Is Donald Trump a Sharkophobe?

Political potpourri, Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Saturday Night Live, C.S. Lewis, and a cast of hobos, freegans, nouveau riche, and would-be murderers

There’s an old saying that those with excessive fear of sharks may have leanings in that direction themselves. As a New York real estate guy, and later TV mogul and low-rent politician, Donald Trump has exhibited his share of sharklike behavior. The precise alchemy whereby he might himself turn into a shark is at least hinted at in this passage from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis:

Just as Eustace reached the edge of the pool two things happened. First of all it came over him like a thunder-clap that he had been running on all fours—and why on earth had he been doing that? And secondly, as he bent towards the water, he thought for a second that yet another dragon was staring up at him out of the pool. But in an instant he realized the truth. The dragon face in the pool was his own reflection. There was no doubt of it. It moved as he moved: it opened and shut its mouth as he opened and shut his.

He had turned into a dragon while he was asleep. Sleeping on a dragon’s hoard with greedy, dragonish thoughts in his heart, he had become a dragon himself.

Metaphorically speaking, Donald Trump sleeps on a “dragon’s hoard” and harbors “dragonish thoughts,” but his overall tendencies strike me as more sharklike.

Despite these tendencies, Trump is on record (via pillow talk with Stormy Daniels) as wanting all sharks to die! Now, I admit that some sharks can be a bit scary, especially the underwater variety. But Trump’s zero tolerance policy would deny citizenship to that most lovable of breeds, the Land Shark. Candygram!

Listening to this description of the Land Shark, who does it remind you of?

Considered the cleverest of all sharks, unlike the Great White which tends to inhabit the waters of harbors and recreational beach areas, the Land Shark may strike at any time, any place. It is capable of disguising its voice, and generally attacks young, single women. Experts at the University of Miami’s Oceanographic Institute suggest that the best way to scare off the shark in the event of an attack is to hit or punch the predator in the nose. [Or ask Keith Schiller to intervene!]

Trump is also a germaphobe. No Angela Merkel jokes, please; it means he’s afraid if germs. But under the previous theory — well, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions…

Speaking of shark memes, Woody Allen used one to good effect in Annie Hall:

No Van Gogh, but a Golden Toilet

Trump was recently dealt a stunning blow by the art world. The Washington Post reports that his request for loan of a Van Gogh was rebuffed, but those clever wags at the Guggenheim did offer to lend him a consolation prize: a golden toilet. You can read all about it here.

Honestly, what does Trump need with a golden toilet when he already has the services of a platinum sh*tter?

In response to more news of Trump’s philandering, the Christian right has decided to give Trump a Mulligan. To non-golfers, this sounds like something from the Christopher Steele dossier. How exactly does one give a Mulligan? And how many Mulligans will it take before what we have on our hands is Mulligan stew? Maybe giving a Mulligan has something to do with Gerry Mulligan, the journeyman baritone sax player.

Gerry Mulligan, talented jazz musician and possible secret ingredient in administering a Mulligan.

Perhaps giving a Mulligan entails prodding the target with the blowing end of a baritone sax. But is Trump up for it? While inhabiting the White House, Ronald Reagan had Trouble with Polyps (not to be confused with Trouble with Tribbles). Politeness demands that we ask Trump whether administering a Mulligan would be problematic before proceeding further:

Well, there you have it! Anyone wanting to give Trump a Mulligan apparently has the go-ahead.


Sidebar: The Origins of Mulligan Stew

America is a nation of contradictions. As income disparity widens and wealth is siphoned off at the top, one is confronted by the nouveau riche, and plenty of nouveau hobos too. The concept of Mulligan stew originates with hobo culture:

Hobo stew, better known as Mulligan stew, is one of the main attractions at the Hobo Convention. Cooked in giant metal drums, hobo stew is a mixture of meat, vegetables, and whatever else people can find, borrow, or steal and is shared with anyone who wants to eat some. It can be safe to say, one is at the mercy of the cook and you eat it or go hungry.

— from “All Aboard: How Trains Shaped Small Town Iowa”

While the nomenclature may be uniquely American, the Britons have their own version of Mulligan stew, born of the lean times after World War Two when food rationing was mandatory. The Woolton pie (named after Lord Woolton) was a pie fashioned entirely of vegetables; and while a gourmet edition was noshed at the Savoy in London, your common garden variety Woolten pie may have been less savory or delectable.

Besides stews and pies, a soup with ragtag ingredients was also not unknown to would-be epicureans in postwar Britain. A televisual adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The Murder at the Vicarage includes this dialogue:

Miss Jane Marple: What is this, Mary?
Mary Hill: Soup.
Miss Jane Marple: Does it have a name?
Mary Hill: Bits-and-bobs-and-odds-and-sods-and-the-meat-ration’s-been-cut-again soup.

There’s also this Monty Python nonsense song, which could imply ingredients in an improvised dish:

Anything goes in,
Anything goes out;
Fish, bananas, old pyjamas,
Mutton, beef, and trout!

Such happenstance cookery brings to mind modern day freegans, who are not hobos, but who do gather their foodstuffs from what supermarkets are ready to throw out. Students in debt and the elderly poor often turn to freeganism as a way of ameliorating the high cost of food. There are solitary freegans, and others more community-minded who get together to prepare meals from shared ingredients.

Now, one thing they seemingly didn’t find was shark food. If you do happen on any shark food, please FedEx to Donald Trump c/o World Economic Summit, Davos, Switzerland. I understand they’re well-supplied with champagne and caviar, but failed to stock up on seal meat and other delicacies prized by Trumpus carcharias.

Michael Howard

The views expressed are my own, and do not represent any other person or organization.

Potent Quote:

“The rich are different; they have more money.”
–based on a passage by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Unexplained Agatha Christie Ear Candy:

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Shutdown

Just this morning I needed to contact the Department of Redundancy Department about a duplicate me who’s raiding all my pistachios. I also needed to renew my elk hunting license, as elk hunting is one of my few passions in life. And a pair of undershorts I discarded in 1977 has miraculously found its way to the Smithsonian Museum, so I wanted to check on their condition.

Much to my chagrin, I found that none of the relevant agencies were open. Apparently this is the explanation:

My fondest hope is that if and when the gub’ment does reopen, it will sport a sign saying “UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT.” The old management was surly, and Donald Trump’s pick of Stormy Daniels to be the new head of the National Weather Service is conceptually amusing, but fraught with inefficiencies.

Time to spank the Donald with the 25th Amendment!


Sidebar: Stormy Daniels Joke

Once a Chinese boatman made off with all of Stormy Daniels’ jewelry. When the police arrived, they asked if she could identify the thief. “Yes,” she said, “I can describe his junk perfectly.”

Michael Howard

The views expressed are my own, and do not represent any other person or organization.

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Trump’s Mental Fitness: An Expert Opinion

Out of the mouths of babes…

Seriously though, in my non-expert opinion there’s a simple way of understanding the problem of Donald Trump’s mental fitness. If he were an uncle you see at Thanksgiving who rants about all the immigrants being rapists or having AIDS, you’d just say “Pass the yams” and not think too much about it. You know he watches Fox News all day and was no genius to begin with, so you make allowances.

However, there’s something called situational psychosis. A classic example is the computer HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Under normal conditions, HAL would be non-threatening; but place him in an unusual situation which he wasn’t programmed to handle, and he goes dangerously apesh*t. That’s Donald Trump.

Whether or not Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury is accurate in every jot and tiddle, it reveals a large-scale scenario which is helpful and informative: Trump didn’t really expect to win the presidency, and didn’t want to. His run was designed to bolster the Trump brand and perhaps serve as a launching pad for Trump TV. It was a money-making, ego-enhancing venture at the end of which Donald Trump would still have plenty of free time for goofiness, golfiness, and grabbiness.

No one expected Trump to win, including his own family and what is jokingly referred to as his campaign staff — a motley bunch with ties to the former Soviet Union up to wazoo. Winning was both a shock and inconvenience, and also placed in bas-relief the unconventional means used to garner support — taking any help from the Kremlin that the Kremlin was willing to give (and they were willing to give plenty).

Viewed as a huge publicity stunt, Trump’s campaign for president makes sense. As the loser, he would not be subjected to much post-mortem scrutiny, and few would care that people like Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort had actually been foreign agents.

Winning threw a huge monkey wrench into the works. Not only would Trump lose much of his leisure time, but the minutiae of the campaign would be gone over with a fine-tooth comb, and any irregularities might lead to prosecution.

Most vexing of all, Trump would be thrown into a daily situation he was massively unqualified to handle. He was not a president by training or temperament, but would be forced to play one on TV — not as make-believe, but with real world consequences for every word, every tweet, and every ham-handed or bovine-brained decision.

Under those circumstances, he does exhibit signs of situational psychosis or alienation from reality. His legendary narcissism is amplified and transmuted into something far more dangerous. Rather than just getting into a p*ssing contest with Arnold Schwarzenegger over who makes a better host for The Apprentice, Trump is now trading insults with Kim Jong Un over whose nuclear button is bigger and more fully operational. Open the pod bay doors, HAL!

To use the technical terminology, Donald Trump has gone poco loco en el coco (a little crazy in the head). For your uncle at Thanksgiving, a little crazy is no big deal. But for a president with the nuclear codes, and on whose every word the free world hangs, even a little crazy is too much crazy. That’s why 25th Amendment solutions should be seriously considered to remove a man who never intended to be president, is not qualified to be president, achieved the presidency by foul means (including Russian collusion), and is daily making a mockery of the office in an infinitude of ways, such that it may take years for the US to regain its reputation in the international community.

Indeed, our Western allies have resolved to wait out the Trump presidency, viewing it as a temporary (but serious) aberration. Our closest allies, the noble Britons, want nothing to do with Donald Trump, and consider him a bad (if never-ending) joke. The sooner we rectify this aberration through constitutional means, the sooner we can once again show our faces on the world stage without fear of embarrassment.

Trump’s rampant transactionalism is apparently contagious. Republicans as a whole don’t care that he’s unstable and unfit, as long as he can be led in the direction of tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of anything that moves, gutting of consumer and environmental agencies (not to mention the State Department), and the appointment of conservative justices. But this transactionalism comes at a price: the establishment of a new normal which is unpardonably low, and which ratifies the worst suspicions about America — that it has lost all capacity for moral leadership, and has devolved into just another selfish state.

Under these circumstances, it’s imperative that lawful due process be used to end the Trump presidency before further damage is incurred. In “The case for normalizing impeachment,” Ezra Klein of Vox.com makes the point that when a president becomes seriously abnormal, impeachment should be normalized — as a reasonable choice whose consequences are not unthinkable compared to the alternative of leaving a semi-lunatic or raging incompetent in power.

Our founding fathers were intentionally vague about what constitutes “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Being a colossal screw-up and making a travesty of the office are sufficient grounds for what, at the end of the day, is a political process, not a criminal one. (Though by the end of the day, some crimes may be alleged by the special counsel.)

As a nation, our psychological dilemma is akin to that of citizens inhabiting the story The Emperor’s New Clothes. Decorum demands that they pretend to the monarch’s excellent haberdashery and sartorial splendour, but reality demands that they “take the bull by the tail and face the situation.”

Dealing squarely with the reality that we are saddled with an unfit and incompetent president may cause some national discomfort or embarrassment, but the pain is far less than that incurred from radiation sickness.

Faced with no good or pleasant choices, the lesser evil is removal of the monarch by constitutional means — unless you’re willing to hazard brushing Strontium-90 from your hair, and wearing stylish rubber underwear for the next 30 years:

(See also: “Guamanians! Test your civil defense knowledge.”)

The problems with having Donald Trump as president re-assert themselves on a daily basis; and while some may succumb to “outrage fatigue,” it’s better to recognize the problem as “Trump fatigue,” and invoke the necessary procedures to alleviate it.

As we measure out our lives with coffee spoons, do we dare to say impeach?

Michael Howard

The views expressed are my own, and do not represent any other person or organization.


Sidebar: Life after the White House

Those worried about how Trump will earn a living after being turned out of the White House need not fret. According to knowledgeable sources, Trump has already lined up a gig with NordicTrack, a firm with headquarters in Logan, Utah and having no connection to the country of Normay.

The entire Trump family will reportedly be spokesmodels for the new F-52 line of exercise equipment, code named “Javanka.” The deluxe model or “Javanka 5000” will come equipped with dual gun turrets, a drop-down pod, a vital signs monitor, a MedicAlert pendant, and a free subscription to the large print edition of Reader’s Digest. The unit will be manufactured entirely by children in a new wing of Foxconn called Foxconn Trump Tower located in Spooner, Wisconsin and sporting the latest suicide-prevention technology.

An early prototype of the Javanka 5000. Mandatory retention of user for entire cycling period not yet implemented. Water bottle not included. Some assembly required. Instructional videos available from Trump University Extension Division. Trophy wife sold separately. Infrared photo courtesy North Korean military satellite, later uploaded to WikiLeaks.

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