Forever stamps and the coming Bankcapolypse

•August 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Giddyup! The new nutrition pyramid is coming!

Anyone that has spent any time at all looking at the coming collapse of the insolvent banking system knows that we are on the edge of the final abyss. It has been ranted about, preached about, joked about and researched down to the smallest unit known to mankind. The banks are completely broke. They have purchased the unfettered support of the political class and as a result they have stripped the US of a good portion of its remaining wealth. So that’s the picture as it stands in late August twenty twelve.

The remaining discussion seems to center around the question ” what does a global banking collapse look like?”. Many pundits are haunted by a vision of Mad Max. In this vision we are all fighting over the last few hungry man dinners while those with substantial stashes of gold coins and weapons are occupying stone keeps on the local high ground. This particular fantasy seems to be overpopulated with vaguely threatening outlandishly dressed dwarfs and scantily clad b movie actresses. I hope that the people predicting this future are correct. I am well stocked with trade able midgets. (this restless cache of little people have slowly come to understand the secret motivation behind my lengthy employment options contracts and they are regretting doing business with me) As a hedge against this possible future I have been spending my nights crafting cleaver little raccoon skull masks.  The local woods are almost complete hunted out so the apocalypse must be coming with the fall frost.

There is, of course, another possible outcome to the current economic depression.  I will exercise my genius and call this possibility option “B”.  In this scenario the banks, in collusion with their wholly owned subsidiaries the governments, continue to print fiat currency and unwanted debt in greater and greater quantities. This quickly results in low quality christmas gifts, starving fixed income old people, 83% unemployment and long lines at the lotto kiosk.  [ as an aside I will correct the common misconception that the current state of desperation is the inevitable result of Capitalism. The current state of America is the product of Capitolism, as in Washington DC fucking everything up through cronyism and oppressive taxation, not Capitalism the Karl Marx bogeyman]

I recently witnessed a chilling foreshadowing of the coming Bankcapolypse.  A good friend went to his local Wells Fargo ATM to withdraw $300 from his elderly mother’s account. Surprisingly he did this to provide her with spending cash rather than to buy weed. I am as stunned as you are by this revelation, nonetheless it is true. He typed in his super secret 4 number code, hit the proper keys to mollify the robotic teller and received a small stack of cash. When he arrived home he counted the cash and received a surprise. Instead of 15 twenty dollar bills he had been given 13 twenty dollar bills and two $8 books of forever stamps! He rushed back to the bank’s branch and spoke to the all powerful kid with the tie and office. This kid with the tie and office explained that ” the ATM has been doing that pretty often lately”.  He asked for two twenty dollar bills and offered the two books of stamps in exchange. The kid with tie was too clever for that ruse. He could do arithmetic and as a result knew that $8 plus $8 doesn’t equal forty so he refused.  My friend suspected that the bank, being a bank and all, had other twenty dollar bills cleverly hidden behind the teller’s glass. So he tried again to work out some kind of solution that involved him being given two twenty dollar bills.  The kid with the tie held fast. No, he told him, no way. He would need to file a lengthy form reporting his “story” to the bank’s corporate headquarters. They, he assured him, might make the possible difference up with more stamps.

Now I know, since I am so well read, that most INSTITUTIONS view currency and stamps as the same thing. They are both Tier 1 capital and can be used to secure various things like corporate loans, government borrowing, and the washing on the line. Tier 1 capital is a precious thing. The coming changes in banking regulation which require the banks to have slightly more Tier 1 capital are just over the horizon.  The kid with tie would be crazy and likely guilty of corporate treason if he were to willing turn over two twenty dollar bills in return for $16 dollars of stamps. Yes they are both tangible assets (tangible in that we made it up kind of way) but the bank was $24 dollars ahead in the transaction and this may be the only profit Wells Fargo posts this quarter.  Further he has received the necessary corporate training so he knows that 2013 thru 2016 will be the era when the American population will be transitioning over to an all Forever Stamp diet.  This will solve both the utter insolvency of the banking system, the utter insolvency of the postal service and the lack of nutrition in the current American diet of food. The careful planning of the Postal Service, the Treasury and the Agriculture Dept. will be unveiled.  All of America’s problems will be solved. The new forever stamps will feature images of all the important food groups. Not only will there be meats and grains and fruits they will be images of the highest quality meats and grains and fruits! America will be well fed and lean with nutritional power. The banks will be flush with your deposits converted into their Tier 1 capital and the post office will be refinanced with diverted ATM withdrawals. Everyone wins! Isn’t that what America is really about?

©Brad Morrison/Billiken Media 2012

Advertisements

Hello, I am Santa Claus………….

•December 15, 2010 • 2 Comments

What follows is a note I left under a friend’s Christmas tree last year.

————————————————————————hi—————–

I am Santa Claus! I am tracked by Norad. I keep a stable of ungulates that fly with no help from Laplanders or scientists. I repeat, I am Santa Claus!! I like fat chicks and ordering around little people. It’s a constant battle between those little fuckers and me. I enslave them, they retaliate by being Merry. I kick their lazy little asses and pray that next year the pop trend in China will be the “Pet Boulder”. They get back at me by learning to giggle the complete Peter, Paul and Mary catalog in four part harmony.

I am magic. I walk through walls and soar across the sky. My bathroom habits are abysmal. I’ve got a fuckin’ list and believe you me, you are on it. I’m convinced you are very, very bad unless of course that’s what you want and then I know you are good and I will not give your “special friend” that riding crop you’ve wanted her to wield all these years. It’s hard to believe but I am a mean drunk and hilarious when stoned. I’ m rarely drunk and perpetually stoned despite the fact that Marijuana is not indiginous to the North Pole and everyone knows that there is no weed delivery if you don’t live in Brooklyn or below 14th St. . Does this surprise you? I am, after all, Santa Claus.  Do you really believe that one of this job’s requirements is sobriety? For God’s sake Eggnog is an everyday breakfast drink in my house!

Don’t ever question my existence because I am Santa Claus. I am who I am because I am the sum of millions of tiny thoughts and actions common to every adult. A passing smile at an excited child, a knowing glance that passes between two mothers, a gentle white lie told with complete sincerity are all clues that prove that I live. So as you tiptoe across a room to hide a gift for a loved one or quietly take note of a friend’s comment about a desired object realize that in that moment YOU are Santa Claus.  So that’s it friends we are all Santa Claus so remember don’t give those  nasty little munchkins a break ’cause if they don’ t do the work where the hell will we all be?

Signed

Are you an idiot? You haven’t figured it out by now? DO I HAVE TO ACTUALLY WRITE IT OUT.OK HERE GOES FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT ARE HARD OF THINKING!!S…A…N…T…A..Merry Christmas!

———————————————————————————————-

Copyright Brad Morrison/ BillikenMedia 2012/2011/2010/2009

The coming Coup D’ Etat

•November 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Here it is, the night before the midterm elections and it all makes sense. As usual the comfort of deep reading of dusty old histories has brought to this feeling of comfort, of familiarity, of the love of an old pair of shoes, left and right – coup d etat and planned chaos.

Obama, or should I say Barry boy, is circling the wagons and boy is the circle really small. In fact it has shrunk to a solid wall of Secret Service men and, perhaps, his wife and daughter. (Notice I am not counting the dog – Biden. That is his name isn’t it?) Here we go Hillary, 9000 miles away is moving for power. Her husband, her current agent provocateur is blissfully tramping around the country burying elections right and left, well mainly left.

This election, thanks to Alvin the chipmunk Gore, will once again be far from final. The vote rigging, packed voter rolls, electronic hacking of the brand new, federally mandated voting computers, voter intimidation by unionistas will just be the start of an election that is likely to be nullified. Poor us, we are, finally, ready to stand up and say “enough” and here they have settled it all without our noticing since we were so consumed with worrying about the placement of a mosque and the sad fiction of us actually being given something (healthcare) for nothing. (pronounced every damn dime left in circulation)

Friends, Hillary is making her move. Watch her go. Watch it on The View. Watch it in your imagination. Your imagination? Yes, perhaps we all may be cut off from media as it all goes down. When the dust clears, in January, and the election is finally over we will discover that the lame ducks have nailed our coffin shut. I just printed out a list of the current members of Congress. I am posting it next to my 1959 Playboy calendar. I will look at it occasionally to remind myself of the names of the traitors.

Now, a comment to the powerful. Hillary might want to remember that Octavian, later known, as Augustus was not Caesar. He wasn’t second in line. He wasn’t the guy (or girl) that was passed over. He came out of the third string. He was one of the talented partisans that used the chaos of a struggle for power to eliminate everyone and leave himself the last man standing. And then, he had talent. Tons, and tons of talent. Does that describe anyone in the current picture?….I thought not…..

Just thought I would mention it all was about to come unglued……………………….

In Loco Parentis………

•June 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The Gadsden flag is once again waving over this great country of ours. Throughout America’s history this flag has flown at many critical moments. It has flown over the decks of the newly minted US Navy as one of the first “jacks” as frigates stood out to sea to stand up to the Barbary Pirates. When the first Marine companies were mustered their yellow marching drums were painted with the motto and the figure of the coiled serpent. The idea, and the spirit of the flag has come down to us with a wonderful, stirring pedigree. Now, once again the flag waves. It waves over the heads of our generation’s patriots. But, it’s apparent, that it doesn’t point the way.

While the Gadsden flag is an important anchor for the anti-tax movement, and, unquestionably it reiterates a valuable message, that the government should be cautious before it acts in any way against the wishes of a people who are guaranteed a republican form of government, it fails in one important way. It fails to tell us what the next step is. It fails to give us a message that is uniquely our own. That is to say a message that speaks to the fact that this new american revolution needs slogans that show members of the movement and more importantly those that we are confronting what are our core values.

The current Tea Party movement has a solid basis in the values and writings of the founding fathers. The actions of the Tea Party rallies are a visible manifestation of the first Amendment which is, at its base, a demonstration of our common law. This is the heart of what the Tea Party is doing, demonstrating our rights, the rights that are embodied in our common law. The rights that are the structure of our common law view of the universe as seen through the lens of our unique American vision.

Common Law, a system that is unique to English and American jurisprudence, is a summation of the people’s view of rights, privilegesand duties. Certainly this view has been tempered and recast by the needs and demands of the ruling elite but the system, nonetheless, is a goldmine of pickets and ammunition for anyone looking to protect and resuscitate freedom.

If you flip casually through Blackstone or Hogue you will come across a concept in common law that is ready-madefor the Tea Party movement. This concept is summed up by the Latin phrase “In Loco Parentis”. Like many tenants of common law it is a concept that seems constructed out of the most basic philosophical common sense. Once it is outlined it has the ironclad aroma of virtue and morality. As a legal concept it lacks only the colorful sophistry that is so often draped over modern legal scholarshipas it strains to strip the most common of us of our basic rights, morality and responsibilities.

For me the newest incarnation of “In Loco Parentis” moved from a dusty page in Blackstone to a vibrant living sword of justice during the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal. It wasn’t long after the sordid activities of the President came to dominate the news that I first heard a legal scholar stumble onto the phrase as they struggled to outline the connection between the immorality of the President’s actions and the legal implications. My faulty memory credits Judge Napolitano on Chris Mathews’ Hardball with reviving the phrase. His attempt to explain to the logically bankrupt Mathews why it actually was a violation of the law for a President, an authority figure, to misuse the trust placed in him by the young lady’s parents.

“In essence, under the law, the President is expected to stand in the parent’s shoes and is expected to protect and nurture this young person and his actions are a complete betrayal of the trust placed in him. In the common law this concept is called In Loco Parentis.” Now I am the first to admit that this quote is a complete fabrication from my dicey memory. It may not have been Judge Napolitano at all, it may have been Hulk Hogan or Hunter Thompson I don’t recall but I do remember that during these debates the phrase was once again used as a legal argument.

Now I find myself searching for the correct explanation and justification for the coming actions of the Tea PArty and this phrase once again provides a solid bridge between the morality of our situation and the structure of the law.

In Loc Parentis- translation -In the Shoes of our fathers or, perhaps, to hold the seat of the Mother/Father. Blackstone in Book One, chapter sixteen while discussing the common law and its relation tothe father and thechild discusses a father’s “empire” and”dominion”.He outlines the manners in which a parent may assign these rights….”Yet, till that age arrives, this empire of the father continues even after his death ; for he may by his will appoint a guardian to his children. He may also delegate part of his parental authority. during his life, to the tutor or schoolmaster of his child ; who is then in loco parentis, and has such a portion of the power of the parent committed to his charge, viz. that of restraint and correction, as may be necessary to answer the purposes for which he is employed.”

Like all of Blackstone’s discussions and, in fact, the majority of common law, the concept is broad and implies protections and responsibilities. The historical cases that have been used as precedent in courts ancient and modern, English and American are clear. When a person, an adult or citizen finds themselves by the totality of circumstances to be burdened with the role of the parent or guardian of a minor then the common law expects and demands that the person shall excercise that office with the full force and authority of the parent. Further the adult or citizen is afforded the protections that are traditionally given to a parent. Like the concept of the Good Samaritan, the person’s free will and choice is tempered by the necessity to protect the minor, the necessity to safeguard the minor’s well being. This concept makes sense with a deep uncluttered clarity. An infant crawls towards a precipice. You have the power to stop it, must you? Of course you must. This is not a standard instance of negligenceit goes much further than that concrete, property based rules of commercial law.

This brings us to the crossroads that confronts the Tea Party. As I have mentioned the Gasdenflag has its place. We could certainly bring back the Pine Tree flag or the flag of South Carolina but these symbols have their place and it is firmly in the struggle to create our republic during the 18th century. Any symbol or slogan from the war of independence we adopt for the Tea Party will serve only to remind us of the tradition of organizing and acting to protect our rights. The Tea Party needs to introduce and display slogans and symbols that show us and others why we are doing what we are doing. Slogans serve to inspire and to educate. They serve as rallying cries and as mottos to clarify our vision. In this In Loco Parentis comes to us at a time of need. It is a de facto explanation of our authority under the common law to do what we are doing.

It is plain that the Tea partystands in the shoes of the founding fathers. The founding fathers willed to us a constitutional republic. The republic is a child that is powerless to defend itself from the predationand potential destruction at the hands of an out of control Federal Buracracy. It is clear that the common law demands that all citizens defend the republic and through its defense defend our inalienable rights. Herein lies our authority to stand up to the Federal Government. Herein lies our moral and legal argument to withhold our taxes until a full redress of our grievances. If there is any question that this is the intent of the framers of the constitution then their extant writings reiterate and summarize their expectations that future generations must protect the constitution.

I’m certain that the next Tea Party rally will see a forest of Gadsen”Don’t tread on me” flags blowing in the breeze. It is a strong wind indeed that sets these flags fluttering. Now we need to state our legal argument to those who are silly enough to stand in our way. We need to fly the flag “In Loco Parentis”. We need to take up the chant “In Loco Parentis” because this explains why we have the right to do as we do, tradition, after all, is on our side. Perhaps the symbol of a child’s small hand in the palm of a parent’s hand is the image for such a flag, I know not, I only know that when I attempt to explain why the members of the Tea Party are called to do what they do this concept of common law seems to be the logical justification.

Tell your friends, better yet, tell those that oppose us…………………In Loco Parentis.

The End of the Mystery behind Congressman Weiner’s refusal to answer Bill O’Reilly’s question…

•March 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This weekend thetalk showprograms were buzzing about an interchange between Congressman Weiner and Bill O’Reilly. The essence of the interchange centered around O’Reilly trying to force a mysteriously reluctant Weiner to admit that the enforcement agency in the new health care bill was the IRS. Weiner ducked and dodgedand, in the end, refused to admit that IRS was going to pursue people who didn’t purchase health care insurance.

During the onair interview on Fox the Congressman flat-out refused to admit that in the new bill the IRS were designated as the agency of enforcement. According to all press reports (I do not yet have a copy of the bill) the bill states this fact in plain language. Why would the Congressman refuse to admit this fact? Why would he be so unnaturally reluctant to split hairs over the provisions of the bill, the usual defense of scoundrel politicians? If you haven’t heard the interview check it out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yzDbnMY4hg

He seems to be determined to achieve one purpose, and that is to say that the health care law has nothing to do with the IRS. O ‘Reilly has a valid question, if someone refuses to comply with this new law how will it be enforced? Which agency will do the dirty work? Will a park ranger from the Dept. of the Interior turn up at your door? Will it be an ATF agent? One of the President’s Secret Service Detail? Perhaps it’s a Capitol Hill cop. Congressman Weiner refused to answer. He flat-out refused. This is kind of mysterious. I’ll propose a plain explanation of the mystery.

If you watch the clip closely Weiner’s act is largely convincing. Certainly he didn’t agree to an interview with O’Reilly without knowing that in the wake of the Congress and the President passing a gargantuan change in the law against the will of the American People that O’Reilly would attempt to highlight the most controversial aspects of the bill. Further we can assume that he agreed to the interviewfor the purpose of advancing his own agenda.

During the clip he spits out a few, odd facts but largely passes on the following message to the staunch supporters of the left. “That’s a lie!” he bleats repeatedly to any question O’Reilly asks. Then in a B Movie over rehearsed attempt at keeping his anger in check he bemoans the difficulty to being interviewed by someone spouting lies. His anger though is deep and it is real. When he looks to the right, freeze the image. Lowered lids…rage, it’s in there somewhere… at who? Bill O’ Reilly? No, like all insiders O’Reilly is a cocktail party annointed one, assumed to be part of the club. So where is his rage focused?

“There is an enormous amount of things that opponents of the health care bill that are just lies. just lies. I’ll say that again, just lies.”

Was he worried that we hadn’t heard him call everyone on our side of the divide liars? I think not. Instead I believe that he knew the interview would be contentious and as a result be replayedas a sound bytefor days afterwards. His accusations, that critics of congress and the new health care law are fabricating grand lies will resonate with members of the left nationwide and will serve to short-circuitpossible debate and exchange of ideas. But this is just a secondary purpose behind his statements.

Congressman Weiner is a professional liar. He is very good at it but his face betrays with micro indicators on his face. Watch the clip and watch for his eyebrows to rise andquickly arch together. It’s a classic indicator of passing a lie. Now pay strict attention to what he is saying when they happen. (I have to admit that there is some demonic pleasure in using the latest behavioural science against those that seek to appoint themselves at the top of a behavioural modification system of oppression)

More disturbing is the truthful information that he offers as a non sequitur. If you watch the whole clip he makes no statements with any content other than protesting that he is not being allowed to talk or saying the Mr. O Reilly’s questions are lies. Then suddenly he’s offering us factual information not related to any question and it’s as a response to the pressure of being repeatedly questioned.

“Right now we have an 88% compliance rate with all elements of the tax code. Requirements, sanctions, everything it’s the highest in the world. Ninety Seven..” At this point O’Reilly cuts him off to ask “What about the other twelve percent.” This is the key to his whole appearance on Fox. What does the tax code compliance have to do with the new Health Care system that has been written into law? Why was this factoid and number right there in the front of his mind during a debate over health care and compliance with the newfederally based system? The immediate and easy comment would be to think that the congressman was about to make some platitudinouscomment about a rosy future where the population, down to the last vagabond under a trestle, will rush to sign up to Obamacare. I think there is a much darker and more logical explanation.

Here is where Rep. Weiner looks to the right. (ironic huh?) and O’Reilly says ” What about the other 12%? The IRS get’s them if they don’t pay the taxes, ask Wesley Snipes.” Freeze frame again. Rage, lowered eyelids, jaw muscles flexing involuntarily. deep seated rage at those that are not paying.

An 88% complianceratio for the IRS? A decade ago it was 97%. These nine points are a remarkable shift in the behaviour of the population. Statistically action by a large population in the very high nineties signifies general social compliance and the small 2,3 4 % of the balance is usually attributed to the standard remnantof any population that reject a large social trend. For example there are householdsthat have never bought into electrification or telephones. This is the way humans behave and without a Stasistyle campaign employing every third person as an operative and brutal coercion the holdouts will remain.

Using the same yardstick a 9% shift in any core behaviour by a large population is extremely significant. Assuming the taxpaying base at 138 million that translates to 12,420,000 people whohave moved into non compliance in the past decade, a decade if you listen to the mainstream government rhetoric,that was one of prosperity. Further it must be noted that social swings like this usually do not stabilizeat the 9% mark. Many statistical modelling theorists have noted that social trends have a tendency to stabilizearound the following null points of stability; 20% 45%, 60% 80-83% and finally 96-97% the point we started with in tax code compliance. This is not a linear scale model these points can be stabilizing points in either the growth of social acceptance or the rejection of social behaviours. They just seem to be, for some unknown reason, points of stability that occur frequently. You may be asking where I am going with all this, please read on because the balance of the story comes from other quarters.

Is American taxpaying behaviour shifting towards a 20% compliance statistic? Or more frighteningly 45% non compliance? Where is it going. I won’t bother to ask why I will just state that this was the inevitable result of decades of oppressive, creeping universal taxation.

My experience and knowledge of anecdotal evidence points to a growing number of people who find themselves in an untenable position and in desperation drop off the radar, with the intent to find a solution. The system is set up to pile on fines, punishments etc the further you venture into non compliance. For most people, sadly, once outside the system it’s difficult to return to compliance.

So now we can go back to Congressman Weiner. (I’ve got to comment at some point in this article that anyone raised with a surname that invites mockery must inevitably harbor a massive insecurity problem and as a result be extremely dangerous if trusted with any power) The interview with Bill O’Reilly centered around non compliance and the congressman ducked, dodged, blustered and fumed while never answering with any substance his question about the IRS. News reports cite that the new health bill will start out by adding 17,000 new IRS agents. That’s a hell of a lot of IRS agents.

So let’s sum up. The Government has just stuffed amonumental new entitlement down the throats of an unwilling population. Tax complianceis dropping for the first time in modern history and it’s dropping fast. An angry citizen has just performed a Kamikazeattack on the IRS. (he reportedly was a democrat)The government has added 17,000 new IRSattack dogs.Government spokesmen are refusing to answer questions about the methodology of enforcing compliance on an unwilling population. And finally, the last puzzle piece, the new health care law insures that the Federal Government will count every head, locate and gain some measure of control over every single last citizen from the cradle to the grave. Feel free to discount or discard my over analysis of his inner thoughts and the facts still add up to a frightening possibility.

Behind closed doors the Government has screamed CRY HAVOC! AND LETSLIP THE IRS DOGSOF WAR!!! Is it any wonder that they are refusing to answer,usingobfuscation, denying, lying, burying the facts in 2700 page unreleased legalese and moving in the dark of night? Does Weiner’s behaviour make more sense from this angle? It does to me.

Since Oklahoma City our government has been running scared.In their arrogance they never imagined that they might be subject to retribution from anyone in our country no matter how unsavory their actions.Historically this is a commonmistake of oppressive governance.Since the Oklahomatragedy they have been quietly circling the wagons.They’ve instituted various schemes to locate and identify us, they’ve expanded domestic surveillance and hammered significant cracks into our protection from search and seizure, the sight of routine traffic stops have become standard viewing for the average american, they are about to add national ID’s all thiswhile the only threats we can all see are far beyond our borders. We do not see the threat that our government sees extremely clearly, us.

So I watch in the interview with Weiner and a chill runs down my spine. I tuck my two small children in tighter. Coincidentally, while watching Star Wars for the first time my seven-year old daughter asked what a rebel was. I told her that the rebels in Star Wars were people fighting against bad men that wouldn’t let them be free.

“We’re Free!” she bubbled enthusiastically.

“In some ways we are honey.” was my reply as a knot grew in my gut. “For now…”

The current administration and congresshaven’t finished remaking America and forcing us to choose sides. It’s sickening to watch. They are far from finished taxing us even though the recent collapse was arguably the result of decades of oppressive taxation on a once vibrant, optimisticcountry. What happenedto “it’s dawnin America.” ? Well it’s been taxed into poverty. Where can they possibly imaginethe moneywill come to pay the next wave of crushing taxes? I’ll tell you where, our grocery bags, the medical profession’s cash flow, cap and trade, a VAT and finally new entitlement excused payroll taxes.

Congressman Weiner you better not answer the questions…………………………………….

Brad Morrison/Billiken Media 2010

I went to sleep in Boston and I woke up in Sweden

•March 22, 2010 • 1 Comment

My days of ribald skullduggery and excessive pursuit of the limits of human alcohol endurance are lost in the cloudy memories of College. Considering this you can imagine my shock when I spent a pleasant weekend in Boston, stayed with some friends, drove home through the sunshine, returned to what appeared to be my home, ate a healthy and delicious dinner prepared in what was apparently my kitchen, read deeply from two or three books finally collapsing in blissful exhaustion comforted by the familiar lumps and creases of my overworked king size mattress and awoke to the shock of discovering I was now in Sweden.  Why did it have to be Sweden!? I rose from my bed and lifted the blinds and there it was, as far as I could see Sweden.  It’s unsettling.

It seems that the universe and its laws should not allow for things like this to happen.  As the realization dawned on me I quickly checked that other universal laws had turned topsy-turvy. I dropped a shoe from height to confirm the effect of gravity. Sure enough the resounding thunk was comforting. I pinch myself, and then my bed mate for good measure. She didn’t appreciate it. Maybe that is a product of this crazy sea change.  I suspect that Swedish women don’t relish being woken with a hearty pinch in the soft skin along the ribs.

What could bring this involuntary shifting of reality? Did I ingest  a little bottle labeled “Drink Me”? No, I can’t remember having done that.  Did I once again make the mistake of drinking out of my band’s drummer’s private energy drink? The one that he judiciously hides on any and all traffic stops. That couldn’t be the case since I recall that particular mistake is accompanied by palsy-like shaking and a need to laugh.

So what could it have been. Let’s see….Hmmm… Well the clock radio clicked on and a man’s voice on NPR said quite clearly “Good Morning, it’s Monday March 22nd. 2010 and you are now living in 1980’s Sweden. ”

‘Gee, ‘I thought. ‘ That’s odd. I don’t even know who or what is the prime minister of Sweden. Is it a man or a woman? Didn’t they once elect a Lap/Reindeer in a joint stewardship of the Prime Ministership? Hmmm, I may be mistaken about that one but I am quite certain that I’m not really, really drunk so that proves I didn’t go to sleep in Sweden.’

I realize there may be some confusion for you, the reader since I had the perspective of being there and, as a result, heard the announcer say the words “The Health Care Bill passed” which, of course, is pronounced “You are now living in 1980’s Sweden and will be subject to soul-crushing taxes” I guess I should be careful and as accurate as possible so I am not 100% certain that there is a hyphen in Soul-Crushing. It seems right but so does the insane idea that our rights are given to us by the government rather than the reality that our rights are intrinsic to being human. That is to say that we have them and the government can not trample on them with its ideas of governmental interest or overpowering desire to mother us into re-electing them.

I can’t recall agreeing to emigrate to Sweden. I certainly don’t recall agreeing to toss out a Republic and replace it with a Socialist Democracy.  I know that over the past few months the majority, by a wide margin majority,  or Americans had expressed their opinion that they had no interest in learning to speak Swedish, give over 60% of their income in taxes or allow ideologues to lord over their health care.  Obviously it matters not since I went to Boston and somewhere, I suspect it was that wrong turn on Rt 128, I veered off into Sweden.

I’m lucky ’cause I’ve been to Sweden before.  I spent a month there one week in the fall of 1994. It was a country of overpowering drunkenness despite the fact that taxation made a bottle of beer cost $14 and a half hour phone call to the states cost $385. Beautiful people the Swedes. Very tall, very drunk while being very tall.  I’m also lucky since I have a string of Swedish friends here in Sweden II as I am now prone to call it.  One of them is named Per. That’s pronounced Pear or Pair. Per and his Swedish II wife Alice are born again Christians. Per found his way to Jesus while sitting, meditating in a hash field in Morocco.   I once asked Per why he came to the United States. Helaughed.

“The same reason that every young person in Sweden comes to the United States. In Sweden you can never be rich. You can never even be wealthy. The taxes are so extreme that it’s impossible to afford anything other than a simple, swedish lifestyle. So if you have any get up and go, you get up and go. All the young people leave and come the United States So that we can live a good life. Then we retire in Sweden. ”

Per has a lengthy list of Swedish expatriates that back up his story. I haven’t called him but I am certain that he must be angry to have woken up in Sweden as well. It doesn’t fit his plans at all.

I do feel some consolation knowing that Garrison Keeler must be terrified this morning. In the late seventies, after years of pontificating about Sweden being the promised land he moved there. He voted with his feet. Then his feet voted and he ran straight back when he discovered that a mouthy turd can not demand whoopingly huge chunks of public money in Sweden as a rewardfor being a mouthy turd. He returned to America with his tail between his legs.

So here we are friends, in Sweden II. It’s got some issues that Sweden I doesn’t have. For example the Real Sweden has a small homogenous population with NO IMMIGRATION.  (they must have learned their lesson when they let in the mouthy turd) It also has centuries of social tradition defining the government as the center of the human experience as compared to our experience  in Sweden II where the tradition of the government being the center of human ambition is only measured in comparison to the tenure of the NY Times editorial board.  

So where will we go with this new creation Sweden II? Let me make a few predictions.  First we will reward the tyrants that shoved this massive entitlement down our throats despite the plain evidence of our disapproval by turning them out into the street and branding them so that they never again can come within a thousand miles of the Swedish Capitol . I know that they believe that they have once again purchased our votes with our own hard-earned dollars. I pray that this is not true. This is how they will play it.

It will slowly dawn on them that the backlash against them is going to be on a scale that they cannot comprehend.  They will scramble to hire millions of people on the government payroll in an effort to outright purchase themselves enough votes to stem the bleed out of their party. Their deeper strategy is a large bet on the long-term ascendancy of entitlement as a steady state.  They will resign themselves to four years of being banished to the wilderness. Up until then they will pack the rolls with as many bureaucrats as they can muster and as many layers of law and nested programs within nested programs to make the unraveling of this system next to impossible.  Then they will fall from power.

As we approach their destruction at the hands of the electorate we will hear for the first time a sickening refrain that will haunt our children’s ears for the balance of their lives.

“Fear them!!!” they will scream “If they come to power they will TAKE AWAY YOUR RIGHTS!!!”

Sadly, the more that young people hear this the more they may believe it. People are prone to fear and the Socialists have just gained control of living and dying. There is no more powerful gambit save control over having a full belly this week. How far off can that be?

©Brad Morrison/Billiken Media

The Day Elvis Beat Me Up

•March 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

From aged 7 until aged 20 I played the piano. I played incessantly. I played studiously. I played joyfully. I played for hours and hours. My family, bless them rarely beat me for this nasty habit. I would pound away and my Dad would sit in his easy chair on the other side of the wall acting as if he could hear the TV over my seven hundredthrepetition of Czerny’s School of Velocity. Through all of this the one thing I wasn’t was a good piano player.

I eventually became technically proficient. I could read. I could play with feeling. I could understand music and most importantly I could write music. I remember asking my various instructors how good I was and they would invariably launch into lengthy praise of my latest attempt to write a sonata. By about aged 15I realized I would never have the chops to be a classical or jazz pianist. I didn’t have a natural ear like a few of my more talented friends.Another small talent I did possess was the ability to play while roaring stoned and drunk. So I started playing in Rock bands. It was a perfect fit.

So I switched over from acoustic piano to Hammond organ and electric piano.

It was around this time I made the fateful decision to play in a school talent show. This was a decision that was directly opposed to my usual High School attitude. I wasn’t a “Joiner”. Looking back I haven’t a clue why I filled out the form and committedmyself to play 3 minutes of an originalcomposition. I decided to play a piece that was an homage to Philip Glass. It was a study of minimalism where a repetitious, repeating line is changed a note at a time so that it starts to morph into something different. My composition instructor, an old R & B organist lobbied me to change to one of my sonatas. I stubbornly refused. He, of course, had much more common sense than I did.

The student body was not going to tolerate a sonata, much less a minimalist tone poem in E flat.

The bill for that show was a usual mix of wierd solo instrumentals, baton twirlers(an odd,odd interest. Do they grow up to be plate spinners?), and even a rock band. The day before the show, during the rehearsal I was approached by Maddy. She was a Freshman, I was a Junior. It seems that her accompanisthad backed out at the last-minute. She was pretty girl just coming into puberty. As usual I was helplessly unprepared for a petition for a favor from a woman. She asked if I could read sheet music. I said yes. She asked if I would accompany her singing. I said Yes. I failed to ask more questions or suggest that we practice together. I was running a 16 year olds brain so there was lots of room for error. I remember being vaguely worried that either of the two girls I had a crush on would somehow be jealous of me appearing with her. Then I wondered if either of the girls knewI existed.

Playing backup for Maddy was easy since she followed on directly after my slot. I took the stage with a knot in my stomach. It evaporated as soon as I hit the first arpeggio. This was a phenomenon I would come to know very well in later life. Once I was playing I was fine. I wound my way through the piece which sounded relatively simple but was in fact torturousto remember and play. The whole later half was built around cascading 9ths. Which for all of you non pianists out there – they can be a bitch to play. I made it through without a gaff and even was knocking out some style by the end. I finished, and nothing. For a painful moment there was silence, then tepid, hesitant polite applause. I started to sweat.

Maddy walked out and handed me the sheet music. I set it on the music stand before me and immediate realized that I had made a mistake. The song Maddy choose was “You light up my life” a Joe Brooks composition sung by, ee gads, Debbie Boone. This record was riding high in the charts at the time.

I opened the sheet music and nodded to her. She nodded back and I tapped out a count with my foot and started in on the opening chords. Before she even opened her mouth I knew we were in big trouble. This was undoubtedly the most uncool song of the year. As I glanced at the vocal line my stomach knotted up again. One of my chores with my composition teacher was to play accompaniment for two vocalists he trained. I was never particularly good at it butI could always get by well enough. Through this experience I had picked up the talent of glancing at a musical score and being able to judge its difficulty immediately. Well Maddy had picked a real corker. It called for a three,maybefour octave rang to be sung correctly. Once again for the non musicians out there, that’s a rare, rare ability. It means you have to be able to sing across four whole octaves of the piano on pitch. Tough, really tough.

So Maddy let’s loose and on the first note she’s completely flat. As she starts to bellow through the song I realize that she can’t sing. By that I mean she couldn’t carry a tune, sing on key, sight sing a score or sing a score from memory. In short she couldn’t sing a lick. Why had she gotten herself into this?  Why didn’t someone tell this person that she couldn’t sing?

Oblivious to her failings Maddy pressed on with massacring the song. It was only moments into the first verse when the first catcall came.

“You Suck! Get off the Stage!” someone kindly chimed in. That was the signal for general chaos. I started to play louder in an attempt to cover some of the insults and talking. Mr. Stevens, the junior physics teacher, trundled up and down the aisles sweating profusely as he waved his fat finger at various malcontents and rascals. As the insults grew more numberous and louder he started to pantomime death and dismemberment at individual students to keep a full-blown riot at bay.

Then it happened. We were about two-thirdsof the way through the song I slammed out a huge clam. I think I intended to play Eb but instead hit G majoror C sharp or some other embarrassing chordal.dissonance Maddy’s eyes had been brimming with tears since the first catcall and now the flood began. “I hate you!” she whispered savagely as she hurried off the stage to hide her tears.

Itried to resolve the chord change I had been stuck with and then quickly exited in the opposite direction. Fo course, I felt angry for not realizing that the other accompanisthad probably quit for a reason. But overall I was angry at the other kids for the way they treated her and ifelt disappointed in myself for letting her down and not playing flawlessly. The error I made was minor. Had it occuredin the midst of a successful rendition of that saccharine Debbie Boone song it would have passed largely unnoticed.

It was within the hour that I heard the fateful phrase that would haunt me for the next few days.

“Maddy’s brother is looking for ya!” someone helpfully informed me.

If you’re male and you went to public school in the USA in the 20th century then you will remember having anyone’s brother “looking for you” was not a good thing.

Now I wasn’ta coward. I wasn’t a scrapper either. Although I was in my second year of Aikido lessons and had defended myself from my violent older brother for ten years I was not a fighter. Maddy’s brother by comparison was quite a bit larger than me was a work out kinda guy and more to the point was three or four years older than me. He was actually an adult! In the land of teen fears all bluster melts away in the face of an actual adult.

in the face of this imminentthreat I quickly went to Plan B. Every kid has a plan B. It is the plan of improvised safety. It has many strategies including but not limited to feigned illness, sudden affection for your father’s presence, long unused paths through the local wilderness, safety in numbers and attempting to hide a sword in your locker.

In the end Tony, ’cause, of course, Maddy’s older brother was inevitably a Big MeanTony, was persistent. He got the drop on me as I left Spanish class. I felt myself grabbed forcefully from behind. He pulled me out of the crowd spun me to face the wall and ground my front into the concrete block. Then he spun me around to face himand held me up off the ground by the throat.

“You fucked up my little sister’s show asshole.”

What do you say to that? I remember thinking I can’t believe it, I’m getting the crap kicked outta me in front of most of the junior class by a guy in a CAPE. Yup, that’s right. He was wearing a long white cape fringed in sequins and rhinestones. This makes perfect sense since he was clad in a form fitted white body suit also covered in sequins and rhinestones. And even this made perfect sense since Tony was one of the world’s first Elvis Presley imitators. So in an effort to get the picture correct here I was being throttled by what appeared to be Elvis Presley. This was the Elvis from the Fat Elvis phase not the lean, mean blue jean Elvis. No, no, that would have been a favor to me. No I had to get beat up by fat old Elvis.

Someone shouted, “Kick his ass Elvis!!”

“I didn’t!! Honest Tony! Really I d-d-d-didn’t” I squeaked.

“Oh yeah? How’s that?”

“I tried to help her. That’s why I agreed to play back up for her. I was the only there that didn’t laugh at her!” His glare softened.

“Is that so?”

“Yeah, honest. I wouldn’t do anything to hurt Maddy. Honest Tony” I pleaded.

” Ok.” He agreed, his anger fading as quickly as it had come. “It just kills me to think of all those people laughing at her. She’s just a kid and she loves to sing. Why would they have to laugh and be mean.”

“I don’t know. People are always mean. You know how it is..”

He shot a look at me. Of course he knew. He had decided to start imitating Elvis in 1970, eons before anyone could understand why anyone would ever do such a thing. He had stuck to it and now was finding gigs since Elvis had died 8 months before. Tony’s star was rising. He would go on to be a sensation in Vegas,. He would live in a copy of Graceland and drive a Stutz Blackhawk just like the King but all of that lay in the future as we stood there in the river of kids making their way to class. Here and now he was just a big brother doin’ his best to undo a crushing blow to his dear little sisters hopes.

Copyright Brad Morrison/Billiken Media 2010