A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Monday, February 27, 2006

Average American Daily Concern #2493

During the most recent misunderstanding between the Bush administration and the American people, many of us voiced concerns that our shipping ports would be taken over by a company based in an Arab country. The first reports made it sound like the deal, approved by the Bush administration, was another case of outsourcing American jobs. Subsequent reports have ruled out this concern.

However, the Bush people lashed back at the objections with their usual rally cry, "Trust us!" When will they learn that this expression has out-lived its usefulness for this administration? Then there were cries that the concerns were based in xenophobia.

While all of us hope that our motives for doubt were not rooted in prejudice, we must acknowledge that some of our countrymen will hate the Arab nations just because they are Arabian. One official raised the point that people never objected when port control was in the hands of another country, Great Britain, who are now selling their interests to the United Arab Emirates.

My immediate reaction was that people didn't object to a British company controlling our ports because many of us didn't know that the British controlled some of our ports. I’m guessing that most Americans believe our ports are run by a couple of Teamsters named Chollie and Vinnie. I will go out on a limb and say that concern for this port control by a foreign company (British, Arab or otherwise) is rather far down on our list of worries that the average American faces each day. While I won't pretend to speak for all Americans, I think I could come up with a short list of everyday concerns about which the average American worries.

Here we go: what should I wear? Should I eat breakfast or just have coffee? What is the weather for today? How is the traffic? Feed the children, pack their lunch, and get them out the door for school. Will I be late for work? How do I look? I must send that e-mail joke to the guys! I must ask the girls what they watched on television last night! Will I complete my project today? Will I keep my job today? If I don't, how will I feed, clothe and house the family? How will I pay for our medical bills? What's for lunch? Where shall I go during lunch break? Do I have to run any errands today? Pick up the kids, take them to practice. Get home, fix dinner, clean up. Do I have time/energy for any other chores tonight? And who made the very first move?

Sorry, that last one was lifted from a Jim Steinman song, and is not necessarily an everyday concern. Anyway, the above list has only 26 items Americans could worry about on a daily basis. We're nowhere near worrying about international affairs! I have arbitrarily assigned our topic as Average American Daily Concern #2493, my estimate as to what priority port security takes in our lives, and probably the federal government’s. If anyone wants to figure out what Daily Concerns #27 - 2492 are, then I would advise you to please get a life!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Meanwhile, at the Liberal Media Anonymous Therapy Session...

Me: “Hi, I'm Todd.”

Leader and Group: “Hi, Todd.”

Me: “As you know, I write a blog, and most of my entries recently have not been too kind towards the Bush regime, I mean administration. I know I should take responsibility for my own actions, but I grew up trusting Walter Cronkite, you see. He was the kindly grandfather that I never had. Well, he's not as prominent as he used to be, but I still feel his influence. I mean, I see it in the newspapers and hear it on the radio.

“For example, I can't understand why the Bush administration has handed over the security of our seaports to a company based in the United Arab Emirates. I mean, come on! Have they cut government spending so much that they have to outsource our security? Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that the administration didn't round up all the American Muslims and put them in concentration camps after 9/11, but on the other hand, isn't this taking equal opportunity too far?”

Leader: “Todd, remember our mantra, Small government is good! Small government is good! Come on, say it with me. Small government is good!"

Me: “Okay, small government is good, small government, no, it isn't. Didn't you people learn anything after Katrina?”

Leader: “Todd?”

Me: “The Bush tax cuts have made the federal government ineffectual and irrelevant!”

Group: (collective gasp)

Leader: “Mr. Gunther?”

Me: “Hey, I have a suggestion for Homeland Security. Remember when Reagan fired all those air traffic controllers? There must be a few empty slots left to fill, right? Why don't we hire Al-Qaida members as air traffic controllers? Yeah, that should make flying very interesting! They could work for minimum wage and all the virgins they could..."

Leader: “Okay, Mr. Gunther! It appears that you need a one-on-one session with one of our counselors. Let me see who's available...Brit Hume...Bill O'Reilly...ah! Here's one! Orderlies, take Mr. Gunther to the right wing, room A. We'll send Cal Thomas in to talk to him.”

Me: "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!"

Fortunately, my alarm went off and my nightmare was over...for now...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Chester Alan Who?

Our Valentines Day was very low key. My cats and I gave my wife cards, flowers, a book, two DVD’s and a love note published in The Philadelphia Inquirer. They gave me two books: biographies of Presidents Benjamin Harrison and Chester Alan Arthur. We spent a quiet evening together working on my blog.

Okay, so the earth didn’t move for either one of us, and no saran wrap was used, but hey, this is as good as it gets for a middle-aged couple. Deal with it!

Anyway, my books bring us to the subject of President’s Day, which began as a merging of Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays. Now it is just another excuse for car and department stores sales. Washington and Lincoln are probably the only two presidents most Americans know. This is mainly due to the way American history is taught in our public schools. Herewith now, in the spirit of public schools rendering of American history, is a very short history of the American Presidents.

George Washington was America’s first president. Number one, numero uno, first in the hearts of his countrymen, greater than sliced bread and nearly as big as Christ. Then came a bunch of other guys who did things that were important to them and to those around them, and in a minute incremental way, contributed to what this country is today. Other than that, who cares?

Then came Abraham Lincoln (number sixteen for those playing at home). It fell to him to referee that great domestic battle known as the Civil War. He managed to keep the country together at the cost of his own life. He is probably the greatest Republican ever, although the people at the Reagan Legacy Project will probably protest this. After all, they believe that their man is greater than sliced bread, but certainly not bigger than Christ. No, no, not at all.

Then came a bunch of other guys who did things that were important to them and those around them and blah, blah, blah. This brings us to today and the most powerful man in the west. He is wise enough to see through the conspiracy of global warming. He has had the foresight to implement a plan for lasting peace and democracy in the Middle East. He sneers and liberals shake! Lawyers and quail quiver in his sight! He points his finger and buckshot flies out like a bolt of lightning! Of course I’m referring to Dick Cheney! (Did you really think I was talking about that Howdy Doody puppet sitting in the Oval Office, who thinks he’s running the country?)

That is our very short history of the American Presidents. Kids, feel free to use these notes for your next history pop quiz. No need to thank me now, or later for that matter.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Unanswered Questions: Gilligan's Island

Today’s blog subject was to be “Stupid Bush Administration Tricks”, but we have decided to give the President a break today.

Instead, we will pose questions about “Gilligan’s Island” as if they came from an inquisitive five year old that is no longer willing to suspend their disbelief about a famous television show from the 1960's. These questions have probably been asked before, namely at numerous water coolers or as morning DJ fodder down through the years. Did these questions ever get answers? We don't know, but we won't let that stop us from asking them again.

1. With only fruits and fish to eat, how did the Skipper keep his svelte 300-pound figure?

2. How did the castaways tolerate the Howell's frou-frou attitude and resist bashing in their bourgeois heads with coconuts?

3. How did the castaways forget about the concept of human reproduction? Okay, I mean sex. After three years on the island, we should've seen at least a little Gilligan or a little Professor running around, but nothing like that ever happened.

4. They're on an uncharted desert island, theoretically hundreds of miles from civilization, yet they get perfect reception on their portable AM radio with batteries that last forever.

5. Why was objection #4 not phrased as a question?

6. How could they concentrate on survival when that annoying theme song was playing everywhere?

7. How did Ginger get her gown (you know, the one that looked as fresh on day one, season one as it did when the series was canceled) dry-cleaned?

8. How come the "Lord of the Flies" scenario was never considered as an episode?

9. After three years, didn't Mary Anne get sick and tired of alternately baking coconut cream and banana cream pies day after day, month after month, and year after year?

10. If the castaways were so anxious to get off the island, then why didn't they just go home every night with the director, camera crew, sound technicians, make-up crew, and all the rest?

DISCLAIMER: The change to today's blog subject matter has nothing to do with ominous e-mails warning about too many anti-Bush blog entries, or the kind e-mail invitation to ‘go hunting’ with Dick “The Trigger” Cheney.

911 Emergency – Administration Under Siege!

When I started this blog, I had some doubts that I would find enough inspiration in daily events to keep it up on a weekly basis. I shall doubt no more! Just as Will Rogers had the best comedy writing staff at that time (namely Congress), then I shall dip from the Washington well too. If you thought that last clause was dizzying, then you ain't seen nothing yet.

Recently, former FEMA head Michael Brown testified again in front of Congress about the Bush administration’s response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Since he was no longer an administration employee, he was not obligated to keep internal memos confidential. He did not disappoint; as far as we can tell he sang like a bird! It will not be too difficult to imagine the response from the White House. It will probably go something like this:

My fellow Americans, ever since 9/11 when America was brutally attacked on our own soil, this administration has been empowered to prevent future attacks. We formed the Office of Homeland Security in the months after 9/11, with its intended goal to gather information from a variety of government agencies in order to combat the terrorists. We have worked very, very hard in the years since 9/11. We have had success in our struggle with the 9/11 terrorists. Earlier this week, we reported that we foiled a plot to use shoe bombs to take over another American flight in October 2002, which incidentally was thirteen months after 9/11. Now, the Office of Homeland Security has come under fire for its handling of Hurricane Katrina relief, which as you may recall, happened nearly four years after 9/11. My administration understands the 9/11 anxiety felt by the American people. I’m sure the American people also understand that my administration understands their anxiety over the 9/11 attacks. In this way, we have created empathy between us about 9/11. We will continue to use this empathy to our advantage in preventing future 9/11 style attacks on our country. Thank you and 9/11, I mean, good night.

(Sometimes these things just write themselves!)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Out in the Cold Today

QUOTE FOR TODAY: Big government is not the problem. Small government is not the problem. Foolish government is the problem.

Announcer: And now it's time to play "Out in the Cold with You" with your host, Joey Brownie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Brownie: Thank you, Johnny, and welcome everyone to "Out In The Cold With You" where our contestants vie for the basic necessities of life. Let's bring out our first contestant today.


Brownie: And you are?

Contestant: Lamont Lavoissier, Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans.

Brownie: And what do you do for a living, Lamont?

Contestant: Well, nothing at the moment. I had to leave the city when Katrina hit; before that I had a sweet gig on the Moonwalk…

Brownie: Um, I mean your day job.

Contestant: Huh, oh you mean, legit? I shine shoes.

Brownie: And why do you want to play "Out in the Cold with You?"

Contestant: Well, I've been living in a hotel courtesy of FEMA…

Brownie (interrupting): Our proud sponsor!

Contestant: Um, right. Well, I just got evicted from the hotel because FEMA isn’t paying for it anymore. And I applied for a trailer months ago, but I ain't got nothin' yet. And I don't have money for my own place and I can't find a job near where I'm at, so I need shelter and I need it now!

Brownie: Well, then, let's get right to our wheel!


Brownie: As you know, our wheel has all the basic necessities of life. We have space for food, shelter, clothing, water, and jobs. As you can see, we also have a few penalty spaces marked zero, zilch, nothing, bupkis, and military service. You win the prize that is in the space where the wheel stops. Are you ready to play? (Contestant nods his head) Then spin the wheel, Lamont!

Wheel: Spin, spin, spin…

Buzzer sounds…

Brownie: Oh, I'm sorry! The wheel stopped at bupkis! You don't get the trailer, you don’t get the food, you don’t get…

Contestant: Yeah, I get it! I get it!

Brownie: But wait, we do have a wonderful parting gift for you. What has he won, Johnny?

Announcer: He's won a lifetime supply of cracked ice chips to make all the Hurricanes he can drink!

Contestant: Don’t say hurricane…

Announcer: All courtesy of FEMA!


Contestant: You can turn off that applause, it’s annoying.

Brownie: Now, now, don't be a sore loser! Remember that your ice can be found in any one of the dozen tractor-trailers that FEMA has trucked around the country for the victims of Katrina. I believe the trucks are now in Allentown, Pennsylvania, or could it be Arkansas, or is it North Dakota? Anyway, I'm not really sure where they are because I work for FEMA! And thanks for playing “Out in the Cold with You!”

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Caricatures of Protest

Editorial cartoons are a subject near and dear to my heart. My master’s thesis examined and interpreted cartoons on the same subject (Nixon in Watergate) by two different artists, Herblock and Garry Trudeau. Thus, I am somewhat interested in the publishing of several cartoons in Europe that are igniting widespread outrage, violence and now death.

The cartoons in question depicted the prophet Muhammad, and the outraged people are Muslims in a number of countries who believe that any graphic depiction of the prophet is tantamount to idolatry, and therefore is blasphemous. To those outraged, the only suitable punishment is death. The best that Western civilization can offer is condemning the depictions (originally drawn to test the limits of free speech), apologize for offending the Muslim nations, and explaining that, well, this is part of the price of living in a democracy. Not surprisingly, this is not sitting well with the offended multitudes. They still want blood.

Muslims have every right to feel offended; if this is their belief and they feel someone has crossed the line, then fine, protest. Their reasoning linking the depictions to a form of idolatry is perfectly sound and logical. However, protesting can be done peacefully. Yes, it can be done; pickets have been reported in front of the Philadelphia Inquirer building because the Inquirer dared to reprint one of the cartoons. There have been no reports (yet) that this protest has sparked the burning of buildings or the destruction of other property or persons.

On the other hand, this is one of the byproducts of living in a free society: the chance that someone, somewhere, will not always like everything that the media publish, broadcast or otherwise disseminate. The protests demonstrate that the concept of free speech is unheard of or unknown in many parts of the Islamic world. There could also be the chance that the Muslim extremists are using these cartoons as an excuse to further their hatred of Western civilization. After all, these cartoons were originally published five months ago and nary a word was heard, until newspapers in other countries republished them two months ago.

The protests should probably hit the Bush administration between the eyes, but then again it probably won't. While Team Bush’s efforts to spread democracy may be well intentioned, the results are not working out to their satisfaction. Those Muslim majority countries that have had democratic elections have put extremist governments in place. Go figure! Who could’ve seen that coming? Why didn’t the good guys win these democratically sponsored elections?

The answers are simple, Bush. Everybody in the world (except you) has realized that perhaps some people in the Muslim world are not ready or willing to embrace the ideals of a free society. Not yet.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Letter of Addiction

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you so much for bringing our addiction to oil to our attention. Garsh, we can’t get anything past you, can we? Did you figure this out all by yourself, or did your handler Karl Rove help you? No matter, the point now is our dirty little secret is out in the open.

To tell the truth, we didn’t realize that we had a problem with oil until you brought it up. You see, we’ve been so caught up with our obsession with fatty fried food from McDonald’s, our withdrawal from Starbucks House Blend, and our dependency on Wal-Mart that we didn’t give a second thought to our oil habit. We always thought that it was our God-given right to plunder the earth’s resources just so we could keep our millions of SUVs full of billions and billions of gallons of gasoline. Now, alas, you’ve shown us the error of our ways.

We now know that someday in the future we will have to wean ourselves off oil and learn to use the alternative fuels about which you spoke. We realize you’ll need time to research and develop these fuels…hey, have you thought about using those researchers that have been warning us about global warming? They can’t be doing much at the moment since you told them (and us) that global warming doesn’t exist. They sure should be grateful to get the opportunity to work again if you put them on your alternative fuels project.

Well, we’ll let you get back to your agenda of making the world safe and profitable for your rich oil industry friends. Thank you again!

Write when you get work!

The American People