WC’s Smörgåsbord Edition

Breakfast Smörgåsbord, Madison, Wisconsin

Breakfast Smörgåsbord, Madison, Wisconsin

If you didn’t grow up in a household influenced by a Swedish grandmother, or haven’t been to Sweden, you may not know what a smörgåsbord is. Certainly none of the American efforts to establish smörgåsbord restaurants here appear to have survived contact with Americans. A smörgåsbord is “a celebratory meal and guests can help themselves from a range of dishes laid out for their choice. In a restaurant the term refers to a buffet-style table laid out with many small dishes from which, for a fixed amount of money, one is allowed to choose as many as one wishes.”

The key idea of a smörgåsbord is a large variety of small servings. Think of it as a logical extension of WC’s magpie sensibility: a blog post in which WC’s attention to any one dish doesn’t last longer than a couple of paragraphs. Tuck your virtual napkin under your chin and dig in.

Ding Dong, the witch is dead
Which old witch?
Well, uh, the wicked witch (Oh)
Ding Dong, the wicked witch is dead
— “The Munchkin Song, from The Wizard of Oz

Sara Huckabee Sanders, paid purveyor of lies, half truths, distortions, innuendo and worse, and incidentally Donald Trump’s press secretary, has resigned. She says she would like to be remembered for something else: transparency and honesty.


Some of us remember Ron Ziegler, the hapless, feckless press secretary to Dick Nixon. WC and his friends named a trophy after him, the Ron Ziegler Prize for Serial Dishonesty. Well, WC awards the trophy – heck, retires the trophy – to Sanders, whose pattern of falsehoods are unlikely to ever be matched. Except, possibly, by her replacement.  WC was simply unable to watch this person perform; it was infuriating to watch her in action. It was slightly less intolerable to read the lies afterwards. Goodbye, Ms. Sanders. Good riddance.

Finally, finally Paul Hansmeier got what was coming to him. You may not have heard of Hansmeier, but he and his partners, John Steele and the late Paul Duffy, conspired to extort money from the foolish, and were highly successful at it. The racket went like this:

(1) they’d buy the rights to a porn flick;

(2) they’s upload it to a streaming site;

(3) everyone who downloaded the movie would get a demand letter, asserting copyright, demanding money and threatening a lawsuit if the victim didn’t pay.

The victim, faced with the threat of a federal lawsuit naming him as a porn viewer, would pay the extortion money. The whole “enterprise” was wrapped up in a cloud of bogus shell companies, and it took the court system a shamefully long time to figure it out. But at the end of the day, Hansmeier, after being disbarred, got 14 years in the pen, and very tough restitution obligations. Steele cooperated with the feds in the end, and awaits sentencing. It’s very hard to give lawyers a bad name, but these jerks managed.

Long-time readers will recall that WC visited Antarctica back in 2010. The trip was made aboard the MV Polar Star, a reconfigured Norwegian icebreaker. She was a good ship, riding out a severe storm that left her sister ship, the Ushaia, crippled and limping back to her namesake port. The next year, the Polar Star backed onto an uncharted rock and, well, that was pretty much the end of the Polar Star. The whole sad saga was chronicled here earlier. It has been difficult to find out what has happened to it since, but there is evidence it is still being held in the Las Palmas, in the Azores, and it is for sale. Sadly rusted, with its paint oxidized by the merciless Atlantic sunlight, it can be yours for $4.5 million.

Finally, for desert, Max Boot, in a very good essay, responded to Trump’s admission to George Stephanopoulos that Trump would cheerfully accept information from a foreign source that would help his re-election. After a thorough takedown of Trump and those who support him, Boot concluded:

Beyond the issue of foreign election interference, this sordid episode shows how an utterly amoral president in league with power-hungry Republicans and the ratings-driven conservative media-industrial complex has hijacked U.S. politics. Considerations of truth, justice and the national interest are utterly alien to our new overlords. All that matters is “owning” the “libtards” — and enjoying the spoils of power.

Any further argument from WC would be cumulative.