Friday, September 26, 2008

Shades of Things to Come


COURIC: Vice President Palin, now that you’ve been in office for awhile, do you think that people were justified in criticizing your level of experience back when you were chosen to run?

PALIN: Well, yah, I surely do. I mean I have so much experience now. Ya know, I can look out from here, from places in DC, and see America – did ya know that the Washington DC is not a state? Yah, it’s like a maverick, like me. Anyway, I can see the states from here, so I have a pretty good experience dealin’ with it.

COURIC: O…kay… I’m asking if you think you were experienced enough at the time you started. Have the demands of the job surprised you …say, in the way DC not being a state did?

PALIN: Yah, that’s what I’m sayin’, I have a lot of experience now. So people were really unfair to John McCain for, ya know, um, making fun of his, uh, whatever… choicage of me… aw, reporters, ya know?

COURIC: Yes. Now, the first year of your term was a bit rough…

PALIN: Oh I can handle tough times, ya know. I’m a hockey mom. That little financial meltdown was difficult, but not as hard as say, child labor, when I gave birth to my little boy, Mock, here.

COURIC: However, your decision to issue guns to everyone didn’t work out so well.

PALIN: Sure, well who know people in cities would go around shooting each other instead of hunting? Ya know, people in Wasilla, where I come from, aren’t like that. We subsist on what we kill. I figured that would solve people’s money problems.

COURIC: Well, there’s not a lot of moose in New York City.

PALIN: Ya, but there’s rats. Don’t forget, I was in New York City once. I saw the rats from my window, so I know a little bit about them, missy.

COURIC: Let’s change the subject. You and President McCain are preparing to run again…

PALIN: Oh, hold on there. Don’t go putting plans in my mouth. Ya know, this John McCain has been around Washington a long time. He’s part of the problems we inherited, here, for sure he is. I have built my career on being a maverick and going against my own party and throwing the old boys out…

COURIC: Once they are no longer of use to you..

PALIN: What’s that, missy? Hey, I’m cooperating with you here. I don’t have to talk to you every three years like I been doin’, ya know. In fact, you call me again and I’ll refuse to testify. I don’t have to take this…I’m a maverick…


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bridge (to Nowhere) Over Troubled Dollars

I am just a poor boy
Now my stocks have all been sold
I have squandered my retirement
For a pile of bullshit numbers:
Sub-prime mortgages
All lies, at best
And they say fear’s all we have to fear
‘Cause fear’s all we have left

Well I lost my home for my family
And I mortgaged my first born
To a coterie of bankers
He’s indentured to some Wall Street brokers, selling shares
Buying low, seeking out the desperate sellers where the bottom feeders go
Sucking dry the carcasses of those who owe

Lie, lie, lie
Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie lie, lie
Lie, lie, lie
Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie
Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie....

They paid me no severance wages
When I lost my steady job
And I get no buyout
Or no golden parachute like CEO’s are due
I do declare, failed fat cats get deliverance
And we just get despair

Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie

Now they’re laying out some lame excuse for failures and bad loans
Foreclosed homes
And they never blame their fevor to derugulate, legislate
For their own

In the Congress sits Bernanke
And Hank Paulson does the same
Asking 700 billion, with no oversight or payback
To the victims of their f***ups
Feel no shame and take no blame
“We need bailouts on a blank check”
And the bastards still remain

Lie, lie, lie
Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie lie, lie
Lie, lie, lie
Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie
Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie....

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Give us this day our bailout bread...

Almost Groan

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This is Serious

No jokes today. America's most critical institution is in a financial crisis. They are trying to repackage their poorest products and find buyers for them. When will the government step in and bail out Hershey's, who can't afford to put cocoa butter in all of their chocolate candy? Without adequate real chocolate supplies, what will we consume to make us feel better about our life savings being lost in bank failures? What are Obama's and McCain's plans to save the chocolate industry? Start demanding answers! Get out and Choc the Vote!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


“Paper or plastic?” at some point became a punch line in our culture because it was a question heard everyday at grocery stores. The customer was in control; we had options; everyone was happy. Then, I don’t remember when it started, there was a subtle shift that the stores hope we didn’t notice. “Is plastic okay?” is the query posed now at Kroger. It appears that we still have a choice, but the bagger is standing there, a smile on her face, your beans in her hand, hovering over an open plastic bag; how can you say, “No, I want paper” and crush her youthful enthusiasm? It is a psychological ploy by Kroger to force the plastic bags upon us.
I don’t know why Kroger is doing this, but I fear that I am the only one who sees it and I am trying to fight back on my own. (VOICEOVER: In a world gone mad, with people slowly being forced into plastic bags, one man dares to….). And for some reason their choice of agents to spread the plastic dogma is a cadre of 14-year-old baggers who have taken to this mission like a Facebook groupful of Obama internet supporters..
I fix my gaze on the young woman and politely pronounce, “Paper please.” There is no overt reaction but I see the quick glance between checker and bagger. I know one of them is pressing a secret button that flags my Kroger shopper card with the label “troublemaker.” I have no environmental, do-gooder, green freak reason for demanding paper bags. I do it to fight the creeping fascism of floppy plastic bag pushers whose agenda is surely driven by some unholy, faceless, corporate corrupt motive that I have yet to ferret out - but I will.
One day I went to the pharmacy counter to buy some Sudafed (actually I bought Kroger Nasal Decongestant, which is psuedo-Sudafed). They copied down everything on my drivers license and called the local police to see if I’d ever been convicted of making meth (I’ve been exonerated every time). Then I paid for the stuff and they put it in a small paper bag, put the receipt on it and triple-stapled the bag shut so I couldn’t get the pills out and start cooking them up in the deli section. I finished my shopping and went to the checkout. There was the usual checker and bagger, but, as I approached the aisle, a third worker came out of nowhere and started helping me load my groceries onto the belt. She cleverly diverted my attention by putting eggs and bread precariously in front of applesauce jars and whole melons. Then she grabbed my psuedo-Sudafed, which was already paid for, bagged, receipted and stapled and said, “Do you want your medicine in a bag?” I was dumbstruck; then I manged to mutter, “yes, I mean no, er, no, I don’t.” So she took the paper bag and stuffed it, all by itself, into a plastic bag. Then I swear I saw her glance at the checker and bagger, place her index finger on the side of her nose
and flick it forward ala Redford and Newman in “The Sting.”
The next time I went into the store, I visited the meat counter where I picked up some hamburger packaged in a foam tray and thoroughly sealed in plastic. I put the already wrapped meat into one of those clear plastic bags they keep on rolls at that counter. I finished my shopping and went to the checkout. As usual I told the bagger, “paper, please.” But, as my groceries went down the belt, the checker in the next lane reached over and started to help bag my stuff. She grabbed my meat and started to place it in a plastic bag. “I’d like paper, please.” I said firmly. She paused briefly, “Oh…”, but then recovered and said, “well, let’s put the raw meat in a plastic bag, okay?” The raw meat was already double covered in plastic, but, obviously, if I went against her, I was trying to spread e-coli to the checkout team and probably the entire store population. I meekly nodded and submitted myself to her will. Emboldened, the bagger stuffed my beer, which comes with it’s own carrying box, into a plastic bag. The bagger and the checker high-fived each other, not even trying to mask their glee.
Yesterday I was back in Kroger, determined to get nothing but paper bags. As my groceries went down the belt, I planted my feet, squared my shoulders and faced the bagger, anticipating the “Is paper okay” mantra. But he had a new line. He placed his arm around my shoulder.
“I want to say one word to you. Just one word.”
“Yes, sir”
“Are you listening?”
“Yes, I am.”
I blinked.
He nodded and stuffed my sweetmeats in a plastic sack. "'Nuff said. That's a deal."
The terrorists have won.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

He's Not Getting Better, He's Getting Older

MORTICIAN: Bring out your dead!
Bring out your dead!
Bring out your dead!
MEDIA: Here's one -- nine pence.
JOHN MCCAIN: I'm not dead!
MEDIA: Nothing -- here's your nine pence.
JOHN MCCAIN: I'm not dead!
MORTICIAN: Here -- he says he's not dead!
MEDIA: Yes, he is.
MORTICIAN: He isn't.
MEDIA: Well, he will be soon, he's been very ill. He’ll die and Sarah
Palin will be President. Then we’ll all be dead.
JOHN MCCAIN: I'm getting better!
MEDIA: No, you're not -- you'll be stone dead in a moment.
MORTICIAN: Oh, I can't take him like that -- it's against regulations.
JOHN MCCAIN: I don't want to go the way Bob Dole did!
MEDIA: Oh, don't be such a baby.
MORTICIAN: I can't take him...
JOHN MCCAIN: I feel fine! It’s my turn to be President.
MEDIA: Oh, do us a favor...
MEDIA: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't
be long.
MORTICIAN: Naaah, I got to go on to Robinson's -- they've lost nine
MEDIA: Well, when is your next round?
MORTICIAN: Thursday.
JOHN MCCAIN: Karl Rove promised me I’d win!
MEDIA: You're not fooling anyone y'know. Look, isn't there
something you can do?
JOHN MCCAIN: I feel happy... the fundamentals of the economy are sound..
MEDIA: Ah, thanks very much.
MORTICIAN: Not at all. See you in November.
MEDIA: Right.
[clop clop]

Where Was I?

What I was about to say before Ike knocked out my internet:
I was uncomfortable and sweaty but my cheek was on some cold, hard surface. Someone was shaking me. It was dark; no, my eyes were closed.
"Come on, man, wake up."
I opened my eyes. I was in the bathroom, lying by the toilet. A friend of mine was shaking my shoulder. I sat up.
"What happened?” I asked.
"You overindulged. You got carried away. Look behind you."
I looked back. There were splotches of gunk I had spewed all over my blog, stretching back a full week. Something about a young woman named Sarah Palin who looked kind of nice, sort of like Tina Fey. "Who is she and what did I do to her?"
"You attacked this young mother…a working mother with a Down Syndrome child and an unwed, pregnant, teenage daughter."
"I said nasty things about her family?"
"Not directly, but you said she wasn’t a good choice for Vice President. Dissing her politics and experience amounts to the same thing as attacking her children. Just as your attacks on the war show that you hate our men and women in uniform."
"Oh my God. How did I meet her?"
"John McCain trotted her into the bar. There were a couple obvious skeletons in her closet and you couldn't wait to jump those bones."
"I just went after her?"
“She was showing off her lipstick and talking about how tough she was and how many good old boys she had handled and then she exposed herself.”
“She was asking for it.”
“She wanted it.”
“She deserved it.”
“Seriously. But you really went to town; you couldn't stop. To be fair, it wasn't just you. The blogs, the East coast media, the liberals – they all jumped on her too. It was the biggest gang bang since Jodie Foster in 'The Accused'."
“But she’s only the VP candidate?”
“Yeah, McCain threw her to you guys and you were all like, “who is she?” and he was like, “how dare you ask” and you all took the bait, made her the issue, got intoxicated with bridges to nowhere, Troopergate, secrecy, cronyism, yada, yada… and let McCain off the hook. It almost worked until Johnny Mac said the economy was fundamentally sound.”
“Yeah, looks like anyone can act like an idiot now and then.”

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Answer My Friend....

Yesterday I was home watching the Bengals game when the remnants of hurricane Ike arrived in Cincinnati. The wind was 4o MPH with gusts of up to 75 MPH. It didn't take long for the power to go out, saving us from watching the Bengals get blown out (if only I had been saved from watching OSU the night before).
We watched and listened to the wind....saw tree branches fall...saw the big tree on our deck split and take out part of the deck railing and the Weber Kettle grill. We went out and visited the neighbors who were randomly walking around looking at the damage, talking about who had lost trees and how close they come to whose car or house....we had no rain to speak of, just wind...we comforted the neighbors cats who semed distressed by the weather...occassionally we decided it probably was safer indoors and went there until we got bored again. Fortunately there was no major damage in our neighborhood. We are so fortunate compared to so many in Texas.
I borrowed some batteries from the next door neighbor and fired up an old radio. We listened to some 70's music (Hnedrix, Zappa, Meatloaf, Fairport Covention ... an ecclectic mix which was chosen to fit the theme of a stormy day with no power. It was like FM radio we used to listen to back then - such a cool thing that Steely Dan even wrote a song about it.) We had no internet except what limited sites we could get on my Blackberry.
When it got dark we lit candles. Our neighbor was grilling his dinner...the wind had disappeared and it was getting cool, but still comfortable outside. We took some marshmallows, Hershey bars and graham crackers over there, along with some wine (a Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon, which pairs well with s'mores). When they finished dinner, they lit a big fire in their backyard fire pit. Some more neighbors showed up...adults, kids, dogs, everyone. We all sat around with the music, the s'mores, the wine and beer and soda. We talked to each other. It was a great evening.
Unfortunately, while 90% of Cincinnati is without power still, we have it downtown where I work. So I'd better get back to it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Swinging On a Star

I think it is disgraceful for a Presidential candidate to make a comment about "putting lipstick on a pig" that indirectly alludes to a female opponent. It is sexist and crude.

A pig is an animal with pork on her plate
She grabs all she can for her home state
Her resume's a twisted tale that is untrue
Her policies are Bush hog slop she says are new
It's trying to hide a bald spot with a wig
Or putting lipstick on a pig

But would you like to end a bad war
Restore our respect near and far
And be better of than you are
Then vote Obama, the rock star

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hollywood Ugly

Revelations of false representations and cover ups continue to dog Sarah Palin. The latest scandal involves claims that she has perfect eyesight and does not need corrective lenses. The story is that she wears glasses to look “smart”.
Wearing glasses and pinning luxuriant, wavy, flowing hair up in some sort of glob on the top of the head is a tactic long used by Hollywood starlets in movie roles requiring them to portray homely losers who could not possibly attract a man. The repulsion factor derives from the hairstyle, which radiates lack of femininity, while their poor eyesight is an obvious indicator of intelligence, which no man wants to see in a woman. (It is similar to the glasses wearing tactic of Clark Kent which keeps anyone from realizing he is the powerfully muscular Superman). The definition of this look is “Hollywood ugly” based on its movie origins. Toward the end of the movie, the “ugly” girl removes her glasses and lets her hair down revealing her true beauty and lack of brains.
Sarah Palin has not only employed the Hollywood ugly disguise, she has gone as far as to have people talk about her penchant for shooting moose and peeing in the woods. These traits provide an aura of unappealing mannishness (though her image consultants simultaneously make repeated reference to her children to make it clear she is not a lesbian, a condition no one would want to see in a national candidate). "Sure she won a local beauty contest”, supporters say, “but have you seen the women in Alaska? James Carville could win that contest.” Investigative reporters have been unable to confirm or deny that assertion.
Speculation continues as to why Sarah Palin is employing the Hollywood ugly tactic, particularly since she risks being associated with Hollywood, the third ring of Hell to Republicans. Clearly voters, especially Republicans, prefer high level women to be intelligent and capable (a standard male politiciuans are not held to) so there is that reason for Palin to hide her charms.
However, 24-hour news voids require further speculation. Some expect that Sarah will be a best pal to John McCain, helping him win the Presidency and then, at the inauguration, will whip off the glasses and pull the elastic from her bun, causing John to gasp, get her in a lip lock and then propose marriage.
More savvy movie aficionados realize the likely pairing will be someone else. Given the vitriol she spewed about him at the RNC convention, the ultimate pairing will be Sarah Palin and Barack Obama. Two polar (no pun intended) opposites, repulsed by each other, one Democratic, one Republican; one black, one white; one a man, one a woman; one a Devil spawn, liberal, bleeding-heart, lowly community organizer who never made an executive decision and has hunted nothing more difficult to bag than Italian shoes on sale; one a hunting, peeing, fundamentalist, Pentecostal, conservative baby machine who has ruled over tens of people. It’s the other classic movie theme used in films from “It Happened One Night” to “You’ve Got Mail” to “Knocked Up”: The enemies who ultimately realize they are meant to be together forever. Look for this October surprise romantic comedy to show up in theaters near you.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

If God's On Our Side

I have been reborn. Previously I denied that God could be interested in football.
"And, seriously," I wrote, "if God were interested in football, why would it be played on the Sabbath (Friday night and Saturday for you Jewish, high school and college fans or Sunday for the Christian, NFL fans?"
Since then I have had a revelation; it is precisely the fact that God created Football on the Sabbath that gives me faith that he is a fan. When a player “takes it to the house” it is God’s house. This is why we should worship at the stadiums and in front of our TVs instead of in Churches and synagogues.
Ohio is full of religious zealots. High school football may not be as big here as it is in Texas, but it is followed with holy devotion. We get to see 16-year-old kids interviewed on the news, developing their big time cliché skills (“we just went out and played our own game” “I give all thanks to God” “when one guy has a bad game, someone else steps up”). I’m not so much a high school fan though, I follow the college denomination. As I reported last year, I am a convert to Temple B'Chai (usually transliterated as “Buckeye”). Now I have a crisis of faith as Beanie Wells, the star running back, sits on the sideline with an injured toe. It is not so critical this week as it will be next week when The Ohio State University plays against USC in Los Angeles. What is God trying to say? Will Beanie be miraculously healed before next Saturday? Or does God actually support our enemies, the radical, fundamental Trojans?
This is a similar conundrum to that faced by those who believe we are on a mission from God in Iraq. When the enemy has success there, don’t the radicals run down the field pointing their finger heavenward, thanking God (by any other name, still the same) just like we do?
Whose side is God on? That question was best posed by the poet, Robert Zimmerman.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

News Clips

The other night at the Republican convention they played a video tribute to Ronald Reagan. It started with a summary of his humble, working class beginnings. Then the narrator intoned, "Ronald Reagan never forgot who he was....until somewhere around the beginning of his second term." Well, maybe I made up the second part of that quote.

Meanwhile in Cincinnati, public school children are being assaulted by the rich, arugula-eating, golf elite. I found this quote interesting.
So far no children have been hit by errant golf balls, although some have flown over the playground and a few cars have been hit.
Flying children would seem to be more noteworthy than flying golf balls, but that's just my opinion. The children have been advised not to handle other people's balls. Finally, who is maintaining that playground?

Monday, September 1, 2008

If It's Not Something, It's Something Else

There is some concern now about John McCain's VP choice. It involves her family. It seems that Palin tried to get her former brother-in-law fired from his job as a state trooper. Then she fired the public safety director who refused to carry out her order. There are rumors about cover ups and special rules to get her cell phone records protected.
I admit this is not that big a scandal, but it seems that it would be the talk of the news shows anyway, as they speculate and insinuate and try to fill their hours of coverage. But they are not talking about that because they are talking about Palin's daughter being pregnant instead. Yes, sex trumps everything these days. It drives mere political corruption right off the front page.
Quite convenient, wouldn't you say? Palin supposedly had to announce the pregnancy to quash rumors that Sarah's own son was actually her grandson. I think the whole thing was carefully orchestrated. I'm starting the rumor that Sarah Palin encouraged her daughter to get pregnant in order to push that Troopergate story aside. It's perfect, isn't it? They get the girl pregnant. Then they start a rumor that Sarah's son is actually her grandson. Then they announce the pregnancy to prove the rumor false and they accuse the liberal press and Obama of having started the rumors. It's classic! I smell Karl Rove!
Plus, Sarah Palin gets to reinforce her pro-life stance by announcing that her daughter will not have an abortion. "We're going to keep the baby and call it 'Checkers'," she proclaimed.
You know what the really horrible part of this whole thing is: they called the state trooper firing story "troopergate." When will "gate" finally disappear as a suffix tacked on to every political scandal? Can't they think of anything new? What's more, the whole word "Troopergate" is not even original. Troopergate was already copyrighted by another politician: a man who lost his job after a scandal involving state police and abuse of power - after it, but not because of it. New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer's Troopergate story was trumped by .... a sex scandal.