Stephen Miller, who found pleasure in putting children in cages

Editor’s note: Pandemic Journal staff has found it challenging to keep pace with the news. But some stories demand coverage, and word that White House Advisor Stephen Miller contracted Covid-19 is one of those. That’s why we’re running a fill-in-the-blanks preview edition of this ghoul’s obituary for your edification and pleasure, even as we send him our sincerest thoughts and prayers.

August 23, 1985-________

White House advisor Stephen Miller, who rose from the dead and used his vampiric powers to promote policies that did many a tinpot authoritarian proud, has left this earthly realm and returned to his underworld lair where his presence is undoubtedly giving Satan the heebie-jeebies. Covid may have been the cause, but for all we know he may have just decided hell suits him better.

Miller was born and attended school for many years in California, where his classmates regularly administered parking lot beat downs in response to Miller’s penchant for turning every tragedy into a right wing talking point. Ejected from the state for being a complete dick, he continued his studies at Duke University, where he was best known as a promoter and fundraiser for noted neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, as well as a first-class asshole.

Miller, who had every trace of his humanity removed in a groundbreaking surgical procedure in 2001, gained the attention of Nazi enthusiasts and casual fascists worldwide for his embrace of policies that wink at the notion of white superiority without saying it out loud too often.

Following graduation, he won an OAN reality show in which he strangled kittens for a continuous 72 hour period without stopping to eat or drink. The show remains the highest rated in OAN’s history.

Miller rose to become a White House policy advisor after demonstrating his abject cruelty to an administration that thrives on it. While he was known for separating migrant families and caging children, a lesser known fact is that these were not his official duties, but hobbies he joylessly engaged in for much of his life. In addition to his duties as liaison to the less savory elements of society, Miller was primary White House speechwriter despite his requirement that his overwrought screeds, which lacked any connection to reality, be translated from their original German.

Miller leaves behind his wife, also a horrible person, and no friends.

I Was a Candy Striper at Walter Reed and Now I Have the Nuclear Football. AMA.

I became at volunteer Candy Striper at Walter Reed Hospital in 2019 because of my love of humankind and unflinching belief that I can make a positive difference in this world. Despite the personal risk it represents, I’ve upheld that commitment during the pandemic, serving a shift from 7 AM to 3 PM five days a week, without fail. And without pay.

While it’s not unusual for the president to appear at my workplace, the other day was a bit different. Perhaps it was his labored breathing and sweaty, panicked countenance. I don’t judge, though, and set about giving him the best care I could. Even when he, profanely and for far longer than necessary, demanded to know why he was there and whether his pal Vladimir sent me to rescue him.

Patients can become disoriented so I chuckled at his outburst, which set off another of what my mom calls “adult tantrums” and an uncontrolled coughing fit.

That caused a commotion and the president’s handlers and aides and all the doctors and nurses jumped into action and wheeled him toward the ICU. And I found myself alone. Typically, I would turn to comfort the spouse but in this case I think she was still sore about the “porn hooker” and didn’t come along.

I busied myself tidying up after the president and his entourage and immediately spied a black briefcase, which I recognized as the Presidential Emergency Satchel or what some folks call the nuclear football.

There was no one to hand it to and the end of my shift had long passed, so I figured I would take it home for safekeeping and bring it back the next day. I showed it to mom and she laughed and said the world would be a lot safer with the nuclear codes in the hands of any random juvenile than the president. She’s a kidder.

Anyway, I’ve been perusing pages of retaliatory options, teaching my parrot the nuclear launch codes, and prank calling Domino’s with the bag’s super cool satellite communications device. But I’m bored, on Reddit and have the nuclear football. Ask me anything.

Kimberly Guilfoyle Stuck Her Tongue Down My Throat and Now I Believe I Have the White House Virus

Six cocktails deep at a Rose Garden ceremony isn’t where you want to be in the perilous times, but there I was and it is what it is. I had just ordered cocktail number seven, hoping to suppress my despair, when I turned and found myself masked face to mask-less face with Kimberly Guilfoyle. I tried to engage her in conversation about her journey from attorney to tabloid fodder-slash-lesson for Toastmasters everywhere, but she ripped my tall pure grain alcohol and lemon from my hands, downed it in one gulp, and forced her tongue down my throat while simultaneously demanding I view compromising photos of her cat sitter.

As I felt her serpent tongue penetrate my medical grade mask and plunge toward my tonsils, one thought was fixed firmly in my noggin: There’s no telling which Trump has been partying with that tongue, and in any event it’s likely awash in SARS-CoV-2.

I hit the eject lever on our unanticipated tete-a-tete and made straight for Pandemic Journal HQ, where I am currently quarantined with a shit-ton of Clorox and Beefeaters gin.

Never fear, I’ve reallocated budget for our staff’s 401k match to a helicopter that sits outside, ready to whisk me to a hospital at the sign of the first sniffle. I considered checking myself in as a precaution, but Chris Christie needed both beds in his room so none were available.

I’m an optimist by nature, but watching the dominoes fall, one by one, is cause for concern. I thought we could count on Kayleigh to never lie and that SUV joyride we all witnessed was a bit too Weekend-at-Bernies for my comfort, so I’m hunkered down, alternating between doomscrolling for news about another senator getting the vapors and writing detailed instructions for my Viking funeral.

I’ll need your thoughts and prayers, please.

A Reader’s Guide to Interpreting White House Reports

Amidst the turmoil of this news cycle I had a sit-down with Pandemic Journal’s White House reporter to get the skinny on how she plans to cover what will be, whatever goes down, a massive shit storm of obfuscation and misdirection.

I poured myself a tumbler of pure grain alcohol with a squeeze of lemon and settled into my Barcalounger. “How in the hell are you going to do it?” I asked her. “I’m counting on you to give our readers the truth, or at least an entertaining semblance of it.”

Here is her formula for cutting through the crap:

One, be aware of Kayleigh McEnany’s tell. If she says, “I will never lie to you” or refers to her stack of file folders, she’s lying.

Two, gauge the fear in Peter Navarro’s eyes. The man has survived years of being wrong about literally everything there is to be wrong about, and yet he has a job. If he looks like his next stop is a bread line, that’s a red alert.

Three, take the average of Mark Meadows’ and Larry Kudlows’ opinions and throw it out.

Four, if Rudy Guiliani appears at the White House and makes comments like “I’ll do for America what I did for New York,” start writing the lede for a story about an unsuccessful coup attempt.

And five, pay close attention to Twitter. Tweets from the president that lack words in all caps or exclamation marks suggest we are about to be presented with a Presidential Stunt Double, in which case the press pool should ask this potential lookalike the names of his kids. If he can answer the question correctly, we are in a full blown Constitutional crisis.

A Brief Statement from Pandemic Journal About the Welfare of Our Editorial Staff

Readers have faxed and telegraphed messages of concern about our editorial staff’s well-being after news of an outbreak of COVID-19 among the flat earthers who run this once-proud nation. Our readers have seen our masked scribes in close proximity to these yokels and worry that the spread of disease to our newsroom might interfere with publication of “Just How Much Does Melania Fucking Hate Christmas?” which we teased on our Times Square billboard.

Never fear.

Our staff epidemiologist immediately broke the glass on her emergency plan, which has been sitting in a dusty case waiting for just this moment. In a fashion that would make an Olympic-class synchronized swim team proud, we first pink-slipped all writers who had been in close proximity to anyone named Trump, so they might experience the American healthcare system from the perspective of the uninsured and write about it. Second, we tested all remaining members of our staff and their family members, and are relieved to report that every last one of them tested negative for sympathy.

Rest assured that publication of Pandemic Journal, including the upcoming photo feature of Letitia James smacking an eerily familiar piñata with a baseball bat, will continue without interruption.

Pandemic Journal Answers Readers’ Questions About Last Night’s Debate

An outbreak of alcohol poisoning and melancholy sidelined everyone on Pandemic Journal’s political beat after last night’s hootenanny in Cleveland. So I’ve turned to other sage voices to offer royalty-free answers to readers’ questions about the flaming mess we all witnessed.

Does Chris Wallace regret his career choice?

Per Cormack McCarthy, “You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”

Rudy Guiliani was in the audience, and contrary to my expectations he was neither gagged nor bound to his chair. What’s up with that?

As Anton Chekhov observed, “One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn’t going to go off. It’s wrong to make promises you don’t mean to keep.”

The Proud Boys got an unprecedented endorsement from a sitting President. Did I really witness that or was it a hallucination?

Eric Hoffer once wrote, “Nationalist pride, like other variants of pride, can be a substitute for self-respect.”

There go the suburbs. Amiright?

In Charles Kuralt’s words, “It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers, and criminals.”

What do I make of the word salad that spewed across the stage any time the President was asked about his plans?

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” That’s Isaac Asimov, by the way.

Are they really going to do this again? Twice?

Winston Churchill once said, “It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see.”

Setting the record straight about the banana stand

“There’s always money in the banana stand,” Pop-Pop used to say. His sage advice stuck with me during the years the banana stand grew like wildfire, fueled by consumers’ insatiable appetites for frozen, oblong treats and Pop-Pop’s money laundering. His wisdom stuck with me when the banana stand burned, fueled by hastily hidden and highly flammable legal tender. And his wisdom lives in me today, guiding my stewardship of a global empire of wildly improbable, not to mention unprofitable, banana stands in far flung locales like Panama, Moscow, Scotland and Kiev.

Yes, although these banana stands are black holes for local currency, revenue-producing marketing deals mint mountains of cash for my web of enterprises. Every time my name and face are slapped on another Tiki hut staffed by teenage contractors hired by licensees, my banana stand empire shifts into a higher gear, sluicing dollars, euros and rubles through hundreds of interconnected offshore companies. It creates a lot of wealth, believe me.

Banana stand brand licensing and merch, as well as my star turn on the CW Network’s reality show “Top Banana” have made me a billionaire. Modesty prevents me from saying how many billions, but there are a lot. Many, many billions that I have had to protect through legally-dubious, one-sided agreements with a long list of ex-wives, bastard kids, hookers and mistresses.

Normally, I would let my billions speak for themselves, but news vultures have been flooding the zone with stories about me, the banana stand empire, and my considerable wealth. Based on dubious sources like public records and government documents, it is alleged that bad things were done. I’ll counter that they weren’t, or in the worst case, mistakes were made.

So I am setting the record straight on a number of points.

First, I am a billionaire. Would I say I’m a billionaire if there weren’t millions of banana stand customers who line up each day to attest to my wealth, genius and handsomeness?

Second, allegations about my paltry contributions to the US Treasury are false. The best taxes are no taxes, any taxes make my stomach hurt, and I have a perpetual stomach ache and uncontrollable flatulence every day. So I must pay a lot of taxes!

Third, I’m personally hurt that nasty people on the Internet say I’m a bad businessman. I’m a very, very good businessman and it’s only natural that when you’re trying to keep a thousand balls in the air–each of those balls representing an obscure LLC that serves as a financial conduit for ever-larger corporations’ cash flows–one of those balls, like a banana stand-themed casino, will eventually fall to the ground and take down a local economy. That’s not my fault.

Finally, it is not true that the banana stand is a house of cards backed by unknown actors who hold a fiscal sword of Damocles over my head, and that my only way out of financial ruin is to co-opt the operations of a good sized government and start squeezing ’em for cash. No, this is not true at all, but it’s an excellent idea.

Getting Back on the Bike

Twenty-plus years ago, I rode a motorcycle. I used it to commute, have fun and occasionally travel. The bike itself was a ’79 BMW R100/7, which was a combination project, time machine for many people I encountered (I remember when…), and semi-reliable way to get around. I sold it a few years after moving to North Carolina.

The pandemic got me thinking about riding again, as a means of getting out of the house for a few hours and visiting sites around the Piedmont I’ve been wanting to see and photograph. I’m old enough to know that riding a motorcycle is a perishable skill so I decided to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider class again. Finding a class nearby that wasn’t fully booked was a challenge, so I used that as an excuse to take the class at the BMW Rider Academy in Greer, SC. If you’re thinking about taking the MSF class and are anywhere near Greer, I can recommend it.

I rode a nearly new BMW G 310 R instead of the clapped out Honda from my first class. It’s a light, agile bike with a single cylinder engine, six-speed transmission, TFT instrument display, inverted forks, rear mono shock and ABS. It’s not ideal for a person six-plus feet tall, but it wasn’t uncomfortable to ride.

My bike for a couple of days.
No dials on this bike.

I mentioned that motorcycling skills are perishable? Mine were. The class starts with very basic skills – finding the clutch friction zone, balancing and manipulating the throttle before moving on to actual riding. Most of the exercises happen at relatively low speeds (under 30 mph), so spills (and a few classmates had them) aren’t serious. U-turns, figure-8s in a confined box, braking (and panic braking) in different situations, swerving and other fundamentals kept us busy for most of two days.

Another thing in favor of taking the MSF class at BMW: Fantastic food for lunch. I had baked cod the first day and pork chops the second. And no, the class isn’t any more expensive than taking it at a community college. Plus, BMW offers some financial perks for those who choose to follow up by purchasing a new BMW motorcycle.

The conclusion of day two is the skills test. Those who lack a motorcycle endorsement on their license can pass this in place of some states’ skills tests. We quickly went through five tests to assess our ability to control our motorcycles. Drop the bike, stall more than three times, or rack up 16 penalty points and you fail. I’m happy to say I didn’t stall or fall, and had plenty of points to spare.

What’s next? I need more practice, but I need a bike first. And I kind of miss having a BMW boxer, which was a lot of fun and easy to ride. Maybe I’ll look for something like this R nineT.

A Pandemic Journal Update for Our Print Subscribers

Pandemic Journal was born during the halcyon years when politicians didn’t mess with those of us who purchased ink by the barrel, and readers had to put pen to paper to tell us what was on their tiny minds. The Internet may have turned this all bass-ackwards, but believe it or not we still have readers who like to perambulate to the end of the driveway or post office to retrieve the words they’ll sit down to consume with a Scotch chaser.

Six of them, in fact. I know their names, each and every one of them, and I’ll be damned if they don’t keep re-upping their print subscriptions just to piss me off.

But times are changing and so is the manner in which each weekly copy of Pandemic Journal will be conveyed to these Luddite dead-enders.

You’ve probably heard that the US Post Office is evolving – similar to the way your neighborhood ice cream shop evolved into offering a subscription model where the only flavors are Shit and Death. We’ve gotten a memo outlining how the new order will affect subscription delivery, and for the six (or maybe five, because Ted has been knocking on death’s door for a while now) readers who like to stain their hands with ink, I’ll offer an update.

Beginning this week, each print issue of Pandemic Journal will be one page, full of four letter words, stuffed in the smallest envelope we can find. We will post these envelopes each Monday for delivery at some random date in the future. Or never.

The fine people at the USPS tell me that each issue will now follow this route, on the way to subscribers’ doors:

A man driving a red, white and blue truck will pointedly ignore your issues for a minimum of five business days. Those that don’t end up behind industrial shelving will eventually be shoved into bins, loaded on the truck and dropped off at a multipurpose processing center, where mail goes for sorting and chickens go to be parted out for McNuggets. A woman named Cheryl may take one or more of your issues home to read.

If the processing center doesn’t burn down due to the historical neglect of routine maintenance, chicken-slime coated issues will be placed in a briefcase and hand-carried to randomly selected fields, where contractors selected for being the lowest bidders will send (via hot air balloon, I think) our carefully crafted prose in the general direction of our subscribers.

Schoolchildren across the nation will eventually find these issues, emblazoned with a notice of reward for swift return, spread across balloon wreckage sites. We will receive these returned issues via FedEx.

Finally, a representative of Pandemic Journal will call each subscriber with a delivery confirmation.

We hope that our six print subscribers will appreciate this enhanced service. In order to support this improved delivery initiative, we will raise the print subscription price by a modest amount – roughly 948% per annum. You’re welcome.