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

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Monday, September 30, 2013

Snort Bites – September 2013


News was received this week from Great Britain that a new plant is available which grows tomatoes on top and potatoes at the bottom of the same plant.  Both fruit and tuber ripen at the same time! What hath botany wrought?

Now the next step: get the plant to dip its roots into a deep fryer and drop the tomatoes into a processor to mix up a batch of ketchup at the same time. French fries with ketchup produced instantly from plant to plate in a matter of seconds. Imagine whole families watching this show as they munch their McSandwiches! 

Botanists of the world: you have your work cut out for you!


The Phillies lost their final games of the season to the division title-winning Atlanta Braves (ouch), and ended up in fourth place, one season after having their all time best season in team history. WTF?

The Braves will go on to the post season, but my team will come home and do whatever the hell they do with their four month break. The post season teams will go through their motions of the division series, then the pennant series, followed by the swimsuit competition, before the preliminary trials, motions by the opposing attorneys, and finally… where was I? Oh yes, finally, the World Series may end with any luck in time for opening day in April 2014.

Unless of course Ted Cruz launches another filibuster; in which case all bets are off.

Suffice to say our Phillies did not have their best year. The players that took the city to the World Series in 2008 are old and beat up. We’re in a rebuilding phase. We’re telling ourselves the same thing we’ve told ourselves for many years: just wait until next year. I have a feeling it may take a little longer than one year.


Again! Forty-three votes could not repeal Obamacare, because the Senate will not even entertain the idea of defunding the President’s signature legislation. The Party of No can’t take no for an answer! It would be real nice if they had a positive alternative to shutting down the government, but noooooooo…

Tuesday morning will dawn and we’ll be closed, world! Thank you, conservative fanatics! Thank you, Tea Party! Thank you again for bringing this nation to its knees!

Oh, I could go on and on about the whys and wherefores, but I’m effin’ bored with their shenanigans!

Besides, why be wordy, when we can commiserate on our situation by showing that great political philosopher Slim Pickens perform his impression of the Tea Party conservatives:

(Thank you for reading and enjoy the shutdown!)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cruz Hears A Who?

History will record that Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) took to the floor of the US Senate overnight on September 24, 2013 to speak out against Obamacare. He was engaged in his own filibuster to prevent the Senate from voting on a bill he favored.

Confused yet? Actually, he and everyone else with a brain inside the Beltway knew that a House bill he favored – continuing funding of the government while defunding Obamacare - would not be passed as it was voted on in the House. The Senate would pass the funding part, but not the defunding part. So the best way to defeat this inevitable defeat is to…speak out against your own ideals.

No, this still doesn’t make any sense. Yet he went through with it anyway. 

And we, the American people, had to listen to his strange, crazed rant about Nazi Germany being ignored; a stirring reading of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham; and God only knows what else that had nothing to do with his goal…on which we’re still not clear. So this is what we had to hear, but what did Ted Cruz hear, see, feel during his 21 hour all-about-me pontificating. He probably endured the following. 

1. The sound of crickets, and I don’t mean Buddy Holly’s backup band.

2. Imagined the sounds of tea party faithful writing checks to his campaign/PAC/pet political project.

3. His stomach growling after several hours of going without nourishment.

4. The sound of urine backing up from his bladder into his kidney as he denied his body the chance to void itself.

5. Heard the creaking of his ankles as they gave way under the weight of his self-centered ego.

6. The groans from members of his own party as they envision the GOP fading further and further from relevance.

7. The sensation of his kidneys dissolving in its own uric acid, which must have reached flood stage at some point.

8. A small voice of reason inside his head shouting, “WTF, Ted?” (Admittedly this one is a stretch.)

9. Mitch McConnell shouting to him, “Hey, I’m going to get in a round of golf with Harry Reid.  Would you mind turning off the lights when you’re done, Ted?”

Ah, Washington! Where would we be without them? 

(Thank you for reading. Try the green eggs and ham again, Ted. They may be good with ketchup!)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Pope: Hot and Cold

Once again Pope Francis has amazed/stunned/shocked the faithful — and the world at large — with comments that the church is too obsessed with a few narrow cultural issues like gay rights, abortion and contraception. He argued that these issues should not take the focus away from the church’s mission of being a “home for all”. He explained in an interview in the Rome-based Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica that “The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials.”

Right on, Your Holiness! And an “Amen, brother” too!

Yes, let’s rein in our petty obsessions and cast our eyes on the bigger picture. It’s time we got back to caring about those among us who are not so fortunate. Mother Teresa is a great example caring for the poor in Calcutta. We never saw her holding a sign, “Ban the pill!” did we? No, because she knew what the church’s rightful mission was.

I hope that the Pope’s words are taken to heart by not just Catholics, but everyone in the world who has a heart and concern for the well being of all of its citizens. It is good to see at least one organization take up the battle for equality and justice, because it appears that the United States is heading in the opposite direction.

A portion of our government known as The House of Republicans (uh, Representatives) is showing its Scrooge-like ways again. As the Pope’s words were being published, they voted to slash the SNAP program (food stamps) $40 billion, which would affect 47 million Americans who are either unemployed or employed in jobs that pay so little they can’t afford to adequately feed their families. The House leaders (Boehner, Cantor, et al) said they were proposing rules requiring food stamp recipients to get jobs in order to give them a boost out of poverty. News flash: they said this with a straight face.

Really? Give them a boost out of poverty and an endless cycle of government dependence by starving them to death? Why don’t we just get it over with and set up the labor camps for the poor now?

House leaders have once again abandoned the big picture for the sake of a few ideological battles that will threaten all Americans. Yes, able-bodied Americans should not have to be, theoretically, on food stamps. However, many of these Americans are gainfully employed in jobs that don’t meet all of their economic needs. More importantly, many of these Americans have dependents that are too young to be held accountable to the new job requirements. 
Drat those child labor laws! What were the progressives thinking when they enacted labor restrictions on young people, reasoning that staying in school is more important than making a living?

These are the people Republicans are “helping”. Oh, but their week was not finished on Thursday…unfortunately.

The next day they voted to extend funding the government for a few months while calling for the defunding of the President’s centerpiece legislation: Obamacare. Everyone who has a brain inside and outside the Beltway knows this will not pass the Senate and certainly will never see the President’s signature. Yet they passed the resolution anyway, and in doing so raised the specter of a government shutdown.

What did the Pope say about finding a new balance, “otherwise the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards?” Hello, House, are you listening? Many of your critics and, yea even your supporters (O’Reilly, Krauthammer, et al), are warning that you will destroy your party in the dogged pursuit of narrow-minded principles. It’s the GOP’s business if they want to engage in this murder/suicide pact of the American economy, but I just wish they would leave the American people alone.

Of course, the Pope’s week didn’t finish on Thursday either...unfortunately.   

The next day he went from hot progressive to cold conservative when he reiterated the church’s stance against abortion. Surely a nod to the supporters of church tradition, but now I’m worried about him.

His Holiness’ mood swings are getting out of hand….

(Thank you for reading! Hey, House of Republicans, do everyone a favor and get a real job!)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Summer’s End

Within a few days, the summer season will officially end. We had some stretches of hot and humid weather, but overall southeastern Pennsylvania escaped the normal August doldrums this year. We were treated instead to some nice respites of warm and dry weather, which enabled us to shut down the central air for days on end. I’m getting into the spirit of celebrating the end of our growing season with an annoying health condition.

Nothing says “Au revoir, summer” like a bout of poison ivy!

The back story: our property currently has some serious landscaping issues. Bushes and shrubs have overgrown their initial territory, which is not as noticeable when you consider the vines growing everywhere and choking the life out of the bushes and shrubs. The weeds have dominated the side garden for more years than I care to count. A black walnut in the middle of this yard was once cooperatively short and unobtrusive. It has decided to grow to a height of 20 plus feet and now obstructs our lovely view of the street. Also, in the same vicinity, another bush has totally grown over our side window. This affords shelter to the local fowl life and also gives them a place to be watched and studied by our two cats, Meredith and Nyla.

Yes, it turns out that our two felines are amateur ornitho… ornitholos…bird watchers!

We have various other areas of garden and overgrowth on our property, mostly behind the garage. Another corner of our house is overgrown with ivy, such as you might find on the campus of any major university you would care to name. At my alma mater, Bloomsburg University, I had history classes in a building with the obsolete name Old Science, which I swear was three quarters ivy and one quarter brick and mortar. In my house’s case, the ivy is wreaking havoc on our stucco finish. It’s lovely to look at and makes me nostalgic for academia, but it’s got to go.

My gardening efforts in the last few years have been limited by my health (the end of next week will be five years since my bypass) and the humid weather conditions. Many seasons, I could barely manage to perform the weekly or bi-weekly grass mowing and trimming. In the meantime, the natural foliage flourished. Example: maples growing to a nice height from within a mountain laurel bush, and by a nice height I mean that they are now taller than the laurel bush.

A makeover is in order, and Anne Marie took charge of getting estimates from landscapers. Historically, we have had a few unpleasant experiences with landscapers. We call them with a business opportunity, leave messages for a call back, and never hear from them again. This year, Anne Marie lucked out and got three landscapers to come out and give us estimates. One of them is a family run business that coincidentally owns most of the land behind my property.  Also, the matriarch of the family with the business lives down the street.  And yes, if you have to ask, her yard is immaculate!

The bids all came within our credit card limit, but it would send our monthly payments to a currently unmanageable level. In the meantime, the series of nice dry days got my ambition in gear and the last few weekends I’ve made some progress in reclaiming our land. I’ve managed to clear out the side yard for the year and chop down (manually) several thin trees in the garage area.  This is where I encountered my old nemesis – poison ivy/oak.

I saw it and tried my best to avoid it. I wore gloves, but my best precautions were not enough. The bitches were lying in wait for me!

I believe that all it took was a boost up when a thick non-ivy vine snapped back at me and the ivy brushed my arm. I had worked up a sweat, which for some reason makes me itchy. The satisfying of my itch spread the poison to my other arm, my forehead, my face, and yes, around the eyes. The next day, my eyes were swelled up and uncomfortably itchy.

I took advantage of my late day schedule on Tuesday and visited the latest trend in healthcare: the urgent care center. It is that step between visiting your primary care physician and the emergency room of the hospital. There are several drawbacks in my case for these two extremes.

I can appreciate my primary care physician’s cautious attitude whenever I tell him I have a pain on the left side of my body, as in most recently when I called for an appointment for my jaw pain. I suspected sinusitis or an abscessed tooth; he suspected something much worse and urged me to go to the emergency room, where presumably I would have a stress test. Several problems: if I thought I was actually having a heart attack, I would not bother calling him at all. I would make a beeline for the emergency room. Second problem: waiting times in emergency rooms are long, unpleasant experiences. Third, I have a high deductible health plan, which means huge testing and facility bills which will come back on moi.

I’m still paying off on a stress test from 2011, and my doctor wants me to go into deeper debt, which will only cause more stress? I don’t think so!

The urgent care center, Patient First, was more than happy to treat me that day and this week. I now have a twelve day course of steroids, which are nothing like the great stuff we had in the 1970’s. Back then, before medical science realized the danger of steroids, the drugs prescribed by your kindly local physician would clear up the poison ivy in three days. My doctor was formerly a surgeon for the Blue Angels squadron. He would not eff around and gave me serious drugs!

Those around you might not know that you were on medication if it weren’t for the uncontrollable bouts of giggling during those three days. However, the fourth day – after your medication course was gone — was a bitch! Too tired to get out of bed, but not tired enough to get any rest, you just lay in bed for a full day and stared at the Linda Ronstadt posters on your wall.

Don’t get me wrong! Linda looked great back then, but these were after all just photos on paper, and not the flesh and blood embodiment of Linda herself. Yes, kids, drugs in the 1970’s were fabulous! Sorry you missed it! If you don’t believe me, ask your parents or grandparents and they will lie to you and say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

So now I am recovering, and we’re putting the big landscaping plans on hold. This will give me time to clear out a bit more before the landscapers are called in for their emergency work. I think I’ll let them tackle the black walnut and the ivy, but everything else might be within my ability.

I just need to get my ambition again. The weekend approaches and the weeds await my return.

(Thank you for reading. Really kids, wonderful drugs in the 70’s, which explains why parents and grandparents are effed up now!)