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, April 30, 2007

This Week’s Rumors

The following stories, anecdotes, urban legends, and everything otherwise known as rumors have been investigated and have been found not to be true.

1. Vice President Dick Cheney and presidential adviser Karl Rove were “put down” after Cheney mauled House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) and Rove chewed the legs off Senator Harry Reid (D–NV). NOT TRUE!

2. Ann Coulter has undergone surgery to replace her brain with a bleeding heart. NOT TRUE!

3. Sanjaya will announce that he’s running for President in 2008. NOT TRUE!

4. Rosie O’Donnell and Donald Trump will co-host an “I Love New York” telethon. NOT TRUE!

5. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin will host a reality show in which he does a tour of all American cities and offers his pithy critique about the cleanliness of each. NOT TRUE!

5. Gas prices will drop to below $2/gallon for the summer tourist season. YEAH, RIGHT...DEFINITELY NOT TRUE!

7. President Bush will launch an initiative to settle on the new planet discovered by scientists this week. The main goals of this project will be to get everyone’s mind off Iraq and to see how fast mankind can trash this new planet. NOT...well, this might be TRUE!

8. The entire Bush Administration will undergo surgery to remove the rose-colored glasses from their eyes. NOT TRUE!

9. Senator Hillary Clinton’s approval rating and “like-ability factor” will jump to 100%. NOT TRUE!

10. Leaders of Israel, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Eqypt, Kuwait, and Saudia Arabia will come together and join hands around a huge bonfire at the United Nations while singing “Kumbya”. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO NOT TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lessons in Gratitude

Last week, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin toured Philadelphia with city officials for the purpose of seeing the progress our city has made with revitalizing certain neighborhoods. At the time of the visit, he graciously thanked city officials for the tour, returned home and spoke to a community group in his own city about the trash he saw in the City of Brotherly Love. Naturally, this raised a few eyebrows here, and Nagin (to his credit) quickly apologized for any disrespect his comments may have conveyed.

Nagin’s point in speaking to his hometown group was that New Orleans, while still staggering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, is still cleaner than Philadelphia. This is a very old technique called “hooray for us/boo on them”. It is designed to make yourself look good by telling everyone how horrible the other guy is. This technique is used in politics, and I believe many major organized religions have also used it down through the centuries. In a worst case scenario, this is called ethnocentrism, which can lead to hatred, bigotry, prejudice, and genocide (in that order). However, that’s an extreme example.

Ironically, many people feel that Nagin is correct. Philadelphia is a dirty city and has been that way for as long as I can remember. Still, my point is that his comments so close on the heels of his visit weren’t exactly the most sincere way to show his appreciation for the city tour. With this in mind, I had to wonder how Mayor Nagin handled other expressions of gratitude in recent years.

For example, there would have been this letter to FEMA:

Dear FEMA,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to your agency for the way you totally abandoned my city during Hurricane Katrina. Our citizens were left behind to fend for themselves as the levees broke and the waters rose around their homes. We lost thousands of people and millions in property damage. Even worse has been the aftermath: many New Orleanians are scattered around the country, and many others who came back are living on the streets and under bridges. I realize now that disaster preparedness is not your area of expertise, since most of your most experienced people have resigned, and have been replaced by unskilled toadies loyal to the President. I find this most ironic, but in Washington I realize that this is business as usual.


Ray Nagin
Mayor of New Orleans

Or how about a letter to the President himself:

Dear President Bush,

I just wanted to write a quick note to thank you for the absolutely sloppy job your administration has done in helping rebuild New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. Your promises to bring back our great city are hollow and empty. It never ceases to amaze me that the Executive Branch can reach such high levels of incompetence as has been seen in your tenure. I hope you realize that, despite my opinions, I am not intending any disrespect towards you in my remarks.


Ray Nagin,
Mayor of New Orleans

P.S. Just as an FYI, the Ninth Ward is still a mess, but I guess all things considered, it’s still cleaner than Philadelphia.

(NOTE: The preceding was a work of satirical fiction. No actual correspondence resembling these notes was sent from the Office of the Mayor in New Orleans.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Save the Honey Bee

Last week, I was made aware of another threat to our ecosystem, specifically the honey bee. An internet video report stated that there is a possible link between the decline in honey bee populations and cell phones. While I am still trying to confirm what exactly this link is, I thought I should still share what I know with my loyal readers.

It is my theory (cue Ann Elk) that there are several reasons why cell phones are responsible for a decline in the bee population. First, there is the very real possibility that our cell phone messages, when transmitted through the air, jam the bee's tiny antennae. This could prove disastrous for communications between a bee in the field and the hive.

For example, a bee could communicate to the hive, “Hey, good pollen supply up the hill to the left of the oak tree.” However, if someone is operating their cell phone within proximity of the hive, then the received message could read, “Jill, meet us in the bar at Champps after work.” The bees then converge on the wrong area and an embarrassing situation arises for all concerned. The misunderstanding can be compounded if the bees leave their identification at home and are refused service at the bar.

Second, there is the problem with cell phone towers. An unsuspecting bee could fly close to one of these towers and mistake it for the biggest mother of all flowers that God ever created! The bee believes that the hive will be real impressed with all the pollen that can be collected from this “flower”. Unfortunately, the bee is usually shocked to learn that the tower is not a flower at all. This becomes apparent when the bee backs into the satellite cup and gets its fuzzy little butt burned for its effort.

Third, there is the problem of handling the cell phone itself. While the bee has mastered the art of flying despite having a wing span ratio smaller than its body mass, it still has not overcome the problem of holding on to the cell phone while buzzing around. This is a problem throughout the animal kingdom. Higher life forms (such as our own human species) are not nimble enough to talk on a cell phone and keep a car going at a high rate of speed without leaving the highway. I even heard a rumor that recently, in the Serengeti Plain, a pride of lions nearly starved because the lioness was unable to catch a gazelle and hold a cell phone at the same time. Once again, the cell phone causes disaster in the wild!

The bee has a unique problem in that it can barely get its tiny limbs around the cell phone while it lands on a flower. Many times the flower stem breaks, and the bee is crushed by the cell phone when both fall to the ground. I can just imagine that cell phone related deaths among bees are up 100% due to this scenario.

We as humans possess the knowledge needed to save our friend, the honey bee. We must take immediate steps to save them from premature extinction. We must also, judging from the theories I have presented here, keep science out of the hands of rank amateurs like myself.

NEXT WEEK IN THIS SPACE: Mud Wasps and the Perils of Text Messaging!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Second Amendment Philosophies

The debate about gun ownership in this country will once again rise to the surface during the next few weeks. Two recent events highlight the highly passionate opposing philosophies behind the Second Amendment, which gives all Americans the right to bear arms. These events show the downside of both arguments.

The first event was the recent declaration that Washington, DC handgun ban was unconstitutional. Not only that, and it pains my moderate liberal heart to admit this, but the law didn’t work. There were no fewer murders in the District than other areas that didn’t have a ban. I remember watching the early morning news when I lived in Virginia, and almost every day the lead story dealt with another gunshot victim in the District. My guess is the law didn’t work because other jurisdictions in the area had very lax gun control laws (but more about Virginia later), and it required no effort at all to carry handguns from these areas into Washington.

This realization deals a severe blow to the liberal argument that fewer guns on the streets will result in fewer homicides. As much as I would like to believe this argument, as a historian I can’t go along with this unfortunately naïve point of view. If we ban any potentially harmful product or service such as guns, then the entire industry will be driven underground. The NRA argument that “when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” is no longer a cliché, but it becomes a fact of life.

We only need to look at Prohibition to confirm this. When liquor was outlawed, no one stopped drinking and a small minority of the population took over the industry, making millions from illegal spirits. Not only that, but they kept control of the liquor black market through extremely violent force. Rules of economics play into this as well. If there is something that people want badly enough and will pay the asking price, then someone else will take the lead to fulfill that need.

Speaking of Virginia, the Commonwealth has a reputation for very lax gun control laws. One newspaper article a few years ago even noted that many people were openly carrying their weapons into recreation centers and restaurants. This brings us to the second recent event: the horrible massacre at Virginia Tech earlier this week. One gun advocacy group is already pointing to this mass murder as an argument for unrestricted gun ownership. They want to put more guns on the streets of America! They argue that if all people could own guns then some of the victims at Virginia Tech could have fired back

I find this argument equally naïve and disturbing. I have written about this before*, but here we go again with these reasons:

1. Everyone is not an ace marksman. People are bound to get killed in the crossfire between a criminal and a law-abiding citizen.

2. If everyone carries a gun, then American society will devolve into a wild west mentality where the gun is absolute law. Many people may feel that since they can pack a piece they would be entitled to commit acts that they would not normally do.

3. Besides, many of us like living with the idea that we don’t need to carry guns to feel secure on our streets. This is perhaps a naïve notion, but it’s not a new idea. It’s called faith, and it shouldn’t be such a strange idea for a culture that devotes one day of the year to “peace on Earth, good will toward men”

So, the contrasting philosophies and their accompanying debates should give everyone a very uncomfortable sense of déjà vu. Yes, we have all been here before – remember the Nickel Mine schoolhouse massacre last October — and we will return to this again and again. I feel like a broken record, but I will say it again: the death and mayhem brought by these events is the price we choose to pay to live in our free society.

*Guns and Children, October 4, 2006.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Toilet Tissue Casserole

Our mid-April nor’easter has reminded me of the many storms that my wife and I have endured down through the years. Once such a storm is forecast, a panic overcomes the general population. At the same time, a herd mentality takes over and everyone rushes to the grocery store to stock up on food for the coming days when they assume they will be stranded at home.

The situation was particularly acute in the Washington, DC area. Anne Marie and I had several chances to witness this phenomenon first hand during the years that we lived in Northern Virginia. The most interesting thing about this shopping rush was that the herd always depleted the same items: milk, bread, and toilet tissue.

Separately these items are staples that have a variety of uses. Okay, maybe toilet tissue isn’t as versatile as milk and bread, but in my mind I could only imagine how the soon-to-be-stranded-by-a-winter-storm-shoppers would use all three together as sustenance to get them through the ordeal. If you don’t know by now, I will confess it here: my imagination is slightly twisted.

Now I will admit I have tried several different exotic foods that are not always found at your local Genuardi’s. I’ve had frog legs as an appetizer; here the old cliché “tastes like chicken” applies. Jellyfish, as a cold appetizer in a Chinese restaurant, reminded me of crunching on chopped cabbage. I tried to make this as appetizing as possible, but no matter which sauce I tried (duck, sweet and sour, and hot mustard) I couldn’t enjoy it. Breaded alligator bites, as served in Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville restaurant, tasted like spongy chicken. On the other hand, the taste of caviar made me believe I was diving headfirst into a sand dune with my mouth wide open. My taste buds run closer to the proletariat than to the bourgeois.

Still, I have never tried what I believe is a delicacy for many people waiting out a winter storm. I will call it toilet tissue casserole. My recipe and serving suggestions are listed below.


One roll toilet tissue
One gallon of milk
One loaf of bread

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until the mixture is smooth.
Pour contents into casserole dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
Season to taste.


Throw it out immediately, unless you’re really, really hungry. In that case, bon appetite!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Reality Check for Don Imus (and The Rest of Us)*

The more I think about the Don Imus controversy the crankier I get. I am not only upset by the original incident, but I’m also upset at the rising double standard that is always in play when these racist episodes erupt. In my world, there is plenty of blame to spread around. So let’s tick off the involved parties one-by-one.


What in hell were you thinking, you frazzle-haired cowboy? I’ll admit that there is a lot of pressure to ad-lib unscripted monologue for four hours a day, five days a week, twelve months a year for decades on end, but did you have to utter such a slur for a laugh? Where was your brain brake that day? This remark was so beneath you. So far it has resulted in a suspension and loss of ad revenue. Your show is quickly heading for cancellation. I hope that doesn’t happen – everyone deserves to be employed no matter what mistakes they may make – and I believe you are sincerely sorry for your remarks. Unfortunately, as you are rapidly finding out, we live in a very unforgiving world.


Yes, it was very good that you did not let Imus get by for making this remark, but I still have to wonder about your motives. Are you really a vigilant soldier in the war against racism, or are you a career opportunist who will jump at any incident to incite your target audience and boost your ego? If you are sincere in this fight, then here are a few suggestions.

How about going after members of the rap community who drop the word “ho” like raindrops in a summer thunderstorm? Here a ho, there a ho, everywhere a ho-ho-ho, and this is not the sound of Santa Claus laughing! Shouldn’t these artists be called to task for their use of this word against black womanhood? Or is their usage allowable just because they are not white? Sorry, nobody gets a free pass here.

Another target is the literally hundreds and hundreds of hate groups operating in this country now. You know, the Klu Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis. These groups want to do a lot worse things to the black community than calling you nasty names on the radio. Or are they too big for you and your radio show to take on?


The outrage we’ve all felt is good and natural given Imus’ offense. On the other hand, what did you expect? He is the granddaddy of all shock jocks that had commercials running in the 1970’s with the catch line, “Did you hear what Imus said this morning?” One actor who quoted this line was dressed like a stereotypical black pimp!

I agree Imus should be punished, but let the punishment fit the crime. Suspension and loss of pay, okay, but I fear that some of us want blood. Should we cast Imus into the same radio land oblivion that we threw the Greaseman into, or can we step back before we do something we will all regret later? We demanded an apology, we got that apology, and some of us decided that wasn’t good enough. Whatever happened to such things as redemption and salvation? If we are really that cold-hearted as to not accept an expression of remorse, then there is no hope for us as a (supposedly) Christian society. If this is the case, then shouldn’t we give Don Imus a punishment that matches our rage, like lethal injection perhaps? Is this what we really want?


As the injured party, your actions in this controversy will carry more weight than the rest of society. You worked hard this past season and you certainly did not deserve the abuse caused by Imus’ carelessness. You naturally responded with expressions of pain and anger, but overall you reacted with the greatest of grace. I hope you will learn from this experience and that it will strengthen your resolve to fight racism in the future. I also hope that you will do something that, I admit, maybe the hardest thing you have ever done. I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive.

*NOTE: This blog was completed before word of Imus’ firing reached the airwaves.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ambiguous Behavior

Okay, I’ll admit that all of the problems in the world are more complicated than the average person can understand. Life is not always strictly black and white, and many days there are so many shades of gray that we can’t always tell where the horizon ends and the clouds begin. Still, we should be able to agree on what is right and wrong, and what constitutes good behavior from bad.

I bring this up because it appears that our noble leaders in Washington cannot differentiate between the two extremes. Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi toured the Mideast with a particular emphasis on Syria. I imagine the purpose of her trip was three parts fact-finding and one part opening the door for further diplomacy. The problem was that she didn’t get permission from the Bush administration and, Uncle Dick Cheney in particular, to make the trip.

Cheney characterized her trip as “bad behavior”. Granted, the Speaker's trip might lend some legitimacy to a country that sponsors terrorist activities, but sometimes, as all politicians know well, you do have to sleep with the devil to get the desired results. Unfortunately, Cheney’s criticism is not spread equally over Congress. Pelosi’s trip happened on the heels of another congressional delegation traveling to the Mideast, but Chaney didn’t say one word about that trip.

The only difference I can see between the traveling Congress people is that Pelosi’s name has a “D” after it, and the others had an “R” after their name. If you are a Republican and want to achieve regime change militarily, which could destroy thousands of more lives, then you are good. However, if you are a Democrat and want to achieve peace in the Mideast with diplomacy as advocated by the Iraq Study Group report, than you are bad. Thank you, Uncle Dick, for clarifying right from wrong for us in Washington!

Kids, this is the biggest crock of bull in Washington this week.

I can only imagine why Pelosi’s trip is bad for the administration. What is she thinking when she goes gallivanting off to strife-torn countries? Good Lord, if she is successful in bringing peace to the region then we won’t have to spend any more money on rebuilding Iraq! Haliburton might actually collapse! The entire military-industrial complex could be in jeopardy! Doesn’t Pelosi know how much of our economy is dependent on this war?

So what is right, and what is wrong? The answer is in the eye of the beholder and their respective spin-meisters. Apparently ramming a flawed policy of regime change through Congress while making your most trusted public servants (Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice) look like total fools on the world stage is good behavior. Abandoning one country where our most despised enemy lives (you remember Osama bin-Laden, don’t you, Uncle Dick?) to start another conflict in a more geographically strategic area is good behavior.

I don’t get it either, kids. Today’s moral has got to be that many people in the world have a skewed sense of right and wrong. It’s up to the rest of us to figure out the difference for ourselves.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Accidental Gigolo

Let’s pretend that you are on vacation, alone, far away from the ones you love and who love you. More importantly, you’re very far away from your significant other when you meet another person with whom you are compelled to share intimate relations. You, being a sexual tourist, leave all care behind just to engage in carnal knowledge with this foreign stranger.

Of course male sexual vacationers have been doing this for centuries. This time, it is different. This time the sexual tourist is not a man, but a woman.

This phenomenon was brought to my attention from an article in Bust magazine; their masthead motto is (and I’m not making this up) “The Magazine for Women Who Need to Get Something Off Their Chest.” The articles are geared toward women, are written by women, and go beyond the traditional women’s issues, although a fashion spread will pop up from time to time. The language can be frank and some of the subject matter would not be considered suitable for mixed company. One such subject details the adventures of our today’s female sexual tourists.

One of these vacationers reported that she spent four days with one man who lived in a shack near the beach. During that time period they “smoked pot, talked about Bob Marley and had sex.” She gave the man $200 for his time, although the story reports that many times money is not always given. Gifts and airline tickets are sometimes given to these men known as “beach boys”.

Now any American male who reads this article may ask themselves, “Sounds great! How can I sign up?” Well, let’s just hold on a minute and consider all the pros and cons of this career change before we go stampeding off to Jamaica. After all, it may sound like a cushy job, but it could be fraught with peril.

First of all, my guess is that this beach boy is an independent contractor. That means he is responsible for all of his expenses -- food, shelter, utilities, taxes, medical/dental and vision coverage, and, of course, let’s not forget the pot. Granted, he may grow his own cannabis, but even if he does there are still a lot of expenses to come out of that $200.

The article, much to its credit, states that HIV still exists in the world, particularly in Africa where it is infecting large chunks of the population. Then, of course, there are still the old sexually transmitted diseases that can still threaten quality of life once the adventurers return from their travels. Many vacation souvenirs are not meant to collect dust on the shelves of our memories.

I realize that this type of adventure is not everyone’s taste, and some reading this may be scandalized by these revelations. (It has been reported that the Pope will come out against this practice when his memoir is released in a few weeks. What a killjoy!) Still, we can’t ignore a situation just because it is unpleasant and shocking. The best we can do is say, “Yes, these things happen”, warn all about the consequences, and plan our next vacation for Jamaica.* I wonder if that beach boy has a sister?

*The Jamaica Tourist Board has not endorsed this blog entry.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

White Men Can’t Rap

Of all the things Karl Rove has done to embarrass this country to the rest of the world, his performance at the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner in Washington last week hit a new high. At one point in the evening, Rove and a group of male correspondents sang an original rap. All swung their bodies in place in what passes for rhythm in the white male community. Rove even barked out the words, “MC Rove” a few times during the course of the song.

I can understand why citizens of the world would hold such things as war, poverty, pestilence and corruption down through the ages against the white male. Let’s face it, guys. Many of the civilizations throughout history have been patriarchal in nature, and so much of the blame for the world’s ills should be laid at our feet.

However, the sight of one of the most influential men in the free world, rapping and swinging his body around like a tree caught in a wind storm was the last straw. Why don’t these guys realize that they were not meant to rap? I know that I am too stiff and unable to loosen up enough to look good on the dance floor. How come they don’t know this? Didn’t they get an e-mail telling them this? If they didn’t, then it’s the only e-mail in Washington that they didn’t receive.

I think another Constitutional amendment should be proposed. Anyone who cannot prove to be loose enough to “get down” or “get jiggy with it” should be prohibited from stepping on a dance floor, stage or any other structure erected for the purpose of public display, expression or entertainment. The penalties could be agreed upon later. Perhaps something along the lines of standing them in town squares all over the country and allowing all American citizens to come, stand around them, point at the offender, and laugh hysterically.

The dinner was not a total loss for civilization. The President himself showed some skill at telling jokes. Yes, it’s true. One of his lines mused about how Clinton’s memoir totaled 1600 pages, but that his memoir would be a pop-up book. At another point he reminded everyone of his administration's highlights this time last year: his approval rating in the thirties, his Supreme Court nominee had withdrawn, and his vice-president had shot somebody. “Oh, those were the days,” quipped President Bush.

I had to admit it, but this is good stuff. Even Anne Marie snickered at the “pop-up book" reference. This makes me believe that he has missed his calling in life and is in reality a frustrated stand-up comic. It probably pains him to no end to sit in his Oval Office day after day, making decisions that will affect millions of people for years to come, knowing that he really wants to be asking, “Hey, why did the chicken cross the road?” to a Rotary audience in Podunk, Iowa.

I hope the President will realize his ambition, the sooner the better. Yes, I believe he should go on national television sometime in the near future and announce, “My fellow Americans. I come to you tonight to announce that I am resigning effective immediately so that I can tour as an opening comedy act for Justin Timberlake.” By all means, Mr. President, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Do it now, quick, before Condi talks you out of it. Also don’t forget to take that sorry excuse for a male rapper, MC Rove, with you...please!!!!!!