Thursday, February 18, 2021




     I don't know why anybody would live in the red neck state of Texas. Still, I have a niece and a couple of good friends who choose to do just that. As the temps plummet in the Lone Star State and the Texas energy grid fails, it's no help to be judgmental in people's choices of address. It's dark and the pipes are about to freeze. What do you do?

    Every news outlet (left and right) is covering the "once in a generation" cold snap that froze the instruments necessary to deliver the oil, natural gas, nuclear, wind and solar energy to peoples' homes. The notoriously independent state that stands apart from the Federal grid was not prepared and could not handle the sub-freezing temperatures. Rolling blackouts ensued. Anybody who has had the electricity go out during the winter months knows it is no fun. BUT......and this is a big needn't be dangerous or even uncomfortable. How helpless are you?

    In all the coverage of the Texas blackout I have not heard one mention of a wood or coal stove, kerosene lamp (or heater) or even candles. That idiot Texas Gov. Abott went on Fox News to blame renewable energy and the non-existent "Green New Deal." Once again--like the pandemic-- any hope of political leaders actually leading and giving citizens useful options in dealing with disaster is politicized and muddied. Their words are worse than useless; they are dangerous. So to all my friends and family in Texas, if you have electricity and internet required to read this, here's my advice.

 Be prepared. Climate change is the new earthquake or tidal wave. Put yourself in the shoes of your ancestors. A basic check list can save, if not your life, at least your comfort.

1. batteries, flashlight and sharp knife

2. wood or coal- stove to burn it 

3. kerosene- heater and lamps to burn it

4. candles and matches

5. sleeping bag, blankets and warm clothes

6. bottled water

7. ammo and gun to shoot it

8. bird seed (those squirrels hanging from the feeder are very tasty) hence the knife

   This short, relatively inexpensive list will get you through any black out in the depth of winter. Government and media seem to want to keep the citizenry helpless and dependent on patrician authority. We as a "modern" people have been lulled into this state by consumerism and global capitalism. Fossil fuel delivery that Texans are so proud of has failed miserably. It's a wake up call. Imagine how susceptible the grid is to cyber attack while you are googling wood stoves on Amazon. I'd suggest printing this blog out before the juice goes out again. Let me know if I've forgotten anything. Good luck. Stay safe. Stay warm. "Once in a generation" seems to come along every year.              

Monday, February 15, 2021





Cottagecore (also known under the name Farmcore or Countrycore) is an aesthetic inspired by a romanticized interpretation of western agricultural life. It is centered on ideas around a more simple life and harmony with nature. Specific themes associated are the survival of the environment, food, and caring for people. While the aesthetic is predominant on several social media sites, such as on Instagram and more recently TikTok, the community notably prospers on Tumblr. It is particularly popular within the *WLW community.

Despite a number of its followers taking an often progressive and subversive outlook on life, Cottagecore has been also criticized for its romanticism of eurocentric farming life. It has also been criticized in the context of North American and Australian settings, It is due to these connotations that the use of Cottagecore aesthetics has been adopted by the TradWives community and members of the far-right as forms of propaganda. This has led to media criticism despite their opposition to LGBTQ+ and anti-capitalist adherents of Cottagecore.

*woman loving woman

   I was turned onto this phenomenon a few years back. Before the internet grabbed it, magazines like Upstate Diary and DV8 had identified and targeted this susceptible audience of future Cottagecore acolytes. (see: This mindset of country falsity aimed at the urbanite has stuck in my craw for some time. 

    One of the earliest proponents of this fantasy lifestyle were the painters McDermott and McGough. These two cats lived in the same neighbor I did- the Alphabet City of the 1980's. They dressed and lived the part of "Victorian era" artists. As the rest of us were banging on our pipes for more heat, bundled up in Gortex waiting at the ATM in order to get cash to cop drugs, M&M were dressed in top hats trying to get that signature "crackle" on their paintings in a cold water flat. The successful painters aestheticized those "simpler times" as luddite dandies; pioneers of Cottagecore. 

    Fast forward 30 years: The groundwork laid by magazines, real estate agents and upstate chambers of commerce have taken the fantasy of Cottagecore and run with it during the time of a global pandemic. " inadvertent celebration of the aesthetics of colonialism, as well as the ways it often simplifies and underestimates the labor of farmers." There is nothing "inadvertent" about spreading this. Melania Trump in her bwana styling in Africa could not be more tone deaf. 

    I would propose a more realistic approach to country living, something I call Hickcore. The past week I've lived on a big pot of rabbit and beans. Dressed in a ratty bathrobe, holey slippers and long johns, I grab the pot of frozen rabbit from the back porch and place it on the wood stove as the coffee boils. A bloody rib cage from last month's deer hangs from a tree branch, serving as a bird feeder. Woodpeckers, chickadees, buntings and a big flicker spend most of their daylight hours gnawing the meat and suet off the bones. As the icicles creep towards the interior walls of my house I have to climb up on the roof to shovel off a foot of snow. I DO NOT do any of these tasks in period clothing or romanticize the process. The closest I get to adhering to a 19th century aesthetic is loading my muzzle loader and shooting a deer. It is not some vintage flintlock, but a scoped, modern rifle that loads down the barrel. Who needs coonskin caps and fringe jackets when the freezer is empty?

   I will resist naming the names of those I know who engage in the Cottage Core practices of raising chickens, obsessive bread baking, prancing through the clover in diaphanous granny dresses, spinning yarn from rabbits (instead of making stew) and knitting mittens from the family dog. You know who you are. I love you all. Some live it honestly. Others package and sell the lifestyle. It's just not my thing. Why romanticize hardship and commodify a way of life that doesn't exist? It's a fantasy. There's nothing romantic about frozen pipes, chicken killing foxes and empty cupboards. My outhouse never clogs up and when I run out of toilet paper I make do. My suggestion to Upstate Diary would be to print on a little softer paper. We in the hickcore community would appreciate it. 

     Back to nature movements are nothing new. The antipastoralism of Thomas Cole was misinterpreted and sold back to urbanite Americans as a call to come to the country for a visit in the 19th Century. Bring your pocketbook. Look at those vistas!!!! The servants will prepare a picnic lunch. In the sixties the hippies formed communes from Cali to Alaska. Few survive. The lifestyle was too much for most. Cottagecore is being used in exactly the same way. It is propaganda not reflective of the reality of frozen toes, chimney fires, cold toilet seats and unending winters. Stay home, warm those fingers on your laptop and play Animal Crossing. There's nothing aesthetic about my dull chainsaw blade or ice clogged drains. Just wait, Tenementcore may be next.                     

Friday, February 12, 2021




 I don't golf, but I know what a "Mulligan" is.  

"A mulligan is a second chance to perform an action, usually after the first chance went wrong through bad luck or a blunder. Its best-known meaning is in golf, whereby a player is informally allowed to replay a stroke, even though this is against the formal rules of golf."

     This is what Utah Sen. Mike Lee wants Trump to be granted after his impeachment. Following this definition Trump would be allowed a "do over." No harm, no foul would be adjudicated and with no consequences-- not only would a "January exception" be declared-- all future Presidents would receive a free pass to fuck up in the rough and play through. Cum stained dresses or illegal foreign wars--no problem. See ya in the club house for a gin and tonic.

    To anyone with a clear mind this sounds ridiculous. But as Trump's second impeachment trial unfolds this will most likely be the verdict. We didn't see that crappy shot. Maybe a wood this time? No amount of evidence, no video, no shit stained walls, no severed fingers or police officer's death will change the mind of the so-called Republican "jurors" sitting in judgement. Sen. Lee and his cohorts Ted Cruz and that nasty, old queen Lindsey Graham actually met with the defense team to discuss their strategy. The rules have obviously been buried in the sand trap. Using Trump's own words: "It's rigged."

    Trump's crimes run much deeper than inciting a few crackers running wild through the Capitol in buffalo hats. Instead of a toothless political impeachment, with no witnesses, Trump should be hooded, bagged and shackled, fitted with an oversized adult diaper and flown to the Haig. There, he should go on trial for crimes against humanity. The statistics don't lie. We are closing in on a half million deaths in America from Covid-19. Leading public health officials note that a cohesive Federal approach by the Trump administration, instead of a dereliction of duty, would have saved up to 40% of those lives. That sounds like genocide to me.

   None of this will happen. Unless there is an alien invasion of Galactic Court Judges Trump will start running for President-- or at the very least flex his political muscles-- the day after he is acquitted. Any other verdict and subsequent Trump move would be a complete surprise. Accepting this, my proposal would be that a National Holiday be declared for January 6. "Mulligan Day" would allow every U.S. citizen a chance for a do over. Parking tickets? Shoot an illegal spike (or bald eagle)? Litter? Beat the wife? Abuse the kids? Murder the neighbor? No problem. Pick one of the previous year's crimes, fill in the proper paper work, submit to the Federal authorities and your crime will be officially forgiven. The pardon is in the mail. Take that bloody nine iron and give it another swing. Good luck. We forgive you. You are very special. Keep your eye on the ball. HAPPY MULLIGAN DAY!


Got my first vaccine shot yesterday. Special thanks to BOAF musical director Sara Nightingale!              


DescriptionA mulligan is a second chance to perform an action, usually after the first chance went wrong through bad luck or a blunder. Its best-known meaning is in golf, whereby a player is informally allowed to replay a stroke, even though this is against the formal rules of golf.

Sunday, February 7, 2021