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Takeaways from Cohen’s Testimony

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I listened to a few political podcasts this morning and was shocked by some of the cynical takeaways from yesterday’s Cohen hearing, so I decided to write down some thoughts. This may be a little rough, as I haven’t had much time to extrapolate everything, and may be improvising some of my points on the fly, so bear with me.

One thing of note was Cohen’s insistence that Trump was involved with every major decision regarding his business and campaign, using his children and fixers to distance himself from direct criminal engagement. He basically uses his children as decoys so that he can escape direct scrutiny. Cohen also acted as his lawyerly muscle in this way, threatening people to keep schtum on Trump’s order around 500 times.

This characterization of Trump is valuable insofar as we already know that several people close to Trump, including Cohen himself and Paul Manafort, have been convicted of serious crimes. If Trump always had a hand in the business dealings of his subordinates, it stands to reason that any criminal activity they committed while working in his company’s name was done at his behest. Though Trump will likely deny any involvement- it’s what he’s best at- it will be harder to paint him as an oblivious innocent when he get a deeper picture of how exactly he conducts his business. This will likely be corroborated by how he is running his White House, with his children acting as his subordinates and stealing focus from him when it comes to questionable dealings.

The Democrats failed to hit home on the main takeaway, that Trump was a criminal before he entered office and continued his criminal activity while in office. The Democrats need to do a better job of making a show of the parts of the testimony that actually are relevant. If any Democrats believe in a path to impeachment via the Mueller investigation, they need to start laying the groundwork now. AOC made an effort, but it would have been better if she’d had more allies. A few lines of questioning from the Democrats- most notably “What is the truth that Trump fears most?”- fell flat and felt like someone asking you to do their homework for them. If you’re at the hearing, you’re supposed to have five minutes worth of substantive questions regarding the testimony, not just blindly swing in the dark for a home run.

Luckily for the Democrats, the Republicans looked lost out there. Jim Jordan’s histrionics were especially undermined by the insistence of so many Republicans that there was book deal behind all of this. Ever notice how Republicans are die-hard anti-taxation capitalists who believe a man’s money is his life until it comes to this book deal? The entire Republican brand seems to be built around the idea that making money is a sign of ingenuity, but not so if you turn on the President. Cohen made mincemeat of a few of them, which was shocking considering how morally bankrupt he is in general. The Democrats had an unlikely friend in this criminal who was calling out the GOP fraudsters on a game he knows all too well.

One of the podcasts I listened to suggested that Cohen’s statement that he ‘didn’t know of any collusion but had his suspicions’ somehow exonerated Trump. This blew my mind. If anything, we should be dissecting every word of Cohen’s testimony very carefully. If we can believe Cohen’s claims, they were working on the testimony late into the night, that being Cohen’s explanation for why it was delivered so late. (This became an immediate point of contention with the GOP, who demanded a delay to read everything over, as if they hadn’t just plowed on through with the Kavanaugh hearings last year.) Later in the hearing, Cohen said something to the effect of ‘I chose my wording very carefully’. Based on his demeanor and repetitious phrasing and work as a lawyer, it’s safe to say every aspect of his testimony was prepared carefully, and that’s why he was able to sail so smoothly through so many emotional lines of questioning from the GOP.

This suggests to me that Cohen might still be lying, but with a few caveats: 1) He is likely withholding information that would embarrass Trump in terms of sexual dealings further, because this seemed to be one of Cohen’s main duties as a fixer, yet he never brought up anything ‘grab her by the pussy’-ish. He painted a picture of Trump as a loving man who would never lay a hand on Melania. This doesn’t ring true, and his silence with regard to anything additionally salacious there suggests to me that the dirt he threw on Trump was a hand-picked selection, not the whole pile of misdeeds. Cohen’s testimony was written like a high-school essay. He set his thesis that Trump was a conman, a cheat and a racist, and he set out to prove those facts, nothing more.

Granted some of what he cannot say may be tied to ongoing investigations, so that could explain away some of it. But it seemed strange that his extramarital dealings and behavior weren’t touched on a little, given that Cohen was directly involved in the whole Stormy situation. Cohen no doubt knew plenty of salacious stories about Trump, and maybe out of fear for causing further marital stress to Trump (?) he shied away from that line of attack. This is after all a betrayal between old friends, not an attack from a long-time enemy. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cohen set some ‘do not cross’ lines knowing that whatever he saw Trump do in private wouldn’t be corroborated by any evidence anyway, so he might as well let him off the hook.

The question is, why was racism one of Cohen’s angles when he had only hearsay to back it up? I think racism stood in place of the obvious sexual misconduct that Cohen did not want to discuss. He used racism as a distraction- and distracting it did become- as a way of keeping questioning from touching sexual misconduct, likely a can of worms, considering Cohen threatened people for Trump around 500 times. There is likely a fair amount of sexual misconduct to be caught and killed in 500 threats worth of fixing.

There’s nothing but guesswork to support this theory, but I’m betting Cohen wanted to keep wives and extramarital affairs off the table, as he is in the process of trying to keep his own marriage afloat. Knowing Trump, if he started bringing up strippers and porn stars, Trump would likely have a few stories about Cohen to share (or concoct) as well.

There were a lot of awkward swings and misses from Republicans during the hearing but even one of the worst moments- using a black woman as a prop to prove Trump isn’t racist- became a debacle after the Democrats- as always- took the bait and wasted questioning time getting in an argument with an old white man about whether or not being called racist is the true racism. This resulted in a lady having to back down and look meek while the needs of the old white man were tended to. Once the old white man had his pacifier things could resume, but what an embarrassing display from both sides in that instant. Of course the GOP was using a racist trick- “I have a black friend,” but instead of mocking their senility, the Dems turned it into a battle of emotions, and you are never going to win a battle of emotions with these Trump loving GOP weirdos, because they know the louder and dumber they act, the more Trump will get a kick out of it. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Cohen’s interest in collusion seemed to be genuine, as if he was out of the loop on the whole thing but had inklings it might be real. This is where we see the trail of bread crumbs to the rest of the investigation. You have to think that Mueller wants us to see or hear key bits of testimony at key times, and this seems to be setting the stage for him to put on a show later. But even if we don’t get any additional information from anyone, which is highly unlikely, we still have proof that the President is a criminal.

 

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Trivago

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Laughing at this Trivago commercial. “Most sites only show you SOME of the hotels.” Okay, so Trivago shows you ALL the hotels, I’m guessing? “Trivago gives you a better overview of the hotels in any area.” How is that different than SOME of the hotels? Who’s the linguistic technician watching Trivago’s hotel selection team shove handfuls of Monopoly hotels into its algorithm port? “How’s it going today, Chuck?” “Not great, but it’s getting better.” “Well, as long that it’s better, that’s all we can ask for. Someday we’ll make this tube big enough that we can shove all the hotels inside. But until that day, better is good enough.” This is why the Trivago hypocrisy division is always on Red Alert.

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Essays Writing

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

“This will NOT be a good movie,” I say to myself. “The first one was terrible. And you didn’t even see it.” I take a deep breath and close my eyes. When I open them, I realize that I am already in line for the midnight showing on opening night. In my hands are four tickets, one for each turtle. I realize that I have no friends with me. Who would be friends with someone who saw this movie? And yet I have four tickets, each for a consecutive screening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. The tickets seem to shine in the moonlight, like the golden ticket in the equally good Last Action Hero. I check my watch. I still have time to run to the car and escape. “But it would be rude to the tickets not to use them,” I murmur aloud before entering the theater and purchasing something called a Heroes on the Half Shell Popcorn Combo. It costs me $27.50, a small price considering it comes with a collectable shell-topped bucket. “I really wanted the Donatello bucket,” I murmur, exiting the concessions line, then immediately reentering it. But you can’t just have a Leonardo bucket and a Donatello bucket, I realize, already envisioning all four buckets on my mantle. “You already have popcorn,” says a small child in front of me, turning back to gawk at the man talking to himself about turtles, a single stray puff of popcorn jutting from his beard. “You shut your goddamn mouth,” the child’s father says, before giving me a knowing smile and nod. “Turtle power,” the father says. “Turtle power,” I reply.

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Comedy Essays Matt Shore Reel: Writing Portfolio Uncategorized

Botched Pick-Up Lines

Sometimes on Twitter a magical thing happens. People, unified by love for one particularly comical idea create a hashtag pitch session in which they all contribute the funniest zingers they can imagine to a particular trend or topic as annotated by the formula ‘#bullshit.’ With this in mind, I’d like to share with you my entries into the genre of #botchedpickuplines.

“Is that a mouse in your pocket, or are you just happy to be a transvestite? Either way, I’m interested and desperate.” #botchedpickuplines

“A woman is like a work of art. Inevitably, she’ll be clinging to my mudflaps.” #botchedpickuplines

“Say, who’s your fat friend over there?” #botchedpickuplines

“Are you tired? Because you’ve been running from me in my mind all day.” #botchedpickuplines

“This is the first time I’ve seen a creature as beautiful as you outside of my uncle’s barn.” #botchedpickuplines

“Top five rape fantasies! Go!” #botchedpickuplines

“You’ve never seen Eraserhead ’til you’ve seen it on Roofies.” #botchedpickuplines

“I seduce women like a dairy farmer. How appropriate! You look like a cow.” #botchedpickuplines

“Is your father a baker? Because I’m into anal beads.” #botchedpickuplines

“KNIFE to meet you!” #stab “Whoops.” #botchedpickuplines

“Let’s go see ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ together! I hear bitches like you love that shit.” #botchedpickuplines

“If you were a laser gun, you’d be set to ‘Calibrate Internal Heat Function’ for four hours.” #botchedpickuplines

“ACCEPT MY SEED.” #botchedpickuplines

“You’re the kind of girl who’d like to hear a dark secret revealed immediately after sex, I can tell. So bend over.” #botchedpickuplines

“When you walked in, the entire room lit up. And all the roaches scattered.” #botchedpickuplines

“You’re the most beautiful woman in this entire outhouse.” #botchedpickuplines

“Can I buy you a drink? You look like the kind who’d need one after whatever her father did to her.” #botchedpickuplines

“Do you come here often? To Confession, I mean.” #botchedpickuplines

“Pre-op or post-op?” #botchedpickuplines

“Of course I’m pro-choice. Pulling out is MY choice, isn’t it?” #botchedpickuplines

“Are you an orphan? Because I would kill your parents to bang you.” #botchedpickuplines

“No, I was never actually President. But I did travel around the country with a very interesting slide-show.” #botchedpickuplines

“I just saw the vagina monologues, and you’ve got something I’d like to re-reclaim.” #botchedpickuplines

“Your face reminds me of a great ‘Three Stooges.'” #botchedpickuplines

“Do you believe in love at first sight? Try making eye contact with that other chick over there…” #botchedpickuplines

“I know it seems far-fetched, but I would really like to hump you.” #botchedpickuplines

“Do you believe in soul mates? What about Sasquatch?” #botchedpickuplines

“You remind me of that one song by The Police. EEEEE-OOO-EEEE-OOO!!!” #botchedpickuplines #loudsirennoises

“Hey, you seem mentally retarded. My name is Edward Cullen.” #botchedpickuplines

“Hey there, nerd. Might I interest you in my Big Wang Theory?” #botchedpickuplines

“The only thing that could keep me away from you are the steel bars that currently are.” #botchedpickuplines

“I’m a Shakespeare scholar. Mind if I Ophelia?” #botchedpickuplines

“When I look into your eyes I see the reflection of a very handsome man staring back.” #botchedpickuplines

“You’re the reason cavemen chiseled on walls. One look at you, and you left them no escape.” #botchedpickuplines

“When I’m alone, I feel like half of a sack of shit. You complete me.” #botchedpickuplines

“Did you ever notice your deformity?” #botchedpickuplines

“Love is unpredictable. My psychic told me to tell you that.” #botchedpickuplines

“You could win a beauty pageant, even if no one else entered.” #botchedpickuplines

“What’s a White Castle parking lot like you doing around an okay-looking woman like this?” #botchedpickuplines

“Foreplay can be exciting, so long as you don’t muss my TRON bedspread.” #botchedpickuplines

“The brain is the sexiest organ. Which raises the question – your brain or mine?” #botchedpickuplines

“As long as you’re not into strength or duration, I think we could have something here.” #botchedpickuplines

“Let’s just both keep drinking ’til one of us turns pretty.” #botchedpickuplines

“Ever frenched a guy with detachable teeth?” #botchedpickuplines

“You ladies into bad boys? Hand over your purses. Now.” #botchedpickuplines

“Nice cheekbones. Only they’d look a lot better crumpled up on my bedroom floor…” #botchedpickuplines

“Bet I can guess your weight to within three hundred pounds!” #botchedpickuplines

“You remind me on an Angel. Yep, Angel “Hot Rod” Sanders, fastest dirtbike racer on the track.” #botchedpickuplines

“You’re like Danny Devito’s character in Space Jam. Unforgettable.” #botchedpickuplines

“You’re old enough to be my mother, and it never stopped me before.” #botchedpickuplines

“I couldn’t help but notice you from across the tomb.” #botchedpickuplines

“Your hair smells incredible. Even just this thick clump in my hand…Ahh…” #botchedpickuplines

“Your eyes are like the stars. The light inside them died long before they reached me here tonight.” #botchedpickuplines

“Bet I can guess your race in three gestures!” #botchedpickuplines

“You’re like the Sinead O’Connor of women.” #botchedpickuplines

“I bet you’ve never seen a car like mine before. It’s invisible. We’re in it right now.” #botchedpickuplines

“You remind me of a battleship. Tall, majestic, and soon to be covered in seamen.” #botchedpickuplines

“C’mon, Hillary. I just think after all the campaigning I did, you could wear the beret ONE time.” #botchedpickuplines

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed them. If you’d like to Retweet any of these and share them with your followers, simply click the linked hashtags next to the joke you want to Retweet. Once you’re on the Tweet’s page you can click ‘Retweet’ from there. Let me know if you actually use any of these!

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Comedy Essays Matt Shore Reel: Writing Portfolio

Blind Adventures in Dating

The following is written by media maven, Laura Mayer. It is a gripping tale of harrowing adventure at the battlefront of modern dating. Without brave forays into the unknown like this one, the human race might have to suffer needlessly at the hands of bad dating in the future. In that small way, Laura Mayer is an American Hero.

A few days ago a friend of mine tried to set me up on a blind date with his friend. I waved this process along (from the comfort of a wicker chair in a beer garden, a thorn atop a throne), telling my friend to ask Mr. Setup to send me an e-mail. This is what I received.

My name is Ron and I have all of my teeth. When I was nine I had too many teeth. My shark boy period was settled by a local anesthetic and what seemed like tongs. Though my memory hasn’t been backed up to an external hard drive yet I can recall living on shredded wheat for a number of weeks before getting my goofy, nine year-old smile back.

This coming Tuesday is my birthday. I’ll be cranky with a goofy, twenty-five year-old smile.

I’m an English instructor at a community college in ********. I love my friends dearly though I can go great lengths of time without speaking to them. I’ve been told they love me as well. I can’t stand ignorant people nor their over intellectual counterparts.

I’ve recently began working towards a bachelors in Industrial Engineering because I need the money. Christopher Hitchens makes sense to me but so does Cornell West. I love any creative endeavor worth its weight in merit. Never call me a film buff, artist or writer though these would reflect my behavior and hobby sets. I’ve accepted that I may be single for the rest of my life so there’s no pressure. I laughed out loud typing that last sentence. And that last one. But not that last one…

What Ben told you about me is probably a truthful fabrication, an honest fiction cobbled together from half remembered lies and blurry anecdotes. I imagine the fuzzy shape of an idea you may have about me. Its only gonna get fuzzier. I won’t guarantee anything. That would be presumptuous. No one knows the future. I give what I get. Chill begets chill begets chill.

Alright, I need my booty sleep. Zap me a response. Of course, you have the right to abort any future rendezvous as per your judgment.

Awkward close to an awkward e-mail.

-Ron(nie)

PS. You’re really cute.

Surprised by his candor and awkwardness, I turned to my friend Matt Shore. A master of the written word and a connoisseur in matters of the heart, Matt provided this reply:

Laura,

Out of deepest respect for you, I have decided to annotate my appraisal of this love letter of yours. Surely the owner could use some assistance when it comes to crafting an appropriately amorous first letter, and I will be happy to provide him with some criticism. Forward this in response, if it is to your liking.

1. Ron? Pussy name. Reminds me of that ginger-headed bitch from Harry Potter. Off to a bad start.

2. “…and I have all of my teeth.” Is this an opening joke, or the first example of what is sure to be a plethora of such half-mundane yet mildly troubling assertions about his character? I can’t tell if this is supposed to be funny (read: it’s not very funny either way) or not, but it severely creeps me out. I imagine this thought goes with the rest of his collection in those black-spotted CVS notepads that he keeps poorly stacked on his aging, rickety bookshelf amongst all of the jars full of fermenting animal parts.

3.  “My shark boy period was settled by a local anesthetic and what seemed like tongs.” If this guy actually had a shark boy period, I would say date him. You could use an overly aggressive bad-boy (think a Taylor Lautner / Matt Shore type) in your life, but the incredibly poor phrasing of this sentence is again troubling. How can a period be “settled?” Bad diction and phrasing all around. I assume he was trying to be clever and actually meant anesthesiologist there, but just wanted to pack in some semi-gay passive voice punch. The use of the word “tongs” in the second sentence of a love letter is proof positive that this man uses an inflatable pump to become aroused.

4. “…external hard drive…goofy, nine year-old smile…” aka “Though I am currently an emotionless humanoid cyber-douche with no concept of human interaction or my own potential awkwardness, I was once a young lad of nine, equatable in your mind to Haley Joel Osmenth in The Sixth Sense.”  Also, Shredded Wheat is delicious.

5. HOLY SHIT, THIS GUY TEACHES ENGLISH?! WTF, SHOULDN’T HE BE ABLE TO WRITE BETTER?! OH MY GAW- oh, Community College. Makes sense.

6. The next few sentences: “I love my friends dearly, and visit them often at the cemetery. Just kidding, they are alive but I only visit them once a year because my concept of the word ‘friendship’ is tenuous at best. Did I mention I am an English teacher? I have been told by local news outlets that they are still very much in love with me, as I assume you soon will be too. I hate both idiots and smart people. Where do you fit in?”

7. OMG: “I am currently sinking further and further into academic debt (because I need the money). These two things I have been considering presumably make as much sense to you as they do to me. I like any creative endeavor that is worth exactly one pound of flesh (read: human). Never describe me as who I am, what I am doing, or using the systematically prescribed nomenclature and diction of our time. I am indescribable and have been rejected by countless women. I find myself very humorous as a result, and whether or not I am currently stoned, I sure seem to pour over my own writing with the obsession over minutia like I am. You WILL find this charming.”

8.  “What Ben told you about me is probably an honest lie, a fabricated yet truthful contradiction, a Rubiks Cube wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in a– WHOOPS. Dripped some of my hot pocket goo on the crotch of my jeans. It is hard to be so eloquent when I am spilling microwaved treats on my loins. Speaking of my loins, how are you? While you think of an answer, I will go procure some ice cubes for my burning crotch. My hope is that chill begets chill.”

9.  Three awesomely terrible words to include in a love letter / initial greeting: Booty, Zap, Abort. Talk about classy. He knows women all right.

10. “I recognize that I am awkward and terrible now, but will make no concerted effort to change this email or evolve in any way. Consider this a small microcosm of the horror of our (soon-to-be!!) future relationship.”

11. P.S. I forget what I like to be called, so I gave us both a parenthetical option.

12. P.P.S. Sex?

I hope my dissection of this poor man’s mind has made it clear that you and he are absolutely perfect for one another. As the apex of all womanhood, you deserve someone who can really treat you well, and I think that you’ll find the accommodations in Ron(nie)’s trunk most spacious.

Please text me after the date to let me know you still have all your limbs.

Your friends sure know how to pick ’em?

– M@

So what do you viewers at home think? Do I hear wedding bells?

– Laura