with just a soupçon of suck is the sound of peace and relaxation (not to mention a great help with our unending smoke-detector-shriek tinnitus).

At this very moment, we're using the Amazon Echo device (with 7 microphones reporting our every utterance to the NSA) to play an endless loop of a vacuum cleaner in order to keep our heart rate beneath that of a meth-addicted hummingbird. And when we go to bed at night, to soothe us into stress-free slumber, we'll listen to our MP3 recording of a vacuum cleaner in a thunderstorm

In any event, just complaining about all of this stuff has helped us feel a bit better. And if we unfortunately stressed YOU out in the process, well, here's 8 hours of sonic relief...

Monday, April 17, 2017


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Click picture for larger/clearer version
As you've already noticed, we're skipping the news today because we didn't feel like spending Easter trying to find a rib-tickling angle to Donald Trump and Kim Jung Un's ongoing game of nuclear chicken. Oh, there's probably a joke to be had about the Easter Bunny and a "hare raising" arms race, but we've got far too much pride to go down that road.

But hey, at least there's an Earwigs cartoon tucked into your basket of goodies between the Cadbury eggs and marshmallow Peeps, as well as this blast from the past...

FROM THE VAULT: Originally Published April 12, 2009
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Friday, April 14, 2017

Equal Deployment Opportunity

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, MOAB, mother of all bombs, trump, ISIS, Afghanistan, Obama

A significant number of ISIS fighters became WASWAS fighters yesterday, after finding themselves on the receiving end of the United States' "Mother Of All Bombs" - the 21,000 pound MOAB which is our largest non-nuclear armament. It had never previously been used in combat, because our previous president was better known for deploying "the mother of all jeans" when dressing casually.

The bomb, the destructive power of which can not be described without using a lengthy chain of expletives, took out a tunnel complex in Nangahar province, Afghanistan. Perhaps not coincidentally, this is the same area where a member of our special forces, Staff Sgt Mark De Alencar, was tragically killed in action only days ago.

In other words, this is the very definition of the Trump administration "sending a clear message."

And not just to ISIS. It seems reasonable to think that preposterously gigantic explosions that turn America's enemies into pink mist might also be raising eyebrows in Syria, North Korea, Russia, Iran, and über-liberal parts of California.

By the way, when we heard that the "Mother of All Bombs" had been dropped from an aircraft, we were tempted to make a joke about Hillary Clinton being ejected by United Airlines mid-flight. But we didn't because it was too easy.

Not to mention, too cruel a thing to do to ISIS.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Flight Schooled

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, united, passenger, dragged, war, obama, air force one

Truth be told, we don't really give a rat's rear end about the story of the guy dragged off the United flight, but we couldn't resist the mental image of Barry being dragged down an aisle while kicking, biting, scratching, weeping, long as we're enjoying our fantasy...wetting himself.

As far as the actual story goes, the details keep changing - but it seems safe to say that the gentleman pulled from the plane had voluntarily entered the "asshole zone" by not leaving his seat without a fight (hint: when people with guns ask you to do something on a plane, it's a good idea to do it).

And frankly, the only reason that this is a story is because people got video of the last, most colorful moments of the confrontation...and it's proved to be more interesting on the vast brainless platforms of social media than other current news stories like, oh, impending nuclear war.

We live in strange and frighteningly superficial times.

BONUS: Expert Analysis from John the Econ

United Airlines shows how to make a PR crisis a total disaster

Short story: Flight overbooked, and United needed 4 seats to get a crew staged at the next stop. They offered $800 and a hotel for volunteers to get bumped for a flight the following afternoon. When they found no takers, instead of upping the offer they had the computer randomly select 4 passengers who had already boarded and were seated and asked that they deplane. When one refused, they called security to actually and literally drag him off the plane. Cell phone video of man being dragged down aisle goes viral.

So what did we actually witness yesterday? A great example of "Social Justice" being substituted for simple capitalism. For whatever reason, when there were no takers at $800, instead of raising the bid to $900 or more, the agents in charge decided to get their seats in a "fair" manner by allowing a computer to randomly select the 4 passengers to be inconvenienced. Of course, it certainly didn't feel "fair" or like "justice" for the 4 people pulled from the flight, but that's the problem with "Social Justice", isn't it? Somebody ultimately gets screwed so others can be happy.

Of course, in retrospect this was all really stupid. You can't convince me that on a plane of 200 or so people that they couldn't have found a market clearing price for at least 4 people. (They might have had me at $1,500 or so - Mrs. Econ, who really wants a vacation would have made me) Clearly, the United personnel on the scene didn't want (or may not have been authorized) to offer that much. So they went the draconian route.

But in the end, the free market ultimately gets its retribution. In the wake of what happened United has suffered an incalculable PR disaster and is now the butt of jokes internationally. (Many of the memes floating about the Internet are a hoot) This morning, UAL's stock price dropped several percent, resulting in around $800,000,000 of market capitalization evaporating last I looked. Makes paying $4-or-5 thousand to buy the good graces of 4 people look kinda cheap now, doesn't it?

So next time you see a social justice warrior demand that "social justice" replace the laws of supply and demand, remember the guy who was dragged off the plane. Usually, you don't get to see the victims of such "just" policy so vividly.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hit and Misogyny

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, hillary, misogyny, comey, election

While today's cartoon might appear to be a clear example of blatant misogyny, it is actually "meta" misogyny which celebrates and empowers women by ironically mocking those who would mischaracterize misogyny for their own political benefit. Like this bitch, for instance.

Again, "meta" misogyny in the service of humor! Jon Swift (the author of the seminal work on politics, "Gullible's Travails") would totally be high-fiving us about now.

The (ahem) "news" story, if you were lucky enough to have missed it, is that Hillary Clinton has returned from 40 years of God-ordained wandering in the wilderness, fasting and having religious visions, to face the cold hard facts about her election loss. And according to Hillary, those facts are that the Russians magically hacked the election, FBI Director James Comey was a suicide bomber, and everybody in America - including women - hates women.

"Certainly misogyny played a role," the bitter, garishly-dressed, stringy-haired old woman whined, "That just has to be admitted."

Well, no, it doesn't have to be admitted. There are female leaders all over the world, and countless women in positions of authority - including governmental authority - here in the United States. So it seems likely that Hillary's unpopularity isn't so much linked to her gender as it is tied to her long history of being a horrible human being, serial liar, inept politician, rape enabler, and thief.

All of which might become clear to Hillary if, instead of looking for answers in a "glass ceiling," she looked for them in a mirror.


Meanwhile, as the clock ticks on Syria, Russia, Iran, and North Korea...

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Enjoying A Little Nukie

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History was made yesterday when, for the first time since our nation became a nation, Democrats filibustered an exemplary Supreme Court Nominee because - and we've got plenty of political scientists and analysts to back us up on this - they're complete and total assholes.

The only way around this epic act of douchebaggery was for Senate Republicans to invoke the so-called "nuclear option," which - disappointingly - did not require inviting Democrats to "a picnic and special surprise" in the remotest corner of Nevada while a gleeful Donald Trump punched their coordinates into his suitcase nuclear launch device.

Rather, it involved changing Senate rules to allow a Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed with a simple majority of 51 votes, rather than requiring the 60 votes which has traditionally been the standard. And under this rule, we should see standout nominee Judge Gorsuch confirmed for the Supreme Court sometime today.

We would say that the Democrats are losing their freaking minds over this, only that ship sailed a long time ago.

And while we're not wild about this change in Senate rules (which will give additional power to the Democrats next time they're in charge), we think some form of "nuking the Democrats" (metaphorically speaking) might as well become our nation's default policy for the next four years.

Shut them up, shut them out, and shut them down. 

And if they make a stink, we just put our blast goggles back on and ka-BLOOEY! Because if, within our own halls of government, we can't find a little peace in our time...we'll settle for little pieces.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Dirty Rice

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, susan rice, spying, trump, obama, surveillance, benghazi, youtube, video
Burn, baby, burn.
It now appears that one of the chief mischief-makers behind the surveillance and information leaks related to the Trump administration is Obama crony and serial liar Susan Rice. According to a growing number of reports, she asked intelligence agencies to break with traditional policies and tell her the names of Trump associates who were (ahem) "accidentally" caught on surveillance tapes, as well as the content of their conversations.

This would, of course, only be a problem if Ms. Rice was a reprehensible person working in cahoots with a cabal of Machiavellian anti-Americans who intended to use the information for political purposes. In other words, this is one hell of a problem.

Rice has adamantly declared that she did nothing wrong, adding "I leaked nothing to nobody." Which, by the inflexible rules pertaining to the use of double negatives, means that she leaked everything to everybody.  No doubt with considerable help from Barack Obama, who spontaneously (why does that word keep coming up in association with Susan Rice?) changed the rules pertaining to inter-agency sharing of raw intelligence just before leaving office in order to ensure as much damage to the incoming Trump administration as possible.

And speaking of Barry, just where is he while all this damning information is coming out...?

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When it comes to forgiving and forgetting, we don't do either.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Captions Courageous

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Surprise! It's another Earwigs day, because there's still nothing particularly compelling in the news, and here in north Texas we've got an all-day soaking rain going on that is lulling us into a coma. And yes, we still blame Daylight Saving Time.

And just for the fun of it, here are the "April Fool's Day" stories that we ran on Facebook. Not that these stories look much different than all the other fake news out there...

Bonus: MSNBC fans can bid for the rubber glove on eBay!