Category Archives: low life

Congrats! US Taxpayers May Get to Foot the Bill for Defending Trump against a defamation claim!

Does that sound right to you?

Here is the argument.

E Jean Carroll claims that 25 years ago, Donald Trump raped her in a New York luxury department store dressing room.  She still has the dress that she wore that day, and it allegedly has DNA material that could match that of Donald Trump.

Last year, Donald Trump denied that he raped Ms Carroll, and said that she was “totally lying” in order to sell a memoir. Ms Carroll filed suit for defamation.  And here comes the weird part

After New York state courts turned down Trump’s request to delay E Jean Carroll’s suit, justice department lawyers filed court papers on Tuesday aiming to shift the case into federal court and to substitute the US for Trump as the defendant. That means the federal government, rather than Trump himself, might have to pay damages if any are awarded.

On what basis?

The Justice Department claims that Trump was acting within the scope of his duties as president when he made the comments. Therefore, the government should defend him.

Perhaps it is a coincidence that the DOJ made the filing just when Donald Trump would be required to hand over a DNA sample — after he had tried and failed to delay the defamation suit. Jut thinkin’. here.

Now a federal court will decide whether to take jurisdiction of the case based on the assertion that it is a claim against the US government.

Your tax dollars at work in the Trump era.

A quick follow up: And what if the DNA on Ms Carroll’s dress matches that of the Donald?  We already know of Trump’s infidelities. And we know of his obscene remarks about women in general. That came out back in 2016. Perhaps we  now need to take a step further to acknowledge that the candidate for the presidency of the Republican Party may be a rapist.  A rapist who  shamed his victim and is trying to avoid accountability … using the Department of justice and our tax dollars.

You be the judge.

BTW, it has crossed my mind that if a novelist tried to peddle this stuff as fiction, it would be criticized as too unbelievable. And yet, I am disposed to consider a wager – which will be made public first, the Donald’s tax returns (sought by the New York DA) or his DNA, (sought by Ms Carroll)?

And what if Trump somehow wins the election, and it comes out that he has committed tax fraud and bank fraud and rape?  That is an alarming prospect indeed.  Too unbelievable to put in a novel. And yet, here we are.

A quick follow up from NYT – “William Barr, the attorney general, said yesterday that the White House had specifically requested that his Justice Department take over a defamation lawsuit against Trump, as it announced this week that it had. Barr painted the move as routine but did not explain why his office had waited more than 10 months to step into the case.”

… the move could also put a swift end to the lawsuit: Under the rules of sovereign immunity, the government cannot be sued for defamation.

Book Alert: Remembering Jeffrey Bernard

More about the book from the title appears at the end of this post.

I am not sure why I was reminded of the great Bernard, but there it was. The unique combination of pathos and wit in his “Low Life” Columns in the Spectator left its mark. It has something to do with an unquenchable thirst for freedom.

I am glad that I never knew him. But I am sad that he is long gone. All we have are his remarkable words from his Spectator “Low Life” columns that are preserved in a brilliant transcription — a play by Keith Waterhouse called “Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell”.  BTW, Waterhouse was himself quite a wordshmith.

Lo and behold, one can watch Peter O’Toole play Jeffrey Bernard in Waterhouse’s play on YouTube. There is a wonderful word to describe it – louche.

disreputable or sordid in a rakish or appealing way.

And that captures the life of Bernard, the man. If you are up for it, here it is, though I do  not recommend watching it while drinking.. Nor should the kiddies be allowed in the room. This is about adulthood gone wrong.

Here is a snippet that demonstrates the Bernard way with words. He is locked in a pub overnight and starts to drink. Reminiscing on his dismissal from the magazine “The Sporting Life” he says

“Some people are in the habit of writing angry letters to the press. I get it the other way around. The press is is in the habit of writing angry letters to me.”

Then he said “One day I was asked to write my autobiography and I put a letter in the Spectator asking if anybody could tell me what I was doing between the years 1960 and 1974.” Some people apparently responded with suitably louche reminiscences.

Then after a long silence, “I could die here. It’s a good thing I can hold this stuff tolerably well. If I were a yawb or a hoola Henry  I mean by the time the pub opened again, I could be …  found by the coronoer to (be one of those who) have chocked on their own vomit. Disgusting phrase! When did you ever hear of someone choking on someone else’s vomit?”

BTW, the real life character Mike Molloy makes a brief appearance in the play. He wrote this about the play for The Guardian.

“Waterhouse crafted the play by distilling Jeff’s wonderful Low Life columns in The Spectator, and by adding a large measure of his own comic genius he fashioned one of the funniest plays in the English language. The script was so good that when Waterhouse first sent a copy to Peter O’Toole he received a message on his answering machine cursing him for altering the actor’s life. O’Toole had intended to take the following year off work, but the prospect of doing the play so excited him he decided he must commit to it immediately.”

I found this comment in a review of a collection of Bernard’s Low Life Columns to be amusing

… Of course his work would not be deemed today as politically correct


Ah, the Pleasures of Camping on Moosehead lake!

My eyes popped out when I read this

For the first seven years I visited, I never saw a moose on Moosehead Lake. And I’ve only ever caught one fish here, even though the lake is supposedly teeming with trout. Still, this body of water—located in the Maine Highlands Region, in the west-central part of the state—is where my mind finds comfort when life gets hard.

I readily admit that Moosehead Lake is beautiful.

Vast and quiet, Moosehead Lake is the perfect place to get away from it all. 

It was equally so nearly half a century ago when I sent several weeks there camping with a bunch of other city boys on a high school excursion. That was the trip that got me to swear off camping for good. I am proud to say that I have not slept in a tent since.

What went wrong? Well, it started from the first morning. We had spent an eternity driving north to get to Lake Moosehead, and finally arrived just as the sun was starting to set. It was a lovely moment. We  got into canoes to sally forth to an island where we would pitch our tents and get horizontal.

All went as planned, except for two small details. First, we were sleeping on the ground. I had never done that before and learned the hard way why the mattress had been invented. Then there was the morning wake up call. I opened my eyes, and went into shock. The dreadful sleep had destroyed my eye sight! I could only see white! I blinked, but again, only a blank screen of white!

I sat up in horror only to discover that during the night the three inhabitants of our tent had gradually slid down the incline to the base of the tent. BTW, this happened without our realizing it. And the white? It was the close up view of the  read end of my comrade’s under shorts.

That did it! Though in hind sight, I am grateful that the image was  completely white, without any other Jackson Pollack like designs.

You get the idea. But if you like freeze dried food and freezing at night while trying to get some shut eye, go for it! Lake Moosehead awaits!

An Inspiring Tale From the Italian Coronavirus Disaster

Poor Italy! Just a few weeks ago, everything was normal. Everyone was getting ready for the spring and summer season — glorious! That seems like a long time ago now.  The virus has hit Italy very hard.

My heart goes out to our Italian friends. And we can smile at least with this tidbit of news from NYT

In Italy, where the confirmed caseload has topped 24,700 and citizens remain essentially under house arrest, people are expressing solidarity with each other by singing from their rooftops, balconies and windows.

I wonder what the neighbors would think here in Tartu if I started doing that! Estonians are not like Italians that way, and one must consider that my singing would scare away a hungry sabre tooth tiger!

After the Virus – Will London’s Dive Bars Still be There?

I would not be heading to one of these establishments now. Bad idea. But I can imagine cruising in after a fun evening on the town for a nightcap.

And the best dive bars are? Envelopes please!

But … Crobar?

Dive bars don’t come much dive-ier than this one. You’ll be sharing sticky floor space and listening to heavy metal classics with leather-clad bikers who’ve been coming here for yonks. The great crowd, friendly staff and laid-back vibe make it an ideal late-night spot for knocking back beer and selecting your favourite metalhead track from the snazzy new jukebox. What’s more, there’s a five hour long Happy Hour every night of the week. Buy a round of Bulleit Bourbon mixers for £3.50 each and make some new friends.

Crobar is undoubtedly one of the best dive bars in London, full of metal-heads and good times

The Best Dive Bar in the World May be in Austin

It is called “Deep Eddies!” And BA has fallen in love with it

(The) experience starts before I even enter the bar. Deep Eddy’s fluorescent, back-lit sign—with an inexplicable baby blue tornado logo and midcentury, serifed red letters—illuminates a corner that, unlike most of Austin, is incredibly quiet and surrounded by houses and a glowing Chevron station.

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Inside, you get a different feel

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Or perhaps you have a better dive bar in your home town?

Hmmm … that got me thinking.