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

My Photo
Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, March 27, 2009

Come Out of the Ladies Room!

My favorite radio program recently asked the question, “Women are twice as likely as men to make this mistake in public. What is it?” The answer: go into the wrong restroom. The talk then turned to various theories as to why this happened. One idea was because women are too busy talking to their girlfriends to see the signs on the door. The only woman on the show explained that women go to the bathroom in couples just to discuss what stupid things their dates/boyfriends/husbands do. In other words, the ladies restroom is a private haven for girl talk.

Both sides of this argument pose interesting points for further discussion.

First we should consider the uniqueness of the typical ladies room. It is usually small, but not too small, and practical with all of the devices and mechanisms womankind needs to get rid of the body’s waste byproducts. It is sacred ground; a male-free zone in which no man should enter, excepting those charged with up keeping the maintenance and cleanliness of said facility. It is the one place on earth in which man — any man — can theoretically be blameless for the most common charge leveled against men. I can say with absolute certainty in any case where a toilet seat is left in the upright position in a women’s room, “Sorry, not my fault!”

There has also been some debate among men as to the exact number of devices and mechanisms — otherwise known as the toilet stall - in a typical ladies room. We are mystified by this because, every time one of us asks a woman how many stalls are in a certain ladies room, we get the same answer. We expect to hear a number like one, or two. However, we are more than likely to hear the generic answer, “Not enough!”

For any mathematicians playing along at home, let’s determine that the term “not enough” represent any number between one and infinity. It doesn’t really matter because it appears that any group of women gathered together in one place at one time will always be one more than the stalls available at the nearest ladies room. We can debate this point all we want of course, but there’s no denying this immutable phenomena of nature.

Of course, many members of the grand sisterhood known as the opposite sex insist that this ratio of stalls to women is part of a big conspiracy to deprive women of their natural rights to perform a bodily function in private. I can plead innocence and ignorance about the existence of a conspiracy because I have never been invited to any of the big conspiracy meetings. The reason for that is simple: I’m a registered Democrat.

The idea that the ladies room is also a safe room for personal talk is intriguing. Let me use my attendance at my wife’s knitting meetings at a local restaurant as an example. I go to these meetings not to knit, but to eat dinner, and have delightful conversations with the other members, who coincidentally are all women. This night out with nine to twelve women every other week is the sum total of my social life. Even then it’s not the hot date many of you reading this might believe. I always have a chaperone: my wife Anne Marie.

Let’s say that in the course of a usual meeting I do or say something profoundly stupid. The ladies, being ladies, naturally don’t want to call me out on this in front of the others, yet they feel a need to confirm their initial feelings that I have indeed committed a faux pas. According to the theory presented by my radio show, the ladies may excuse themselves to go to the bathroom, possibly in groups of no less than two at a time, just to comment on what I did?

For more serious offenses, I would fully expect the entire membership to excuse themselves for an ad hoc meeting of the minds in front of the bathroom sink. I would become very suspicious at this point because I know from previous experience that there are “not enough” stalls to accommodate all these women at once (see math equation above). I would reason that the chances of everyone needing the ladies room at the same time are very remote, unless of course the kitchen put way too much pepper in the vegetable soup again. In that case, it might be very plausible for the sudden run to the bathroom. Otherwise, I would just assume that I had just screwed up royally big time.

I just find it hard to believe that women would go to such lengths to have a private conversation with each other. Think about this: if women go to the ladies room every time their man does or says something incredibly dumb, then there is a good chance we will never see them again. They will vanish into the ladies room never to return. The human race would die out, since reproduction of the human species would cease.

In an effort to stop this from happening, I will offer this: please ladies, come out of the bathroom. We promise that we won’t try to deliberately do anything that would embarrass you or anything that you and your girlfriends consider real dumb. Just give us some time to work the stupidity out of our system. We are, after all, guys and we’ve been doing stupid things for several thousand years now.

Just come out of the bathroom so we can talk, okay? Oh, and don’t leave the toilet seat up. We have it on good authority that is one of those stupid things men do.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Visit with Dr. Lowe Argon

Dear Readers: Many times arteejee will take on various issues which seem important and relevant that day. Then there are other times when my wife, Anne Marie, and I need to get something out of our system. This brings us to a visit with Dr. Lowe Argon, sales therapist.

Dr. Argon: Now, Mr. and Mrs. Gunther, I understand you need to overcome some hostility as the result of a close encounter with a window salesman. I want to let you know that I am here to help. Let’s start with some role playing. Here. Mr. Gunther, read this script.

Me: Um, okay. “Good day sir and/or madame! Would you be interested in buying some of our lovely double pane low-E argon gas windows today? They are energy efficient and easy to clean with their tilt-in panels."

Anne Marie: "Well, I need to know how much they will cost me. Can you give me an estimate?"

Me: "Estimate? An estimate? I don’t have an estimate. I don’t have to show you any stinking estimates!"

Dr. Argon: No, no, Mr. Gunther. That’s not right. Just read off the script.

Me: Oh, all right. “Why, yes, madame, I can give you an estimate, without any obligation to buy today. Let me just...” What a piece of crap!

Dr. Argon: Excuse me?

Me: This script! It’s a load of crap!

Anne Marie: He’s right, Dr. Argon. This doesn’t sound anything like the sales pitch we heard. It’s nowhere near reality.

Me: That’s right. My next line should be, “Are you ready to buy today?"

Anne Marie: And I would say, “Hell no!”

Dr. Argon: Well, it appears you two need to schedule some more therapy sessions.

Me: And my answer would be, “What? Why not? Don’t you have any money to put down on these windows today? Man, you’re wasting my time!”

Dr. Argon: No, Mr. Gunther, please.

Anne Marie: "Aw, bite me, window salesman."

Me: "Stop stalling. Whip out your checkbook, bitch!"

Dr. Argon: No, that’s wrong! That’s very bad!

Anne Marie: “Hey, Beavis, how many dead window salesmen does it take to screw in a light bulb?”

Dr. Argon: No, bad! Bad Gunthers, bad! No, no!

...and so on and so forth. Thank you for indulging us, dear readers. We feel better already.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Short Notes – March 2009

AIG chief Edward Liddy tries to calm public outrage over corporate bonuses when he tells Congress he has asked the AIG executives to give back $164 million in bonuses they received from the company. The statement happened during testimony in front of a Congressional committee. The tactic doesn’t work because the public is still pissed.

Okay, everyone. Put away your pitch forks and torches; they’re will be no bourgeois roasting today. Mind you, this status could change. I would advise all villagers to stay on alert and be ready to storm the bastions of big business on a moment’s notice.

Former vice president Dick Cheney says that President Obama has made Americans less safe as he dismantles many of the Bush Administration security measures in the war against terror.

Let’s not get excited about this; after all, Mr. Cheney is an American who has the right to express his opinion. Similarly, we also have the right to express our opinions and his comment deserves an appropriate response. Oh, here’s one: Shut the hell up, Dick!

On the other hand, Cheney’s former boss, George W. Bush, declined to criticize President Obama, saying that the new President needs all the support we can give him. Hmm, maybe George is a class act after all. Too bad he confused strength for arrogant stubbornness for eight years, but we survived.

Pope Benedict incites controversy when he states that condoms aggravate the AIDS crisis in Africa by encouraging more sex acts.

Apparently Rush Limbaugh has the week off from saying something stupid. I think I know what the Pope was trying to say, but he misses the point. If abstinence doesn’t work, then maybe lives can be saved when condoms are used. Of course, if everyone dies from AIDS, then we won’t have to worry about abstaining from sex. Which brings us to the poster child for world overpopulation...

Octuplet mom Nadya Suleman takes two babies home. Six still in hospital apply for psychotherapy, claiming abandonment issues.

Okay, I made up that second part, but hey lady, what do you think this is? Do you have them on some sort of layaway plan and you get to take them home as you pay them off? Oh, by the way, there are no 90-day money back guarantees on litters with more than four offspring.

White House issues apology for remarks the President made on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” comparing his bowling ability to the Special Olympics.

D'oh! Okay, the media treated Obama like he was the Messiah, but hey, we the voters know he’s not perfect, and we expect a screw up once in awhile. Obama is human. Needless to say, conservative commentators will be all over this incident today.

Hmm, George W shows class, a comparison of Rush Limbaugh to the Pope, and a fair and balanced report on President Obama. I must be having an off day, because this is not a typical arteejee entry. Thank God it’s Friday!!!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hello AIG!

Dear AIG Executives:

Hello! Just a short note outlining our expectations for your performance in the coming year. Who are we? We are your new bosses! We are known by many names, but you can call us collectively the US taxpayers.

Yes, we are the group that has chosen, reluctantly, to save your sorry corporate asses. To be honest, many of us were under the impression that the billions of bail out money given to your company would be used to keep your company viable during this recession. That reminds me, you did get the memo that there is a recession going on, didn’t you? I would hate to think that we are not all on the same page.

Anyway, we were extremely surprised to hear about the bonuses you were getting, and imagine our shock when we found out that there was nothing we could do about it. You must realize that we perceive things like bonuses, salaries, and fringe benefits as things that are earned through hard work. It has something to do with a work ethic. Some of you may have heard about this concept, but we thought we should briefly mention it as it has nearly disappeared from the financial canyons of Wall Street.

Our concern about all these bonuses is that we heard some of you pursued irresponsible fiscal policies that nearly sank your company and, in some small way, created the greater economic cataclysm now devouring our country. Of course, we don’t believe this for one second. We are sure that these silly rumors are the creation of those liberal media bloggers. God, aren’t they a nuisance?

Many people - who are probably unemployed and homeless – believe that you should not receive these bonuses, because it would reward your naughty behavior. However, the current management at AIG has assured us that keeping you on board is absolutely essential in order to undo whatever it was you did in the last few years to bring on the economic cataclysm blah blah blah. Some of us - the ones who still have jobs and houses – can see the logic in this. Mind you, we would have to be standing on our heads with one eye closed, both hands tied behind our backs, and twirling one of our legs in the air to see this logic, but gosh darn it, we are just not in the mood to go to those lengths today. Our suspension of disbelief can only go so far.

This is your assignment for this year. You executives who have received these hefty taxpayer subsidized bonuses will single-handedly solve all of our economic woes. This means reducing the unemployment rate and put people back to work. This means stimulating the economy with all that money you just received, or, in other words, spend, spend, spend. This means getting people back into their homes and making all mortgages affordable again. We realize this is a lot to do, but we feel it is fair, since it was your action that helped create this economic mess in the first place.

Don’t let the government take the lead on this. President Obama can only do so much. After all, we are not paying him as much as we are paying you. Poor fellow is making minimum wage compared to the compensation we have given you.

We hope you will give this message a lot of good thought. We do expect good positive results from all this. Please keep in mind that if these goals are not met, then we will HUNT YOU DOWN EN MASSE COMPLETE WITH TORCHES AND PITCH FORKS. Don’t screw us again, AIG. As you may already know, we can be nasty bitches!

Have a nice day!

The American Taxpayers

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Trendiness of the Aortic Valve

It has been over five months since my life changing heart surgery, and overall I’m feeling much better. The formal part of my cardiac rehab therapy is coming to an end – or at least that part of the therapy covered by my insurance - and the therapists seem very happy with my progress. Now I find that maybe my surgery was setting a trend, as a few celebrities have also undergone similar operations.

I’m not talking about a fashion trend; for example, I doubt that Milan and Paris will unveil plunging necklines this year all the better to show off the zipper scars. Rather it seems that my operation is now a fad. Previous generations stuffed themselves with live goldfish or into telephone booths. My generation is undergoing aortic valve replacement.

A few weeks ago, former First Lady Barbara Bush got a new valve. More recently, comedian Robin Williams experienced a shortness of breath episode. As soon as I heard that report, I wondered if heart surgery wasn’t also in his future. Sure enough, a few days later it was announced Williams had to cancel his forthcoming tour in order to have aortic valve surgery. “Copy cats!” I sniffed.

Anne Marie and I followed the reports of Barbara Bush’s recuperation with some amusement. The first reports stated that she was conscious and making jokes just hours after the surgery. Our reaction, as we remembered my personal experience, was, “Yeah, right!” I realized that somebody somewhere was putting a spin on this story so that the general public would not be overly concerned about Mrs. Bush’s condition.

I wondered what kind of jokes she was cracking. I hope she’s outgrown those pithy pronouncements about hurricane victims having to hunker down in stadiums a la Marie Antoinette. I also didn’t expect any reports of her giving out dark family secrets - such as the 41st President of the United States isn’t the real father of the 43rd President of the United States - while she was under the effects of the anesthesia, but cracking jokes?* I have my doubts.

From my own personal experience, I can report that I was feeling comfortable, not too alert, and maybe groggily saying something witty in the hours immediately after the surgery. The next day — or roughly 18 to 30 hours post op — was a very different story. At this point, the initial pain medications had worn off and my body figured out that there was something very wrong. Every severed nerve ending, every bisected muscle, and every inch of sawed bone sent messages to my brain. I don’t know the exact wording of these messages, but they’re probably something along the lines of “WTF!!!!!”

At this same time period, the medical establishment, who are well aware of the addictive nature of their wonderful drugs, start rationing them so that you are weaned off them in short time. I understand this, and they understand this. They are very good at dealing with middle aged men who suddenly turn into whiny five-year old boys whose toys have been taken away while they serve a time out in the corner for reasons way beyond their comprehension.

I couldn’t get comfortable to save my life. Naturally, my incision hurt, but so did my back because I had been lying on it for nearly two days at this point. Also, when I tried to reposition myself to alleviate my back pain, I aggravated an old hip injury.

Anne Marie was at my bedside for the first hours after surgery, but being no fool, wisely stayed away the entire next day. She claimed she was exhausted, but now that I think about it, I was exhausted too. The difference was I didn’t have to make the 20 mile trek in suburban Philadelphia rush hour traffic to come see me.

So it was just me and the nurses left to fend for ourselves. At one point, I would ask for pain medication and they would tell me, “Sorry, Mr. Gunther. You can’t have another dose for four hours.” So I would drift off as best I could and after a nap of what seemed like days, I would wake up and ask again for drugs. And, just as dutifully, the nurses would tell me, “Sorry, Mr. Gunther, but you can’t have any more medication for...” (and here they would glance at their watches) “...three hours and 58 minutes.”

This went on for hours. I should take the opportunity to say that the nurses at Lankenau Hospital truly did a wonderful job caring for me, despite our disagreement about medications. No, I don’t remember cracking many jokes during my immediate recovery period. Robin Williams may devise a whole new improvisational routine from his experience, and I wish him and Mrs. Bush a speedy recovery.

*I should point out that I have no historical proof about questioning the paternity of the 43rd President. It’s just the type of thing that might arise while one is feeling the effects of anesthesia. Actually, I made the whole thing up just to tease some liberal bloggers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Are You Ready to Accept Rush Limbaugh As Your Savior?

AND it came to pass in the opening days of the Obama presidency that a great dearth of satirical inspiration spread through out the land.

Editorial cartoonists were forlorn, and liberal bloggers wailed in their melancholy, for it was true that George W. Bush and his cronies had exited the national stage. Then a great wind came down from the north, spreading noxious gases about partisanship and a desire to see the new president fail.

The wind was greeted with consternation by some, but lo, the multitudes rejoiced and chanted “Rush, Rush, Rush” as the storm approached.

And it was true that Limbaugh appeared before them, and the chanting was so great that their leaders feared that the graven images of Lincoln and Reagan would topple and be ground into dust.

Their newly elected leader, one by the name of Michael Steele, even told his people that this man was an entertainer and he doesn’t speak for the party. But the other party leaders rebuked him, and put him in his place, for they saw a new breath of inspiration in the Limbaugh.

Limbaugh basked in the glow of the adulation, for he knew that, as a member of a free society, he could rightfully say whatever he wanted to say about the new president, and that he would not be physically harmed. He would not be stood up against a wall so that some could fling rocks or bullets at him. He would not be banished to a distant shore to live out his miserable existence among strangers. No, America is a free country, and Limbaugh smiled, knowing he was safe here with his followers.

Cries of bipartisanship were heard as the wind howled. The voices came from enemies, friends and allies, but the chanting drowned them out. There would be no solution to the country’s problems debated today, for bipartisanship is contrary to conflict, which begat fear, which begat many financial contributions to the party’s coffers. And the party leaders watched as the multitudes hoisted the Limbaugh onto their shoulders in praise, and carried him back into the wilderness from whence they came; and they saw that it was good.

And the editorial cartoonists, and the late night talk show comedians and the liberal bloggers also saw that it was good. For they all saw unlimited inspiration and prosperity as long as the Limbaugh wind blew.

And they all rejoiced, “Thank you God, for Rush Limbaugh, so that we may skewer his windbag full of hot air. Amen!"

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Message of the Monkey

Recently, a story about a pet monkey shot to death by authorities made headlines across the country. What can I say; it must have been a slow news week. Honestly, Britney and Lindsay must have been on vacation.

The story came out of Stamford CT, where a woman’s pet chimp attacked a neighbor. It would have died a quick death even if Britney and Lindsay had been spotted somewhere. However, a cartoonist for The New York Post used the image of the dead monkey to comment on President Obama’s economic stimulus package. The cartoon showed two police officers standing near the chimp’s body and one of them says, “Now they’ll have to get someone else to write the stimulus bill.”

Hilarity ensued! Then Rev. Al Sharpton read the comic and linked the monkey image as a historic racist tool to President Obama. Outrage erupted!

I have mixed feelings about this whole controversy. It has gotten more press than the Danish cartoonist depiction, I won’t go there. I’m against bigotry, prejudice and racism. I’m even a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center. On the other hand, I can’t say I’ve been very distraught over the idea that this protest has caused some anxious moments for the Post's publisher (and Fox Network founder) Rupert Murdoch.

At the risk of being labeled as another white guy who “doesn’t get it”, I must admit that I don’t see the connection between the image of the dead monkey and Barack Obama. If the cartoonist wanted the deceased simian to denote the President, then they could have just inserted the name Obama somewhere on the monkey’s body. This is how it would have been handled traditionally in the comics. However, this wasn’t done here and Sharpton’s contention that it was a reference to Obama is a bit of a stretch even with this cartooning device missing.

First, we should acknowledge that the stimulus bill was not the work of one person, even though Obama will get the credit for promoting it. The actual writing of the 1,000 plus page document was probably done by Democratic leaders (Pelosi, Reid, etc); their aides; other top Democratic lawmakers and their aides; and maybe a Republican or two, even though they’ve gone on record as being shut out of the process. President Obama probably had some input, but he’s been very busy during his first thirty days in office.

For example, he’s been reaching out to the other side of the aisle in the spirit of bipartisanship. He is also busy putting his administration's team together. This entails nominating prospective candidates to his cabinet and then making sure they’ve paid all of their back taxes.

Given all this, when did Obama have time to write a stimulus bill all by himself?

Since the controversy broke and the picket signs went up, Murdoch himself apologized to anyone who was offended by the cartoon. The New York Post declined to punish the cartoonist, which prompted the NAACP to reject Murdoch’s apology. This venerable organization did not feel his words of contrition were good enough. I don’t know, but I guess they were hoping that the cartoonist would be subject to lethal injection...

The Obama Administration has taken the high road about all this and has, to my knowledge, not offered any comment about the cartoon. Good for them! The President is truly a class act!

The cartoonist has said that he was commenting more on the “flawed” stimulus bill than any one person. I can see this point of view, given the right wing media’s attitude about the Democrats efforts to jump start the economy. Yet the controversy swelled up at an odd time.

It happened in the closing days of Black History Month, and only a few weeks after Attorney General Eric Holder’s comments about Americans being cowards when it comes to a dialogue on race relations. This controversy should answer Holder's challenge. Here is a good example of why people are afraid to talk about race! Well-meaning people are too quick to jump at the slightest provocation and seek to destroy the messenger.

Meanwhile, hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan are allowed to thrive. I don’t get it. Yes, I’m still torn about this entire episode. Half of me wants to thank Rev. Sharpton for making The New York Post uncomfortable. My other half wishes Sharpton would get a life.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The GOP in the Wilderness

A most amazing thing has happened to the Republican Party during the last few weeks: they recovered from their eight year long bout of amnesia and remembered that they are the fiscal conservatives for the United States. Funny, but it seems like they were acting like liberal Democrats spending taxpayer’s money under the Bush Regime.

Now that the other side won the election last November, they suddenly realized that, “Oh my God, the national debt is spiraling out of control. Somebody should do something about it!” Well, somebody did do something about it: the American voter elected another set of leaders who will do the job that the Republican-dominated Congress failed to do.

The GOP has been heating up its rhetoric towards the Obama administration and, in particular, Obama’s stimulus package. This is not a surprise and, honestly, not totally unexpected, given the fact that they are a whiny bunch of sore losers, I mean, fiscal conservatives. Their intentions are good, but it’s just a shame that they didn’t think about this seven years ago when they were in a better position to do something about the soaring deficit spending.

One such GOP leader with scornful words was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who has been widely regarded as a front runner for the White House 2012. He had the unenviable task of giving the Republican response to President Obama’s speech to Congress last week. News reports summarized his remarks categorizing the President’s economic policy as heading in the wrong direction. In other words, too much pork and not enough tax cuts.

My initial reaction to Jindal’s speech was, “Bobby wants a cracker?”

Yes, the GOP leadership now sounds like a bunch of parrots being spoon fed lines from somebody (Karl Rove, possibly; Rush Limbaugh, very likely) touting the same old tired policies of tax cuts and banking deregulation that is now sinking our economy. It doesn’t matter to me if the spirit of deregulation started under Clinton. My point is the GOP had eight years to stop it, and chose to look away while lenders ran amuck. Governor, did you get the memo about the recession?

The reports stated that Jindal boasted that these same policies are working in Louisiana. Oh really? Is New Orleans no longer part of the state? Oh, it is still part of Louisiana. And has the Ninth Ward fully recovered, with all the houses rebuilt and all of its previous residents moved back into their new homes? Governor Jindal, did you get the memo about Hurricane Katrina?

Once again, the GOP appears to be out of touch with reality. Jindal does look promising to be a national leader, particularly if you consider the viability of his closest rival, the Moose Hunter. Unfortunately, he’s standing by the same old tired rhetoric that most voters have tuned out. Bobby Jindal could have the potential to lead the GOP out of the wilderness, but he may need to be converted, a la maverick John McCain, to get the job done.

Seriously, I’ll ask this question again, “Did you guys get the memo about the recession?”