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, September 29, 2008

The Overnight Miracle (Part 2)

(previously on

Barack Obama, dressed in a super hero costume (complete with cape), appears to the crowd of conservatives gathered in the Oval Office: President W., Senator John McCain, Treasury Secretary Paulson, and Governor Sarah Palin. Obama holds the magic wand of small government, tauntingly.

President: All right, everyone. Don’t panic! Obama, just hand me the wand, son.

Obama: Stay back. One step closer and I’ll use it myself.

Paulson: He’s bluffing, sir.

McCain: Of course he’s bluffing. He’s a liberal. He doesn’t know how to use it.

Obama: I may not know anything about small government, but I have a few ideas about wise government.

Obama snaps the wand in half. All gasp!

President: What, what have you done?

A clap of thunder and the room is thrown into darkness. A wisp of dark mist rises from behind a portrait of George Washington. The mist gathers above the group.

President: Now you’ve done it! You’ve angered the spirit of the Great Communicator.

Great Communicator (with a great rumbling voice): Who summoned me from my slumber?

President: I did, sir.

Great Communicator: And you are?

President: I’m George W. Bush, President of the United States.

Great Communicator: You? (a long pause) You’re in charge? (Another long pause.) You’re kidding me, right?

McCain: Oh Great Communicator, let me hear you say your catch phrase.

Great Communicator: My catch phrase? Look, I don’t do that schtick anymore.

McCain: Oh come on, please? For the Gipper?

Great Communicator: (sighs) All right. (deep breath) “Well, there you go again.”

President: Ha ha. Very good, sir. Gee I miss you.

Obama: Um, excuse me, I’m still here.

Palin: Yes, you are, but so am I. If I only had my thirty-aught-six with me, I’d make moose stew out of you. Since I’m not armed, I’ll just have to dumb you down.

Obama: Dumb me down?

Palin rips her face off the front of her head and reveals herself to be...

All: Dan Quayle!

Quayle: Yes, none other than Mr. Potato with an “e” himself!

President: I don’t believe it.

Paulson: Well, it explains the Katie Couric interview.

McCain: Oh my God! I just remembered something! I kissed you in front of millions of people...on national television. I think I’m gonna be sick... (runs out of the room)

Obama: Okay, this is getting too weird for me. I’m out of here.

Obama leaves, taking the rest of the light with him. The President jumps forward and picks up the broken wand.

President: Ha, I’ve got it! Um...anyone seen my scotch tape?

Great Communicator: Okay, joke's over! Who’s really in charge here?

President: (sighs) The vice president, Dick Cheney.

Great Communicator: Let me get him on the horn. Hello, can I talk to...what? Yeah, I’ll hold.

Paulson (on one knee): Please, don’t say a word to anyone about this...

President: What about Elmer’s glue? That should fix it.


Friday, September 26, 2008

The Overnight Miracle

Scene: The Oval Office

Time: Late at night

President George W. Bush is on the phone when Secretary of the Treasury Paulson, Senator John McCain, and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin enter.

President: Hey guys. Have a seat until I make this call to Dick. I’ll put it on speaker phone so you can listen in.

Recorded Message: We are sorry, but the great, all powerful Dick Cheney is not available to take your call at this time. Please leave a message after the beep and your call will be returned when he gets around to it. (Beep!)

President: Dick! It’s W. Where the hell are you? We need to solve this economic crisis with a large bailout. I was wondering, um, have you seen my special small government magic wand in your office? You know the one I has a picture of Bonzo the Chimp embossed in gold on the side...well, anyway, call me! Quick! (Hangs up the phone.)

McCain: What can we do, Mr. President? Forge a bipartisan coalition in Congress to settle this crisis? Issue a joint statement calming the public’s fears? Well, sir?

President: No, I’ll tell you what. Help me find my magic wand! Paulson, check the cushions on the couch. John, look behind the paintings. Sarah...say, you look prettier than a Texas rose tonight!

Palin: (giggles) Oh, Mr. President! You’re such a flirt!

President: Heh, heh! Anyway, Sarah, you can look for my wand, um, I know, under my desk! I’ll just sit here and look through the piles of papers here on top of my desk.

Paulson: But, Mr. President, the top of your desk is spotless!

President: Look, do you want to help or not?

All: Yes, sir!

President: Fine, then Paulson, cushions! John, paintings! Palin, under my desk!

All: Yes, sir!

President: I’ll try Dick again! (on phone) Dick, it’s W. Again. Are you there? Stop screwing around! Go hunt for lawyers on your own time! This is serious! Damn it, Dick, my legacy is at stake!

(Suddenly, the door to the Oval Office swings open with a loud bang. A blinding light from beyond the door washes the entire room, where the occupants shield their eyes. A lone figure in a superhero costume and cape steps out of the light and into the room. The figure’s costume has a large 'O' on his chest. Everyone in the room immediately recognizes the stranger in the cape.)

President: You! What the hell...

Obama: (holding the wand in front of him) Are you by some chance looking for this?

All: Gasp!

(to be continued...)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Open Heart

As you may recall from an earlier entry (“Cuddles and the Cardiac Catheterization”), I underwent a diagnostic procedure two weeks ago to find the reason for my shortness of breath and angina when I walk short distances. Basically, the doctors found that my heart is broken, not romantically broken by the thoughtless words or actions of some junior high school girl (for example), but actually broken and in need of repair. Thus, this time next week I shall be having open heart surgery to replace one of my valves and bypass one of my arteries.

I am naturally nervous about this procedure because they are, after all, futzing around with one of the major organs. The surgeon assured us that he has done hundreds of these operations and has only a 1% failure rate. Indeed, the local newspaper published an article about the failure rate for heart surgeries at many of the major Philadelphia area hospitals. The article stated that my hospital, Lankenau, has only a one-tenth of one percent failure rate. This has boosted my confidence level somewhat.

Coronary bypass is a very routine operation these days (or so everyone tells me) and it has come a long way from when it was still an experimental procedure. My sense of history compels me to note that my operation will happen nearly forty-four years to the day that one of my favorite comedians, Harpo Marx, had bypass surgery. Unfortunately, Harpo didn’t make it. Okay, bad example. Perhaps I would do better to ignore history and look forward to the future.

That future will see me with a new valve courtesy of a cow or a pig. I have a choice between these flesh parts, or a man-made part that will not wear out. The problem with the man-made valve is that I would be forced to take a dose of Coumadin every day for the rest of life to keep my blood from clotting on the valve. This blood thinner is very high maintenance: my levels would have to be checked frequently, I would have to watch what I eat (cranberries and dark leafy vegetables are verboten), and I would have to avoid drinking alcohol. I ask you: what’s the point of extending a life span if I couldn’t chug a brew now and then? I’m sure the thought has my German ancestors rolling in their graves.

So I’m leaning towards an animal valve, which prompts the question in my mind: will I become adverse to eating cow or pig flesh after the operation? If served a hamburger or a pork chop, will I stare at it in horror, start sobbing, and mutter “mother, mother,” over and over? Or will I drown it in Heinz ketchup without a second thought? Those of you who know me well already know the answer to this debate.

Once this operation is complete, I will become a member of “the zipper club”, which comprises open heart surgery survivors who sport a zipper-like scar on their chest for the remainder of their lives. I have been musing on the advantages of everyone having a zipper scar on their chest ever since the surgeon told me I needed this operation. This way a junior high school girl (for example) could, if confronted with the romantic overtures of a junior high school boy, just unzip the scar, rip the heart out of the poor fellow’s cardiac cavity, and stomp it to bits before his own eyes! Boy, if that doesn’t prepare him for the miserable disappointment that we call life, then I don’t know what will!

(EDITORS NOTE: Obviously, Mr. Gunther has some deep-rooted issues that he needs to work through...alone. We’ll leave him here for now, wallowing in his bitter...heart! Tee-hee!)


Friday, September 19, 2008

Short Notes – September 2008

Knowing Moe (and Larry and Curly and Shemp, for that matter)

A recent article in a Three Stooges fan magazine held startling information from a Zogby poll. According to a poll taken in 2006, 1123 adults were asked to name the Three Stooges, and then asked to name the three branches of government. The results: 73% of the respondents correctly identified the Three Stooges, whereas only 42% could name the three branches of government. I found these results to be absolutely shocking!

Imagine, with all the years that the Three Stooges have been a staple of afternoon television, that an incredible 27% of the adult population do not know the names of Moe, Larry, Curly, and Shemp. Who are these morons? Where do these knuckleheads live? In a cave? I’ll bet this is the same percentage of residents of Galveston, Texas who ignored government warnings to evacuate with Hurricane Ike bearing down on them and are now crying out to be rescued. These could be the same people who believe that the American economy is “fundamentally” sound. Wait a minute! Hasn’t President Bush’s approval rating been hovering around 27% for over a year now? Hmmm...I tell you, coincidences like this really make you think.

FYI: the three branches of the federal government are George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove (ret.)

Tigers 2, Germans 0

A recent news item recounted how a pair of elderly German tourists were traveling through a safari park in Spain, when they got out of their vehicles to get a closer look at the tigers in the reserve. This is against park regulations, but it did fit in nicely with the tigers plans for dinner. Well, we can all imagine what happened next. Suffice to say score two for the tigers.

It's news stories like this that compels me to say that stupidity is not a common trait with the natives of my ancestral homeland. Although some people will disagree (and I count my wife as one of the naysayers), the German people are on the whole intelligent and have made many significant contributions to the world. Having stated that, though, I’m hard pressed to think of any of them at the moment.

No, no, perfecting genocide to an exact science is not what I had in mind. I’m thinking of good contributions to the world. Things festivals...and beer gardens. Beer festivals in beer gardens is another contribution...along with, um, bratwurst served at the beer festivals in the beer gardens. There, I’ve thought of three contributions that the German people have made to the world. I know there are others, but I’ll have to give this topic more thought. In any event, my point is that we shouldn’t base our opinions about an entire nation solely on the actions of two stupid, old people. Now that I think about it, I wonder if this couple could have named the Three Stooges.

Chubby Checker and The Twist

Billboard magazine has recently determined that Chubby Checker's recording of “The Twist” is the single most popular No. 1 song in the last half century. Checker’s version made the charts twice, in 1960 and again in 1962. The singer was delighted upon hearing this news, and claimed that this record is as important to history as the invention of the telephone.

All I have to say is, “Thank you very bloody much, Billboard!” Checker has been whining for years about how great his song was, and how he has never been given due credit in music history. Now, with your news, there will be no living with the man. If we ever feel the need to have a celebrity’s ego boosted, we will be sure to call on you again. Thanks a lot, Billboard!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Unknown Palin

I can’t begin to say how excited I am at John McCain’s choice for VP! I can’t believe he chose Palin! This is wonderful! Naturally, the pundits on both sides have been arguing back and forth on why he chose Palin. My theory is McCain chose Palin because he couldn’t pick Cleese.

Let’s face it: John Cleese is too tall to run along side of McCain. It would just be bad form to have your vice president towering over you when you stand side-by-side at the podium as you accept your party’s nomination for president. McCain has avoided this faux pas by selecting Michael Palin as his running mate.

Michael would make a wonderful vice president. I can just see him now presiding over the Senate in his role as President Pro Tem. When a debate gets too tedious, he could attach a small moustache to his upper lip, throw a white handkerchief with knotted corners over his head, roll his trousers up past his knees, then with clenched fists and arms stiffened against his body he would shriek out, “Oh! All this talk about buffer zones with offshore drilling makes my brain hurt!” The ratings for C-Span would skyrocket!

Oh, wait...I just realized that McCain chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate, not Michael Palin. Who? What the hell is Grandpa thinking?

Who is this unknown Palin? The media have obliged the American public with all sorts of facts, figures, gossip, rumor, and other informational tidbits to answer this question. With this information and Palin's personal appearances on the campaign trail, the average American is slowly learning more about the person who may become the first female vice-president in history.

The information we are getting ranges from the irrelevant (her personal family life) to her political views. I won’t recount the personal family scandals here, but suffice it to say that when it comes to family values, Sarah Palin is more effective with the “do as I say, and not as I do” approach. As for her political style, I will admit this: the lady has balls!

She had the gall to play the experience card against Barack Obama when she likened her tenure of tiny Wasilla, AK to his days as a community organizer. She admitted they were basically the same, except her job had some “responsibility”. This wasn’t a fair comparison. After all, how many times did Obama have to contend with a double parked moose on the south side of Chicago? Yes, this is truly information that the average American voter needs to know!

The conservatives are in love with Sarah Palin. They believe that at last they have a leader with conservative values (pro-gun, pro-small government, pro-life) who is also a feminist. Now hold on a moment: just because a leader happens to be a woman does not make her a feminist! It makes her a “queen bee” or a female who has risen to great power and responsibility in the long-cherished good ole boy world. As such, the queen bee would most likely deride the feminist efforts to equalize woman’s place in society. The queen bee reasons this way: if I could make it this far in the professional world, then the rest of you don’t need special protections to gain equality either.

If anything, Sarah Palin is an anti-feminist given her stand on abortion. As for my opinion, she is the direct opposite of everything I believe in, politically speaking. As a person, there’s no denying that – and this from a heterosexual male point of view – Sarah Palin has a damn fine pair of legs. In this regard, she definitely has Michael Palin beat, regardless if his trousers are rolled up or not.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Patriot Day 2008

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the attacks on the United States by extremist religious fanatics. In the years since the attack, we have given this date the name Patriot Day. It is a day for remembrance of those who died, somber reflection on the events of that day, and a renewed call for unity across political and cultural lines.

It is a day unlike other United States observance days. I hesitate to call it a holiday because, as of now, no one gets time off for this day. It’s just as well; a holiday designation would sanction the sending of Patriot Day cards available from Hallmark, untold Patriot Day sales courtesy of your local malls, and don’t forget to take advantage of the great Patriot Day savings on your next gas-guzzling SUV down at the auto mall.

Fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed on what is and what is not acceptable for Patriot far. Perhaps it’s not a question of cool heads. It could very well be that the memory of the events is still too recent for exploitation. The wounds are still open and raw; we are still in a state of shock and have not completed our period of mourning.

I find the call for unity among us United States citizens very curious. It is certainly nice to know that the warring political factions will put aside their divisive campaign tactics for one day so that we may all come together as one nation, but what are we uniting against? Are we standing as one against an enemy that is too cowardly to fight by traditional methods and resort to suicide bombers? If this is what we are fighting against, then the focus of the war is too narrow. We, as a people, should be united against intolerance. That is the real reason the World Trade Center towers collapsed in smoke and fire in 2001. It is the same hatred that brought an airliner crashing into the Pentagon and a field in southwestern Pennsylvania. It is the same disrespect for human rights that is alive and well in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan.

Yes, we can be united against the enemy of peace and human dignity, but we must acknowledge that we are far from prefect ourselves. The fight against intolerance is not a question of pitting us against them. It is a question of admitting that the enemy can lurk within all of us.

I write this not so much as a citizen of the United States, I write this as a human inhabitant of the planet Earth. May God give us the wisdom to use the lessons of Patriot Day to find peace within ourselves and those with whom we share our lives on this planet.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Cuddles and the Cardiac Catheterization

As this is being published, I am most likely lying on my back in the Cardiac Department of Lankenau Hospital. Honestly, it was not my idea to start my work week in this position. It was my cardiologist’s idea that I should have a catherization performed to see if I have any blockages that need attention. For any of you, dear readers, who do not wish to be exposed to a lengthy discussion about medical procedures performed on a middle-aged male body, then please scroll down to the bottom where I have prepared an alternative blog selection for your reading pleasure: It’s a very short story about Cuddles the Teddy Bear.

Anyway, for those of you who have never enjoyed the pleasure of a cardiac catherization – for the record this will be my third (!) - I should briefly explain the procedure. The patient is given a sedative that puts him into a state of semi-sleep. A dye is injected into the bloodstream that will allow the heart to be viewed on a television screen via some sort of imaging process. An incision is made into the groin (ow!) that will accommodate an ultra-thin tube inserted through a major artery and eventually into the arteries of the heart.

Once there, the surgeon will determine if the blockage warrants an angioplasty. This procedure involves blowing up a teeny, tiny balloon on the edge of the tube, which opens up the artery. Next, a stent, which resembles a teeny, tiny meshed Slinky, is inserted. The stent will support the walls of the artery and allow blood to flow freely again.

As I stated before, I underwent two of these procedures nearly six years ago and I have not-very-fond memories of the immediate recovery period. First of all, you could not so much as lift your head for a period of six/seven hours after the procedure, because that could break off a clot from the healing incision and send it straight to the heart. In this case, the result would be, as my college biology teacher would have phrased it, “Soft music and flowers.” My college biology teacher was not at all subtle on this point.

I had no problem with that part of the recovery: I can lie on my back and nap like there’s no tomorrow. Okay, that may be a bad choice of words, but I’ll stick with it. I also don’t mind that my skin turns pretty colors at the sight of the incision. As I recall, my skin turned yellow and at least three shades of purple. An interesting effect, but I couldn’t help thinking that this was the last stage of some sort of plague and that my leg would just fall away from my body at any moment.

The worst part is the constant pressure on the bladder during this same six/seven hour time period. Even if you do relieve yourself and you feel like you’ve pissed away a gallon of fluid, the feeling of the full bladder exists. There are several options to remedy this – unfettered pissing, which would soak the sheets and the bed; having a nurse stand over me with the urine bottle for six/seven hours, or insert another catheter into the penis.

Option one has an obvious drawback. Option two involving the nurse...yeah, right! This is exactly the reason he/she went to college all those years: just to hold the piss bottle against your private parts. Of course they live for this! No matter that they have hundreds of other things to do and dozens of other patients to look after. No, the catheter is the only way out. Just a momentary sensation of extreme discomfort (ow! ow!) to shove a tube (the same size tubing Dad used to send oxygen to the guppies in his aquarium years ago) up into the urethra. There is nothing subtle about this procedure either.

My cardiologist has told me that there have been advances in catheterizations in the last five years. For one thing, I may not have to lie on my back as long as I did in the past. With any luck, I should be back blogging about the affairs of vice presidential candidates by the end of the week. Worst case scenario: soft music and flowers. Damn that biology teacher!

Blog Entry #291- Part B

Cuddles the Teddy Bear Gets Snuffed

One day, Cuddles the Teddy Bear was foraging for food in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge when he heard a helicopter overhead. He looked up and saw the governor of Alaska seated in the chopper. She was aiming a rifle with a high-powered scope at his head. “Oh my,” he thought as the rifle exploded...

(Editors note: In the name of everything that is holy and good we have deleted the remainder of this story from the blog.)

Friday, September 05, 2008

A Slogan for Grandpa McCain

I hate to think that some people might believe that I am a staunch middle-of-the-road liberal who refuses to see the other guy’s point of view. Despite my writings on this blog, that is not the real me. In reality, I try to see all angles of a situation, figure out all solutions to a problem, and understand all points of view.

To that end, I should write a few kind things about John McCain. It would be only fair, even though I’m not bound by any pesky Fairness Doctrine. In fact, I’ll go one better, I’ll offer to help the McCain campaign in one area: a slogan!

I’ve noticed that John McCain doesn’t have a catchy slogan on his quest for the White House. (Country First is very ho-hum.) Obama has the highly effective Yes We Can! It’s effective because it’s short, easy to remember, and highly affirmative. I may remind you that just the word YES printed in a London art gallery many years ago led John Lennon to Yoko Ono. It was a positive message that forever altered the course of their lives. Obama’s message is similarly upbeat and downright melodic when chanted by 80,000 people in a stadium where the oxygen level is thinner than one of the Olson twins.

How about Four More Years. It’s brief, it’s catchy, and it sounds wonderful as chanted by hundreds of people. Now I can see an obvious objection already: McCain hasn’t served a term as President yet, so how can he use this slogan? Am I not in fact swallowing the liberal argument that a McCain term will be nothing more than a third term for George W. Bush?

To this question I will answer, “Ummm...yes, guilty as charged!” Look, the man himself has admitted that he voted with the President more than 90% of the time. Why should I believe that he would do anything differently? Maverick Schmaverick!

A vote for McCain could mean four more years of deficit spending, four more years (at least) of a costly war in Iraq, and four more years of no meaningful reforms for energy, the environment, or health care. This slogan would be an honest representation of McCain’s views, given his admission of his congressional voting record. Also consider this: IF John McCain is elected President, and IF his age doesn’t preclude him from running for a second term, then he can recycle this slogan for his next run without having to hire some hoity-toity political consultant to dream up a new theme for him.

Okay, then what about this: McCain...he’s paid his dues! He’s entitled! This is a tricky one, because most recently this could have served as the theme for several Democratic candidates: think Teddy Kennedy in 1980, or Hillary Clinton in...well, you remember. This would involve McCain dusting off his war experience – five-and-a-half-years in a POW camp and all that — again! It’s also tricky because he could come off as arrogant and elitist, which is a label he has been too eager to heap upon Obama.

If that one doesn’t work, then how about: Hey guys! Check out my running mate! She’s hot! As we can see, this is a totally original, if wordy slogan. I know, I know, it’s also shallow, superficial and outrageously sexist. Hey, this is America, the country that gave the world “American Idol”; shallow and superficial fits. As for the sexist charge, let’s look at Sarah Palin’s stand on feminist issues – ha, ha! She’ll never be a poster child for NOW. As for brevity, we can shorten the theme to this: McCain and Palin, Old and Hot!

Okay, so maybe my suggestions haven’t been much help. I’ll rest easier tonight knowing that I gave this issue my best shot. Good luck to both candidates getting their messages out in the next eight weeks.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Adventures of Super Governor


ANNOUNCER: "Last time on The Adventures of Super Governor, Sarah Palin, seven-and-a-half months pregnant, is making a speech thousands of miles away from home when her water breaks! Quickly, she finishes her speech and, with her super human will power, flies home to Anchorage (via Seattle). Super Governor bypasses a major medical center and returns to the Governor’s Mansion, where she resumes her labor and delivers a baby boy to her loving family values family. Today’s episode begins the next day..."

RIG FOREMAN: “Welcome to the ANWR, governor! Ready to start drilling?”

SUPER GOVERNOR: "Yes, just let me get my overalls on...”


SUPER GOVERNOR: “Hold on! I have to take this! Hello? What? A herd of moose attacking the north slope? Hmm...could be members of the Sierra Club in disguise. No matter, we’ll be right there. All right, men, listen up! Grab your guns! We’re going to have moose stew tonight for supper!”


SUPER GOVERNOR: “Hold on, men! Hello? What? A group of liberals are pouring concrete for a pier at the Bridge to Nowhere? But I cancelled funding for that pork barrel project! Those fiends! Hold on...I have another call coming in.”

“Hello? What’s that? Planned Parenthood is handing out birth control pamphlets at a schoolyard? They’re mocking my abstinence-only sex education program! Okay, I’ll call out the National Guard...hold on, I’ve got another call.”

“Hello? Oh, hi, Bristol! What’s wrong? Members of the media are surrounding the mansion? They want to ask you who the father is? How the hell did they find out about that? Okay, lock the doors and close the blinds on all the windows. I’ll send a few squads of troopers to clear them out. Oh, honey...I have another call, hold on.”

“Yes? Oh, Senator McCain! What a surprise! What can I do for you? want me to do what? Well, I don’t know what to say...oh, hold on. I have another call...hello?”

“Yes, I’ve heard of your magazine. You want to do a pictorial article on state executives across the country? What’s this got to with me? What? You want me to do what, Mr. Hefner?!!!”

ANNOUNCER: "Will Super Governor be able to fight off the moose? Can she stop the liberal onslaught on her state? And what in God’s name possesses someone to name their offspring Track and Trig? For answers to these and other questions, keep reading for the next episode of...THE ADVENTURES OF SUPER GOVERNOR!!!