Politics and Culture in the Comic Zone

Daniel Rigney

Daniel Rigney
New Texas, USA
August 01
free-range writer
In this writing workshop and citizen's blog I'm exploring various short forms, often from a satiric angle. My interests include politics, culture and the human comedy; old and new media; social theory and urban life; the commercialization, corporatization and tabloidization of everything; sustainability; Unitarianism (UU); coffee; and writing (sorry, I mean providing content). Turtle stamp is from Tandy Leather. Interested in republishing a piece? Contact drigney3@gmail.com.


Daniel Rigney's Links

OCTOBER 8, 2012 2:42PM

Paul Revere Is Riding for Big Bird!

Paul Revere Is Riding for Big Bird!

By Daniel Rigney

If old Paul Revere were alive today, I like to think he’d be riding for Big Bird.

You’ve probably seen the letter written by an 8-year-old Alabama girl, Cecilia Crawford, urging Americans to come to the rescue… Read full post »

OCTOBER 5, 2012 11:40AM

Visionary Talent Search: Elon Musk

By Daniel Rigney

Our Unitarian (UU**) minister likes to say that a visionary is someone who can see light in the darkness. Ever on the lookout for hopeful signs in a dusky world, I’m putting my background in sociology and future studies to work as a talent scout,Read full post »

OCTOBER 1, 2012 12:21AM

“I Hate Quotations.” – Emerson

By Daniel Rigney

In 1855, John Bartlett, owner of a university bookstore near Harvard, compiled (with his wife Hannah) and privately printed his now-familiar Familiar Quotations. As far as I can discover, Bartlett’s only quotation of himself in the book was this: “I have gathered a posy… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 27, 2012 2:07PM

My Favorite Famous Unitarians

By Daniel Rigney

Unitarianism may be the most historically-important religious tradition in America that you’ve barely heard of.  Many of the founders of the new republic in 1776 were small-u if not large-U Unitarians (non-trinitarian and inclined toward deism), including Thomas Jefferson… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 8:35PM

The Saudi Arabia of Metaphors

By Daniel Rigney

In recent years the energy industry (and the plume of discourse that rises from it) has generated a seemingly inexhaustible supply of metaphors that take the form “X is the Saudi Arabia of Y.” (Common example: “The United States is the Saudi Arabia of natural… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 21, 2012 12:42PM

Monkey Mindfulness

By Daniel Rigney

I’ve been a curious george for as long as I can remember. When I was eight, our parents bought a full set of World Book encyclopedias from the encyclopedia lady at the Presbyterian church in Nacodoches, Texas. At night, just for fun, and to relieve the tedium… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 15, 2012 12:29AM

Patricia’s Seven Lives

By Daniel Rigney

Our friend Patricia is just two lives short of a cat. In her sixty-some years on Earth she’s already had seven personal incarnations, and she probably has at least two yet to go.

Patricia is not reincarnating in the Hindu or Buddhist sense, though she doesRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 11, 2012 1:04PM

Does Fox News Ask Leading Questions?

By Daniel Rigney

Have you noticed that Fox News screen-crawls and tease-lines frequently take the form of leading questions?

Leading questions or pseudoquestions are typically crude attempts to manipulate viewers through not-so-subtle insinuations and innuendos. (“Is Global Warming a Cruel Hol… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 7, 2012 5:57PM

How to Say No in Twenty Languages

By Daniel Rigney

You’ve probably heard the saying that if you want something done well, you should ask someone who’s already busy to do it. People who are busy are busy for a reason. They get things done.

I would add: Find someone who’s busy and who has trouble… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 4, 2012 2:51PM

Paul Ryan Gift Ideas

By Daniel Rigney

Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin won’t turn 43 until January 29, when he hopes to be a heartbeat away from the presidential chair, a seat now fully occupied by President Barack Obama. Still, it's not too early to begin narrowing down your shopping list of possible… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

As a serious collector of clichés, I’m still savoring the memory of last week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa. Rarely have so many time-honored and market-tested catch phrases been so faithfully gathered and rendered by ghostwriters and so well recited i… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

Archeologists and archivists around the world, working independently of each other, have recently discovered several long-buried quotations from some of human history’s greatest achievers. The discoveries have coincided with the colorful festivities of the Republican National… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney


We’ll know we’re living in a more sustainable world when

... conservatism and conservationism are no longer opposites.

... Republicans believe in evolving.

... we talk about Big Wind, Big Sun and Big Biofuel the way we now talk about Big Oil.

...… Read full post »

AUGUST 28, 2012 11:08AM

A Political Thought Experiment

By Daniel Rigney

It is inconceivable that the United States, land of  liberty, could ever give birth to its own variant of fascism. Real fascism, after all, was a political and economic movement historically specific to Italy nearly a century ago. Nazism, its German cousin, is likewise a thing… Read full post »

AUGUST 23, 2012 4:34PM

Critical Eating Skills

By Daniel Rigney

I’m a good eater, as my mother would say. I’ve rarely met a meal I didn’t like. While some of my best friends are foodies, and a few even qualify as gourmets, I can’t claim to be either of these myself.  

But I’m trying to… Read full post »

AUGUST 20, 2012 1:38PM

You Might Be a Red-Stater If ….

By Daniel Rigney

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy is widely known for his “you might be a redneck” jokes, poking gentle fun mainly at common stereotypes of folks of the rural Southern persuasion.  A quick search reveals that  many others have turned this joke form into a comic formula,… Read full post »

AUGUST 16, 2012 5:24PM

Free Movie Ideas

By Daniel Rigney

Hollywood, I have a few multimillion-dollar blockbuster movie ideas for you. If you respond now to this offer, I’ll send you not one but two bonus ideas. You’ll be charged only a modest processing fee.


Soldiers of Fascism (action picture: Rambo meets Bambi).… Read full post »

AUGUST 14, 2012 2:23PM

21st-Century Advice

By Daniel Rigney

Our electronic mailbag is overflowing again with requests for advice from people trying to cope with 21st-century problems. If you have a 21st-century problem, drop us a note below. Our trained staff at SmartExistentialSolutions (SES) will skill-set them for you.


I’mRead full post »

AUGUST 12, 2012 2:15PM

Trump Acquires Ayn Rand Enterprises

By Daniel Rigney 

Corporate Satire/revised and reposted from 4/22/2011.

Billionaire Donald Trump took the financial world by surprise this morning when he announced he had acquired full rights to the popular AynRand® product line, including books and other paraphernalia currently owned byRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 10, 2012 2:02PM

Dispatch from Houston: The Sikh Temple Vigil

By Daniel Rigney

It’s twilight again in Houston, and we’re gathering in front of the reflecting pool at City Hall to reflect on the gun murders that took place Sunday morning in a Sikh temple just south of Milwaukee. 

This was no ordinary gun massacre, even by American… Read full post »

AUGUST 7, 2012 3:59PM

Random Corporate Naming Solutions

By Daniel Rigney

Take any two words from the following list. Combine them (either AB or BA). Now add the word Solutions. Last step: Capitalize each word, then scrunch them together by deleting the spaces between them.

Here’s your practice wordlist:



Comedy… Read full post »

AUGUST 4, 2012 6:20PM

Magazine Quiz: Fake or Real?

By Daniel Rigney

As a lifelong magazine and newspaper lover (thank you, Weekly Reader and Junior/Senior Scholastic),  I’m always on the lookout for a fresh read.  Some periodicals have unusual titles that sound made up. But in fact, aren’t all periodical titles made up by someo… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

Meryl Streep and I graduated from college in 1971. Different colleges – hers in New York, mine in Texas. She went on to a brilliant career. I went on.

Despite the fact that we were born in the same country just days apart, somehow our… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

Texas is a two-party state. Yesterday the Tea Party routed its Republican rival in several key runoff races. Runoff candidates in the Democratic Party, now the state’s “third factor,” also ran.

In a dramatic upset, Tea Party golden idol Ted Cruz surprised the we… Read full post »

JULY 31, 2012 2:50AM

Waiting for Dressage

By Daniel Rigney

I’m doing my homework in preparation for the eagerly awaited Olympic dressage events in August. “Dressage,” a French word for “training,” is also known as "horse ballet." Aficionados agree that dressage is among the most difficult of all horse-training… Read full post »