Black Friday

“Suddenly, witnesses and the police said, the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a blind rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him. Others who had stood alongside Mr. Damour trying to hold the doors were also hurled back and run over, witnesses said.”
“Wal-Mart Employee Trampled To Death.” New York Times, November 29, 2008.


Awakening from a Great and Terrible Nightmare

November 5, 2008

Last night, America awoke from its fevered nightmare of the past eight years and threw off the shackles of bigotry and racism long enough to elect the most exciting political candidate to hit this nation since JFK blew into the White House over 48 years ago. Today, for the first time in many a year, I am proud to be called an American. And there are millions just like me.


You Are Always Going to Be Alone and You Deserve to Be: The Fallacy of Online Dating and Similar Lies

“One can see evidence of the empty self in current psychological discourse about narcissism and borderline states, the popular culture’s emphasis on consuming, political advertising strategies that emphasize soothing and charisma instead of critical thought, and a nationwide difficulty in maintaining personal relationships.”
Philip Cushman, PhD, “Why the Self is Empty: Toward a Historically Situated Psychology.”


Night of the Lotus Eaters

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, NYC, October 4, 2008

The Nick Cave show had all of the subtlety of watching a bear eat a kitten. It was a fantastic, noise-laden journey into the darkest depths of our collective psyche. It was terrifying and surreal, like taking acid and jumping out of a hot air balloon with only a torn strap as a bungee. Cave and the Seeds attacked with a fury few “modern” bands can even imagine, let alone emulate.


Wal-Mart: Check Your Soul at the Door

[img_assist|nid=16|title=|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=240|height=181|rel=lightbox]Wal-Mart has become a very easy target for anyone with half a brain and a quarter of a heart. Besides the millions of complaints waged against the company by its employees for everything from physical and mental abuse to out right theft of wages and the forcing of workers to work off the clock, Wal-Mart has long been the target of environmental and small town advocates who note that the stores gobble up open space, pollute, and drive small business out of business. Which is all true. Wal-Mart is a terrible and reprehensible organization. But, it is also indicative of the society as a whole. That’s the rub, folks. This is a terrible society.


It Was The Greed That Done Us

[img_assist|nid=20|title=Greed|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=175|height=240]When the Great Scribe comes and writes America’s final history, one can only suspect that he or she will sadly shake their great grey mane and write “it was the greed that done ‘em in” as the end verdict. The collapse of the American stock market in September of 2008, and the great and costly buyout by the Federal Government that followed, will then be noted as the breaking point; the exact moment when America officially stopped being a viable world power and where capitalism met its fated demise as the great, greedy folly that it is. And, folks, things will get very weird from here on out.

I fear that America will not bow softly and move easily into its place as a second or third world country like England did after its Empire fell. There will be wars, ladies and gentlemen. America is too crass and unseemly a culture to allow itself to be stripped of its vast wealth and fat standard of living without a fight.


Firebrand’s Interview with Sexy Sarah Palin

[img_assist|nid=13|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=94|height=240]The following is a transcript of an interview The Firebrand conducted recently with Vice-Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin at a Red Lobster outside of St. Paul, Minnesota. The bombshells concerning her daughter’s unfaithfulness to Jesus and her husband’s drunken vehicle operation had yet to come out, and the candidate was refreshingly candid. She was also stunning in a low-cut black gown recently purchased for her by the McCain for President Campaign Fund at the cost of $25,000.

Firebrand: Wow, what a crazy past few days, Governor Palin.

Sarah Palin: Yes, things have been wonderful.

Firebrand: Now that you are officially the VP nominee, what can we expect to be your main campaign points?

SP: Well, family values are huge for me. I think that this country needs someone who puts that above all else. My family is the most important thing in my life and their well being is number one.


The Whiskey Gentry: America’s Aristocracy

“Why do the finest flowers of the American Dream so often turn up in asylums, divorce courts, and other gray hallways of the living doomed? What is it about being born free and rich beyond worry that makes people crazy?” - Hunter S. Thompson, “Love on the Palm Beach Express: The Pulitzer Divorce Trial”

Dr. Thompson was right to ask that question as he roamed the filthy halls of the mega-rich during the infamous Pulitzer Divorce Trial of 1982. I found myself asking the same question as former New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer was dragged off of the public stage, humiliated and ashamed, mocked and called a “whoremonger” by even his closest friends and family members.


Ring The Bell

[img_assist|nid=6|title=|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=180|height=240]The Poet-Prince of Pain’s Triumphant Return

Ring the Bells
That Still Can Ring,
Forget Your Perfect Offering,
There is a Crack, a Crack
In Everything,
That’s How the Light Gets In.

- Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

I want those words drilled into my broken tombstone. I want his words drilled into my shattered heart. Tattooed onto my soul the words, baby, the words. Like magic he plucks them out of the ethersphere, crushes them, mixes them with blood, whiskey, and lust, smears them with dark, rotten heartache, and spews them into the world more beautiful then anything ever imagined. Wizard? Shaman? Everything…


The Book of the Seventh Seal


Now who art worthy, thousands cried holy
Bound for some, Son of our God
Daughter of Zion, Judah the Lion
He redeemeth us, Jesus bought us with his blood

- Blind Willie Johnson, “John the Revelator”

These dark and terrible words filled my mind as I watched the events unfolding around the Yearning for Zion compound, where Warren Jeffs’ cult performed their filthy rituals. The shocked and horrified expressions of the hundreds of pale, sickly children as they were led towards buses by armed and armored Texas Rangers and U.S. Marshals. The 19th century clothing, dazed looks, and confusion on the faces of the cult’s women, most of whom were pregnant and married by the dozen to much older men by the time they turned 15.

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