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

My Photo
Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Roll the Credits: The End of the Year

It’s time to close out this blog for the year, and with any piece of art — great or otherwise — there always comes a time to give credit where credit is due. With that in mind, let’s roll the blog credits for the year.


Was written and produced by Raymond Todd Gunther

Additional material provided by

Newt Gingrich
Mitt Romney
Herman Cain
Rick Santorum
Michele Bachmann
Rick Perry
Sarah Palin
Christine O’Donnell
Ann Coulter
Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews’ little brother Jim
Rush Limbaugh
Barack Obama
All other members of the US House
All other members of the US Senate
Everyone who has ever worked for Fox News



Executive Editor

Anne Marie Gunther


PECO Energy



Gowns by

Gene London

The author of arteejee wishes to gratefully acknowledge

Raymond and Anne Gunther (without whom, well, you know...)
The Philadelphia School District
The Southern Columbia (County) School District
Bloomsburg University (twice)
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
The authors of the First Amendment
And of course last, but not least, You (the reader)!

Thank you for a wonderful year!

Come back soon!

(Thank you for reading. Happy New Year to all!)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Iowa, Dear Iowa

This blog entry is dedicated to the residents of Iowa because, as they may not know it, they are a groovy people! They are groovy because they, and they alone, will face the onslaught of seven — count 'em! — seven Republican candidates traipsing, cavorting, and gallivanting hither and yon within Iowa’s borders. It is these state residents who next week will give one candidate thumbs up and thrust daggers into the backs of the other candidates.

It would not surprise me if this week the people of the great state of Iowa hear or witness the candidates say or do the following.

Newt Gingrich, in his quest to become the extreme right wing candidate, will promise to bring back workhouses and poor farms for the nation’s children so they will have someplace to learn a work ethic, because (as only Newt knows) a work ethic is more important than a good education. Iowans may also witness Newt start frothing at the mouth. Now wouldn’t that be a grand YouTube moment!


Michele Bachmann will get so exhausted from traveling to all 99 Iowa counties in nine days that she will say something endearing, historically inaccurate, but most importantly YouTube worthy, like, “It’s great to be here in Iowa where World War II began!” Come to think of it, she might also say that when she’s fully rested and alert. Iowans might also be treated to the sight of her husband drag. (Or so my friends tell me...!)


Rick Perry will get so excited at the prospect at being the most extreme candidate that he might remember a point or two of his own campaign. He might even have an identity crisis and perform “Teenage Dream” in hopes that it will revive his sagging poll numbers. On a related note, Katy Perry will not be amused.


Mitt Romney will promise to repeal Obamacare if elected, even though it was based on a great idea he once had as governor of Massachusetts. Pundits will puzzle if this promise will constitute another Romney flip-flop, but Romney’s opponents will have no trouble calling him out on it.


Rick Santorum will also travel the state, ingratiating himself with the citizenry with such activities as hunting quail (the bird, not the former vice president) and perhaps “accidently” leave behind one of his own children here or there. On a related note, Mrs. Santorum will not be amused.


Ron Paul will try to downplay hateful comments made in newsletters published under his name in the 1990s. Even Newt has been disgusted by the comments! Now that's saying something!


Jon Huntsman will, um,...Jon who?


Herman Cain! Does anybody miss him yet?

Brave Iowans! Sturdy midwesterners! We salute you for your courage to put up with this political circus!

After all, better you than us...

(Thank you for reading! You’re next, New Hampshire!)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

War and Christmas*

Just in case you might not have noticed, a war which we were fighting ended last week. Okay, technically it didn’t end, but our country’s involvement in it ended. There was a ceremony marking the handing over of democracy or some semblance of political stability from us to the people of Iraq, or at least those people of Iraq who still actually live in Iraq and didn’t become part of the largest international refugee crisis in recent memory.

And oh yeah, no one really expects the enemy to stop fighting, because they didn’t show up for the ceremony. When the war ended in the old days, there was one side who declared themselves victorious while the other side admitted defeat and negotiated a treaty with lots of concessions to the winners, but at least guaranteed them the dignity of not being annihilated. Like now, there would have been a ceremony, a lot of joy expressed by all relieved that the conflict was ended, a lot of parades, and pretty nurses getting grabbed and kissed in the middle of busy urban intersections.

I repeat, these were all signs of how wars ended in the past. We didn’t see any of these events happen this time. There will be no parades, no hoopla, and good luck stealing a smooch from uniformed pretties without getting a pair of cuffs slapped on your wrists for fourth degree sexual assault!

The ceremony in Iraq tried to capture the pomp of a past ceremony, like the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay in 1945 but, let’s face it, we aren’t total victors this time around. Yes, we enabled an environment for democracy to flourish, but democracy can be a tricky bitch. You may believe she will always act benevolent towards all those who believe in her, but she can just as easily choose to sleep with a dictator.

So our ceremony seemed to say, “Hey we came, we saw, we didn’t get the rose petals strewn in our path, we realized too late that it would not be a slam dunk, and our end result makes our involvement in Vietnam look like America’s greatest triumph. What we’re really trying to say Iraq is, ‘Sorry we screwed up! You’re on your own! Adios! We’re out of here!!!!'"

The end of that war leaves a big hole in our schedule for conflict. Fortunately, we Christians can still fight over other things, like the holiest day on the Christian calendar: Christmas! Those on the right side of Christianity have insisted with growing ferocity that there is a war on Christmas. In this regard, a number of Christians have become overly fearful that their holy celebration is in danger of being subverted.

In recent years, many Christians have registered their disdain for any movement which takes the religion out of the most religious holiday of the year. Many municipalities have restricted nativity scenes in public squares lest non-Christians be offended. This is within local government’s right and it satisfies the Constitutional guarantee separating church and state. Otherwise, what are they thinking?

They’re probably thinking that the real message of Christmas — namely, peace and good will towards all — transcends the normal labels of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhism religions and has a universality that appeals to all humanity. Showing a preference for one group over all the others reflects an ethnocentrism which can grow into bigotry and prejudice which can lead to all sorts of nasty things. Christians do have the right to grumble that their icons aren’t as prevalent as they used to be, but they shouldn’t fear that the true meaning of the holiday isn’t shared by everyone. I don’t want to necessarily second guess Christ’s philosophy, but I feel comfortable believing that this is the way he would want us to celebrate his birthday.

We shouldn’t be so fearful if someone uses the term “Happy Holidays" instead of “Merry Christmas”. It’s just a matter of semantics, not a threat against our beliefs. There is no war; there is no conspiracy. There’s no reason to be offended when the greeter expresses the same sentiment, but uses different terms than those to which we are accustomed. (Are you listening, Sarah Palin?)

Or, to put it another way, if you’re a Christian and you have your heart set on being offended by something, then be offended by the fact that there are still starving people in the world. Be offended by the fact that millions of people are still without jobs and maybe without homes before too long. Be offended by the fact that those in whom we place our trust to remedy these situations are more interested in preserving their own opportunities and don’t give a damn about the less fortunate. There many more offensive things than just hearing the words “Happy Holidays”.

So, fellow Christians, calm down and enjoy all of the holiday observances. We do have a lot to be grateful for, even in these days of economic woes. After all, we’re not actively fighting a war any longer, and the fighters are coming home to their families. So, Happy Holidays — whatever you choose to call them - with peace and good will to all.

*This could be titled War and Peace, but someone already took that title. A pox on your house, Tolstoy!

(Thank you for reading! “…and what have we done? Another year over, a new one just begun”. What more can be said?)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Moe Howard Treatment

This time of year, the Christian world gears up for one of the holiest days of the year, celebrating the birth of Christ with renewed interest in joy, peace, and loving giving. Realistically, what the world needs now is not so much more peace and joy, but an attitude adjustment from none other than Moe Howard. No, I’m not necessarily talking about Moe Howard the actor, but rather his alter ego, the Moe Howard stooge character who could knock some sense into a person with a loose slap across the face.

(Wow, what a segue! I mentioned Christ in the topic sentence and finished the paragraph with a tongue-in-cheek reference to Three Stooges humor. Where in hell am I going with this, you may be asking? Read on...if you dare.)

I don’t come to the topic of Moe Howard accidentally. This weekend was the monthly open house of the Stoogeum in Spring House (, and I’ve had Moe on my mind. Also, the trailer for The Three Stooges movie by the Farrelly Brothers is showing up in theaters and on the Internet. The movie won’t be released until April 2012, but the trailer is already causing some controversy. A brief informal survey of my fellow volunteers on their thoughts about the trailer ranged from indifference to a grimace of horror. Perhaps we should withhold further judgment until the movie is actually released, but, in the meantime, be forewarned: there are Stooges in our immediate future.

I’m writing as if they are coming back from somewhere, when actually the originals never went away. Oh, the actual actors are long gone, but their 290 plus shorts have been in continuous and I daresay uninterrupted syndication somewhere in the world every day since 1959. That has got to be a record, but who’s counting?

In any event, I dearly wish Moe Howard could come back if only to use his talents one more time. I don’t make it a habit to advocate violence, but there are so many people today that have their priorities screwed up. One such group of people is the 536 men and women of the United States Congress. Now I know they’re a very easy target right now with their approval rating in the single digits, but all of them — Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals - need a dose of the Moe Howard treatment.

As an example, there are currently 14 million Americans who are out of work. It was determined this week that 49% of all Americans are at or below the poverty level. So, what did our Congressional knuckleheads consider this past week? Policies to create jobs? Nada! Legislation to improve financial opportunity for poor Americans? Nope! They voted to repeal a forthcoming Bush-era rule that would have discontinued the federal government’s use of old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs in favor of energy saving CFL bulbs.

Let it now be known that incandescent light bulbs are forever safe in the United States! As for unemployed Americans...ummmm, sorry, you’re on your own.

Moe wouldn’t necessarily have to draw blood or break bones. Perhaps line up one caucus in a straight line so he can he deliver one of his patent pending multiple slaps. Or an eye poke here or there; perhaps deliver one to a person who has a reputation for breaking into tears. I won’t mention his name, because lord knows I might get a visit from the Secret Service who will want to politely ask me if I was serious when I specified that a certain act of violence be performed on a certain legislator. Ladies and gentleman of the Secret Service, you should know me better by now. You should know that after five years this blog is seldom serious.

As for the rest, Moe can plant cream pies on their kissers. That should make them realize that they have their heads up where the sun don’t shine, and they should be more responsive to the problems facing all of us. I reiterate (or, in true Stooges speak, I should say I regurgitate): millions are unemployed, but light bulbs are more important. All I can say is “Moe, please come back and slap some sense into all of them...hard!”

(Thank you for reading. “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk...”)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Tune Roundup of 2011

It is truly that wonderful time of the year when I get to make snarky comments on the holiday fare blasting from our radios. This is my annual state of the Christmas song message to the world. I do this as a public service, and it gives me an excuse to allow the cranky, middle-aged blogging fiend lurking inside me to rise up and say “Harrumph” or even “Bah humbug!”

One song which I must hear every day of the holiday season is John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”. It just brightens my day to hear Lennon leading a children’s chorus from the Harlem Community Choir singing to everlasting peace and an end to all conflicts. This was recorded in 1971, and wherever Lennon was at that time, then his wife Yoko Ono could not be far behind. The song is always attributed to John Lennon because there isn’t a DJ in the entire northern hemisphere that has the balls to say ”and Yoko Ono” whenever they play this song. Yet it is her female voice leading the children in the “war is over” chorus. It is probably the only time her voice is heard on the radio all year. I can’t help but chuckle at this little irony every Christmas season.

One song which I take great pains to avoid each year is "The Christmas Shoes", a sentimental piece of sap that just exudes grief and tragedy, you know, the very embodiment of the Christmas holidays themselves...not! Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the place that tragedy must occupy in our lives. But if I want to experience suicidal depression at the holidays, then I’ll go the route of the late Michael O’Donohue and shove 12 inch steel pins into my eyeballs. Fortunately, I treasure my vision, and long steel pins are so hard to come by.

Then there are some other songs which should be retired. For example, there’s the overplayed “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”. Oh, I’ll admit that it was a cute and novel idea the first year it was released, but unfortunately that year was roughly — if memory serves me correctly — 975 CE. Since then, the song has gotten more tired with the passing of each White Christmas that Irving Berlin imagined we should have. Okay, I may be off a few years when “Grandma” was first released, but I’m not off by much.

Then there are the 1,000 or so cover versions of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”, and an equal number of cover versions of Wham’s “Last Christmas”. Let’s consider this last point carefully, people. Why would anyone want to cover anything recorded by Wham? WHY?

There are some noteworthy high-profile cover versions of holiday favorites that have become just as much tradition as the original. Madonna’s remake of Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” immediately springs to mind. The Material Girl is the only one of the current crop of crooners who could pull it off, but even she can’t entice Santa without Kitt’s signature purr. Of course, any year now Madge’s version will be covered by Lady Gaga. I can hardly wait...not!

Then there are some holiday favorites that were done so long ago that they were recorded by entertainment icons from several generations past. Witness “Frosty the Snowman”, as sung by Jimmy Durante with an assist from Jackie Vernon. No, kids, I’m not taking the time to tell you who Jimmy Durante was; go ask your great grandparents! Or Google him instead!

Similarly, there is “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" as sung by Thurl Ravenscroft. Ravenscroft’s greater claim to fame was Tony the Tiger and his catch phrase, “They’re great!”, which compelled anyone growing up in the 1960’s to drive their parents insane with pleas to buy Sugar Frosted Flakes. Who was Tony the Tiger, you might ask? Well, since I punted my exclamation about Jimmy Durante, I guess I could spare a few lines to explain that Tony the Tiger was a mythical, animated cartoon creature who devoured any and all small children who annoyed their middle-aged blogging elders with stupid questions like “Who the hell is Tony the Tiger?” Know what I mean? I think you do...

This explanation compels me to bring back my previous point. Wham...WHY?

So, in the true spirit of the holiday season, we should rejoice that someday war might be over; enjoy the quiet splendor of a snowy holiday; mourn for elderly ladies who meet their demise under the hooves of snorting beasts of the north, wallow in the sadness of a broken-hearted small child who believes his dying mother will want a new pair of shoes over, say a cure for whatever disease is killing her; wink and nudge at the thought of sex kittens trying their darnedest to seduce Santa Claus; cavort with cold weather friends that melt away before your eyes; and sneer with a crusty grump at the materialism of the world in general!

Christmas! Ha! Wham! Why?

(Thank you for reading. “Happy Christmas, Kyoko! Happy Christmas, Julian!”)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Least Popular Interest Groups

Some years ago, Anne Marie and I saw Jeffrey, a romantic comedy about a gay man looking for love at a time when AIDS was decimating the gay community. One scene featured a rally in Central Park, where an organizer announces where different groups should gather for the gay pride parade. Naturally, the members within each group declare their pride loud and boisterously.

Groups like “Dykes on Bikes” revved their engines when their name is called. Yet, when he calls out “Black Gay Republicans”, you could hear a pin drop. Everyone in the audience immediately knew this was an improbable combination. Indeed, one theatergoer sitting behind us sniffed, “There can’t be many in that group.”

This episode led me to speculate on what interest groups we might see this year for the current crop of potential political candidates. Naturally, the big groups like the National Rifle Association and AARP will have their own vast constituency, and subsequently don’t create a challenge for my satirical exercise. But what about some other groups that may come together to support a candidate which by their actions or position on issues actually run counter to the group’s own objectives and interests?

So, in the spirit of Jeffrey, here is a short list of improbable candidate interest groups. These groups maybe have nearly one member...possibly, and even then this is a very rough estimate.

1. LGBTQ for Santorum

2. Responsible Historians for Bachmann

3. MENSA Members for Perry

4. Bald Men for Trump

5. Sane Thinking Democrats for Gingrich

6. Conservative Republicans for Romney

7. Single, Desirable Women for Cain (suspended)

8. Tax and Spend Liberals for Paul

And finally, we would be remiss if we left the President out of the fun:

9. Birthers for Obama

(Thank you for reading. And a special thank you to Jeffrey.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

...And Then There Were Seven

Herman Cain’s suspension of his bid for the White House will most likely touch off a feeding frenzy by the other candidates for Cain’s supporters. Personally, I’m a bit leery of Cain’s use of the word suspended. Students are suspended from school with the understanding that they return after a set time period. Cain didn’t “end” or “terminate” his campaign; he merely suspended it. Yet everyone is assuming that has ended once and for all his quest for elected office.

Cain blamed his premature withdrawal on the hurt suffered by his family caused by media coverage of his extramarital affair and sexual harassment charges leveled against him. The candidate could not be accused of hypocrisy on the subject since he — or any of the other candidates, for that matter — have been emphasizing family values. Oh sure, Bachmann and Santorum have used traditional family values to explain their stance against gay marriage, but it is more of an understanding between themselves and voters that they would stand for these values as they align themselves with conservative voters. The candidates don’t beat the subject to death, but there is an underlying agreement that an advocacy of monogamous, heterosexual relationships is a basis for their moral beliefs.

The media, aware of this high standard voters set for their candidates, are ever vigilant for any violations that may be found in the candidates past. Or we can explain the media reaction another way: he media, aware that salacious details of a sexual nature sell more newspapers and advertising time in the non-print infotainment venues, are ever vigilant for any violations that may be found in the candidates past. Yes, that’s much better!

I’m not totally blaming the media for their coverage on Cain’s sexcapades. They can’t help themselves; it’s not that they don’t know any better when it comes to deciding which stories to pursue or not. The media do have high standards of ethics. As long as they confirm the facts of the story from more than one source, then they go with it, giving the public the illusion that they are just as outraged at the facts as the public should be.

Perhaps the charges against Cain have raised the ire within the conservative community, but otherwise the reaction from the public at large has been a shrug of the shoulders and ho-hum yawn. It’s not that the general public is blasé about adultery, but many of us do recognize that the temptations are harder to resist by those who have the massive ego required to run for office in the first place. They may want to be thought of as gods, but they are in fact still human, still vulnerable to the sins that life offers. Of course, we should hold office seekers to high standards, but we shouldn’t be so shocked when we discover that they have faltered.

Cain’s campaign implosion was inevitable, and not because of the allegations of his sordid past. His presentations displayed more style than substance. The economic ideas he touted (9-9-9 tax reform, for example) was deemed more complex than he would admit, but he boiled the idea down for electorate consumption. It was almost as if he were saying, “Here’s a great idea, but let’s worry about the details later”. Now, where have we heard that management philosophy before? Oh yeah, from George W. Bush, and look where that got us!

No one could doubt his salesmanship with a flair for thinking up new and inventive ideas to sell his product. Witness the old video that went viral on the Internet in which he sang the virtues of pizza to John Lennon’s Imagine. As a writer with a keen eye for satire, I could appreciate the performance complete with a small gospel choir. As a John Lennon fan, I was less than thrilled, but perhaps I’m taking it too seriously.

There is a downside to Cain’s departure: one local commentator has noted that African-American conservatives do not have anyone to relate to in the current crop of Republican presidential hopefuls. The seven who are left are lily white and overwhelmingly male. Par for the course! In this respect, all voters should mourn the lack of diversity among the Republican contenders.

So, whither Cain now? He insists he will still be a voice championing conservative values; he just won’t do it while holding high office. Where best to use his sales expertise, his power of persuasion, his less than stellar grasp of the issues, and his charismatic presence? Why Fox News, of course! They must have a time slot for him somewhere...

(Thank you for reading!)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Snort Notes – December 2011 (Congressional Follies)


Before we skewer this bit of logic (which could only make sense in Michele’s tiny, narrow world view), we should thank her for her entry this week in the “Ann Coulter: Oops! I Really Stuck My High Heels in My Mouth This Time Award” competition. Now let us bring on the skewers...

Perhaps this would be a good time to point out to Michele that marriage between two people who want to commit themselves to sharing a lifetime together is based on honesty and integrity. The type of marriage or “arrangement” which she proposes is not a novel or new idea. In fact, it’s been done for generations, where one or both people in the “arrangement” are gay, but they pretend to be heterosexual for the benefit of the world at large. If they are forced to pretend to be something that they are not — and please, Michele, stop me if I lose you on this point — then they are not being honest with themselves and the world around them.

(Thanks Michele! Now I’m channeling Dr. Joyce Brothers! Thanks a lot!)

The two people in this relationship obviously work out their own parameters of what is or isn’t acceptable when it comes to moments of physical intimacy between themselves or others outside of their “arrangement”. This should be a major “duh” moment for you, Michele! In real life, such situations create endless complications, although in dramaturgy it can create good material for any number of Rock Hudson/Doris Day romantic style comedies from the 1960s.

My point is that there is a certain amount of deception inherent in this type of relationship, which could be seen as violating the two tenets of traditional marriage: honesty and integrity. Many people in the gay community are tired of the deception and now want to be able to be open and honest about their committed relationships with their partners and with the world at large. They want to participate and embrace the concept of marriage in the spirit in which marriage was intended with full honesty and 100% integrity.

Why is this so hard for you to understand, you conservative twit?


This latest display of Washington intelligence occurred when pizza manufacturers realized that new school lunch requirements, which mandate that students be offered more vegetables for their noon respite, could mean a drop in demand for their product. Their lobbyists had their work cut out for them, but they did it. They succeeded in convincing Congress that, since tomato sauce is used as a base for the pizza, then the entire pie could be counted as a vegetable. Thus Congress thumbed their nose at common scientific botanical knowledge, and gave the finger to Mother Nature.

I asked my Weight Watchers instructor if she had heard about this Congressional action. She mused that it could be counted as a vegetable if they included something like broccoli as a topping. My Weight Watchers instructor is a very intelligent person when it comes to the topic of food consumption and weight loss, but obviously the finer nuances of government stupidity are lost on her. Pity! But I digress...

If Congress has made this bold step, then obviously they know that the technology exists which will enable us to grow pizzas whole and naturally. Imagine, pizzas will be America’s next cash crop! We will no longer have to wait for farmers to grow wheat and convert it to flour, or grow the grains which they will feed to their cows that make the milk which will be aged into cheese, and grow the tomatoes which will be converted into sauce, and then have everything slapped together and baked by perhaps illegal immigrants at your local pizzeria. In the future, we should be able to walk into our neighborhood farm supply and buy packets of seed which will enable us to grow pizzas in our backyards! Oh boy! I can hardly wait!

I just thought of something...what about pepperoni pizza? Will the seed for the pepperoni pizza have to be cross-pollinated to create a hybrid? I hope scientists are working on this problem right now.

Oh, wait another minute! I wonder if pizzeria owners have their own lobby. Maybe we won’t be able to grow our own pizzas in our backyard patches after all...

Anyway we should all thank Congress for their bold and new botanical vision. We should thank them now, and vote them out next year for this display of Washingtonian stupidity.


Now here is a visionary: he has seen the writing on the wall and has noted the anti-incumbent mood of the country. Here is a man who knows when it is time to get out. Obviously he has looked around at the legislative paralysis afflicting both houses of Congress and has thrown his hands up in surrender. Some may see his action as cowardly, while others may see it as the wisdom of a veteran legislature who realizes it’s time for some new blood to move the country forward.

Liberals will hate to see Barney Frank go; conservatives are already licking their chops at the prospect of electing one of their like-minded people to succeed Frank. Liberals will miss Frank’s combative style in his quest to improve the lives of the downtrodden. Conservatives — many of them working for Fox — have noted that the representative’s combativeness could be seen as bullying towards his colleagues and his aides.

So be it! The US Capitol is an immense pressure cooker of interests and political intrigue. The rigors of the job can make ordinarily good-natured people with the purest of motives do strange things. And by strange, I mean like voting for pizza, or having delusions that certain people do not have the same rights as everyone else. When these people stoop to such shenanigans, then maybe the electorate is justified in their feelings towards Congress. In this case, many members of Congress deserve to get a time out.

(Thank you for reading.)