Little Bongo

This is from Matt Groening 30 years ago [partial transcript]:

My name is Little Bongo
I’m known as a ding-dong-go.

What got me to thinking about that is this:

By now everybody knows that Vice President Mike Pence does not have a dog. More explicitly, there is no Mike Pence family dog. Full disclosure: I do not have a dog. Anyhow, the family does have a pet rabbit, and his name is Marlon Bundo. [Any implication of the late movie actor Marlon Brando is spurious.] And a cute bunny he is, as well.

There is more. Mike Pence’s daughter Charlotte wrote a children’s book featuring the rabbit, and it was released this week, soaring on the Amazon charts. See the cover above. The title is Marlon Bundo’s a Day in the Life of the Vice President. You need to accept my apology, because I Photo-shopped the image to make it easier to read.

But that’s not all. Owing to the Vice President’s historic opposition to all things homosexual, transgender, or otherwise deviant, some decided to have a bit of fun and to troll the VP. Particularly, the creative staff of John Oliver’s TV show Last Week Tonight created produced their own book. Follow the link and watch the video.

 

Playing the game of One-Up, the Oliver team put their book, by Jill Twiss, on the market a day in advance of the Pence book, and I purchased a copy (Kindle Edition). Here it is:

Again, I souped up the image, because the cover is Hell’s version of pastel on white and barely shows up on my monitor.

But wait! There’s more. In the Twiss book, Marlon Bundo is gay. Queer, if you will. The VP’s anti-queer notions are mocked throughout. Here are some choice pages (it’s a short book):

Marlon meets Wesley, another boy rabbit. The attraction is mutual.

The two play together, romping among the feet of important politicians.

They enjoy being together so much, they decide to be together forever. They decide to get married. But the authoritarian Stink Bug, of all the animals, decides he is in charge, and he insists they must not be allowed to marry, because that kind of thing is not done.

But all the animals rise up and defy the Stink Bug, and Marlon and Wesley are married in a beautiful ceremony.

THE END

And here is the score so far: The Jill Twiss book is outselling the Pence book handily, posting as number 2 in paid Kindle sales.

Number one (today) is Melinda Leigh’s Say You’re Sorry. The Pence Book (Kindle) is further down:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #853 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

I’m guessing the popularity of the Jill Twiss book is due to the VP’s deep undeliverability among those who read. John Oliver cites a significant connection. A book tour for the Pence book includes a 26 March stop at Focus in the Family in Colorado Springs. That’s significant, as FotF is the premier American institution (a church since 2015) seeking to relegate homosexuals and other sexual deviants to second class status:

Focus on the Family (FOTF or FotF) is an American Christian conservative organization founded in 1977 in Southern California by psychologist James Dobson, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is active in promoting an interdenominational effort toward its socially conservative views on public policy. Focus on the Family is one of a number of evangelical parachurch organizations that rose to prominence in the 1980s. As of the 2015 tax filing year, Focus on the Family declared itself to be a church.

Focus on the Family’s stated mission is “nurturing and defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide”.It promotes abstinence-only sexual educationcreationism; adoption by married, opposite-sex parents; school prayer; and traditional gender roles. It opposes abortion; divorce; gambling; LGBT rights, particularly LGBT adoption and same-sex marriage; pornography; pre-marital sex; and substance abuse. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and social scientists have criticized Focus on the Family for trying to misrepresent their research to bolster FOTF’s fundamentalist political agenda and ideology.

All said, nobody doubts the Pence book is a worthy children’s book, and I would purchase a copy ($9.99 for the Kindle) except for three things:

  • My youngest child is 46.
  • My grandson is 16.
  • Such a purchase could implicate me in the promotion of the Pence mindset.

 

People are voting with their pocketbooks, highlighting a groundswell of unpopularity for the Vice President. Such is the level of disdain that whenever talk among friends comes up concerning whether the current President should be impeached, the conclusion always boils down to “no,” Mike Pence being the reason. My personal view: we must continue to endure Donald Trump and to make him the poster child of what has become of American conservatism. If anybody can kill this wrong-headed mindset it will be those two dust bunnies at the top of the ticket.

And may Jesus have mercy on our souls.

Amazon Adventure

This should get the conversation started:

Late 14c., via Old French (13c.) or Latin, from Greek Amazon (mostly in plural Amazones) “one of a race of female warriors in Scythia,” probably from an unknown non-Indo-European word, or possibly from an Iranian compound *ha-maz-an- “(one) fighting together” [Watkins], but in folk etymology long derived from a- “without” + mazos, variant of mastos “breast;” hence the story that the Amazons cut or burned off one breast so they could draw bowstrings more efficiently. Also used generally in early Modern English of female warriors; strong, tall, or masculine women; and the queen in chess.

I don’t know if that’s what Jeff Bezos had in mind when he founded the company, but I have been doing business with the concern for over two decades. Sometimes the adventure is beyond comprehension. Here’s the latest.

I purchased my Canon Rebel digital SLR 13 years ago from Amazon and quickly expanded my lens set by ordering a 28-90 zoom lens, which since then I have been using as my standard lens. When I upgraded the camera body to a Canon 5D, I kept the lens. It earned its keep, making me hundreds of dollars in image sales. And it is a cheap lens. A drawback is the top focal ration: f/5.0. That’s not so good for low light levels. For example, shooting (figuratively) Congressman Beto O’Roarke at VFW Post 76 Sunday night I had to crank the ISO up to 64,000. Makes for grainy images. I decided it was time to spring for a better lens.

Christmas is approaching, and I am sure Barbara Jean mentioned something about what I wanted for Christmas. When I suggested I was going to get the lens, she said OK. This was the same day she was suggesting we get a divorce. And here is where the fun with Amazon started.

I searched Amazon’s inventory, and this had the makings of an ideal choice. $329 plus tax. Shipping is free and also very quick for Amazon Prime members.

Barbara Jean and I were scheduled for lunch with the Free Thinkers on Tuesday, so I waited until Tuesday morning before ordering the lens. I did not want the lens sitting on my front porch while we were off having lunch in Boerne. Amazon promised the order would be delivered by 8 p.m. on Thursday—that’s tomorrow. I suspected it might come sooner, so this morning I checked the order status. Sure enough, the shipment was already in San Antonio and would be delivered by 8 p.m. today.

Some background. I was born in a small town somewhere out west of Fort Worth—even farther west than that. And that was a long time ago, and things were primitive, even for the mid-20th century. Technological progress continued to amaze me decade after decade. And one feature of modern technology I so much appreciate is the ability to track a shipment from beginning to end.

I logged onto Amazon a few minutes ago and noticed my order was out for delivery. Not only was my order out for deliver, but there were two deliveries ahead of mine. If the photo below were large enough you would be able to read the fine print near the top.

That was great news. There was no need for me to take a nap. My order would arrive within a few minutes. I refreshed the page, and the message said the driver had been re-routed, but my order would still arrive by 8 p.m. Isn’t modern technology wonderful?

I was about to check the status again, when the door chime informed me of the good news. I rushed down one flight of stairs and received the Amazon package from the delivery guy. Oh joy!

Of course I hustled back upstairs and unpacked the Christmas package. I pulled the Canon 5D out of its bag and unhitched the 28-90mm zoom. I clicked in the new lens and prepared to see f/1.4 come up on the display. I put a finger on the action wheel and cranked it all the way down. It stopped at 1.8. WTF? Then I gave the lens a closer look. WTF!

My confidence in modern technology was tragically shattered. Despite all the best Amazon has going for it, they managed to ship me the wrong lens.

However, Amazon has recourse for such eventualities. I opened the order page and clicked on the link to return the item, which Amazon will do for free. And I printed out a return label. Then I performed the next logical step. I checked on the specs of the item I had received. Amazon is selling it for $20 more than what they shipped me. So I thought, “Why not?” Some additional digging, and I found the appropriate link and clicked on it. Almost immediately my phone chimed. It was the nice lady at Amazon. I explained the situation. I was willing to accept the lens they shipped and let the matter drop.

Amazon was agreeable, and they kicked in a $30 credit on top. What’s not to like? I may in the future apply the $30 toward the purchase of the f/1.4 lens if the day comes I find I cannot live without it.

Isn’t modern technology just beyond belief?