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

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Don’t Cry for Him, Argentina!

The liberal blogosphere is happily setting the Internet on fire with all of the revelations coming out about South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's recent disappearance. The governor went missing and told only his staff he was going to hike the Appalachian Trail to “clear his head”. Members of the press caught up to him — not on a wooded trail — but at the airport returning from Argentina.

His story got more interesting when the married with children governor - best remembered as condemning Bill Clinton for his extra-marital affair ten years ago - confessed and apologized to his own affair with a Latina American woman known only as Maria.

Before I am accused of piling on this poor, unfortunate man, let me state that perhaps we should give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, he has served the public of South Carolina well up to this point, he did enter public office with the best of intentions, and he has in the past vowed to uphold his service to the highest grounds of morality and virtue. So he met some hot Latina woman, forgot all about his sense of virtue, gave into temptations of the flesh and fell...hard on his political face!

So much for the benefit of the doubt. Let the piling on begin!

Maybe Governor Sanford is just bad at geography. Yes, that must be it! He was confused about his ultimate destination when he walked out on his staff. I can see how this might happen. Let’s compare and contrast the two locations: the Appalachian Trail and Argentina.

At first glance, we find that both locations are depicted on many maps as long, slender, and very leafy. On the other hand, we find a big difference between the inhabitants of these two locales. For example, residents of Argentina speak a foreign language, while people living near the Appalachian Trail just talk downright funny. Clearly, geography was not Governor Sanford’s best subject in school.

Perhaps he hiked the mountainous trails to inspire his poetry. One major newspaper in Charlotte has published some of his more rhymable couplets he sent to Maria via e-mail. In the e-mails, he wrote how his heart “cries out for you, your body, your voice, the touch of your lips, the touch of your finger tips, and an even deeper connection to your soul.” How romantic! How incriminating!

Let’s just speculate on what images could spur Don Juan Sanford to write so longingly about his lady. There would be the majesty of the mountain peaks, the swaying of the trees in a lazy summer breeze, the cool crispness of a waterfall, or the curvaceous patterns of a water moccasin gliding along the surface of a Carolina pond. Speaking as a male with an appreciative eye for female beauty, guess which images inspire my sense of romance? If I have to vote between a sexy hot-blooded Latina woman or a cold-blooded, poisonous reptile...hey, it’s no contest! Clearly the sights of Argentina are more inspirational for a romantic poet like Mark Sanford.

To paraphrase Desi Arnaz, Sanford has some 'splainin' to do, and that’s all he has done ever since he reappeared. His wife has thrown him out, but she seems open to reconciliation. This despite the fact that she is heiress to the Skil tools fortune and doesn’t need him for financial support. He might need her more than she needs him, if only for the connections she could supply for any political future he can salvage.

Then there is his professional responsibility to the people of South Carolina. The most grievous offense he committed here was not turning power over to the Lieutenant Governor. Fortunately, no disaster occurred; hurricane season is not in full swing yet. Also, fortunately, them damn Yankees didn’t try to take Fort Sumter again. Whew, that was a close one!

So far Sanford has brushed off the idea of resigning. He probably won’t be subjected to legal recriminations, because apparently he didn’t do anything illegal by getting away from it all for a few days. Once again we must marvel at this fact of jurisprudence: it is not illegal to exhibit extreme stupidity.

If this was the case, then all of us with the X chromosome would be incarcerated for life...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Praise and Perspective: Michael Jackson

I can’t decide which is worse: Michael Jackson’s premature death at the age of 50, or the media coverage of his passing. It will be Michael Jackson life, times, and tragic end 24/7 for the foreseeable future. I can’t help thinking that somehow all the media attention on his personal life contributed to his untimely end. He was a talented singer and dancer who gave his all to bring joy and love to the world, and my God, what did we do to him?

No one will dispute that Michael Jackson died long before his time on June 25. Yet we should consider that, given the Bohemian culture of the art and entertainment industry, he outlived many of his contemporaries. His career began alongside people like Presley, Hendrix, and Joplin, and he remained popular as people like Kurt Cobain and Tupac Shakur came and burned out. None of these people lived to be old enough to qualify for membership in AARP. Jackson did live long enough, but his comeback ambitions resembled the drive and energy of a much younger artist.

The scandals and downright weird rumors of his personal life will gradually fade into the background as people will remember his talent and accomplishments. In this regard, we can see a parallel in Charles Chaplin, another iconic entertainer dogged by a scandalous personal life. I believe the same will happen with Jackson’s legacy.

Simply put, he was one of the greatest performers in the last 40 years. He used his talent wisely, lending it for such charitable projects as We Are the World, the 1985 celebrity effort to battle widespread famine in Ethiopia. Here he demonstrated that he was a caring, giving individual who seemed immune (at that time) to the trappings of fame and stardom.

Still, some aspects of his life invited intense media scrutiny and ridicule. The rollout of his compilation HIStory brought unfavorable comparisons to Leni Reifenstahl’s Triumph of the Will. The later allegations against him for child molestation seemed to bring out just as many detractors as he had fans. There’s no doubt that at times like this Jackson was the darling of tabloid papers all over he world.

It is tragic that Jackson left us at this juncture in time. There is a revolution sweeping the world now. It started with Obama’s election last November. The embers of change were fanned last week with the political protests in Iran. Surely, Jackson would have contributed to this global movement of change, but from now on we can only ask ourselves, “What if...” and speculate what those contributions would be.

Or perhaps Jackson did start this revolution years ago when he recorded the song Man in the Mirror. I know I’ve alluded to this performance before, but I’ll reiterate my argument here. He told us then that change can happen, but it has to start with each one of us, with me, with him, with every individual looking at themselves and challenging, “What can I do to make myself and my world better?”

For all the scandals and unflattering tabloid headlines he endured, Michael Jackson got this one right.

Thank you, Michael, for all that you gave us. Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

...And In This Corner, Sarah Palin!

At first glance, it might seem that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin finally got cranky about all the jokes coming from the east coast satirical elitists. Naturally, I’m referring to David Letterman’s mediocre reference to Palin’s daughter getting knocked up by Yankees star A-Rod while attending a ball game last week. Letterman made the joke believing that it was the older daughter who went to the game with Mama, but the facts showed (later) that it was the younger daughter, Willow, who was at the game.

In the end, Letterman did the right thing and apologized for the slight, although the mea culpa got past many conservative commentators (aka Fox News) and editorial cartoonist Glenn McCoy. Palin herself pretended, at least for a few days, that the apology never happened. She milked Letterman’s joke for all it was worth and then some. Ironically, the joke wasn’t worth milking, a point that even Letterman conceded.

As a mother, Palin has every right to complain. As a woman, she has every right to voice her concerns about the image of young women in the media. As a political figure shamelessly accumulating face time in the national media so that people will know who she is when she is crowned Republican nominee for the President in 2012(remember, folks, you heard it here first), she had every right to use Willow like a pawn. She did this despite the fact that using her daughter in this manner was even more distasteful than the original joke!

I also find it hard to believe that Mama Palin left Bristol unattended while they toured the Big Apple. After all, there are a lot of temptations in the big city, and let’s face it, Bristol has scored a big fat zero when it comes to celibacy. Of course, this hasn’t stopped her from waging a “don’t-do-as-I-do, but-do-as-I-say” campaign against teen pregnancy for young women in the lower 48. Oh yes, and let’s not forget Bristol’s ex-fiancé, Levi Johnston, who has an ex-detective from Anchorage trolling Hollywood for job offers for him.

What about the other injured party in the Letterman/Palin debacle? What about A-Rod? Don’t his feelings count? Granted, he may be a whiny, prima donna multi-million dollar baseball player, but he has feelings too! I didn’t hear Sarah Palin mention him once during all of her condemnations.

The poor fellow probably won’t be able to get a date with a mature woman after this incident. I can see him asking a woman — say over the age of 18 — for a date. She would just look him over, and snort while she launched her nose high into the stratosphere, “Hmph! I’ve heard I’m too old for your tastes now! Go check out the local middle school. Maybe you’ll find a date there!” I tell you, this type of thing is devastating to a multi-millionaire’s social life!

All kidding aside, this story received way more media coverage than it deserved. Several commentators wondered why Palin decided to dwell on an embarrassing comment about her fourteen year old daughter, and turn it into a media circus that lasted for four days. Being an early riser, I would never have heard the joke if she had just let it die after the first night. But no, her cries of indignation guaranteed that I heard it at last four times during the next dozen or so news cycles. I’ll bet this is true for millions of Americans who don’t watch the Letterman show on a regular basis.

So, what lesson can we take from all this? Well, I think this teaches a very good lesson to any young woman thinking about having a baby out of wedlock. The only good to come out of such an experience is that you may get to escape the ho-hum doldrums of a life in Alaska by touring the country teaching lessons of abstinence while your ex can carve out a lucrative career in La-La Land. Otherwise you’ll be stuck raising a kid, while your mom turns into an egomaniacal media vulture with delusions of grandeur, your little sister will get publicly embarrassed by a snarky comedian on national television, and a multi-millionaire baseball player will have to hang out in school yards to salvage what’s left of his social life.

Way to go, Bristol! I hope you’re happy!

Friday, June 19, 2009

#@%&! Genes

Submitted for your approval: a typical middle-aged couple living in southeastern Pennsylvania. They are employed full time, pay taxes and bills on time, and live with their two cat kids. No human children.

The male is short and overweight. He exercises almost every day when the pain in his hip permits it. He eats a balanced diet from all four food groups. The man began his daily regimen of exercise about 15 years ago. During most of this time, his fitness activity included anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes on a stationary bicycle. During the summer months, he takes advantage of using his neighbor's pool and swims ten laps around the pool's perimeter, weather permitting.

He is a non-smoker, and drinks occasionally. Sometimes this means one beer per weekend, and maybe a glass of wine or two, or a mixed drink interspersed during the week. In the amount of time he has pursued his “healthier” lifestyle, he has endured three heart procedures — two catherizations, an angioplasty, and a bypass with a valve replacement. He has to take medications to control his blood pressure and cholesterol.

The spouse is also short, and even more overweight than the man. Non-smoker, yet she is an asthma sufferer. Drinks on occasion, like her husband, but refrains from drinking beer. Exercise — almost never. A 20 year cancer survivor and, save for an outpatient procedure in 1992, she has had no major hospital stays.

Her diet is not the ideal one touted by the food pyramid. Meat and bread, okay. Soup for winter lunches, yogurt for the summer mid-day meal. She’ll eat some fruits, but vegetables...forget it. She’ll eat carrot sticks once in a great while, but otherwise she’s never met a vegetable that she likes. She supplements this diet with a lot of junk.

Now the kicker: her cholesterol is perfect! Unaided by medications or dietary supplements!

I’ve thought about the unfairness of all this for a while. I eat a more balance diet than my wife, and yet I have to work harder to stay healthy! Naturally, I don’t believe there is only one cause for all this. Environment is definitely one, and my inability to say “no” to a Chinese buffet is another. This leaves me with one contribution to my lifestyle: my own faulty set of genes.

Yes, that microscopic set of traits that is stamped indelibly into the very fibers of our being. I envy Anne Marie’s set and I loathe mine. It makes me want to go back in time to that moment when the mud puppy which would eventually evolve into the Gunther ancestor crawled onto land for the first time. It is at this point I would grab whatever was handy — a stick, a tree branch, or a rock — and bash its brains out before it could procreate and spread its defective genes into the pool of human evolution.

I picture myself laughing manically at this point and screaming, "Ha, ha, ha! You have bad genes! Back, back I say!”, and I would watch its blood and very life force spill and flow back into the primordial ooze.

I realize that this seems like a violent scene, but hey, I can credit the same thought process that created this strange vision to my genes as well. Genes! Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Bachelor Weekend: Aftermath

Anne Marie arrived safely back from her trip to Columbus at 1:00a. She announced she was tired, and went straight to bed. No reading before passing out, and, shockingly, no knitting. Within minutes she was sound asleep. Thus ended my bachelor weekend; the cats and I survived very well.

I must report that I didn’t misbehave once during my four days of marital freedom. I finished a pitcher of hurricanes in my fridge, but otherwise I didn’t touch alcohol once the entire time Anne Marie was gone.

My eating habits...well, that was another matter.

I’ll put it this way: I fell off the healthy diet wagon over the weekend. I started my food orgy on Friday night with a pizza cheese steak, kettle potato chips, and French onion dip. This is a guilty pleasure which I can’t enjoy if Anne Marie is within a five mile perimeter of the house. She claims that my onion dip “stinks”.

Okay, I do make it very strong – one envelope of onion soup mix to one pound of sour cream. Yes, it’s true! During the past weekend I consumed - here I must warn young children, small furry animals, the sensitive souls, and cardiologists to go directly to the next paragraph now so that you are spared the following shocking confession — an ENTIRE POUND OF ONION DIP! It actually shouldn’t have been as bad as it sounds. After all I did use light sour cream, and the chips I used for dipping purposes were reduced fat, or so the label says.

Then I capped the weekend with a trip to my local Chinese buffet. My neighbor, John, went along as well, since his wife was on the same trip as Anne Marie. He had no other plans, and usually he cooks out on Sunday afternoon/evening, but it just seemed silly to fire up the grill for two guys, especially when a pile of peel-n-eat shrimp was beckoning to us.

Monday night came and I made plans to turn in early and wake up around midnight so that I could greet Anne Marie when she finally arrived home. The onion dip was long gone — finished at lunchtime - and I had brushed my teeth so as not to be so offensive. This plan worked out, but only to a certain point.

I had trouble falling asleep because of the phone. It kept ringing, which is something it doesn’t normally do when we’re wide awake. I discovered how to get people to call you: go to bed early! They must somehow detect that you are trying to sleep, when actually your desire to sleep is a cry out for human communication...or so they think!

My aunt called, my mother called (twice), and finally, Anne Marie called from the road when they got on the Pennsylvania Turnpike at New Stanton. I have never had this many phone calls from members of the opposite sex in such a short period of time in my entire life! Even when I advertised my commitment availability in the singles want ads of The Washington City Paper I didn’t get this many calls. Back then I only received two responses (one from Anne Marie).

It was actually Tuesday morning when Anne Marie walked through the back door, exhausted physically, emotionally, and mentally. Meanwhile, I was wide awake and perky a la Little Miss Mary Sunshine, after my nice four hour nap and all the phone calls. Oh yes, I forgot one detail: when I welcomed Anne Marie home with a hug she replied, “You smell like onions!”

Didn’t I tell you I make strong onion dip?

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Oh boy! Anne Marie will be away this weekend at a trade show in Columbus, Ohio with our neighbor, Regina. So what can I do while she’s away...

1. Eat nothing but chips and French onion dip all weekend.

2. Load entire collection of ABBA CDs into stereo and crank the volume up to “11”.

3. Call my friend, Stan, and arrange to go on weekend of partying with other like-minded individuals in a far-flung resort like Atlantic City.

4. Scratch #3. I realize that idea is really the plot to the 1934 comedy Sons of the Desert. Besides, I don’t know anyone by the name of Stan.

5. Roll Anne Marie’s stuffed teddy bear, Boo, in catnip and then accidentally leave him on the living room floor for my cats Meredith and Steven.

6. Cancel #5. Anne Marie has just informed me that Boo Bear is also going to Columbus with her. Bummer! I can’t have any fun anymore! Oh well, I just hope that little rascal doesn’t keep our neighbor up with his salty language and ribald tales of sexual prowess.

7. Suffer the flatulent after effects of my very strong French onion dip.

8. Consider calling old girlfriends to talk about old times.

9. Forget #8! I have no old girlfriends to call up. The closest one to qualify as a girlfriend distinctly gave me the “don’t call me, I’ll call you” vibe the last time we spoke...and that happened in 1988! Nope, I will stop waiting by the phone for that call!

AND FINALLY...this is the last day of analog television broadcasting in the United States. At times like this — when an era is ending - I’m reminded of something Shakespeare might have written such as: “Alas, poor Analog! I knew him well, Marconi...”

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Classic TV Lines

Today we have a sampling of lines from some of our all-time favorite classic television shows. These lines were never uttered (to my knowledge); however, we could have heard them if the writers had the sensibilities which we possess today. For example...

Timmy from Lassie: "Mom, why is everybody always making fun of me falling down a well? It’s not that funny!"

Bud from Father Knows Best: "Hey, Dad! Want some of this killer weed I just bought down on the corner?"

Marcia from The Brady Bunch: "Mom, can you take me to the doctor? I need him to write me a prescription for The Pill!"

Eddie from The Munsters: (crying) "Mom! The Museum of Natural History just mounted Spot in their Paleozoic Era exhibit!"

Greg from The Brady Bunch: "Wow, Mom! You’re hot!"

Theo Huxtable from The Cosby Show: "Hey, Dad! There’s a Maury Povich at the front door. By the way, what’s a paternity test?"

Peter from The Brady Bunch: "Mom, why is Dad listening to show tunes?"

Lisa from Green Acres: "Arnold! Stop humping the Easter ham!"

And finally...Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners: "Alice, I’ve just been served with a protection order! What’s all this crap about verbal abuse?"

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Jesus with a Black Eye

This week, President Obama traveled to the Mideast in an attempt to reach out to the Muslim world with the proverbial olive branch. His mission is to reshape the perceptions many Muslims have of the Christian world. This will be a challenge to all faiths, because many people of all faiths believe that their beliefs are the only values good enough for them and everyone else in the world. Worse still, these extremists are willing to do anything – including murder — to demonstrate their “love” of God.

These extremists think they are upholding the highest virtues of their beliefs, but many times their actions belie the truth of religious teachings. They are exposed as hypocrites who unknowingly denigrate their own beliefs by committing all sorts of mayhem on mankind. One such act - when a doctor who specialized in a controversial abortion procedure was gunned down in his church by an anti-abortion zealot last weekend - should be considered an act of domestic terrorism.

Imagine...a slaying in a place of worship! In God’s house! Society at large is outraged at the cold-bloodedness of the act, and then the accompanying hateful rhetoric of those who applaud the executioner. These extremists condemn the act, even as they condemn the victim in the most uncharitable and un-Christian like manner.

These extremists are no better than those who fly airliners into skyscrapers. These are the extremists who believe that they, and only they, are entitled to a certain piece of land and they are willing to kill generations after generations of people for centuries on end to gain that territory. These are the extremists who believe that murder is wrong, except when it suits their own needs or they believe that their God has commanded it.

There are many people of all faiths in the world who, I believe, do lead a good virtuous life. My comments here are not necessarily directed at them. Rather, my comments are directed at those in the Christian community who use Christ’s teachings as an excuse for intolerance. The intolerance goes beyond the issue of abortion. In recent years, I have witnessed Christ’s lessons used to justify discrimination against the gay community and, in one notorious instance, outright hatred of gays in general.

In the interest of full disclosure I will say this: I believe in God, but I don’t align my beliefs with any particular religion. Yet I consider myself a Christian because I was raised in Christianity. I never have and never will consider myself better than anyone else, but this will not stop me from questioning all beliefs, particularly when they are used to bring on mankind’s self-destruction.

I am not a perfect Christian. I won’t bore you with details; just take my word for it. If you, dear reader, consider yourself a good church-going Christian, and that my admissions damn me in your eyes, then so be it. I know in my heart where my beliefs stand and I try my best to shape my daily living and behavior accordingly.
This, I believe, is what God wants all thinking residents of His good Earth to do – to live a good life for all mankind. Nothing more and nothing less.

The murder in Topeka could embolden many Christians to demonstrate their faith to the extreme. They should proceed cautiously. They should not attempt to uphold the intolerance that President Obama is trying so hard to eradicate. They should not be so anxious to deface Christianity in front of the whole world. They should not praise any acts that give Jesus a black eye.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Time once again to offer our monthly pithy commentary on current events in the world.


It has occurred to me that with all this taxpayer money going to save the auto and banking industry that each one of us is now a shareholder in these companies. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. American Taxpayer! Each of us now owns .000000000000000000000000000000005 of one share in General Motors! Ah, but don’t plan to pay for a vacation at Disney World with your dividends just yet. According to my calculations, each share is worth .0000000000000000000000000000496 of one cent! Again, congratulations!


We’ve heard this rumor for months and I was hoping it would never come true. Alas, my hopes for quality television are dashed again! Isn’t it time that the whole reality show genre die a quick, violent death in the Nielsen ratings? Isn’t it time we dusted off some series that didn’t really get a chance to prove themselves the first time around. I’m thinking along the lines of shows like “The Chicago Teddy Bears” or “When Things Were Rotten.”


Geez, just when you want this guy to go away, he comes along with a stand on an issue on which even liberals can agree. Anyone who knows anything about Cheney’s life knows that his daughter — and by extension himself — has an interest in same-sex marriage rights. Okay, Dick, we’ll stand with you on this issue, but it doesn’t mean we’ve forgiven you for water boarding.

I wonder if Dick cleared this with Rush...


Now this more like it: once a belligerent, always a belligerent. None of this, “Liberals are wusses” crap followed by “Hey, let homosexuals get married,” like Cheney is saying. With Kim Jong Il, you always know where you stand. He hated us yesterday, he hates us today, and he’ll hate us tomorrow.

I know I’m nit-picking, but I’m just more comfortable with love-hate feelings from our enemies that are consistent.

There are several different scenarios to consider with this emerging crisis. The Obama administration in partnership with the United Nations can diplomatically convince North Korea to back down on its threats. This may include more economic sanctions against the nation, which could hurt the North Korean people.

Or the conflict could escalate and mankind will finally witness that nuclear winter we’ve been hearing about ever since the Eisenhower administration advised small children to “duck and cover” in the event a nuclear bomb detonated near their school. I really hope this doesn’t happen! My reasoning has nothing to do with the any of the clichés, “I’m too young to die”, or “The world has so much promise yet.”

No, I fear a nuclear holocaust because I have just gone to great expense to have the windows replaced in my house. These windows are guaranteed to decrease our energy bills by 30% in both the summer and winter. That means nice and cool inside the house during the summer, and comfortable and warm during the winter. The guarantee doesn’t say anything about window efficiency in the case of a nuclear attack.

Besides, if a nuclear weapon does explode near my house, then where will the postman deliver our $1500 tax rebate for buying the windows in the first place?

This whole North Korea situation leaves me with several questions. Will Kim Jong Il blink? Will he issue a statement about same-sex marriage? And if he issues a statement about same-sex marriage, will he clear it with Rush...?

*The word “snort” was a typo, but Anne Marie loves it, so we’re not correcting it back to “short”. Henceforth, this monthly feature will be titled, “Snort Notes.” Until next month...