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

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Snort Notes – May 2011


Excuse me, did I miss something? Did I miss the reports that peace has broken out in all troubled areas of the world, like the Middle East? Does the United States enjoy a record setting 1% unemployment rate? Has home foreclosure become an obsolete concept in this country? Are all of our children fully guaranteed a full education from preschool through college? Is every man, woman and child also able to get the medical care they need regardless of age, employment status, or condition? Has any of this come to pass? If not, then WTF should we care how a couple decides to raise their child?

People, we’ve got too many other problems we need to solve. Yes, this news item is a distraction, but does it deserve worldwide Internet attention? We should butt out and concentrate on solving the problems in our own lives.

Besides, this couple won’t be the first killed early one morning by an ungrateful child who couldn’t learn to cope living in a world that demands rigid standards of gender conformity, and they probably won’t be the last. Yes, it's a tough room today! Moving on...


This was good news on the economic front, as more companies report they are hiring, and most people agree that we seem to be coming out of the recession. Most people, that is, except for the banks who are still foreclosing on homes like nobody’s business.

Still, unemployment and foreclosure didn’t affect everyone, but gasoline prices did affect everyone. Various influences - uprisings in the Middle East interrupted oil production, some fallout from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year, and good old American greed to name just a few - contributed to gasoline prices climbing above the $4/gallon mark. Consumers were outraged, Presidential poll numbers plummeted, and oil company profits soared.

Then, an amazing thing happened. Free market economics responded when people simply stopped buying gasoline. Wow, what a no-brainer! Consumers changed their driving habits, rethinking and replanning daily activities in order to get the most efficient use of their fuel. Many people (mercy!) even resorted to taking public transportation more often.

Gasoline prices, which have traditionally hit an annual high mark just before the Memorial Day holiday, went in the opposite direction. They dropped nearly 30 cents/gallon (by my reckoning) in the last few weeks. By all predictions, the prices should have risen well above $4/gallon, but thanks to the buying power of the average American consumer, economic disaster has been averted.

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. American! You really can influence market forces simply by saying, “No thanks!”


Oh, Newt, must you torture us with your extremist economic ideas, those wild off-the-cuff remarks that send liberal media icons like Keith Olbermann into a fit of hysterics, and make the leaders of your own party reach for the Alka-Seltzer? Let me put it another way. When, Newt, will you just run away and join the circus?

Sadly, the circus will have to do with one less clown, as Newt sets his sights on a larger big top: the White House. Poor fellow is so deluded that he has a chance to capture the nomination! He doesn’t realize that all the baggage he has accumulated over the years — blame for a government shutdown, multiple marriages, and lots of public miscues, to name a few — just bogs him down and stops him in his tracks.

More recently Gingrich expressed befuddlement that his credit bill of $50,000 at swanky jeweler Tiffany’s created such a big splash in the media. He tried to turn the controversy to his advantage by pointing out that the debt had been paid and he was debt free. He was hinting that, hey, if he could do it, then every American could get out of debt.

No, Newt, that wasn’t the point. Americans want a leader that is decisive in times of crisis, but they also desire someone to whom they can relate. Most Americans don’t have a revolving line of credit at Tiffany’s worth $50 let alone $50,000. Also, Newt, we have since learned that your line of credit was interest FREE!

Naturally, you were able to pay it off because you’ve managed to make a lucrative living as a large hemorrhoid to one or perhaps both of the major political parties in America. In the real world, Newt, people would have interest rates of 25% or higher to pay off the gaudy baubles that Tiffany’s sells.

This little irritation of yours became another major flameout for Newt because people can’t relate to his lifestyle. Maybe I’m wrong and we did make a big thing out of nothing, like the Internet-osphere did with the Toronto couple. Or perhaps Newt has joined the circus after all. So, let’s indulge him for the next year and a half. We need the laughs, and lord knows those in the Big Tent can always use an excuse to take another bromo.

(Thank you for reading. Happy summer everyone!)

Friday, May 27, 2011

So The President Walks Into a Bar...

Meanwhile, in a pub somewhere in Ireland...

BARTENDER: Hey, Sean! Come over here!

SEAN: Top o’ the mornin’ to you Frankie! What’s up!

BARTENDER: Look, Sean, I’ve got an important favor to ask you. We have a special visitor today and I don’t need your usual shenanigans in here.

SEAN: Frankie! Shame on you! What kind of stereotypical Irishman do you take me for? On second thought, don’t answer that!

BARTENDER: Please Sean! There’s a pint of Guinness on the house if you don’t do your usual carousing. Just don’t start any trouble, all right?

SEAN: All right, deal! Where’s your special visitor?

BARTENDER: He’s at the other end of the bar. It’s the President of the United States!

SEAN: Really now! What’s he doing here?

BARTENDER: Visiting his roots! He’s got family from this part of the country!

SEAN: Who? Him? He can’t have family from around here!


SEAN: Well, for one thing, he’s got a dark tint to his features, if you know what I mean!

BARTENDER: Aw, you’re daft! His kin lived here generations ago. It was his father what gave him his skin color. Here’s your pint!

SEAN: Bless you! I thought maybe he’d been out in the sun too long, that’s all! So, what’s his name?


SEAN: Obama, you say? A good Irish name!

BARTENDER: True, but he spells it differently. It’s O-B-A-M-A!

SEAN: Apostrophe!


SEAN: You forgot the apostrophe. O-apostrophe-B-A-M-A!

BARTENDER: That’s what I’m tellin’ you! He spells it differently. He doesn’t use the apostrophe!

SEAN: (indignant) What? Doesn’t use an apostrophe? What kind of an Irishman is he?

BARTENDER: Don’t start trouble, Sean!

SEAN: I’m not starting anything! What’s his first name? (TAKES A GULP OF BEER)



SEAN: Barack!

BARTENDER: Don’t start, Sean!

SEAN: What’s his religion?


SEAN: Where’s he go to church?

BARTENDER: Funny you should ask! There’s a bit of controversy about that. A lot of his fellow Yanks swear up and down that he’s a Muslim. But if you ask me, I know for a fact that he attended a Protestant church when he lived in Chicago for many years.

SEAN: Protestant, you say? Oh, well, no one’s perfect!

BARTENDER: Don’t start, Sean!

SEAN: Now, let me get this straight! This man has dark skin, an Irish sounding name without an apostrophe, a Muslim first name, is a Protestant, and is President of the United States, yet he claims to have Irish blood in him?

BARTENDER: That’s right!

SEAN: (shrugs) If you say so! I’ll say this much for him. He can certainly down a Guinness like a true son of the Emerald Isle!

BARTENDER: Aye, he can do that! He’s had to quell a domestic dispute over beer at the White House, in fact!

SEAN: Is that so? (LONG PAUSE) Frankie?


SEAN: Did you happen to ask for his birth certificate?

BARTENDER: Sore subject, Sean! Don’t start!

(Thank you for reading! Please tip the bartender! And someone please help Sean get home!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Post Rapture

Please take a moment to contemplate the above title. It should be considered an oxymoron. After all, if everything had happened as prophesized, then I shouldn’t be able to be typing this right now. I should have fallen into a vast, fiery pit which would have consumed my body and soul. There shouldn’t be a post anything, in fact! No one to write the blog, no one to read the blog, no one to make the power to run the computer on which the blog is published, and so on and so on...

Fortunately, nothing of the sort happened. No cleaving of the planet, no fires, no floods, no big bang explosions which sent chunks of Earth to the nether regions of the solar system. So this week, the Monday morning quarterbacking — another event which would not have been able to happen if events on Saturday night had gone according to plan — has begun.

Again, fortunately, no one is questioning God why He changed his mind at the last minute. We might be pushing our luck if we did that. Instead, everyone is piling on the messenger, a lowly, humble, aging radio evangelist by the name of Harold Camping. Camping was the one who got everyone riled up. He calculated the end of days using the Holy Scripture. Then he publicized the event through his syndicated radio show. And, oh yes, he asked for donations from his audience. Many answered the call to the tune of — by MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell’s estimate - $70 million!

He used a good part of the donations to further publicize the end on radio and billboard ads all over the country. His predictions got even more publicity — this all free — from well-meaning news commentators, morning radio disc jockeys, late night talk show comedians, and just about everyone else. Naturally, most of this free publicity was ridiculing the good preacher.

So, what happened? Hell if Camping knows, no pun intended. He’s been described by his daughter as being “bewildered” by the end that didn’t happen.

Maybe his calculations were off. Perhaps he put a decimal point in the wrong place. Not for nothing, but as any mathematician will tell you, this could make a big difference. And by difference I’m thinking of 10,000 years more or less.

The problem is this is the second time Camping’s predictions have proven incorrect. Apparently he also said the Rapture would occur in 1993. We all remember 1993, don’t we? America was full of excitement for the man from Hope AK, economic times were improving as we rose from a recession, and a political villain by the name of Gingrich lurked in the shadows of the Capital. Now, America is giving higher than usual marks to our current President from Hawaii (an actual state in the United States), economic times are slowly improving as we rise from a recession, and a clown by the name of Gingrich lurks in the shadows of our collective political consciousness. The old adage is proven true again: The more things change, the more they stay the same, or something like that.

The disappointment of the Rapture also proves another old adage: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Legendary American showman P.T. Barnum lived and breathed this philosophy. Currently, Camping is living proof of this! He does, after all, now have $70 million dollars to help console himself from the world-wide ridicule of his wrong prophesy.

Camping might as well face the truth. He is nothing more than an old-fashioned huckster who plied his brand of snake oil called “Rapture” to millions of gullible people who are normally intelligent, God-fearing Christians. If this is the case that he was sincere about his teachings, than Camping should take heart that sometimes things don’t go your way, even when God is involved. If, on the other hand, he only did all this for the money, then he should be ashamed of himself. Unfortunately, he won’t be the last one to take millions for outlandish promises. Remember, the 2012 Presidential election is only 18 months away!

(Thank you for reading. Enjoy life everyone! Camping could make a third prediction any day now...)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Recovering from a Bipartisan Marriage

Their marriage was the envy of most mortals living in this imperfect universe. She is the product of a long line of liberal overachievers. He is — or was until this week — a favored foreign born son of the conservative right. Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger met, fell in love, married, raised a family, and made an improbable relationship work for over 20 years.

Now, it’s all over amid confessions of a past infidelity that produced a child over a decade ago. They have now separated and are working to rebuild their lives - separately. I don’t mean to throw oil on the fire, but I’d bet that in our cynical world, even Romeo and Juliet would have been hard pressed to gaze at each other longingly after spending 20 years together.

Granted, we all should have seen this day coming. I realize that it’s painful for Maria to admit that any reservations her family may have had about her relationship have proven correct. Grandpa Joe Kennedy would never have approved her marriage to a man with an “R” after his name. Of course, she can take some consolation from the fact that she made the relationship work for as long as it did. That should count for something.

Maria should do whatever she has to do to get over this emotional hump. Commiserate with her best buds, cry on Aunt Oprah’s shoulder, and/or have a blowout celebration marking her release from the suffocating grip of this Austrian muscleman. After all that, she might want to plan for what she’ll do next with her day-to-day activities. In other words, she should get a job. Restart her career. It won’t do to be part of a liberal overachieving dynasty and be unemployed.

Continuing with her volunteer activities is a good start, but she might also want to jump back into broadcasting. Let’s face it, Maria is still an attractive woman with, I dare say, many more of her most productive years still ahead of her. She still has her journalistic creds. The wide, wide world of television news reporting and commentary is totally open for her.

Maria could get a network anchor gig, or do commentary on MSNBC. (Fox would not be a good fit for her.) Or she could go the talk show route, but it might be a bit early to campaign for Aunt Oprah’s time slot. At this point, that might be seen as tacky. She should do this not only for her self-esteem and to rebuild her life, but do it because she’s a Kennedy! I’m not necessarily referring to the idea that the Kennedy name will automatically open doors for her — but it could help. Actually, I’m referencing the drive and ambition that her family has demonstrated for several generations.

This leaves us with...Ahnold.

I won’t lecture him on the virtues of keeping his pants on; as a male, I can appreciate the temptations he probably encountered on a daily basis. Still, the fact remains: he broke the heart of America’s political sweetheart. I hope he realizes the gravity of his situation.

Not only did he hurt his family, but he dissed a Kennedy! That’s the clan that is the closest thing America has to royalty. The ex-governator may want to watch his back. After all, you never know if some of Grandpa Joe’s cronies from Prohibition days might still be lurking around in the shadows of our society.

Ahnold, you were a high profile celebrity, political figure, and hero worshipping icon to a generation of body-builders everywhere. You were leader of one of the largest states in the union and, not for anything, a representative of the party that advocates family values. I should point out that you have fallen into the same trap as some of your other Republican brethren, i.e., adopting behaviors that would find them starting more than one family. (See Newt Gingrich) Remember, the concept is called “family values” not “families value”.

Just because you married into the Kennedy family didn’t mean you were obliged to emulate the lifestyles of the clan’s male members (no pun intended). History has shown that the Kennedys did many notable things for America, and we should be grateful that we are the beneficiaries of their achievements. On the other hand, the private lives of some of the Kennedys were complicated and, um...shall we say, messy? To put it delicately, these Kennedys lived life to the fullest. (Wink wink nudge nudge! Know what I mean? I think you do!)

My point here is that there were lessons to be learned from all their activities. Their reputations have been stained by the revelations about their private lives. These lessons apparently did not make an impression on you, Ahnold! Now you are suffering the angst of your ego-driven activities, and many may believe that your angst is well earned.

So forgive us, Ahnold, if for the immediate future America takes Maria and your family to its bosom, while we act with revulsion at the mere utterance of your name. Don’t worry, this reaction won’t be permanent. We all know how fickle the American public is. We all know all will be forgiven once you get a few more Terminator sequels in the can. That should make everything all better!

(Thank you for reading. Insert Schwarzenegger line about “I’ll be back blah blah blah” here.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The End (Again)

Haven’t we been here before? By here, I mean all of us minding our own business when we are subjected to tales of the end days by the really, really true believers. This time, global apocalypse is scheduled for this Saturday, May 21. No set time has been publicized, so everyone may want to check their local listings for when everything ends.

Actually, the end has been coming in dribs and drabs all year. Armageddon came for many Japanese earlier this year with an earthquake, which resulted in a tsunami and a nuclear plant meltdown. Economic end times are approaching for the American Midwest, as millions of acres of farmland are flooded to control the waters of the Mississippi River surging on major population centers in lower Louisiana (i.e., New Orleans and environs). The instability of regimes in the Middle East has given Nostradamus’ prophecies some credence, while also raising gas prices that threaten our slow economic recovery and President Obama’s high poll numbers.

Oh well, at least we got Osama bin Laden.

Blame or credit the Mayans or Nostradamus for this, but in the end it doesn’t matter. So while our mutual destruction may only be days away, we should probably use the time wisely to get our affairs in order. After all, there is a 50-50 chance that the true believers are correct.

To that end (no pun intended), let’s list our remaining days with a set of goals we could all achieve. We must pause, rethink our priorities, and reset our endeavors to rationalize whatever existences we had on this Earth. Herewith is a day-to-day list of suggestions — complete with weather forecast — for the rest of the week:


Rain, rain, and more rain, high 67F. Thirty percent chance of apocalypse.

Sleep in, turn over and think over missed opportunities, overdue deadlines, and relationships that went awry. And oh yes, get out and vote! It’s Primary Day!


Torrential rain, high 68F. Fifty percent chance of final judgment.

Write a long overdue thank you note to the Westboro Baptist Church, for it appears that they were right all along. Suggest to them that when the Earth splits in two and the blessed are cruelly, painfully separated from the damned by an angry, jealous God, they should have the pleasure of reaching Rapture first. Yes, they should get the privilege of being first in line, since they worked so hard for it. After they’re gone, the rest of us can party again like we did two weeks ago when bin Laden was killed.


Mostly cloudy, thunderstorms, high 74F. Seventy percent chance of total annihilation.

Call loved ones, gather family together to laugh, cry and share the joys of life one more time. Hmmm...I should send this to the Hallmark Corporation for an “end of the world” card idea.


Mostly cloudy, high 74F. Ten percent chance of Armageddon.

This is everyone’s final chance to do something that they won’t be able to do again: procrastinate. If you’ve never done this time-honored human tradition of putting off actions and priorities, this will be the last time you can do it. Choose your final act of procrastination wisely!


Cloudy, spotty showers, high 76F. 100 percent chance of Rapture.

At some point today, the world will split apart, the righteous will rise to the heavens, while the damned and procrastinators party away. Some of will us burn up with fires from the sky and many of us will drown from rising waters below. At the very end, the partiers will cry out in a mixture of agony, ecstasy and derision as the world implodes and disintegrates in a fashion that would make Industrial Light and Magic envious. Whatever is left of humanity at this point — our achievements, our civilizations, our high-minded goals of peace and brotherhood which we could never get around to accomplish in the millions of years of our existence — will be reduced to dust that drifts and swirls away across the universe.


Sun and clouds, high 79F. Trace chance of really bad things happening.

(Thank you for reading. “...and I feel fine!”)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thank You Notes

Dear Florida:

We, the railroad riding public living in the northeastern section of the United States, want to thank you from the bottom of our carryon bags for turning down the federal money offered to you for high speed rail in your state. Now that money will be spent on upgrading our high speed rail in the Northeast Corridor! We just can’t believe the luck we are having because of your short-sighted policy!

We’re not so proud to anxiously take advantage of this wonderful opportunity that you have foolishly passed up. Soon we native Philadelphians will be able to travel up to New York City in the blink of an eye. We can go shopping, museum hopping, maybe even attend a Broadway show, and still be back home in time to catch Dancing with the Stars. You, on the other hand, will be stuck in your little hamlets in your very big state filled with lots and lots of tourists, alligators, and AARP members!

We understand why you refused this wonderful gift from the Obama administration. Your governor said that your wonderful state couldn’t afford to invest any money into high speed rail, even though it could bring jobs and more economic prosperity to you. The rails could have linked employers with wider pools of talent, widen a tourist's ability to see more of your state beyond Mickey Mouse Land, and gosh darn it all, it would have created many construction jobs just to build the damn thing!

Now that we think about it, your position seems so funny and ironic. When the Bush administration — who, like your governor, is Republican — tried to privatize the nation’s railroad system by entering into partnerships with each state, the states balked. It seems they didn’t have the money then either. Now, when a small group of Republican governors came to power last year in Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin, they were also offered the chance to become economic partners with the federal government for railroad investment. You would think that, since this partnership was originally a Republican idea, that your governor would jump on board (no pun intended). Alas, your state still doesn’t have the money, and now the federal government is taking the money and spending it elsewhere.

This makes us in the Northeast very sad! No, on second thought, just kidding! We’re gloating over the idea of using money meant for someone else! Wow, we can’t believe our luck!

Oh, they just called for last boarding for our train! Well, gotta go! We don’t know where we’re going, but we’ll get there very quickly on our new railroad system!

Once more, thank you again for being too dollar wise and penny foolish with your ideas about economic investment. Good luck with all of your tourists, alligators, and old people! Sorry if you feel bad about us rubbing this in your face, but you know you can just eat our concrete rails!

Yours Truly,

Northeast Railroad Passengers


Dear Ohio:

We, the railroad riding public living in the northeastern section of the United States, want to thank you from the bottom of our carryon bags for turning down the federal money offered to you for high speed rail in your state...

CC: Wisconsin

DISCLAIMER: The preceding notes were not endorsed by the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP), any and all other transportation lobbyists, their vendors, or Amtrak.

(Thank you for reading! Toot toot! Woo woo!)

Monday, May 09, 2011

The End of the Intermission

Hello, everyone! In case you haven’t noticed, I have not posted any entries in over a week. Did you miss me?

Most likely, you didn’t even notice I was gone, did you? That’s okay, because I know a lot went down since April 26. A birth confirmation, a royal wedding, and an assassination, and each event had major world-wide historical significance.

By the way, just in case you’re wondering why my blog went on intermission last week...well, let’s just say it was combination of factors. I may or may not have had a serious shortage of topic ideas to write about due to my settling into my new job. Or it may have had something to do with my computer being in the shop for over a week. In any event, my computer is back with new and improved memory, my transition back into full time employment is going smoothly, and recent events have given me so many ideas to discuss.

Let’s recap the days of April 28-May 1, 2011; each one will be long remembered throughout the history of mankind for years to come.


On one level, this action had to be hugely embarrassing for Obama. The whole episode reminded me of a child coming home from school and having to face his parents with an unsatisfactory report card. Consider this: Obama was the first man — out of 43 - serving in the White House forced to furnish proof that he was born within the United States border, making him an American citizen who is eligible to hold the office that a majority of Americans elected him to serve in an election two years ago.

Why him? Why not the other 42 men? The only difference I can see between Obama and the other men is — major “duh” moment coming — skin color. There! I said it! I’m not trying to cause trouble, but I’m just saying. Now let’s move on, damn it!


These once in a generation affairs are, of course, a wonderful event to celebrate. It is significant for the happy couple, their families, but also civilization in general. It is happy events like this wedding that could ultimately change the course of future world history. In any event, stay tuned...


Okay, I may have been a bit optimistic when I pronounced this four day period as having great historical significance for mankind. Maybe people were recovering from making merry at the Royal Wedding the day before, or maybe it was just a rough work week for mankind in general, but whatever the reason nothing of historical note happened on this day. Maybe we can get a refund or at least partial credit for April 30, because we definitely did not get full value for our history dollar.


The news was announced late Sunday night by the president himself, who got the added satisfaction of interrupting Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice to tell the world that Bin Laden was dead. That in itself was a major high-five moment, given the fact that Trump had been riding the president’s butt about his birth certificate for weeks. Obama trumped Trump! Booyah!

Bin Laden’s death was celebrated with questionable taste by many people living in the West. To be fair, people in the free world had built up 10 years of paranoia and terrorist-weary tension. So they took to the streets immediately and carried on like it was New Year’s Eve. Who could blame us infidels, right? I mean besides those in the Arab world who revered Bin Laden.

The spontaneous demonstrations of joy were if nothing else another example of human nature overtaking humanity’s sense of common decency. Of course, we all know that none of us should ever feel so superior over another human being that we can be justified to dance on their graves. We’ve all heard that such an attitude diminishes all of us. We all know that such thinking is un-Christian-like and very, very bad karma.

On the other hand...we are talking about Osama Bin Laden. This is the guy who master-minded the greatest massacre of Americans on American soil in American history. In the years since, he made it quite clear that he didn’t like us, he hated our guts, and — I can’t help noting this — he never sent us a Christmas card! He never wanted to negotiate peace with us; he plotted and advocated for our destruction. Here again, human nature with its attendant idea of self-preservation overruled any hopes we may have had — if ever — to love this enemy as we love ourselves.

It was the negative side of human nature - namely fear, hatred, and intolerance - that is the true enemy of mankind that worked against both sides in this grand drama of global history. That made the cultural gap between us and Bin Laden too wide and too deep for any one generation of mankind to bridge. This realization shouldn’t discourage us from trying harder to bringing all cultures closer together for everyone’s mutual survival and happiness.

Unfortunately, Bin Laden’s ideas were an obstacle that had to be overcome.

Fortunately, his ideas are already losing favor with the new generation of militant Muslims who have risen up against the dictators in the Middle East in what history will henceforth call the Arab Spring. Of course, Bin Laden’s death will almost certainly lead to a new round of retaliatory attacks from another group of militant Muslims - al-Qaeda. At least this time, we’re better prepared than we were on September 11, 2001.

Overall, I have been ambivalent about Bin Laden’s demise. I am relieved of course that he can no longer work to destroy us, but I didn’t feel the need to jump up and down in ecstasy. Truth be told, I was already in bed when Anne Marie told me the news. I just said, “Okay,” turned over, and went back to sleep. In retrospect, I probably should have gotten up and watched the historic announcement on television, but deep down I realized that, in our 24/7 news cycle, I would have ample chance to relive the moment over and over in the days to come.

Thus it happened that the curtain closed on Act One of the War on Terror. Our intermission is now over as well. Time to move on to Act Two with all its attendant intrigues and plot twists that will enthrall and depress us as we move through our daily cycle of rituals which we call our lives. For now, we can mourn or rejoice however we choose that one of our boogeymen won’t harm us anymore.

(As always, thank you for reading. Sorry Janey, we’re fresh out of cucumber sandwiches!)