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It’s official, today is the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history. That’s nothing to be proud of. Even before the shutdown the various federal government employees had to deal with the effects of Donald Trump running the government and now they can’t even go to work or earn a paycheck because of Trump’s little temper tantrum. The effects of this are starting to be felt nationwide ranging from vandals cutting down 1,000-year-old Joshua trees because there are no staffers to patrol Joshua Tree National Park in California to a town in Florida being unable to receive  any kind of federal government help to deal with the damages stemming from the effects of Hurricane Michael last October.

Meanwhile Trump has threatened to shut down the government to last months or even years. All because he wants to build a wall among the U.S.-Mexican border, something that even experts say would be ineffective and a waste of money. (In fact, a test of a prototype for a steel wall that Trump prefers has resulted in it being sawed through.) It’s the same wall—which originally was the brainchild of Roger Stone and Sam Numberg—that Trump once said that the U.S. would build but he would make Mexico pay for it. Now he wants the U.S. government to pay for the wall or else he’ll refuse to sign the bill that would keep the federal government operating this year. A few days ago he attempted to make his case by going to one of the border towns in Texas only for the people there tell the media that they don’t want this wall.

A few days ago the Democrats who now dominate the House of Representatives (thanks to the mid-term elections) voted to re-open the government without funding for the wall. Even though there were lawmakers in the Senate who also wanted to vote the same, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to allow such a vote. Part of Senator McConnell’s job is to serve as a check and balance of the Executive Branch and he is failing miserably. I wonder how many people in his home state of Kentucky will feel the effects of this shutdown and McConnell’s refusal to do anything to re-open the government.

What’s even worse is that members of the Trump Administration are tone-deaf regarding the plight of the federal employees (as well as those who work for federal government contractors) not receiving a paycheck. One person said that these workers are somehow better off. The administration also suggested that furloughed federal employees do odd jobs for their landlords in exchange for rent while the Coast Guard suggested that its furloughed employees hold garage sales and babysit children as a way of raising cash.

Unbelievable!

Every other previous president had either been elected to a lower office, served in the military, or have done both. Donald Trump is the first president to have done neither. It is so obvious that he is ill-suited for the job. He came from a wealthy background and the only jobs he has ever held were in his family-owned business. He rarely had to face the consequences of his actions, even when he was a young child. Donald Trump was never raised with the sense of noblesse oblige towards those less fortunate than him, unlike the Kennedys or Britain’s royal family. He managed to go through several bankruptcies yet he was the host of a reality TV show that portrayed him as a successful businessman, contrary to what various staffers of The Apprentice witnessed behind the scenes. He also seems to have the mind of an overgrown child who has never matured. He actually alluded to the size of his penis during one of the Republican debates and this trait has rubbed off on his eldest son. (Talk about the penis measuring contest from hell.)

This is what happens when a country elects a leader with a background like Donald Trump.

Trump did promise that he would run the government like a business. At least that’s one promise that he has kept. (LOL!) The New York Times currently has a timeline of what has happened as well as what could happen if the shutdown lasts any longer. Some economists are predicting even more horrible consequences for the U.S. if this shutdown lasts past February.

For many months I used to lie in bed wishing that I could be on the same economic level like the rest of my friends and family. What I really meant is that I wanted a steady job that I could support myself with, not to have my friends who are employed with either the federal government or a contractor end up going to similar things that I went through last year (due to my alimony running out and having a difficult time with finding a steady job). I see no end in sight for this shutdown and there’s a probability of more drama to come. The latest news is that Trump plans on keeping the federal government shut while the FBI has opened an inquiry on whether Trump has been working secretly on behalf of the Russians.

I really don’t see an end to this massive chaos, which is why I still stand by my original prediction I made nearly two years ago that Donald Trump won’t make it past his first term in office.

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Last month, starting on the day before my birthday (December 15), I started seeing Valentine’s Day stuff in the local grocery store aisles right next to the Christmas stuff.

I would love to ask all these stores who are putting Valentine’s Day stuff on the shelves just one thing: Why? Why are you pushing a holiday that’s not scheduled to arrive for two months? Why are you pushing the next holiday before the current holiday (Christmas) actually arrived? What the hell is wrong with you?

Do you know how out of whack it is to see Valentine’s Day stuff immediately before and after Christmas? Yesterday was Little Christmas, the last day of the Christmas holiday season. Most people are just getting over the recent Christmas holiday. Worrying about what to get a loved one for Valentine’s Day is the LAST thing they need right now.

It wasn’t always like this. When I was a kid I didn’t start seeing Valentine’s Day stuff on the store shelves until mid-January at the earliest. By that point people had gotten over Christmas and they were open to buying something for Valentine’s Day.

But now it seems like the stores just rush everything. Once Valentine’s Day arrives (and maybe before), I’ll start seeing St. Patrick’s Day stuff mixed with Easter. After those two holidays I’ll start seeing red, white, and blue stuff for the summer patriotic holidays (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day). Once Labor Day ends is the time I start seeing Halloween stuff nearly two months before the actual holiday. The Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas stuff arrives around the same time as Halloween (and maybe before).

Basically I’m not into seeing stuff for a certain holiday on the store shelves two months before the actual day itself. It throws everything out of whack for me. This rushing the holidays is one of the many reasons why I don’t enjoy shopping as much as I used to.

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A self-proclaimed “mommy blogger” named Christie Tate is currently getting roasted online for her blogging antics. Here’s some background. Christie Tate has been blogging for over a decade about her personal life, which resulted in her writings being published in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and many others.

When she became a mother she began to blog extensively about her children starting from the time they were newborns and she even used their real names while divulging personal stuff about them like potty training.

Recently her nine-year-old daughter received her first laptop and she decided to do a search online where she discovered the many pictures and blog posts her mother had written about her over the years. The daughter was naturally mortified to read stuff like the time her mother devoted a blog post about the girl’s “rather tenacious case of diarrhea.”

The daughter begged her mother to please stop writing about her online. The mother refused saying “Promising not to write about her anymore would mean shutting down a vital part of myself, which isn’t necessarily good for me or her.”

Naturally people began to attack Christie Tate online for her refusal to honor her nine-year-old daughter’s request and the BuzzFeed article had plenty of comments condemning Christie Tate. But those were mild compared to what I’ve read at the celebrity gossip community Oh No They Didn’t!

But if you think that Christie Tate blogging about her young daughter and ignoring the girl’s plea to stop is bad enough, here’s another thing that she has blogged about that really exposes her as a downright horrible person. Back in 2016 she wrote this post about how she had been regularly attending group therapy sessions and she decided to write a book based on those real-life sessions, including what her fellow attendees have said in confidentiality at those sessions. As this post states:

The first draft is done now.  My beautiful, bloated, crammed-up first draft. They’re in there. They all are, because they’re part of the story. Right now they appear with their given names, their actual hair color. I’m told (by the therapist and the writing people) I’ll have to make them composites: change their genders, move them from the city to far western suburbs, change their struggles from fidelity to chronic debt.

That’s all coming. But right now it’s my story and I need to tell it unencumbered by pseudonyms and scrambled voices.

When one of her fellow attendees learned about her planned book project, he was naturally upset at the prospect of what he said in what he thought were confidential group sessions being turned into fodder for her book. Here is what she wrote about this:

I resent him for making me fight for the story. I should be free to wallow in a single pool of fear about whether I’ll ever see a book through to publication. I don’t wait to divide my time between who am I hurting? and will I ever?

Holy shit! What a self-centered cunt! The story that’s she’s being forced to fight for is not even her story. That story belonged to her fellow attendee. He’s the one who should decide whether he should ever make his own story public in a book or blog post—not her. He’s not some major public figure like a politician or rock star, he’s just an average person who only attended those group therapy sessions in order to help himself with improving his life not providing inspiration for Christie Tate’s book.

That blog post especially rankles me because I started the first week of 2012 attending my first meeting of a weekly support group for people who are separated or divorced. My husband abruptly walked out on me just three days after Christmas, 2011. I spent New Year’s Eve crying in the office of a Unitarian Universalist minister at a different church from the one I usually attended because the then-minister at my church was out of town and this minister was filling in for her. She was the one who recommended that group to me and I attended my first meeting on the first Thursday after New Year’s Day.

Unlike Christie Tate I have never written anything online about what goes on in these meetings. That’s because the group has a very strict confidentiality rule where we are discouraged from telling outsiders what exactly is said in those meetings and who said it. In fact, each meeting ends with a facilitator saying “Remember what is said here, stays here!” Sometimes the meetings will begin with the facilitator telling attendees why everyone needs to observe the confidentiality rule, especially regarding what a fellow attendee has said in a certain meeting. Basically people need a safe space where they can freely express their personal feelings about what happened in their marital breakups without worrying that someone like Christie Tate will decide to write a book based on what is said in those meetings.

That support group was a godsend to me when my husband abruptly ran away from home and started to engage in behavior that totally shocked not only me but many of our longtime friends. My fellow attendees have told their own stories of what went wrong in their marriages, which included things like infidelity, alcoholism, workaholism, spousal abuse, mental illness, drug addiction, gambling addiction, too much shopping, and Internet porn. The stories I’ve heard over the past few years would make great fodder for this blog and even a book.

But you’ll never see me write such blog posts or even a book because for me to do so would be literally stabbing that support group in the back after it has done so much to help me weather through my divorce.

The people who attend divorce recovery meetings are trying to understand why their marriages failed while trying to heal from their recent traumas stemming from their separation and divorce. They hope to gain insights from these meetings in order to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. They aren’t there to serve as inspirations for a blogger or book writer.

I’m sure that the people who attended the same group therapy sessions with Christie Tate were also there making a sincere effort to gain insights on how to improve their lives and stop making the same mistakes over and over. They weren’t there to serve as fodder for her public writings.

Then there is the issue of royalties regarding that book. Did Christie Tate agree to split her royalties with the people in her therapy group since their stories were the only reason why she felt it was possible to write her book in the first place? While I can’t say for sure, I wouldn’t be surprised if she is keeping all of the royalties she earned for herself and she has no intentions of ever splitting them with anyone else.

Christie Tate is still married as of this writing. (I assume that her husband either doesn’t know about or knows yet tolerates the fact that she wrote blog posts like My Husband Doesn’t Know I Am Posting Our Texts and My Husband Doesn’t Know I Am Posting Our Texts: The Willie Nelson Edition.) I hope she stays married because I would hate for her to decide to join a divorce recovery group similar to the one I joined and end up using it for her blog posts and a new book project. No divorce recovery group deserves to have a totally self-centered cunt like Christie Tate attend its meetings.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, one day in the future, Christie Tate finds herself totally alone with no friends while her children refuse to speak to her. I wouldn’t blame anyone for cutting her out of their lives because she can’t be trusted. After all, anyone who confides in Christie Tate about anything will risk having that confidentiality being posted online in her blog so why bother with her?

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Birthday Cake Santa Claus

Nine years ago today I wrote my first post in this blog. Since it’s now this blog’s ninth anniversary, I decided that, instead of posting some video featuring “Happy Birthday,” I’m going to post The Beatles’ notorious “Revolution 9.”

The past year was really tumultuous for me. It began with the brakes dying on my car and I didn’t have enough money to get them repaired. I still wasn’t able to find work since my last job in 2016 (which I left because I wasn’t being paid). I eventually had a friend pay for them in exchange for helping him with some of his eBay sales. Then my alimony ran out and I tried to explain my latest round of bad luck regarding car troubles and not being able to find work to my ex-husband while hoping that he would extend the alimony for just a bit longer but he refused to budge. I knew talking to him was a long-shot because he has totally changed in many ways since he left me for a woman with severe mental health issues. The only consolation is that many of our longtime friends have noticed the change in him as well and some of them have admitted to me that they now avoid him.

On top of that I went to a church service one Sunday without realizing that the Men’s Group was doing a lay service and my ex was among the participants. He started his speech with “My marriage imploded…” which rankled me because HE was the reason why our marriage broke apart. (Here’s a blog post I wrote expressing hope that he would return soon on the night he literally ran away from home like a spoiled teenage girl who decided to run away because her parents failed to give her a pony for her birthday.) Many of our longtime friends know the real truth why our marriage broke apart (it was another woman who I was friends with and who also has severe metal health issues) so I didn’t have to make an ass of myself by protesting loudly during the church service.

But I was having an increasingly hard time with paying my bills and, at one point, I nearly faced eviction from my townhouse because I had fallen too far behind in paying the monthly co-op fees. (The house is paid for but I still have to pay the monthly co-op fees, which are lower than the average rent of an apartment in the Washington, DC area.) I ended up turning to a nonprofit group for a crisis intervention and, for the first time in my life, I had to accept charitable help. It was hard because I grew up with my mother frequently grumbling about people going on welfare while she and my father worked at regular jobs without accepting much help from the government or anyone else (including nonprofits) and she used to talk about how she grew up poor in Baltimore back in the days before there was such a thing as welfare without much help (other than her and my aunt getting my grandfather’s Social Security benefits as teenagers for a few years after his death until they reached adulthood). In her rants she used to somehow implied that people who accept charity (whether from the government or a nonprofit organization) were weak or lazy or something.

At the same time I accepted a job as an administrative assistant for a guy who was dealing with his late aunt’s estate among other things he had to deal with. He started me out on part-time work while telling me that it was going to eventually go to full-time. Except the full-time hours never materialized (I never worked more than 18 hours per week) and he frequently took a week off for out-of-town trips every month, which amounted to fewer work hours for me. I finally left when he went for a very long extended trip to India without paying me for the work I had already done. He paid once he came back but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me because I had so little money in my bank account that any late payments severely affected my cash flow.

I also did some freelance work for a therapist and I still do the occasional job for her. In fact, later today I’m going to go to her home to help her with a few things that she needs done.

But things had gotten so dire for me that I had a friend move in with me a few months ago just so we can split the expenses. It’s the first time I’ve lived with another human being since my husband abruptly walked out on me back in late 2011. (I got a pet hedgehog named Spike a month after my husband left—that was in late January, 2012—and he stayed with me until 2013 when he died after living with me for a year-and-a-half.) So far things have gone well. While I’m still broke, at least I can pay off some of the debts (especially the monthly co-op fees).

In a way it’s nice to have someone to talk to at home again after living alone for so long. But I still don’t regret the six-and-a-half years I lived alone because, until my husband’s walkout, I had never lived on my own. I grew up in my parents’ home. When I went away to college I had to deal with roommates. After I finished my studies, I moved back to my parents’ home. I lived there for 10 months until I got married and I moved in with my new husband. There were advantages to living alone in that I didn’t have to answer to anyone but myself and I could come and go as I pleased. The only big disadvantage was that when I had something bad happen to me I couldn’t confide in anyone else at home since it was just me. Sure, there was the year-and-a-half when I lived with Spike but he was a hedgehog.

My current housemate is a computer geek and he’s just as knowledgeable about computers as my ex-husband was. The only difference is that we sleep in different bedrooms but that’s okay. I’m not going to write about him in this blog too much mainly because he frequently expresses himself online so if you want to know more about him, check him out on Twitter, YouTube, Medium, and his personal website.

Heck, to be fair, I didn’t write too much about my then-husband either before our marriage ended. I would occasionally mention him in passing but that was about it. He didn’t want me to write about him in this blog and I honored his request. Theoretically I could write a whole lot about him now that we’re no longer married but I really don’t want to spend a huge amount of time bashing him in this blog.

It’s generally a good practice not to write too much about the people closest to you in your life. Right now a mommy blogger is getting roasted on the Internet after she admitted that her nine-year-old daughter, whom she had been blogging about since the girl’s birth, had recently discovered old blog posts about her and she asked her mother to stop writing about her online. The mommy blogger has refused saying that, “Promising not to write about her anymore would mean shutting down a vital part of myself, which isn’t necessarily good for me or her.” Yeah, I think it’s totally self-centered on her part and she’s basically telling her daughter that her feelings don’t matter because Mommy’s needs must always come first. I can only imagine how her daughter will turn out in the future, especially as she reaches adulthood.

Not only was my personal life turbulent due to financial problems but I also had to deal with living in the United States of America under President Donald Trump. Just before Christmas he decided to shut down the federal government because he wants his stupid border wall erected along the U.S.-Mexican border and, as of this writing, he refuses to budge. A couple of days ago Trump has said that he is willing to keep the government shut down for years. Meanwhile my federal employee friends are furloughed and dealing with stopped paychecks. I assumed that my ex-husband, who works for NASA, is also among the furloughed but I don’t know for sure since we are no longer on speaking terms. I know that in past shutdowns he stayed home until the government re-opened and Congress has always authorized backpay for all those furloughed federal employees. The worst came when he was off for a month during the winter holiday season back in 1995-1996 and he received backpay for that month that he didn’t work.

In the midst of all this Trump shutdown drama I managed to find a new day job. Basically it involves making government documents accessible by people with various types of disabilities. I learned about this job through my new housemate and it turned out that the person who owns this company is a former teacher I had when I decided to undergo training for a desktop publishing certificate back in the 1990s. (I did it in the hopes of landing a better job than office work. It didn’t work out for me in the long run but that’s another story.)

I started the training phase the day after New Year’s Day. I managed to succeed at my initial training and the person is hiring me on a trial basis for 10 hours a week for the first three months. If all goes well, then I may get more work. I learned that I was hired just a couple of days ago.

I can’t write too much about this new day job because I had to sign non-disclosure agreements as a condition of my employment. Fortunately the company had lined up jobs from state and local governments since they won’t be getting any new work from the federal government until this whole stupid shutdown ends.

Right now I’m cautiously optimistic. I’ve had other jobs fall through for me in the past so I’m not going to get hyped up just yet. But it seemed strange that my life seems to have deviated from my peers. When my friends had steady jobs (especially with the federal government), I alternated between being unemployed and underemployed. Now that many of my friends have been furloughed, I’m on the path to possibly working at a steady job. It’s strange how life works sometimes.

Last year I wrote in my annual anniversary blog post about how I followed all of the job acquisition suggestions through the local American Jobs Center only to come up empty for me. The employees at that place kept on suggesting that LinkedIn is the key to getting a new job and not to bother with newspaper classified ads because they were so old-fashioned. Yet I got one of my previous jobs through an ad in the local newspaper and it was the same thing for my occasional gigs working with the therapist (whom I’m going to work for later today). And this latest job was the result of a combination of taking that employer’s classes back in the 1990s and a mutual friend learning that she needed help.

In the meantime I’m in the process of publishing my first book. I uploaded copies on to Amazon and Smashwords right before the Christmas holidays and I got diverted by both Christmas and this sudden new day job that fell into my lap so I spent the first week of the new year undergoing intense training. Once things settle down I’m going to devote myself to promoting my new book so I’ll have another source of income (I hope).

I didn’t do as much this past year mainly because of tight finances. I’ve gotten a first-hand look at how important money really is and how limited your life becomes due to a lack of money. Even riding public transportation requires money. These days my idea of being self-indulgent is to go to Five Below and buy a box of candy for $1. Maybe one of these days I’ll do an animated video presentation on how frustrating it is that you need money for everything but, right now, I’m basically in survival mode.

I also learned that my ex-husband’s step-father passed away this year. Even though I haven’t communicated with him since 2011, I’m still sad that he’s now deceased.

Despite my current woes I managed to do a few things and I even had fun at times. The most memorable thing I did was participate in a counter-protest against the Unite the Right 2, a sequel to that alt-right rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia and it resulted in the death of a counter-protester named Heather Heyer after she was literally mowed down by a white supremacist’s car. These alt-right people decided to take their act to Washington, DC but we counter-protesters were ready for them and, we outnumbered them severely. In any case I basically stayed closer to home this past year because of money problems. Here’s are the highlights of things I’ve done over the past year:

I experienced an interactive version of the famous Nutcracker story at Artechouse on the last weekend of that exhibition.

Visiting the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.

Posting my own photos of a rare albino squirrel in College Park, Maryland.

Visiting the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore for free on Martin Luther King Day.

I attended a birthday party for everyone at my church.

I attended a special 90th birthday party for a friend from my church.

I went to the second Women’s March on Washington in downtown DC.

In late January I shot photos of a Toys R Us store in Annapolis, Maryland. I returned to the same store in March and April when Toys R Us decided to close all of its stores in the United States and liquidate everything.

I went on the Final Friday Art Walk through Hyattsville, Maryland.

I walked around the Adams-Morgan area of Washington, DC in early February.

Walking around Greenbelt, Maryland where I saw an Amazon locker for the first time.

I took a Good Friday walk around Takoma Park, Maryland.

Witnessed the digital conversions of old Super 8 home movies.

Experiencing a rare spring snowstorm on the day after the Spring Equinox.

I got a chance to visit Historic London Town in Edgewater, Maryland while paying only a $1 admission fee.

Seeing a wild turkey in a tree.

I attended a protest of the Poor People’s Campaign in Annapolis, Maryland.

I walked around the Harbor East area of Baltimore.

I attended Light City in Baltimore.

I saw all kinds of interesting handcrafted goods and vintage items at an event in Crofton, Maryland.

I worked on my first-ever 4K video.

I ventured into real estate photography on one of my day jobs.

I worked with the Takoma Park, Maryland chapter of Girls Who Code.

I attended the Greenbelt Green Man Festival.

I went on the Gateway Arts District Open Studio Tour and Mount Rainier Day.

I created my first real video game.

I had the opportunity to attend a Sunday sermon given by the Rev. Dr. William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign.

I attended a Greek Festival in Lanham, Maryland.

I attended the Poor People’s Campaign Rally and March on Washington.

I went to the first By the People Art Event at the Smithsonian.

I sat in on a yarn spinning event.

I visited an organic health food store with a pinball arcade.

I checked out the National Night Out in Takoma Park, Maryland.

I was among the throng of people who counter-demonstrated against the Unite the Right 2 rally in Washington, DC and we outnumbered the neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.

I witnessed a new way to do a job interview via a smartphone app.

I saw some cool art in Riverdale Park, Maryland.

I walked around Eastern Market and Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

I went to a pumpkin festival that was held despite a nor’easter that went through the area.

I saw a Halloween House by a lake.

I saw some local fall foliage by a lake and by a giant crucifix.

I discovered a new makerspace that had recently opened in my area.

I went to the 10 x 10 art show in Hyattsville, Maryland.

A few of the art shows, craft fairs, and other arts and crafts related events I participated in: I attended the Art of Resistance Screenprinting Workshop just days before the second Women’s March on Washington. Maker Faire NoVa on the campus of George Mason University in Virginia. Assisted with screen printing banners for the Poor People’s Campaign in Baltimore. I attended a few sessions of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in Washington, DC. I participated in the Greenbelt Spring Maker Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland. I attended a workshop on designing rainbow clothes for Pride Month. I received a second place ribbon in the Mixed-Media category at the Greenbelt Labor Day Art Show. I won a third place ribbon in the Needlework category at the Retro Town Fair in Greenbelt, Maryland. I took part in the month-long Internet event known as Inktober. I participated in an artist exhibition at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Maryland. I helped out with my first Edcamp at Loyola College in Columbia, Maryland. I finished out the year with my first-ever 12 Drawings of Christmas, which ran from December 21, 2018-January 1, 2019.

President Donald Trump had initiated a partial shutdown of the federal government right before Christmas. I live outside of Washington, DC and I’m seeing the fallout in real time and it’s even affecting Christmas Eve.

Let me explain. I haven’t set foot inside of a suburban shopping mall on Christmas Eve in many years. My mother took me on such a Christmas Eve outing when I was a child and we didn’t last too long because the crowds were more intense and the lines were incredibly long. Even getting a soda from a food stand required waiting in line for at least 15 minutes or longer.

As an adult I made an effort to avoid making mall trips on Christmas Eve. I only did it one year. My then-husband and I used to have a tradition of hanging mistletoe at the entrance to the kitchen. One year I wasn’t able to find mistletoe. In a last act of desperation, I went to the now-defunct Frank’s Nursery & Crafts at a local mall on Christmas Eve. I woke up at 7 am and I made my way to the store by 8 am. I quickly found some mistletoe then I ran to the checkout line so I could pay for it. As I waited in a relatively short line I saw hordes of people making their way into the store, which signaled to me that I needed to get the hell out of the shopping mall parking lot ASAP. Once I paid for the mistletoe, I quickly exited the store, got in my car, and drove back home while I saw cars coming into the parking lot and quickly taking up parking spaces.

I discovered a long time ago that many of the stores located in downtown Baltimore and Washington, DC tended to have far fewer people on Christmas Eve since so many people basically stayed in the suburbs and shopped. Whenever I needed to make a last-minute purchase, I found that it was far easier to either take the Metro into downtown DC or drive into Baltimore than to face a parking lot in a suburban shopping mall.

This afternoon I left early because I needed to add gas to my car since I had planned on attending a 5 p.m. Christmas Eve service at my church. I went to a gas station that was located across the street from Beltway Plaza Mall in Greenbelt, Maryland and I saw something shocking. In previous years both the front and back parking lots would be literally filled with cars on Christmas Eve. Not this year. In fact it was no more crowded at Beltway Plaza than it usually is on a Saturday.

After I got the gas, I drove to the back parking lot and found plenty of spaces, which was weird because I remember that Christmas Eve used to be the one occasion where the back lot would be as filled with cars as the front lot. I walked over to Target, where I found that the store wasn’t any more crowded than it usually is on a Saturday. I leisurely walked around the store and it wasn’t mobbed at all. I purchased a few items and I was able to pay cash at the checkout line in less than 10 minutes. That store still had tons of Christmas items on sale, such as this Christmas sweater.

Target also sold this game for kids that’s literally shitty called Flushin Frenzy. And, yes, it came with a piece of poop with this creepy looking open smile. (LOL!)

I walked around the rest of the mall and it wasn’t overly crowded. Here I was at a suburban shopping mall on Christmas Eve and it was no more crowded than usual.

The mall was decorated in a very festive manner, complete with a Christmas tree.

Located next to the Christmas tree was a typical mall Santa who looked totally bored due to the fact that few kids were lining up to meet with him.

This reindeer looks at the few people who were actually shopping on Christmas Eve.

Even the dollar store didn’t have a huge amount of people shopping in there.

The more I walked around Beltway Plaza on Christmas Eve, the more I realize that something was horribly wrong. The fact that I could find easy parking. The fact that the lines in all of the stores were short. This was NOT a normal Christmas Eve.

At one point I decided to eat lunch in Three Brothers Pizza where I had no trouble with ordering food and drink then finding seating. Soon afterwards one of my friends walked into the same place with his wife and they sat at a table next to mine. He and his wife also noticed how the mall was not very crowded for a Christmas Eve and we compared notes as to what was going on.

I’ll admit that Beltway Plaza was the only mall I went to on Christmas Eve. If it weren’t for the fact that I had volunteered to serve usher duty at the 5 p.m. service at my church, I would have taken the Silver Line Metro to Tyson’s Corner Mall to see if that mall also had fewer shoppers. (Tyson’s Corner Mall is a far more upscale mall than Beltway Plaza with stores that included American Girl Place, Michael Kors, and the Apple Store.) But it would’ve been cutting it very close to go to Virginia then return to Maryland by 4 p.m. so I could arrive at the church a half-hour early, like I was requested to do since I was serving as one of the ushers.

After the Christmas service ended at church (along with my usher duties), I realized that I forgot to purchase a few Christmas cards that I needed to buy so I returned to Target. It was around 6:30 p.m. The parking lot was slightly more crowded than it was in the afternoon but I still had no problem with finding a place to park. I found a pack on Christmas cards that were already on sale for 30% off. (The price was originally $7 but I bought the pack for around $4.90.) I only had to wait around 10 minutes before I reached the checkout counter and paid for the cards.

The whole situation with being able to shop in a suburban shopping mall on Christmas Eve without facing huge crowds seemed very odd to me. In some ways, it seemed alarming as well. I know some of you may say that it’s because more and more are shopping online at websites like eBay and Amazon. Yes, I know that’s true to some extent but here’s the thing: Online shopping has been around since the mid- to late-1990s. Despite that, I still continued to see cars filling up the suburban shopping mall parking lots every Christmas Eve until this year.

I think something’s amiss and I think it’s due to the current political and economic situation in the United States. Donald Trump intimated a partial shutdown of the federal government over building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border just a few days before Christmas. There are federal employees who literally don’t know when they will get their next paycheck and this uncertainty has spiraled into spending less at Christmas.

If that weren’t enough, Donald Trump made this bizarre tweet about the Federal Reserve on Christmas Eve.

That tweet has led to a dramatic plunge on the stock market.

Then he made this self-pitying tweet that made me wish that someone would invoke the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and remove this guy from office.

“Poor me”?!? He was writing like a teenage girl who’s upset that her boyfriend had abruptly dumped her. Of course he’s being completely roasted on Twitter and he deserved it.

But that wasn’t all. On Christmas Eve Donald Trump and his wife Melania were taking phone calls from children asking if Santa Claus is being tracked as he starts to begin delivering Christmas presents. Here is what happened next, as documented by BBC News:

Trump (in booming voice) to a kid named Coleman: “Hello, is this Coleman? Merry Christmas. How are you? How old are you?…. Are you doing well in school? Are you still a believer in Santa?”

Footage of the incident circulating on social media shows Mr Trump then telling the boy: “Because at seven, it’s marginal, right?”

WHAT THE FUCK?!? I swear Donald Trump should NOT even be allowed to talk to children if he’s going to make idiotic statements like that. This is so reminiscent of what happened when a group of kids went trick or treating in the Oval Office on Halloween and that inappropriate political speech he gave at a Boy Scout Jamboree last year.

So Trump made the federal government shut down, put out a tweet that caused the stock market to drop suddenly, and sent out additional tweets that has people calling for the 25th Amendment to be invoked. It’s no wonder that the hashtags #25thAmendment and #25thAmendmentNow are currently trending on Twitter. It’s also no wonder that I’m not seeing as many people head to the suburban shopping malls to make last-minute purchases on Christmas Eve as in past years.

On Christmas Day last year I did this drawing of the famous Christmas demon Krampus taking Donald Trump away, leaving the White House behind while Trump threatens to attack Krampus on Twitter. (LOL!)

I came up with the idea for doing another drawing featuring Krampus and Trump before Trump decided to shut down the federal government just days before Christmas. Thanks to that, this drawing is even more timely and relevant than ever before.

Even before this shutdown I’m starting to see more signs that the misbegotten Trump Administration may crumble sometime within the next few months. Robert Mueller is continuing his investigation into the allegations that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 elections. It has resulted in a few indictments and plea deals. And it’s definitely not over yet—not by a long shot.

On top of it, more Democrats will be taking office in Congress next month and they have stated that they will look more into the many allegations surrounding Donald Trump and other officials in his administration.

If I was Donald Trump, I would resign then go into exile in Russia (where his BFF Vladimir Putin lives). It would be the best option for him. If he gets asylum in Russia, he would be immune from being prosecuted in this country. However, with his huge narcissistic ego, that’s not very likely so there will probably be a nasty battle going on in DC.

So I decided to do another drawing of Krampus taking Donald Trump away. This time I decided to do it on Christmas Eve and I focused more on the two figures and I enlarged them. (The only thing about last year’s drawing is that when I did it as a landscape drawing, Donald Trump looked so small that he would’ve been less recognizable if it weren’t for that word balloon I placed over Trump’s head. I decided to rectify this by keeping him out of Krampus’ basket this year and have him in chains being led by Krampus.) I also didn’t use any word balloons this time. Overall, I think it’s a better drawing than last year.

This is the only political drawing I intend to do in this series. That’s because thinking about Trump too much gets me either angry, upset, or both and I really don’t want that orange-skinned buffoon to ruin my holiday spirit. He doesn’t deserve for me to give him that kind of power over me.

If that asshole stays in the Oval Office for another year, I’m going to do another piece of art featuring Donald Trump and Krampus. Next time I’ll do a painting in the style of Jon McNaughton, except it’s going to be far less adoring towards Trump. (If you want to know what I mean, I highly recommend that you check out Respect the Flag, Teach a Man to Fish, Make America Safe, Expose the Truth, Crossing the Swamp, You Are Not Forgotten, a portrait of President Trump, and his latest work called All-American Trump.)

By the way, I’m now one-third done with my 12 Drawings of Christmas series. Yay, me!

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For many years I’ve had a little tradition where I go to either downtown Baltimore or Washington, DC on Christmas Eve. That’s because I learned a long time ago that the cities are far less crowded on Christmas Eve. I can even walk into the downtown stores and buy something with no problem while their suburban counterparts in the shopping malls will be literally crammed with last-minute shoppers who wait in long lines to buy something. Some years when I go to DC, I usually go to a Smithsonian museum because there are so few visitors that it feels like I have the whole museum to myself.

I won’t be going to the Smithsonian on Christmas Eve this year, thanks to Donald Trump. He initiated a government shutdown and it is all over that border wall that he wants built along the U.S.-Mexico border. When he was campaigning he said that he was going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. He dropped the second half of that proposal after he was elected and Mexico refused to even consider paying for such a wall. Now he’s demanding that Congress pony up the money (which is all taxpayer funds) to build that wall and he is refusing to sign a budget bill that will keep the government operating until he gets his own way.

Just a few weeks ago in a meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi he was recorded on video saying that if he shuts the government down he will take full responsibility for it. He’s gone back on his word because he’s blaming the Democrats on Twitter.

Never mind the fact that the Republicans control both the House and Senate, the same group of people who were in office when there were two other shutdowns earlier this year.

So now Trump has shut the government down over a border wall just a few days before Christmas. Since I live just outside of Washington, DC, I’m going to witness the effects of this first-hand.

I’m definitely looking forward to early next month when the Democrats will re-take control of the House and many of them are progressive Democrats who are far less likely to be extremely deferential to Trump than the Republicans who are currently in office.

UPDATE (December 24, 2018): I was wrong about the Smithsonian and National Zoo being closed now. It turns out that both will remain open until January 1. After January 1 they will be closed unless Donald Trump changes his mind and signs that bill that will fully fund the government. Given that it’s Donald Trump, I’m not going to hold my breath on this one.

But the National Christmas Tree that’s located near the White House has gone dark and it will remain dark for the foreseeable future. So I wouldn’t anyone to bother going there unless you’re into taking photos of darkened Christmas trees at night.

Back in July I wrote this rant about the controversial DaddyOFive/FamilyOFive YouTube channels, which documented the adventures of Mike and Heather Martin and their children. They did all kinds of so-called “pranks” on their children, which definitely crossed the line into child abuse. As a result of the ensuing controversy, Mike and Heather lost custody of two of the children and they were put on probation. This couple continued to make videos that showed disturbing scenes regarding their remaining children and it resulted in YouTube taking the channels down and banning Mike and Heather Martin from its platform.

Mike and Heather have since migrated over to Twitch, where, based on a quick glance of the videos they have posted, they are more focused on playing video games than playing pranks on their kids.

Recently I came across this video by Turkey Tom where he went deeper into the controversial family and the fandom that has come up around them.

He posted his video on December 2 and, at first, I thought dredging up an old issue from a few months ago is like flogging a dead horse. But then I read the comments and based on what I’ve read, it looks like the original YouTube channels that got Mike and Heather Martin into so much trouble have been reinstated along with the complete original videos. I did a quick search where I saw that both DaddyOFive and FamilyOFive have been reinstated.

I thought YouTube had completely gotten rid of those two channels and banned the Martins from ever posting anything on its platform again. But now YouTube has reinstated those channels and the videos are now available for anyone to watch. What the fuck is wrong with you, YouTube?!? I thought being banned meant being banned for life. But YouTube takes down the offending channels and reinstates them months later even though the videos clearly show the kids being abused in the name of “entertainment.”

It’s bad enough that Mike and Heather Martin tried to profit off of abusing their kids in front of the camera but now it looks like YouTube is doing the same by reinstating those original channels that contain the disturbing footage.

This is yet another example of how YouTube totally fucks up in enforcing their own rules, especially when it comes to channels with a big following. Earlier this year there was the infamous Logan Paul Suicide Forest incident where YouTube essentially gave a slap on the wrist to Logan Paul for making that video showing the dead body of a man who committed suicide. At the time time YouTube decided to demonetize my own Sagittarius Dolly YouTube channel and thousands of other channels that had fewer followers than Logan Paul while citing Paul’s Suicide Forest video as the reason for that decision.

So many smaller YouTube channels were punished for what Logan Paul did in Japan, which really sucks. And now, YouTube has reinstated the DaddyOFive/FamilyOFive YouTube channels along with all of the original videos in an effort to make a profit off of child abuse.

I know that keeping inappropriate videos off of the platform is like playing Whack-A-Mole but reinstating those offending channels is a total slap in the face to the children who were depicted in those videos. It also sends a clear message that you can video yourself engaging in despicable behavior and, if you get banned from the platform, it will only for a few months—especially if your channel had earned a lot of views prior to the banning. Shame on YouTube for this latest bone-headed decision.

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I’ve been well aware of all kinds of scams going as far back as the notorious Nigerian Prince email scams of the 1990s. Last year I encountered a variation of the Nigerian Prince scam when I attempted to apply for a job that I found through Moonlighting.com. I wrote an article about that experience for LinkedIn Pulse in an effort to warn others about scammers lurking on the various gig economy platforms.

Late last year someone from Boho Queen Jewelry contacted me via Instagram saying that he/she liked my Instagram account so much that I was invited to be that company’s brand ambassador on Instagram. I came close to accepting that offer but I decided to do a quick Google search on Boho Queen Jewelry first, where I learned about its shady business dealings. I turned that offer down and wrote a blog post about it instead.

A few months ago I encountered something similar on Instagram where a publication known as 1340 Art Magazine wanted me to submit my work. When I did so, I received an email saying that I was among the finalists that have been selected to be featured in the next issue of its quarterly publication but I had to pay money in order for the editors to consider my work. Once again I did a quick Google search, saw some alarming things about 1340 Art Magazine, and I decided to turn down that opportunity.  I ended up writing a blog post about it instead.

Last week I got a notice on Twitter saying that someone known as BriyanMalissa had started to follow me. I decided to follow her back, which is supposed to be the customary thing on social media. I made the dumb mistake of not seeing her profile first before hitting the “Follow” button. Had I done so, I would never have followed back in the first place, I would have avoided all this drama to come, and this post would not exist.

Here’s a brief background. There’s such a thing as cryptocurrency. The earliest cryptocurrency invented was bitcoin. (There are others known as litecoin, ethereal, stellar, ripple, etc.) Cryptocurrency is supposed to be an alternative to real-life currencies like the dollar, pound, rubles, yen, etc. and it is supposed to be free from interference from any government agency in the world. Proponents frequently come up with this utopian idea of people getting together doing their buying and selling in cryptocurrency totally free from any kind of government interference. Sounds blissful, right?

Wrong. Most businesses don’t accept cryptocurrency and no stores will let you pay for their inventory with cryptocurrency. So far, based on what I’ve seen, it looks like people are simply speculating on cryptocurrency in the hopes of getting a huge payout quickly. It’s not unlike the Beanie Babies craze of the 1990s or the tulip mania that swept through Europe back in the 1600s except that cryptocurrency only exists on computers and there is no real-life counterpart that you can hold in your hands.

Four years ago there was the notorious Mt. Gox incident where bitcoin speculation had sank that bitcoin exchange (which was originally founded as a trading site for fans of the card game Magic The Gathering). People lost a huge amount of money as a result. More recently another cryptocurrency trading platform, Bitfinex, was hacked, which resulted in losing a lot of cryptocurrency. Worse, Bitfinex said that it had serious difficulties with its banking relationships.

I’ve just heard too many negative things about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to decide against dealing with them. The fact that people like billionaire Wall Street investor Warren Buffett and the Motley Fool website have also advised people to steer clear of bitcoin and its ilk haven’t done anything to change my mind.

So I foolishly decided to follow back BriyanMalissa since she followed me without first checking her profile or the tweets she has sent out. I also didn’t notice the inconsistency in how she spells her name before I decided to follow back.

Does she spell her surname “Brayan” or “Briyan”? Does she usually refer to herself as Malissa Brayan (with the first name and surname like in most Western countries) or Brayan Malissa (with the surname then first name like how people refer to themselves in Romania and many Asian countries)? (Or does she spell her name Malissa Briyan or Briyan Malissa?) The profile photo shows a picture of a pleasant looking businesswoman but I have no way of knowing if that is really her photograph or if she swiped some innocent woman’s picture from the Internet to use as her profile picture. For the purposes of this post I’m going to assume that my potential scammer is female although I have no way of knowing whether she is really a woman or if this person is really a man who is pretending to be a woman online.

Anyway, on the day before Thanksgiving she reached out to me in private via Messages. I wasn’t on Twitter much during that time because I was busy with other things. I decided to respond to her the day after Thanksgiving making light talk about eating too much turkey.

She then introduces herself to me, says that she’s in New York City and she immediately starts to ask me for my name and where I live.

She uses “form” when it should be “from”. But there was something off about her English that seems reminiscent of all of those other online scams I’ve encountered. Even her writing style seems suspect. I swear these scammers must have some kind of an alternative stylebook to Strunk and White’s Element of Style where it says “Here is how you phrase your introduction to your potential victim…” (LOL!) because these scam messages tend to read the same after a while. I’m getting pretty good at being able to tell a potential scammer from a genuine person. Her next question to me confirmed this. Usually you don’t ask what someone does for a living when you are just introducing yourself to a total stranger on social media. I decided to start playing with Lisa’s head. I responded to her question about my profession by making myself out to be this very poor and desperate person who’s on the verge of being homeless very soon. I also pretended to assume that she’s a recruiter and I asked if she wanted to see my resume.

She soon responded with her non-grammatical English and she got to the reason why she decided to send me personal messages out of the blue on Twitter.

She’s trying to get me to buy bitcoins from her. I looked on her Twitter profile and I saw that her profile consists of nothing more than retweets of other people’s pro-bitcoin tweets. She hasn’t written anything like an original tweet in her own words about anything. (Say what you will about President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed but at least he composes his own tweets.)

At this point I became so totally annoyed with her and her personal messages that I decided to end this raising of her expectations that she will financially fleece me and move on to the next phase where I totally shut her down and frustrate her. Using anti-bitcoin links from Warren Buffett and the Motley Fool, I went in for the kill.

Then I decided to twist the virtual knife in her back further by going full Grammar Nazi on her for her use of non-grammatical English in order to gain my confidence.

In the process I also called out her inconsistency in spelling her own name.

Okay so I made up that part about my mother telling me to never deal with someone who doesn’t know how to spell his/her own name. (Although she really used to tell me that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.)

For the piece de resistance, I decided to frustrate her further by blocking her on Twitter so she can’t respond to what I sent to her via private message.

I’ll admit that I could have also ignored her then blocked her. But I’ve grown so impatient with these scammers trying to waste my time with their attempts to butter me up so they can rip me off that I just couldn’t resist giving one of them a taste of her own medicine. Just as Lisa tried to waste my time with her friendly overtures in an effort to take what little money I have currently left in my bank account, I decided to waste her time by raising her hopes that I’ll become her next victim then suddenly dash them in a cruel way. I’m not sorry for doing that. She’s a scammer and she’s scum. She deserves what I did to her.

All this went down two days ago. I’m sure that she has since moved on to her next potential victim while continuing to retweet other people’s tweets instead of writing her own original tweets.

UPDATE (November 28, 2018): Just a few hours after this post went live, I found out that Twitter has suspended that account. Good job, Twitter! At least that’s one less online scummy scammer who preys on unsuspecting people.

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I used to watch Bill Maher’s Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO (back when I still had cable) and I enjoyed his documentary Religulous. He started losing me as a fan when he went off on Muslims by saying that they were all terrorists. It’s one thing to be an atheist with a low opinion of organized religion but to paint a whole group of people who practice a certain faith as terrorists is going a bit too far. Not all Muslims are terrorists just like not all Christians bomb abortion clinics.

I was also growing weary of him constantly having Ann Coulter as a guest on his show as his way of having diverse viewpoints. There’s nothing wrong with having conservatives on a liberal talk show like Real Time With Bill Maher but instead of having thoughtful dignified conservatives on his show he invites people like Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulis who say outrageous insulting stuff just for the sake of saying outrageous insulting stuff and ultimately have nothing to add to any kind of civilized discussion. When I ditched cable after seeing my bill jump from $80 per month to $200 I found that I didn’t miss watching Bill Maher’s show at all.

Now he’s really done it and the Internet is flaming him in a glorious way. A few days ago Stan Lee died at the ripe age of 95. To say that he was a major influence on the comic book industry is definitely an understatement. He took an industry that once catered mainly to children and expanded that base to adults by introducing superheroes with personal flaws and complex mature storylines that explored issues like racism, sexism, war, pollution, drug addiction, and alcoholism. There was an outpouring of emotion on social media where people came up with all kinds of tributes to the person who was nicknamed Stan the Man.

Bill Maher wrote a blog post that totally rained on that adulation. He basically said that comic books are for kids only and that he used to read them as a child until he gave them up as he got older. It’s this “comic books are for kids only” attitude of people like him that initially led me to read the one or two issues of Howard the Duck on the down low when I was around 13 years old and I ended up quitting reading that comic book because I was having a hard enough time with middle school kids harassing me without giving them another reason to make fun of me even more. The only reason why I even picked up comic books again as an adult was because my college boyfriend (whom I later married and divorced) collected them and he introduced me to The X-Men. We continued collecting comic books for the first few years of our marriage but we stopped when comic book prices rose to $1.50 per issue. (They now cost a whopping $3.99 per issue.) Nowadays the local public library in my town stocks graphic novel reprints of various comic book series so I’m able to borrow them and read them for free.

Bill Maher goes even further where he wrote what I think is the most stupidest thing he has said since his statement that all Muslims are terrorists.

I’m not saying we’ve necessarily gotten stupider. The average Joe is smarter in a lot of ways than he was in, say, the 1940s, when a big night out was a Three Stooges short and a Carmen Miranda musical. The problem is, we’re using our smarts on stupid stuff. I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to suggest that Donald Trump could only get elected in a country that thinks comic books are important.

It’s so obvious that he hasn’t picked up a comic book in years because he missed the occasional swipes at Donald Trump, such as this panel that was printed in the 2015 issue of Howard the Duck #1.

howardtheduck-irony

Bill Maher says that comic books are for kids only and slams adults who still read them yet he had no hesitation about appearing as himself in the movie Iron Man 3 which was based on—wait for it—a comic book that was co-created by Stan Lee.

I’m currently enjoying the online roasting he is getting in the comments section to his blog post, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

I don’t understand why Bill Maher is getting totally riled up about adults reading comic books. Adult comic book readers aren’t hurting anyone by reading them. What’s next? Is Bill Maher going to go after adults who collect toy cars? Or adults who collect dolls or toy robots or Breyer horses? Seriously, he needs to get a life. If he’s getting riled up over adults reading comic books then maybe it’s time for him to consider retiring from his Real Time With Bill Maher show. Jon Stewart left The Daily Show when he got tired of the day-to-day grind instead of hurling insults at adult comic book readers.

By the way, when I wrote my own blog post the other day about Stan Lee and how I once saw a vendor selling Stan Lee Cologne at the 2013 Baltimore Comic-Con, I forgot to mention another curious Stan Lee-related consumer product that I saw at a later date. Last year I was at Third Eye Comics in Annapolis shortly before Halloween and I saw that they were selling a line of Stan Lee action figures.

I didn’t buy one at the time because of tight finances. All I can say is that, thanks to his latest idiotic musings, Bill Maher probably won’t get a huge outpouring of emotion on social media when he passes—let alone anyone coming out with an action figure based on him.

UPDATE (November 24, 2018): Bill Maher could have shut up about adult comic book readers after writing that stupid blog post. But, no, a few days later he did an interview with Larry King where he doubled down on his contention that comic books are for kids only and adult comic book readers are beneath him. Even though he claimed in his blog post that he read comic books as a kid, here is what he had to say:

“Yeah, fine. I am agnostic on Stan Lee. I don’t read comic books. I didn’t even read them when I was a child. What I was saying is, a culture that thinks that comic books and comic book movies are profound meditations on the human condition is a dumb fucking culture. And for people to get mad at that just proves my point.”

So now he’s denying that he ever read comic books as a child after claiming the opposite in his original blog post. It just makes it more clear that he is criticizing something that he absolutely knows nothing about and absolutely refuses to educate himself about. That makes him little better than those right-wing evangelical Christian zealots who clamor for a ban on Harry Potter books at school even though they had never read a single page of that series. His interview with Larry King has resulted in more hostile comments being made in his original blog post. Meanwhile Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment company came out with a statement of its own in response to Bill Maher asinine statements. It ended with this sage advice:

Our shock at your comments makes us want to say “‘Nuff said, Bill,” but instead we will rely on another of Stan’s lessons to remind you that you have a powerful platform, so please remember: “With great power there must also come — great responsibility!”

Unfortunately I don’t see Bill Maher heeding that advice any time soon, if his recent interview with Larry King is any indication.

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