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••• July 2018 Issue •••
The Loudest Holiday.
Hey everybody; you know all that anxiety that’s been building up? Well, just let it go and relax now, because the 4th of July is here. The Great American Holiday. The one with the noise and the colors and the hot. Now, it is summer. That’s what the 4th is. Not just the day we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the best country in the history of the world but also the heart of the season of light.
No matter what the astronomers tell us, it’s not the solstice that signifies the beginning of our season of mayhem. Not in America. Its 0704, thirteen days later, when kids run amuck while parents drink beer out of cans and fall off of patio furniture. When families squeeze into minivans and travel long distances to get into fights over the logistics of eating fries at Mickey D’s and burgers at the King.
It’s when the senses are heightened. The smell of cut grass, the grip of a pair of sneakers, the sound of children playing volleyball on the beach, the tickle of butter from a roasted cob of corn dripping all the way down your arm to the elbow. The thunk of a Frisbee on the back of the head. The piercing cry of a loved one as they discover sand in the bed.
It’s a holiday that transcends normal political persuasions; a frozen moment in time when white wine sipping, NPR listening, Prius driving, Birkenstock wearing hippies stand shoulder to shoulder with country western listening, pickup truck driving, cowboy boot wearing, Coors Lite chugging rednecks, both groups clutching tiny American flags in a small town square watching a parade of bicycles with red, white and blue bunting woven through the spokes.
It’s beauty queens waving from the back seats of convertibles. And kids swinging on a tire tied to a tree over the bank of a pond. Slip and slides. Burnt marshmallows. Not getting dark til nine. It’s people deciding that any piece of clothing they can squeeze into, fits.
It’s the loudest holiday as well with marching bands and fireworks and the sizzle of burger fat dripping on the coals. The tinny mantra of a baseball game on an AM radio, wafting down from a porch. Motorcycles revving down the highway in packs. Politicians barking new promises through old bullhorns.
Have yourself one heck of a terrific summer and make it last. Swim and swing and swoon. Take long walks on unfamiliar paths. Buy a new chaise lounge. Watch or better yet, play a game of slow pitch softball. Char some flesh, either animal or your own or both.
Make sure you find time for a little bit of fun, because it won’t be long before we’re back at each other’s throats. You know, like Thursday the 5th. The same day the back- to- school sales start and all the sports channels start promoting football.
And have a happy birthday America, you great- looking country, you. May be going through a tough patch here. But you know what they say; tough times never last, but tough countries do. And you probably hear this a lot but you still look pretty good considering you’re 242 years old. Could use a little work around the eyes. Then again, couldn’t we all
Copyright © 2018, Will Durst. Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed comedian, columnist, and former waiter at Dante’s Sea Catch on Pier 39 in San Francisco, California. For past columns, commentaries and a calendar of personal appearances, please visit willdurst.com.
••• June 2018 Issue •••
Many Further Questions.
Robert Mueller has many questions for the president. The New York Times released a list of 49 for which Donald Trump hopefully has answers that can assist the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election. Although the New York City real estate developer may know nothing at all. A situation many folks say… chances are high.
The president has announced various positions on the potential interview. One: he looks forward to testifying under oath. Two: he will refuse to answer and plead the 5th Amendment to protect against self- incrimination. Three: something in between which could include ignoring a subpoena and/ or refusing to admit the existence of anybody who may or may not be named Mueller.
His lawyers have voiced similar diverse opinions. Some maintain he should testify and get it over with and others warn he’s walking into a perjury trap. Which, experience tells us, to the 45th POTUS, is any question asked, especially under oath.
It may very well turn out that the only time Trump told the truth in public was when he said if we voted for Hillary, we’d end up with a president under criminal investigation. Sure enough, a plurality of the country voted for Hillary and now the president is under criminal investigation. “Lock him up.”
Nobody’s sure who leaked the list to the press. At this point, it’s all guesswork. Perhaps Mister Special Counsel himself, or someone in or near the White House? The assignment editor at MSNBC? A disgruntled craft services worker from the National Review? Melania? Unnamed sources are blaming well -placed insiders.
And why was the list leaked? To lower expectations, raise them, lull participants to sleep? Is this a double blind or major feint or are they letting the Commander- in- Chief know the nature of the questions to give him time to construct alibis and motivations other than furthering his own future and fortune?
Mostly, the questions sound like typical prosecutorial gobbledy- gook. “Who? What? Where? Why? When? Hunh?” “What were you thinking when whatisname did the thing with the guy at the place?”
None of the preview inquiries mention Russian hookers, so, obviously it’s not a complete list. And in the spirit of helping, we here at Durstco have come up with a few more questions that should be asked because inquiring minds want to know.
• Is Stephen Miller the result of an Army- science breeding program that mated rabid wolverines with poisonous fungus?
•What’s the deal with your hair?
•In your estimation, who has the more annoying mustache: Ty Cobb or John Bolton?
•What are the chances Dennis Rodham will be appointed ambassador to North Korea?
•What was Stormy Daniels like in bed?
•Was Rudy Giuliani trying to help? Isn’t adding him to your legal team like throwing a hippopotamus onto a trapeze team?
•How are things with Melania? Any truth to the rumor that all the knives have been removed from the East Wing?
•How come your ties hang down to your knees? Is it a peripheral vision thing?
•Is Corey Lewandowski your love child?
•Have you ever seen Mike Pence exhibit an actual pulse or is he the product of reverse taxidermy?
•Was James Comey’s freakishly large hands one of the reasons you fired him?
Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed journalist and stand up comedian. For info about his new one- man show “Durst Case Scenario” and other fal-de- rol, visit willdurst.com.
••• May 2018 Issue •••
You don’t need a weatherman to see that the storm clouds gathering around Team Trump are serious. And since the only permanent member of Team Trump is The Donald himself, this squall is shooting straight down Pennsylvania Avenue, with that hard- candy shell of a hair- helmet above the chair behind the desk in the Oval Office, square in its crosshairs.
The tempest is dark and swirly with fierce offshore winds like one of those Nor’Easters that’s ravaged New England the last couple months. Several systems of individual flurries have begun to merge, taking on bulk and velocity, threatening to escalate into one of those upper echelon categories of blizzards.
The kind with golf- ball sized hail that leaves dimples on car hoods and white- out conditions shutting down interstates. And American radar models forecast enough downpours to bury the president up to his ears. The European models indicate a larger depth.
The barometer is dropping precipitously on several fronts. Bimbo Eruptions multiply like thunderheads on a midwestern summer afternoon including one suspiciously named Stormy. Raising the sticky question of whether paying to kill a salacious story constitutes illegal campaign contributions or just being real smart.
The recent raid on the offices of Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, which seized records and perhaps recordings, has staffers quivering like a shaved poodle duct- taped to the foul pole of Wrigley Field during a night game in April. Nobody knows what sort of shenanigans Cohen was up to, but everyone suspects he is a consigliere with secrets. Fredo’s consigliere.
Former FBI Director James Comey’s new book calls The Great Pretender not just a liar, but an orange unethical dangerous Mob Boss liar with baby hands. The President, in response, tweeted that the professional Boy Scout from the Justice Department is a “leaker and a liar” and a “slimeball.” Not an epithet normally heard coming from the highest office in the land.
That’s right, the guy who paid a porn star $130,000 to keep quiet about the affair they had while his third wife was pregnant, called someone else a “slimeball.” Which is like a hooker calling the queen a whore. Or Martin Shkreli complaining he’s being gouged at the prison commissary. Shouting that the other guy has dust on his lapels from the middle of a pig- sty.
And although his sentence was commuted by George W Bush, Scooter Libby was never pardoned for his convictions of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI. So perhaps President Trump remedied that situation as a signal to his associates that he doesn’t think these crimes are very important. Wink- wink, nudge- nudge. “Don’t worry boys. I got your back, your front and your sides.”
His own party is pulling out the bullet- proof umbrellas. Fearing a blue wave the size of a nuclear- powered tsunami, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan didn’t just ditch the ship but the pier and the entire harbor itself.
And slowly riding in on the horizon… Mueller is coming. Mueller is coming! And it can’t be too comforting that special prosecutor Robert Mueller bears a slight resemblance to the Night King from Game of Thrones. Right about now Donald Trump might be best served by looking for a fire- breathing dragon. Maybe that’s what John Bolton is for.
Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed journalist and stand up comedian. For info about his new one- man show “Durst Case Scenario” and other fal-de- rol, visit willdurst.com.
••• March 2018 Issue •••
The Cafeteria Lady Is Packing Heat.
President Donald Trump tossed out some wacky nonsense about arming teachers which encouraged the press and public to go nuts debating this ludicrous suggestion, totally ignoring commonsense remedies like banning civilians from purchasing weapons whose sole function is to kill the most people in the shortest time. The man is not as dumb as he looks, which at last count was considerable.
That was just one of the president’s multiple responses to the latest in a distressing series of school shootings. He was all over the map like a class of apprentice cartographers in the belly of a garbage scow during a category 4 typhoon.
First he said we should arm teachers, then yelled at the mainstream media for saying he said we should arm teachers, then he said we shouldn’t just give teachers guns, but bonuses. And snacks. Not rulers. Or pencils. Stationary targets, yes. Stationery, no.
During a listening session with relatives and survivors of various school massacres he was photographed carrying a cheat sheet reminding him to say “I hear you.” His staff is apparently aware that hearing people in a listening session is not his first instinct. Listen, is what people do to him, not he to them.
Trump also promised to focus on mental health issues, forgetting that one of his first moves as POTUS was erasing rules that restricted some mentally ill from purchasing firearms. Like Germany complaining they don’t have any decent Jewish delis anymore.
“Now is not the time to politicize the gun issue.” Why is the time to talk about guns always later? “Now?” “No, later.” “Now?” “No, later.” And repeat. Now is the time to talk about mental health issues. Voting to fund programs to deal with those issues is a different story.
The NRA says the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. The problem with good guys with guns is a lot of them believe in that whole “kill ‘em all and let god sort ‘em out” school of thought. Except that security guard outside the Parkland, Florida high school.
Giving guns to teachers, what a great idea. Probably cut down on tardiness, note passing and backtalk as well, not to mention making faculty meetings and parent teacher conferences a lot more interesting. The penalty for truancy is a flesh wound.
As with most of 45’s ideas, details were murky, but this plan could easily lead to arming janitors, crossing guards and cafeteria ladies. Although many would argue that school lunches were already weaponized during the Reagan Administration.
Besides, 20% of American teachers equals 700,000 people. Do they all get the same gun? Would these teachers going heavy be appointed or volunteers? Or would most folks offered guns spontaneously develop bone spurs like somebody else we know?
Think back: how many of your high school teachers would you have confidently armed? The ex- Marine wrestling coach? The English teacher who spaced out during John Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn?” The librarian regularly hitting her flask behind the stacks? Sister Mary Uzi?
And you do realize that once teachers start carrying Roscoes, it’s only a matter of time before kids themselves feel the need to start packing. “I’m going to study hall. Cover me.”
Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed journalist and stand up comedian. For info about his new one- man show “Durst Case Scenario” and other fal-de- rol, visit willdurst.com.
••• February 2018 Issue •••
REIGN OF ERROR.
It’s been quite a year. The exact reverse of that whole “time flies when you’re having fun” thing. These last twelve months have slogged by like cold molasses riddled with bat guano dripping through a tightly woven bamboo sieve. Seems like decades since Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States. Shouldn’t he be termed out by now?
After a mere 12 months, his problems have stacked up like a bouquet of bombs from the Acme Co. being wafted aloft by helium balloons approaching an archery range for easily distracted pre- teens. Anybody who watched the televised White House bipartisan meeting can tell you the former reality TV star exhibits a mastery of his office on the level of a duck- billed platypus playing a harpsichord.
His administration has been marked by division, derision, indecision and a distinct lack of supervision. Confusion, seclusion, delusion & collusion. Lazy, hazy, crazy: cheesy, sleazy, wheezy, breezy and enough turmoil to make the entire world both uneasy and/ or a little queasy.
During the first 365 days of Dopey Donald’s Reign of Error, we have survived an unending stream of blatant lies, graphic insults, myopic intransigence, illiterate cluelessness, overt racism, monumental chaos, nuclear intimidation and a general coarsening of the culture to where the evangelical community is forced to reconcile a porn star payoff with its own staggering sense of self righteousness. Futilely.
In the recent book, “Fire and Fury,” author Michael Wolff intimated that 100% of White House insiders believe their boss is a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic if you catch his drift. The wheel is spinning but the hamster is dead. Snuck into the gene pool while the lifeguard was chatting up the girl who runs the hot dog stand. Has the same mental capacity that God gave a bucket of hair.
Then, as if to stamp the book with his own fuzzy seal of approval, the former New York City real estate developer demonstrated that no matter how many allies he antagonizes, family members he insults, staffers he impugns, fellow Republicans he alienates, or conventions he flaunts, his own worst enemy remains… himself.
Attempting to stem backlash from Wolff’s book, the president tweeted, (and these are quotes) that he is “like, really smart.” And a “stable genius.” A statement that most experts interpret as meaning he’s really good with horse manure. Which probably comes in handy when interacting with Sloppy Steve Bannon.
Trump also twisted himself into a rhetorical battle with Kim Jong Un over whose nuclear button is bigger. When we all know it has to be Ivanka’s dad, who needs the larger expanse to accommodate his diminutive hands. These two should be locked into a cell on an abandoned freighter in the South Pacific so that they can measure and get it over with.
Then the brief government shut down precipitated an eruption of the Blame Game that witnessed both Republicans and Democrats flinging mud at each other with so much excess hitting the president, many referees questioned the actual target.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said “I’m looking for something the president supports” making it sound like a mythical beast. Less unicorn- more dodo bird. And all this has gone down in the first three weeks of 2018. Fasten your seat belts folks, it’s going to be a bumpy year.
••• December 2017 Issue •••
NO MEANS NO.
An avalanche of revelations concerning public figures engaging in various sexual assaults has tumbled down upon our heads and the airwaves are consumed with accusations, recriminations, equivocations and ethical gyrations, not to mention the threat of career annihilations. And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving aggregation of guys.
Since early October, after numerous women came forward to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexually abusive behavior, huge numbers of high- profile males have faced similar charges and either been fired, allowed to resign, lost committee leadership positions, had projects canceled, entered rehab, become incapable of speech or are favorites to win the vacant US Senate seat in Alabama.
We’re not just talking politicians, but judges and talk show hosts and actors and comedians and producers and professors and presidents and professional athletes and coaches and chefs and reporters and editors and publishers and venture capitalists and rental clowns and we haven’t even scratched the clergy. Which many of them would most assuredly enjoy.
Men Behaving Badly is a tale as old as dogs chasing cats, a concept even more apropos when you consider that most men are horndogs to begin with. It’s a miracle women have survived considering the position of vulnerability various quirks of nature foisted upon them: childbirth, being 10% smaller than male counterparts and a shorter fertility period. Offset by living longer and a tendency to mature more quickly and some might argue owning a monopoly on that particular aspect.
Every single woman you’ve ever met, including your sister, mother, grandmother and great- grandmother, (if you met her) has been the unwelcome recipient of inappropriate touching and crude groping and hugs that go on much too long and clumsy pawing and cheek kisses that inexplicably involve wetness and all sorts of leers and ogles and catcalls and having to constantly worry that the provocative or unprovocative clothing they are wearing might provoke the unwarranted attention of some deranged carbon unit with y- chromosome poisoning who thinks he is god’s gift to women. Which admittedly is many of us. Okay. Most. All?
And that categorically has to include grabbing someone by the private parts and the fact we have a leader who bragged about that sort of activity is as helpful as wiring a park bench to a chandelier. That’s not locker room banter, that’s an oafish toad gloating about his clueless entitlement and disregard for decency.
It is way way past the point that we men get hip to the simple fact that no means “no”. It doesn’t mean, “yes, please”. It doesn’t mean, “maybe”. It doesn’t mean, “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all my clothes”.
And it certainly doesn’t mean “You big lug, you’re so cute when you’re angry and thank god you know what I want more than I do and I love it when your face turns that blotchy tomato color.” Because, trust us, nobody likes that blotchy tomato color.
Not only does no mean “no”, it also means “don’t”. Don’t threaten, don’t harass, don’t stand close enough to smell your aftershave and don’t make sly innuendoes, which usually aren’t very sly or innuendoish. This is the second decade of the 20th Century. Time to lose the Middle Ages werewolf attitude and start walking and acting upright. Make your great- grandmother proud.
••• November 2017 Issue •••
F’ING CHUTES & LADDERS.
Here’s the deal: You don’t start out by calling someone an “f’ing moron.” That’s a final exclamatory heave after exhausting all other slanders. Fool. Jerk. Pinhead. Nitwit. Idiot. Nincompoop. Moron. Until finally… f’ing moron. It doesn’t quite scale the heights of “total f’ing moron” or “banana faced monkey dribbler,” but it’s close.
So Rex Tillerson must have been at the end of his rope when he flung that particular phrase of scorn and contempt at Donald Trump. Sounds like a spontaneous human explosion stemming from a well of frustration so deep it echoes. The sort of expletive one blurts out after bludgeoning one’s thumb with one’s hammer. Repeatedly.
According to NBC News, the outburst occurred after the president voiced his desire to increase our nuclear weapons to 1969 levels of around 30,000 warheads as opposed to the 4,000 available now. Because more is better and most is best. And too much is not enough. And other 80s buzz phrases, all accompanied to the soundtrack of A Flock of Seagulls’ Greatest Hits. Like “Donald Trump’s Kept Campaign Promises,” a short playlist.
Pentagon officials were aghast and quickly provided the president with an impromptu clinic detailing how today’s smaller arsenal is more nimble and effective than the unwieldy collection of 50 years ago. And the chances they used a pie chart with bright numbers in huuuuge circles and bold arrows in primary colors are high.
As a candidate, Donald Trump said he knew a lot about ‘nuclear” because his uncle was a physicist at MIT. Which makes about as much sense as tie- joists made out of pudding. A lot of us visited the animation room at Disneyland where Tinkerbelle was created, but that doesn’t mean we can poop fairly dust or fly.
When questioned about the purported insult, the Secretary of State feigned outrage saying he would not dignify the rumor with an answer, but refused to deny flinging the calumny. Leaving it all up to our imaginations.
The Donald said the whole thing was fake news, but then challenged Secretary Tillerson to an IQ test saying “And I can tell you who is going to win.” Leaving it all up to our imaginations. So they have that in common.
This IQ thing seems to be a continuing theme with the 45th President. He challenged London Mayor Sadiq Khan to an IQ test and said Rick Perry should take an IQ test before being included in the Republican debates. But then he picked the former Texas Governor to head his Department of Energy. So, apparently he doesn’t hold much stock in his own opinions. Which must come in handy, when you have so many conflicting ones.
On a Sunday morning show, Tillerson took the high road and didn’t accuse Trump of not being able to spell IQ if you spotted him the “I” and told him the rest was between P & R and rhymed with U. But you got the feeling he wanted to.
George W Bush may have been a Wheel of Fortune president in a Jeopardy world. But Donald Trump is more of a Chutes & Ladders kind of a guy. Too bad the presidency, like the sides of toy boxes, doesn’t have a suggested age rating. At least something that said: “For mature adults only.
••• Oct 2017 Issue •••
How They Spent Their Summer Vacation.
And so we bid a hearty “Welcome Back” to our elected representatives as they reluctantly trudge back to Washington following their annual summer recess and the fact that it sounds like a holdover from elementary school is no accident. Ostensibly this respite from the business at hand is meant to renew, refresh, recharge and reload so they can be rested and relaxed as they fight for we, their constituents. Mostly though, they raise campaign funds.
But a few did manage to carve precious minutes from their busy schedules of schmoozing and networking for more pastoral proclivities. And through a series of dogged investigations we here at Durstco were able to uncover those previously unreported recreational activities that they and other public figures engaged in over the break and are proud to offer them up in a segment we like to call “How They Spent Their Summer Vacation.”
Sean Spicer chopped 30 points off his blood pressure by spending the summer in Louisiana tagging alligators.
Steve Bannon earned a pretty penny for checking into a Swiss spa and switching out his blood with Keith Richards’.
Paul Ryan spent the summer visiting all 30 MLB stadiums and defied the laws of probability when the home team lost every game.
Kelly Ann Conway broke many nails writing a book on the power of patience and persistence coupled with a strict regimen of willful ignorance.
Donald Trump surreptitiously installed solar paneling on his vast holdings in Guam.
Mike Pence taught Bible School to a group of at- risk youth who just happen to be the kids of Republican Mega- Donors.
Chris Mathews visited secret and ancient Vatican libraries searching for loopholes.
Michael Flynn went off his meds and no one noticed.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio sailed to Jamaica on a raft he personally lashed together from the bleached bones of dead immigrants.
Chris Christie visited many beaches no one else was allowed to.
Mitch McConnell gained experience dealing with President Trump by refereeing the finals of a Pee- Wee wrestling tournament for hyperactive children.
Bernie Sanders attended 3 Comic- Con Conventions dressed as the John Candy character from “Spaceballs.”
Chief of Staff John Kelly took a plumbing correspondence course with an emphasis on leak- plugging.
Elizabeth Warren hitchhiked across Europe with a maple leaf patch sewn onto her backpack.
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III traveled to Italy to get custom four- inch lifts installed in all his shoes.
California Senator Kamala Harris piloted a highly prestigious Congressional Task Force that studied the efficacy of task forces.
Jared Kushner followed the New England State Fair circuit hawking vegetable slicers.
Hillary Clinton studied with many tutors so that she could attempt to appear spontaneous on her upcoming book tour.
First Lady Melania Trump consulted with Manolo Blahnik on his Limited Edition “Shoes Fit For a Flood” Collection.
Bill Clinton never left his hammock. Except for twice when it needed to be re- netted.
Anthony Scaramucci spent 30 days in community service in Kalispell, Montana after threatening the life of a KOA campground manager who failed to stock enough marshmallows for the traditional Friday night S’mores bonfire.
Donald Trump Jr. spent the summer writing an infinite number of times on a Trump University blackboard “I will quit being such a dufus.”
Ted Cruz interned at the Calgary Stampede as a rodeo clown.
••• Sept 2017 Issue •••
Hateful Haters Hating Hate.
After a rough start to 2017, it is with a gleeful relief we embrace Independence Day. Because this day marks the beginning of Dead Solid Summer. The 4th of July is the red white and blue arrow targeting the bulls- eye of patriotism, as we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the greatest country on the planet by packing together in sweaty crowds, drinking beer and handling explosives.
That’s the thing about summer; it’s loud. Marching bands for crum’s sake. The siren song of an ice cream truck overwhelmed by the high- pitched shrieks of frolicking children in community pools and irritable families at the gates of overbooked flights. Fireworks and motorcycles and outdoor concerts and lifeguards on bullhorns and calliopes. Not lifeguards on calliopes. Although, you can’t rule it out.
Summer heightens other senses as well. Lemonade so tart it makes your tonsils pucker. The flash of the Stars and Stripes woven through the spokes of fleets of bicycles passing beauty queens waving rhinestone wands from the backs of convertibles. Eating corn on the cob and letting the butter slide right down your arm to drip off your elbow. Sand caught in the sticky folds of flesh that has gratefully sprung free from the heavy dark fabrics concealing it for too many months.
Summer is the tinny mantra of a baseball game squawking out of an AM radio while sprinting barefoot past a smoking barbecue sporadically flaming as grease hits red- hot charcoal briquettes. Sniffing the potato salad that’s been left out in the sun all day. Ineffectively waving brooms at mosquitoes the size footstools. Ducking stray Frisbees while setting picnic tables with plastic utensils. The benign tyranny of a new swimsuit.
Summer is designed to be fun. Which can cause a forced- march frenzy of anxiety as the determination to have a good time overpowers caution, and we end up needing a vacation to recover from our vacation. Folks nodding grimly when a loved one mutters… “We’re going to have a good time if it kills us.”
Meteorologists claim it begins at the solstice on June 21, defined by- the sun taking its most northerly path across the sky. From the Latin for “stand still.” The point at which the days neither lengthen nor shorten. In other words, when time stands still.
That may be the astronomical fact of summer’s start in the Northern Hemisphere, but in practice it is much less of a fixed date, and more… a state of mind. One that begins when the bell rings for the last class on the final day of school and continues until the sun sets the night before the fall semester begins.
The days between now and the MLB All Star Game (The Midsummer Classic) constitute the true heart of the season. When trips to distant attractions are taken and family reunions attended and sunburns acquired and roller coasters ridden. And then before you know it, in the blink of an eye, Christmas songs are playing on the radio. Which, admittedly, could happen in early August.
So, savor this brief respite we call summer. Relax. Saunter. Gallivant. Meander. Ramble. Gambol. Romp. For no apparent reason, drag a stick along the ground as you walk. Skip stones and fly pinwheels and stay cool and dry and vertical. Or hot and wet and horizontal. Whichever works. Happy 241st birthday America. Because, you know what; in the right light you don’t look a day over 227.
••• June 2017 Issue •••
Best Radioactive Spider. Ever.
Donald John Trump is keeping people busy. He’s got staffers, lawyers, streaming news alert editors, impeachment historians, ethics investigators, hair spray manufacturers, Putin watchers, real estate interpreters, all frantically flapping and squawking like a flock of seagulls outside a sardine plant at low tide.
Watch any of the network or cable news broadcasts and you instantly note that all the anchors are exhausted. Their “Breaking News” graphic… broke. Half of Washington has gone deaf, what with all the bombshells exploding with little or no warning around their tiny Beltway heads.
A majority of the president’s problems seem self- inflicted. Broken- racketed unforced errors. The Apprentice Chief Executive has made more missteps than the last place finisher in a drunken hopscotch tournament with a watch cap pulled over his eyes on cobblestones. Every time someone escorts the blonde bull out of Ye Olde China Shoppe, he sneaks around back and butts his way through another wall just because he loves the sound of breaking crystal.
Immediately after firing FBI Director James Comey, the president called him “a nut job” and shared classified intelligence with two Russian diplomats. But then the White House assured the country that Mr. Trump was never in possession of any intelligence he could have shared. And America is totally willing to believe that whole “not in possession of any intelligence” part.
In defense of this disclosure of classified Israeli intel, Trump claims he can say anything to anybody at anytime because as President he has special powers. Apparently he was bitten by a radioactive spider. But the biggest and best and most beautifulest of any radioactive spider that anyone has ever seen. This was a huuuuuuuge radioactive spider. Everyone is talking about it.
To say his last week was rocky is like intimating the glove compartment of a car crushed by a compactor is not the best place to store beer. Inexplicably, Trump told the Economist magazine he invented the phrase “priming the pump” which according to Webster’s has been in general usage since 1933. He’s King of the Inexplicable.
Next he’ll maintain he’s responsible for the phrase “out of control dumpster fire” as well. Of course, he has provided one heck of a high bar for all future comparisons.
Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein felt compelled to appoint a Special Prosecutor to get to the bottom of possible Russian collusion and obstruction of justice and all- round, random mendacity. The fastest any president in history has been targeted with a special prosecutor. Ever. In less than 4 months, he’s gone from zero to Nixon.
Getting the hell out of Dodge, the President embarked on a 9 day, 5 city foreign tour visiting Saudi Arabia, Israel, Belgium and the Vatican. For a guy who hates to travel and goes off script like a five year old at “Everything’s Free Day” at Disneyland, visiting the centers of 3 world religions offers more hidden minefields than walking barefoot in the dark through the western sand dunes of Egypt.
POTUS 45’s first overseas trip culminates at the G- 7 conference in Taormina, Italy. The G- 7 used to be known as the G- 8 until Russia was kicked out for annexing Crimea. But now that they’ve annexed us, are they back in the loop? Perhaps that’s a question better suited for the special prosecutor. Time to take the Fifth. Of Scotch.
Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former dishwasher at Sandburg Hall at UWM. For a calendar of personal appearances including the premiere of his one man show “Durst Case Scenario” at the Theatre on San Pedro Square May 26- 28, please visit willdurst.com
••• May 2017 Issue •••
Bad Hair Wars:
Enterprising entrepreneurs out there might want to invest in a fleet of tractor backhoes and partial ownership of a limestone quarry, because it’s starting to look like bunker- digging time in America. The threat of nuclear war is spiking like the needle of a meat thermometer on a lava- flow.
Won’t be long before all the Marts; K, Wal, Quickie and the rest, start advertising red, white and blue specials on duct tape and plastic wrap. Survivalist sales. Civilization closeouts. Mankind markdowns.
Various parts of the country are reacting differently. In the south, they’re hoarding grits and preserving tomatoes while California stockpiles cases of organic, heirloom, artisanal, gluten- free cannellini beans from the northwest district of the Tuscany region. Golden State bunkers have hardwood floors and a view.
While President Trump is busy dropping healthy payloads of big- d Democracy on various Mideast miscreants, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has started to kick demilitarized sand in our face, sticking out his nuclear tongue and wagging thumbs in his ears. Might not even be his own thumbs. Could be his uncle’s thumbs.
It’s 1950 all over again. A brand new serving of the old Cold War with a little kimchi on the side. The difference being the sequel is destined be televised in color and not a single General MacArthur can be found. This time both combatants are overseen by Mad Dogs.
We should have known the Beloved Leader would flip out, having been recently supplanted atop the prestigious “World’s Wackiest Leader with the Weirdest Hair” list. An award that had been in his family for generations. That was the Kim legacy. Poor little chubby Korean kid had one thing going for him, and Trump took it away.
Interesting to note the two have more in common than worst commander- in- chief haircuts in history. They also have rabid- mammal with cut- paw temperaments. Complicated family relationships. A penchant for rearranging cabinets on a whim. Although removal from the North Korean circle of influence does tend be a tad more permanent.
The Pentagon might be taking the whole thing more seriously if Pyongyang were to develop a delivery system more efficient than a team of musk oxen. Their missiles have a disquieting habit of blowing up on the launch pad like Pop Tarts in a malfunctioning toaster during a power surge.
But the jeopardy is legitimate enough to have spurred Vice President Mike Pence to rattle a few sabers on the south end of the DMZ, where he pronounced the US was about to abandon its “failed policy of strategic patience.” Which sounds suspiciously like “straighten up and fly right or someone’s going to bed without dinner. Again.”
President Trump even reversed a campaign pledge to label China a currency manipulator in hopes that North Korea’s adult neighbor to the north will keep on eye on the local juvenile delinquent and apply the appropriate economic spanking if necessary. With a leather belt studded with ivory.
After all, China has a vested interest in seeing that nothing happens to us, since we owe them trillions of dollars. It’s a smart dealer that keeps his best junkie from getting beaten up. It’s all so very exciting that every day without a mushroom cloud should be considered a victory. Although, some might call that a bit too exciting.
Will Durst is an award-winning columnist, comic and former short order cook at a downtown diner in Waukesha, Wisconsin. For a list of upcoming appearances, visit willdurst.com.
••• April Issue •••
Ordeal and Disgrace
It has been assailed as the end of democracy. Vilified as a form of slavery. Denigrated, denounced and disparaged. But like a blind, three- legged dog named “Lucky,” against all odds, the Affordable Care Act has survived and remains the law of the land.
For 7 years the GOP has beaten President Obama’s signature legislation until they and everyone around them were covered in a fine red mist. In the face of a guaranteed veto by the man they nicknamed the bill after, the Republican House of Representatives voted to repeal it over 60 times, but the first chance they got as a majority, with a sure- fire presidential signature, they choked like a skinny- necked goose being force- fed gravel.
Their oft- repeated mantra was “Repeal and replace” but when push came to shove, they resorted to “Ordeal and disgrace.” “Raw deal and lose face.” “Surreal and deface.”
For the new President, it was a lesson in Government 101. The head of Trump University got himself schooled. The learning curve for Apprentice Chief Executives looks to be a mite steeper than the reverse trajectory of a bundled tax return wrapped around a vodka bottle thrown off the roof of Trump Tower.
Trump’s legitimate shock at the turn of events seems to indicate he hadn’t been paying attention the last couple of years. And this could very well be why, traditionally, the presidency has not been an entry- level position.
This, the very same consummate Deal Maker that earlier asked, “Who knew health care could be so complicated?” Um. Everybody. Except you. Again.
In defeat, the author of “The Art of the Deal,” blasted everyone; the Democrats, the media, Nancy Pelosi, Paul Ryan, Charles Barkley, until finally placing the blame for the scuttling of Trump Care on his own right wing’s Freedom Caucus. The group that demanded concessions, received them, then still wouldn’t vote for the bill. With friends like those, who needs lizard- like, alien invaders?
The problem was, after eliminating standards for minimum benefits including ambulances, hospitalization, prescriptions, maternity care, drug and mental heath treatment, pediatric services, emergency services and labs, the American Health Care Act was less health insurance and more malady assurance.
24 million citizens were estimated to lose health care coverage under the AHCA and that was before the total vivisection of the bill. Making passage even stickier since moderates ran away like avocados leaving Mexico the week before the Super Bowl.
The group switched its name from Tea Party to Freedom Caucus, because they’re fighting for the freedom of all Americans to die without government intervention. To them, compromise isn’t just a dirty word, it’s a hanging offense. Even with the rope strung around their own necks, they are resolute as glue- footed moths on a porch light.
Now Trump says he’s moving on, because “The best thing we can do, politically speaking, is let Obama Care explode.” That’s what you want from a leader. Someone willing to sacrifice. His constituents.
But moving on isn’t a total lock either. He hasn’t yet said, “Who knew that a border wall or tax reform or rebuilding our infrastructure could be so complicated,” but now that the Tea Partiers have the taste of blood in their mouths, he might. The best news for all concerned is that Obama Care still covers depression.
Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former theater director in Milwaukee. For a calendar of appearances, including his upcoming week at the San Francisco Punch Line April 12- 15, visit willdurst.com.
•••March Issue •••
Donald Trump is the political reincarnation of Tina Turner; like her, he doesn’t do anything nice and easy. Also, they’re both Type A personalities who expend a lot of energy but hardly move at all. And famous for high-maintenance hair.
Since his January coronation, the New York City real estate developer turned Leader of the Free World has partied like it’s 1939, issuing polarizing edict after polarizing edict. The surprising thing is Fox News hasn’t started to refer to him as Chancellor Trump. Or Gropenfuhrer. Yet.
Traditionally, a newly elected, first- time president hits the ground running with hand outstretched in a gesture of sociability, solidarity and camaraderie. Not Donny John. He hit the ground whining, with a fistful of disdain for everyone he slapped upside the head: Democrats, Republicans, the media, Iran, Mexico, Great Britain, the media, his own Cabinet appointments, refugees, the media, the NSC, TSA, and National Park Service. And don’t forget the media.
Experts theorized the weight of the White House would settle him down but alas, no such luck. He’s still up till all hours tweeting out a barrage of alternative facts, choosy truths, questionable veracities and marginal actualities that reflect a reality only he can see. As fluid and murky as the Potomac River.
What little presidential honeymoon he enjoyed ended long before the cake was cut. The groom ditched the bride and boogied across the floor alone performing a solo victory dance in front of a mirror. As graceful as an angry anvil.
You could describe his movements since as jerky, spasmodic and frenzied, like when he obsessed over the election being stolen. Ignoring the fact that he won. Even 46’s own staff is having problems negotiating his tricky hairpins turns. Not only does the emperor have no clothes, his skin is really thin and kind of blotchy.
According to the most aerodynamically coiffed president in history, 3 to 5 million undocumented aliens illegally cast ballots for Hillary Clinton causing him to lose the popular vote. It’s the only possible answer. Because how could Donald Trump not be associated with whatever was most popular? It’s unthinkable and unpresidented.
President Trump loves his invisible people. And there’s tons of them. The invisible people who cast fraudulent ballots- totally different than the invisible people who came to Washington to be part of the largest crowd ever to witness an Inauguration but conveniently vanished when aerial photographs were taken. Maybe they’re shy.
And neither of those two groups of invisible people should be confused with the thousands of invisible people who celebrated in New Jersey after the World Trade Center came down. Which only he saw. Maybe it’s a Sixth Sense sort of thing; “I see non- existent people.” No wonder Bruce Willis supported him.
During the rest of his first term, we can expect an expansion of Trump’s hallucination theme. Much time will be spent discussing ghosts and leprechauns and sprites and phantoms and pixies and the vast legions of his invisible enemies.
Turns out Donald Trump doesn’t just have a vision for this country, he has an X- ray vision for this country. He’s like Clark Kent only less buff and way blonder. It was bound to happen: America finally has its first super hero President: Erratic-Man.
Copyright © 2017, Will Durst. Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comedian and former bus boy at Dante’s Sea Catch on Pier 39 in San Francisco, California. For a calendar of personal appearances, please visit willdurst.com.
•••February Issue •••
The First 100 Days:
As extraordinary as it sounds, Donald J. Trump is now the 45th President of the United States. Which is mind-boggling. Like making John Goodman the cover model for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Kim Kardashian- appointed chief scientist at the Atomic Energy Lab. Colin Kaepernick in charge of WikiLeaks.
The liberals’ last best hopes were dashed on Inauguration Day when the Mango Mussolini put his hand on the Bible and didn’t burst into flames. The preacher said the rain that started to fall as DJT took the oath was a good omen in the Bible. Yeah, tell that to Noah.
The speech was darker than the Cleveland Browns’ offseason. Kind of a cross between Nixon and Voldermort. “It’s Mourning in America.” Trump will be a president for all Americans except the Muslims, Mexicans, losers, whiners, idiots and nasty women, especially the fat disgusting ones.
But now our attention turns not to the real estate developer’s vitriolic tweets but his diabolic feats. What is the agenda of the Tweeter of the Free World? Here’s what might go down over the rest of the first 100 days of the Donald Trump Experience:
January 31. Day 11. Trump trademarks “White House” and banks a royalty every time the press shows or mentions it.
February 12. Day 23. Congress repeals Obama Care and replaces it with Trump Care, which covers nobody but is advertised as “much more incredibly tremendous.”
February 21. Day 32. An Executive Order makes it illegal to use the words “climate” and “change” in the same sentence.
March 7. Day 46. The President tweets a major nuclear reduction pact with Russia.
March 8. Day 47. The President tweets a major boost in our nuclear arsenal to intimidate Russia.
March 9. Day 48. The President tweets a major merger with Russia. The two countries will now be known as the USSSR East & West.
March 12. Day 51. The White House™ press is moved to the basement of a bar in Bethesda, Maryland.
March 18. Day 57. Eric and Donald Jr. are apprehended shooting pandas at the National Zoo with RPGs.
March 24. Day 63. California Governor Jerry Brown authorizes barricades at all state entrances and begins to charge a $15 cover and a two-drink minimum to enter “Golden Land.”
March 29. Day 68. After Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor are arrested, Trump fills three vacancies and the Supreme Court rules abortions illegal and determines voting to be restricted to white male landowners.
April 1. Day 71. The President authorizes a nuclear strike against Ottawa, but Secretary of Defense Mad Dog Mattis pulls the plug after figuring out it’s an April Fool’s joke.
April 3. Day 73. President Trump tries to throw out the first ball at a windy Washington Senators season home opener but the ball and his hand get stuck in his hair due to an excess of product.
April 26. Day 96. The pharmaceutical industry reports record Q1 profits.
April 29. Day 99. Trump holds a contest among his Cabinet members to see who can sell the most Subway sandwiches in three hours on the National Mall.
April 30. Day 100. Trump tweets that he is bored and wants to quit. The nation is stunned.
May 1. Day 1. Mike Pence succeeds Donald Trump as the 46th President of the United States. The nation recoils.
Will Durst. Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic.