Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Old Fart Futility Update #1

Old Fart Futility Updates (OFFU) will be issued occasionally in an attempt to ease the pain of the author’s declining mental acuity. Writing humorously about the forgetting and the fumbling and the foggery may inspire other Old Farts to learn to live with their declining faculties. Also, instead of throwing phones and cussing, I may think “Oh goodie, another entry for OFFU.” And maybe lipsticked pigs will whistle ‘Stardust’ as they fly to the Moon.

ITEM 1 “ET THROWN PHONE”: We have new cell phones. They are as basic as one can buy unless you unearth the one the Gordon Gecko used in the 1987 movie Wall Street. (It’s roughly the size of a canned ham, and all it did was make phone calls.) The problem today is all those New Phone Update Nazis who keep adding unnecessary features—like Frogger 3-D or Sasquatch Alert or downloads of Lawrence of Arabia for my 1-inch screen.

One new feature is particularly galling: My new phone “locks” itself after each use for no apparent reason. To use the phone again, you must “unlock” it and poke “OK.” To add to the fun, there are no buttons on the phone marked “Unlock” or “OK.” None of the buttons on my New Phone have words, just Post-Modernist hieroglyphics. One button has a squiggle. Another has an arrow. A third has a tiny picture of Mamie Eisenhower.

Recently, before I could dig it out from all the crap in my Man-Purse (you got a problem with that, Scooter?), my Phone from Hell sent the caller to voice mail, and greeted me with a taunting “Missed call. Do you wish to retrieve it?” message.

I pushed a button, pretty much at random. (No matter which button I push, nothing good ever happens.) Nothing happened. So I pushed two buttons. The screen ordered me to “Press Unlock, then OK.” I pushed two more buttons. Nothing happened. I changed the order of button pushes planning on the “Infinite Number of Monkeys” algorithm to bail me out. Nope. After about thirty more tries, the screen displayed the word “Unlock” and suggested I push a button directly below it, and then one beneath the word “OK.” I did. The screen then said “”Press Unlock, then OK,” adding “Suckuh!!!” I typed in a message telling the phone what it could do with all its buttons. It ignored me.

That’s when I threw my phone. I took care not to pull a Russell Crowe and cleared the room of hotel clerks before I aiming at a pile of clothes. I missed and hit the wall, earning me the nickname “Matt Leinart.” When I retrieved the phone the screen said “Ouch.”

ITEM 2. “COFFEE DESTATICIFICATION TRICK” One of the disadvantages of the plastic bins that come with Burr Grinders is the coffee gets an electric charge while being ground. Stick a plug in the newly ground coffee and your can toast an English Muffin to a golden brown deliciousness.

If you don’t want a muffin, however, getting the coffee out of the plastic bin involves a lot of slamming and banging. The first bang occurs with the lid still on, and is designed dislodge the coffee on said lid. Unfortunately, this causes said coffee to spew out the entry aperture of the bin. That causes a mess and is a waste of good coffee. So today, I solved the problem—I thought.

After I grind, I mix and match two sets of coffee beans in a small cereal bowl. With the first batch already in the bowl, I ground the second batch. My plan was to bang the bin right next to the cereal bowl, causing the spewed coffee to lands in the bowl. Problem solved, Old Fart style.

Interesting factoid: When you misjudge the distance just the teensiest bit and slam the bin full force on to the rim of the cereal bowl instead of the counter, you can launch the coffee already in the bowl throughout the entire kitchen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mr Bumbles & Ms Alaska Keep Us Laughing

And you thought it was Republican Comedy Week last week? Turns out John McCain's visit to David Letterman and Sarah Palin's stop by Saturday Night Live were just warm up acts. Now he Dems are laughing. The GOP? Not so much.

First there was Sen. John McCain, the man accused of supporting Bush's policies 90% of the time. Turns out, he's also following in W's foot-in-mouth steps in another critical area. "Bushisms," meet "McCainisms." The latest example was a dilly as he tried to attack his opponent. Said McCain:

"You know, I think you may have noticed that Senator Obama's supporters have been saying some pretty nasty things about Western Pennsylvania lately," McCain told an audience in a town called Moon, in Western Pennsylvania, eliciting boos and catcalls. "And you know, I couldn't agree with them more," he aded, eliciting blank stares and pangs of regret. (Clip on Youtube)

The man who can't tell a Sunni from a Shia was joined in the Kavalcade of Komedy by Bozo the Beauty Queen, his running mate.

Gov. Sarah Palin is the vice presidential nominee of the party which once criticized then democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards for getting $400 haircuts. Sarah Palin is the vice presidential nominee of the party that has accused Sen. Barack Obama of being an “Elitist.”

We may not know what it costs to put lipstick on a pig, but we now know what it costs to dress up and make up a vice presidential candidate--$150,000. Of that, about $4,000 was just for her hair.

In fairness, it should be noted not all of the 150 Large went to Palin herself. Some helped beautify her hubby, Mr. Sarah Palin, and her infant son. Hey, you can't expect the kid to campaign in non-designer Diapers, can you? Well, as McCain might say when asked about diapers, “Depends.”

Whether you find this financial outlay funny or tragic probably depends on your sense of humor during the greatest economic crisis since the Depression. But even the financially devastated might find McCain spokesman Tracey Schmitt's explanation of the expense funny in an absurdist sort of way.

"It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."

Of course. Lord knows there are oodles of poor people in dire need of Saks Fifth Avenue campaign clothes or a stunning cocktail dress perfect for milady's GOP fundraiser.

Quite the week for Ms. Palin. On Monday, she answered a third grader's written question on live TV by claiming the vice president of the United States "is in charge of the Senate." Personally, I cut her some slack. The woman is busy gazing toward Russia watching for Putin's enormo-head to pop up in our Airspace. She can't be expected to know a lil' document called the Constitution notes: "The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided."

Palin's SNL appearance was scripted, of course, made up by talented writers. But this stuff, this week? You can't make up stuff like that.

And that's funny.

Monday, October 20, 2008

This I Know: 20 October 2008

I feel guilty laughing at the comedic ageism directed at John McCain. Not enough to vote for the old geezer, but guilty nonetheless.

Every time an anchor at the end of a local newscast says “we know you have many choices for news, we thank you for choosing ours,” I want to shout, “No, we don’t. All local news is run for profit using the same consultants and is exactly the same!” But I don’t because it might scare the neighbors who already think I’m weird.

I know advertising “geniuses” have decided that animated spokes-animals in commercials should speak with a foreign accent. I do not believe Geckos can talk, but I believe if they could talk they would not have British accents. I think the only Geckos in Britain are kept in cages, just like the Royal Family.

Geico has two commercial themes. The other is “The Cavemen.” If you bought your insurance because you were convinced to do so by a Gecko with a British accent or a Caveman, you are a moron.

I know those “talking” computers you get on the phone when you seek service from a company make life miserable for the humans you eventually reach. That’s because people are usually livid at being forced to talk to idiotic technology for ten minutes before they get a human. So, “Kathy” at DirectTV? Sorry.

Twenty-nine years ago, on October 22, Andrew S. Corcoran entered the world, and made it a better place by his presence.

Levi Stubbs had one of the best voices in rock and roll history. So did Tony Williams. But you probably don’t know who they were because they were the lead singers of groups, and not solo stars. I know Williams led The Platters and Stubbs was lead singer for the Four Tops. Stubbs was also the singing voice of Audrey, the plant from outer space in “Little Shop of Horrors.”

I know plants can’t sing, either. At least Audrey didn’t try to sing with a British accent. If they remake the movie again, I recommend that instead of human blood, Seymour feeds Audrey The Cavemen and the talking Gecko.

I know a local source for uncut Atomic Fire Balls—the only hot (spicy) food I like. I had my first one in eighth grade. A Boston hoodlum at my school handed me one and demanded I try it. “Take it out of your mouth and you have to pay me for it.” I didn’t have a penny on me, so I didn’t and I’ve loved them ever since.

If I were young and gas was plentiful and there wasn’t Global Climate Change, I’d own me one of them Toyota’s FJ Cruiser SUV deals, just because it looks so damn cool.

If I were young and gas wasn’t running out and there wasn’t Global Climate Change, I might fetch me one of them Mini-Cooper convertibles because it looks so damn cool. (And gets very good mileage.

Ah hell, if I were young I’d have to work for a living and wouldn’t have time for silly musings on a blog nobody reads. But I’d be rollin’ to work in a damn cool ride….

Monday, October 13, 2008

This I Know: 13 October 2008

Clint Eastwood is ruining it for all of us old farts. He’s 120 years old and may be the best film director working today. How did he get that gifted? Working with orangutans or sneering, “Go ahead, make my day”?

How’s that Bush tax rebate working out? Have you spent yours yet?

The LA Times, to save money now home delivers its paper in water-soluble plastic wrappers. Since Californians all water their lawns in the morning, it means the paper usually gets wet. So, the “savings” is training more and more people to get their news on the Internet and is about to cut more staff,

Consumer Reports says “Cheerios” is the best cold cereal you can get. I have Cheerios every morning, and sometimes for dinner. Have for years. As much as I hate being associated with something so wildly successful and popular, I will continue to do so.

My wife has discovered how to use the FM radio portion of our matching cell phones. I still don’t know how to retrieve the voicemail on mine.

On this day, 33 years ago, John H. Corcoran III came into this world, which is a much better place for that event. Unfortunately, that fact makes his father, John H. Corcoran, Jr., freaking ancient.

I have never seen Tina Fey and Sarah Palin in the same room together, nor do I expect to. I think there is a better chance that they are the same person than we faked the Moon landing, Oswald acted alone, or Sean Hannity is not the Anti-Christ.

The Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. What up with that? Theories for this physics defying process are “dark matter,” “hyperatomic subdistortional phasing,” and a Cosmic joke by God just to mess with Atheists.

Did I dream it, or did the Dems, shoo-ins to win the Presidency, risk it all by nominating a black guy?

I don’t understand why people’s heads get wider as they age. Okay, that’s technically something I don’t know, but it’s my column, hence my rules.

The funniest sketch comedy actress working today is Kristen Wiig.

I would like to know what Bobby Mitchell, former Redskin wide receiver and executive thinks of the movie “The Express.” The film is about Ernie Davis, who was slated to become the first African-American player ever on the team. The Redskins traded their rights to Davis for Mitchell, who became a star, and later, a Redskins executive. Davis, tragically, never played in the pros and soon after died of Leukemia.

Monday, October 6, 2008

This I Know: 6 October 2008

*California grows terrific pot. Instead of prosecuting growers, let’s start exporting our best weed to Afghanistan; see how the Taliban likes that. If we could mellow out our enemies instead of killing them, we’d not only win the war quicker, but turn a profit doing so.

*People once dismissed as idiots are now featured as “fans”. There are three basic types: Fools who dye their hair, face and sometimes bodies team colors; morons who grab their shirt above the nipples and lift it toward the camera to show which team they favor, and bozos who scream “We’re Number One” when clearly they most resemble Number Two.

*Mike Tyson’s first words after the “ear-biting” fight with Evander Holyfield were, “tastes a little bit like chicken.”

*The three people I’d most like to have dinner with? Jesus, Robert Benchley and “Two Ton” Tony Galento. Benchley for his humor, Galento because he was a boxer who trained for his Joe Lewis fight on “beer, spaghetti and hamburgers,” and Jesus to assure lots of good wine at dinner.

*There are few true mysteries as fascinating as Aviation True Mysteries. Steve Fossett is just the latest example in a field that includes the still missing Glen Miller, Amelia Earhart, and Congressman Hale Boggs.

*Ooops. Samo-samo for missing submarine mysteries. Hail and farewell to the brave crew of the USS Grunion, sunk during WWII and just found off the Aleutian Islands. The Navy refuses to confirm or deny rumors it was on station staring at Rooskie President Putin all these years.

*Barry Sonnenfeld should be a guest on national TV at least once a week. He serves two purposes. One, he’s enormously entertaining. Two, no matter how neurotic you are, you are immediately reassured someone is more neurotic than you are.

*If McCain’s' poll numbers continue spiraling downward, his (late) October surprise might be a previously undiagnosed "female" problem for poor Sarah, who will be reluctantly forced to resign for health reasons, and replaced with economic "expert" Mitt Romney...

*I like every famous Lesbian I’ve ever interviewed. This includes Rosie O’Donnell, who has a photographic memory and always asked about my kid by name, Ellen DeGeneris who was confident enough to laugh at my jokes, too. And of course, George Clooney.

*Steve Allen was right when he said the quality of entertainment started going to hell when people began to “wooooooo” instead of laughing, cheering or applauding.

*Israel wants to buy the new, (mostly) American made F-35 fighter/bombers. We can’t make cars, our electronics are second rate and our politics questionable, but when it comes to building the best airborne killing systems, nobody tops us.

*Nothing makes me laugh out loud more than Bloopers. Not to say they’re the funniest thing in the world, but self-generated assaults on smugness and dignity have a special place in my heart.

*I’m not big at quotes. There is one, however, I use a lot and always remember. Lily Tomlin’s line, “I like to think of myself as cynical, but these days, it’s so hard to keep up.”

*Just thought of another one. It was credited to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, but he may have been quoting someone who said it first: “You can’t be Irish without knowing that someday the world will break your heart.”

*If you are afraid of foxes a good place to hide out is in an atheist hole. No wait, it’s the other way around.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

This I Know: 1 October 2008

Mort Sahl

I don't believe under any circumstances, that the GOP deserves another turn in the White House. I also believe that humorist Mort Sahl's classic political joke, which he updates every four years, applies now, more than ever.

MORT SAHL’S JOKE: "Back when this country was starting out, we had men like Washington and Adams and Jefferson as President. Now, 230 years later, we end up with McCain versus Obama. Do you know what that means? It means Darwin was wrong!

Babies, when given the choice, will choose candy over Brussels Sprouts every time. So will sane adults. This explains the Mortgage Crisis

If he was white and named Barry O'Bama, he'd have a 30 point lead.

Paul Newman should be seriously considered for Sainthood. He raised as much for the poor, was a better racer, and a much better actor than Mother Theresa.

Bill Maher best described Libertarians when he called them Republicans who like pussy and dope.

I don't trust anyone on Wall Street, even the guy driving the sweeper.

Regulation isn't enough--Enforcement is the key. I know this because years ago my wife worked for the enforcement division of NASDAQ. She spent many a day tracking down and collecting evidence about insider trading abuses and other forms of corruption. Trouble was, nothing was ever done about it.

“The Mentalist,” besides being a humorless rip-off of USA Networks’ “Psych” really doesn’t have its act together. Is he a psychic? Just smart? Intuitive? A smartass?

Former favorites running low on fuel include “Boston Legal” and “Entourage.” Ricky Gervais and Larry David may be considered very smart for abandoning their shows before audiences did.

I think Nancy Pelosi was dumb as mud to go rub it in to the Republicans on the Floor before the vote. It was a thoughtless and petty thing to do, and knowing that the Republican leadership was equally thoughtless and petty, she should have predicted their vindictive reaction.

This nation has never been so divided since the Civil War. If Vietnam was a family squabble, this is the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. Okay maybe the Pepsi/Coke cola wars were also more divisive.

The Media is a lost cause. The ONLY newscast worth watching every single night is “The Daily Show.”

I don't have to listen to the Presidential Debates, I already know who I'm voting against.

We may be past the tipping point in the Environment. Methane Gas will kill us--well not us, but the next generation.

If someone shaves Dick Cheney and Rupert Murdock's heads, post mortem, they will find a "666" carved in their skulls. If someone shaves their heads pre-mortem, he or she is my new hero.

While Hollywood continually remakes movies and TV shows that have no business being remade—Top Gun is the latest—no one ever remakes the most prescient episode of a TV series every filmed. That’s the Twilight Zone’s “The Monsters Are due on Maple Street.” Nailed it.

I'd say the odds of Bush stopping the election are roughly 50-50.

The Redskins--if by some miracle stay healthy--have a legitimate shot of making the Superbowl. That, however, is unlikely as they are very very thin at several key positions.

If I were a betting man, I'd bet Springsteen sings the following three numbers at the Superbowl: Born to Run, Born in the USA, and Glory Days. For his encore, I’m thinking Rosie Clooney’s Come onna My House or Bess You Is My Woman from Gershwin’s “Porgie and Bess.”

I’d also bet at least 500 people will wonder, "What's that Sopranos guy and Conan's drummer doing in Bruce’s band?"

If Sarah Palin made it to the Miss America finals, she would have been tripped up and eliminated when Bert Parks asked her "What do you think is the most important aspect of international diplomacy?" and replied, "Good sight lines into enemy territory."

There is a product you can order from an Infomercial, or buy at Bed Bath & Beyond, which you epoxy to the bottom of your feet at night. In the morning, the product claims to have sucked out all the bad stuff in your system. It costs only $19.95 for a lifetime supply and is aimed at people who think they are too smart to fall for that Nigerian Diplomat Scam.

With the single exception of Richard Nixon, who resigned before he was impeached, no one has finished his term as President with a better “worst President ever” finishing kick than George W. Bush.

Barack Obama should announce that Bill Clinton will head up a special task force, appointed the day of his inauguration, whose task it is to rebalance the budget again, and that if he does so, Bill’s reward is Obama will appoint Hillary Ambassador at Large, a gig that involves constant overseas travel.

Why would anyone waste any of the precious time we are given on Earth watching Warren Sapp dance?

Monday, September 1, 2008

GOP Convention Update #31

The following report from the Republican National Committee's Social Secretary updates Attendance Plans of VIPs at the GOP Convention.

*Arnold Schwarzenegger will NOT attend because of the California budget crisis which he said is growing "like a Toooooomuh."

*President George W. Bush will NOT attend the GOP convention because of Hurricane Gustav. (Updates earlier excuse that he'd be "too busy clearing brush at the ranch.")

*Vice President Dick Cheney will NOT attend. He's in Florida trying to blow hurricanes out of the sky with Double Ought buckshot.

*Speaking of which, Sen. Larry Craig has yet to RSVP. He may be stalling. (Sorry-Pesky)

*Benito Mussolini will NOT attend because he feels the Irony would be too obvious.

*Generalissimo Francisco Franco will NOT attend because he is still dead.

*Idi Amin Dada. Ditto.

*Gov. Sarah Pallin will attend if she can find an adoreable set of Go-Go boots to wear during her Snappy Spoon Number, reprised from the Miss Alaska Pageant.

*Sen. John Edwards will attend, but only if Sarah Pallin does.

*Presumptive Nominee John McCain will attend if he can find his flip-flops, shoo them little bastards off his lawn, and find out just what the Hell "presumptive" means.

*Cindy McCain called to remind everyone Alaska is still near Russia and to ask if New Orleans is still near St. Paul.

*St. Paul will NOT attend because he is a Democrat.

And last and certainly least....

*Former FEMA Head, "Heck of a Job" Brownie will not attend because he is busy as an on-air disaster expert for MSNBC. (Not making that up. Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hey, Beckham, Bend This, Why Don’t You?

Haven’t watched the Olympics much. (Still waiting for Ski-jumping to begin.) But one morning I accidentally tuned in during the final moments of the USA versus Netherlands Soccer Match. Shockingly, it wasn’t nil-nil at the time, but a high-scoring shootout with the USA leading the Belch, 2-1.

Then, with victory seemingly in the American’s grasp, All Hell broke loose.

First, somebody on the US team had the audacity to kick a Netherregionlander on the shin! The Belch guy acknowledged this egregious invasion of his personal space by falling down, grabbing his leg and writhing in agony. (Soccer players attend finishing school to learn the dramatic art of agony-writhing, in which they engage whenever a verdant breeze wafts near one of their extremities.)

Well, the Ref spotted the Belch agony-writhe, nodded his approval, and blew his whistle. He then showed the offending USA player his grocery list, which refs must keep in their pocket on a neat yellow index card. The American saw the card and shook his head, disagreeing with the ref’s plans to purchase Broccoli. This act cured the writher of his agony, and he lept to his feet, none the worse for wear.

No Shin-kicking Permitted

Kicking someone on or near the shin is frowned upon in Soccer. So the Nethers got a "free kick" from about 20 yards out.

Before the kick, the US selected several players their coach doesn't much like. These poor unfortunates have to stand in front of the kicker grabbing their package with both hands. (Their own package, thank you.)

The kicker, seeing this Maginot Line ready to block his Force de Frappe, has several options.

He could try to kick the ball around the wall—“Bend it like Beckham” style.

He might try to belt the ball over the guys with their hands on their cranks. To counter this, the crankholders jump as high as they can. (Players with ballet experience are encouraged to sissonne or bourree while airborne.) As one may not use one’s hands in soccer, one must block the ensuing kick with one’s head or face. (NB: That’s right, ladies, men will put their unprotected Dome in harm’s way—risking a shattered nose or scrambled brains—but we use both hands to protect our penis.)

There was another option. When the Americans did their Bunny Hop to block a high shot, the Belgian kicker did the unexpected. He fired a low-flying, grass-hugging, worm-burner. The ball rose no more than an inch off the ground. (If you’ve seen me play golf, visualize the trajectory of my Seven Iron.)

The Sneaky Belch

The Belgian kick was so low and so hard it was too late for the Jewel Jumpers to abort their Bunny Hops. Up they flew while the ball rocketed under their feet and into the goal, tying the match.

I was so disgusted—not at the goal but the fact I’d actually wasted time watching Olympic Soccer--that I turned off the set. I just didn’t care who won. Also our dog was subtly informing me she was hungry by peeing on the rug. (Our dog is old, stupid and hates me.)

What a sport that Soccer is! You run around like idiots for ninety minutes and while you’re doing the Bunny Hop, plieing and sou-sousing with your hands on your crotch, you lose the match! Or tie. Or, maybe you…oh who gives a rat’s ass?

America may be wrong about a lot of things. But we’re right about Soccer and the rest of the world is wrong. Soccer is a stupid sport unless you're nine years old or a ballet dancing bunny hopper with scrambled gray matter and a dented codpiece.

Monday, July 28, 2008

U.S. Suffers from "The China Syndrome"

Try as I might I can’t place the entire blame for the Decline and Fall of the United States on the doorstep of one George W. Bush. Even when you add in his backup band, Cheney & The Henchmen, it just won’t fly. Oh sure, they deserve not only the lion’s share of the blame, but the Giraffe Chow, Bamboo Shoots for the Pandas and that carload of peanuts earmarked for Dumbo.

And credit where it’s due--no Presidency has given the collapse of this Republic the rocket-assisted kick in the Booty Bush’s has. Dude turned the Constitution, the Environment, the Iraq (such as), and the Economy into his personal Beeyotch. When Edgar Mitchell’s Extraterrestrials return to dig through the remains of American Civilization, forensic evidence will lead right to ol’ #43. (The latest? Bush’s Welcome Wagon gift to the next POTUS, a $490 Billion Fiscal 2009 Budget Deficit.)

Not absolving the Idiot-in-Chief, but there's only so much just one man can do. Credit must be shared.

History: Face it, countries always decline and fall. Ask any Greek or Roman. A Bell Curve denotes how this works. First, it rises. Then everyone gets fat, dumb, and happy. Soon they grow overly complacent, greedy, shifty, horny, dopey, sleepy and sneezy. Next a bunch of other stuff happens. Eventually, Society collapses and the process starts over again. You want details, Google your ass off. I’m just setting up my premise here.

Sex, Drugs & Rock & Roll: Rampant drugs and the sexual revolution chipped away at Values. Priests seduced Altar Boys; dogs and cats slept together, porn became ubiquitous. Rock & Roll wasn’t so bad at first, but it went south as soon as Boys2Men cut an album.

Reagan: A great big round of applause for Reaganism. It really got the ball rolling by decimating the Middle Class.

Clinton: NAFTA was Bill Clinton’s baby.

Egomania: Put your hands together for those Decline and Fall Accelerants like Ralph Nader, whose Megalomania made it possible for Bush to steal Florida. The Media traded in its journalistic chops for wealth and invites into Power Brokers Homes. Artists sold their Souls for a piece of the pie.

The Loyal Opposition: Don’t forget the ongoing inability of the Democratic Party to stop bickering long enough to select a candidate who could actually win a General Election.

There are more, but these are your primary known knowns about what went wrong with America. Feel free to add your own unknown knowns, known knowns you never knew about, and those unknown knowns no one knows. ("Madge! Get me Rummy!”)

We now formally conclude the premise-setup portion of this column. Summing up: Country is going to Hell in a Handbasket, blah blah blah. Watch carefully as this leads to my clever Catchphrase for the mess we’re in.

It hit me Sunday while watching a CBS Sunday Morning piece about how everyone and his Uncle Bob is riding a bike in America these days. People ride them to work, to the store, to Grandma’s house. Bike business is booming. Why are Americans giving up their cars and riding bikes? Because they can’t afford gasoline. Why is gasoline so expensive? Because in China, everyone and his Uncle Wong is trading their bikes for cars. It’s the old Hitchcockian “Criss-cross.”

So here’s Cork’s Decline and Fall Catchphrase. “We’ve become China!”

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Oh No! Ralphie is Back

Recently the producer of a new Ralph Nader commercial proudly noted that he'd finally done a spot for a Presidential candidate. This is my open letter to him.

Dear Alex:

I know we all have to make a living, but allow me some commentary about the person you are helping promote. There once was a time I had nothing but admiration for him. There once was a time when I thought he Mattered. There once was a time when I thought he was part of the Answer for much of what was wrong with America. But no more. And it pains to say that.

So I hope you understand why I believe you are helping to enable a once-revered, now pathetic Megalomaniacal to continue to hasten the country along the road to ruin.

Because of Ralph Nader’s unfettered Ego, George W. Bush is President of the United States. Any expert without a bias will tell you that without Nader siphoning off Democratic votes in Florida in 2000, Bush would not have been close enough to steal the election there from Gore.

Think about that the next time you are paying $4.71 (my neighborhood Shell this morning) for gas. Think about it when you meet someone whose kid or father or aunt died in Iraq, or whose family was destroyed when the spouse left after the third deployment. Think about it the next time a Katrina hits and an idiot President flies overhead looking down in a photo op as he returns from a political fundraiser. Think about it when the US can't react to a genuine world crisis because our military equipment has been eaten up in the sands of Iraq. Think about it the next time Afghanistan takes a Taliban hit--like today's--because the President went after Saddam and not bin Laden.

Think about it as Social Security runs out, as Exxon laughs at the country when they announce their obscene profits, when the Far Right gets another Supreme on the court and does away with Habeas Corpus for good.

You can't blame the entire presidency of George Bush on Nader, of course, but he is a major, perhaps THE major reason why Bush got to be President. And Nader did it, pure and simple, out of his own neediness. He could have had his moment in the Sun, taken his bows, then bowed out and thrown his support to the man who should have been helping the planet from a position of power, not just winning awards for his Ecological Slide Show. Without Ralph Nader, America wouldn't be sucking hind teat on Global Warming and Alternative Energy development.

Then, in 2004, when we all knew better, when anyone with a brain understood the damage Bush was capable of continuing to inflict, Nader came back again for another stint in the Spotlight. The topper was when Bill Maher literally got on his knees and begged Nader to get out of the campaign before he did more damage. Nader smugly sat there on Maher's show, basking in the attention, and said “no,” he was just too important.

In 2008, Nader is at it again. And again he will take more votes away from Democrats than from Republicans. How many votes may be determined by how much free publicity he gets from an inept Media, and how naive some voters still are. If McCain squeezes in by, say, winning Florida, Nader will have another skin on his belt. At the very least, Alex, please offer your artistic services to Ron Paul, who will siphon from the Right.

Another small complaint. Despite his high-falootin’ self-image, Nader's "commercial," is as trivial as flag pins or pledges of allegiance or middle names are to the real needs of the country. NBA cheating, while important to sports fans and morality fetishists, is right down there with the other non-issues being overblown in the current campaign. Why the NBA, Ralph? Because it's in the news. Because it's a means for Ralph to grab back the spotlight. The Media can't send me into the oblivion I deserve, says Ralph's Ego..

So there's another disappointment for those of us who once honored and praised Ralph Nader. Turns out Ralph is as cynical and pragmatic and needy as any of the real candidates. Turns out Ralph craves his Fame Jones like any other addict needs a drug fix.

The personal tragedy for Nader is that he has seen his genuine legacy of achievement set aside as he has become a punch line, a laughingstock and a bitter sidenote to the cesspool that is American politics today.

Eight years of George Bush would make a Relativist out of most Idealists. Like it or not, Politics is not about absolutes, but compromises. So those of us in the Real World can't afford NaderThink. Hence, I don't give a rat’s ass if Obama and McCain took medical money, as Nader so proudly huffs.

A vote for Nader is worse than a wasted vote. First of all, Nader is no more Our Next President than Mike Gravel, Mr. Whipple, or Little Mary Sunshine are. Second, even if Nader could win, Senator Obama, on his worse day, would be ten times the President sad sack Ralph might ever hope to be. Hell, I even think Senator McCain would be better, and the thought of McCain in the White House terrifies me.

So, if you must do Nader commercials, Alex, consider this suggestion. Convince him to run for something he won’t ruin the country doing. Run him for NBA Commissioner.



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The GOP Don't Know & Bush Don't Care

You remember the old joke about the frustrated professor who asks a student: “Are you ignorant or indifferent?” The response: “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

Which brings us to the GOP and the Bush Administration. Two events earlier this week confirmed that like the hapless student, they are ignorant and indifferent. (I say “this week.” I’m not sure how that makes this week different from any other. So just humor me and buy the premise.)

Let’s start with the GOP’s newly unveiled slogan, shall we? As we all know, the operative political buzz phrase for 2008 is “change.” Every Democratic candidate has been claiming he or she is the candidate of change. Makes sense. Things suck and the public figures change would be for the better. The GOP may have taken a peek at what they’ve accomplished over the past seven years and agree with the Dems’ assessment. So they decided to incorporate “change” into a new GOP slogan.

Unfortunately, the good “change” catchphrases have already been used by their opponents, so they came up with the wishy-washy “The change you deserve.” Like most catchphrases and ad slogans, it doesn’t actually say anything. I mean, what is the ‘change you deserve?” Logically, it might mean a new party running the show, but that’s probably not the GOP’s intent.

What the GOP may not have known is their new slogan isn’t so new. It’s being used to advertise a prescription drug called Effexor. I can tell you after a dozen years of satisfied personal use, Effexor is a highly effective mood enhancer. (“Mood enhancer” is a euphemism for “anti-depressant.”)

How good is Effexor? Ever since I started taking it I’ve been nothing but sunshine and lollypops. Not a cynical thought has crossed my mind. People are constantly admonishing me to stop being such a durn Pollyanna. “John,” they admonish, “You’re much too happy. Cheer down, will you?”

Did the GOP rip off Effexor’s slogan for it’s Ironic context? Naaah. Those humorless bozos wouldn’t appreciate Irony if it bit them on their lead-bottom asses. So let’s just call it incompetence, and move on.

This brings us to the “I don’t care” portion of our program. George W. Bush just told the country he gave up playing golf in 2003 because of the war in Iraq. Not to give him time to serve in it—we already know where Bush stands regarding personal combat—but out of respect for those serving there. Of course if he’d bothered to ask, those serving there might have voted for him still playing golf but stopping the war.

Forget the political implications for a moment. Only a pinhead like Dubya would try to convince people giving up golf is a sacrifice. Every year millions of Americans give up golf voluntarily because they suck at it and want to stop the bleeding. Others stop because it’s too expensive. Some military men have been forced to stop because they’re in Iraq or Afghanistan. Other soldiers stopped playing because they’re currently dead.

Of all the outrageous lies, prevarications and exaggerations Bush has foisted on this country, this ranks up at the top with Saddam bought Yellowcake and domestic spying is good for Democracy. Golf, as it has done for so many other golfers, help detach Bush to lie real good.

So Bush is a liar and an idiot, but he’s no fool. Since his popularity is already mucking around in Whale poop at the bottom of the ocean, one can only assume that he just doesn’t care anymore.

And that’s no lie.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Numbed Down as Well as Dumbed Down?

Is irony dead?

Or did I just imagine George W. Bush lectured the Myanmar Junta how to properly run their disaster?

Sure, those Myanmaniacs have gotten some 50,000-100,000 citizens killed with the help of a Typhoon--and Bush’s work in New Orleans pales in comparison--but doesn’t anyone get the essential absurdity of it all?

What does Bush want from Myanmar, a country he calls Burma in that cute way he still calls the Democratic Party the "Democrat Party"? Does he want Flyover rights? Does he Jones for a new photo op of him gazing longingly down from 35,000 feet over a tragedy he couldn’t be bothered to drop in on?

Or is Dubya hoping for a Burmese ice license, the better to load up and ship hundreds of tons of frozen water where it isn’t needed while ignoring where it is needed? (For this tragedy, may we suggest sending the ice to Iceland?)

Could Bush be looking for a new parking lot for the tens of thousands of trailers which never reached the people they were intended for?

Or maybe Bush just wants to don his Mr. Snugglecrotch flight suit again, land on a carrier and declare another Mission Accomplished?

And while the body count in Myanmar and N.O. don’t match up, let us not misunderestimate Bush’s Skilz as a Master of Disaster. Throw in the grotesquerie that is Iraq and Bush's body count rises significantly. Tote up dead Americans in Iraq and New Orleans plus dead Iraqis and it will likely sweep past the Burma Shave body count.

Yeah, I get it. The dudes running Myanmar are worse people than Bush, Cheney and Rummy combined. Certainly we can all agree Americans are generous to a fault when it comes to responding to international disasters. But if Dubya appointed “Heckuva Job” Brownie to run the show, would that shock us? Or are we Americans numbed down as well as dumbed down?

And another thing: What’s with Bush sending the Missus out as his Point Man? You don’t suppose he saw how Clinton put his Little Woman onstage to try to continue his dynasty and so Bush thought...Oh, dear God, NOOOOOOOOOO!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Old People have Sex; Tell Oprah

Let me start by noting I have nothing against good cosmetic surgery. Facelifts have been with us for a long time. So has Barbara Walters. It appears the twain have met.

Barbara is a legend. She is the Cal Ripken, Jr. of female TV news personalities. She is head and shoulders above them all, even Oprah, who may be bigger now, but can’t catch her for longevity or trailblazitudeness.

Barbara Walters (l)

How old is La Babs? They say late seventies, and we should all look that good and remain so vital at that age. I doubt, however, we’ll ever know Ms. Walters’ true age for sure without felling her and counting the rings in her legs—and I’m not advocating that--but my guess is she’s actually about 125 years young.

Recently, she appears to have sipped a Jeroboam of bubbly from her own Fountain of Youth. Either that or she’s had some extraordinary work. Babs, you look terrific. Her plastic surgery was so successful she got a frantic call form Priscilla Presley, who asked, “Mmmmm Gffff Mmmjmgh Mgggh?” Huzzah for her Plastique Surgeon. Dude rules.

With the single exception of the experimental Full Body Cap Regis had in December, it’s the finest work I’ve ever seen on a living human. (Full disclosure: After I contracted Bell’s Palsy in 2003, I had plastic surgery on an eye that drooped like dewlaps on a Bloodhound.)

Now the bad news. Apparently, Barbara’s latest rejuvenation has inspired her to announce to the world—maybe as a preemptive pre-outing strike—that she did the nasty last century with a now dead, then married formerly African-American, U.S. American Senator. Not just any dolt, but Sen. Edward Brook of the great State of Massachusetts.

Ooops. This just in! Edward Brook is still alive! No word on whether he wishes he were dead and/or wishes Babs had kept her pie hoLinkle closed. (More Full disclosure: To my knowledge, I have never slept with Barbara Walters. Or, for that matter, Edward Brook.)

Fat Chance of getting Babs to shut up about this. She is slated to babble on about her dalliance on—where else—Oprah. As if the meeting of the two Top Doyennes of television femaledum wasn’t enough, she‘ll talk about the affair there, and if time permits, jump on Oprah’s couch.

And this is the gift that keeps on giving. Geraldo has slithered out from the rock under which he hides to announce he really really wanted to nail Babs his own self, and shock of shocks, she turned him down.

Geraldo then theorized in that racially sensitive way he has that the shootdown was due to “Once you’ve been back, you never go back.” Not to be outdone, the current occupant of the Joan Rivers Chair of Cosmetic Reconstruction at UCLA, Cher, announced that she once nailed Tom Cruise. Cruise, of course, also is appearing on Oprah, not to deny dalliances with strange women—he has a enough trouble convincing people he even dallies with Katie--but to claim he’s not really wacky as a Loon. Uh-huh.

Then the new Governor of New York, David Patterson, announced the only reason he released his laundry list of illicit affairs was because he thought someone was about to out him on the matter. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when he ‘splained that to the Missus.

I know I’m a voice crying in the Wilderness here, but enough, already. I’m no prude. I don’t poopoo Barbara or Cher or the Gov’s dalliances; nor do I condone them. Just, for God’ sake, shut up about it. The world is going to Hell in a Handbasket and when not discussing Obama’s Preacher, all the media can concern itself with is who was porking who decades ago in Senor Village.

I guess insecurity plus the years ticking by are not good for one’s sense of self-esteem, no matter the accomplishment to date or the quality of facial reconstruction. But, sadly, it appears Pallaver, Blather, Gossip and Glop have just become the new Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Kicking Obama Where It Hurts

If we are a Nation that still sticks up for the underdog, Barack Obama may well be the next President of the United States

If our sense of Fair Play can overcome our innate, inbred, bubbling-below-the-surface fear of black people, Senator Obama is the next President of the United States.

If we, as a nation, have come to realize that much of the Media no longer cares about what is right or wrong, what is responsible or irresponsible, but just what is profitable, and we ignore that Media, Obama is a shoo-in.

If we realize that Ralph Nader and Reverend Wright were once good and honest men who worked for the well-being of their people and the country, but have since been seduced by the Dark Side’s Bitch Goddess of Megalomania and must be ignored, Obama can start writing his inaugural address now.

If voters understand that there is something intrinsically wrong with ignoring or joining in with a gang-like pummeling of a single, honorable person by his Republican opponent, his Democratic opponent, his Pastor, Fox News, and most of the rest of the Media is so very, very wrong, the Senator can reserve a lane at the White House bowling alley now.

If American citizens realize this Nation cannot go on like this, cannot continue electing its officials as a result of manipulation by Spin Machines and Professional propagandists, Barack Obama can get fitted for his
Top Hat and Tails.

The optimist in me feels this could happen. The cynic, the pessimist, the pragmatist and the historian within me don’t hold out much hope.

A Black man hasn’t had a beatdown like this since Rodney King stopped driving. And racist cops got nothing on Fox News or a once honorable Dragon Lady who now won’t allow the Will of the People to stand up to her Ego.

An argument can even be made that Ms. Clinton has known whereof she speaks. The Senator form new York may know that Bar
ack is unelectable because of her unconscionable behavior designed to make him unelectable. This is not a stupid woman. She undestand the concept of Self-fulfilling prophecies.

Ms. Clinton, with whose policies I’ve largely
been in accord, has nonetheless proven that there are few if any depths to which she will not sink in this campaign. She may not have reinvented Rovian strategery, but she’s emulated it. Senator Clinton may well stop Senator Obama from becoming the Next President of the United States and earn her Pyrrhic victory and .

Why Pyrrhic? Ms. Clinton has been so dishonest and so disingenuous that I truly wish her the worst fate I can imagine—stealing the nomination from Senator Obama. This would essentially end her political Presidential aspirations. Getting the nomination now is a task achievable only by driving away so many Democratic voters she cannot win the general election. Well, unless John McCain makes The Great Pumpkin his running mate.

As for The Reverend Jeremiah Wright. It has not been a good time for Men of the Cloth, and he isn't helping. No matter his intention--whether a delusional belief that he is doing African-Americans good by his actions, or intentionally not turning the other cheek to smite his former Parishener--the effect is singular. His is the behavior of a a man thoroughly in the grip of Megalomania. He isn't even a tragic figure--just a sadly comic one. His legacy, whether he helps Hillary haul down Obama or not--will be pathetic, a series of YouTube videos, ranging from an angry madman to a Post-Modernist Stepin Fetchit.

One can't be sure what he was going for. But what he has become is a punch line.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Genius of Sandalous Overkill

The New York Times has a big ol’ story about how the Pentagon has been using retired military men to carry its hogwash out to the Media. The Pentagon—courtesy of Uncle Sam—trots the retirees off to Iraq, to Guantanamo, to insider briefings, and then the Generals and Admirals trot themselves over to Fox and elsewhere to share their “expertise.”

The 7500 word article gives lots of specifics, views with alarm, lists examples of media deceptions, and carries denials from military men who are shocked, shocked I say, that they are accused of such shenanigans.

This is hardly the first or only Bush scandal. Keith Olbermann runs a segment every night called “Bushed,” whereby he comments and updates three out of the current 50 (he claims) scandals gurgling up that night in the Bush administration. The list changes daily and as anyone scoring at home knows, fifty scandals is likely a serious misunderestimation of the damage Dubya has done to the country.

The Propagandized Generals Scandal has now joined the crowd of other darkening the political landscape and will in turn be superceded by the next scandal or outrage.

If there is a genius to the Bush Presidency, it is that it has mastered the art of Scandalous Overkill. Clinton and Nixon were pikers compared to this bunch. In Watergate, Nixon had a single overall scandal—which was admittedly a doozy and it got him booted out of office. Clinton had Monicagate, and it got him impeached.

Bush has more scandals than he could begin to count, even using all his digits and with his shoes and socks off. But he doesn’t get impeached, he gets a second term, a library full of Bushisms, and a Christmas fruit basket from every political satirist alive today.

Why is that? Thank you for asking. I have a theory.

The NYT article was sent to me by email and included links to the paper’s top five forwarded stories. These are the stories that have so fascinated and involved readers that they were stirred to action.

When I opened the email this morning, the Pentagon General Scandal story was number four on the list. Number four? How could that be?

Had a new scandal already erupted to supercede it? Nope.

Had the Pennsylvania Primary blanketed the list with three more vital stories? No.

Was the Surge upstaged by an upsurge in non-surge violence? Uh-uh

Okay, I give up, what was the #1 story?

The Pope likes kitties--a story about his Holiness and his affection for felines. Had the Pope announced he’d boo-booed on stem cell research and it was now okay, I’d understand. If the Pontiff said he was trading his pointy Mitre for a Sam Jackson Kangol, I’d dig it. But kitties?

Which leads to my reluctant conclusion:

The key to political survival today is to so overwhelm the Media and the Electorate with bad behavior, they tune it out. It worked for Bush, and as Hillary continues to do Republican Swiftboaters' dirty work and is rewarded for it, it shows she and Bill have learned an important lesson. Times change. A back-office Hummer just won’t git ‘er done anymore.

The Pope’s Kitties can’t save us from ourselves. The slippery slope of Decline and Fall has been regreased.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hopalong Hillary: Packin' the Heat

The revelation that Hillary Rodham Clinton learned to hunt at the knee of her Granddaddy is not only one of her many warm and treasured memories of deadly weaponry, but overly modest by half. As many know, Senator Clinton reluctantly admitted to her early firearms training after her Democratic opponent, Barack Obama’s snarky comments about guns and the fine people who own and shoot them.

While Ms. Clinton recounted how much she delighted in turning bunnies and ducks and all God’s creatures great and small into pulverized blobs of blood, fur, and feathers, the Presidential nominee humbly neglected to acknowledge her many other contributions to the art and science of gunplay.

For instance, as a child of three, young Hillary drew up plans for what would later become the modern day Gattling gun, the machine gun used in most current US attack aircraft.

“Make the spinning barrels go round n’ round” she told then Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay, inspiring the general to adapt the weapon, first used in the Civil War, to modern day aviation. Today the seven barrel 30mm GAU-8/A Gatling gun can fire 3,900 rounds a minute and is effectively used in A-10 Warthog tank killers.

There are more NRA Hall of Fame achievements Ms. Clinton has modestly advoided admitting to until recently. For instance, Clinton still holds the Pennsylvania state record for largest bear ever bagged, a 7 foot 3 inch, 1162-pound Grizzly she brought down at age six with a single shot from her Lady Derringer. And while the animal was not shot during hunting season, the record is still considered official as Ms. Clinton plinked the varmit as it menaced a schoolyard filled with tasty third graders.

At age 20, between semesters at Wellesley College, Ms. Clinton appeared on Broadway in the title role in “Annie Get Your Gun,” winning a Tony for her performance.

At age 23, while on tour with the late singer Johnny Cash, she shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. Charges were later dropped.

When her husband, Bill, failed to join the military during the Vietnam era, Ms. Clinton helped him compensate by teaching him the military ditty, “This is my rifle, this is my gun, this is for shooting, this is for fun.” (A decision she admits regretting with all her heart and soul.)

Few of these accomplishments were known publicly until Senator Obama--who has repeatedly stated that cancelling the Second Amendment is his first priority upon assuming office--made his recent gun gaffe.

In one instance, National Security prevented Ms. Clinton from not lying. She said she “had to bite my lip” during the recent confusion over her “arrival under fire” in Bosnia. Both her and former President Clinton’s “explanations” were created from whole cloth because the truth was "highly classified" until now.

The night before her “official” arrival, Ms. Clinton infiltrated the area with an Army Sniper team, and spent the ensuing 24 hours clearing the area of enemy sharpshooters. Ms. Clinton single-handedly bagged 37 enemy gunmen and gunwomen, using only 36 rounds. Highlight of the operation, Miss Clinton stated in the afteraction report, was nailing a husband and wife sniper team with a single bullet. This was the very team tasked with killing the adorable child scheduled to give Hillary the flowers.

Also, Hillary invented dum-dum bullets.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Genius of George Bush, Economist

Wonder why the economy is in the state it is? Take a stroll down memory lane and read some of the statements The Decider in Chief has made about things financial and economic since taking office.

(All statements were actually made by George W. Bush, America’s most consistently self satirizing president. The comments in bold are from Pesky)

The clear thought processes of George W. Bush…

"It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it."--Reuters, May 5, 2000

He is what he am…

"I understand small business growth. I was one."—New York Daily News, Feb. 19, 2000

Is that a cheesehead you’re wearing, or…

"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."—Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000

A few kind words about the poor…

"First, let me make it very clear, poor people aren't necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn't mean you're willing to kill."-Washington, D.C., May 19, 2003

WMD at the OMB…

"The law I sign today directs new funds and new focus to the task of collecting vital intelligence on terrorist threats and on weapons of mass production."-Washington, D.C., Nov. 27, 2002

Just give me 4000 years…

"And so, in my State of the-my State of the Union-or state-my speech to the nation, whatever you want to call it, speech to the nation-I asked Americans to give 4,000 years-4,000 hours over the next-the rest of your life-of service to America. That's what I asked-4,000 hours." -Bridgeport, Conn., April 9, 2002

The New Math will save us…

"We've tripled the amount of money-I believe it's from $50 million up to $195 million available."-Lima, Peru, March 23, 2002

It’s Foreigner’s fault, especially that Lou Gramm guy…

"It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas."—Beaverton, Ore., Sep. 25, 2000

My antidotal evidence proves I’m right

"A tax cut is really one of the anecdotes to coming out of an economic illness."—Sept. 18, 2000

You are what you grasp…

"I recently met with the finance minister of the Palestinian Authority, was very impressed by his grasp of finances."-Washington, D.C., May 29, 2003

Our overreaching underachiever…

"If you don't have any ambitions, the minimum-wage job isn't going to get you to where you want to get, for example. In other words, what is your ambitions? And oh, by the way, if that is your ambition, here's what it's going to take to achieve it."-Speech to students in Little Rock, Ark., Aug. 29, 2002

He’s our President, we’re paying for it…

"It's your money. You paid for it."—LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

Monday, March 31, 2008

Pesky Open Letter to The Clintons

Dear Mr. Former President Clinton:

Stop it. Just stop it.

You’re turning into Ralph Nader and I don’t like it. Not one damn bit. I can’t afford to have another Political Hero self-flushed down the porcelain conveyance. Yeah, I know. “Political Hero”is as close to being an Oxymoron as one can get these days…

But Mr. President, you’re the guy we pointed to when people said, okay who would be better than Bush? You’re the guy who managed the deficit, whose administration takes the wind out of the sails of the current crew when they trickle down all over themselves.

You ran such an efficient and reasonable Presidency, the only real argument they have against you is the fact you couldn’t keep your Johnson properly housed. I’ll take an Oval Office Hummer over an Endless War eight days a week and twice on Monica. To paraphrase Lincoln’s line about General Grant and booze, send a squad of interns out to service other politicians. Or give the job to Eliot Spitzer. He’s available.

You weren’t a perfect President. You did embarrass the office with the Monica thing, and NAFTA was something more in tune with Republican thinking. But as presidents go last century, you done good. Leave us our memories. We know you feel obliged to get the Missus elected, but this isn’t the way.

You’re whip smart, Mr. President, but you already know that. Obviously, you’re ten times smarter than the guy who said he wanted to put food on his family. But your smarts are a double-edge sword. We don’t buy it when you say you misspoke or forgot to mention Obama is a patriot, or claim your wife’s dirty campaign is really good for the Dems because it toughens up Obama.

You know and I know what Hillary and you and your hired guns have been doing lately has the stink of desperation on it. And it only benefits John McCain. While you and your lady have sniped at a fellow Dem, McCain has run with the opportunity to rise above the pettiness and—dare I say it—look Presidential.

Maureen Dowd and others say you and Hill are intentionally sinking the Dems chances so McCain can serve out Bush’s third term, and Hillary can run again in 2012. If so, it makes the Republican Swiftboating of Senator Kerry in 2004 look like a Swan Boat ride in the Public Garden by comparison. It’s like torpedoing your own fleet before a battle, in hopes of rebuilding it for the next one.

Keep it up and you and Hillary will guarantee at least four more years of Republican rule. That would mean four more years of Americans dying in Iraq (and perhaps Iran), four more years of a ruinous economic plan, and scarier yet, two or more Republican Supreme Court justices.

And yes, I know Senator Obama and his people aren’t pure as the driven snow either. But most people perceive his behaviors as a response to your escalating personal attacks, not a response, not an opening shot. Dirty politics.

You’ve served your country for most of your professional life. It needs you more than ever. Instead of assuring more Republican misery, we need the Clintons to join with the one person who can beat John McCain.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Pesky Pseudo Psychic Prize Goes to: AEI

This week's Pesky Pseudo Psychic Prize Goes to Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute. On Monday, Fred, whose chins are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, told the Iraq Planning Group's Phase IV Conference in Washington, DC:

“The first thing I want to say is that: The Civil War in Iraq is over. And until the American domestic political debate catches up with that fact, we are going to have a very hard time discussing Iraq on the basis of reality. I’d now like to invite all of you to join me for some lovely chocolate gumdrops left me by the Easter Bunny.”

Okay, I made up the part about the Easter Bunny. But in case you've been hiding under a rock, or writing policy for the Bush administration, or both, less than 24 hours after this Right Wing Think Tank Bozo’s comments, McClatchy News Service reported:

"With Iraq's top leaders directing the battle, Iraq's army and national police pressed a major operation Tuesday to wrest control of the southern port city of Basra from the Shiite Mahdi Army militia. Fighting between government forces and the militia quickly spread through Iraq's south and into Baghdad."

As of this writing, Baghdad is in lockdown, the Green Zone is under rocket attacks that have led to the death of two Americans and two of the Vice President’s guards. (No, not our Veep, their Veep).

As our winnner, Fred receives an historical, autographed photo of John McCain strolling through that Baghdad marketplace with 100 of his closest, armed-to-the-teeth, friends.

For more information on the AEI and some of their other similiarly well-researched policy studies, click here, here and here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

PESKY OPEN LETTER: What the Hell's Wrong with MSNBC?

To paraphrase the late humorist Fred Allen, you could put all I know about the Economy in a flea’s navel and still have room left over for three caraway seeds and an agent’s heart.

So I was watching Senator Obama’s speech on the Economy today with a combination of bewilderment and fascination. While what I heard made sense, I suspect what will linger long after speech was the memorable catch phrase he uttered about Sen. McCain, who he said was running for George Bush’s third term as President. As the economic mess and Mesopotamia mess vie to see who’s going to Hell faster, Obama’s effort to associate Granpa with the people responsible for both disasters makes sense.

Before his speech had even ended, McCain had issued a statement accusing Obama of the crime of Liberalism, and MSNBC, which was carrying the speech live, cut away. Why? To get back to what they do best—turn presidential politics into a Hybrid circus--half Dancing with the Stars, half Maury! (Seems they had some more dirt on Reverend Wright that just could not wait.)

What in the high holy Hell is wrong with you MSNBC? Aside from your one bright shining star—Keith Olbermann—the rest of your programming is bad and getting worse.

Dumping the Tuckster was a good idea, but replacing him with Journalist turned Karl Rove Backup dancer David Gregory? I don’t watch the new show much because every time I tune in I see tiny boxes filled with talking heads, one of whom is always Pat Buchanon. And Pat Buchanon makes my dog yak up her Alpo.

And the one thing the 24/7s don’t need are more hours devoted just to politics. (And almost exclusively presidential politics, at that. Had MSNBC dumped out of Obama for updates on the latest post Surge resurgence of violence in Iraq, I could understand. But MSNBC is so far behind the power curve in Iraq, I had to tune over to Fox NewsFOX!—to get a live update from that beleaguered nation. They had some Scotsman named MacDonald reporting live. Yes, American TV is now outsourcing it’s war coverage.

Meanwhile, two Americans have been killed by recent shelling in Baghdad’s Green Zone. (as of 3 PM PDT) The U.S. Military blames Iranian-backed Shiite Militiamen. George Bush blames Congress. John McCain blames Mongol Insurgents, trained by al Qaeda in Philadelphia. The Mainstream media has bought the Administration line of hooey that the Surge has worked so it may take them a while to realize it hasn’t.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Pesky Letter: The Bush Who Cried Wolf

A Pesky Letter to Michael Mukasey

Dear Attorney General Mukasey:

Imagine how surprised I was to read that you were “surprised at how surprised” you are at all that Terror that’s out there just waiting to kill us. You continued that "It's surprising how varied [the threat] is, how many directions it comes from, how geographically spread out it is.”

And whattaya know, you said all this right when the President of the Newnitted States is trying to ram an anti-Privacy Bill down willing beaks of Congress and the American people.

The beauty part is how you delivered your warning. Mikey. (May I call you Mikey? “Mr. Attorney General” sounds too formal for someone trying to make us crap our pants.) Anyway, CNN said you made the comment while “at an informal meeting” with reporters in your office.

Well, we all know how much the Bush administration likes to dish with members of the 4th Estate. No subterfuge there, certainly. Your timing was beautiful, too. It was a shot sent across the bow of U.S. American Christians just as they’re getting ready to celebrate Easter. Not so fast, Good Christians, you implied. There’s godless terror extant. Evildoers everywhere are making ready to bite the head off Peter Cottontail and poop in your Easter baskets.

“Details! Give us details and specifics,” the insider reporters most certainly shouted. No neophytes they, these are people who cut their journalistic Eye Teeth on the balderdash of Brittney, the prevarications of Paris, the fabrications of Federline.

“No you dih-uhnt,” you responded. You refused to offer details, specifics or Data. You let their imaginations stew along with their perceived status of insider privilege to great effect. This wasn’t some official pronouncement to get lost in the news clutter of a holiday weekend. No this was Scoop stuff—sure to be breathlessly reported.

And so, Mikey, you got to me. I’m sitting here with a clenched knot in my stomach, fearful that I’m gonna die, knowing as sure as Martha has Vandellas, there’s nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide.

There’s just one teensy, tiny little thing.

I don’t believe you.

Oh it’s not you, Mikey. You haven’t been in office long enough to build my distrust. It’s that guy you work for. He’s a—what’s the Euphemism for it?—oh, the hell with it, lets call a Spade a Spade—he’s a liar. How do we know when Bush is lying? When his lips move. (Okay, that’s not a new joke, but then Bush has been lying for a long, long time.)

It hasn’t taken you long to come up to speed with the way they do things in your boss’s administration, Mikey. After all, the President and his Crew are past masters at terrorizing the people they were elected to serve. They’ve been warning us that we’re all gonna die if we don’t do exactly what they tell us to do for quite some time now. As you know, the current focus is on a little piece of legislation called the FISA Bill.

Congress, under the delusion they were elected to govern the American populace too, want to have something to say about FISA. Some Americans even suspect our elected representatives are actually getting up on their hind legs and saying, “Hey, we’re part of the Constitutional process, too, Mr. President, I mean Sir, er, that is, Your Majesty….”

No Mikey, you are just the latest Bush surrogate being used to put the American citizenry in our place, said place being ducking, covering, and cringing under our desks. You have reached into the darkest corners our scared little psyches and addressed our reptilian brains directly. Your message is as clear as the Good Terminator’s warning to Sarah Connor: “Come (along) with me if you want to live.”

The tragedy of all this is there is Terror out there. There are plenty of bad guys who wish us ill. Some hate us because they are truly Evildoers; others hate us because they’ve been driven to it by the behaviors of the Bush Administration.

And if we let our guard down, it’s not because the American people, or Liberals, or those who oppose the President don’t have the backbone to stand up to the real terrorists. It’s because we’ve become deafened by Bush’s incessant plays upon our fears, offered not as fair warning, but to feed the President’s urge to consolidate his own power, and excuse his past behavior.

And as sure as I know that any future terrorist action will be blamed on anyone who stood up to Bush’s Politics of Terrorism, that’s how sure I am that the real blame falls on the Bush who cried Wolf.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Eli Stone Wins Psychic Shaker Pesky Prize

Maybe he IS Psychic. regardles, the first ever Prestidigitator Pesky Prize (#5) goes to the writers, actors, executive producers and staff psychics of the ABC program “Eli Stone.” The topic of their March 20th episode was their protagonist, Eli Stone, sensing a message from God that an earthquake would hit the San Francisco Bay area immediately.

Hey, it’s a fictional program. It was conceived, written and shot weeks or months ago. Yet starting less than three hours before the program aired, and continuing until a few hours after it ended, a series of 20 non-fiction Earthquakes, called a “swarm,” really hit in the East Bay area near San Francisco.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pesky Prize # 4 Hail Britannia

Okay, maybe we aren't as dumb as we look. Turns out our little tagalong Coalition of the Willing partners may be stupider than we US Americans.

Hence, today’s Pesky Prize (#4) goes to one out of three English Kidlets. According to a survey in the Daily Telegraph taken between molar extractions, one-third of English youngsters surveyed think Sir Winston Churchill was the first man to walk on the Moon.

Everyone knows Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the Moon. Churchill was second.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Open Letter to a Wartime President

Dear Mr. “Wartime” President:

Congratulations on completing your fifth year of stewardship over the war in Iraq. Or as John McCain might put it, five years down, only 95 more to go. From reading your comments over the years, I know you believe History will judge your adventure kindly. And there’s a reasonable explanation for that. You’re delusional.

But rather than discuss your Legacy, or how survivors will judge you in the future, let’s discuss the impact of your time in office on present day America, shall we?

In a sense, your Presidency started in a preschool classroom September 1l, 2001, where you sat crouched behind a children’s book for a quarter of an hour as the Nation you professed to love was under attack by the Evildoers you profess to hate. You said you stayed “for the kids,” not wanting to upset them. There’s an explanation for that, too. You have never, ever, not even once admitted you’ve made a mistake, misjudgment, or bad call.

Despite that scared little boy expression on your face, you say it wasn’t fear that kept you there. But it’s not like you have a rep for bravery. When given an opportunity to get some combat use out of that expensive fighter-pilot training taxpayers paid for, you chose to run away from serving in Vietnam. You quit as a pilot, and then you disappeared from the National Guard unit your Daddy got you into. Years later, you would lament that you could not join the men and women you sent to fight and die overseas 30 years later on what you called a “romantic” quest. And yes, there’s even an explanation for that. You are shameless.

But that’s the past. Let’s talk about today, a point in time before “History” has a chance to reflect on your years as President. Mr. President, We the People are in a miserable mess.

You didn’t invent dirty campaigning, but you, and your gutter slime advisors, have raised it to an art form. No one trusts you any more. If space aliens landed on the White House lawn, or Russia put missiles in Cuba again, no one would believe your warnings.

This very day, the mid-West is taking a historic weather pounding and is flooding again, while the Southwest and Southeast continue to suffer from record drought. Oh, sure, can’t blame you for all Acts of God, but you’ve denied the Big Guy any help at all keeping the planet habitable. Your denial Global Climate change has battered this country and and lead to anti-American feeling around the world.

You have squandered a Trillion dollars in Iraq, billions of which just got misplaced along the way. You have killed almost 4,000 Americans there. You have sent them to war in inadequate equipment, and when the good stuff got there, it got chewed up with overuse.

You have brought untold misery on soldiers forced to serve multiple tours, and vets mistreated when they returned to the military hospitals you under funded. You have cut their benefits.

You have gutted the middle class, ignored the poor. Even some of the ultra rich, who you coddled with tax breaks, have suffered under your stewardship. A receding tide strands all boats.

You have mortgaged America’s future. You inherited an economy that ran without a deficit and built the greatest deficit in American history, a yoke around the neck of America’s children’s children’s children.

You’ve overseen jobs fleeing overseas. You’ve watched the dollar fall to historic lows. You have presided over the collapse of the housing market. You’ve failed to protect us form poisoned and defective imports. Because of you and your war and your tax cuts, there is no money to rebuild a collapsing infrastructure. Your own party’s convention will have to detour around a collapsed bridge outside of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

You fiddled while New Orleans drowned, and have done nothing to restore that city to its former greatness.

You have built an inept homeland security system. At airports we are protected from smuggled baby formula and those with more than three ounces of shampoo, but test after test have shown the system’s inefficiency in things that matter. You would have allowed the security of our ports to be outsourced.

You have chewed huge chunks out of American’s Rights to Privacy, and the Constitution is under assault as never before. You have politicized the Justice Department, caused many Americans to distrust that lynchpin of democracy, the honesty of our voting procedures.

By putting yourself above the law, by your dirty campaigns, with your mangling of simple English and by your shameless lies, you have done more to cause Americans to lose faith in their Government than even Nixon could ver dream of obtaining.

There is less than a year left of your misbegotten Presidency, a fact many citizens remember by wearing or carry reminders (1-20-09) of the day our long National Nightmare will officially end. Sadly, the damage will not conclude on that day. You have proven the adage that the evil men do lives long after them—especially when they get to make Supreme Court appointments.

Even more worrisome, there’s still time for it to get worse under you. Your ruined economy may yet collapse entirely. With the latest in a long line of skilled military men forced out of their jobs for daring to disagree with you, you’ve assured that War with Iran is still in play. The Taliban is back. Your fabled Surge is sagging in Iraq. The man who you couldn’t find, Osama bin Laden may yet row unmolested up the Hudson on an amphibious suitcase nukecanoe.

So we’re still watching you. And it won’t take History for most of us to know this is no Ship of State you captain, but a leaking Swiftboat of Fools.