Friday, January 1, 2016

A Fresh New Year

It's not raining this morning, though the sky isn't blue either. We'll take what we can get. I feel blessed that last night didn't involve playing an outside party with a bonfire and nekked people running around a pond. We did four or five of those gigs and learned the true meaning of hypothermia. One year the speakers had frost on their tops at the end of it. Bonfires put out very little heat twenty feet away from their circumference. That's where we were. The worst part was there was a lovely warm farm house only 200 yards or so from the pond. So every year we give thanks. That gig is over.

I figured Oklahoma was going to cream Clemson last night. This was based on seeing the Okies cream Baylor and then TCU. Baylor was an incredible team until it lost it's first two quarterbacks, and it still beat UNC earlier this week. Meanwhile, UNC came close to beating Clemson, and lost with the aid of an obviously wrong officiating call in the last seconds. Oh well. Clemson was terrific, and throttled Oklahoma. Bama, in the night cap, was Bama. They have a tough, relentless character, with good defense, good offense, and that most precious of elements, a great running back they can always call on. When you have a good runner the defense must play it straight. Michigan State looked overmatched the whole game.

According to many accounts this morning, Ben Carson's campaign team is imploding. Apparently his top trusted advisor is Armstrong Williams. Williams was busted a few years back for running fake news reports favoring the Bush administration. This is close to picking Sara Palin for your Veep. It was a tell. Meanwhile, it appears that Mr. Trump will be delighted to discuss the great throbbing issue of record in the Clinton past. That would be President Clinton. I would imagine Mrs. Clinton does have a strategy for parrying this obnoxious tack, but it'll be a cringe-worthy series of "debates" if it ends up being the two of them running for the top administrator of the land. It also says something or other that the Clintons actually attended Trump's third wedding, and that their daughter Chelsea is friends with the Trump kid of a similar age. America so yearns for kings apparently. One of the most repeated criticisms of Mr. Obama is little more than the complaint that he is a competent administrator who remains clear-headed and focused on the real issues at hand.

Streaks of blue are creeping into the overcast at 9:40 AM, January 1, Chatham County, NC. The blackeyed peas are soaked and it's time to put the heat to them, and add the country ham bits. Later I'll stir in some spinach, a can of tomatoes, black pepper to taste. I forgot the corn bread mix. Oh well. Possibly we're not doomed. Just a few eons in purgatory and we'll continue our journey.

I ran into Jim Thompson's noted epigram the other day, reading about the fine crime movie "The Outfit." It's funny enough to quote here, on Day One. These are not my sentiments, I stress to you! But if you want to write hard-boiled crime fiction, this would be the foundation:

Life is a bucket of shit with a barbed wire handle.

Think of this remark while watching, say, Gun Crazy, or my top noir film, Out of the Past, or my second top noir film, Sonatine. From the Kitano film:

Let us hope that Sonatine's desolation does not prove a metaphor for the current American electorate, and that something new and terrible is not at this moment slouching towards Bethlehem.

...The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Meanwhile, the real stuff unfolds, pretty much out of sight. While Trump fulminates about the Mexicans, Mr. Obama demands a new expansive trade agreement with Asia:

After the election the Clintons and the Trumps can probably clink a few champagnes. No matter who wins, they win.

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