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

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, April 27, 2012

Snort Notes – April 2012


The former Congressman from Georgia announced on April 25 that he would suspend his campaign effective May 1. My question: What was wrong with April 25? Why not suspend your campaign on the day you announce that you are suspending your campaign? Don’t tease us! Just say good-bye and leave the political stage! And don’t linger in the wings waiting for someone to ask you back to make a political-base stirring speech at the national convention. 

I can only think that his announcement was timed so to give his true, diehard supporters — you know, the ones who agree with every outlandish, delusional view point he espouses, but haven’t been opening their wallets like they should — one last chance to put their money where his mouth is. Yes, true believers, this is your last chance to resurrect this moribund candidate's final grasp for a lasting, iconic legacy. Hurry, hurry, hurry…before he fades away…and boomerangs back into the spotlight just like he’s done dozens of times before.

So what will old Newtster do with his new found free time? Revive his faltering consulting business? Drown his sorrows with a multi-million dollar shopping spree at Tiffany’s? Or will he take another tour of every petting zoo in the country? 

Newt…just leave, and don’t let any lobbyists hit you in the ass on your way out.


The governor said this revelation on a conservative Internet program, just after his administration pushed through legislation that will effectively close down the only abortion clinic in his state. He directed his comments at opponents of the new law. 

Wow!  I was not aware of this! Let me run down the checklist of the left agenda.

Over-reaching government intrusion into every conceivable facet of American life?


Requiring every American man, woman, and child to have the ability to pay for his/her own health care bills?


Spending lots and lots of taxpayer money on useful programs that benefits millions upon millions of taxpayers?


Cold-blooded murder of unborn children? Well, that is a new one! When did this plank get added to the platform?

Please believe me: I’m not making fun of children dying. I am belittling the thought of grown adults making outrageous, insulting comments just to score political points with their twisted, narrow-minded constituency. There is no need for such frankly libelous labeling. Name-calling is so immature, but what else can we expect from a low-life, bottom-feeding, slimy mud puppy.  (With sincere apologies to real mud puppies everywhere.)


Okay, here are three words you would never have seen grouped together 20 years ago:  “Hillary” “Clinton” and “popular”. As you may recall, 20 years ago Hillary was an ambitious First Lady who seemed to exemplify Eleanor Roosevelt more than June Cleaver, which apparently was the role model most Americans preferred for their First Ladies.

My use of the word ambitious is a delicate way of saying she was hard charging and driven to achieve a particular agenda. Her critics — who coincidentally can be considered on the right wing of the political spectrum — did not mince words; they called her a “bitch”.

Even Newt’s mom used the word when she quoted her son’s description of the First Lady! Ah, I have fond memories of that nationally televised interview; God bless you, Connie Chung! 

Which reminds me: Newt, are you still here? Stop lurking around and leave! Can someone show Newt the way out, please?

Anyway, a lot has changed in 20 years, and now Mrs. Clinton has weathered attacks from the right wing media, the Monica Lewinsky scandal, served the state of New York as a Senator, and has shined as America’s leading diplomat under Barack Obama. People actually like her; nay, they respect her!

What happened? Most of it is undoubtedly due to Mrs. Clinton’s hard work, but perhaps the right wing media has let their guard down. Way to go, Rush! While you’ve been busy trashing the reputations of college co-eds seeking medication for painful conditions, but you believe they use the drugs for extra-curricular activities, your old nemesis Hillary has risen in everyone’s esteem. Way to go, Hillary! She is so popular now that there is talk in Democratic circles that she could be serious contender for the party’s nomination in four years. Hillary in 2016…it is worth considering.


My “little brother” is a foot taller than me, but he is younger. This weekend, he celebrates his birth, and it’s not just any birthday this year. On Sunday, he turns five-oh! Yes, the half century mark! Woo-hoo! AARP, here he comes!

I know I’m gloating like mad, but at least I’m doing it in the safety of my own blog, miles away from his residence. I don’t have to worry about any little acts of revenge he could do, like turning my mattress over — while I’m still sleeping on the mattress — or taking bites out of my hamburger — at a restaurant when I wasn’t even sitting with him. (Do you remember that one, Janey?)

Happy birthday, Don!   Hope you have a great day!

(Thank you for reading. No, we did not say “Newt 2016”. Will you get out of here, Newt!)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Existence of Political Civility in Modern Civilization

The title of this blog says it all. No, it is not a thesis title conjured up by a poli-sci major at Harvard, but, as you might surmise, it will lead to an essay which could be one of the following:

a. Very short;

b. Highly fictional; or

c. An outrageous excuse to examine some of the latest shenanigans by our most cherished political targets, i.e., conservatives, and in so doing risk committing the same acts of incivility which we are decrying. Please note this essay is not guaranteed to be fair or balanced (after all, this is a left-leaning liberal blog), and I’ll give you a hint: Vegas is offering even money on answer “c”.

Let’s start with MICHELE BACHMANN. This past week, the former presidential candidate wannabe criticized President Obama’s energy policy proposal to regulate oil speculators as “waving a tar baby in the air and saying something else is the problem.” Yes, ladies and gentleman, she actually said this! She actually WENT THERE!

Of course, later in the week Bachmann was back pedaling like mad and denying that her use of a children’s storybook term which is recognized as a racial slur in reference to a chief executive who HAPPENS to be African-American was not intended to be racial. Of course, Michele, we believe you! These types of “oops” moments happen to white people all the time. No, let me amend that: this type of thing happens to INSENSITIVE white people all the time.

We also don’t believe the rumor (that I’m making up at this moment) that, while guarding Ms. Bachmann during her campaign, her Secret Service detail referred to her variously as “Tea Party Cracker” or even “Marcus’ Beard”. Oops! Now there’s an example of this incivility creeping into my carefully crafted piece of satirical art. Of course, I could just do a right click on my mouse, block out the offending phrase, then hit the delete key...but, on second thought, why would I want to do that?

Okay, moving on...and speaking of the SECRET SERVICE. My, these guys had a busy week! Not only did they get to do their day job of protecting the President, and interview an aging rocker (see TED NUGENT below), but also took time off for rest, relaxation and paid sexual intercourse. My goodness, they were busy, busy, busy!

Unfortunately, the rest and relaxation period has given birth to a scandal which many of the President’s critics are all too eager to lay at his feet as a personal failure of his leadership. Really? How is the fact that the Secret Service got into trouble with prostitutes in a foreign country his personal failure? May I remind the President’s critics that he’s been busy running a country, which includes, but is not limited to:

A. Promoting policies that will get Americans back to work and improve the country’s overall economy;

B. Creating and implementing strategies that will bring troops home from Afghanistan, while building a viable plan to deal with continued unrest in the middle east, and Iran’s and North Korea’s growing threat of nuclear weapons capabilities; and

C. As Michele Bachmann so eloquently put it, waving tar babies in the air!

Half-seriously, the Secret Service scandal casts a very poor light on the agency and Americans as a whole. Gentlemen, what were you thinking? I don’t have any qualms about consenting adults arranging a business transaction for intimate pleasure, but to do what you did is appalling! Honestly, having a service rendered to you, then trying to back out of paying the pre-arranged price just makes Americans look cheap!

Okay, so you took some well-deserved heat for your actions in Cartagena. At least you got to wave a tar baby (again paraphrasing Michele Bachmann’s assertion) and distract everyone’s attention away from your troubles when someone in this country made some questionable remarks about the President. So this weekend the Secret Service is probably breathing a collective sigh and thanking God for TED NUGENT.

Speaking of busy weeks in the uncivil political sphere, rock icon Nugent made a conservative base rousing speech at the NRA convention in St. Louis. Some of his remarks — specifically the ones about going to battle this November and chopping heads off liberals, and also predicting he would be dead or in jail if Obama is re-elected — also roused the attention of liberal critics, not to mention the White House. The remarks won Nugent an invitation for a personal interview with the Secret Service. Both sides have reported that the Wednesday meeting went well to everyone’s satisfaction. Later, the Secret Service stated that they would be taking no further action against Nugent for his remarks that were interpreted as threatening.

At the end of the week, Nugent pleaded guilty to an illegal animal kill incident which happened in 2009. The avid hunter/activist accepted responsibility for illegally hunting and transporting a tar baby, I mean black bear. Oops! That use of Michele Bachmann’s favorite caricature was a Freudian slip and not intended as an example of uncivil liberal blogger satire. Honest! (tee-hee!)

Totally serious now, the use of uncivil tones in political discourse does distract from the more important issues of job creation and improving the lives of Americans everywhere. So why do we as media consumers eat these stories up when they’re fed to us? Perhaps the drama inherent in all of this conflict provides some sort of relief from the daily ennui we all feel in our day-to-day struggle called modern civilization. Okay, so we should accept the distractions of these uncivil episodes, be amused and/or bemused by it, then move on to acknowledge that the real problems still exist and beg for a resolution.

Oh, and waving and/or shooting at tar babies does not count as a resolution...

(Thank you for reading.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Today Anne Marie and I celebrate our 12th anniversary of moving to East Norriton. We always mark the occasion by re-enacting the dinner we had our first night at our new home: pizza cheesesteaks from a local pizza shop. This year’s celebration will be a bit more somber, since we said goodbye yesterday to our beloved black cat, Steven. He was a beautiful cat with velvet-like fur. That’s his photo at the top of the blog. Steven replaced Kelly, almost six years ago to the week when we had Kelly put to sleep.

In that time, he became my closest buddy. Many nights he would come up to my bed when I would call, “Let’s get comfy.” He would curl up next to me in bed and there were many times I would reach out to pet him as I turned over in the middle of the night. The petting was usually accompanied by a compliment, “You’re my good boy, Steven.”

We had the same ritual when I relaxed in the easy chair. I would call out, “Let’s get comfy” and most times he would answer the call — that is, if he wasn’t in a mood of aloofness. One jump and he would lie down between my legs; he would stay longer if I was wearing pants. For some reason, bare male legs repulsed him.

Last Wednesday, when I felt the need to recover from a cold, I stayed home and for a time lounged in my easy chair. He came up as usual, but what was unusual about this time is that he stayed quietly while I watched an entire movie on DVD, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. We watched it together. It was even more unusual that neither one of us was compelled to get up after 10 minutes to use our respective litter boxes.

We didn’t know much about Steven when we adopted him from Kitty Cottage. We were told he was three years old, which we now believe was an underestimation by at least a few years; that he had spent a lot of time on the streets of Philadelphia where he undoubtedly got the edge of one ear chewed off in a fight; that he was picked up by animal control, and was a few hours away from being euthanized when a Kitty Cottage rescuer adopted him.

He was also distinguished by a pair of teeth that hung down like vampire fangs. Those teeth eventually rotted away to the point where they had to be removed. That was also about the time that we noticed he was getting thinner. We thought that perhaps his dental condition was affecting his appetite. This didn’t turn out to be the case; actually his appetite became more voracious, yet he lost even more weight. We tried to give him medicine, but he refused it, and we didn’t want to torture him by forcing it on him.

It was a very slow decline. Last weekend, he stopped eating/drinking, and we made preliminary plans to have the vet come in again. This time, Steven beat us to the punch. We spent the morning petting him, telling him how much we loved him and that if saw a chance to go then he should go. Anne Marie and I went to work, and Steven started the next step of his journey.

So this weekend there will be a burial and another sojourn to Kitty Cottage. There I might find another buddy (or buddies) for myself, and Meredith might get another roommate. Yes, Meredith, the gray one, lives! We believe she is 12 years old, and she still acts like a kitten. She also appears to be healthy save for a bout of alopecia she has at the moment.

I know we gave Steven a good forever home. I have very few regrets about the years we shared, but only one stands out in my mind today. Looking back, I wish I had known that he enjoyed westerns so much...

R.I.P., Steven.

(Thank you for reading.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dear Long Shots

Dear Newt:

I am sure you are aware by now that one of your opponents for the Republican nomination, Rick Santorum, has dropped his bid for the White House. He certainly had a good personal reason for his decision, and I am sure that you hope his child recovers soon from her illness. Yet, there is a silver lining to his dropping out.

You know the old expression when a door closes, a window opens. Yes, Newt Gingrich, this could be the window of opportunity you were waiting for! This could be your chance to overtake Mitt Romney in the remaining primaries and clear your path to becoming - ah, dare I say it (I dare!) — the Republican nominee for President of the United States in 2012!

Just think about that great moment actually happening to you! You would be standing at the podium with your Tiffany’s jewelry encrusted mate Calista at your side, as the balloons tumble from the ceiling, the states signs bobbing up and down in an endless sea of delegates, and all the while the Republican faithful are chanting, “Newt, Newt, Newt!” Yes, this could be the finest moment of your career!

Then it would be on to the general election campaign...oh, think of the fun you’ll have! You can go head-to-head, toe-to-toe against Barack Obama. Imagine the opportunity to air your loopy ideas, I mean your grand vision for America! Ideas that will propel this great country of ours out of the pit of left-wing engineered Socialism and into the stratosphere of free form capitalism and unbridled social Darwinism!

Wheeeee! Wow, from up here we can see Barack Obama’s real birthplace! That’s right, you can see Hawaii from here! From up here we can loosen our trousers and take a whiz on the poor and downtrodden! Golden showers on the 99%! Wheeeee!

Whoa, maybe we should sit for a moment and catch our breath! After all, this is all very heady stuff and we must not let our ambitions swell our heads too much. Still, it’s fun to dream!

Then, once in office - yes, I’m talking about the Oval Office, Newt — you can realize all of your most wonderful ideas! Repeal child labor laws, and put 12 year olds to work! Who needs children with good educations anyway? If we need intelligent people to run the country, then we can just hire out to India or China to run the country for us! What the hell; we’re not that far from that idea becoming reality now!

Go ahead, Newt, put America on Mars. Do it without raising taxes! Do it without the extra revenue that a multi-trillion dollar program like that will cost! Go ahead; drown the country in red ink while you literally reach for the stars...

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Dear readers, please understand that I have not suddenly abandoned my deeply cherished slightly left-of-center political principles and gone all Republican. I am not seriously considering the idea that Newt Gingrich, of all people, is suitable for the presidency.

You may ask then, “Arteejee, what’s up? If you are not sincerely pushing for a Gingrich candidacy, then why are you filling his head with all of these ideas that he actually has a shot at defeating Mitt Romney for the nomination? You could not have an ulterior and devious motive for your sudden endorsement of Newt Gingrich, or could you?"

Dear readers, I am shocked, positively shocked, that you would question that I have a devious, underhanded, low down, no good, ulterior motive. The answer is, “Yes, of course I have a devious, underhanded, lowdown, no good, ulterior motive!”

If Romney is allowed to proceed unimpeded without the friendly fire from a bruising primary battle before the GOP convention, then he will have more money and resources to use against Barack Obama. I would much prefer the pre-convention drama of a knockdown, drag out fight amongst the Republican rivals, than a concentrated campaign against the President this early in the election cycle. Besides, it’s too early for Romney to shake his Etch-A-Sketch.*

Although, now that I think about it, I should probably hedge my bets and address the other long shot for the Republican nomination, just in case Newt wimps out.)

Dear Senator Paul:

I am sure you are aware by now that one of your opponents for the Republican nomination, Rick Santorum, has dropped his bid for the White House...

*Copyright/trademarked by Ohio Art, blah, blah, etc, keyboard still doesn’t have the capability to print the trademark icon thingy!

(Thank you for reading!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Farrelly Stooges

The Farrelly Brothers version of The Three Stooges bows later this week. Long anticipated by fans of the slapstick icons, this production was closely watched and monitored for the two or three years it took to come to the big screen. At one point, Jim Carrey and Sean Penn were rumored to be cast; eventually, unknowns were given the unenviable task of bringing the trio into the 21st Century.

By my count, this will be the third time a classic comedy franchise will be updated in recent years. The Little Rascals (1994) did decent business at the box office, but obviously not enough to do a sequel or two or three. The All New Adventures of Laurel and Hardy in ‘For Love or Mummy' (1999) never saw the light of the big screen in the United States; it was released straight to the video stores.

The Farrellys have earned a reputation for gross out (There’s Something About Mary) and mean-spirited offensive humor (Dumb and Dumber). In this regard, it would seem that the Farrelly Brothers and The Three Stooges are a good fit. Critics will likely savage the newest production as decidedly low-brow. Up until this week, fans and critics have only had the trailer playing in theaters and going viral on the Internet to (pre-) judge the results.

The trailer is typical Farrelly Brothers; it is both intriguing and off-putting. To be fair, the jokes seen in the trailer are not the same humor many of us know and appreciate as typical stooge humor. True, they dwelled in a world of violent slapstick demonstrating that rewards for good deeds, or punishment for bad can come swiftly and often painfully. Yes, it’s true: The Three Stooges have been teaching young people about the lessons of karma for years! Who da thunk it?

Now, seventy years later however, violence has become more pervasive in all media. The 24/7 news cycle continues a tradition begun with coverage of the Vietnam War by bringing violent images of conflict into our living rooms every day. The newspapers that are still in business regularly publish graphic accounts of the most obscene acts perpetrated on people, acts which would only have been hinted at two generations ago. Even the radio and television media broadcast violence in graphic terms in songs and dramas. How can the Stooges humor compete? Obviously the Farrelly Brothers have been forced to ramp up the brickbats.

So now, instead of a cream pie falling from the ceiling, there will be bells falling off a roof. Instead of cats dropped down a man’s pants, it’ll be a live lobster that goes for Larry’s groin region. No, not very subtle, but again, to be fair, it’s a different world now. It’s not The Three Stooges universe of yore, but rather a galaxy populated by the simpletons that could arguably be considered the Stooges illegitimate successors: Beavis and Butthead.

Ouch! Please read on some more...if you dare.

Seventy years ago, comedians would say one thing to mean another. The double entendre was a staple of many comic routines, and the audience would have to do a little mental homework to figure what exactly was meant. Now comics say what they mean; there is no meaning to be hidden, period. As an example, the original Curly would just howl like a wolf when he saw a beautiful woman, and everyone understood his reference. Today’s Curly sees a sexy woman and goes into full wolf mode; he is allowed to add growling and panting to the howls. In some respects, this takes some of the fun out of comedy.

So much for the intriguing part of the Farrelly Brothers Stooges. What I find off-putting about their version of the Stooges legend is their understanding of the Stooges collective intelligence. In one scene, our heroes are begging for work with a placard that spells their goal as “wirk”. Okay, the Stooges I grew up with were uncouth, or unsophisticated to put it delicately. Yes, they would be highly offended if you addressed them as gentlemen. They would proudly display their union membership in Amalgamated Morons, but illiterate? Are you kidding us, Farrellys?

The plot, as I perceived it from the trailer, has something to do with the Stooges saving the orphanage where they were raised. Okay, so it’s not a terribly original plot idea — hell, it wasn’t even that original when the Blues Brothers used it in 1980 — but it is a safe plot. How can one argue with the efforts of three well-meaning, uncouth simpletons in trying to save a noble institution as an orphanage?

Regardless if we are watching the original Stooges or the Farrelly’s Stooges, there are lessons to be learned from them, and from Moe in particular. The head stooge would drive home his lessons with a slap or two, and perhaps an eye poke. His manners weren’t so subtle, but that may have been the point. Oftentimes, life is not subtle.

There could also be an argument made that the eye pokes and jabs, the multiple slaps, and other upper limb contortions were all designed to belittle the concept of using violence in everyday life. I have yet to see a serious critique on this aspect of their comedy, but millions of us understood it as we watched the Stooges on a daily basis, and many of us understood this long before we started our formal education. This is probably why the Stooges legacy endures in the hearts and minds of children of all ages – from five to 50 and beyond.

Soitenly, many of us will check out the Farrelly’s Stooges out of curiosity. Some diehard fans are not getting their hopes up that this latest incarnation will be a worthy addition to the Stooge legacy. On the other hand, we might be pleasantly surprised. It might be worth a few nyuks, nyuks, nyuks after all.

(Thank you for reading. Remember, never try violent slapstick at home. Always leave it to the professionals!)

Friday, April 06, 2012

Whither Healthcare Reform?

The arguments for and against health care reform have been heard in the halls of the Supreme Court, and the Justices have retired to their chambers to ponder and write up the law’s fate. How will they ultimately decide this momentous issue? Will they throw darts at a dartboard, glide that pointer-thingy over a Ouija board, or pluck petals from a daisy...who knows? Some pundits are acting like a few of the justices have a direct hotline to Tea Party founders, the Koch Brothers. No matter, because several politicians are putting their two cents into the debate, and most likely it is their actions that will affect all us more profoundly rather than the yea or nay from nine robed individuals.

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has stated in a recent interview that the health care law should be replaced with more incremental steps. Naturally, he didn’t go into any great detail beyond mentioning tort reform, which hasn’t had the desired results in a few states where it was implemented. Well, never mind that, conservatives seem to be saying. It’s almost as if they believe that whatever won’t work on a small scale will surely work on a national level.

No, I can’t follow this logic either. The GOP seems to be following the same path on the budget front, betting that trickle-down economics offered by the Paul Ryan budget plan — passed overwhelmingly in the Republican saturated House — will be the plan that will save our country from crushing debt. This too was tried before during the Reagan era, and as I recall it didn’t save us then. So why should it work now?

Going back to McConnell, I’m skeptical about his use of the word “incremental”. He makes it sound like the answer to the country’s health care crisis is a series of small, carefully calculated steps. McConnell makes it sound so easy.

Okay, if it is that easy, then why didn’t the GOP put forth their incremental steps approach in 1993, when the Clintons tried to get their health care reform through Congress? Oh, wait; they did have some sort of idea about mandated insurance coverage for all Americans. Gosh, isn’t that the same idea that they are fighting tooth and nail against, and shedding blood, sweat and tears over now? They were for it then, now they’re against it.

Republican Presidential nominee heir apparent Mitt Romney also has sharpened his attacks against Obamacare during his recent campaign stops. He vows to repeal and replace the health care reform law if elected. Okay, Mitt, replace it with what? The same plan you brought to life in Massachusetts when you were governor? Oh, wait! That plan was the model for Obamacare. Gosh, Mitt, how can you escape that past?

Personally, I don’t trust Romney. My feelings don’t stem from his religious beliefs; I’m ambivalent about his Mormonism. If the rumored backlash by the evangelical community against his beliefs is true, then it casts a poor reflection on the tolerance among Christianity in general. The dog on top of the car story was an interesting illustration about Yankee ingenuity gone horribly wrong. After all, he did fashion a windshield to protect his pet before lashing the pet carrier to the roof of the car. Still, this shouldn’t disqualify him from being President.

No, Romney is unsuitable to me because he is the embodiment of Cold-hearted capitalism (the capital “c” is not a misprint). He quipped on the campaign trail that he enjoys the idea that he can fire people. At another point, he thought a story about his father shutting down a factory - throwing thousands out of work and denying them the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families — was “humorous”! Whatever!

He may be a good business man who has shown he can make the tough decisions, but I can’t see him making a good decision about the health care problem. His signature achievement in Massachusetts was what is now being derided by conservatives as Romneycare. We can all see how much he cares now!

Some opponents of Obamacare believe it should be left to the states to solve the health care problem. Okay, let’s see how the states are faring so far with providing affordable health care for their citizens. Let’s take, for example, Pennsylvania. Under the present leadership of “No Taxes” Tom Corbett, the state is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit before the Supreme Court. Okay, so they disagree with Obamacare, and should by all rights have other ideas on how to solve the problem. Fine, governor, what ideas are you putting forth? A comprehensive plan to rein in soaring costs among health care providers? Tax incentives to major health insurance companies who keep their premium rate increases below a certain percentage so that the poorest citizens can afford their plans? Or investment in new medical technology which will streamline care, costs, and therefore the amount that everyone – insurers and insured — pays out?

No, the governor’s answer is to slash Medicaid, which by one estimate has thrown nearly 90,000 of the state’s children out of the program. No health care for these children at all! No way for them to pay for exams, immunizations, or emergency treatment. Once again, the cost of those procedures will be spread out by the health care providers to everyone else who can afford it.

Somehow the social Darwinists in the conservative GOP on the state and national levels believe that this payment arrangement is totally equitable and fair. Go figure!

(Thank you for reading, and oh yes, happy holidays!)

Monday, April 02, 2012

Dry Irony

I fully support the concept of irony. I was convinced years ago that, if you become familiar with it and recognize it when it happens, you’ll have an easier time coping with the larger injustices of life. You don’t have to necessarily embrace it, or take it out to dinner, but trust me when I say it will make your life a lot easier to figure out.

Today’s example of this concept jumped out at me from the pages of a magazine targeted for adults. (Here’s a hint: it wasn’t Boy’s Life.) Actually it was a bi-fold ad, one of those annoyances that falls out of your monthly periodical and onto the bathroom floor at a time when you’re really concentrating on other matters. This one did exactly as it was designed to do: fall out and away from its glossy paged brethren just so it could entice, cajole, and otherwise seduce me into buying its product.

We’ve all seen these come-ons. Sometimes it’s advertising a limited edition turquoise and zirconium trinket that your wife will never wear, even though the photo on the ad shows a typical adult female (usually dressed in an off the shoulder gown) smiling giddily at the prospect of wearing the trinket in question. Or it will be a limited edition jackknife authorized by the estate of some Hollywood icon that appeals to the rugged manliness of the not-Boy’s-Life readership. (Actually I don’t get the connection between jackknives and Snub Pollard, but who am I to say?) Or it’s something else that some Madison Avenue nimrod thought would be a great product to advertise in a not-Boy’s-Life periodical.

In this case, the product was an alcoholic libation otherwise and heretofore known as wine. The ad touts that you can “Save $100 on 12 Super Rich Reds”. The front of the ad shows two rows of wine bottles from various vintners dutifully and tastefully grouped for the reader’s perusal. A large red circle screams “Only $69.99”.

Underneath the photo of the tastefully rowed bottles is the name of the distributor - which I will withhold because they paid the publishers of Not-Boy’s-Life to advertise, but didn’t send a red cent to arteejee with a note that the entire ad production is a “Supplement to Not-Boy’s-Life Magazine”.

“Wow," I thought, “How wonderful that the editors of Not-Boys-Life would think so highly of me to advertise this offer for my benefit and entertainment. Sign me up!”

So the reader naturally opens the bi-fold ad — so designed so that the reader’s curiosity will make them open it up — for more details. And, if I do say so myself, the details are gloriously spelled out. Twelve more bottles are tastefully displayed with their names and descriptions artfully articulated under the illustration of each bottle. There is also a letter written by the president of the company offering these fine beverages, with no less than six bullet points telling me why his offer is so wonderful. The letter is signed by Tony (last name withheld because he didn’t send a red cent to arteejee to publish his ad).

Another unfolding brings the reader to the actual order form where the reader can fill out the vital details of where the wonderful slice of heaven can be shipped, how he can pay for it and...wait, what’s this small print at the bottom of the page? Oh, it’s the disclaimer; that dreaded legalese which spells out the nuances of the offer, but mostly tells you where the offer is prohibited by law. At this point, the ad lists the abbreviations for the states where they can ship their offer.

Okay, they say that future shipments can be sent to Arizona, California, all the states beginning with the letter I through N, Ohio and Oregon can get wine shipped to them, then South Carolina and Tennessee...wait, wait, wait, wait, wait...where’s PA? Why isn’t Pennsylvania listed here? Does this mean that I, as a resident with a domicile which happens to be located within the borders of Pennsylvania, cannot partake of this wonderful elixir known as wine?

Sadly, tragically, the answer is yes! “Oh, curses,” I say with my clenched fist positioned melodramatically at my forehead. “Drat and forsooth! Why should I and my fellow residents be forsaken? Alas, done in again by antiquated state laws which deprive me and my fellow Keystoners of the soothing, warming effects of an out-of-state dry red."

Now comes the ironic part. Oh, you remember the concept of irony? I spoke of its virtues not more than 700 words ago.

Anyway, the reader — or those readers who can legally purchase these liquids - turns to the last page where they can mail their completed form, their first step towards alcoholic nirvana. The form can be sent to a post office box in Montoursville. The letters PA are printed after the word Montoursville. Now do you see where this is going?

That’s right! Montoursville, as in a hop, skip and a jump from where my brother and mother live in central Pennsylvania. Montoursville, as in “You can’t get much more inside of Pennsylvania than you can in Montoursville, PA!!” Montoursville, where we can locate a company that can ship wine to most other states of the union as long as that state is not Pennsylvania! This has got to be the ultimate in irony!

(insert Alanis Morissett song here)

So, dear reader, here is a sure sign that distinguishs the stereotypical Pennsylvanian from the other stereotypical residents of the other 49 states. We are the ones who are clutching a gun in one hand, the Bible in the other (a tip of the hat to the President for that one), who live where our roads are pitted with potholes, our children are stupid as hell due to state budget cutbacks, but our elections will be unsullied by the threat of fraud, (and a tip of my middle finger to Governor Corbett for these), and oh yes, how could I forget, where the residents are DYING OF THIRST!!!!!

This injustice to Pennsylvania’s collective thirst is due to one man in our state’s history: Gifford Pinchot. Recognized as a progressive, he served as the first head of the US Forestry Service. In this respect, he did wonders for the cause of preserving our natural resources. Three cheers for Gifford Pinchot!

Later, as Governor of the Keystone State, he was a strong supporter of (dramatic piano chords crescendo up) Prohibition. On the eve of the rest of the country coming out of the social nightmare which was Prohibition, Pinchot prevailed upon the state legislature to make the purchase of liquor “as expensive and inconvenient as possible.” It is these antiquated laws passed by the Pennsylvania legislature at the behest of the governor in 1933 — and still on the books - which prevents me from having wine shipped to me from another location outside Pennsylvania. Boo, boo, boo Gifford Pinchot!

Fear not, fellow Keystoners, for help may be on the horizon. There has been an elevation in the movement to privatize the state Liquor Control Board, which could also mean that someday soon we may also know the joys and convenience of having cases of our favorite reds, roses or whites shipped to our front doors.

My tongue is hanging dryly, ironically, out of my mouth in anticipation.

(Thank you for reading. Full disclosure: this entry was written under the influence of a Long Island Ice Tea. In those spirits, I will raise my glass to the memory of Gifford Pinchot: Bottoms up, governor!)