A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.
- Name: todd gunther
- Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States
Sunday, March 30, 2014
DISCLAIMER AND EXONERATION
Let’s get this out of the way now. I know many of you have been wondering about our involvement in a certain issue. I realize you may have wondered what did I know and when did I know it?
Well, rest assured, we have taken every step to research and investigate my actions. This included intense questioning of myself (by myself), and interrogation of my spouse and our cat, Nyla. If I do say so myself, the inquiry was very rough; I nearly cracked under the pressure.
However we know now the results of our investigation and I must say it has reached a very satisfactory conclusion. I can now say with 100% certainty that I - and no one else here at arteejee - had anything to do with the closure of the George Washington Bridge in Ft. Lee, NJ last September.
I can just imagine how relieved you all are to get this news. Now we can all move on…
WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH LEADER FRED PHELPS DIES
Phelps, who led his family congregation on a long string of protests at military funerals as a pretext to denounce and vilify the gay community, succumbed on March 19. It is believed that he died from natural causes, but many people who felt his anger and hatred over the years may agree that his passing seemed like a good idea at the time. (And that is the extent of my cheap shot humor on this subject!)
The news of Phelps death was accompanied by surprising reports that he had been excommunicated from his own church in August 2013. The church itself would not confirm this report, or a suspected reason that Phelps had softened his views prior to his ouster. If Phelps saw the light and worked to mend the error of his loathsome ways in his final year, it will be immaterial to many people. Any possible movement towards his own personal salvation will be viewed as too little, too late.
I will certainly never praise Phelps’ work, but I’m not going to dance on his
grave either. Our reaction to his death is our chance to show his congregation and his followers the true meaning of Christianity. You know…that set of beliefs predicated on such virtues as redemption, salvation and forgiveness? You know, as in “turn-the- other-cheek” forgiveness?
We could celebrate Phelps' passing with high fives and champagne toasts, but ultimately the hatred we would be expressing would be no different than the hatred that destroyed Phelps. Please, don’t take my word for it. Instead, consider the words of one who presumably felt the sting of the Westboro congregation’s actions over the years. Actor George Takei did an eloquent assessment of Phelps on his Facebook page:
“He was a tormented soul who tormented so many. Hate never wins out in the end. It instead always goes to its lonely, dusty end.”
(Thank you for reading. Last one on the George Washington Bridge is a rotten egg.)
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Bloggerpalooza Hangover (Part 2), or the Continuing Adventures of the Warrior Queen in ICU
Quick recap: last Friday morning, I returned home from a clinic visit when my wife suffered an asthma attack and told me to call 9-1-1. I was on the phone for all of a minute and thirty seconds, and by the time we were finished the operator said that help was on its way.
Meanwhile, the Warrior Queen had retreated to our downstairs powder room. She had assumed her normal position for an asthma attack: seated on the toilet with her head hanging over the sink. Yes, our powder room is the size of an old-fashioned telephone booth. It’s small enough so that you can sit on the crapper and spit up anything into the sink at the same time. It’s a room that brings out the biological versatility in all of us.
The emergency vehicles - East Norriton police car and an ambulance - were in our driveway within five minutes. The female officer came in and told me to guide the ambulance crew in, while she assisted Anne Marie. The officer could not get too much information from AM because my spouse could not catch enough of a breath to speak.
The next few minutes went by quickly in a blur. One crew member asked me about her medications and insurance coverage. I dumped the contents of her purse on the couch so I could find the info the crew needed. I found her insurance card and we ascertained from a few medicine bottles on our side table which medicines she took on a regular basis. Meanwhile, his partner worked on placing a tube into Anne Marie’s mouth to start treatment.
I scooped up Nyla and put her onto our sun porch until the ambulance crew could get Anne Marie out safely. While the crew loaded her up - at this point she was loudly gasping for breath, even with the tube in her mouth - I prepared to follow them. I said a quick prayer under my breath (yes, I still believe in the existence of God), pleading that Anne Marie would not be taken from me. I was scared and let my thoughts tumble into the most fearful scenarios imaginable.
The ride to the hospital was short and uneventful. The police officer turned off a side street before we reached the main street of our township, Germantown Pike. I didn’t get a chance to thank her, but I hope to somehow catch up with her soon.
At the hospital, I was a few steps behind the crew taking Anne Marie into the emergency triage area. I turned right into the administrative section and gave as much info as I could to the lady at the desk. Yes, here is her insurance card; no, I don’t know her social security number, or the name of her family doctor, but her office is on Township Line Road across from the CVS Pharmacy. Yes, the woman knew who I was talking about, but she could not figure out the proper name either. We both agreed that this information could be gleaned later.
After a short wait, I was allowed to see Anne Marie in her exam room. At this point, she was sitting up, conscious, and breathing with the aid of a device which resembled a T-bone stuck in her mouth (insert double entendres later). She could barely speak, but we were able to communicate to each other that we were both scared. And oh yes, I told her I loved her.
Wow! Reader’s Digest maudlin alert!
At this point, Warrior Queen expected to spend a few hours here, be released, and be home in time to post the Saturday Night Dance Party on her blog. After a major medical, potentially life-threatening emergency? HA!
Within a few more hours, she was transferred to her own small room in the hospital ICU unit. Somewhere along the way, a cardiologist was brought in and an order for an ultrasound was issued. In the meantime, I went home, fed Nyla, and returned later to find the ultrasound in progress. No doubt the findings were inconclusive since Anne Marie could not stop coughing long enough for the device to get an accurate reading.
First night AM had a liquid diet, and even then they held off giving her any liquids as long as possible until the staff was certain that she was not suffering heart failure. Heart failure? Where the eff did that diagnosis come from? The next day AM was back on a solid diet and anxious to get home. Unfortunately, the doctor on her case would not release her until a viral specialist saw her. A call was made to this doctor’s answering service that morning…and we waited. At one point, I went home to get spouse’s knitting to stave off her boredom, and her favorite stuffed animal, Boo Bear, in case she ended up staying another night. She would need her bear to help her sleep.
We both knew that Anne Marie was feeling better and getting back to her old self as early as Saturday afternoon. When I came back after lunch, she was having her lunch. I stuck my tongue out at her through the glass door of her room; she responded by showing me her middle finger. Yeah, she was feeling better all right!
Unfortunately, the doctor she needed to see did not get her message until Sunday morning. This doctor examined her, pronounced her fit to go home, and after one more respiratory treatment, I brought Anne Marie home that afternoon.
At some point during this experience, my own ailments from the previous week disappeared. It may have been the medications finally doing their work, or a combination of the drugs and adrenaline kicking in during Anne Marie’s crisis which did the trick. This week I’m feeling 100% better.
If I may indulge in one more moment of Reader’s Digest maudlinity, I hope Anne Marie and I won’t have a repeat of this experience anytime soon…
(Thank you for reading!)
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Our second annual blogger fest in Lewes, DE is over for another year. The goal of the event was to spend a long weekend reconnecting with old blogger pals. Naturally, these reconnections are accompanied by happenings we wouldn’t normally do, such as carousing complete with episodes of eating to excess and drinking more than we’re used to drinking.
I went into the weekend with the expectation to do all of this and relax. I entered the weekend in a state of stressful exhaustion. Now, on the other side when all has been said, done, and drunk, I am in a state of relaxed exhaustion.
MEANWHILE, TWO DAYS LATER…
What I believed to be relaxed exhaustion on Monday when I wrote those first two paragraphs was diagnosed as bronchitis on Tuesday. So now I am on the slow road to recovery, and I am actually contemplating returning to work today. What the hell am I thinking, but work ethic (gasp)…too strong (wheeze)…cannot resist…
MEANWHILE, FOUR DAYS LATER…
Anyway, it ended up that it was a valiant struggle, but my physical conditions won out over my work ethic. Final score: 4-0. I didn’t make it to work at all last week. I will have used up most of my paid time off allowance for the year and it is not even April yet!
In retrospect, I am grateful that I did not go to work on Friday. As it turned out, something happened that day that could have been a life changing event for me.
The event reminded me of a scene from the Jack Nicholson film About Schmidt, when retired life insurance actuary Nicholson steps out to mail a letter while his wife is vacuuming the floor. Nicholson lingers on his errand and stops for an ice cream cone before returning home. Once home, the vacuum cleaner is still running, but Nicholson’s wife has stopped living; she has suffered a fatal blood clot on the brain.
I’m reviewing all this because, funny story, this same scenario nearly played out in my life. And I don’t mean funny necessarily as hilarious funny, but rather funny as in very strange funny.
I need to back track a bit. On Tuesday of last week (as noted above), I went to the Patient First clinic, was given a diagnosis of maybe pneumonia (but more likely bronchitis) along with some medication, a few different inhalers, and instructions to return if my condition did not improve in four days. In the meantime, Anne Marie caught my cold, which quickly worsened. She made it to her job for 1.5 days before her boss sent her home. Anne Marie also visited Patient First, where she was given a diagnosis of a deep cough (?), and (much to my chagrin) better drugs than I got the day before!
For the next few days we called out to our respective jobs, rested as much as we could, and hacked up our lungs at each other. Oh, I also had a fight with a book shelf, a fight which I lost in my weakened condition. Anyway, fast forward to Friday morning where we are both very sick, I’m sporting a black eye, and my condition is not improving. I head back to Patient First for the follow-up. There I am given another course of antibiotics.
Now I have my About Schmidt moment. I don’t go straight home after my appointment. I linger not for ice cream, but to gas up my car and go through the car wash. The car wash beckoned because it was not crowded and the weather was decent.
Once home, I found Anne Marie hacking over the kitchen sink. This is not unusual for us, since my wife has long suffered from asthma. She was in the process of eating Thomas’ English Muffins when this attack started: a stick of butter was on the kitchen table waiting for the toaster to complete its cycle of crisping the last of Anne Marie’s breakfast. What was unusual was her request for an inhaler and cough syrup, followed by the explanation in a frog croak voice, “I can’t breathe.”
I fetch the inhaler and cough syrups. I don’t even know if she got around to taking a hit on the inhaler or getting a dose of cough syrup because within a minute I hear her croak to me: “I can’t breathe. Call 9-1-1!”
(Thank you for reading. TO BE CONTINUED…)
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
CPAC 2014 Follies
CPAC - the annual riling up of the conservative base - is over for another year. This is the three day event where all the conservative stars come out to rant, rave, and gather support for the Republican Party. In many ways, it is a public audition for those who want to gain more political power in the coming months (November 2014 mid-term elections) and years (2016).
Some men - most of the speakers were of the male gender - such as Cruz, Rand, Rubio, and Santorum reiterated their bona fides with the party faithful. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie – damaged goods with the conservative base when he exchanged hugs with President Obama after Hurricane Sandy - sought to distance himself from that touchy feely moment. Christie lashed out at the President for not doing the job he’s paid to do.
Wow! Who saw this breakup coming? Just about everyone knew it would happen sooner or later unless Christie switched parties. Still, who would have thought that there would be so much bitterness and vitriol coming from the governor?
The Senator from the great state of Florida, Marco Rubio, stated that the party needed to stick to its old principles to start winning elections again. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky countered with a call for new ideas because the old Republican ideas have become stale and moss-covered. I would have used a mold metaphor myself, but moss covered works for me.
In any event, why don’t you two kids duke this out in the hall and come back when you’re done. The people weighed in later and crowned Paul the winner of the CPAC straw poll by the end of the weekend.
The last day of the conference was Ladies Day, when the Girls of CPAC (now there’s one group you’ll never see featured in a Playboy pictorial) were allowed to come out and speak their peace. Ann Coulter mourned the browning of America as she likes to term the surge of Hispanics coming to this country and perhaps being granted amnesty if the Democrats have their way. Her ultra-WASPish reasoning is that this forgiving gesture towards illegal immigrants will give the Democrats more voters. Strange talk coming from a party that bills itself as the Big Tent!
Michele Bachmann attacked the Raggedy Ann of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton. One would think that they would tire of demonizing Hillary after all this time, but no, she remains their favorite whipping doll after more than 20 years. It’s easy to see why: Clinton has, like it or not, built an incredible amount of managerial experience nationally and internationally, while also becoming politically savvy to the Inside the Beltway culture. She scares the piss out of conservatives.
Bachmann reminded her listeners that the GOP was the only party to have a woman on the Presidential ticket this century. Oh really, Ms. Bachmann? Is this a reference to your vapid, empty-headed colleague of yours from the Great White North? The woman who could not think fast enough to bullshit a reporter’s question about what newspapers she reads?
Yes, of course, Bachmann was referring to the Divine Ms. Sarah, who attacked the Obama administration's policies in her spiel. The Obama mantra Yes, we can became No, you can’t in her criticism of the Affordable Care Act. Ah, once again the Party of No rears its ugly head! They were bound to show up sooner or later. (Somewhere, Spiro Agnew must be smiling at these nattering nabobs of negativity.)
Then she warned the conservative ladies in the audience not to allow themselves to be used by the Democrats. She advised her gender that they should not choose to be their political pawn or just their piece of accessory on their arm. Honey, that’s not liberation, that’s subjugation, and the sisterhood fights against that.
This is brilliant standup comedy. It’s wonderful, it’s…wait, she was serious? OMG!!!!!
Really, Ms. Sarah, the sisterhood fights against being used as pawns by Washington’s power players? Her argument was condescending - no one I know uses words like honey in a political speech - and, dare I say, hypocritical? After all, the sisterhood at the state level seems to be forsaking their reproductive rights as they shove big government controls up their own vaginas. Wow! Sisterhood has sure changed since I was a member of the National Organization for Women!
In any event, it’s nice that the conservatives gather once a year to show the world where they stand on the issues. It makes their followers feel good, and it does wonders for liberal bloggers. It’s almost like they spent three days painting big targets on each others backs just for our continued pleasure. I intend to take full advantage of this and use them as my pawns in the coming months…
(Thank you for reading! Hey Mama Grizzly! Take off, eh?)