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

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, May 30, 2013

First Vacation of 2013

I am out on vacation from my day job this week. I’m not doing anything spectacular this week. No day trips, no cruises short-circuited by illness or fire, no long airline flights sandwiched between long miserable lines and/or wait times on tarmacs, and certainly no intercontinental train trips with long waits on sidings while a freight train 20 miles in length delivers its goods to the American markets. No, this is a cheap, stay at home vacation in which I am completing home projects which I have procrastinated for months, perhaps years.

So far it’s been uneventful, if you don’t count the fact that I nearly electrocuted myself…but I’m getting ahead of my story. 

My vacation began with a weekend trip to see my mother and brother in North Alabama, er, I mean upstate Pennsylvania. We met our oldest dearest friend, Janey, on the way out of town for breakfast, where Anne Marie presented him with the poncho she had knitted for him. (See the photo on her blog.) I asked him if he would make a point of seeing Behind the Candelabra film premiering on HBO the next day. I mentioned the latest Liberace biopic on the off chance that he would recount a story he told me years ago when, as an employee at a West Hollywood florist shop, he assisted in delivering plants to a friend of Liberace’s “protégé” Scott Thorson. As it turned out, Janey didn’t bite, no pun intended. He did report that friends were taping it for him for viewing at a later date.

Monday, Memorial Day, came and went without incident. No cookout, since we had gotten our fill of barbecue food at my brother’s the day before. We opted for Chinese takeout before embarking on our bi-weekly grocery store trip.

My plans for Tuesday: a pedicure in which my calluses are lovingly sanded/scraped/filed off of my heels, but no paint is applied to my toenails; a haircut (my first since December!), and then spend the afternoon doing yard work. What actually happened Tuesday: pedicure, no problem; haircut, done; but rain, rain and more rain scuttled my outdoor plans. So I cleaned a bathroom, and sat with my younger cat, Nyla, while I viewed multiple episodes of Archer.

Wednesday: good weather and a perfect day for yard work before the humidity invades for the end of the week. I decide to pull the bigger weeds in my yard — some approaching five feet tall, I kid you not — and trim a shrub which was growing above the bottom sill of our dining room window. I use an electric hedge trimmer, connected to a 120V AC household outlet which is directly beneath the window inside the dining room. I have used this trimmer before, feeding an orange extension cord out through a crack between the inside window and screen. I took great care so that the cord was draped away from the area of the bush I was trimming.

Well, you can probably guess what happened, for as Robert Burns said, “The best laid plans of mice and men gang oft get singed with a great electrical shock”…or something like that.

All was going well until I stopped and noticed that the cord had, despite my careful planning, indeed got caught between the teeth of my trimmer. On closer examination, I noticed that the cord was nearly severed in half exposing the actual metal inside which conveys 120 volts of electricity through its length. I immediately unplugged the trimmer from the cord, and then proceeded to separate the cord from the trimmer’s teeth, content in the knowledge that I had taken all of the proper safety precautions.

The cord proved to be very difficult to pull away out of the trimmer, which is just as well, because at this point my brain kicked into gear and made me realize that I was not out of danger. I don’t recall the exact wording of the message which my brain sent to me, but I would not rule out that they contained words like “effin” and “idiot”. I determined that while, yes, I had disconnected the cord from the trimmer, the cord itself on the other side of the trimmer's teeth still snaked through the branches of the bush, through the slit between the screen and sill, through the crack between the window and sill, curled downward to the 120V AC wall outlet to which it was still CONNECTED.

(NOTE TO EDITOR: Please feel free to take advantage of these parentheses and enter your comment here. Don’t spare any words; be brutal, for I deserve it.)  Editor's comment: you are a disaster waiting to happen!

Realizing what I nearly did to myself, I carefully laid the trimmer down, entered my house, and unplugged the cord, which was now totally useless. I discarded the cord, made a mental note to put it on my DIY store shopping list, and had another lengthy break watching multiple episodes of Archer with Nyla. 

So, my vacation is half over, which gives me more opportunities to do something stupid again! Oh boy! My mind reels at the possibilities!

(Thank you for reading. On to Thursday! Wait, Michelle Bachmann did...WHAT?)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Snort Bites - May 2013

Before we begin, let us extol the virtues of parentheses. According to a grammar oriented website — yes, I looked them up — these one-third circle symbols are used to clarify an idea, or as an aside. It is as the latter purpose which we will use (or abuse) to great effect today.


Well, truly a milestone to mark! Happy Birthday Dickie! (You racist scumbag!) May your glorious melodies inspire and enthrall generations to come. (Members of the Hitler Youth are so much easier to identify when they goose step around the bonfires to the Ring cycle!)


This week’s progressive half step brought the expected praises from the liberal left and condemnation from conservatives and church leaders. Some are threatening to pull their sons out of the troops and form their own organization. (God speed! Don’t let the canvas flaps from the I. Goldberg Army/Navy store issued tents hit you in your homophobic asses on the way out!)

While a major change for the scouts, it is only a half step because grown gay males are still banned from leadership positions. (Still buying into that old myth that all homosexuals are pedophiles, eh, Baden-Powell?) It’s probably too early to tell if there will be obvious signs of change, like stirring up more interesting conversations around the campfire, but at least young gay males will be afforded the opportunity to learn useful skills along with their straight counterparts. It is a breakthrough that many are welcoming, and just as many are moaning. (Deal with it, moaners!)


Reports that Eric Holder’s Department of Justice (Now doesn’t that sound like a hip name for a new vocal soul group?) secretly subpoenaed phone records at the Associated Press were overshadowed a day later that Fox News was also targeted for investigation. It seems the entire network went on the defensive, with tales that would make one think that the Obama administration was rounding up reporters into cattle cars and shipping them off to a secret camp. One Fox radio host even told her listeners that if they encounter anyone who voted for Obama, then punch them in the face. (Hey, babe! Here I am! I voted for Obama! Take your best shot! Then I'll sue your ass for assault!)

While the investigation would, on the surface, seem to be suspect (After all, Fox News and Obama have always had a cordial relationship; they go hand-in-hand like pork chops and apple sauce…not! Now you know what I had for dinner last night!), we must not discount the possibility that the Department of Justice might actually (you know, maybe, kind of, sort of) have true probable cause to suspect that one of their reporters is a co-conspirator in a threat to national security. Not that we may ever find out now: all of the threatened congressional investigations into Justice’s inquiries may derail Holder’s quest for truth (and the American way, blah, blah, blah. Hell, it may derail Holder himself!). Time will tell if we are mature enough to accept the possibility that members of a respected news organization (Ha! Snort!) could be a threat to the nation, and to allow the investigations to proceed to their natural conclusion. (Maturity? In Washington? Yeah, right, what the hell am I thinking?  Holder may want to consider switching careers from lawyer to MSNBC commentator!)


The media have covered the damage and recovery efforts in Oklahoma (not OK this week) and have highlighted the hypocrisy of the state’s two Senators, who earlier voted to gut FEMA and now have their hands out to assist their citizens. (Senators from Hurricane Sandy ravaged states should make a point of their hypocrisy when funding for the disaster comes up for debate, but the Obama administration - you know, the feared fascist overreacher of government — has already approved the funding.) Comments from the Westboro Baptist Church about the tornadoes have also made the news. These subtle champions of God and morality (Ha! Snort!) blame Oklahoma’s storm woes on its acceptance of homosexuals.

You know, this doesn’t rate as a snide aside. Parentheses be damned! I’ll just put this right up front: hey WBC, shut your effin’ pieholes NOW!

(Thank you for reading! Happy Memorial Day!)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In the Clutches of the Blog Police

One of my long time readers noticed that there was something amiss last week when I did not publish my usual quota of two blogs within a week. Indeed, I went a whole 10 days between my musings. Apologies to all who missed me, but the fact of the matter is I was detained for a while by Interblog, aka the Blog Police.

My interview with them went something like this.

Lt. Rhett Crit: Ah, Mr. Gunther, please have a seat. Thank you for coming in. As you may remember from our phone conversation, I am Lt. Rhett Crit of the Internal Blog Law Enforcement Agency, Cal Thomas division.

Arteejee: Did you say your name is Rhett Crit? Didn’t you used to appear in my blog?

Crit: Yes! Until you unceremoniously dumped me! Right in the middle of the recession too! Do you realize how hard it is for a fictional blog character to find a job? Oh, and don’t get me started on how difficult it is for a fictional character to apply for unemployment benefits!

Arteejee: Hey, that was my editor’s decision! I had nothing to do with it! What’s this all about anyway?

Crit: First tell me your name, your blog name, and stated intent of your blog.

Arteejee: Well, my name is Arteejee, which is what I call my blog. It’s the phonetic spelling of my initials. 
Crit: Go on!

Arteejee: I write and produce satirical musings of the world at large.

Crit: Yes, we’ve examined some of your “musings” as you like to call them. They seem to show an extreme liberal slant in your writing.

Arteejee: So? I can have any slant I want. Your problem with that is….?

Crit: (Laughing) Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to judge you; we just want to clarify some things about your writings.

Arteejee: Like…what things?

Crit: Well, our Cincinnati field office has noticed some key terms used in association with other language that some might consider inflammatory.

Arteejee: For example?

Crit: Well, let’s take for example some terms you’ve used in association with the words “tea party”: to wit, “dumb”, “stupid”, “lame brained” and your all-time classic, “loud-mouthed, xenophobic, pig-headed morons.”

Arteejee: So? It’s all my opinion! I’m entitled to it and the First Amendment allows me to express my opinion.

Crit: True, it does! Well, let’s look at another one of your targets: Sarah Palin.

Arteejee: Okay.

Crit: Your code word for her is “hot legs”?

Arteejee: Okay, so I’m a dirty old…I mean dirty middle-aged man! I’ve seen worse on other people’s blogs! Downright pornography! Besides, you remember the first time we saw her just after McCain announced her as his running mate?

Crit: What about it?

Arteejee: Oh come on now! Those pumps! That red dress! She almost made me want to become a conservative.

Crit: I find that hard to believe! Particularly with some of the things you’ve written about Ann Coulter.

Arteejee: Oh, please! I’m so over Ann Coulter!

Crit: Are you sure about that? Your code word for her is “dumb blonde”.

Arteejee: Hey, if I ever said Ann Coulter is a dumb blonde, then I take it back!

Crit: You don’t think Ann Coulter is a dumb blonde?

Arteejee: On the contrary! Some of the asinine bon mots she uttered lately are an insult to dumb blondes! She doesn’t even have the intelligence of a dumb blonde!

Crit: Mr. Gunther, your insistent, inflammatory diatribes against conservatives could cause civil unrest and a serious profound breach of the peace. You make them out to be enemies of the state! Your faux middle-of-the-road position isn’t fooling anyone! Surely you don’t think all conservatives are bad.

Arteejee: Well, there is one I sort of …you know…respect.

Crit: Go on!

Arteejee: Well, for one there’s Chris Christie! I don’t agree with everything he’s done while he’s been governor of New Jersey, and his personal bullying communication style irritates me to no end. Still, his reaching out to President Obama demonstrated to me that he understands he is a public servant that was elected to help the people of his state. 
Crit: Ah-ha! You fell into my little trap!

Arteejee: Tra-? What?

Crit: I’m not with the Cal Thomas Division. I work blog enforcement with a special arrangement through The Huffington Post!

Arteejee: Godfrey Daniels! A double agent!

Crit: That’s right! As I said before, your faux middle of the road isn’t fooling anyone. I’m afraid you’re just not liberal enough for your blog! I’m afraid we’ll have to detain you a little while longer for more questioning. (Into the phone) Come in, Emma, Mr. Gunther is ready for you now! (Disconnects call) I think you’ll find Ms. Goldman quite persuasive in the ways of left leaning political ideology.

Arteejee: Emma? (Hard audible swallow) Goldman? Not…Red Emma! (Lightning! Crash of thunder! Discordant organ chords rise to a crescendo!)

Crit: (Over-the-top, campy, diabolical laughter) Yes, the one and only! She’ll make a true bleeding heart liberal out of you once and for all!

Arteejee:  (Terrified) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!


Okay, so maybe I might have exaggerated a teeny bit in my tale, but my account is true and complete or my name isn’t Sarah Ann Coulter-Palin-Limbaugh-Rove!

(Thank you for your reading! Give me liberalism or give me…um, something not conservative!)

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Bad Week for Liberals

Ah, another beautiful spring day in President Barack Obama’s second term, and we’re having a lovely time. The birthers have finally been silenced from a roar to a whisper, human rights for the gay community is winning in state after state, and suddenly life just seems so beautiful. Oh, just let me breathe in the wonderful air of cooperation and bipartisanship! Let me just remove my rose-colored glasses for one second to wipe away a speck of….


Friday, credible accusations are made about the IRS targeting Tea Party aligned groups with audits. Monday, more credible accusations are leveled against the Department of Justice for subpoenaing phone records from the Associated Press. And, through it all, the President’s critics keep chanting “Bemghazi, Benghazi, Benghaz” like idol worshippers of an Eastern cult clamoring for a human sacrifice! Fortunately, this week is almost over. As Homer Simpson might say: “D’oh!”

Just when we had hopes that some of the President’s agenda might progress, life happened! The conservatives have long feared government overreach in areas of gun control and health care. The Obama administration did not have to oblige them with the revelations of the tax man intimidating conservative political groups, and the nation's head prosecutor going after the press. Yet this is exactly what happened.

So now immigration reform could be deported (no pun intended); gun control is all shot to hell (pun intended); Obamacare is being repealed again in the House; cries of impeachment are growing, cattle raped, women and children stampeded…my God, ladies and gentlemen, what will you, our valued elected public servants, do to save your phony baloney jobs?

Oh they’ll keep on dissecting how many times the administration revised their talking points about the attacks in Benghazi. It turns out that the government really did know that it was a terrorist attack, but they did not want everyone to know that the consulate was actually a CIA station. Holy Scooter Libby, Batman! That cover is blown now!

So, any ideas on improving security at our embassies, or are we just going to nitpick through the words just to embarrass the President? Stupid question! We know the answer to that one, particularly if we pose this question toward congressional Republicans!

And the IRS scandal? Much to his credit — and I’m sure the profound shock of his critics — Obama publicly denounced the IRS actions, and even accepted the resignation of the acting director. Still, this is not quelling the calls for criminal prosecution from Boehner et al in Congress. The criminal probe may be warranted, but why wasn’t all this fuss made when several liberal-leaning churches complained that the IRS was unfairly auditing them during the Bush Administration? Hmmmmmm?

The AP scandal is just a few days old; it needs time to breathe and thrive for awhile before it starts its own caterwauling. This one does not look good for Attorney General Holder. There may be another high-level resignation from the Obama administration very soon, unless he can truly prove that a leak filtered through the Associated Press was indeed a threat to national security.

This has been a bad week for liberals. We should have suspected something was up when Mitch McConnell walks around with that shit-eating grin on his face. His smile is the most nauseating thing I’ve seen on a politician in a long time.  (Editor's Note: Dick Cheyney's ugly smirking mug is a close second place.)

Thank God it’s Friday!

The gloating should end soon, or else nothing will get done. Seriously, conservatives, comparing Obama to Nixon and Watergate? Isn’t it a bit early for that king of hyper-partisan hyperbole?

A few commentators have pointed out that Republicans will need Democratic (read Obama) cooperation on some of their objectives, like immigration reform. It’s funny how people could cease to be cooperative when they’re too busy fending off subpoenas to Congressional hearings. The temptation for Republicans to overreach on these issues can ultimately backfire on them. 

It’s time for me to put my Karl Rove Trademarked Delusional rose colored glasses on and…ah, that’s better! Life is good again, and Barack Obama is still president.

(Thank you for reading! God help the boys and girls in Congress! God help them if they ever try to actually accomplish something like run a country!)