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

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Forever = ????

Lately I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the concept of forever. I’ve done this due to a few events which seemed to take forever to finally arrive. Of course, we all know that many times forever is denoted by the infinity symbol. It’s a symbol I can’t type because it’s not on my keyboard, but you know the one I’m talking about. It’s that sign that looks like the number 8 has been knocked on its side. This usually happens because the number 7 got shoved while it had another one of its domestic disputes with number 6.

As I stated above, I’ve given this a lot of thought, calculated and crunched sets of numbers until my fingertips grew sore from hitting the keypad of my pocket calculator. At last I can say that I have formulated a precise definition of the concept of forever. I now believe, with 100% certainty, that “forever” is equal to approximately six to eight weeks, give or take infinity.

Pretty good, eh? Not too bad for a history major, if I do say so myself.

The first event that prompted all this brain activity was the Obama inauguration. Is it my imagination, or did the ten weeks between his election and his first day in office seem like forever? I know, many Americans waited whole lifetimes for someone other than a white male to occupy the White House. I’ll concede the point that that time waiting was more than one forever, perhaps even a few hundred forevers.

Or could it be that ten weeks seemed longer because many of us (liberals) couldn’t wait not so much for Obama to take office as wanting to see the Bush administration end? I’ll admit that this is also a likely reason for my impatience for January 20th to arrive.

The other event is the imminent arrival of my Now Playing magazine from Turner Classic Movies. I ordered the subscription on November 30, via Internet, and I was notified that it would take six to eight weeks to fill my order. Okay, fine, today is the end of the eighth week and it definitely seems like it’s been forever. Damn it Turner, I want my magazine!

I’m a big fan of old movies, and silent ones in particular. TCM obliges silent film fans with a showing of a silent movie on Sundays, usually around midnight. My problem is that my local newspaper has not listed this time period in their weekly television grid for the last five years or so. Thus my urgent need for the Now Playing guide.

My newspaper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, must believe that the hours between midnight Sunday and six o’clock Monday morning no longer exist. Obviously they did it as a cost cutting move, but I don’t think the press should be messing with the space/time continuum in this way. According to their schedule, it’s 11:59p one minute and then, boom, it’s instantly 6:01a! Can they do this? Can American journalism just delete these hours from our lives like that?

It’s no wonder I’m so tired when I wake up Monday mornings. I mean, I go to bed at 8:30p and rise at 5:00a, thinking that I have slept over eight hours. However, since they’ve taken away the intervening hours, I end up only getting three and a half hours rest. It’s not fair!

I don’t know if my theory proves the rhetorical question, “If a newspaper doesn’t print a story, does that mean the story doesn’t exist?” An interesting point, but that is something for a future blog. In any event, I still want my full night’s sleep back! And I want my monthly movie guide! As for my mathematical theory about the length of forever, go ahead and test it yourself. I will warn you that this just a theory, and I don’t guarantee that all results will be the same as mine.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Unlikely Scenarios of Rewritten History

The privilege to write history is probably one of the greatest spoils to arise out of any conflict. It is a privilege reserved for the victor of the conflict. If the victor lives long enough, they can even re-write the history to suit their own motives. You may have noticed that I did this myself last week in my (totally fictitious) tale about the Lincoln Bible. I did it for fun. Others, and here I’ll refer to members of the Bush administration, will probably realize a lucrative living for the rest of their lives as they justify everything they did when they were in power.

Then there are some who rewrite history to further their world view. One such group, who deny the Holocaust ever happened, runs afoul of common decency and international law. This trend has blossomed in recent years into a cottage industry that flourishes despite threats of prosecution. Now, even the Vatican has gotten itself tangled up, perhaps unwittingly, in the racism of denying the Holocaust.

The Pope recently rescinded the excommunication status of four bishops in an effort to heal a rift within the church. Unfortunately, one bishop, Richard Williamson, recently said in an interview that historical evidence is “hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed” in Nazi Germany. In its efforts to heal a rift, the Vatican opened another wound with the international Jewish community.

Perhaps we should isolate the operative word “deliberately”, and try to understand his point of view. Let’s set some parameters to explore his scenario. First, we won’t accept Hitler’s theory that his followers were members of a super-healthy, super-intelligent master race. On the other hand, we shouldn’t dismiss the average Nazi soldier stationed at Buchenwald or Auschwitz as the bumbling stereotype on “Hogan’s Heroes.”

Let’s say that two such soldiers — we’ll call them Hans and Fritz — escort hundreds of people into a chamber on a daily basis, close the door, and oops, an hour later Fritz realizes he forgot to turn off the gas main leading into the room. Silly Nazi! This happens, accidently of course, everyday for weeks, months, and years, until the Allies free the camps in 1945.

Does Williamson actually expect us to believe that European Jewry was almost wiped out by accident? Yeah, right! I’m sure the judges at Nuremberg bought this explanation hook, line and sinker. NOT!

The Vatican has attempted some damage control by denouncing Williamson’s remarks as against Catholic teaching. They’ve stated that just because they are allowing him back into the Church, it doesn’t mean they agree with everything he says. On the other hand, it could give his arguments greater prominence and credence within the Church.

This could create a very awkward situation, especially when the Pope sits down at the Vatican dinner table with all of his bishops. Imagine this scene: the Holy Father blesses the meal, and conversations among the other bishops are going well, when Williamson decides to say something stupid like, “You know, Hitler was right...” What do they do then? Stick their fingers in their ears and loudly chant, “La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la”?

Yeah, right! The Nuremberg judges are buying this explanation, too! NOT!

In Germany, Williamson could be prosecuted for his remarks, which probably explains why he is living in Argentina. (The fact that Argentina was a refuge for many Nazi figures after the war is probably a huge coincidence.) In their zeal to prevent another Holocaust, Germany unfortunately sacrifices the concept of free speech. I can understand their dilemma; after all, we deal with the double-edged standard of free speech in America. Yes, we all have the right to say what we want (as long as we don’t incite a stampede), but then the trade-off is we have to listen to the other guy’s opinions, no matter how vile or ugly they may be.

It may take more than just this denouncement of Williamson’s beliefs for the Pope to live this faux pas down. The Pope should remember that actions speak louder than words. He may be sincere when he says that anti-Semitism is not part of Catholic teaching, yet his recent actions can’t help but scream “Sieg Heil”.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Impressions of the Inauguration

First of all, congratulations are in order for all of us who survived the trauma inflicted by the so-called leadership in Washington during the last eight years. I should also express gratitude to the rest of the world for your patience with the American people who "elected" this leadership, not once, but twice. We hope our most recent choice is a step in a right direction, and we are very hopeful that Barack Obama will do everything he can to rectify some of the errors made by the last administration.

The Obama Administration is just a few days old and we are still basking in the afterglow of Inauguration Day. I must admit to having a warm feeling rise in my chest when I heard the Chief Justice congratulate Obama upon completing the oath of office. I know what you’re thinking, but no, it definitely wasn’t any sort of leakage from my heart surgery scar. I don’t know if my reaction was a swell of pride, or a happy realization that this would be a great moment in our country’s history, or a mixture of both. In either case, I consider myself lucky that I am alive to witness this moment.

Of course, despite all of the careful planning for the festivities, we had to expect a few goofs along the way. The first notable mistake was the Oath of Office ceremony itself. Chief Justice Roberts got the words mixed up, and both he and President Obama stumbled for a few seconds.

Poor guy was understandably nervous, given that this was the first time he gave the oath to a new president. Perhaps he got so used to former President Bush mangling words around that he didn’t think anyone would notice if a few places were out of words. (In case you’re wondering about my own syntax skills, I wrote that last sentence with a deliberate mistake, just so the Chief Justice doesn’t feel so bad.) The whole incident demonstrates that there is a lack of good, experienced help in Washington these days.

Still, there is a happy ending to this story. President Obama retook the oath of office the next day in the spirit of “abundant over cautiousness” according to the White House. Unfortunately, the Lincoln Bible — which was used during the first ceremony — was not available for the second ceremony.

I’ve heard a rumor that the reason the Lincoln Bible was not available was because it had already been returned to the library. My sources tell me that the Bible was outrageously overdue, since the date of April 15, 1865, was stamped on the card in the back of the book. Apparently, Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln intended to drop it off on the way home from the theatre the night before, but, well...things happened.

The former administration was allowed to leave without incident, although curiously former Vice President Dick Cheney was wheelchair bound. The official reason was that he injured his back while moving boxes to his new home. I believe he just wanted to show everyone his impression of Lionel Barrymore from “It’s A Wonderful Life”. That joker! He’s still trying to top his other gags which include “How many WMD’s are there in Iraq?” and “Shooting lawyers for fun...and fun”.

Obama was very cordial to the parting administration, even though many of us were hoping that Bush, et al, would be greeted with US Marshalls and arrest warrants as they boarded the helicopter. No such luck! This was disappointing, but, after all, there will be plenty of time for bitter partisan recriminations and subpoenas later. For now, all of us should prepare to roll up our sleeves and help President Obama do the hard tasks that lie ahead.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Roll The Credits!!!!!

Well, here we are at the end of the George W. Bush Administration. Now, as the sun sets on his presidency, it is time to reflect on his glorious achievements and grand accomplishments. His domestic agenda will stand for generations as an example of governing at its finest. Of course, this can’t compare with the world wide respect America now enjoys because of his ingenious and intuitive foreign policy skills. It is hard to believe that George W. Bush was able to do all this in eight short years.

I’m sorry, but I just realized I made a few grammatical errors in my introductory paragraph. No problem, since it was after all a first draft. The final draft of this paragraph follows.

Thank God, this long national nightmare known as the George W. Bush Administration is finally over! The sun sets for the final time on his dubious achievements and disgraceful accomplishments. Our domestic agenda is in a shambles! Don’t even get me started on Bush’s foreign policy; suffice to say that all the other countries have nothing but contempt for us now because of his actions. I think I can compare his presidency to my first bowel movement after I had a hemmorhoidectomy: long, hard and painful! There goes eight years of our lives that we’ll never get back. Thanks a hell of a lot, W!

Now, as befitting the ending of an epic as the Bush Administration, we present the end credits.

George W. Bush.....Howdy Dowdy, a puppet

Dick Cheney.....The Dark Emperor

Karl Rove.....Moriarty, an evil mastermind

Condi Rice.....A Cheerleader

Barbara Bush (the elder).....Marie Antoinette

Alberto Gonzalez.....A Lawyer with Amnesia

Donald Rumsfeld.....General George S. Patton

Michael "Brownie" Brown.....Best-Dressed Horse's Ass

Scooter Libby.....Deep Throat

John McCain.....Grandpa

Sarah Palin.....Little Orphan Annie

Rondo Hatton*.....The Oxton Creeper


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Farewell, Goodbye and Leave Already

The 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, had his final address to the nation on Thursday, January 15. In his thirteen minute speech, he emphasized that terrorists had not attacked again since 9/11, that the nation’s air and water are cleaner, and children are being tested under tougher standards in education. Now children, while we’re in the fantasy genre, let’s turn to “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”...

Overall, his assessment was cheery and upbeat, but then again he was grading himself as per his own silver-spoon-in-the-mouth report card. At several points, Bush stated he was honored to have served as chief executive. Some close to him have maintained that he is a humble man, although many of us Americans will only remember his condescending smirk and arrogant Texas swagger.

The pundits and commentators before and after Bush’s speech didn’t mince words. On Chris Matthews' Hardball, a quartet of reporters agreed (with one dissension) that the Bush administration was a tragedy. The lone dissenter, conservative commentator and former Presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan, felt that Bush is a tragic figure. Either way, if anyone mentions Bush’s name, people everywhere will start crying.

Bush has tried to claim success in the war on terror by boasting that no other terrorist attacks have happened on his watch. True, but I’m willing to bet that the real credit should be written off as luck, with perhaps some props to information gleaned – however inhumanely — through the use of aggressive interrogation techniques, aka torture.

If Bush’s administration did such a great job managing conflicts and disasters, then how do they explain away their performance after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast? The answer is simple - they don’t mention it all. It’s one of those episodes (others being Abu Gharib, Social Security privatization, and illegal immigration, among others) that, gosh darn it, didn’t quite work out for the Bush administration.

Now if one of those detainees in Gitmo had broken down during a session of water boarding and cried out, “Wait, I’ll tell you something! The levees won’t hold! The levees in New Orleans won’t withstand the force of a category five hurricane,” then perhaps the Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina is something about which they could brag. But no, that didn’t happen, and today The Big Easy is still trying to recover.

The general assumption among the various media (I don’t know if I can count the Fox Network) is that Bush will not be missed by many people. I suppose political cartoonists will go into a period of mourning, if not outright therapy, for adjustment disorder now that a favorite source of their material is stepping down from the national spotlight. Yes, George W. was very good for the satire business, and I have to admit myself, I will miss his continuing mangling of the English language. Oh, the wonderful sound bites he leaves behind...truly awe-inspiring!

At least one pundit made the point that the passing of the torch next week proves the resiliency of American democracy — in short, America has survived eight years of George W. Bush. To be honest, we could have saved ourselves a lot of pain way back in 2000 when the polls asked prospective voters, “Who you rather have a beer with, George W. Bush or Al Gore?”

It’s a shame that the pollsters didn’t supply this logical follow-up question, “Would you vote for your favorite beer-drinking buddy to be the leader of the free world?” Think about this. Yes, your buddy would be a lot of laughs at the bar, whooping it up, and watching him try to score with any woman that walked by. Then, the next morning when he’s passed out in your bathtub having kept you up all night as he kneeled before the porcelain god, you should have asked yourself, “Is he Presidential material?” But no, that didn’t happen and now the entire country is trying to recover.

Let the healing begin...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Too Good to be True

I’m having some strange feelings about recent events that are beyond my wildest dreams. Events such as the Phillies winning the World Series and now the Eagles are poised to go to the Super Bowl. I have the odd feeling that the Eagles will take it all this year. It’s odd because it feels good, and perhaps I don’t know what feeling good is really like.

I also feel good about the impending inauguration of Barack Obama, with one caveat. I, like many other Americans, am investing a lot of faith in his capabilities and goals. I wish him all the luck in the world with fixing our problems, and I’m ready to do my part to make his solutions succeed. Despite all this, I can’t help wondering if we’re getting our hopes too high.

The left leaning media are absolutely in love with Obama, which pundits on the right have sternly pointed out for months. Writers for Saturday Night Live saw the trend last summer, before Obama was even nominated. One sketch about a debate between Obama and Hillary Clinton showed the moderators fawning over him and ignoring her. The comic strip Mallard Fillmore also raised the issue with a Secret Service agent ready to pounce on a television reporter who was ready to “smooch” the President-elect.

Then there is the strange case of Obama the Magic Negro. The song surfaced earlier last year when Rush Limbaugh played it on his show, raising a storm of controversy. (Note to Rush: you need to work on your playlist. Have you tried classic rock?) Critics decried the song as racist; fans of the song claim it is satire.

GOP leaders denounced the song recently when it appeared on a CD collection of satirical holiday songs sent to members of the party for Christmas. Did its use of the passé term "negro" make it racist? Perhaps. Was it satire? No, it wasn’t that funny, but it still raised an interesting point about the media’s attitude toward Barack Obama.

Damn! I hate it when right-wing conservatives have a valid point.

Obama shows every sign of being a very capable, deliberative leader who is willing to work with the other side to get this country going in the right direction again. Still, we must remember he is just one man. He doesn’t have magical powers, and I have yet to hear any reports that he is able to walk on water. He will not be able to solve our problems single-handedly, to which he referred recently when he said that everyone will have to sacrifice.

We must not set the bar too high for him. The recession will not go away in his first 100 days as President. It will take time for his solutions, if enacted, to have any effect on the global economy. We, as a people, will need to show patience with him and, for that matter, Congress.

We must resist the notion in 100 days time to turn against him if our problems are still with us. If we do oppose him at that point, then we have no one to blame but ourselves for getting our hopes too high in the first place. Many of Barack Obama’s ideas sound too good to be true, but they might just work. He will still need time to prove them to everyone.

Friday, January 09, 2009

My Third Blogiversary

Today marks the third anniversary that I started these ramblings. The past three years have been good years overall for me personally — not counting the major surgery I had last September. If nothing else, I have established a writing habit for myself. Preparing and publishing two essays a week every week has been a challenge and an opportunity which I hope will continue for years to come.

In the last few years, I have given a lot of thought to my writings, even to the point of changing the blog name to something that more accurately reflected its content. I though about such names as or, but I realized that these names would have narrowed my blog’s focus too much. Besides, both of those names will now become obsolete in a matter of days.

My, that felt very good to write that last sentence!

Speaking of the future, it’s time to move forward. It is still the beginning of a new year and, like many other people, I should make a promise to myself to improve my life. Naturally, losing weight is at the top of my “to do” list. I may actually get outside help this year from some organization like Weight Watchers, but not tonight. I am enjoying a bottle of Miller Lite as I write this sentence....

I also resolve to be more assertive, without being aggressive or obnoxious this year. Some people would say I have had the obnoxious part down pat for years, but I will just smile graciously and nod in agreement to such criticism. I am what I am, despite the few tweaks I am setting down for my life.

By being more assertive, I mean that I will work to be more self confident about myself and my capabilities. To that end, I will set a goal to set myself up as an independent contractor for voiceover work by the end of May. This means filling out a lot of forms for tax purposes and registering with a variety of state agencies, but it will have to be done. I just have to find the time to do it....

Another aspect of my new assertiveness will be to act more forcefully — but tactfully — with people who annoy me. I must not be fearful of voicing my opinion when it runs counter to the other person’s point of view. This is an acceptable form of being assertive. On the other hand, I could adopt the Arab cultural tradition of throwing shoes at annoying people. It is very tempting....

As always, I should thank many people for my blog’s success. Thank you, blog subjects, including George W., Darth Cheney, penguin narcs, barefooted Iraqi journalists, long-shot vice presidential candidates from the frozen north, and all the others who were mentioned here because they did something silly.

Thank you also to my readers all over the world. I appreciate your time, attention, and comments. I hope you’ll continue to enjoy my postings in the future.

What about

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Next Bush

In all of the euphoria about the end of the George W. administration, we have let our guard down about another Bush occupying the White House. Once upon a time, I wrote an entry warning about the political rise of Jeb Bush.* Naturally, it was a satirical piece fashioned like a narrative from a sci-fi movie trailer. It might have drawn a few laughs at the time, but a recent Fox News interview shows that this is no longer a laughing matter.

In the interview, Jeb’s father, former president George H.W. Bush, was asked about his son’s run for the Senate. Bush the elder replied that he thinks Jeb will make a good Senator, and he wouldn’t mind seeing him become President. Even the Fox correspondent seemed taken back by the suggestion. At this point, the senior Bush admitted that perhaps there have been too many Bushes in power lately. (Amen to that!)

Well, we dodged a bullet today when Jeb announced he would not run for the Senate in 2010. Still, in four years Jeb may actually set his sights on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. At this point, I don’t know if he would succeed, but stranger things have happened in national politics lately.

Jeb might be an all right guy as governor. He was very popular in Florida where he handled back to back hurricane emergencies with more finesse than his older brother. However, he can’t escape the fact that he is still a Bush! Dad’s one term was rather lackluster, although to be fair he had a tough act to follow: eight years of Ronald Reagan. Daddy Bush never really emerged from the shadow of the Great Communicator.

Then there is his older brother’s tenure. On second thought, don’t get me started on George W! How this man ever got elected — TWICE — will be one of the greatest mysteries of our nation’s history.

No, we must nip this in the bud now. In the past, I have joked about proposing a Constitutional amendment banning anyone in the Bush family from holding public office ever again. I always thought of my idea as a joke, simply because I know every court will dismiss it as highly discriminatory. Now, I don’t care anymore whether people take me seriously or not. I’m not joking anymore — we should consider such an amendment.

Of course the point could be moot if Jeb will reconsider his political aspirations. He ruled out a Senate run for now, but he left speculation about his future wide open. I don’t see anything wrong with ambition, but his family’s actions have not exactly left a good taste in our mouths. Jeb’s greatest handicap is his name. Perhaps he might be more successful in his quest if he changes his name to something like…oh, how about Kennedy.

Now there’s a truly inspiring political dynasty! It has high name recognition and has withstood numerous scandals over the years. Also remember that, when it comes to the Presidency, the Kennedy legacy is largely untried. True, John was elected, but he didn’t get a chance to finish his term. Brother Bobby didn’t survive the primaries. The youngest brother, Ted, has had a few embarrassing episodes in his career, but overall he has had a long distinguished tenure in the Senate.

Think about it, Jeb! The Bush name could be tainted for years to come. Changing your name could be your only chance at higher office. Don’t make us come after you with the Constitution - or whatever is left of it after your brother gets done with it.

*Bush Dynasty III, 6/8/2006

Friday, January 02, 2009

Short Notes – January 2009

It’s time to take stock of the following unusual events in our world.


Yes, Bristol has had her baby, the one that all of us nasty liberal bloggers were so skeptical about its existence. Once I saw the initial reports about the birth, I immediately wanted to nominate the parents for the couple most likely to get murdered by their offspring who is saddled with a cruel and unusual moniker. The new baby’s name: Tripp.

(Dear Reader: Please take a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor and re-attach it to your head. Take your time. I’ll wait here.)

Welcome back! Anyway, the child is healthy and will have the advantage of learning societal values from a broad spectrum of influences. For example, consider everything Tripp will learn just from his grandparents. One grandmother runs the state of Alaska, while the other grandmother — pending the outcome of her trial on drug possession charges — could become a guest in one of Alaska’s state pens. Good luck and welcome to the world, Tripp!


Well, it’ll be easy to pick out the next Vice President at the inaugural balls. He’ll be the one with loose sleeves while he regales some unfortunate nearby listeners with some of his famous history stories. How about the time FDR got on the television to sooth the nation's fears about the Great Depression? Or how about the Battle of Valley Forge? Oh wait, sorry! The Battle of Valley Forge is one of Newt Gingrich’s history stories.

Sorry, Joe! Have fun at the inaugural and watch your sleeves. Don’t let them sag into the punch bowl or it could get messy.


(Once again, dear reader, I will pause my narrative for you to pick your jaw up off the floor and re-attach it to your head. Take your time. I’ll wait here.)

I don’t see anything wrong with John Lennon wanting to spread knowledge throughout the world, if only he could actually know that he was doing this. The ad is obviously a product of “video and digital manipulation”*, because — news flash, everyone — JOHN LENNON IS STILL DEAD! Yoko approved this????!!!!!

I do find it hard to believe that the organizers of this charity couldn’t scare up a LIVE celebrity to publicize their good intentions. Oh, right, I forgot! All the live celebrities are too busy flaunting their lesbian disc jockey lovers, or divorcing their British film director husbands, or watching their offspring give weird names to the newborn grandchild, or losing their #$&@ cufflinks to give a damn about the computer literacy of poor children.

How about giving them food first! How do you expect them to lift their poor swollen fingers to press ctrl.alt.delete when they haven’t eaten in weeks? How do you know they won’t mistake the keyboard for a tastefully arranged set of miniature candies and try to swallow it whole? As one Chinese fortune cookie once said, “Man learn better on a full stomach.”

*Derekshani, Tirdad. “Imagine: John Lennon in a TV ad”. Sideshow column, The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 2, 2009.