Found this in a stack of unlabeled 78 rpm records I bought off eBay, like, a billion years ago. No time to lay down a new track this week, so I just digitized this instead. Mysteries within mysteries, etc.
I’ve seen several recorded performances of this trick, and watched it live at least once—and yet this is the first time it dawned on me that there is no trick to this trick. (i.e., I’d bet that if you take just a moment to think about this—even if you’ve never touched a nail gun before—you can think of at least two totally different ways to modify a stock nail gun or fabricate a fako, and once you accept that the nail fun is gaffed, then there isn’t a memory trick at all, just some patter).
In fact, there’s a degree to which this trick is about the trick’s tricklessness, if you catch my meaning: It’s about delivery and panache and the fascination that comes with the risk of grievous bodily harm. It is an amped up, thoroughly Modern America version of Barnum’s wonderful(!), stupendous(!!!), incomparable(!!!) Egress.
BONUS: Penn & Teller’s greatest of misdirections—They get you caught up on the idea of being live and doing camera tricks, thus distracting you from the obvious explanation revealed at the end—AND THE FACT THAT THEY DO USE CAMERA TRICKS!!!
Listen: There is going to be a major attack on U.S. soil between now and, I dunno, probably the end of January 2018. (I personally think it’ll be earlier—possibly by mid-October—but depending on who is attacking, I think they might wait as late as Xmas/New Year’s in order to maximize mayhem).
I’ve been saying this for months, but I think most folks thought I was kidding. I’m not.
REMINDER: We’re likely 2 to 4 months from a major US soil attack. PotUS will use it to consolidate power. https://t.co/wiy1XddbSC
— David Erik Nelson (@SquiDaveo) August 10, 2017
REMINDER: We’re probably not more than 4 months from a major US soil attack. My money’s on N Korea, but whoever it is, it’s a win for PotUS.
— David Erik Nelson (@SquiDaveo) August 1, 2017
— David Erik Nelson (@SquiDaveo) July 21, 2017
Hard to believe it’s just six months until a major foreign attack on U.S. soil!🇺🇸🔥 https://t.co/0nPayGb4Pd
— David Erik Nelson (@SquiDaveo) May 16, 2017
— David Erik Nelson (@SquiDaveo) May 13, 2017
Hard to believe it’s just nine months until a major attack on US soil! https://t.co/GZu9RG0Ynw
— David Erik Nelson (@SquiDaveo) May 1, 2017
A disorganized defender cannot defend. When your opponent is disoriented, you strike. It’s elementary, and holds in many fields: In business negotiations, in chess, in Go,in court, in bar fights and boxing matches, in battlefields and hardened bunkers.
Readers of a certain age will recall that the success of the 9/11 attacks was widely attributed to a “failure to connect the dots” within the Executive Branch (especially within intelligence and foreign affairs agencies). Why did we fail to connect the dots? Because there were empty seats throughout the administration, and the folks in many of the filled seats were still coming up to speed.
Rewind 11 months from 9/11, and you’ll recall we had an insanely close presidential election that ultimately needed to be decided by the Supreme Court. As a result, when G.W.Bush took office, his team had significantly less time to pull together their nominations than was the modern norm. 100 days in, he was still behind, with only about 35 confirmed nominees (there are several thousand positions that need to be filled by any incoming president, of which about 577 are considered vital by experts). 200 days in GWB had 294 nominations confirmed, roughly half of the most vital positions. In other words, on day 200 in office, G.W.Bush still had 283 empty seats in vital parts of the Executive Branch, and many of the seats that were filled had folks sitting in them who’d only had a couple months—maybe just weeks—to digest, consider, and route huge amounts of intel. About a month after that we notably “failed to connect the dots” and 19 dudes crashed four airplanes with the net result of 3,000 humans being cooked and crushed in the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania farm field.
I was teaching school that day, back in my old life. I stood in a room with a bunch of troubled teens and watched folks jump out of the World Trade Center towers rather than burn inside. I walked outside with a coworker. Our school was under several flight paths, but the sky was perfectly clear above us, no clouds, no contrails, no planes, because every plane in the nation was grounded.
But, man, that sky, so blue. So clear.
Within a year I was on a “selectee list.” For the next eight years every time I flew I was pulled out of line, searched, patted down, swabbed for explosives, questioned, stripped down to socks, pants, and undershirt. But, you know, whatevs, right? Terror. Safety. Patriotism. #America.
But my mind wanders. All apologies. More to the point:
How’s Trump Doing?
How’s Trump doing, in terms of getting the right folks in the right seats, and thus preventing another major attack and loss of life on U.S. soil?
Not great. In fact, he’s doing cataclysmically poorly. He was behind Bush on Day 100, and he’s now even further behind:
As of August 4, when the Senate left town for its August recess, Trump has nominated 277 people for key posts, has had 124 confirmed, and has withdrawn eight of the nominations, according to CNN’s tracker.
The Partnership for Public Service has identified 577 executive branch positions as being particularly essential — and Trump has only successfully filled about a fifth of them.
We got smashed in the mouth in 2001 because we only had 294 folks in 577 vital seats. Today we have about 124 folks on deck. Among those seats that remain empty: Most of the undersecretaries of state, assistant secretaries of state, assistant secretaries of defense, an undersecretaries of defense, and most of our ambassadors.
So Who is Coming to Hurt Us?
It’s a three-way coin toss, in my humble:
- North Korea
- Actual International Terrorists (like 9/11)
- Domestic Terrorists (I group someone like the Tsarnaev brothers or the Pulse Nightclub Shooter alongside Timothy McVeigh and Buford O. Furrow, Jr. as “domestic terrorists” for the reasons outlined in this very enlightening interview over on Slate: “Profiling White Supremacists Won’t Stop White Supremacist Terrorism“)
If I were a gambling man (and we all are now, here in the Zone of Maximum Mayhem) I’d put my money on #3.
Yeah, North Korea seems like an obvious choice: They can hit the U.S. mainland with any number of missiles, and they have a nuke small enough to mount on such an ICBM. They probably don’t have the reentry ballistics quite right just yet, which means the nuclear device won’t detonate properly, but a goddamn intercontinental ballistic dirty bomb plowing into D.C. or NYC is 1) well within N.K.’s capabilities and 2) not something you walk off.
But launching such an attack is actual suicide for that country—especially with our current PotUS—and regardless of what we say about the Kim regime, he’s not an actual lunatic; he has a country to run and a dynasty to maintain. Given how he’s behaving now, and in the absence of us launching a pre-emptive strike, I don’t see N.K. nuking us before Xmas. (See also North Korea’s latest launch designed to cause maximum mayhem, minimal blowback)
(All of that, of course, assumes the tests they’ve been firing have indeed been tests, and not a killdeer-like misdirection. If N.K. can cripple us in a first strike—say, by nuking LA, NYC, and DC in a single salvo—well, then I imagine they will, and probably sometime this fall.)
As for actual International Terror, believe it or not that’s on the wane in the Western world. When you stop calling everything involving a Muslim “international” and actually look at the facts of the recent attacks in the U.S. and Europe, you see that the last several “Islamist” terror events in the U.S. have a lot more in common with White Power hate crimes than 9/11. (Pulse Nightclub is a solid example of this.)
So that leaves us with Domestic Terror. I’m thinking it’ll be White Supremacists. The PotUS has done a lot lately to make them feel empowered, and those among them with basic arithmetic and reading comprehension skills absolutely understand that there will never again be a White Majority in this country. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be “Islamists” born in Newark or Peoria, or Antifa/Black Blocers looking to head off the impending pogroms, or good ole Militia/Sovereign Citizen folks (who despise the PotUS just as much as the Antifa folks do). They’re all in the same gang, at heart.
But who fucking cares, right? People are going to die—your friends and neighbors—at the hands of your other friends and neighbors, and a lot more are going to suffer, and we are locked in on those rails now, inextricable. These are how these dots connect, and it is far too late to do anything about it before it happens.
(Alternately, listen to and consider this: Episode 790: Rough Translation in Ukraine ’cause maybe I’m wrong, and we’ll go with a whimper, not a bang. And maybe we’re already gone—or, hell, maybe I’m the misinformation that stumbles out of Bethlehem to be born. Your call.)
Jesus! Dave, What Should I Do!?
I have no clue. Stay safe. Don’t hurt any one.
Hell, I’d be turned away, and I’m a highly educated, highly articulate, decently well-off white(ish) person with some little shred of public notability.
Trump’s “merit-based immigration” is a bullshit system that
favors big-money investors who want to buy citizenship while simultaneously draining all the best technical minds from the developing world and consigning them to being well-paid slaves at the pleasure of major tech companies.
It’s callous, crass, penny-pinching robber-baron capitalism that will to jack-shit to stem illegal immigration, create a class of disaffected young men with weak ties to their American communities and strong ties to their home countries, and leave the average American worker to fight for jobs picking cotton, making Starbucks, and driving Uber.
I’ve talked to a few Trump voters in the last several months (I need to get a new roof on my house), and it is precisely bait-and-switch shit like this that has them pissed and cynical as hell.
And those folks have guns, Mr. President.
Hey-hey, all my Best Belovéd:
Just a quick heads-up that Chapter 8 of my novella Expiration Date is now available free online (as are the discussion questions, the Ann Arbor District Library Summer Games points and badges—all that).
This chapter brings us a chemical event, a reunion, a revelation, Bram’s magic chopstick (of limited utility), and something mysterious high in the sky. Come grab your copy of Chapter 8 now!
And please spread the word: If you know someone who might dig this, drop them a link. Thx!
This argument strikes me as willfully obtuse (in the 20thC impeachment has been about a preponderance of wrongdoing, not a single gotcha), but I offer it to contrast most of what I’ve shared over the past few days:
For the record, over the past week it’s become increasingly clear that our representatives need to start saying the word “impeachment“—which is, recall, a formal Congressional statement of charges and investigation, not a fancy way of saying “removal from office.” Is it time for removal from office? I have no fucking clue. Is it time to formally level charges? It sure seems that way—but I don’t know, and am in no position to figure it out. It is certainly time for us to accept that we need to seriously talk about this, not just throw the word around in histrionic fits. It’s like the word “cancer” or the phrase “I’m dying”: We use these a lot as shorthands for things like “I feely sorta achy” or “I’m super-duper tired,” but there are also times when you do have cancer, when you are dying, and you need to actually start to talk about that with your loved ones.
And we’re in that place now, the place where we have to talk about cutting off our nose not to spite our face, but to save it before the cancer metastasizes.
This isn’t because the PotUS fired Comey for the stated reason that he was sick of “this Russia thing,” and it isn’t because he spilled the beans to that same hostile foreign power, and it isn’t because he tried to obstruct the early stages of the investigation into Trump-Russia ties back in February and it isn’t because he quite clearly benefited from—and plausible in some form, by action, inaction, or willful ignorance, colluded with—election meddling by that foreign power. It isn’t because he, his staff, and his family have very publicly sought to personally profit from holding the Office of the PotUS, and it isn’t because everyone in his inner circle seems to treat the very notion of “ethics” the way a dog treats an especially sexy throw-pillow, and it isn’t because of the breaking-strain bend he’s put in the Emoluments Clause, and it isn’t because of his stated seditious animosity to the rule of law as it is widely recognized in this country—especially as pertains to the 1st, 4th, and 14th Amendments. It is because of the preponderance of those things and more, taken all together, without pause, without recrimination, without apparent shame or the recognition that each of them is not simply Bad, but actually contemptuous of the very notion that governments are instituted among regular folks like us (not inflicted upon them) and derive their powers from the consent of the governed (which again, is us). His high crime, if nothing else, is that he acts with contempt for us and for our institutions.
“What is his impeachable offense?”
Dude, at this point, what isn’t?
… and it’s sitting in the Oval Office: “Trump’s Industry, Real Estate, Poses Hurdle to Tax Overhaul”
Give this a read, give your reps a call, carry on with your day.
P.S.: I was gonna do some sort of gag about dude’s total floundering for his first 100 days, but it quickly got tedious. Here’s his “Contract with the American Voter” (SPOILER ALERT: he’s in breach). Go ahead and play “broken promise/laughable goal” bingo on your own; I’m done playing pigeon chess with the PotUS (who, I’m sure, is just about to release another deluge of tweets about how great he’s doing, or would be doing if the world was fair—but a poor ole richer-than-God, weasel-wording, sexual-molesting, pee-faced pathological steak-ruining tin-whistle shukster-turned-U.S. President just can’t catch a break in America).
UPDATE: I love this sentence: “one of the biggest threats to the timeline on tax reform is the continued survival of magic unicorns.”
Here’s what I just wrote—just in case you’d like to call your reps about something similar (and don’t worry if you didn’t call about this today; the issue is sadly evergreen):
SUBJECT: White House corruption and conflicts of interest
I continue to be deeply disturbed by very clear conflicts of interest in the Trump White House. For example, Forbes reported (and Slate reiterated) that Eric Trump will be reporting to President Donald Trump about Trump Organization business on a quarterly basis.
This is nothing remotely like “separation,” let alone a “blind trust”—heck, given this standard, there is more separation between me and my Roth IRA (which I check bi-annually, at best), and President Trump and Trump Org business.
Meanwhile, we learned from the Washington Post this morning that Jared Kushner (the PotUS’s son-in-law) will be heading a “SWAT team to fix government with business ideas” (with the president’s daughter in an advisory role), even as the Senate Intelligence Committee is questioning him about his ties to both the Russian government and Russian banks.
This is so plainly inappropriate that I feel sort of silly harping on it. And yet here we are.
I continue to have a great deal of faith in our system of government and in your office—but only because I’ve seen your unflagging dedication to using the latter to assure the continuing basic function of the former.
David Erik Nelson . . .