Second impressions

Like high school or college, there’s a glass roof to see through. Like junior year of college, there’s the new car smell coming from a black leather interior as I motor through warm air and a setting sun. The feedback from the graphic displays helps with the video game of trying to eke out the best possible mileage. Sometimes it’s around 38, sometimes it’s as high as 65. If I drive to work and stop at Starbucks on the way, the meter when I get out almost always says 47mpg, spot on what they pitch. I’ll be interested to see what the first full tank of gas measures out at, because we’ve had to fill up exactly once.

It feels like a car from the future, even more than the Rabbit did ten years ago. Which makes sense, because this is a hybrid drivetrain and a touch screen system that makes me wonder where to find the controls for the forward phaser array and a door that unlocks because I walked up to it. This is a Chevy sedan right out of Demolition Man, which came out just as I got that Saturn. The cars always feel like a leap forward.

Especially when the car finds the phone in my pocket via Bluetooth and starts playing without any intervention of mine. And that’s broadly feasible now, because the iPhone SE has proven its worth. In four straight days I’ve failed to drop it below 50% during the workday, despite things like downloading podcasts or adding stuff from the iCloud music library to the local storage or playing through my Bluetooth cans – or indeed through the car’s own Bluetooth.  So far, so good, and the slightest top-up from a charger kicks the battery up fast. I’m interested to see how long it goes in low-power mode, especially in an all-day-out-and-about type setting – say, tooling around town in the new car.

Because the phone itself just feels right. The smaller size has stayed comfortable in the hand, and the smaller screen hasn’t been an impediment to reading – or to writing, as I’ve hammered out long and complex stuff on the built-in keyboard (the new Google iOS GBoard has its own issues; while it swipes pretty good it’s less good for pounding on the keys, and the swipe dictionary’s choices tend to err in favor of the longest possible wrong word). I haven’t compared the camera output on a bigger display yet, but it launches fast and shoots quick – it’s ready to go as soon as you flick up from the corner of the lock screen. With a little practice, the quick-draw is almost as fast as the Moto X.

But the biggest thing is this: in the first week of use, I haven’t felt compelled to go back to the old iPhone 6, nor to pull the Moto X out for a spin. The SE is completely serviceable as the One True Phone, maybe as the One True Device in a pinch (haven’t tried to read anything beyond RSS or Economist Espresso, but maybe Kindle later, and try pairing the Bluetooth keyboard for a really really long bout of typing). It was a good idea by Apple, well executed, and right in the sweet spot.

More like these, please.

First impressions 

When I got my first laptop in 1999, it was the classic PowerBook G3 series. It was replaced with a slightly slimmer version, and then an iBook with Firewire. A couple years later that was replaced with a titanium PowerBook G4, the theater-aspect slab of metal, and as soon as I got to Cupertino it was replaced with the 12-inch model. Then a 15″ MacBook Pro, soon replaced by a series of black 13″ MacBooks. Then a more advanced 15″ MacBook Pro at a new job, followed by a 13″ MacBook Air, followed by the new 12″MacBook. 

I say all this to show the pattern of my laptop history: wherever possible, a laptop PC similar processing power was always replaced with a physically smaller model as soon as one was available. The main reason this didn’t happen with the iPhone was because for five years, there was only one size of iPhone. Then the new ones were a hair larger for two  years. Then for two years your only option was to go either bigger or much bigger. Until now. 

Today you can get the same processor and most of the same chipset and features in three different sizes. It’s possible to move from the iPhone 6, at 4.7″,  to a phone that’s faster and more powerful with a better camera and superior battery life – in a smaller package. And today that’s just what I did. Everything is set to go, from scratch, using my prepaid backup SIM from my Moto X. All that remains is to pair the Apple Watch, set up work MDM, and pop the SIM for the work-paid AT&T device out of the 6 and into here.

For the first time in years, I feel fully in control of my own phone situation without eating the cost of service (which in the long run is far more expensive than any handset). I like it. It’s a good arrangement. And to be honest the toughest part of banging this out on the device itself was trying to use the Gboard swipe keyboard, because despite my worries the stock 4 inch display Apple iOS keyboard is working just fine. 

flashback, part 79 of n

I could be writing about the inanity of Trump, or how conservatives will try to use “bathroom bills” to make up for a candidate that turns off the holy rollers, but I don’t want to lose my mind and start smashing up the room like Kylo Ren, so instead I’ll fixate on the iPhone SE. Again. Because there’s no point in denying it: I really want this phone, and the only reason I haven’t bought it already is because we’re probably only four months from the announcement of a notional iPhone 7, and there is an outside ghost of a chance that it might be desirable. 

But is it really?  Go back and look at iPhones past and whether I was compelled to get them and why.

iPHONE 3G: I bought it a couple of months after it came out, just because I had shorted out my original iPhone with lint packing into the dock connector. It brought real GPS and 3G to the iPhone, so it was definitely a desirable upgrade, even though I missed the metal shell of the original.

iPHONE 3GS: Brought a video camera and more speed, but that wasn’t enough to make me buy it. Good thing, too, because that left me free for…

iPHONE 4. Honestly, it felt like I had that 3G forever, although that might just be because I dragged it abroad in 2010 and it felt SO dated by the time the iPhone 4 landed. Classic styling, HD video capture, retina display, 5 MP camera…totally worth it.

iPHONE 4S. I luck-boxed into this one when my AppleCare-covered 4 had one issue too many, and they didn’t have replacement units so free-rolled me into this one. Not a lot to compel me over its predecessor other than Siri and a slightly improved camera (8MP rather than 5, 1080p video capture rather than 720p).

iPHONE 5. The main appeal to this was being off contract and having the opportunity for work to take over my phone and put me on Verizon with its LTE footprint. Had that not been on offer, I think I would have been content to stick with the 4S. Sure, the 5 had a slightly larger screen and LTE, but the 4S brought non-LTE 4G to the phone which was honestly as fast as much of the LTE coverage I could get (yes, there was 50Mbps LTE speed at the train station, but anywhere that had 3 bars of Verizon or less – in other words, 80% of Silly Con Valley – wasn’t breaking the 8Mbps that non-LTE 4G on AT&T was routinely providing me).

iPHONE 5S. The big appeal here was to add a 64-bit processor and TouchID. Neither was enough to tempt me to spend my own money on an upgrade or change service. I honestly don’t know if it would have even were I still pushing a 4S, unless the battery and LTE were tempting (and the 4S did seem to lose battery quickly, but I don’t know how much of that was just Twitter).

iPHONE 6. This was bought purely out of the move back to AT&T. I had misgivings about the size almost from the beginning (actually from the very beginning) and my worry that the screen would offset the bigger battery seems to have been borne out, especially given the improvement in the SE over the 6S. It’s fine, but when combined with the Apple Watch there’s nothing that would compel me to take it over a 5S (and the only reason I haven’t taken over the wife’s old 5S is because of the damaged camera; even that wasn’t enough to prevent me using it for a couple of days with no problem).

iPHONE 6S. Absolutely nothing attractive about it, and in many ways a step backward. Giving up battery capacity for a “3D-Touch” gimmick reminiscent of the dumbest Samsung nonsense should have been a warning shot all the way round.

So the question is…what could the iPhone 7, so-called, have up its sleeve that would make me sorry I took it over the SE?

According to the Great Mentioner, the next iPhone is supposed to be eschewing the traditional headphone jack for something involving either the Lightning port (which has interesting implications for charging and listening at once) or wireless (which has interesting implications for battery life) and may be even thinner (which has even worse implications for battery life). There’s also talk of wireless charging, which may imply that you’re meant to set the thing on some sort of charging pad whenever you aren’t walking around with it (which is a hell of an alternative to just providing a sufficient battery in the first place, but I digress). The rumblings also include things like AMOLED displays (YES YES YES) and an all-glass body (NO NO NO). But the fact that the SE is out now, and unnumbered or otherwise designated, suggests that whatever phone emerges from Jony Ive’s skinny britches this autumn will not be another 4-inch phone.

Which is a problem. The Moto X has a 4.7” and is at the very limit of what I’m comfortable as a one-handed daily phone, and Apple’s current design choices around symmetrical bezels and physical home button/fingerprint scanner strongly suggests that they won’t be able to put a similar size display in a similar size device. Going any thinner than the 6S – already round and slippery with the camera protruding awkwardly from the rear – is absolutely idiotic, but one never knows.

Here’s the thing: in August 2015, I was expressing a desire to take over the wife’s iPhone 5S in place of my iPhone 6. Hell, the day they announced the 6S I was wishing for a 5S in the body of a 5C. It’s been pretty clear for a while what I want. I bought the iPhone 4 on launch day in 2010, the day after a crazy day of news and sports and “are you seeing this??”, and in the ensuing six years, I’ve paid for exactly one cellular phone: my Moto X. Mathematically, I guess I’m on reasonable ground to splash out for a new device. So am I at risk of buying something and being stuck with a phone I don’t want in six months?

I doubt it. I really doubt it. More and more, it looks like the only thing that’s going to move the needle on cellphones past 2013 is virtual reality, and I doubt that’s going to be an attractive enough prospect to pay for in the next 12-24 months. I could be wrong, but I’m prepared to live with it if I’m not…or to get work to replace my work phone, which after 2 years should be a straightforward proposition.

I guess I’m going to buy an SE. If nothing else, so I’ll shut up talking about it.

First Impressions

Once again, it’s not possible to bang out this from the device itself. But I could send it, because the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid comes with a 3-month-or-3-GB wireless LTE hotspot, which is maybe the most unfathomable thing. Next to that, the touchscreen iPhone interface, the front and rear collision detectors, the blind-spot warning indicators and backup camera are all plausible, and the hybrid drivetrain and steering wheel radio controls and panoramic sunroof and keyless entry barely rate a mention.

It’s definitely a future jump. When I got the family’s old Monte Carlo handed down after five years and 125,000 miles, it still had an analog dial radio. The Rabbit had a custom stereo put in, but it was a couple of months before the iPhone announcement and only ever had a one-line display. This one effortlessly combines AM, FM and XM without distinguishing on the preselects and has not only a full screen display but Apple CarPlay, so plug in the phone and boom, there’s your Maps and your Podcasts and everything. And as a work colleague pointed out, making the car a dumb terminal and putting the smarts in the phone means that your car’s entertainment system is upgradable as your phone is.

The sensation of the hybrid ride is normal these days, having taken so many Prius trips since that first awkward moment in the airport lot in 2004 when I was trying to figure out where the key went and how to shift gears. Now, it’s nothing to walk up to the car, touch the button on the handle before pulling it, sit down and hit the START button and the car’s all ready to back up without a sound. It feels like a car in the future should feel.

But in many ways, this is a bet. This is the first Malibu Hybrid the dealership has sold. It was the only one on the lot, and providentially spec’d out just like we wanted, but because the true hybrid is new for 2016, there isn’t a lot of data to go by for comparison. We are the beta testers. This is a wager that Chevrolet, back from the dead with the rest of GM, has learned its lesson and gone to school on the Volt and Bolt development, and can produce a modern and contemporary car that will punch its weight with the Toyotas and Fords of the world that have been doing hybrid for a decade. (Don’t forget, Obama dumped his Chrysler 300C for a Ford Escape Hybrid once he started running for President.) This is that rarest of birds in Silicon Valley: an American-made sedan. My immediate family bought only Chevrolet from 1969 until 1993, I was raised on the bowtie as much as I was raised Democrat or Baptist, and this is a leap of faith that an American car company is something other than perpetually teetering on the precipice of doom – or worse, irrelevance.

But it’s comfortable and drives well so far.  I think this could work out. 

flashback, part 78 of n

When I came out here, there were three conditions: stop in Reno so I could shoot some craps (which wound up with me losing the whole nut in about 10 minutes and learning a valuable lesson about trusting your gut), get DirecTV so I could get Sunday Ticket and keep watching the Redskins (officially terminated many years ago), and buy a new car to replace my 11-year-old Saturn, ideally the New Beetle I was so into.

Today, the last one is crossed off for good.

It wasn’t a Beetle by the time I got it – it was two years later and a Rabbit, built on the Mark V Golf platform (and in every way superior to the Mark IV underpinnings of the Beetle). I fit in it, even in the back seat. It was a hatchback of the type that captivated me on the honeymoon, it was actually made in Germany, it was a perfect “got nothing to prove” sort of car and it felt like a decisive break toward the future, with the blue glow of the dash and the satellite radio built in and the red lights always beaming down over the console.  And in its way, it was a trophy of the new job, because it was bought for 1% under dealer invoice on an Apple promotion. We picked it up in October 2006, and it was the capper of what was a really good year.

We called it Harvey (a name bestowed by my surrogate big sister) but it never really had the personality of my old Saturn. It would be tough to match up to the record; in ten years of ownership I think we maybe took it out of California twice (not counting the odd loop around Lake Tahoe) and never since 2010. It has 116,000 miles instead of the 205,495 Danny finished with, and those are almost all city miles, ground out in a 40-mile radius from home by a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine that was supposed to provide 4-cylinder mileage with V6 power but only ever worked the other way round. 2007 and 2008 were a bad time to find out your zippy little compact is only giving you an aggregate 24 miles per gallon.

On the one hand, you could argue that it didn’t deliver much in the way of excitement and adventure and really wild things. On the other hand, the adventures and excitement and really wild things are on other continents now, and I’m of an age and station where the car has only ever been registered at a single address, rather than in three different states in 13 years. And it’s not worth sinking the money that would be needed to fix the sunroof, fix the airbags, fix the transmission, sort out that annoying ticking that we’ll never know the cause of, and God only knows what else over the next three years, or five, or however long.  Better to just get an adult-sized car with a hybrid or electric drivetrain, optimize for comfort and mileage, and get on with life instead of trying to attach cosmic importance to a thing.

So long, Ploughboy Bunny. A good job well done, all in all.

Tuesday brain dump

* My shoulder hurts like hell. I strongly suspect there’s a pinched nerve causing it, and I need another MRI (ideally claustrophobia free) before I know for sure if the bulging disc is back, but it’s bad enough that I had an emergency visit to the chiro and got my shoulder taped eight ways from Sunday.  On a side note, add cyclobenzaprine to the list of drugs that stop working for me after 48 hours, alongside Advil, Aleve, diclofenac, Mobic, Celebrex and hydrocodone.

* My phone’s battery has gone to hell in the last couple of weeks. I don’t know if using the external battery pack managed to mess something up, but even after wiping it (twice), conditioning the battery (twice) and setting it up as new, with no backup restore, it still won’t get through an 8 hour day of normal use unless it’s in low power mode. Meanwhile, a top tip for everyone: if at all possible, change your 2 factor authentication to an SMS text rather than a code from an app, because it’s taken me three days to get into all my formerly 2FA services and there’s one I still can’t (the Chorus system at Vox Media, which appears to have no backup solution, so if I can’t restore data to my old phone I’m good and cooked).

* I probably would have bought an iPhone SE by now, except the backorder is still three weeks on every model. That may be enough to keep me on this sinking 6 right now, or at least force me to go through extensive troubleshooting to make sure it’s not the Apple Watch or the Bluetooth headset that’s causing the power loss. But oddly, the experience is making me ever more cognizant of how big this phone really is – when I switched to a borrowed 5S for a couple of days, it felt compact without being too small, and when I went back to the 6, it felt huge and ungainly. Tougher time with the keyboard on the 5S, obviously, but at the same time it seems like the keyboard in iOS 9 was a step backward generally.

* Speaking of mobile technology, it looks like we might be about to take the plunge on that Malibu Hybrid. We test-drove it, it handles well, plenty of pickup, sufficient room inside (barely, in back, but the legroom was better than the headroom), and the bells and whistles in 2016 are off the chart from where they were ten years ago. We’ll see if it comes together. While I’m not looking forward to a car payment again, it’d sure be nice to have something reliable that would go 500 miles on a tank of gas (and this will, believe it or not).

* I have made my commute a little longer in the morning, but in exchange I get a straight shot on the train, less crowding, none of the Palo Alto dickishness to deal with, and a good half hour to drink coffee and get my head together before getting into the office, and I can tell a difference between days when I do that and days when I have to just take the train straight in. Some forms of commuting are just more aggravating than others, and things go a lot better if I don’t have to kick against the bricks first thing on a Monday morning before even getting into the office.

* I’m hesitant to say this for fear of jinxing it…but things seem to be mostly going OK. Disney was great, Yosemite was great (a certain half hour or so in the morning notwithstanding), the long driving road trip portions were just fine, work is under control, politics is shitty but manageable now that we more or less know the score, my breathing is much improved, and maybe just maybe we’ve licked the allergy thing…it’s a lot easier to deal with life when all you have is a couple of obstacles rather than what looks like a straight path but a dozen pebbles in your shoe. It drives home the point: if there are things you do that make your life worse, stop doing them.

* Did I have the first and second place horses in the Derby? Why yes I did. Did I have them in some sort of parlay? Well…nope. Which is why I made a profit of $2 instead of something serious. Siiiiigh.

(Some Of) The Kids Are(n’t) All Right

This was originally going to be a post about how Silicon Valley Millenials would rather die than get around solely by the use of their own legs and feet.  On any given day, walking down a sidewalk, I have to dodge some combination of bicycles, razor scooters, skateboards, motorized skateboards, so-called “hoverboards” that don’t actually hover for shit, and – in at least one case – a guy with his feet on either side of a single wheel and both hands on the smartphone he was staring at instead of avoiding ramming me. I kind of feel like explaining to these people that the last mile problem is about the last mile, not the last fifty feet, and that it’s the height of dumb shit to ride your bicycle through the automatic doors and into the elevator – but the more I thought about the millenial mobility scooter, the more I drifted back to a very real issue.

“…I just now discovered the word Rejuvenile, based on the book of the same name. “Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes and the Reinvention of the American Grown-Up.” Huh. I don’t mind the cupcake as such, but the cult of obsession around them is a little odd…It was bad enough when my generation was tarred as a bunch of slackers en route to skipping right over us so that the children of the baby-boomers could be painted as the Next Big Thing (that would be the generation of Britney, Paris and Lindsey, FYI), but now apparently we’re all entering our second childhood…and that’s a good thing? Put me down as a Harrumphing Codger if you must, but I’m not sure I see the appeal. I spent my whole life desperately waiting for my chronological age to catch up with my mental age (yes, I was one of those poor cursed SOBs who was “gifted”). I went through eight yards of hell to get to be an adult, and I am not particularly interested in going back…”

That was nine years ago on this blog. In the meantime, that generation that rose up on their cupcakes and electric remote-control skateboards to become the darling of brands and marketing has developed an issue that may have been a problem at other times, but has become even more pronounced as a whole: the most affluent subset of the cohort has become the synecdoche of the whole. Or to put it even more bluntly: you may have forgotten Trayvon Martin was a millenial. So was George Zimmerman.

The screwing Generation X took in the wider world has become part and parcel of The Way We Live Now. The labor market is tight, student debt is crippling, the Boomers still aren’t retiring and the American Dream is reduced to being able to pick two out of the three of financial stability, home ownership and children. This is the New Normal, and it blows. And yet, to look at the popular media, the archetype of the generation born in the mid-80s is one of helicopter-parent-enabled affluence, self-absorption, and an inability to cope with the difficulties and tribulations of living in the real world. You know…rich kids. Same as it ever was.

And that’s rather the insidious bit of it: you can now get all the same 90s-style slacker abuse we got while starting even further in the hole in debt. Set against that, Snapchat frivolity seems like the least of reactions; no wonder the push for marijuana legalization is on in earnest. A dozen years ago, when I first saw Rent, I was in complete sympathy with Benny – who was obviously being screwed by his bohemian pals who didn’t have the scratch to pay for an apartment but were somehow downing all the beer and wine at the Life Cafe. Now, I listen to Pitbull and Ne-Yo and nod in approval – “I knew my rent was gonna be due a week ago/I worked my ass off but I can’t pay it tho/But I got just enough to get off in this club/Gonna have a good time before my time is up” rings true when saving that fifty dollars isn’t going to make a dent in three thousand a month in rent.

Maybe that’s my beef with Silly Con Valley and the city – it’s not millenials as a cohort, it’s the fact that we are a disproportionate magnet for the worst among them, just like the Wall Street gold rush in the 1980s with Stanford standing in for Wharton. A generation ago, kids wanted to be Alex P. Keaton despite the fact that he was supposed to be a parody; now we’re flooded with youngsters who think Silicon Valley on HBO is aspirational instead of satirical. And now you have managers in Utah complaining that people there want to go home at the end of the workday and see their kids and have work-life balance. You have to wonder whether the Valley won’t implode in its own lack of perspective or self-awareness – and you have to hope that it’ll happen before everyone, everywhere, decides that everything should run like a startup.

Because it’s really starting to feel like that’s how it ends up. The Boomers get made whole, with pensions and retirement and Social Security from age 65, and everyone who comes after – everyone born after, say, 1965 – has to rely on 401Ks and the long-term mercies of the stock market (and whatever happens with financial planners or doing it yourself) and the presumption that you’ll have to work until you’re 70, because after all you should be following your bliss and it’s your own fault if you’re not doing what you love. If this truly is The Way We Live Now, we might be in serious trouble.


So it looks like Hulu is making a series out of The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s landmark novel of religious-patriarchial dystopia. It was written in the 1980s, if memory serves, and was an obvious reaction to a Reagan presidency and the rise of the Religious Right in a world where Roe v. Wade was only ten years old or so and restricted access to legal abortion was living memory. So you would think it’d be kind of dated now…except that in 2016, we have not only states attempting abortion restrictions by a thousand cuts but prominent businesses and Republicans fighting against birth control on the grounds that a corporation’s religious liberty is infringed if they’re forced to pay for their employees’ slutty slutty slut pills.

This is where I pull another block quote from a prior post on this very blog:


…The House returned to a Democratic majority, the Senate to an essentially Democratic majority, and then both majorities were expanded as a Democrat was elected President. The GOP, as constituted for the last two decades, has been taking it square in the face for two electoral cycles.

So how is it possible that the Republicans are steadily becoming ever more conservative, ever more redneck, ever more extreme? How is it possible that we can have Republican candidates for Senate openly talking about “second amendment solutions” to “domestic enemies” in Congress? Or saying “climate change doesn’t exist” as decades of data pile up and the average temps rise? Or saying that rape and incest exceptions for abortion aren’t permissible? Or turning over Social Security to some sort of privatization plan – less than three years after the stock market implosion wiped out billions of retirement dollars in 401(k) accounts? Or talking about all the bits of the Consitution they’d like done away with – things like entire amendments like the 16th and 17th? Or doing away with the entire principle that if you’re born here, you’re a citizen?

I’m not talking about message board wingnuts or isolated basement bloggers, I’m talking about duly-elected GOP nominees for high Congressional office. How – when a “liberal” President is pushing things that were the GOP alternative to Democratic plans twenty years ago – how is it possible that they can keep going further off the crazy end?

And since the economy is still stalled, and the wind is at their back – what’s going to happen if they win? What’s going to happen when you get a bunch of Birchers, birthers, tenthers, and other assorted teabag lunatics actually placed in office, convinced they have a popular mandate to do everything they’ve yowled about?…


That was almost six years ago. Since then, the GOP has gotten its Congressional majority, shitcanned its Speaker of the House for insufficient conservative fealty, shut down the government twice, almost defaulted on the national debt while breaking the USA’s AAA credit rating in the process, refused to allow a vote on or even meet with a Supreme Court nominee so they can run out the clock, and is now on the verge of nominating for President a blowhard, self-contradicting, delusional reality-TV windbag with no political background, multiple bankruptcies and divorces, and an openly and avowedly racist fanbase. And here’s the thing: even if Hillary does get elected and kicks Trump’s ass up between his shoulderblades a la 1964 or 1972 or 1984, what’s going to prevent the GOP from saying that Trump was a mistake, Trump was a fluke, Trump wasn’t a real conservative, and now we have to double down and get even more conservative to fight that harridan in the White House? Well, I’ll tell you what’s going to prevent them: Nothing. At. All.  

This is the dream scenario for the modern GOP; putting their A-number-one-gold-medal-super-bitch-empress-devil in the Oval Office will let them raise hell and raise money for at least four years. They know what every wrestling promoter knows: the money isn’t in the good guy winning the belt, it’s in the chase. Nothing but good times ahead for the usual Beltway Bandits and their amen corner in the Very Serious Sorrowful Evenhanded Press. Meanwhile, you can expect a lot more suffering from real people, and not the “real people” strawmen of Thomas Friedman or David Brooks. Real people with real needs who are struggling to get by in a world where every effort at recovery for people making less than $200,000 a year got killed by Republican obstruction.

This is the inevitable result of the GOP’s mainlining of Southern-ness for fifty years. They’ve graduated from prescription pills to morphine to heroin, and after decades of courting Wallace voters and rebranding their base as the Tea Party and engaging in a systematic dismantling of things like political norms, basic logic and empirical fact, they’re finally on to the last stage. Donald Trump as their presidential candidate is the krokodil stage; they’ve smoked so many cleaning chemicals out of foil that the party’s very body is decaying and sloughing off dead tissue.

The risk is that the stupid has finally metastasized beyond any opportunity to heal. Maybe we get Hillary, and maybe we flip one house of Congress on the way, and maybe we stop the bleeding and maybe what’s left of the non-mental-defective GOP comes to its senses and we go on somehow. But maybe we don’t, and this is the beginning of the end.  But it does make you wonder who’s the more stupid: the Trump voter, or the self-righteous prick who insists there’s no difference between Trump and Clinton.

Either way, well, it won’t be my problem anymore in forty years or so, assuming we don’t get nuked before then.