Hermione Luck – Fascism and ShiksaHub

Lemonade-Stand banner

Hermione Luck / Chief Columnist

Fascism and ShiksaHub

May 8, 2020

branch

Something to think about …

A few of our readers have expressed their distress regarding the current Supreme Court review of the Trump Administration’s assertion that the President cannot be convicted of a crime while in office. (Remember Trump claiming he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue?) Many question whether this confirms that Trumpian rule is a harbinger of coming Fascism.

Technically, according to the experts, the current President and his view of presidential power is  not Fascist – Trump does not reject democracy nor does he currently push for the overthrow of the government; he does not emphasize violence (if you say so); he is not an anti-individualist.

These experts argue that this makes Trump more of a ‘right-wing populist.’ However, there are three basic layers in any fascist regime to also consider:

1) a Fascist leader depends upon a small and loyal inner circle that he has personally groomed                                                                                             

2) foot soldiers and “true believers” who enforce the ideology are vital components of power

3) a lip service group tags along either because of fear, convenience, or access to power

  • You be the judge.  A small inner circle, check –
  • Jared, Ivanka, Hannity, Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon,
  • and of course Rush. True believers, check –
  • Texas, Florida, and Tennessee. A lip service group, check –
  • refer to the lip prints on Trump’s ass.

Trump may not reject Democracy, that is as long as the votes are in his favor. What would he do if the votes were not in his favor? Would he try to change them? Would he ever admit defeat?  

He wouldn’t dare push for the overthrow of the government, or would he? Probably not if he served three terms like some of his supporters suggest. But what if he doesn’t win reelection? Once again, you be the judge.

Something to celebrate

The specialty that put Goy To The World on the map is their Nachaswurst sausage, featuring tiny imprints of parents admiring their children on the skin … but there are so many additional choices to consider that will tickle your tuchus.

(1)  The Yentatainer – wholesale grilled whitefish on a toasted everything bagel with red onion, Romaine, and dill-horseradish. Rumors and garnish free of charge. 

(2)  The Lily Von Shtoop – a tribute to Mel Brooks, corned beef with homemade sauerkraut … not the first course, not the last course, the intercourse.

(3)  The Why Buy Retail – cheap. Pastrami on day old bread … when it’s heated with some good mustard, what’s there not to like?

(4)  The Plotz Thickens – Brooklyn pastrami, Texas bacon, Black Forest ham, and Genoa salami … if you can eat these international meats fried together, and prove that you didn’t plotz, the next one is 30% off.  

(5)  The Farcockt – a herring anchovy gefiltefish salad on rye bread/ antacid provided … if you skip the antacid, you’re farcockt.

In conclusion … there is never enough soap to wash away loneliness, but there’s always enough deli to put loneliness in its place.

Yiddish Vocabulary

  • goy – male non Jew
  • shiksa – female non-Jew                                       
  • tuchus – rear end
  • kvetch – to complain
  • nachas – pride in your children                             
  • yenta – matchmaker, gossip
  • shtoop (shtup) – fornicate                                                       
  • plotz – to collapse
  • farcockt – f#*ked up

Practice safe friendship,

Hermione

branch

Hermione Luck – Conspiracy and Reality

Lemonade-Stand banner

Hermione Luck / Chief Columnist

Conspiracy and Reality

May 29, 2020

branch

Recently, I was sent an article by a psychiatrist friend that piqued my interest. The article, authored by Reed Berkowitz, is a fascinating look at how conspiracy theories can be part of a bigger trend wherein life is literally becoming a video game.

Those of you who read me regularly know that I’m not a bigtime fan of video games. Aside from the huge screen time issues and what this might be doing to the brain, my main concern has always centered on the abundance of violence these video games can suggest, especially for young boys.

 I now have an equally pressing concern for how the spread of conspiracy theories often reflects the same rabbit hole and the dangerous alchemy of infusing reality with fantasy.

A conspiracy theory often begins by trying to create the fog of war. It makes people heroes by attaching itself to heroic goals like saving the republic from the elites, or the children from the pedophiles. It begins with a series of statements that could be true, as in most anything could be true.

And then, with a community of like-minded support, it graduates from ‘maybe’ to ‘probably’ to ‘pretty sure’ to ‘that’s a fact’.

Berkowitz is an alternative reality game creator, specializing in video games that are commonly called ARGs and LARPs. These group games start on a computer and finish in the real world. They are pre-planned experiences adorned with rabbit holes where the deeper you go, the more you find out. They are exciting and provocative.

With Q and his conspiracy motherlode, recruitment to the cause hinges on going down similar rabbit holes depending upon a phenomenon called “apophenia”, perceiving a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things. Here is a simplified example of that occurrence. Berkowitz writes of creating an ARG which brought people to a specific location, a basement where something was hidden.

Unbeknownst to him, there were small wood scraps on the floor of that basement which formed a perfectly shaped arrow, and these arrows pointed to a blank wall in the basement. The participants in the game decided that the arrow was related to the solution and to the final truth of the game.

The participants then found what they believe was a second clue – tools nearby the wall. They concluded that the object they sought was behind the wall, and this became their truth, even though it remains behind the wall, and would so remain.

The spread of conspiracy theories relies on a ‘breadcrumb trail’ which puts a rumor or thread of truth out there, and then encourages people to run with it. Along the way, numerous unrelated observations are folded in.

The community echo chamber in which conspiracy proponents live invariably goes viral. The truth of the exercise is not discovering the story, but creating it. Berkowitz postulates that when someone actually comes to embracing this ‘truth’, there’s a sense of accomplishment and relief similar to what many psychologists call the ‘aha moment’.

Research suggests that this experience can release a pleasant flow of the neurotransmitter dopamine … no wonder conspiracies are so popular. The new drug of the masses.

Let’s make our own conspiracy – let’s postulate that doctors give you Covid. Let’s create our own trail of breadcrumbs. You go to the doctor without symptoms because your adult children insist that you should be checked for Covid.

After an examination, you find out you don’t have Covid. Two weeks later you get Covid without contact with anyone except at the grocery store.   How did you possibly come down with the virus?

For years, you’ve been reading a number of random articles about how the elite are conniving to rule the world, and you realize that doctors are part of the elite … strike one. Then you remember that the doctor took a swab sample from your nose and he could have put anything up your nose while he was in there … strike two.

Then another random fact is added – a lot of doctors are either Jewish, immigrants, or minorities … strike three. You proceed to go into a chat room to share your discovery. All the random facts that support your discovery seemingly validate pre-existing fears – that the elites are taking over, that Jews have always pulled the strings, that minorities are part of the plot.                                                                                         Once your discovery makes the rounds on the Net, it morphs into a conspiracy – that your Jewish doctor with the black wife gave you Covid. For my part, I’m not sure what is worse – doctors giving you Covid or life becoming a video game. This I do know … brace yourself. The ride is far from over… 

Hermione

branch

Issue 1 / March 27, 2020

Lemonade-Stand banner

Hermione Luck / Chief Columnist

** before we proceed with the first March issue ever published, featuring Baked News and Amy’s Guide to Staying In, here is a Covid update … November, 2021 **

Now that we have the first twenty-one months of Covid under our belts, it’s very possible that normal has not only left the dock, but most likely, normal will never return. There will be some kind of new normal perhaps, there always is, because we’re told without a normal there’s only chaos, which apparently is not a whole lot of fun.

As Warren Buffet once said, “Low tide reveals who’s not swimming with a bathing suit.” In a similar way, Covid has brought with it a low tide of reality. And so it becomes that in this ocean of chance in which we co-exist, Covid and its army of variants have, my friends, changed everything.

The Covid upheaval has revealed ourselves both to one another and to ourselves … let’s start over with the leaders we choose – these are words from the president of the United States in 2020 …

Jan …  “It’s one person coming in from China and we have it under control”

Feb …  “Counts are going down, not up … fake news.”

Mar … “It’s going to disappear soon it’s like a miracle, it’s going to disappear.”     

May … “This is going to go away without a vaccine.”

Sept … “Masks have their problems too.”

Here is a basic report card as of NOV 1, 2021

  • 772,332 deceased in America
  • 5,049,593 deceased worldwide
  • 249,666,088 reported infections worldwide
  • 99.2% of all recent American deaths unvaccinated

How has American life changed this far into a new age of pandemic? In the cities, subway usage is down 58% and used car sales up 30%. In the rural areas, the home values in Boise have gone up 31%, in Provo 21%.

  • 42% of Americans gained weight.
  • 66% slept less.
  • 25% drank more.
  • Actually, maybe that would’ve happened anyway.

Of course, in this entire mess of statistics, there is one primary statistic that stands above all others … the first Covid vaccine appeared (327) days after identification of the virus. Amen. Before this truly miraculous effort to identify a vaccine, which begs us to believe in science, the previous record to develop a vaccine for an epidemic disease was four years. And so many viruses continue to have no vaccine at all.

The Covid vaccine was no ordinary effort. And now that it’s here, it takes everyone to make it a success. Worldwide, can we be united to face this task? Domestically, is it possible that America isn’t really all racism and guns?

Maybe I have this wrong. Maybe America still aspires to be something more than its contradictions. Maybe America has the courage to be the science and vision of the future, to be proud to present to the world its self-styled elusive ladder of success and idealism. Yes, come to America if you must, but buyer beware.  

No matter which culture we call our own, we are only safe on this transitory planet if everyone is safe … much like none of us make it to Heaven unless all of us make it to Heaven.

I know that’s hard for the 144,000 who believe they are chosen, but salvation begins with the acceptance that no one sits in the front row.

                                                                         Hermione

                                                                    

*****************

March 27, 2020

******************

Is it safe to get takeout from restaurants?

Yes, but just in case, you may want to wipe down the packaging and containers. The CDC says there’s no evidence to suggest coronavirus is transmitted through food. It’s generally spread through respiratory droplets.

But according to CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, it’s a good idea to disinfect the takeout containers and wash your hands afterward. He stressed that coronavirus is a respiratory virus, and it’s easy to touch your face without realizing it.

The Trump Response

There is no life without takeout, you know this and so do I. Why tip 5% sitting down to a meal when you don’t have to tip anything at all? That’s why as your soon-to-be re-elected wartime leader, I’ve taken very smart steps, steps that only a very smart person would consider, to remedy the situation.

First of all, rather than increasing unemployment benefits, I and I alone, the buck starts here, have ordered FEMA to make available half a billion Big Macs and two billion KFC extra crispy chicken wings to be distributed throughout the country. Every administration should have a vision and here’s mine – ‘Let them eat wings.’ That should silence the critics who say I’m racist.

And none of this food needs to be sanitized because I am told by experts, top notch people, people with brains, I exclusively hire people with brains – I’m told that these foods already contain chemicals that can kill most anything.

Secondly, I never really liked Chinese food. And I needn’t tell you where this virus came from. So stay away from soy sauce, Moo Shu Pork, Orange Duck, and whatever looks like Chop Suey, and just like me, you’ll be totally safe. You can’t lose with the basics – Burger King, Micky D’s, Wendy’s, White Castle … White Castle, love the name.

How long will we have to keep social distancing?

Probably for several months. But you might have to do it “over and over again,” since the outbreak could come in waves. 

Research by the Imperial College in Great Britain “would suggest you have to institute these kinds of measures for five months, very vigorously,” said Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at Bellevue Hospital Center. “And then you may be able to relax for a period. Most likely, or at least if necessary, you would re-institute distancing as the cases go up again.”

“But we’re basically looking at doing this over and over and over again, even after a five-month period of strict social distancing, in order to curb cases until we have a vaccine.”

“Health officials say we’re at least a year away from the first publicly available coronavirus vaccine. In the meantime, they say everyone should avoid large crowds and stay at least six feet away from others.”

The Trump Response

C’mon, who thought up this crap? I can tell you honestly, I’ve been a victim of social distancing for most of my life and first of all, it’s not contagious like these quacks maintain.

… believe me, when it comes to social distancing, nobody knows the trouble I seen. And in spite of what the Democrats might tell you, I was the first person to ever speak that phrase. There are so many things I say first to myself.

And by the way, it’s totally fake news that I don’t listen, that I just shake my head at my cabinet members – who work for me in case anyone has forgotten – and then supposedly I do what I want.

So social distance if you want. This politically-driven Covid conspiracy features only one redeemable element – you don’t have to listen to anyone because you’re too far away. But for my money, and I have far more money than you can imagine, it’s beautiful actually, how much money I have

… for my money, social distancing is a crock. And you can take that to the bank.

branch

Amy’s Guide to Staying In

snowflake
Movies 🎥TV Shows 📺Books 📚
Little Women (Amazon) Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO) Defending Jacob
Bombshell (Amazon) Portlandia (Netflix) Silent Patient
American Factory (Netflix)Schitt’s Creek (Netflix) Truth Be Told
Knives Out (Amazon)Little Fires Everywhere (Netflix)Bad Blood (Non-Fiction)
Peanut Butter Falcon (Amazon)The Morning Show (Apple TV+)Educated (Non-Fiction)

Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

Prep Time: 15 MINUTES. Cook Time: 55 MINUTES Total Time: 1 HOUR 10 MINUTES Servings: 6 Calories Per Serving: 307

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 head garlic
  • 3/4 pound ground spicy Italian chicken sausage or ground chicken
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can (28 ounce) crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 medium spaghetti squash, halved and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded fontina cheese or mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded provolone cheese
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • fresh thyme and or fried sage leaves, for serving (optional)

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Slice off the top portion of the garlic head to expose some of the cloves. Place the garlic on a piece of foil. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and wrap in foil.                         

Transfer to the oven and roast until cloves are lightly browned and tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool, then squeeze the garlic out into a bowl. Mash the cloves with a fork.

2. To make the meat sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken sausage and brown all over, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add onion and cook another 2 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low, add the tomatoes, 1 cup water, the bay leaf, oregano, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Remove the bay leaf, stir in the roasted garlic. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

3. Meanwhile, poke a few holes into the squash with a fork and place on a plate. Microwave 3 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and discard. 

4. In a medium bowl, mix together the milk, ricotta cheese, nutmeg, and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup fontina cheese and 1/2 cup provolone cheese. 

5. Place the squash in a baking dish and season the cut sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining fontina cheese into the bottom of each squash, then evenly divide meat sauce among the squash cavities.

Now spoon the milk/cheese mix over the meat sauce. Top with the remaining provolone cheese. Cover the squash loosely with foil. 

6. Transfer to the oven and bake 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking another 15-20 minutes or until the squash is tender and the cheese is golden brown on top. The squash will seem a little soupy, this is OK. 

7. Let the squash sit 5 minutes, then use a fork to scrape the squash into strands, mixing the meat and cheese with the squash. Serve topped with thyme and sage

branch

Hermione Luck – Post Election 2020

Lemonade-Stand banner

Hermione Luck / Chief Columnist

November Post Election 2020

branch

There are so many aspects of this election and of the last four years to discuss.  So where do we begin – racism? The perversion of truth? The hypocrisy of politicians? This glass of lemonade limits itself to five issues that hopefully don’t get lost in the shuffle for America.

Who won?

… make no mistake this election was a draw.

The Democrats may have won the locomotive, but the Republicans did quite well with the rest of the train – they defended seats like Collins and Tillis, the Democrats didn’t get close to Graham or McConnell, and the great blue wave was more like a moving puddle.

All this makes Trump’s loss even greater – centrist voters were willing to elect Republicans and their policies, but a clear majority had enough of Trump.

Polls  

Polls fell flat on their face becoming fake news. It can’t be as simple as ‘Trumpers just don’t answer their phones’. It’s obviously far deeper than that, and probably has something to do with the mistrust of pollsters by the American electorate in general … that, and the massive overkill the media employs in reporting the news

Latinos

I used to think that this Republican Last Stand of Trumpism which merges three basic Caucasian groups – entitled whites, one issue whites (abortion or guns), and racist whites – was just a last gasp by white people before the inevitable coloring of America.

Yet there are problems in establishing a political rainbow coalition for the progressives. Many Latinos think Blacks are pampered by the government. When you add Catholicism and anti-abortion sentiment to the equation, Latinos don’t seem to be the slam dunk that many anticipated. This is a serious issue and a vital bridge to cross for progressives in the coming years, especially the fragile elections of 2022 and 2024.                                                                 

Misogyny

As I’ve said before, there are so many non-Covid problems awaiting us on the other side of Donald Trump – truth, racism, obesity, conspiracy theories, a huge national debt, school shootings, and the most formidable of all, climate change  … there are no vaccines for any of these.

Yet, even though every one of these issues is long overdue for true change and resolution, there is one issue where we must not allow ourselves to drop the ball – misogyny. The fundamental relationship between men and women must continue to be front and center, and continue to evolve. That is one of the most alarming things about Trump attracting seventy million votes.

From his original comments about Carly Fiorina to the sixteen women who have accused him of assault, a huge amount of voters were willing to overlook his degradation of women as if life simply goes on. As much as Me-Too has transitioned America to acknowledge the necessary discussion, the movement hasn’t yet been transformational.

Next step please.

Television killed the Radio Star

Covid killed the Television Star 

One of the scary things about Trump’s loss is that victory so easily could have been a slam dunk if in March he’d been pro-active with Covid rather than paranoid about the economy.

Even in October when he contracted Covid, had he pivoted and did a modest mea culpa, and humbly talked about learning a lesson, he would have kept most of his base and also attracted a huge number of moderates and independents.

But like the scorpion and the turtle, it was just his nature. Unfortunately, it is also just his nature to destroy as much as he can on his way out, because if you really want to get to this man, if you really want to get under his skin, all it takes is to remind him he’s a loser.                        

Hermione

branch

Hermione Luck – Insurrection

Lemonade-Stand banner

Hermione Luck / Chief Columnist

The Insurrection

January 6, 2021

branch

Aside from a vocal core of obsessive devotees wearing antlers and warpaint, the average person in America wouldn’t be able to tell Q devotees just by looking at them.

A Q adherent could be a grandmother who runs the annual church auction, or the personable florist who always adds two extra flowers to your order, or the accountant who saved you money and without question believes the figures you submit.

What binds these impassioned citizens of America? Why are they so sure that they and their cause are right and everyone else is wrong? Why do they believe in relentless and wild conspiracy theories? The people of Q believe there is a coterie of dark forces pulling the strings of politics. Who can blame them? They don’t have to look any further than Washington D.C. and the lobbyists who feed the dragon.                                                      

Some of the more radical people of the Qnon movement believe their children are in danger of sexual abuse because these dark forces need the blood of others to survive. These devotees yearn for a biblical apocalypse and the retribution of its concomitant awakenings to come true.

The bottom line is that the people of Q believe they are witnesses to a biblical struggle between good and evil with their places of worship reinforcing the premise. These Christian churches make clear that the best way to insure employing God’s vision of humanity is to attack evil whenever and wherever they see it. 

Regardless of our beliefs and on which side of the fence someone might see good or evil, as a whole we live in a different world now, a pandemic world, a world that we may be able to harness and maybe not.

It is January, 2021. The first full winter of Covid has arrived. We are locked down, married to our cellphones, glued to our television sets, and in the process of this isolating pandemic, our way of life is meeting the mirror of its discontent.

Along the way, so many things have been made clear to us – street protests confirm that our Civil War never ended. Climate change is only getting worse. And ironically, the remote learning that our school-aged children have been forced to endure, has wiped out the threat of their being gunned down in class.

Politically and culturally, as we absorb the election of a new president with both liberals and conservatives backed into their respective and isolated corners of self-righteousness, we’ve come to the end of a twelve-year run of what could be called the era of ‘the black and white’ presidency.

The black man presiding for the first eight years was like the Beatles. He was at the right place at the right time. Smart, connected, ambitious, he could hit the three.

Following him was the white man who won by the math of division … a narcissist, a huckster, a moneymaker, a fraud looking to increase his brand. The black man provided the vehicle of vision, the white man provided its exhaust. What a strange pairing left behind for those who will judge us in the future … and all of this following the clear misogyny of the Hillary era.

Regardless of whether regurgitated theories of deception and conspiracy circulating our society are true or false – regardless of where we worship, to what school we send our children, in what community we live … clearly, there are problems we must solve together.

Neither paranoia on the right nor cancel culture on the left are viable glues for these challenges. There is work to be done, and unfortunately, the politicians we have elected are not up to the task. That doesn’t mean we have to hang these people. We just have to remove them by voting them out of office.

So as for January 6, let’s be clear, this was no coup. This was a mob, pure and simple, a fringe element that exports its racism and vitriol in the name of freedom. Some believe this was the best thing that could ever happen to America. The canker sore has finally been lanced.  The monster of racism and jingoism no longer lives in the shadows.

With most of us jaw-dropped, the date January 6 will now live alongside 9/11 and November 22 in the infamy and conscience of America.

And for those who deny what really happened on January 6, shame on you and the politicians who protect you, the politicians who pander for your vote and money, the politicians who are the keepers of the flame of the political cowardness that stalks our country with little idea of how to lead or how to bring our people together.

And above all, shame on this former president, a huckster and narcissist who encouraged this mob, and still isn’t done trying to make America give back his throne. There is only one thing to say. We can do better.

We must if we are to survive.                                

Hermione

branch

Issue 3 / April 10, 2020

Lemonade-Stand banner

Hermione Luck / Chief Columnist

The Covid crisis has certainly put us back on our heels. Coming into Fall when we’ll begin the migration indoors, we look straight ahead at the specter of winter. The people in the know tell us that this will result in a surge of Covid cases.

We’re being told, by the end of the year, more than 100,000,000 people will have been infected worldwide, and that this almost inconceivable toll most likely will be under-estimated. Of those infected, more than 2,000,000 people will have died, and they say that a quarter of that total will be Americans. It just keeps on coming, doesn’t it? American exceptionalism – We’re Number One!

And just to cheer us up, these same experts tell us that all those horrific statistics could eventually triple before we get a handle on this thing. Meanwhile, back at the White House, our president questions if we can shoot sunlight into our veins to arrest the disease. You can’t make this stuff up.

There are rumors of vaccines of course, but none in sight. There are also conspiracy theories that Covid is a hoax, sort of like the school massacres at Sandy Hook and Parkland. Interesting how the concept of evil finds its comfort zone on both sides of the coin.

In its wake, conspiracists believing they are defending themselves from evil, determined not to wear masks, essentially asking the rest of the world to bend over so they can wave the flag before shoving the flagpole up our behinds.

We have to take this pandemic seriously right now if we are to prevent a worst-case scenario. But what about a year from now in 2021? What about after the vaccine has been discovered?

What about when everyone returns to their jobs, or at least locates the jobs that are left over? What will we do to prevent another pandemic in the future? Can we learn from our mistakes, or are we destined to repeat them?

I have an idea … let’s take a deep dive into one especially vulnerable group of people who die from Covid. I’m talking about rampant obesity and its role in the death totals of the pandemic. There are no official figures yet, but so far it looks like once you factor out the senior citizens, and then the people with underlying diseases, you come to obesity as a primary Covid vulnerability.

  • And who is most likely to be obese? The poor. And why are they likely to be obese? It’s not that they have sh*t for brains, it’s that they eat sh*t for food.
  • What can we do about it? Let’s start with the history of SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

In the 1940’s, the first legacy food policies were directed at the problem that 40% of military recruits were malnourished and underweight. Government subsidies addressed this incidence of malnourishment with a sense of purpose and self-preservation by creating The National School Lunch Program and general assistance programs such as food stamps.

Unfortunately, this well-meaning effort gave birth to the mass production of highly processed, carbohydrate-oriented convenient food products bringing with it the American birth of caloric obesity. The American diet thus began its pendulum swing, flipping from undernourished to overfed, from labor-intensive whole foods to hollow food products that needed little preparation or cooking time.

And here we are – out of shape, stomachs bulging, behinds taking up two parking spaces, huffing and puffing running after a bag of Cheetos.

Military America is now in a worse recruit situation than in the 40’s. In 2018, a council of retired admirals and generals discovered that 71% of young people between the ages of 17 and 24 did not qualify for military service, and obesity was a primary cause.

You ask what can we do – subsidize food stamps so the poor can shop at Whole Foods? Educate the young as to how a dead-end mortality rate occupies the dark side of obesity? Stop dropping bombs on the rest of the world using the money to drop healthy recipes on the rest of America?

Sure, there a lot of ha-ha’s making the rounds, but one thing is clear – America is eating itself into oblivion. The question is, do we really care?    

Eat what makes you healthy

Hermione

April 10, 2020

White House Briefing Question 

Mr. President, you have pitted state governors against each other, equated the virus with the common flu, denied there are shortages in critical protective equipment, and refused to take early warning models seriously — leaving states, hospitals and medical staff unprotected and unprepared.

How would you rate your performance to date? Might there be anything you would do differently? 

The Trump Response

How would I rate my performance? How would you rate your question? That’s a nasty question, don’t you think? Would you ask your mother a question like that? It’s a very nasty question.                                                                                 

You understand I’m the President and you’re not. You understand that, right? Raise your hand if you understand that. I don’t see you raising your hand. Do you have a hand? No hand? Are you a cripple or something?

How would I rate my performance? I get beautiful overnight ratings if that’s what you’re asking – the best overnight ratings, higher ratings I’m told than Lincoln or Washington. Better ratings than you I’d bet.

So, my performance … I would give myself a ten. When you get better ratings than I do, get back to me and maybe I’ll give that more thought.

Is there anything I would do differently? Sure, there are plenty of things I’d do differently. Not let you in this room for one thing. I don’t like people like you. You remind me of Eddie Haskell. Do you know who Eddie Haskell is?

Look, this is like a thirty-five-hour-a-week job. Luckily, I can do that in half the time, so it doesn’t really cut into my morning shows, but I can tell you I don’t earn bupkis considering the hours I put in.

  • Do you know what bupkis means?
  • I think it’s Hebrew … or Hawaiian.
  • It’s definitely something with an ‘H’.
  • It means goat turds. A pile of goat turds. A worthless pile of goat turds.

You didn’t know that I speak two languages, did you? You people in the press, in the fake news business don’t know a lot of things about me, a lot of things.

I’m the most open and personable president in history and yet you don’t know squat about me. Squat, from the Latin. That’s three languages.

branch

Hermione Luck – Covid Update

Lemonade-Stand banner

Hermione Luck / Chief Columnist

Covid Update

August 1, 2021

branch

Now that we have the first twenty-one months of Covid under our belts, it’s very possible that normal has not only left the dock, but most likely will never return. There will be some kind of new normal perhaps, there always is. We’re told without a normal there’s only chaos, which apparently is not a whole lot of fun. As Warren Buffet once said, “Low tide reveals who’s not swimming with a bathing suit.”

Covid has brought with it a low tide of reality. And so it becomes that in this ocean of chance in which we live, Covid has changed everything, and among this experience of upheaval, Covid has revealed ourselves not to one another, but to ourselves.

Let’s start over – these are words from the president of the United States in 2020 …

Jan …  “It’s one person coming in from China and we have it under control”

Feb …  “Counts are going down, not up … fake news.”

Mar … “It’s going to disappear soon it’s like a miracle, it’s going to disappear.”

May … “This is going to go away without a vaccine.”

Sept … “Masks have their problems too.”

Here is a basic report card as of October 1, 2021

  • 719,000 deceased in America
  • 4,227,760 deceased worldwide
  • 197,000,000 reported infections worldwide
  • 99.2% of all recent deaths unvaccinated

How has American life changed this far into a new age of pandemic? In the cities, subway usage is down 58% and used car sales up 30%. In the rural areas, the home values in Boise have gone up 31%, in Provo 21%.

  • 42% of Americans gained weight.                   
  • 66% slept less.
  • 25% drank more.

Actually, maybe that would’ve happened anyway. Of course, in this entire mess of statistics, there is one primary statistic that stands above all others … the first Covid vaccine appeared (327) days after identification of the virus. Amen. Before this truly miraculous effort to identify a vaccine, which begs us to believe in science, the previous record to develop a vaccine for an epidemic disease was four years. And so many viruses continue to have no vaccine at all.

  • The Covid vaccine was no ordinary effort. And now that it’s here, it takes everyone to make it a success. Can the world be united to face the task?
  • Maybe America isn’t really all racism and guns.
  • Maybe I have this wrong. Maybe America still aspires to be something more, to be the eyes and ears, the science and vision of the future, to be proud to present to the world its self-styled elusive ladder of success. Yes, come to America if you must, but buyer beware.  

No matter which culture we call our own, we are only safe on this transitory planet if everyone is safe … much like none of us make it to Heaven unless all of us make it to Heaven. I know that’s hard for the 144,000 who believe they are chosen, but salvation begins with the acceptance that no one sits in the front row

Hermione

branch

Hermione Luck – 2nd Impeachment

Lemonade-Stand banner

Hermione Luck / Chief Columnist

2nd Impeachment

January 13, 2021

branch

To impeach, or not to impeach, that is the question …

Considering that Donald Trump lost somewhat of a landslide election, are the Democrats piling on by impeaching a lame duck president who so far claims that the election was rigged? No, they are not.

Impeachment makes everyone take a stand on what we’ve just witnessed as a nation – the forced entry into the United States Senate resulting in five deaths and a plethora of injuries.

The Republicans – who voted not to have a platform in 2016 – will have to go on the record. There will finally be political footprints. McConnell no longer can enable his boot-licking constituency to be without responsibility. Georgia, Stacey Abrams – God bless you. I’ve never said that to anyone before.

The sycophants – speaking of Mitch McConnell, for some reason he has become a linchpin which is an ironic word to use. Look, Trump is a sick puppy. He’s been this way for a long time.

But McConnell and Graham, haven’t they been worse? First of all, Graham …  c’mon his speech in the Senate, orchestrated to produce laughs, was right out of the Book of Amnesia, least we forget how many times this man has twisted in the wind of opportunity. The worst kind of politician.

McConnell … that smirky gobble-gobble look on his face, he has been the ultimate enabler, the Rasputin of the group. If there were anyone to hang in effigy at the Capitol, it is Mitch McConnell.

I’d like to end this with a quote from the Trumpian Bible – from Giuliani to the Corinthians. On the day of the assault – Jan 6 – Rudolph Giuliani spoke to the crowd in front of the Capitol and exclaimed,

  • “if they’re right, we will be fools … if we’re right, they’ll go to jail.”
  • The mob cheered, but as it turned out, the more likely scenario would prove to be, 
  • “if we’re right, they will be the fools … if they’re right, we will go to jail.”

Hermione

branch

Issue 6 / May 1, 2020

Lemonade-Stand banner

Hermione Luck / Chief Columnist

branch

What bothers me today is the day-care approach that Republican politicians use to foster allegiance with the conspiracy sect in their ranks. These politicians feed from the trough of easy votes by just diapering the problem and letting it stink.

Look, there will always be 25% of America in need of therapy or in the minds of some Democrats, a segment of America in need of lobotomies. Without conscience and at the altar of gerrymandering, Republicans have skillfully offered sanctuary to capture the allegiance of this voting block.

This solid 25%, many of whom have drenched themselves in far-flung conspiratorial rhetoric, can’t help themselves. They are livid because they are on the wrong side of the hourglass and they feel time has run out … on themselves, on their families, on their dreams. They are mostly undereducated white men who are faithful adherents of two of the more overlooked parts of the Cub Scout Honor Code – to be loyal and reverent. Loyal to their projectile paranoia, and reverent to their right to have equal access to wealth and power.                                                               

I think we’re in the middle of a slippery slope, my fellow Americans. From the country that still debates the JFK assassination, that still obsesses whether the moon landing took place in Burbank, a country that hasn’t fully decided if Obama was born in Hawaii or Kenya, we have people allowed to vote believing the following conspiracy theories –

… Bill Gates has put microchips in the Covid vaccine to control the minds of the entire world

… Lizard aliens can make themselves appear human and are manipulating the world which apparently explains why Elon Musk has antennas on his head

… the school killings at Parkland and Sandy Hook never happened, the Holocaust didn’t happen, and the government controls the weather

… Bin Laden lives. On orders from the government, Navy Seals covered up the failed attempt

… Covid masks make children easier to kidnap, and spreads the disease geometrically

… vaccines will change a person’s genetic code, and can cause impotence for men who think with their penises                                                                                     

Perhaps more disturbing is a possible insurrection from the far right with their blueprint directly in front of our eyes. In 1978, William Luther Pierce wrote a book called The Turner Diaries which outlined how ‘patriots’ could overthrow the government.

Among its suggestions? The book coined the phrase ‘the day of the rope’ where patriots would storm Congress, go after elites, after which journalists and members of Congress would be publicly hanged. Timothy McVeigh sold copies of this book at gun shows in the nineties.

So what can we do about all this? In the 1800’s, Native Americans on the plains dealt with violence within their culture in an interesting way. Anthropologists are fascinated by the fact that murder and violence within these tribes were virtually non-existent. Scholars attribute this to important roles being assigned to tribal deviants.

For instance, homosexuals became herbal doctors, thus balancing the power of the position with the tribal discomfort of their sexuality. For sociopaths (akin to our own skinhead conspiracists), the position of Contrary Soldier was created.  

These members of the tribe rode backwards into camp, said yes meaning no, and washed with sand and dried with water. The punishment for murder or violence within the tribe was banishment. Unfortunately, it isn’t likely that the Native American approach to preventing violence would work well in a country such as ours.

I guess that only leaves us with going back to the old days when life was simpler, and we could get what we needed at the corner market.

Practice safe friendship

Hermione

******************

Baked News block

May 1, 2020

******************

White House Briefing / Agnes Killjoy

branch

Mr. President, you have recently been quoted as saying there already exists a number of possible cures for the coronavirus. You’ve mentioned Lysol, sunlight, and chloroquine among the remedies for this pandemic.

There is also speculation that you are currently leaning to a new and possibly revolutionary solution to the problem. Can you expand on this subject?

The Trump Response

branch

Let me tell you, I can expand on almost anything. I really can. I love to expand … in so many ways I can expand. You have no idea.

First of all, let’s deal with Lysol – look, I don’t like needles. Who wants to shoot themselves up, all those tiny holes? They say people can leak with a lot of holes … no one wants to leak.

But Lysol, how can you beat Lysol? It’s been around for like a hundred years, right Mike? (Vice-President Michael Pence nods and licks himself.)

And as for sunlight, like they say on television, orange is the new black, baby, the new black. That’s why colored people love me – I’m orange, they’re black, and some are brown, they’re all who knows what? It’s all a new political rainbow, and I’m their pot of gold.

Now chloroquine, have any of you tried it? I think I’d try something first before I say it doesn’t work. Why be so negative? The whole lot of you, really so negative. I don’t understand why there’s so much controversy about this when no one really knows anything. Fake news.

That’s where I come in – when no one really knows anything. I’m good at it. And the Democrats, if they don’t believe in chloroquine, why do they tell me to take it myself? To take a lot of it. I don’t get it?  

As for the new announcement, yes, I do have a new announcement. It’s a very very big announcement, a beautiful announcement. I haven’t cleared this yet. (Dr. Anthony Fauci winces) but who doesn’t love Jell-O? That’s right, think about it – all these people go into the hospital, right? And most of them come out pretty good, really good.

Their lungs, their lungs are fine, and I’m thinking to myself, what do all these people have in common besides both their lungs? I guess they also have two eyes, most of them. And two legs. Alright, almost all of them have a lot in common.

But they’ve all been served Jell-O and now they’re better. The ones who didn’t make it were too sick to eat Jell-O.

You see, sometimes it’s so very really simple. It doesn’t take a genius my friends, but if you need a genius, I can guarantee you that I come from good stock, very good stock … we’re all on board up here in the old noggin. (The President of the United States points to his head.) Maybe history will remember me for “Let them eat Jell-O” instead of wings.

  • That might become a famous statement someday… very famous. Any more questions? I give famous answers.
branch

Issue 9 / May 29, 2020

Lemonade-Stand banner

Hermione Luck / Chief Columnist

branch

Recently, I was sent an article by a psychiatrist friend that piqued my interest. The article, authored by Reed Berkowitz, is a fascinating look at how conspiracy theories can be part of a bigger trend wherein life is literally becoming a video game.

Those of you who read me regularly know that I’m not a bigtime fan of video games. Aside from the huge screen time issues and what this might be doing to the brain, my main concern has always centered on the abundance of violence these video games can suggest, especially for young boys.

 I now have an equally pressing concern for how the spread of conspiracy theories often reflects the same rabbit hole and the dangerous alchemy of infusing reality with fantasy.

A conspiracy theory often begins by trying to create the fog of war. It makes people heroes by attaching itself to heroic goals like saving the republic from the elites, or the children from the pedophiles. It begins with a series of statements that could be true, as in most anything could be true. And then, with a community of like-minded support, it graduates from ‘maybe’ to ‘probably’ to ‘pretty sure’ to ‘that’s a fact’.

Berkowitz is an alternative reality game creator, specializing in video games that are commonly called ARGs and LARPs. These group games start on a computer and finish in the real world. They are pre-planned experiences adorned with rabbit holes where the deeper you go, the more you find out. They are exciting and provocative.

With Q and his conspiracy motherlode, recruitment to the cause hinges on going down similar rabbit holes depending upon a phenomenon called “apophenia”, perceiving a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things. Here is a simplified example of that occurrence. Berkowitz writes of creating an ARG which brought people to a specific location, a basement where something was hidden.

Unbeknownst to him, there were small wood scraps on the floor of that basement which formed a perfectly shaped arrow, and these arrows pointed to a blank wall in the basement. The participants in the game decided that the arrow was related to the solution and to the final truth of the game.

The participants then found what they believe was a second clue – tools nearby the wall. They concluded that the object they sought was behind the wall, and this became their truth, even though it remains behind the wall, and would so remain.

The spread of conspiracy theories relies on a ‘breadcrumb trail’ which puts a rumor or thread of truth out there, and then encourages people to run with it. Along the way, numerous unrelated observations are folded in.

The community echo chamber in which conspiracy proponents live invariably goes viral. The truth of the exercise is not discovering the story, but creating it. Berkowitz postulates that when someone actually comes to embracing this ‘truth’, there’s a sense of accomplishment and relief similar to what many psychologists call the ‘aha moment’.

Research suggests that this experience can release a pleasant flow of the neurotransmitter dopamine … no wonder conspiracies are so popular. The new drug of the masses.

Let’s make our own conspiracy – let’s postulate that doctors give you Covid. Let’s create our own trail of breadcrumbs. You go to the doctor without symptoms because your adult children insist that you should be checked for Covid.

After an examination, you find out you don’t have Covid. Two weeks later you get Covid without contact with anyone except at the grocery store.  How did you possibly come down with the virus?

For years, you’ve been reading a number of random articles about how the elite are conniving to rule the world, and you realize that doctors are part of the elite … strike one. Then you remember that the doctor took a swab sample from your nose and he could have put anything up your nose while he was in there … strike two.

Then another random fact is added – a lot of doctors are either Jewish, immigrants, or minorities … strike three. You proceed to go into a chat room to share your discovery. All the random facts that support your discovery seemingly validate pre-existing fears – that the elites are taking over, that Jews have always pulled the strings, that minorities are part of the plot.

Once your discovery makes the rounds on the Net, it morphs into a conspiracy – that your Jewish doctor with the black wife gave you Covid. For my part, I’m not sure what is worse – doctors giving you Covid or life becoming a video game. This I do know … brace yourself. The ride is far from over                                               

 – Hermione

******************

Baked News block

May 29, 2020

******************

White House Briefing

Correspondent Agnes Killjoy

branch

Mr. President, you constantly refer to the media as being fake news. My first question is have you yourself ever participated in spreading fake news? You never reveal your sources, but rather prefer to use the phrase ‘they say.’ Just exactly who are ‘they’?

Secondly, isn’t POX NEWS an arm of the media just like CNN? And do the media commentators on POX, such as Sean Vanity and Lou Crabs, merely serve as presidential sycophants to promote your agenda?                                                                                 

The Trump Response

branch

Sycophant. You like big words, don’t you? You’re trying to impress me aren’t you? Well, stop right there … I’m the only one who can impress me. That is all you have to know.

  • My sources? You’re asking me for my sources?
  • That’s a bit of a, that’s, what can I say?
  • That’s a ballsy question isn’t it?

Who is ‘they’ you ask – I go where so much of the rest of America goes for their information. Every morning after Pox and Friends, I read The National Enquirer who do a great job by the way, and then I go to that secret chat room that’s so popular – The White is Right and Vice-Versa Room.

They come up with things no one else ever thought of. Fabulous people, concerned people for the welfare of America – she’s beautiful isn’t she, America? Then I put all that truth right up here (points to head) where the sun don’t shine.

I memorize everything. I memorize menus. I really like menus. You could say I’m drawn to them, but I don’t use crayons, those are kids menus. Menus and the addresses of people who piss me off … they’re etched in my mind.

As far as Sean Vanity and Lou Crabs go, they are well-respected journalists who have won things like the coveted You Can’t Be Serious Award so many times, so many times I forget.

I don’t remember awards unless I get them myself, but Sean and Lou are the real deal. Those aren’t tattoos on my butt – those are their real lip prints. Sean and Lou know the territory. Some people think it should become the fifty-first state.

branch