Monthly Archives: April 2022

Believe it or not, we do strive to choose our words carefully here at The Grouchy Editor.

And so it was after much internal debate that we arrived at the following captions for the sub-humans pictured below.

 

 

“Treasonous Prick”

 

*

 

 

“Lunatic Liberal”

 

*

 

It’s pretty simple. The assholes pictured above are waging war against the middle class and Middle America.

If you are expecting help in this war from clowns like Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, dream on.

Many, if not most, of the Republicans in congress are not interested in your welfare; they care only about their own power and cushy lifestyles. If that means going along to get along with the lunatic left currently in power, so be it.

 

It’s that simple.

 

© 2010-2022 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

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The Grouch is inflicting another short story on the world. Check out “The Climate Changer,” if you dare. 

Here’s a complete list of Grouch’s short stories with links (in green):

 

 

 . grouchyeditor.com Rusty   “Rusty” — Happy times in suburbia.

 

.  grouchyeditor.com revelation   “Revelation” — Unhappy times in suburbia.

 

.  grouchyeditor.com homebodies   “Homebodies” — The people next door.

 

.  grouchyeditor.com ass   “The Porthole” — Be careful what you wish for.

 

.  grouchyeditor.com the ufo   “The UFO” — Stand by me … and a UFO.

 

.  grouchyeditor.com Tales From Grouch   “Carol Comes Home” — The spirit of Norman Bates.

 

.  grouchyeditor.com thwup   “Thwup!” — The case for eating more (or less) beans.

 

.  grouchyeditor.com Wisdom   “Wisdom” — Cabin in the woods.

 

.        “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”  Thelma helps a guest.

 

.   grouchyeditor.com Americans    “The Americans”  — Kevin goes for the gold.

 

.        “Margaret” — The greatest love story of all time?

 

.   grouchyeditor.com Asmat     “The Hot Tub”  — Elites enjoy some “quality time.”

 

.   grouchyeditor.com Earl Smilius     “The Climate Changer” — Earl has a secret weapon.

 

 

© 2010-2022 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

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The Climate Changer

by J.D.H.

 

The newly sworn-in junior senator from Wisconsin surveyed the nearly empty senate chamber from his vantage point in the gallery, and he frowned.

It wasn’t the first time Senator William Wilkie, 34, had beheld the storied room. His orientation sessions, after all, were complete, and he had visited the chamber innumerable times, both as a private citizen and again once the good voters of Wisconsin saw fit to send him to Washington.

Senator Wilkie knew that he would spend countless hours in this room, and he swelled with pride. In time, he would join the Congressional Black Caucus, he would be assigned to various committees, and, with any luck, one day he would actually chair one of them.

But at the moment, he was struck by one peculiarity of the famed senate chamber: its vacancy. Other than a few scattered aides and two or three staffers, he could discern only one other person in the room below: the elderly senior senator from Utah, who appeared to be asleep in his chair. It was 2 p.m. on a Tuesday. 

 

***

 

Thurgood Nosgood, Wisconsin’s senior senator and Will’s mentor, stood beside the freshman congressman in the balcony, took note of his mentee’s puzzled expression, and chuckled. “Get used to it, son. Unless the C-SPAN cameras are on, this is how it usually looks.”

Will looked at Nosgood. “Where are they all?”

“Same place you’ll spend most of your time. On the phone, fundraising. Like I said, get used to it. Utah down there is retiring. He doesn’t need to fundraise anymore, so he’ll just sleep out the rest of his term. Either that, or Earl Smilius just left him.” Nosgood issued a hearty guffaw.

 

***

 

Three hours later, Will surveyed the office-turned-party-room and activated his mental file cabinet. The reception for incoming congresspeople was populated with faces both familiar to him, and unfamiliar. Many of the elder senators he recognized from television. A few of them he knew from brief introductions. The senior senator from Utah, Will noticed, was not in attendance. Probably still napping on the senate floor, he thought.

Nosgood materialized at his side, cradling a glass of champagne and sporting a smirk. “Get used to it, son. If you idolize any of these pillars of government, you won’t for much longer. They’re just human. Too human, most of them.”

Around the room, introductions were made. Congratulations were proffered. Liquor was consumed.

A side door opened, and a hush fell over the room.

 

***

 

The legendary senator from Mississippi had entered the party room.

Will, like everyone else at the crowded gathering, gazed at the man from Biloxi, Earl Smilius III. Will ransacked his mental file cabinet and came up with:

Powerful, low-key, perpetual Mona Lisa half-smile, rarely on television, enigmatic. But above all, powerful.

Will couldn’t make heads or tails of it. The man looked so unprepossessing, even humble, yet he seemed to command immense respect — or could it be fear? — from his colleagues.

But then, Smilius’s accomplishments were mythic. In the House, he had served on Ways and Means, Defense, and Budget. Later, as senator from Mississippi, he eschewed most committees. He didn’t seem to need them to exert influence.

 

***

 

Will couldn’t take his eyes off Smilius. Whenever the stocky senator approached a group at the reception, he was greeted with much deference. Everyone assembled would hush, waiting for Smilius to speak. Sometimes the portly politico would oblige them; sometimes he would simply smile and just stand there, sipping from a glass of whatever it was he chose to drink.

Smilius’s reputation was impressive. Especially for such an apparently low-key congressman. Reportedly, Smilius had once prevented a nuclear confrontation with Russia by dismissing a delegation of Russians and Americans and sitting down privately with Vladimir Putin. After just five minutes alone with the notorious strongman, Smilius had emerged from the session with that Mona Lisa smile and assurances, in his own words, that “all is well.”

No details from the meeting ever emerged, from either side. Smilius had simply sat down with Putin and moments later declared victory.

 

***

 

Will studied the group of people now surrounding Smilius in the reception room. There were a few forced smiles, a bit of head-nodding. But one woman, a newly elected senator from Minnesota (Will knew her, slightly, from orientation), was turning green in the face. She looked down at the floor, muttered an apology, and bolted from the circle of dignitaries.

 

***

 

Nosgood chuckled. “Earl Smilius is headed our way,” he said to Will. “You won’t want to offend him. He’s not an unreasonable fellow, but nevertheless, you ought not offend him. You might not guess it from looking at him, but Earl always gets his way. Always.”

“But what does he care about?” asked Will. “What motivates the man?”

Nosgood considered this for a moment. “I’d say … climate change.”

“And what makes him so powerful?”

“He presents his opponent with two alternatives. Choice A is to go along with his way. Choice B is … unbearable to most of them.”

 

***

 

Smilius shuffled over to the two men from Wisconsin and studied Will, a twinkle in his eye.

“And you might be the new senator from Oshkosh?”

“Yes, sir,” said Will. “It’s an honor to meet you.”

“Oh, I ain’t nothin’,” said Smilius. “They say I’m just another blowhard from Mississippi.” He winked at Nosgood.

 

***

 

Will noticed that the freshman female senator had come back to the reception and rejoined the cluster of people across the room. She kept glancing, worriedly, at Smilius. Will strained his ears, trying to catch what she said, but only caught snippets: “For the love of God … not possible to … make it stop!”

Will wondered if Smilius was sexually predatory.

“What exactly do you hope to accomplish in these hallowed halls, son?” Smilius asked him.

“Well sir, not much at the beginning. I understand that I’m here to absorb and to learn. With any luck, I’ll someday be able to put that knowledge to good use.”

Smilius grinned. “Not bad. Not bad. I used to think that way. But what I discovered is that the most important thing in this town can be summed up in one word. Can you guess what that word is?”

“Not off the top of my head. No sir.”

 

***

 

“Chemistry,” said Smilius. “The word is chemistry. If you develop the right chemistry for a person, you can see that he or she will almost always come around to seeing things the way you want them to. Am I right, Senator Nosgood?”

Nosgood, who had been eyeing Smilius warily, nodded affirmatively.

“You might have heard about my encounter with the hot head from Russia. You might also notice, in future, that folks here in D.C. tend to come around to my way of seeing things, and my way of doing things.

“No, I don’t blackmail them, or threaten them, or intimidate them by saying I will withhold this funding or go to the press about that rumor. What I do is always within the bounds of law, doesn’t violate a single congressional ethics guideline. But it always works, because the person sees no other way out of the situation but to comply with my wishes.”

Will still held his drink, but he didn’t drink. He was mesmerized by this stocky little man, who seemed to hold the magic key to power in the most powerful place on Earth.

 

***

 

“Let me demonstrate for you, son, just a bit of what I’m talking about. See Middleton over there?” Smilius gestured toward Howard Middleton, senate majority leader from the opposing party.

“The esteemed Senator Middleton is withholding a vote on my energy bill. He thinks I don’t want it badly enough. And he’s correct,” Smilius chuckled. “I don’t really care, one way or the other. But I’m going to get my way, regardless. Watch.”

Smilius left them and meandered over to Middleton’s group. The majority leader’s eyes widened as he watched the approaching menace. Smilius said a few words, left the group, and returned to Will and Nosgood. Middleton had turned noticeably green, as had two or three other senators, and all of them left the reception.

 

***

 

A nauseating smell permeated the room. People stopped talking, attempting to locate the source of the noxious odor. All eyes, fearful or accusing, landed on Senator Smilius.

“My aides, you might or might not have noticed, are all heavy cigarette smokers,” Smilius said to Will. People kept vacating the room. “That’s intentional. If you’re a heavy smoker, you tend to lose your sense of smell. That’s how they put up with it. That’s why I hire them.”

Will began to feel light-headed.

“Putin couldn’t handle it. I told him that I would refuse to leave the room. This was after I’d loaded up on Russkie beans. For lunch. I asked Putin what he thought of my chemical weapon.”

The stench became unbearable. Will began to teeter. He noticed Nosgood lean forward and commence vomiting on the carpet.

“Chemistry, son. People will do anything to avoid it, if you’re good at it,” said Earl Smilius, a twinkle in his eye. “It’s a special talent I have. Chemistry.”

Those were the last words Will heard, before he swooned and pitched face-first onto the floor.

 

 

THE END

 

 

 

Click here for the index of short stories.

Click here to see all of the stories.

 

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Kudos to whoever designed the above image for Fox, gloating about the demise of CNN’s streaming service.

But where is Don Lemon? You have got to have Don Lemon.

 

**

 

Overused phrases that need to just stop:

 

“Wait–what?” — not cute anymore.

“The situation is fluid.” — unless it’s raining, just stop.

“His or her journey.” — Unless you’re referring to the Iditarod, stop doing this. I am not interested in “Bill’s weight-loss journey.”

 

**

 

 

Wait — what? This is not the same guy?

 

**

 

 

I look at these board members and I just want to … well. The word “smug” comes to mind.

 

**

 

These are interesting times in cable news. Tune in to MSNBC or CNN, and there’s a good chance you’ll go a long while without seeing a straight, white male. On the other hand, tune in to Fox News and there’s a good chance you’ll see plenty of straight, white men.

Correction: straight, white, hairless men:

 

 

***

 

This week’s “Review” is short-and-(not)-sweet because The Grouch is busy polishing the next Tale From The Grouch. Look for “Earl Smilius III,” probably tomorrow.

 

 

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by Ethel Lina White

grouchyeditor.com spiral

 

“It was a dark and stormy night.”

That line sums up The Spiral Staircase, Ethel Lina White’s 1933 whodunit that inspired a classic movie starring Dorothy McGuire and Ethel Barrymore.

Staircase is a quintessential “cozy mystery” because it checks all the boxes: the obligatory dark, stormy night; a cast of colorful characters who disappear, one by one, from a creepy mansion; a plucky heroine; numerous shady suspects.

Who is killing young girls in the vicinity of an isolated house? Is it the masculine/feminine nurse? The not-so-bedridden, cantankerous old matron? The playful playboy? Is Helen the servant girl destined to be the next victim?

White might not be in Agatha Christie’s league as a writer, but in terms of giving the reader exactly what he or she wants, The Spiral Staircase is topflight.

 

Film vs. Book:

  • The 1946 Robert Siodmak movie made several improvements to White’s novel — the killer’s motivation, for one. In the film, the murderer seeks to rid the world of “imperfect” women. McGuire’s servant girl is mute; not so in the book. Improbably, the novel’s killer is motivated by some nonsense about overpopulation.
  • The titular spiral staircase is more prominent in the film. The book was originally, more aptly, titled Some Must Watch.
  • Siodmak’s film was clearly an inspiration for director Bob Clark’s 1974 movie Black Christmas (the infamous “eyeball” shot; the killer is in the house!).

 

© 2010-2022 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

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Above, that’s a screen capture of a SPECTRE meeting in 1965’s James Bond movie, Thunderball. SPECTRE was a consortium of powerful bad guys seeking to destabilize the world for their own benefit.

I used to think that conceit was entertaining, but far-fetched.

Not anymore.

 

**

 

I’m reserving judgment on the “Elon Musk Buys Twitter and Saves Free Speech!” bandwagon.

Seems like every time some public figure appears on the scene and seems heroic, things go sour.

I mean, once upon a time, I thought the guy pictured below was just what the doctor ordered:

 

 

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Yes, the visuals coming out of Ukraine are horrific. Sadly, we’ve seen wartime atrocities before.

But how do we describe the creepy wailing video (above) from Shanghai? Not to mention all of the other nightmarish Chinese scenes cropping up on Twitter.

 

**

 

 

It’s always fun to see progressive Hollywood cancelling itself.

 

 

© 2010-2022 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

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Speak of the Devil …

 

OK, so let me see if I have this right: Twitter bans me for complimenting Kristi Noem’s boobs, but then sends me this because I might “like” it:

 

 

 

Speaking of Perversions …

 

 

Netflix’s Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story, in which we learn about the crimes and perversions of English celebrity Savile, is disturbing stuff. The DJ/TV host/pal-of-the-Royals got by with child molestation for decades. He died in 2011 without ever being charged.

So how come I’d never heard of this guy?

I guess I was under the mistaken impression that because we share a common culture, British celebrities are also American celebrities. And vice versa. You know, like Alfred Hitchcock and The Beatles and Elvis are celebrities to all of us. But apparently that’s not always the case.

Makes me wonder if the Brits know who Bill Cosby is.

 

Speaking of Netflix …

 

 

The Bombardment is a pretty good World War II drama with a superb ending. The final scene of this movie is one of the most powerful I’ve ever seen. Yes, ever.

 

**

 

Who’s Up

 

Elon Musk. Let’s see if he can restore free speech on Twitter. I suggest he start by canning all of Twitter’s “woke” employees.

 

Who’s Down

 

Joe Biden. Some folks felt bad for him because he was caught on camera wandering a reception like a lost puppy during Obama’s White House visit.

I don’t feel sorry for him because I think he belongs in prison.

 

**

 

 

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The Rental

grouchyeditor.com rental

 

Director Dave Franco’s The Rental is a flawed movie. It’s a “slow-burn” thriller, and slow-burn is often code for “boring until something finally happens.” The plot is predictable and the last act, in which something finally does happen, is not particularly original.

But all of that is nitpicking. The Rental, in which two couples encounter terror at a beach house, is more than anything else skillfully done. The “slow” scenes are absorbing, seductive, and creepy. There is at least one truly scary bit.

There’s a reason that suspense films — unlike, say, romantic comedies or many dramas — are considered a director’s medium. The acting and story can be serviceable, but if the movie works, it’s because the dude behind the camera knew what he was doing. Release: 2020  Grade: B+

 

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The Slap

 

Lots of attention this week on Will Smith and Chris Rock.

Call me a misogynist, but I suspect the real villain of this saga might be the hairless one. Looked to me like she was fake-mad at Rock’s G.I. Jane joke. Looked to me like she controls her dim-witted husband.

But apparently, Jada is above any sort of criticism because, well, black woman. Hairless black woman.

Look at the picture above. You telling me that’s not a Bond villain?

 

**

 

 

Spring Break!

 

Well, not really. I think spring break is over. But what the hell, the girls are breaking out the bikinis, and so ….

I guess it depends on which part of the country you live in, but I can’t imagine the anchorwomen in my city posting half-naked bikini shots on their social media pages. But if you’re a news anchor in California, like Fresno’s Caroline Collins, pictured above on the left and below at work, anything goes.

Makes me long to be on that beach with a scissors. Snip, snip.

 

 

**

 

Survivor has gone all “woke” lately and, apparently as part of that, the females are now more likely to resemble Rosie O’Donnell than Sydney Sweeney. Luckily for CBS cameramen, they still have contestant Tori Meehan for occasional crotch and ass shots:

 

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Someone Is Back on Twitter

 

 

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The Biden administration continues to add to its list of impressive achievements. We are already allowing the illegal-immigrant equivalent of a large American city to cross our southern border every year. Next month, with Title 42 in the trash can, we can welcome even more!

Meanwhile, rather than fix our pesky domestic problems, Joe and pals continue to lead us on a path to war in Europe.

Oh, and did I mention that, under Joe, the price of my gas and groceries is skyrocketing?

Some pundits speculate that a lot of this is happening as a result of a grand scheme to combat global warming.

But I’m still waiting for AOC to explain how we can solve that problem without the planet’s biggest polluters, China and India, on board with the plan.

 

 

**

 

I enjoy Tim Pool’s podcast, although I don’t watch it every day — who the hell has time to watch a three-hour show every day? But it has one thing in common with most podcasts: the quality of the show is dependent on the guests.

 

.                                     

Malice, left, and Pool

 

Pool strives for ideological diversity in guests, but sometimes that means lame guests. The show was at its best Friday when beanie baby Michael Malice showed up. Some of anarchist Malice’s ideas seem crackpot, but he’s always interesting and funny.

Click here to watch the podcast.

 

**

 

 

Above, what you do when you’re not quite sure if it’s two k’s or two y’s.

 

 

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