Friday Homestead Dispatch

Allegorical Stigma-fried Chicken

1.
When given the opportunity, always lead with the giant chicken.

Mayor Jim Puckett of Fitzgerald, Georgia has been, for the last three years, building the world’s largest topiary in the shape of a chicken. Yes, a chicken. Unfortunately, the chicken might be fried as Puckett was soundly ousted in elections earlier this month with the bird and its cost a major campaign issue.

“Who the hell needs a chicken in Fitzgerald? We need housing,” said Maggie Floyd-Nixon, a 68-year-old retiree sitting outside the public library “That man needed to be out of office.” The irony is Fitzgerald holds an annual Wild Chicken Festival, which includes a crowing contest and some businesses have metal chicken statues outside their storefronts. Willis Jarrell, an 83-year-old coyote trapper who has spent his entire life in Fitzgerald, says the giant chicken was the craziest thing he has ever seen in the city. Says he, “It was a total joke. I didn’t support Puckett at all. Everybody knew he was going down. That right there, that’s what beat him. The chicken beat him.”

Damn…I was for the chicken. Hmmmm, I wonder if I could move that thing to Tucson?

2.
Republicans are lining up to take credit for the infrastructure bill they voted against because many of their constituents have no clue, or don’t care, that they are liars. Representative Gary Palmer (R-AL) said, apparently with a straight face, “Birmingham is currently one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country without a complete beltline around it. Completing the Northern Beltline will benefit the entire region and enhance economic development and employment opportunities.” Only 13 House Republicans voted for the bill, which includes funding for roads, bridges, highways, railways and ports, and he most definitely was not one of them.

According to the Tucson Sentinel, the White House has allocated at least $7.3 billion in funding for Arizona. Translated, that means $884 million over five years for public transit projects, $619 million for water infrastructure, $348 million for airport improvements and $100 million for expanding broadband. The bill also includes $38 million to fight wildfires in the state and nearly $17 million to defend against cyberattacks. Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, who was on hand for the signing, said the bill would fund road and bridge repairs, electric-vehicle charging stations and the establishment of passenger-rail service to Phoenix. It also invests about $72 million annually for 5 years to clean up PFAS – the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that have leached into the groundwater near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and Tucson International Airport.

Of course, we have Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey, on the same day Palmer was belching his lies, touting $100 million in high-speed broadband investments that came from the American Rescue Plan of which every single Republican in Congress opposed.

Amazingly, both Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) voted FOR the infrastructure bill, among eleven others.

3.
Paul Gosar, he-who-outslimes-the-nasty-orange-man, was censured by the House of Representatives and stripped of his committee assignments. Only two Republicans voted along with the Democrats (Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger). This man is so far off the rails that six of his siblings appeared in ads opposing his reelection and endorsed his opponent. On the TeeVee, one of his brothers said, "My brother is unhinged. He needs to be more than censured. He needs to be expelled. And if it is determined that criminal charges need to be filed, then they need to be filed."

If your head has been in the sand, Gosar (in the words of Jack Holmes of Esquire) “Gosar made it readily apparent that he is just generally bug-eyed insane. This United States congressman published an adapted anime clip on both his official and personal Twitter accounts in which hordes of immigrants are streaming towards the southern border to kill us all. The hero of the piece is Gosar, a dentist, whose face is superimposed onto an anime character. Our champion responds to the apocalyptic invasion of America by dehumanized brown people by murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with swords and, though we aren't treated to the follow-through, presumably killing an anime character re-faced with President Joe Biden's countenance as well.”

He goes on to write, “Beyond the fact that this is the work of a seriously disordered mind—again, six of his siblings tried to warn us here—it's also quite a window into the state of the far right in this country. (‘Everyone needs to relax,’ said Jessica Lycos, Gosar's digital director, in a statement.) Here you've got a classic cocktail of immigration hysteria paired with a building embrace of violent force as a remedy for political disputes. We learn here that AOC and Biden support allowing some of these Others to enter the country and Destroy the America You Know and Love. Once the rhetoric on that side of the equation gets hot enough, the remedies you can justify on the other side get more and more extreme.”

This is the stuff that people eat with a spoon and spread the word–and these people vote. It’s the narrative that is now at the heart of the Republican party–nothing about helping the American people, all about destroying “Socialism” and owning the “libtards.”

This is why we should be concerned about 2023 and what awaits us if the Republicans get their way. As Heather Cox Richardson pointed out on Wednesday, “Today there was no pretense of an excuse for Gosar’s violent fantasy; it was defended as normal.” She goes on to say, “Republicans have made it clear that they are comfortable with violence, and they are rigging elections to gain power. Unless Congress chooses to protect our votes with the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Republican performance in the House today will become our norm.“

The people who voted for this guy and his ilk are your neighbors, the nice couple down the street, who see nothing wrong with his behavior. These people don’t have a lot going on upstairs, which leads into the next issue…

4.
…these same people (parents) who want to decide the curriculum of their school-age children. It’s the same argument made about the average Joe knowing much more about science because of reading a meme than, say, the Joe who spent 6-8 years studying to become a specialist and has been working in the field of their expertise for X amount of years. You know, educators.

This all ties back into the upcoming elections. Terry McAuliffe lost to another off-the-rails Republican Glenn Youngkin recently and the education debate was a big part of the equation. Youngkin told McAuliffe, "You believe school systems should tell children what to do. I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.” McAuliffe fired back, "I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions...I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

As Lee Papa (the Rude Pundit) penned Wednesday, “That shouldn't be remotely controversial. You don't know enough to teach your kids. That's why you send them to school. If you wanna fuck up your child's education, then elect dumbasses to the school board to fuck it up. But I want educators making decisions about, you know, education, not Katie from down the street who thinks she knows everything because she listens to Dan Bongino's podcast while doing crossfit, and not Deke, the local plumber who heard some shit from his buddies who watch YouTube and OAN. Fix my fuckin' toilet, Deke, and get back to me when you've gotten your M. Ed. And while, of course, there are shitty or deranged teachers (as there are shitty and deranged people in every profession), most of them know a whole lot more than you. Unless you are or were an educator at some level (and not at your church's Bible class), you are too fucking dumb to decide on your kid's school curriculum. Accept that shit.”

He went on the say, “Too many people in this country want to live in a fantasy United States, where racism was never institutional, where gay people don't exist or don't deserve to exist, where people create vaccines to enslave you, where elections are stolen if your candidate loses. And where teachers are the enemy, not some of the hardest-working, least-appreciated fucking people who have been through hell the last 18 months and now have to deal with these crazed cuntfleas telling them how to do their jobs and threatening them if they don't knuckle under to their brute stupidity, showing up at school board meetings to bleat their dull, savage, incomprehensible yawps and grunts.”

5.
You might’ve heard there’s this kid named Kyle who got in way over his head and shot some people. This opinion piece in the New York Times by Farhad Manjoo says it succinctly, “This is self-defense as circular reasoning: Rittenhouse says he carried a rifle in order to guarantee his safety during a violent protest. He was forced to shoot at four people when his life and the lives of other people were threatened, he says. What was he protecting everyone from? The gun strapped to his own body, the one he’d brought to keep everyone safe.”

Then along comes an actual piece of dung named Matt Gaetz saying, “Kyle Rittenhouse would probably make a pretty good congressional intern. We may reach out to him and see if he’d be interested in helping the country in additional ways.” What the actual fuck? Gaetz, being an actual descendent of a Florida alligator, also said, “This QAnon shaman is, like, a relatively harmless nonviolent vegan.” This is a guy who is under investigation from the Justice Department for sleeping with a minor and transporting her across state lines. You know, the guy next door.

6.
Are you a fan of live, local music? Do you go out to venue to see and hear live bands? If so, the musical community thanks you.

In Tucson numerous venues have outdoor stages which is pretty desirable to many musicians as there is still a nasty virus making the rounds. Most of the people I know are vaccinated but it’s still a risk for many musicians and audience members alike. I have personally been rolling the dice a bit by playing indoors at Borderlands Brewing Company every Sunday afternoon. The upside is I know most of the people who attend that show and most are in a low risk, high vaccination rate age group. I am thrice vaccinated, but still…

I just want to say that if you decide to go out and listen to a live band please stuff some money in their tip receptacle. It’s how most local bands make a few bucks these days. The venues pay dick (yes, dick) unless you’re playing for people who have absolutely no interest in the fact you are there. You know, potted plant gigs.

Again from Dave Hickey’s Air Guitar:

My dad called them “looky-loos.” He would come home from playing in some bar or listening to someone else play, and Mom would ask, “How was the crowd?” If those in attendance weren’t up to his standards, he would say “looky-loos.” Or sometimes he would just mutter “civilians,” which meant the same thing. We all knew what he meant: Civilians were non-participants, people who did not live the life – people with no real passion for what was going on. They were just looking. They paid their dollar at the door, but they contributed nothing to the occasion – afforded no confirmation or denial that you could with or around or against.
With spectators, as Waylon out it, it’s a one-way deal, and in the world I grew up in, the whole idea was not to be one of them, and to avoid, insofar as possible, being spectated by any of them, because it was demeaning. You just didn’t do it, and you used the word “spectator” as a term of derision. Even so, it wasn’t something we discussed or even thought about, since the possibility of any of us spectating or being spectated was fairly remote. It is, however, something worth thinking about today, since, with the professionalism of the art world, and the dissolution of the underground cultures that once fed into it, the distinction between spectators and participants is dissolving as well.

BTW, Here’s a shout-out to all the folks who showed for last night’s Tirebiter’s gig at House of Bards. We had a blast and it appeared you did, too!

7.
Right before the Beatles hit our shores and changed music forever, Bill Justis had this hit in 1963.

8.
Why we vote:

And now…