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

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking Back...Glancing Forward

Once again, the year’s end is near and I can’t wait for this end to come. 2013 held such promise, but now it seems like it has been like all the other years of late: disappointing. Or perhaps that is the sinusitis (my third bout since summer) and its accompanying medications talking.

Among this year’s memories are the loss of my uncle and, three months later, my aunt. My extra-curricular volunteer activities ended this year and, for some reason, I don’t feel the ambition to try something new.

On the plus side, I am still gainfully employed and enjoying my blogging hobby. Oh, my muses will abandon me for greener pastures once in a while, but they somehow come through in time to kick my creative ass just as my admittedly self-imposed deadline closes in on me.

Also on the plus side were some new friendships made through the good graces of Anne Marie. We had two meet-ups with these friends in 2013, and we’re both looking forward to the next one in March 2014. 

I hope to God that my chronic sinusitis clears up by then!

Thanks to Spo and Someone, Cubby and Nate, and my blogger commenters Nadege, David Jeffries, Bob, and of course, Janey! You were all the highlights in a year that had lows and highs.

Here’s glancing forward and hoping for better times next year!

(Thank you for reading!)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

An Open Letter to Sharks

(EDITOR'S NOTE: We have been cleaning out the Arteejee blog closet to close out the year, and we found this unpublished piece originally written in July, when it was more relevant. Long story as to why it got shoved in the closet, but suffice it to say that somehow the file got corrupted before publication and the temperamental author threw a hissy fit, with a vow that the offending entry would never see the light of day. Or at least a day when Arteejee is out of ideas. That day - when the blog muse is MIA - has arrived.   Please enjoy!)

As you probably have heard by now, there has been another public relations disaster unleashed on an unsuspecting public about your species. A television network has recently released a film called Sharknado, which depicts a cataclysmic weather event that bodily picks up thousands of your brethren and deposits them on dry land, where they devour every biped in sight. Okay, so perhaps this is a feeding frenzy that is beyond your wildest dreams, but it perpetuates negative stereotypes for your kind nonetheless.

This is the worst example of anti-marine mammal propaganda since the Peter Benchley debacle of 1975. I think you recovered nicely from the summer of Jaws, but this latest work, as the kids are prone to say nowadays, went viral, which means that a lot of people saw it. Many ate it up, if you’ll pardon the expression. Many others allowed their jaws to drop in incomprehension, or miscomprehension, or discomprehension, or anti-comprehension, or whatever. Mika Brzezinski’s WTF reaction on MSNBC’s Morning Joe was particularly noteworthy.

The scenes of shark destruction are grisly and disturbing. One poor fellow swallows a chain saw grasping human being and is gutted from the inside out for his trouble. So let this be a lesson to any little sharks reading this: Beware of the McCullough. It will only bring you misery.

What I don’t understand is how the tornado can pick up only sharks and no other animals from the oceans. Why couldn’t it also pick up thousands of shrimp, already deveined and peeled by the winds, and deposited for human consumption? For that matter, why couldn’t the winds also drop jars of cocktail sauce? Now there’s a feeding frenzy into which I could sink my teeth!

It’s a shame that this had to happen again, and just when you were making positive inroads in society. I don’t have the statistics to back this up, but I have heard that the number of sharks admitted to prestigious law schools is up. 

I want to make it very clear: I had nothing to do with Sharknado. I would never participate in any venture aimed at the derogatory portrayal of any species of creature. This is particularly true if the species could suddenly jump out of their natural habitat (as Hollywood might have us believe) and swallow me with one fell swoop.

Just to show that my intentions are honorable, I can offer suggestions on how you can counteract this latest attack on your noble species and rehabilitate your public image. You could volunteer at soup kitchens, doling out portions of soup to the homeless instead of chomping down on their limbs. You could read stories to children in schools instead of swallowing them whole. Or you could serve as mentors to young lawyers in thousands of law offices across the country, instead of savaging them.

Lastly, let me thank you, sharks of the world, for the great job you do in ridding the world’s oceans of the dead and dying sea creatures. Your predatory life style keeps the waters clean for the living, thriving denizens of our global waters. If it weren’t for you, we would be up to our scuppers in shrimp shells!

(Thank you for reading post #777! Sharks are also great served with cocktail sauce. No, no, wait! I didn’t mean that!)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What Would Jesus Do…For Christmas!

Tis the season to think of others, and give to them accordingly. In keeping with this spirit, I am thinking of Jesus and wondering what He would do to celebrate his birthday. I humbly - very humbly - submit my suggestions for Jesus.

1. Impress some babes by walking on a body of water.

2. Host annual beach barbecue; remind everyone that He will supply the bread.

3. Give mom her belated Hanukkah gift, a cross I handmade in shop class at Raoul Wallenberg High School.

4. Review and revise final draft of my blistering critique of Sarah Palin’s Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas for The Huffington Post.

5. Ask Father to unleash locusts on Pat Robertson’s butt just for shits and giggles. Ditto for Rush Limbaugh.

6. Locate that little drummer boy that kept me up all night the day I was born and kick his ass.

7. Scratch #6; on second thought, it would be inappropriate for the season and, more importantly, it may be considered “un-Christ-like”.

8. Forgive ABBA for all of their sins.

9. Call Vatican; congratulate Pope on being named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

(Thank you for reading! Oh yeah, I can smell my soul smoldering now!)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

All Aboard for the Island of Misfit Toys

It’s a pity Barbara Walters has retired. She certainly deserves to devote her remaining time to herself and not the demands of a long, storied career in journalism. Despite her accomplishments over the years, there are some tasks which will remain incomplete.

For example, Walters was famous for asking her interview subjects what tree they would like to be. I don’t believe she ever got around to modifying her question for the holiday season to ask, “If you were a toy on the Island of Misfit Toys (from Rank and Bass’ production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), what toy which you like to be?” So, dear readers, look deep into your soul and, if you dare, speculate on what toy you would be.*

We will start the ball rolling with what I believe would be misfit toys from the Arteejee family. Blog editor Anne Marie would be, I believe, a doll that doesn’t necessarily conform to society’s perception of the “doll” concept. I dare say that she is a long time resident of the Island of Misfit Toys, and will be a resident for many years to come.

The good points of the Anne Marie doll: she bakes, she knits, she edits this blog, she contributes to a fascinating array of gay blog sites, and when you tap her on the back she utters an endearing holiday sentiment any child would love to hear on Christmas morning. The down side of the Anne Marie doll: that endearing holiday sentiment is “Go eff yourself!” Also, she’s prone to flatulence.

Yes sir, the Anne Marie doll will never get off the Island of Misfit Toys.

Then there is myself: the Arteejee doll. The Arteejee doll closely resembles a Kewpie doll, but is nowhere near as cute. This doll comes with one leg shorter than the other, a pronounced limp (hey, nothing says cute like a pronounced limp), a beer gut, and a diseased heart. 
The Arteejee doll would be best kept in your bathroom if ever made it off the Island of Misfit Toys. In the bathroom, he could keep your reading materials organized and chase away the house cats when they want to play a round of “Spin the Toilet Tissue”. The main reason that the Arteejee doll is best kept in your bathroom can be summed up in two words: enlarged prostate!

The Arteejee doll is also prone to flatulence. TMI? Sorry!

Until that great day when the Arteejee doll becomes a fixture in every bathroom, then he will stay on the Island of Misfit Toys doing what he does best: being a thorn in the side of the Anne Marie doll! He does this by singing songs by one of his favorite groups: ABBA.  The Anne Marie doll usually responds to this aural assault on her musical tastes by tapping herself on the back.

So, readers, what  would you be on the Island of Misfit Toys?

*No prize is being offered for the best toy, because the proprietors of the Arteejee website are, as the French would term it, incredibly cheap!

(Thank you for reading! On a sentimental note, I don’t know what I would do without my Anne Marie doll…)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Songs of the 2013 Holiday Season

Seasons Greetings and with it come all the sights and sounds of Christmas. As I write this, our area is blanketed with a small accumulation of snow. All of the forecasters have promised that our precipitation would change to rain overnight and wash away our frozen flakes. I certainly hope this does happen. I have volunteered to work on Sunday, and if I have to preface my alleged day of rest with a brisk round of shoveling out my 100 foot driveway…somebody’s going to get hurt.

Oh yeah, lest I forget, Merry Christmas!

I know threats of pain are not in keeping with the season. Despite this revelation, we must take note of the newest holiday songs with which we are bombarded from mid-November until Christmas Day. At that point, we can return to our normal dog-eat-dog money-grubbing ways. Until then, we will pretend to warm up to the idea of “peace on earth, good will to men.”

This will be a challenge this year when you consider that, among the newest selections being heard on the nation’s airwaves this season, is a festive collection of songs from the Robertsons. I probably don’t have to explain that this is the family from the reality show Duck Dynasty, who have made their fortune manufacturing duck hunting supplies.

This show has been a huge hit for the A&E network, which does not say a whole hell of a lot for the intelligence level of the average A&E viewer. Still, I guess this is a step up from Jon and Kate Plus Eight.

Full disclosure: I am making these snarky comments without having viewed a single episode of Duck Dynasty. Okay, so maybe I’m not being fair but it works for me. I should state further that I have no intention of correcting this slight to my delicate psyche any time soon.

I have nothing against this family of ZZ Top wannabes; if they have found fame and fortune with duck hunting supplies, then more power to them. I just don’t find their lifestyle compelling enough to watch every week.

Anyway, they are capitalizing on their fame with the release of a Christmas album this year, entitled Duck the Halls. I read one album review, which revealed that one of the Robertsons plays their signature product - a duck call - for Deck the Halls, instead of singing ”fa la la la la, la, la, la, la.”

The reviewer did not make this up. I listened to a preview of this song on Amazon, and it actually happens just as the viewer described.

Yes, this idea is really warming me up to the idea of peace on earth and good will to men…not. I blame the Singing Dogs and those Jingle Cats. Oh yeah, the novelty of it was cute at first. Now we have ducks quacking, but it’s not even real ducks! Granted, the Robertsons have earned their place in popular culture, but they still don’t have the cachet of other family singing groups like, say, the von Trapps.

Now there’s a family with a compelling back story: climbing some of the highest peaks in Europe to escape political oppression. What did the Robertsons do other than crawl out of the bayou?

Judging from the album cover for Duck the Halls, they haven’t quite made good their escape from this environment yet. The cover pictures the male members of the Robertson clan standing knee deep in swamp water, clad in camouflage, ZZ Top signature sunglasses and beards, topped off with a Santa hat. A duck decoy, also with a Santa cap, floats nearby.

I hate to be a stickler for detail, but I can’t help noticing that there’s something missing from this scene. Alligators! Where are the freakin’ alligators? Surely they must have noticed these four strapping examples of Louisiana manhood lined up like meaty entrees at a bayou buffet. Yet they are nowhere in sight! I’m guessing the beards are scaring them away. 

(Thank you for reading! Anyone up for some swamp water nog?)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nelson Mandela

This week, leaders of the world will join with the people of South Africa (and the rest of humanity, for that matter) to mourn Nelson Mandela. Actually, he was more than just a leader: political revolutionary and activist, philanthropist, civil rights icon, and so much more. Mandela is being remembered for his courage in fighting the anti-apartheid policies of his government. Indeed, he spent nearly a third of his life imprisoned for his political beliefs.

Of course, with the period of mourning come also the reports of the life Mandela lived, his inspirational struggles against social injustice, and assessments of his accomplishments. No one can argue his ultimate achievement — racial equality within a thriving democracy. However, some are raising issues with how he won these freedoms for his countrymen.

For example, former Congressman Newt Gingrich expressed his condolences and admiration for Mandela. Boy, did he catch hell from his conservative followers! One went as far as to label Mandela a “commie murderer.” That, coupled with an alleged report that Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly blatantly labeled Mandela as a “Marxist”, demonstrates that admiration for the late South African leader is not universal.

This is not to be construed that the accusations aren’t necessarily true. Mandela and the African National Congress did align themselves with the South African Communist Party in their pursuit of equality. His alliances led American leaders as diverse as John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan to keep Mandela at arm’s length, preventing them from rendering useful assistance in his fight. 
However, we should probably note that when your goal is social equality and you’re fighting Big Brother, you may not be in a position to pick and choose your enemies from your friends. Insert politics makes strange bedfellows cliché here. Every little bit of aid from every little corner helps.

Unfortunately, terms like “communist” and “Marxism” are still anathema to many Americans. For them, the America of the McCarthy era thinking of a communist under every rock is still very much alive. It gives them another reason to abhor the Affordable Care Act, which they see as one step closer to universal health care, which they maintain is bad medicine for everyone.

Countering these arguments from the conservative side of the aisle is how Mandela conducted himself when he served as President. He retired from public life after serving the full two term limit of his office. This action is more in keeping with western democratic ideals, and hardly in keeping with traditions established by the likes of Stalin and Castro. A communist dictator would have stayed in office, no matter what the law stated. Mandela may have stood shoulder to shoulder with noted communists, but his actions could not have been further from their governing philosophies.

Mandela’s funeral is being conducted as I write these words. The man is gone, but his actions and legacy will continue to inspire all who continue the struggle for justice in our world.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Mandela.

(Thank you for reading.)