Welcome to the MAGA SWAG Store

Updated 6 July 2018*

Is Donald Trump trying to run a country…or a smarmy discount swag store?

3 July, 2018

Friend,

You only have until tomorrow to get 40% off all OFFICIAL TRUMP GEAR for our 4th of July Sale.

Use coupon code “FREEDOM” before July 4th at 11:59 PM to save 40%.

As always — ALL of our merchandise is 100% MADE IN AMERICA.

DonaldJTrump.com <contact@victory.donaldtrump.com>  3 July 2018 at 7:44 AM


2 July, 2018

Friend,

President Trump wants to go BIG LEAGUE for America’s birthday this year.

That’s why we are making all our patriotic OFFICIAL Trump gear… 40% off!

Use coupon code “FREEDOM” before July 4th at 11:59 PM to save 40% on all our AMERICAN MADE [sic] clothing and accessories.


21 June, 2018

 

 

Friend,

It is OFFICIALLY SUMMER. To celebrate, the Official Trump Store is offering 25% off all your summer needs.

Use the coupon code “SUMMER” before TONIGHT at 11:59 PM to save 25%.

Start your summer off RIGHT by getting all your official Trump gear here.


9 June, 2018

Friend,

To celebrate all the Dads who raised their kids RIGHT, the Official Trump Store is offering 25% off all its merchandise.

Get a perfect made-in-America gift for the all-American dad in your life.

DonaldJTrump.com <contact@victory.donaldtrump.com>9 Jun at 10:58 AM

Of course, this is a just a sampling of the near-daily emails coming from this desperate enterprise.


Note: All punctuation anomalies, including uppercase, hyphenation, bold face and highlighting in original.
*And this one just in:

6 July 2018, 8:06 AM

But with President Trump at the helm, we’re not going to stay quiet.
That’s why we’re launching a new ad to expose the Left to ALL of America, but we need your help getting it up.

Someone needs to give Trump for President, Inc. a little lesson in inadvertent double entendres.
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More quirky phrases you (may) want to know…or not

(updated 21 June, 24 June 2018)

Gish gallop: a technique, named after the creationist Duane Gish who employed it, whereby someone argues a cause by hurling as many different half-truths and no-truths into a very short space of time so that their opponent cannot hope to combat each point in real time.

“A debate tactic of drowning your opponent in a flood of individually-weak arguments in order to prevent rebuttal of the whole argument collection without great effort.” (Wikipedia)

  • heard on “Oh No Ross And Carrie” (ONRAC) and “Skeptics Guide to the Universe” (SGU) podcasts.

Fisk (verb): somewhat related to a Gish gallop, but in the other direction: any point-by-point attempt to refute the other guy’s argument. The word has been around since at least 2004, referring to journalist Robert Fisk, but was resurrected by rightist NRA personality Dana Loesch promising, among other things, that she and the NRA would fisk The New York Times. The term “Fisking” (either upper or lower case) figuratively means a thorough and forceful verbal beating.

  • For various reasons, it was (mistakenly) thought at first that the term she actually used was “fist.”

serial fabricator: basically, an inveterate liar. However, use of the term “liar” has the downside of sounding like a permanent character trait, versus something someone does occasionally. According to some researchers, on average, people lie in some form or another, about 1.65 times a day.*

  • Presumably, this includes fibs and polite lies, like responding to “Do these jeans make me look fat?” or “Oh, you brought a Beringer white zinfandel…how nice of you. We’ll just save that for later.”

It’s like labeling someone a “criminal,” implying that that’s the person’s defining trait, whereas the person may have been caught ripping off a convenience store but doesn’t make it a habit. Serial fabricator, on the other hand, suggests someone with a continuing habit of not telling the truth, perhaps not even able to distinguish between truth and fiction, or having such low standards of truth-telling that they simply repeat whatever nonsense they hear from their aides and, having said it, double-down on believing and repeating it. The utterance may not, strictly speaking, even be a lie but a bit of blathering as in “I heard that…” The earliest reference I could find on this term goes back to 2003 referring to former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair. Also, see note below on Elizabeth Holmes.**

TCK – third culture kid (noun phrase): a child raised in a culture other than their parents’ (or the country on the child’s passport, where they are legally considered native) for a significant part of their early years. They’re exposed to a greater (often dismaying) variety of cultural influences. TCKs move between cultures (and languages!) before they have had the opportunity to fully develop their personal cultural identity. The first culture of such individuals refers to the culture of the country from which the parents originated, the second culture refers to the culWorld in Words logoture in which the family currently resides, and the third culture refers to the amalgamation of these two cultures. “You always feel out of place.” (The World in Words podcast, May 17, 2018)

Despoiling the Egyptians (phrase): Basically a sort of reverse “cultural appropriation” (the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture). The phrase has come to mean any use of another culture’s art and ideas for purposes that may wholly contradict their original intention.

From St. Augustine: In the Hebrew scripture, Exodus 3:21, God tells the Israelites to “despoil the Egyptians” as they left their bondage by taking gold and silver statuary or other works that had been pagan or profane and use the metal for their own, finer purposes. [On Christian Doctrine, Ch. 40, section 60; cited in Hecht, Doubt, 201]

“The Israelites are promised that they will leave Egypt not just with their freedom but with great wealth. “You shall strip the Egyptians bare,” goes the promise, in colloquial English of today. Sure enough, this week the Israelites prepare to leave by “borrowing” objects of silver and gold from their neighbors. Borrowing? Not exactly. Everybody knows, that they are leaving Egypt for good with no intention of returning.” [“Despoiling the Egyptians”: An Exercise In Moral LogicRabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, Ph.D.]

bouncing compliment: disguising an attack by starting out with a compliment to the other side; that is, hiding your real message under layers of “disingenuous affirmations” to appear sincere. Also, the apparent or superficial acceptance of your opponent’s basic premises as a way of disarming them. The technique is part of 18th C. Irish philosopher/freethinker/satirist John Toland’s “recipe for subterfuge” along with “disguising the thesis” and using terminology that acts as a secret handshake to those in the know–what we now call a “dog whistle” statement. (Jennifer E. Hecht, Doubt, 336)

And in honor of the 2018 Soccer/Football World Cup, here are some multinational slang and jargon terms for various “skill moves” from Tom Williams’ book:

  • “cow dribble” (Portugese?) In the absence of a real soccer pitch or field, rural/village players improvised fields—usually on cattle pastures. Often, cows invaded the makeshift lawn, causing players to dodge their opponents as the animals that came up.
  • “walking on papers” (Andar aos papéis, Portuguese) when a dangerous “cross” comes into the “box” and the goalkeeper makes a complete hash of his attempt to deal with it. For some reason the Dutch call this Vrouwen en kinderen eerst: “women and children first” (UK: “Keystone Cops”)
  • Hawaiifootball is Norwegian for … Hawaii football
  • “big bridge” (in French, le grand pont)
  • “rabona” (Argentina)
  • “the mousetrap” (Dutch)
  • un crochet: “hook” (France)
  • en fuego (Mexico, “on fire”)
  • “Throwing stones at the wrench” (Mexico)
  • “bunny hop” (UK) aka “toad jump”
  • “shower of balls” (Portugese banho de bola): when a team has completely wiped out the opponent in every department

 

(Don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this article. As always, sharing buttons are below. Thanks.)


Note, a few of these items appeared in an updated version of this blog originally posted as Quirky Words on 2018/05/25
* 22.7% of all lies were told by one percent of the sample, and half of all of the lies were told by 5.3% of the sample; thus the majority of lies are told by a relatively small portion of the population (Psychology Today report). “Age accounts for one of the most significant variables in determining a person’s propensity to lie. Lying peaks in adolescence when children begin to test their independence.” (National Geographic)
One notable personage who busts the demographic average is reported to make nearly 6.5 false claims a day
** Another notable serial fabricator (sf) is the now-notorious Elizabeth Holmes who was totally busted in 2015 for her Theranos blood-testing scam operation. Interestingly, her corporate style has been characterized with some familiar terms: secretive, authoritarian, arrogant, sociopathic, and heavily “silo’d” (that is, one part doesn’t know what any other part is doing, often with literal partitions)…but mostly by an outrageous, continuing, overt program of lying. (If the John Carreyrou WSJ story is not accessible, you can find a March 2018 report in Vanity Fair.) As Carreyou details in his book, almost every word coming out of Holmes’s mouth as she built and ran her company was either grossly embellished or, in most instances, outright deceptive.  “In fact, the company she built was just a pile of one deceit atop another.” Vanity Fair, June 2018.  Carreyrou said, “I think she’s someone that got used to telling lies so often, and the lies got so much bigger, that eventually the line between the lies and reality blurred for her.” [Hmm..who else does this all sound like?]
Whether Holmes is a serial fabricator outside her sham business operation, as other notable sf’s seem to be, is a separate issue.

Are You an Alien?

With the recent discovery of “building blocks of life” on Mars by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity (published in Science on June 7), the portal is once again open to speculation as to whether this possible “life” may have actually visited Earth in the past. Evidence of such visitations are found in the Pyramids of Egypt, Atlantis, Machu Picchu, Roswell, Stonehenge, the Creation Museum in Kentucky and Mar-a-Lago.

With all these excursions, jaunts, sprees and expeditions, the possibility arises of alien genetic interactions with humans. With this background, we present as a public service, the following assessment of your own likelihood of alien heritage.

This is a test of the Emergency Alien System. The podcasters of your area, in voluntary cooperation with ICE, EPA, Breitbart News, InfoWars, Coast to Coast AM, the National Park Service and other authorities, have developed this system to keep you informed in the event of an Alien emergency. If this had been an actual emergency you would be instructed where to turn for news and official information. Don’t wait to find out the truth about yourself from some unsavory character on the street. Take the test below. Remember: this is only a test.

  1. Do you come from outer space? [YES] [NO]
  2. Are you radioactive? [YES] [NO]
  3. Are you televisionactive? [YES] [NO]
  4. Do you have a launching pad in your backyard? [YES] [NO]
  5. Are you allergic to Kryptonite? [YES] [NO]
  6. Do you have relatives in a parallel universe? [YES] [NO]
  7. Do you sometimes get the feeling that you know what someone is thinking before they speak? [YES] [NO]
  8. Are you required to report your current address to NASA every January? [YES] [NO]
  9. Have you ever fantasized that there may be someone named Max Planck? [YES] [NO]
  10. Did you mail in the warranty card on your orgone regenerator? [YES] [NO]
  11. Do you eat from squeeze tubes? [YES] [NO]
  12. Do you collect stamps? [YES] [NO]
  13. Do you qwertyuiop? [YES] [NO]
  14. Do you want to qwertyuiop with me? [YES] [NO]
  15. Do you you own a mylar dog? [YES] [NO]
  16. Do you wear bib overalls and you’re not a farmer? [YES] [NO]
  17. Do you wear sunglasses at night, indoors? [YES] [NO]
  18. Do you have an impending sense of oatmeal? [YES] [NO]
  19. Do you feel like you ought to turn yourself into the authorities? [YES] [NO]
  20. Did you ever forget to wear your glasses and discover that you can see just as well without them? [YES] [NO]
  21. I have an uncle who is a magician. The other day he was walking down the street and turned into a drugstore. How about you? [YES] [NO]
  22. Have you ever characterized Keanu Reeves as a “fine actor”? [YES] [NO]
  23. Do you sometimes get the feeling that you’re not in Kansas anymore? [YES] [NO]
  24. Where do a body meet a body?

         [a] on the sly

         [b] comin’ thro’ the rye

         [c] anywhere, just try

         [d] don’t ask I

         [e] in a Boston Cream Pie

  1. Did you ever get an urge to put your clothes on inside-out and flog yourself with a haddock? [YES] [NO]
  2. A Ritz cracker has two sides. The top is sort of moundy, has seven little holes, and is salted. The bottom is more level, and is unsalted. Which side do you like to put your cheese on? [Bottom] [Top]\

Alien spoor or scat along the Arizona Canal

If you answered “Yes”, “e”, or “Bottom” to one or more of the questions there is a strong likelihood that you are indeed an alien being. Do not be alarmed. Do not dematerialize. Do not eat any broccoli. You will be contacted by the Internal Revenue Service in the near future.


All photos except Mars rover ©James Veihdeffer.
From top to bottom: white mask found in alley attached to electrical fixture; irrigation control valve fixture at Glendale Community College; counter fixture at McDonald’s; abandoned bicycle frame on Arizona Canal; fire hydrant adorned with cowboy hat by anonymous passerby; APS electrical pole insulation patties along canal…or maybe alien poop.

 

Ask the Witch-Answer Guy (part III)

A concerned public servant who wishes to remain anonymous desires to know:

Q: If a person somehow magically had the POWER to pardon notorious criminals, would that  help STOP a Witch Hunt?

A: Unfortunately, it will have the opposite effect.

 

Q (follow up): What if the criminals were CELEBRITIES or, say, trusted apprentices of the person?

A: See above

 

Q (follow up): Ok, BUT what if, just saying, the criminal was, like, someone who may have intentionally broke some foolish LAW (Can I say that?), pled guilty for something like trying to rig an ELECTION or ignoring a federal judge’s ORDERS but didn’t actually MURDER anyone? That’d be a great WAY, really great, to end a Witch HUNT, right?

A: See above

Q: SAD!

 

Quirky Words You (May Not) Want to Know

I run across a lot of new words practically every day. Some of them are just “new to me” — many overheard from students (who try to persuade me not to use them), some from podcasts — and some that go back a-ways but that I’ve recently rediscovered.

Read on, MacDuff, at your own risk.

incel (n): an involuntary celibate. “A subset of straight men calling themselves “incels” have constructed a violent political ideology around the injustice of young, beautiful women refusing to have sex with them. These men often subscribe to notions of white supremacy. They are, by their own judgment, mostly unattractive and socially inept. (They frequently call themselves “subhuman.”) They’re also diabolically misogynistic.” [The Rage of the Incels]

deep state (n): the so-called permanent power élite or “moneyed, cultured élite” —  the non-governmental insiders from banking, industry, and commerce” whose access to information allows them to rule in secret. (see John le Carré’s 2013 novel, A Delicate Truth). Also see this intriguing apocryphal account of Deep State Wine.

choad (n): <vulgar> A loser or undesirable person…and that’s just the nice version. Don’t write this where others can see it—like on a classroom whiteboard.

wratched (adj): <slang> in poor shape or bad taste, “ghetto.” As near as I can tell, it’s an urbanized form of “wretched” but always pronounced as one syllable with the last part sort of slurred, …tchd, that is, “ratcht.” My students have forbidden me to use this.

tag question (noun phrase): a grammatical structure in which a statement is turned into interrogative fragment, as though to ask for a tacit confirmation. “Y’know?” as in “Nice day, isn’t it?”; “You’re Samantha, right”?; In Sherlock Holmes-era novels, a character might end a sentence with “Eh wot?” but I’ve been instructed never to try that. In the British sitcom, The Office, Ricky Gervais would end many of his statements with “Yeah?” “That’ll save us money, will it, yeah.” (OK, I already knew this one, but it’s always fun to quote Ricky.)

And now, recently heard on The Daily Show:

sick burn (noun phrase): a clever and cutting remark that makes someone look silly or feel embarrassed. Shaping your hands like two guns and imitating blowing the smoke off them is a good way to tag the burn.

gobemouche (n): <GOB-moosh> a gullible or credulous person. From French gobe-mouche (flycatcher, sucker), from gober (to suck or swallow) + mouche (fly). Earliest documented use: 1818.*

…not be confused with a “goober”: A foolish, simple, or amusingly silly person.

 

[Insert political figure of your choice here]

 

pitchfork rebellion (noun phrase): When the peasants, or common folk, literally or figuratively fashion their farming tools into weapons of war — as in the 1685 Monmouth Rebellion, or when villagers of South Stoke, outside Bath, recently saved their historic, 150-year-old Packhorse pub from being turned into an apartment complex.

duck or decorated shed? (nouns): from the 1972 book Learning from Las Vegas by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. Some buildings are like ducks—the exterior is perfectly suited to what’s inside and they can’t be anything but what they look like, as their shape clearly indicates.

A decorated shed, by contrast, is a generic structure with a purpose identifiable only by its signage. Is it a clothing store, a restaurant, or a hotel? Just check the sign.

“If one business decides to close its doors, we can remove the sign and add another. No additional construction necessary.” [The Architectural Mirror]. See also 99% Invisible (one of my favorite podcasts): “Lessons from Sin City”

(Photo: Center for Learning at Glendale Community College) **

dead cat bounce (noun phrase): A Wall St. phrase indicating a small, brief recovery in the price of a declining stock, derived from the idea that “even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height.” The phrase can also be applied to any instance of a brief resurgence following a severe decline.***

tent-pole movie (noun phrase): widely released initial offerings in a string of releases that are expected by movie studios to turn a quick profit, usually accompanied by big budgets and heavy promotion and expected to support a wide range of tie-in products such as toys and games. However, in the TV biz, there’s the concept of the hammock: If a network has two tent-pole series, it can boost the performance of a weak or emerging show by inserting it between the two tent-poles.

TCK – third culture kid (noun phrase): a child raised in a culture other than their parents’ (or the country on the child’s passport, where they are legally considered native) for a significant part of their early years. They’re exposed to a greater (often dismaying) variety of cultural influences. TCKs move between cultures (and languages!) before they have had the opportunity to fully develop their personal cultural identity. The first culture of such individuals refers to the culture of the country from which the parents originated, the second culture refers to the culWorld in Words logoture in which the family currently resides, and the third culture refers to the amalgamation of these two cultures. “You always feel out of place.” (The World in Words podcast, May 17, 2018)

Despoiling the Egyptians (phrase): Basically a sort of reverse “cultural appropriation” (the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture). The phrase has come to mean any use of another culture’s art and ideas for purposes that may wholly contradict their original intention.

From St. Augustine: In the Hebrew scripture, Exodus 3:21, God tells the Israelites to “despoil the Egyptians” as they left their bondage by taking gold and silver statuary or other works that had been pagan or profane and use the metal for their own, finer purposes. [On Christian Doctrine, Ch. 40, section 60; cited in Hecht, Doubt, 201]

“The Israelites are promised that they will leave Egypt not just with their freedom but with great wealth. “You shall strip the Egyptians bare,” goes the promise, in colloquial English of today. Sure enough, this week the Israelites prepare to leave by “borrowing” objects of silver and gold from their neighbors. Borrowing? Not exactly. Everybody knows, that they are leaving Egypt for good with no intention of returning.” [“Despoiling the Egyptians”: An Exercise In Moral LogicRabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, Ph.D.]


Re: MacDuff — I know the actual Macbeth line is “Lay on, MacDuff,”(Act 5, Scene 8) meaning, roughly, “start the fight,” but “lead on” is just too common to not take advantage of.
From: A.Word.A.Day, with Anu Garg
** The Center for Learning (known among students as the “Fortress for Learning”) is practically the visual definition of a decorated shed…minus the decoration.
*** Re: “dead cat bounce” — also the name of a contra dance (a kind of energetic “called” couples folk dance, like a square dance). According to Kentucky contra dance enthusiast, Susan Vogt, “there’s a part in the dance where you go forward toward the people in the opposite line and push back on your partner’s hands like a bounce.”

Church…um…church

I’m reaching out to all my churchified friends here to explain what kind of operation this is.

Ok, we know it’s a Methodist operation, presumably the first one, or at least the first united one. And, located as it is in a gentrified north-central Phoenix neighborhood (Central Ave & Bethany Home), it’s not like they’re some kind of wratched religious enterprise that can’t afford a proper sign. After all, they’ve got the unleavened dough for this imposing bell tower.

But the wording of the sign here has me ready to call out the Vicar-General of Grammar* for a ruling.

So is the place a sort of churchy church? Or do parishioners go to the “first church” at 9am and then do a sort of follow-up booster-shot service that’s just “church.” Frankly, we’re out of theories but before we throw ourselves at the mercy of the Judicial Council, perhaps some kindly blog follower can shed some holy light** on this.


* If it was a mosque, we’ll call for the chief grammarian, known as the Sharm El Sheikh, and if it was a temple, I believe the Rosh Meshuggana is the authority of choice.
** heiligenschein to you.
(We may have made up some of the stuff in the first footnote but the 2nd note is for-reals.)
All photos ©2018 by the author

 

 

Wedding Schmedding

Sometimes you have to put things in perspective to, you know, get your priorities in order.

Consider, the latest royal wedding that will take place at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor on Saturday, 19 May. (I almost hate to name the date in case one of you is curious enough to actually check it out.) In the meantime, I have compiled a list of things I care less about and things I care more about.

Things I Care Less About Than the Royal Wedding

  • current traffic at a place I’m not going
  • Safeway “Monopoly” game pieces

  • the next “Shades of Grey” movie
  • grocery store coupons for cat food
  • The Bachelor pausing a whole minute before bestowing his final rose
  • any Kardashian news
  • who is on the guest list for the royal wedding

and now…

Things I Care More About Than the Royal Wedding

  • number of angels that can dance on a pinhead

  • dryer lint
  • Millard Fillmore (President #13, 1850-1853)

  • Kanye’s latest Tweet

and, of course…

  • kale (but just barely)

So there we have it. A fair and balanced list that allows me to adjust my day’s thinking priorities. Admittedly, the bar I’ve set for the royals to beat is pretty low,  but it’s good to know that they’re somewhere in the middle between Kardashian news and lint.


and just for fun: