In our Hearts, the Pines Still Play

If you’ve ever taken a road trip through the Pacific Northwest, you’ve probably seen a bumper sticker for a place called Gravity Falls. It’s not on any maps and most people have never heard of it. Some people think it’s a myth. But if you’re curious, don’t wait. Take a trip. Find it. It’s out there. Somewhere in the woods. Waiting.

Ten years ago today, a show premiered that… okay. I’m going to use a line here that is abused to the verge of meaninglessness, which is a shame because I can’t think of a more appropriate use for it. So, that said, a few minutes of your time to talk about Gravity Falls, a show that changed my life.

Gravity Falls
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Orange Man 99.997% Bad

I was talking with someone the other day about doing an honest assessment of Trump as President and the question came up “is there literally anything you can say that was good about him?” I realize to most of us here that’s rhetorical, but I figured it was worth examining, and so I thought about it and I came up with three things. Maybe you’ll agree with them, maybe you won’t, but on this, his final day in office, here are what I feel are the honest to god, 100% serious, three most positive things I can say about the presidency of Donald Trump:

It certainly does suck!

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Whoopsie Daisy!

I have lived my entire life in a media narrative that Republicans are simply not supposed to face any consequences for their actions and what we have been witnessing for the last 48 hours is the result of a media completely unequipped to handle exactly that happening. I think that’s why there’s such a cognitive dissonance between how punditry is reacting to this versus, well, basically the rest of the planet. People are done. They are fucking done with this bullshit.

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On the Elite with Four Feet

As a lifelong Batman fan, I’ve always hated whenever they try to write some kind of alternate universe or evil twin plotline in an attempt to get really deep by asking “okay, what if Batman was a bad guy?”

Batman’s rich. We know what bad rich people do.

Wealth truly is one of the most powerful weapons on earth and to see someone use that weapon, often literally, to abuse and torment the weakest among us fills us with contempt. But even more infuriating than an evil billionaire is an apathetic one. The cruelest thing an evil Batman could do is not be Batman.

Greed and domination I can understand, but to know billions of people are starving, suffering, and begging for help, and use a position of great economic power do absolutely nothing? That is evil. And that is why with all the corrupt CEOs, sadistic entrepreneurs, and yes, even the monster currently sitting in the White House, to me the most prominent example of the obscenity of apathetic wealth is Gunther IV of Germany.

Gunther IV lives in a state of nearly offensive luxury. He wants for nothing, greeting each morning from one of his several mansions–he owns properties in Italy, the Bahamas, and even a Palm Beach mansion he bought from Madonna. A staff of well-toned, young women tend to his needs, from feeding him to twice-daily baths, all while the executives of his corporation handle the day to day work of expanding his financial empire. Despite his vast fortune, Gunther IV has no charitable giving to his name, no institutions adorning his title, no exploits to boast in the marbled halls of his stately palaces. Ignorant to the realities of the outside world, his primary activity is merely to waste the day away lying by his Olympic sized swimming pool, licking his own balls.

Gunther IV, the world's richest dog. Maybe.
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The Life-Threatening of Brian

As you know, Georgians are facing a very important election in just a few days. There’s no shortage of vital topics to consider as you cast your ballot, but I’d like to speak to you about a very serious, albeit overlooked one.

As we approach Election Day, many voters are scared. Scared about the welfare and wellbeing of their loved ones. For many, it’s the tumultuous job market and soaring housing prices. For others, it’s something even more threatening: access to potentially life-saving healthcare. But as a member of the performing arts community, and as such one who is involved with the local television production industry, I’d like to address an even more serious threat facing voters like me. Even more dangerous than the job market, and yes, even more directly life-threatening than losing health insurance. I’m talking, of course, about the epidemic of being accidentally shot by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

Finally, a Republican who threatens white people too!

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Drinks Are On Me

Hi, can I talk about this water jug? Kind of a big deal. See, this jug here is worth 344 dollars. At least.

The dead rat really adds to the texture.There’s this guy out in California, a health guru named Mukhande Singh. And he’s a founder of an amazing new industry out there called “raw water.”

I know, that’s what I thought too—turns out the water you’ve been drinking your whole life isn’t actually raw! I have been told that it’s full of chemicals, like disinfectants, and something called “fluoride.” Apparently, a lot of municipal water is even bombarded with ultraviolet light—which is a thing that sounds scary—with the claim that doing this “protects the water” from “growing algae” and “spreading brain parasites.”

Now for the first thing: algae? Here I was being told we’re supposed to have more plants in our diet. On top of that—algae is growing? That means life is teeming in natural, raw water. Filtering and chemically treating water means it’s dead. Who eats dead things?

I’ve already forgotten what the second thing was. Brain something.

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The Man and the Mouse

Good evening, students. My name is Arthur Henderson, and I am an artist. Ergo I am here tonight to talk to you about art. Specifically, and for the purpose of example and education, my art.

What does it mean to be an artist? Well, like any good master of their craft—doctor, chef, teacher—“Artist” is a title to hold dear, and with honor, because it is a representation of the years a person puts into honing and perfecting their craft.

For me, as a true artist, my work is about the joy, and the thrill of creating. To show to the world your unique inspiration, made manifest on canvas. I wake up each day knowing that hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of people will see my work. What drives you as an artist is the goal to reach that day. That day when you know in your heart you have created a masterpiece.

That day, when my most esteemed patrons came to me asking for a work that would become the very symbol of their enterprise, I knew that this would be my greatest achievement. Like a spark of divine guidance, through my hands that which I already knew was there became manifest on paper. It was that day I knew I had finally achieved my calling. My greatest work: the angry mouse graphic for the Northwest Exterminating Service Advertising Department.

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You Must Be Proud

In the graphic novel Kingdom Come, DC Comics imagined a future where Superman gave up. The world had grown, and adapted to a meaner, more violent culture that found the truth-and-justice morality of America’s first great superhero to be insufficient to handle the daily crises facing the world. As Superman entered self-imposed exile, the world turned to Magog, a hero of the latest generation who was willing to go to further extremes to fight crime and stop supervillains, including killing them. Magog’s rampant acceptance of collateral damage and lack of checks or balances on his power culminates in an overkill assault that destroys the American Midwest, killing millions.

From DC's Kingdom Come, 1996

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An Autopsy

SO that happened.In 2004, I moved to Washington, DC to start a new career in politics. I joined up as a web editor at a nonprofit called the Center for American Progress. CAP was, and still is, an amazing organization that is dedicated to pushing progressive and liberal policy ideas. They are a left-leaning think tank inside a city that spent most of the 80’s and 90’s having only right-wing ones. Their work was and remains important and necessary. Also, the organization was entirely dedicated to getting Hillary Clinton elected president.


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The British Invasion

My god, I just… ladies and gentlemen, looking over this carnage is just amazing. In all my years as a reporter, I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it for myself. It’s been roughly two, three hours since the monster’s last appearance and this country, and perhaps the world, is still reeling from it. The way I’ve heard it, it’s like something out of an children’s science fiction book—this enormous monster, rampaging through a city, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake.

Nothing but carnage and checkered-patterned shirts.

This reporter has not seen the monster himself. And yet, reading reports from Twitter, and Facebook, and other social media, it’s all the same. Viewers across the world are sharing their own witness accounts of this.

Our proud nation is standing strong. This incredible invader to American shores has not yet conquered us, but vigilant we remain. Still, questions abound. Where did it come from? What does it want? Why has it done what it did? None of these questions we have answers for yet, America. We only know this creature has a name: John Oliver.

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