V-log: A Liberal Ponders Trump Maybe Actually Spooking The DPRK

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

For once, at least, it seems that Trump has managed to if not do something “right,” managed to cause something beneficial to happen. It’s too bad that in this case the “madman theory” is in play and we happen to have an actual madman in the White House.

Anyway. Watch the below video, it’s fairly interesting.

Trump Is Probably Going To Survive & Prosper, Sad To Say

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I don’t have any secret knowledge that would lead me to believe this, but I do have a general sense of what’s going on. I have a feeling that in the fall of 2020, all the characters associated with the Trump Administration’s many scandals will still be on TV, still talking about how it seems Trump is going to leave office sooner rather than later.

I’m not buying. I think Trump is going to not only survive, but thrive for eight long, long years. There just doesn’t seem to be anything on the horizon that is going to get rid of the man politically. In fact, we aren’t anywhere near “peak Trump.”

If Trump should start a war with either Iran or the DPRK in the coming months and years, well, he’s only going to get even ore power. So I would suggest we use our power and energy for being politically engaged.

V-Log: Why Aren’t We Talking About Barbara Moore & Donald Trump?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I know that we’re all too concerned about Sean Hannity to talk about Barbara Moore, but the story is salacious enough to be news at least for a few hours. At least, in my opinion. But we’ll see. Below is me talking a little bit about it.

Oh, Come On, People, Why Aren’t We Talking About Barbara Moore & Trump?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Now, I am the first to admit that The Daily Mail is a trash publication, but is Trump a trash person so why can’t we at least get people a little bit interested in this story about Trump having an affair in the 1990s with a Playboy bunny named Barbara Moore.

Nothing illegal happened, of course, but Trump is the president and so by definition anything as salacious as this that he’s done in his life is news. I just think we should at least be talking a little bit about it between all the commotion about Sean Hannity.

Of Hope In The Trump Era #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It is easy in this sad period in our nation’s history to assume the worst will happen in regards to the Trump Administration. And, yet, for some reason I am beginning to have an inkling of hope in this otherwise strange, surreal moment in our nation’s history.

I say this because I have found myself in the last few days pausing to soaking up the extraordinary situation we have found ourselves in. I find myself thinking that we’re living through an epic historic moment the likes of which we’ve not seen since at least Watergate.

Or, to put another way, I’m beginning to get a grasp of the ultimate endgame when it comes to this enormous clusterfuck that Trump has managed to bring upon us. I feel like the institution that have kept America the open, constitutional democratic republic that we all love.

This is not to say that things aren’t going to get bumpy or that there won’t be some serious consequences to all of this. I guess if you look back at Watergate 45 years later, you could say the same thing. But the republic survived, even if the whole thing left us a little bit banged up. Some of the things that Trump will change about the republic would have happened regardless of who happened to be the Republican president in office. Any Republican President would cram the Federal bench with completely bonkers, surreal, young Right-wing nut jobs with an agenda. That was going to happen, no matter what.

This, of course, works on the assumption that Hillary Clinton was going to lose. In hindsight, she was obviously such a bad candidate that she was bound to lose to any Republican that happened to be her opponent in 2016.

In fact, one could suggest that given how grossly incompetent Trump is as well as his complete lack of any set ideology, we’re actually better off in some ways than we would be had, say, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio become president. The real danger of Trump is his complete disregard for the democratic norms that we have come to enjoy over the last 240 odd years.

The question is what, if anything, will be the consequence of that.

That is a very deep question. It could go either way. Trump could so screw with our norms that we may go past the point of no return, or things may snap back into place. I am of the opinion that things will snap back into place. That’s where my hope comes from.

We survived a civil war that was a far greater attack on the republic. That’s not to say this isn’t a surreal moment in our nation’s history, one that won’t have a lot of damage on us going forward. But I just believe in my heart that though I seriously doubt Trump will be convicted if he ever happens to be impeached, I still have the hope if nothing else Trump will peacefully leave office as is required in either 2021 or 2025.

But I guess we’ll see.

We’re now entering a new phase of this crisis. We’re leaving the issue of law and now we’re entering something significantly more basic and that’s the social contract. Are we, as a nation, as a populace willing to allow Trump to trample basic civil norms.

Even more unnerving is even if we do try to pressure the government it’s possible that nothing will happen. And that’s a real chance that such a thing will happen. There’s a real chance whatever consequences are, we may have to wait nearly a decade for us to figure out how to deal with them. There’s a real chance that Trump will not only survive, but prosper.

But you could very well have said the same thing about Nixon in late 1973. So, I have hope. I have some sense of hope that maybe we’ll bounce back from this horrible moment in our nations history.

A ‘People’s Impeachment’ Is Needed If Either Rosenstein Or Mueller Are Fired

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It is growing ever more apparent that the Constitutional rot our republic is experiencing goes far deeper and is more extensive than we thought. The Resistance has been so busy worrying about protecting Bob Mueller, that we have missed the fact that Steve Bannon has concocted a plan to do a slow-motion Saturday Night Massacre 2.0 by having Trump fire not Mueller — which would take a while as person after person quit rather than do it — but his boss, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.

So we have to now all vow that if either Mueller EITHER / OR Rosenstein is fired by Trump, we’ll take to the streets. We have to tell each other we’re ready to lace up or sneakers and do what the South Koreans did a few years ago and protest until we get rid of Trump. Until we force the hand of the Vichy Congressional Republicans so they have to do something about Trump.

We have to do this now before Trump fires Rosenstein and dramatically redefines the scope of Mueller’s probe. We have to treat Rosenstein’s canning as being equal to Mueller being fired. If we don’t do this now, Trump will steal a march on us get away scott free.

So whatever plans you might have had should Mueller be fired, you have to apply them to Rosenstein being fired, too. The entire GOP is so complicit that it’s heartbreaking. The will of the people is the last gasp of freedom in the United States and otherwise the dark shadow of true autocracy will descend upon this once great nation.

‘Gas Killing Animal’ — #Lyrics To A Punk Song

This is just a first draft. Me screwing around with a punk song lyrics. Just for fun.

Gas Killing Animal
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform

Assad is on his way
to kill the children and the moms
Trump thinks he can wag the dog
distract, distract, distrct
with an attack on Assad’s ass
’cause on the Twitter box
Trump calls the shots

gas killing animal
gas killing animal
Putin watch out
for the smart missiles

we’re all afraid World Ward III
is about to explode
won’t know what the future brings
once the final canary sings
just one step away
from the final explosion
is what I sing

gas killing animal
gas killing animal
Putin watch out
for the smart missiles

[bridge]
don’t expect us to last
as long as Trump’s got a need
a need to attack
to fight back, fight back

Mueller’s going to break down the door
of the Oval office I suspect
as he does Trump will release his own gas
knock him right out!

gas killing animal
gas killing animal
Putin watch out
for the smart missiles

The First Chapter Of A Novella I’m Working On

This is the first chapter of a novella I’m working on. I’m pleased with it so far and I’m looking for someone to read over it and give me advice. I have no friends, so I will take it from wherever I can find it. So, should you want to read this, do so and give me suggestions at migukin (at) gmail.com. Thanks.

Pausing a moment as he read the morning news on his tablet, Blaze Hurt looked out the window of his kitchen and looked at his wife, Union.

“Do you think any of them will show up?”

Union, an attractive Korean woman in her mid-40s with long raven hair, got up out of her seat, leaned over her husband and put her cheek on his.

“Of course they’ll come,” she said. “They all want to meet the Oscar winning novelist and screenwriter who changed their lives.”

Blaze had made an enormous splash in the literary world nearly two decades before with “Somehow.” The novel, the screenplay of which had won him an Oscar, was set in South Korea among the expatriate scene of Seoul.

Since then, Blaze had settled in his namesake hometown with his Korean wife Union, living a life of comfortable practical obscurity. He only left Hurt about once every five years to promote his latest toam that ruminate on the state of modern life.

Age had finally caught up with Blaze and he found himself approaching his 50th birthday. He and Union had discussed at length who they should invite to help them celebrate and they had finally settled upon a core group of people who had some connection to the events that had inspired Somehow all those years before.

Some of the expected guests had been more difficult to track down than others. It seemed as though they had all finally reached the age when they could all agree that those turbulent few years in Seoul were officially behind them.

At least, that’s what they all claimed.

The doorbell rang and the couple did some last minute primping before getting up, leaving the kitchen and entering the foyer where the front door was. They opened the door.

Blaze grabbed the doorknob and opened the door to a man about his age wearing a red MAGA hat. There was a moment of awkwardness as Blaze and Union processed what they were seeing.

The moment passed and Union then Blaze hugged the man.

“Jackson!” they said in unison.

Jackson was pulling luggage behind him, so it was difficult for him to hug back, at least at first. After some adjustment, however, he did manage to do it. He walked into the foyer and looked around.

“Wow!” Jackson said in awe. “This house is huge! You knew that the one day you’d have a house the size of Trump Tower?”

Blaze and Union looked at each other with a little bit of alarm. They had not be aware of Jackson’s change in political views and his love of Trump gave them pause for thought. But he was a dear friend so they looked each other in the eyes and nodded.

Now was not the time to press the issue.

“Well, Jackson, things change,” Blaze said. “I couldn’t stay in Haebangchon forever, you know. I, along with everyone else, had to move on. What have you been up to since we last saw each other?”

Jackson was silent for a moment, as if he was struggling to figure out a way to explain what had been going on with his life in as diplomatic a way as possible.

“I’ve had all sorts of adventures,” he said at last. “Let’s leave it at that for the moment, shall we?”

Union again looked at Blaze and the two exchanged information using just their glance in a way that only married couples can.

“Fair enough,” Union said. “The information where you’ll be staying in the house and what we’ll be doing during the weekend is in an envelope on the kitchen table, right through there. We’ll see you in a moment.”

Jackson pushed passed them and made his way to the kitchen.

Once he was out of earshot, Jackson ran his hands through his hair and took a deep breath. In this technological age, it was difficult for them not to know what Jackson had been up to. They had done a search for his name online and he apparently was still teaching English in  Asia. At least, that’s where they had managed to track him down when they invited him to the birthday party.

Jackson had been the layout guy for the expatriate magazine in Seoul that connected most of the people coming for the birthday party. He had been crucial to the success of the magazine after another one of the expected visitors for the weekend, Tagger Wendt, was all but forced out as publisher.

In a little while, there was a knock on the door again and they opened it to the image of a middle-aged woman wearing bright, loose fitting hippie attire. The bracelets she was wearing made slight noise every time she moved. She gave both Union and Blaze bear hugs with a loud squeal.

“Maude!” the couple said in unison.

“You haven’t changed a bit!” Union said. “You look just like the person I remember nearly 20 years ago!”

“I live well and in tune with nature,” Maude said. “What do you expect? Who else is here? Anyone of note?”

Union and Blaze looked at each other for a moment and paused before they nodded and finally spoke.

“Well, Jackson is already here. But, we have to warn you that Tagger agreed to come. So, be prepared. Try not to get into with him, for the sake of the party, if nothing else?” Union said at last.

Maude’s brow wrinkled for a moment as a thought seemed to zoom past her mind for a second and the she finally smiled and shrugged. “All of that was a long time ago. We’ve made our peace. There shouldn’t be any problems,” she said.

She, too, pushed her way past the couple and into the house. As she did, they again mentioned where she could find the information about where she was staying and the weekend’s events.

The couple primped a little bit as they waited for the next person to arrive at the door. After a moment, the door opened again and this time it was a stunning African American woman wearing bright, colorful robes the likes of which they had never seen. Her apparel was loose and showed just enough cleavage to be scandalous.

“Gaia!” they said in unison.

“Oh, darlings,” her purred in a deep, throaty voice. “So nice to see you again. Every minute is a lifetime away from you.”

There were hugs, air kisses and coos all around as the three quickly got re-acquainted. Gaia, too, had played a crucial role in the development of the magazine they all worked out about a generation before. Of all the people associated with the events of the magazine they all worked on, they had remained the closest to Gaia.

After a little bit of small talk, Gaia pushed her way gently passed them and to the kitchen where her instructions awaited. Once she got to the kitchen, there were loud shouts as the group welcomed her.

Lastly, the door opened and tall, middle-aged man accompanied by a stunning — if albeit shaved bald — younger woman greeted them. Seeing the woman’s shaved head jiggled something in his mind for a moment, but he couldn’t grasp it. It flitted away back into the darkness of his mind.

There was a bit of a pause as everyone struggled to figure out what to do next. The pause happened a beat longer than one might expect, but finally Union hugged the young woman. That finally broke the ice and Blaze thrust out his hand to shake the other man’s.

This time, there was no pause. They shook hands forcefully and finally gave each other a bear hug.

“You and Manhattan the last of the group, Tagger,” Blaze said with his arm around Tagger’s. “We were worried you guys weren’t going to be able to make it.”

Tagger seemed about to say something but paused before he did. He leaned over and kissed Manhattan gently on the lips. The two of them had their arms casually slipped between each other’s and they seemed to flow naturally into each other the way only people newly married and fresh in love seem to be able to do.

“Well, I managed to cancel a few photo shoots and begged off another one with Vogue, so we were able to make it. It was much more difficult with Manhattan, given how in demand she is these days.”

Blaze looked at Union and rolled his eyes as inconspicuous manner as possible. Tagger had always been insufferable to them and now that he’d gained such success as a fashion photographer in New York City, they suspected he was even more so.

Union closed the door and the group made its way to the living room where the rest of the group was assembled. The moment Tagger and Manhattan walked in, the conversation came to a standstill.

There was a long, long pause as the group in the living room absorbed what they were seeing. The weightiness of the moment was taking everyone a little while to process. Most of them hadn’t seen Tagger in nearly 20 years and none of them really liked him that much for various reasons.

Blaze looked at Union, took her hand gently and the two of them rolled their eyes at each other in unison. It was going to be a long weekend.

 

After a little bit of adjustment as to the presence of Tagger, the group began idle chatter as old friends meeting each other after a long absence are apt to do.

“Tagger,” Gaia cooed in her husky, luxurious voice, “you certainly have done well for yourself since we were all in Seoul. I’m glad things have worked out for you.”

Tagger laid his hand on Manhattan’s and smiled broadly. Something did, however, pass between Gaia and Tagger as if old emotions, old memories were being re-awoken by being in each other’s presence.

“You haven’t done so bad yourself, Gaia,” Tagger said. “You were, at one point, you were the highest paid model in Asia, weren’t you?”

Gaia smiled faintly and leaned back in her seat, eying Tagger over her drink.

“Remember, guys, we have Blaze to thank for much of our success, don’t we?” Maude said. “We all got a lot of personal publicity because of ‘Somehow.’ That did wonders for all our careers, I know it did mine.”

One of Tagger’s eyebrows arched a little bit as he thought about what he was going to say next.

“Yes, Maude, what have you been up to the last 20 years. I’d honestly like to know. I haven’t heard much from you or any of the rest of you in 20 years. None of you are connected to me on social media, in fact, I know for sure that some of you have me blocked here and there,” Tagger said with great frustration.

Maude leered at Tagger and the mood of the room changed dramatically. Suddenly old wounds were being opened at a much quicker rate than any of them ever imagined. Maude and and Tagger had hated each other with a passion a generation before and it was becoming obvious that the mutual dislike had not dissipated since. The origin of their hatred had be complex and multifold.

“Well, if you must ask,” Maude said, clearing her throat, “I was able to leverage the notoriety associated with ‘Somehow’ to start a yoga center franchise. These days I’ve gotten big into the recreational marijuana space.”

Tagger made a little noise and all but leap out of his seat.

“Oh, how typical. Once a pothead, always a pothead. You and Nuk drove me nuts because I drank soju all the time while all along you were two were constantly high as a kite,” Tagger all but yelled.

“Honey, who’s Nuk?” Manhattan asked earnestly. “What’s soju?”

Before anyone in the group could process these unexpected questions on the part of Tagger’s young wife, Tagger turned his attention to Jackson’s red MAGA hat.  

“Uh, Jackson, what’s with the hat?” Tagger said, swirling his whisky on the rocks in its tumbler as he did so.

Jackson looked down, his shoulders bent as if he was a caged animal about to pounce. It was as if he had known this was coming and he been psyching himself up for this very thing for days.

“What about it?” Jackson said. “I want America to be great again, and you should too.”

“When exactly was that?” Tagger said. “Give me a date, any date and I’ll tell you why it wasn’t great. Why up until Trump’s election it was the greatest it’d ever been!”

“Oh my God,” Jackson all but yelled. “So typical of you. You with your new trophy wife who looks just like Nuk about the time you were fucking her 20 years ago. She looks so much like Nuk should could be her twin sister. I always knew you were a sick fuck, but that takes the cake!”

The tension in the room was such that it felt like the two men were going to have at it physically at any moment.

“Come on, guys,” Union said, pleading. “Give it a rest. No need to go after each other so quickly, we have the entire weekend ahead of us.”

“No, I think we should have at it,” Tagger said. “Clear the air. Though he does bring up Nuk. Guys, I hate to break it to you, but I’m over Nuk. I know I did a lot of bad things to her when the first version of the magazine was falling apart, but we just recently e-mailed each other, said we’re sorry. It’s over it’s all over,” Tagger said.

There was awkward pause as if everyone wanted to say the same thing, but couldn’t quite bring themselves to say it. Before anyone could, Manhattan spoke up.

“Honey, I asked you a moment ago who Nuk was…’” she asked, this time, the flawless skin of her forehead wrinkling with intense thought.

Everyone but Tagger looked at each other in amazement. The struggled to grasp what they were hearing. No one knew what to say, what to think. They were shocked.

Gaia, who was sitting next to Manhattan, abruptly lean over and gave her a hug.She whispered something in Manhattan’s ear as she did.

Manhattan flinched several times as she did. When it was over, it was Manhattan’s turn to hug Gaia.

“Oh my God, Tagger, you married me because I look like a dead woman?” Manhattan said, bursting into tears and racing out of the living room. Tagger initially acted as if he was going to rush after her, then paused as he processed what she’d said. The mood in the room changed dramatically yet again, this time in a wholly unexpected way. Tagger’s eyes grew enormous and he shot up straight, his face in distraught agony.

“What do you mean ‘dead woman?” Tagger nearly screamed. “Nuk’s not dead. She can’t be. Like I said, we emailed each other just recently, maybe two, three weeks ago.”

Everyone else in the room looked down or away from Tagger. They couldn’t bring themselves to be the one to tell him.

“What’s going on!” Tagger said. “Why did you lie to Manhattan? I didn’t expect Nuk to come this weekend, but to tell my wife that Nuk’s dead is a little bit much.”

Union was the first person who could bring herself to say something to address the growing crisis going on in front of them.

“Tagger, Gaia didn’t lie. It’s the truth. Nuk’s dead. She probably died within days of you talking to you via e-mail. She’s gone. She’s passed. I know it’s going to be tough for you to process at first, but we’re here for you.”

“Oh, fuck you guys,” Tagger said. “I don’t know why the fuck I came here at all. Maybe I thought there was a chance, however small, that Nuk would show up and we’d have some sort of reconciliation. You guys were assholes 20 years ago and you’re assholes now. Excuse me, I have a marriage to save.”

And with that, Tagger left the room.

The Web Is No Fun Anymore

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It used to be, not many years ago, that you could pretty much talk about whatever you wanted to online and no one would freak out or take it too seriously. But, alas, those days are long, long gone. Now you have to be really careful what you say, no matter how low-trafficked your Website.

I have been using the Web since its inception and I guess that’s where I got the false sense that because of “practical obscurity” I could say whatever I wanted to about anyone and not have to worry about any one taking it the wrong way.

But, ironically, as the Web has grown in size, so, too, it seems as though the weight people give the content you generate on it has increased. So, unless you do it in the “dark Web” where no one of note can find it, you had better be careful what you write about even the largest star. Even if it’s totally innocuous, someone, somewhere could take it the wrong way if you seem a little obsessed with said star.

I’ve kind of gotten out of that phase in my life now, so I’m more concerned about becoming a professional photographer or writing the Great American Novel than I am having a celebrity crush. But it’s just sad that the moment in time where the Web was a free-for-all is long over. People have a hair trigger when it comes to any content that they may find online that seems in any way weird or potentially that worst of all things, “creepy.”

No one trusts anyone anymore, so people freak out at any moment for any reason over anything that doesn’t fit the norm. This is doubly tragic given how often people say “be yourself.” That’s complete bullshit. The last thing anyone should do online is “be yourself.”

Someone is always watching and judging, ready to pounce if you act weird.

Of Celebrity Crushes And Online Discourse

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Over the course of the last few years, I’ve learned something unsettling — celebrities or there “people” monitor what people have to say about them online a lot more than you might ever imagine. I know this because a few years ago when I had way too much time on my hands I had a little bit of an obsessive celebrity crush on Alexa Chung.

Now, let me say from the beginning that I was never hostile or threatening in my celebrity crush, but I was obsessive. Even then, however, it soon became obvious that at least someone, somewhere, was aware of my interest in Ms. Chung, even though it was being done in an obscure corner of the Internet where, like, maybe 20 people were seeing it during the course of any particular day.

But I learned my lesson. I honestly don’t care anymore. What happened with Ms. Chung a few years ago was just a quirky little phase in my life that has long passed. But it was unnerving, to say the least. It was unnerving because it took some of the fun out of the Internet.

I thought because of “practical obscurity” I could just talk about how much like Ms. Chung obsessively and no one would care or notice. But checking my visitor logs on my Website indicated that someone, somewhere did care and they weren’t very happy about the situation.

Anyway, I was and am harmless and I only write about this at all now because whenever an attractive celebrity catches my eye, I realize it’s for the best if I don’t even mention her, anywhere, online. It’s just best to keep any interest to myself because inevitably any interest would be taken the wrong way by someone, somewhere.

Maybe I’ve grown up. Maybe that’s what’s happened. I don’t think about things in the same way as I used to. I am much more mellow about celebrities. I’d much rather write about trying to write a novel or a screenplay than any sort of celebrity.