Tag Archives: donald trump

How to Predict the Future at Exactly the Wrong Time

Years ago I wrote a novel. It did not exactly set the world on fire, though the same can be said for 99% of everything written ever. However, I’ve been thinking about that book a lot of late because I believe it may have suffered from the fact that it came out at exactly the wrong time.

The book was called Hang A Crooked Number, and its central conceit was that professional baseball was a front for a domestic intelligence organization. The conflict of the novel occurs between that organization’s established leadership, which prefers low-key data-driven work, and a faction of cavemen types who want the organization be more brazen and brutal in their methods. The main character is an aging prospect who has yet to break into the bigs. When he finds himself caught up in the wonks vs. cavemen fight, he spots a chance to make his mark and finally earn his way to The Show. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t go so well for him.

I began writing the book as a thinly veiled allegory for the reality-bending horror of the Bush Years, with a healthy serving of the Stat Nerds vs. Jocks wars that flared up in baseball during the mid-2000s. But by the time I actually finished writing the novel, both of those eras had long passed. Obama was already into his second term, and everyone was eager to think of the Bush years as a distant memory. Meanwhile in the baseball world, the nerds had definitively won the data wars, and only the get-off-my-lawn-iest cranks argued otherwise.

In other words, the novel had two strikes against it before it even stepped up to the plate. This may explain why I failed to interest any agent in the novel, and why, once I self published it, no one wanted to read it. I’m also inclined to think that the novel wasn’t that good, probably? That may possibly have been a factor.

Nonetheless, Hang A Crooked Number has come to mind a lot lately. When I wrote it, I tried to create a world that was slightly more grotesque than the reality of the moment. Lo and behold, Bush Years + 25% More Horror = something that looks a lot like TrumpAmerica. To wit:

  • The world doesn’t quite work, and no one expects it to anymore. Things are broken and don’t get fixed. Roadblocks and train stoppages set up to combat terrorism do little more than annoy commuters. Severe storms level whole neighborhoods with such a frequency that the events are no longer shocking. There is no expectation that any of these conditions will ever improve.
  • Apart from the protagonist/narrator, the most important character in the novel is a former superstar trying to work his way back to the big leagues, nicknamed The Swing. He is an incurious dolt who keeps succeeding almost by accident. He has no interest in learning anything about his own abilities or the world around him, yet makes continual word-salad pronouncements on these and many other subjects. He is eventually promoted to the majors purely as a publicity stunt, by a team that has zero chance of winning anything.
  • The main character (referred to only by his nickname, Backstop) has a handler who also serves as the only source for extremely valuable intelligence. The caveman wing of the organization tries to recruit Backstop by insisting his handler is actually a double agent for a terrorist group. In his attempt to find out the truth, Backstop inadvertently sets up a sting operation that, for all intents and purposes, forces his handler to commit the crime his enemies had already accused him of, making their accusation retroactively correct.
  • Backstop then finds out that the cavemen who hoodwinked him aren’t as dumb and primitive as he thought. They wanted access to his handler’s source, and with his handler out of the way, now they have it. They also wanted Backstop to rope The Swing into their schemes, and he unknowingly does this as well. Their main goal was obtaining power, and they obtained it by feigning stupidity in a way that some found appealing.

Granted, there is plenty in this book that is not at all relevant to modern times. There’s almost no use or mention of social media in it, for instance, or of the oddly Ayn Rand-ian world of the modern technocracy. Straight-up white nationalism makes no appearance, either. But the above items are enough to make me think that the novel may have failed as much for its timing as for its overall quality. I’m good at some things and bad at many others, but one of the things I am least skilled at is timing. This would be my Exhibit A in that case.

Had I know a Trump presidency would have made my novel more relevant…well, actually, had I known a Trump presidency would even happen, a novel would’ve been the least of my concerns.

Mao Zedonald

These days, there’s no shortage of people casting dire warnings about Donald Trump. Each time the president makes another statement, millions of people point out the eerie similarities between his latest “tactic” and those employed by brutal dictators of old.

The dictator to whom Trump is most often compared is Hitler, an extreme comparison that would be totally unfair if not for the fact  that many of his closest advisers are full-blown white nationalists. At the risk of splitting hairs while the world burns, Trump’s style of governing (such as it is) does not remind me so much of Der Fuhrer, whose horror was at least meticulously planned. His first chaotic days in office remind me more of a completely different despot: Mao Zedong. Specifically, they call to mind Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

I’ve long been fascinated by hermetically-sealed cults of personality, like North Korea, and regimes that attempted to halt history in its tracks, like Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge.  But the place and period that fascinates me the most is China under the Cultural Revolution (which ran roughly from 1966 until Mao’s death 10 years later), which combined a cult of personality with an insane push to erase history into one horrifying amalgam.

During the Cultural Revolution, everyone in China—all 1 billion of them—was taught to worship Chairman Mao as if he were a god. Mao had always been officially revered, but this period elevated him to an insane, untouchable level. Mao made sure he remained at this level by fomenting a climate of “permanent revolution” in which any vestige of the past was questioned, then destroyed. The result was a roiling chaos that left everyone too confused, terrified, and exhausted to question anything Mao had done.

Even if you know nothing about Mao or the Cultural Revolution, this has an obvious, superficial resemblance to Trump. His election was an attempt to destroy all political norms that preceded it—both the Clintonite neoliberal consensus and the staid fiscal/intellectual conservative wing of the GOP. In the place of both of these, Trump has created a new political reality that revolves exclusively around his own whims.

But how are the two men specifically similar?  Allow me to demonstrate.

Continue reading Mao Zedonald

What’s Cookin

With the sheer amount of insanity that has transpired in the last week or so of the presidential campaigns (never mind the accumulated insanity to this point), you easily could have missed a special sliver of crazy that emerged down the home stretch. It’s difficult for anything or anyone to appear particularly bonkers in an election season that has legitimized the voices of anime-loving Nazis. That feat was managed late last week when the topic of Spirit Cooking lit social media aflame.

The budget version (and fair warning, even this condensed explanation could lower your IQ several points) proceeds thusly: the fire-and-brimstone segment of the electorate pored over the recent Wikileaks emails and found one in which Hillary Clinton operative John Podesta talked about attending a show by performance artist Marina Abramovic called Spirit Cooking. Said show purports to involve various bodily fluids, pig’s blood, self-cutting, etc., in a tortured bohemian tableau familiar to anyone who’s ever been dragged to a freshman art show. Through the fevered interpretation of the Alex Jones crowd, however, Abramovic’s work was not a high-school-goth level metaphor but an act of actual witchcraft.

Continue reading What’s Cookin

Your New President: Sultan’s Feast

I’m almost tempted to dump this Trump feature already, since I feel that Obama’s trifecta of releasing his birth certificate, roasting The Donald at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and KILLING OSAMA BIN LADEN has destroyed whatever momentum the cancerous little troll once had.

Then again, Election Day 2012 is still a long way away, and anything can happen between now and then. So assuming Trump does not go away any time soon, here’s another item from the man who wants to be our next Commander-in-Chief: the Yelp page for the Sultan’s Feast buffet at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, which came to my attention thanks to the latest Celebrity Apprentice recap by Tom Scharpling at New York Magazine.

Granted, casino buffets are not the places to go for fine cuisine, and it may be a little unfair to fault Trump for one small piece of his empire. But then again, is it so unfair? Shouldn’t someone who wants to be the most powerful man in the free world have a grip on all the details of his business? I’m inclined to say yes. Plus, these reviews are hilarious.

Keep in mind, eating at this dump will set you back $25, which ain’t cheap where I come from. Sure, it’s all you can eat, but does that matter when the offerings are inedible?

Here’s a few choice reviews:

  • “Like the hotel, the Sultan’s Feast is old and in dire need of a makeover…and I wouldn’t go back….knowing what I know now, I would have rather spent $20 for 2 at McDonald’s than $45 here.  At least with my McDonald’s meal, I would have known what to expect and still would have left satisfied.” — iza p.
  • “It’s not like I expect casino buffets to be any good, but this place was just unbelievably horrible.” — Sallina Y.
  • “Easily the worst meal I had, in a sea of terrible Atlantic City food….the clams were acceptable, but I was frankly too scared to eat them and the crab legs – seemed like a food poisoning accident waiting to happen.” — MaryE M.
  • “the casino tried the old bait-and-switch on us by handing us the wrong coupons.  So we had to wait in a huge line while they straightened it out.” — Chris K.
  • “Oh man! I feel sick. Perhaps one of the more disgusting buffets I have ever had the pleasure of visiting…I was amazed by the amount of food some of these people were inhaling. I’d almost give it an additional star just for the people watching but then again, who really wants to see that?? I left the place feeling impregnated with mac and cheese, with the realization that technically I would never need or want to eat again.” — Danielle F.
  • “The decor here is stuck somewhere between the Brady Bunch and Knight Rider.  My college dorm had food that looked more appetizing and it’s unlikely that the federal government would have even subjected Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib to this fare…My pork chop didn’t look quite right and tasted equally odd.  I couldn’t place it so I had my friend try it.  ‘Dude,’ he said, ‘that’s ham steak.’ Awesome.” — Oksi B.
  • “We went to this buffet for breakfast on a Monday morning and it was TERRIBAD, yes it was so bad that I have to use a non-word to describe it.” — Edward B.
  • “Crab Legs – Samples were tried from 2 separate batches that were brought out over the 30 minutes we were in the establishment and both found that the legs were soft and not conventionally cracked. Spoke to management about the issue and we were blown off!” — Scott V.

But Mary M. sums it up perfectly: “it just don’t live up to a real feast for sultan.” No it don’t, Mary.

Should the man who runs this buffet run our nation? You decide, American voter!

Your New President: Trump Castle

I remain convinced that 1) the Trump-for-President talk will fade as soon as a more viable Republican candidate emerges, and 2) even if it doesn’t, he will have his ass handed to him as soon as he attempts any serious campaigning. The man is a grown child, a spoiled brat, and he hasn’t the slightest idea of what he’s in for if he actually runs for office.

The biggest nightmare that awaits him in running for office is an arena in which he can definitively lose. I don’t think Trump could handle that, because he has never truly and unequivocally lost at anything. In business, you can technically fail–as Trump has done many times–yet still turn a profit and, in a sense, win. Now that he’s dipping his toes into political punditry, he still can find a way to win when he loses. When Obama produced his birth certificate, Trump got to take credit for “forcing the issue.” So even though he lost in the sense that he was dead wrong (and also lying, it seems, about having all those “investigators” in Hawaii), he could claim that he “won” by making the president respond to his idiotic needling.

But when you actually run for office, you can lose. Not only that, but everyone will know exactly how badly you lost. I can’t imagine that Trump would put himself in such a position.

However, since speculation about him running will not go away, I promise to regularly post some Trump-related monstrosity until it does. First up, an ad that is deeply ingrained upon my psyche. Because Trump was not satisfied with just plaguing Atlantic City with his tacky casinos. He also had to pollute the local airwaves with his cheesy ads. If you lived anywhere in the tri-state area in the last 30 years, you probably saw this a thousand times more than you ever wanted to. The 80s-riffic jingle in this ad gets re-stuck in my head once every few months, at which point I raise my fists to the heavens and scream TRUMP!!!

How classy was Trump Castle Hotel and Casino? You can hazard a guess based on the fact that a large yellow sign that blares FREE PARKING gets as much screen time as anyone else in this ad.

Also, if you want to know what kind of person would seriously contemplate voting for Trump for president, peep this comment that appears below the video.

A Henry VIII-esque slob of a king and FREE PARKING–an inspiration to us all! TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP..

Trump Says You’re Welcome, America

As usual, it took Trump to do what no one else could. Look, I didn’t really think Obama wasn’t born here. Only a brainless, racist moron would think that. But I was smart enough to recognize how many brainless, racist morons there are in this country and how I could use their unfocused rage to get the president to finally produce his birth certificate. You’re welcome, America. Consider it an early 4th of July present from yours truly. Yes, when you’re a true patriot like myself, even six months ahead of time isn’t too soon to celebrate the day we took back Plymouth Rock from the Chinese.

It took Trump to force this issue, folks, and that’s exactly what I did. I forced it. I pushed and poked and prodded the issue. I got in the issue’s face, like an inch away, and said “Hey issue, does this bug you? Does this bug you? I’m not touching you. Are you gonna cry, issue? Go ahead and cry! 1-2-3 cry!” That’s what I call leadership.

The fact that I got Obama to release his birth certificate proves that I can be presidential. Because that’s what a president does: he badgers and pesters and whines until he gets his way. If I was president, I’d be all like, “Hey Russia, cut it out.” And they’d be all like, “What do you mean-ski?” And I’d be like, “You know what, just knock it off, ya knuckleheads.” There isn’t a world leader who could stand up to the grilling I would give them across a large mahogany desk. Not the king of France, not the Sultan of Norway, not even the czar of Antarctica.

Next, I’m turning my sights on Obama’s academic record. Sure, he went to Harvard Law School and headed the law journal and graduated zooma cum loudly, or whatever it is. But did he really deserve it? Now, I’m not saying all his professors didn’t just breeze him along because they’d been paid off by a powerful cabal of Muslim extremists and Black Panthers to introduce him to effete liberal society and one day be installed as president. Luckily, other people are saying it for me, so I just have to suggest it.

I haven’t announced my candidacy officially yet. But just think, if I was your president, every day could be like this!

Trump vs. Romney: The Unfair Fight

Of course I’m a better presidential candidate than Mitt Romney. Why? Because I have more money than he does. It’s simple math, people. More money equals better than. And before you tell me that’s from an old Mr. Show sketch, just know that I’m currently suing David Cross and Bob Odenkirk for ripping me off. And for calling their program Mr. Show before I could think of that name.

It’s a matter of fact that every president elected in the last 500 years has been richer than his opponent. Reagan was richer than Jimmy Carter. JFK was richer than Eisenhower. Abe Lincoln was richer than The South. Do I have to go on? No, I don’t, because I’m rich and I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do.

How could Mitt Romney possibly be a better candidate than me. He’s never even had a reality show or coined a copyrightable catchphrase! And that hair! Have you ever seen such a ridiculous head of hair in your life?

Sure, he was elected governor of a state, I’ll grant you that. And he managed to get a big health care bill passed in that state, whichever one it was. (I wanna say Vermont?) But how many casinos did he build? None. How many 75-story glass-and-gold turds did he build on prime real estate bearing his name? Zippo. How many times did he go bankrupt? Zilch.

Me? I’ve built so many things with my name on it, I’ve lost count (and also because I can’t count very high). And every one of them looks like it was built by that Russian billionaire in the DirecTV ads. Plus, I’m such a shrewd businessman, I’ve been able to go bankrupt three times and still get cities to give me land. Let’s see Mitt Romney do that!

At the end of the day, this is barely a fair fight. I’m one of the most recognizable human beings on the planet, and all Mitt Romney has is a few decades of political experience. Plus, Obama is terrified of the thought of me being the Republican candidate. He said so himself! Sure, some people thought he was being sarcastic when he said that, but I doubt that was the case, mostly because I have no idea what “sarcastic” means. Seriously, I dropped out of school after the fourth grade.

The Trump Plan for the Mets

trump.jpgAm I interested in buying the Mets? A good businessman never shows all his cards. So I’m going to say yes, I am definitely interested.

The Mets need a proven winner like me to take them to the next level. I know what it takes to build from the ground up, because I have built an empire renowned and respected the world over, and all I started with was an insane amount of inherited wealth. My face alone guarantees tens of millions in additional revenue from people who are dumb enough to buy anything with the word TRUMP on it.

Can I revive the Mets? Look what I did for Atlantic City. I turned that dump into a dump where you can lose your money! Better yet, look what I did for the USFL. Enough said.

First thing’s first: the Wilpons gotta go. They’ve proven they can’t run a business. Do you know they haven’t gone bankrupt even once? I’ve done it three times already! To me, that shows lack of initiative.

Next, we sign a big time free agent to get some fannies back in the seats. Who’s the most recognizable athlete in the world? That’s right, Tiger Woods. I am prepared to offer him a $500 million/year contract. I know he doesn’t play baseball, but people will show up to see if he can, or at least to shout really horrible things at him.

If The Apprentice has proven anything, it’s that people love to watch celebrities fight while trying to run fake businesses. So I’d kick Sandy Alderson and The Nerd Herd to the curb, and bring in my own front office: Star Jones, Danny Bonaduce, Janice Dickinson, Spencer Pratt, and one of the kids from Glee or something. We’d film them screaming at each other about trades or making pizzas or whatever, sell the footage to NBC, and make a series about it. And possibly a line of towels, too. We’re still working it out.

The team gets revenue and publicity, the people get something entertaining to watch. It’s a no-lose situation. At the box office, anyway. The team itself would probably lose a lot on the field, but that’s the price of fame, folks.

Then, I get Bloomberg to build us a brand new stadium on top of one of my luxurious condos on the West Side. CitiField is ancient history–its practically three years old! My proposed Trump Grounds at Trump Stadium will be the world’s first sports arena situated 750 feet above the ground. I’m told heavy winds might be a factor and the players will probably have to wear oxygen masks. But do you want comfortable playing conditions or glitz and glamor? Can’t have both, people.

And in any case, we’ll make up for the lack of breathable air with some Trump Ultra-Luxury Boxes. You can’t even walk past them for less than 50 grand. They’ll have all the features of my iconic Trump buildings, with gold lined everything, and one of those fountains with a naked chick in it, cuz that’s classy. This aesthetic will appeal to Russian oil billionaires and hip-hop artists living off of hit singles from 1997.

After that? I dunno, I’ll probably get bored, sell the team off for scrap, and buy a new helicopter or something.