Friday, December 10, 2010

Yogi Berra was right

At first, it was a huge relief to bid farewell to Bush the warmonger.  And all us Democrats were excited to have found a leader who could win an election, finally.  Young people came out in record numbers to vote, and knowing that that's what swept our guy into office gave us a huge boost.  The worm had finally turned.  Change is really possible, we all thought.

That didn't last long, though.  The opposition to the President's agenda was united and unprecedented, whereas the Democratic members of Congress squabbled, refused to work as a team, and generally acted as though the control of Congress would be theirs forever.

The White House learned quickly that to govern, they must learn to compromise.  And so they did, which only made the Republicans' demands more outrageous, and the Democrats' complaints about the President's competence more strident. 

The Left bitched about Republicrats, and intimated that the President needed to grow a pair.   The Right accused the President of being a socialist and a degenerate.  Their list of the President's supposed crimes became absurd; their spokespeople began to seem seriously unhinged.

Not that it mattered.  Whatever trumped-up nonsense the Right put into their talking points instantly became the prevailing news story of the day, no matter how self-serving or farcical.

And then the voters swung back, and the Democrats lost the Congress.  If the Left thought that the President's agenda was compromised now, they hadn't seen anything yet.

All of this came back to me today, as I watched President Clinton in the White House briefing room, defending Obama's tax cut compromise.  So, for those of you too young to remember the Clinton presidency, YOU DON'T HAVE TO.  Take the Obama presidency, minus being African-American, add a huge dose of hound dog, and you have the Clinton presidency, right down to the Right's desperate maneuvering to define the administration by their support of gays in the military.

Watching President Clinton tack right back then was a hard lesson for me, but I only had to learn it once.  And the unhappy truth is that you cannot govern this country from the left, folks.  You cannot do it with a Democratic majority in Congress, and you sure as hell cannot do it without one.  And anyone who thinks otherwise is Nader-voting fool.

You can't do it because the President doesn't have enough power to overcome the resistance of the Americans who do not want to be governed from the left.  Our government is not structured that way.  It's checks and balances, folks.  That is our strength - that the President does not have total power over what legislation is passed. 

And something else to all you Democrats, liberals, progressives, whatevers out there.

It is stunning to me, stunning, that you so smugly snipe about the ignorance of many people on the Right, and yet you behave in many of the same ways for which you ridicule them.  I mean, look, personally, I am further left than anyone I know, but when I listen to Olbermann, or Maddow, or Maher, I am fully aware that they are trying to sell me their point of view, and they're not going to please their bosses by leading every show with a 3 minute rant about how the President is making compromises that are reasonable, given the political climate. 

Of course the professional Left is riled up and ranting about Obama's lack of backbone.  That's their job.  And we can agree with their world view in our hearts, but when they start trying to tell me that Obama could have gotten a health care bill with a public option passed in that Congress if he'd only tried hard enough, that's when I get off the train.  Because he couldn't.  He could not do that.  No one could have done that.  And if you think otherwise, then you are as gullible as the people who watch Glenn Beck and staple tea bags to the brims of their hats. 

Because politics is not what you read in Howard Zinn.  It's not what Noam Chomsky said in that documentary you saw in college.  Politics is the art of the possible, you fucking babies.   And frankly, I wish you would grow a pair.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

The other day I was at a stop sign, waiting to turn right onto a well-traveled street in Los Angeles, and a young man on a bicycle rode towards my car on the sidewalk, and then dramatically stopped just short of my passenger door and performed an elaborate dumb-show, the point of which appeared to be that it was outrageous that he, a young man well-appointed in expensive kicks and elaborately stitched jeans, and no doubt on his way from one of the more socially relevant offerings of the local community college, and sporting a hair cut that I would know looked nothing like Justin Bieber's if I weren't so fucking uncool, yes, it was outrageous that he had to interrupt his illegal sidewalk odyssey to allow for the normal driving activities of some stupid fucking old bitch.

Readers, it is times like this when I frequently admonish myself for not being more, ah, ZEN I think they call it.  Who cares if the little twerp made gestures at you that he copied from some rapper who probably had real problems that were much more deserving of such emphatic miming?  Why do you care?  Let it go.  Breathe.  Signal your lane change.  Breathe some more.

But then I always remember that I fucking HATE Zen.  Zen sucks.  Zen is for people too self-involved to give a shit.  What I really need, is better punchlines.  For instance, when the aforementioned helmet baby was all up in my Volvo wagon grille, I should have rolled my window down and said "Why yes, it IS a '96.  Jealous?"

Instead I screamed at him in a manner that no doubt exactly fulfilled his expectations of me, and he rode away the morally triumphant one, and I imagine laid his aggressively styled head on his pillow that night and dreamed of vanquishing all the haters with the righteousness of his gesticulations.

A lot has been made of us haters recently.  We've been a busy bunch, all wrapped up in our efforts to keep Bristol Palin off the celebrity dance competition throne.  If I were a Zen-type person, I might muse for a moment on Bristol's surprisingly ill-informed beliefs of how the voting system on Dancing With the Stars works, and that it is, in fact, impossible to vote against any contestant -- it's only possible to vote for them.  And then I would remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, none of this matters.  As Gandhi once said, all tyrants will fall in the end.  And besides, what if all of us, what if our entire universe were merely a speck of dust underneath the fingernail of a giant...something.  A giant...tuba, I don't know, I suck at this, clearly.  And I'm not Zen, and so I just want to tell Sarah's jackass-in-training that the definition of a hater is one who harbors malevolence without justification, and who broadcasts her resentment with self-satisfaction and a sense of superiority.  Just a little something to think about, dear.

Look, I had no intention at all of thinking, much less writing, about That Stupid Dance Show, even though both my parents were dance instructors and I LOVE dancing.  But when I'm watching my show, I don't want to be called a hater just because I want someone with talent to win over someone without talent.  And goddammit it bothers me when people say I don't live in the real America, because I do.  I live in the real America.  United lost my luggage last week.  My old dog is dying and it makes me sad.  I don't know what my company is going to do for revenue in six months.  I need to lose weight.  I'll probably get screwed out of my Social Security by those goddamn Baby Boomers.  My last haircut was disappointing.  There are so many homeless on the streets it feels like the '80s.  I can't afford to replace my brakes right now.  And I worry that it is already too late to reverse my country's slow circling of the global drain. 

I secretly think we may all be fucked.

Friday, October 22, 2010

How to succeed in politics without really trying

If I live to be 100, and right now I'm just about halfway there, I will never understand the feelings of adoration and respect the workers of this country have for CEOs, and why on this green earth anyone would ever say that a CEO knows how to fix one damn thing, ever.

It's the new economy, which means that people like me are forever having to change jobs in order to progress and stay employed, so I've personally known and worked directly for several CEOs, and I've closely followed the careers of quite a few more from inside the companies they run.  And it's not that they're stupid, necessarily, although quite a few of them are stupid.  It's that they're lazy.  They're greedy bullshit artists, most of them, and they don't deserve your respect.

Here's my disclaimer: many CEOs are quite brilliant.  Those that are, are almost always those who have been with the company since inception, frequently founders, and they understand not only the product, but the market, and their employees.  Mayor Bloomberg in NYC seems to be doing a pretty good job overall, okay, but he's an exception.

Oh sure, you're thinking to yourself, it's compelling to want to believe that CEOs are shallow scheming con men, because they're so rich and privileged and it would be awesome to feel superior to them.  But could they really get where they are if they were?

Absofuckinglutely.   Seen it.  Seen it again and again.  And by all means, feel completely free to feel superior to CEOs, because they are, taken as a lot, simply reprehensible people.

How can that be?  How can they advance in the corporate world if they're such douchebags?  Well, you have to remember that corporations love douchebags.   Douchebag is pretty much their business model.  And besides, most CEOs only really have to know two things:
1. Firing people
2. Driving up the stock price

So, for example, if the corporation is losing money because their supply chain is for shit and they can't get their product to the places where people want to buy it in sufficient numbers to match demand, you think the CEO knows how to fix that?  HELL no.  He just knows how to fire the top operations guy, and bring in one that he hopes will solve the problem.  That's his entire bag of tricks as far as problem-solving goes.  And even the new chief operations guy won't know how to solve the problem - but he'll probably bring with him a bunch of his own guys, and although they won't know how to solve it either, they will either find the guy who does know, and enable him to do it, or ignore the guy who does know, because it's too much work to change the corporate culture/expose a powerful exec/re-write all those SOPs.  And in that case, they'll just ride out the wave of failure until their guy gets fired and they get to move onto the next big gullible dinosaur of lumbering corporate stupidity.

And as far as #2, driving up the stock price goes, that's easy, because it's basically a variation on #1.  The easiest way to drive up the stock price is to increase profits (it's called "productivity," though, so as not to sound quite so craven and soulless).  The easiest way these days to increase profits is to fire everyone you don't play golf with, and send their jobs to India, or Mexico, or China, or just simply make those left behind work harder to absorb the loss of their colleagues.

And make no mistake, that's exactly what Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman did.  Yeah, it'd be pretty hard to find two better examples of unimaginative insipid chief executives pulling their one fucking trick out of their dumbass stock CEO playbooks than Fiorina and Whitman.

So anyway, if you want to vote Democratic on November 2nd because Whitman was mean to her maid, or because she paid off Princeton to make her son's rape accusation go away, that's fine.  If you want to vote Democratic because Fiorina said mean things about Barbara Boxer's hair, or because she's vociferously anti-choice, you'll get no argument from me.  But it would be nice if people also rejected them because CEOs don't make good public servants.  Because public servants serve the public, and CEOs have no fucking idea how to do that.

Nor do they have any inclination to learn.

They're simply just bad people.  Look, let me put it this way: if government is a hen house, and, you know, it kinda is, then they are the foxes.  They're not there to restructure the coop.  They're there to eat chickens and move the fuck on before anyone figures out what it is they've done.

And if you, dear deeply credible voters, still need one more piece of evidence that the whole "what we need is a CEO!" meme is complete fucking hogwash, then I invite you to think back a mere ten years, when Al Gore was beaten over the head with his own lifetime of public service by serial CEO George W. Bush.  

Yeah.  That's what I thought.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

That cuckold lives in bliss

Every once in a while, one of those trite signs that people tack to the walls of their cubicles actually catch you off guard, and a tiny bubble of futility pops in your brain and for just a second you look around and you think the biggest WHAT THE FUCK? you have ever thought in your life.  And that WHAT THE FUCK encompasses not only what you're doing with your life, and the absurdity of your choices, but also the deeply, deeply confounding nature of this existence that we have crafted for ourselves.  And then the next second, you're thinking again about whether copier repairs can be amortized on the same schedule as the assets.

The sign that I saw, by the way, said "Where am I going, and what am I doing in this handbasket?"

Yeah, I'm aware that it's somewhat anticlimactic to actually tell you what the trite sign said.  I just think it's important for you to understand that for me, at least, my willingness to play along in this crazy-ass Angeleno Californian American Earthling solar system resident of the Milky Way thing is extremely tenuous, and it doesn't exactly require profundity to set that willingness caroming off into the psychological ether.

Because where are we going?  Really.  Where are we going?

How you doing, readers?   I know I've been gone for a while.  I'd like you to know that I don't stop thinking about you, both the real yous out there and the make-believe yous that exist only in my head.  I'm sorry that I haven't written, and it's nice that many of you have let me know that you consider it unacceptable.  I consider it unacceptable as well, and I have nothing to say about it other than that for the last couple of months, I sort of have that feeling all the time like you get when your mouth drops open and you mean to speak, but you are so dumbfounded that you sort of can't?  Like that.

It's not pleasant, that feeling.  Also, it's difficult to look tough, or serious, or even just unmoronic with your mouth always hanging open. 

How else to describe what I've been feeling, watching us, as a city, a state, a country, a planet, continue so deliberately down such a destructive path?

Israel clearly doesn't give a shit about peace with the Palestinians.  We don't give a shit about making Israel give a shit.  There will therefore never be peace, and chalk it up to the endemic corruption of our political system and good, old-fashioned ignorance of the issues, and our supremely arrogant belief that we will, in spite of a 3000-strong evidence to the contrary, never have to pay for what we do.

Americans, in particular, don't seem to think that we will ever have to pay for anything.  We can continue to say and eat and buy and drive and throw away anything, and it will never affect us.  We are a nation of perpetual motion machines, forgetting that less than a decade ago, we were brought screeching to a halt by the simplest and cheapest of enemies.  And what is perhaps the saddest part of it all is that we were set back into our blind motion by our own leader, who chose not to lead, not to examine, not to question, even, but to say to us, as if we were all children, that our enemy was merely jealous.  Jealous of us.

Do mosquitoes bite humans because they're jealous of the blood that flows through our veins?  Did David sling that rock at Goliath because he envied his prowess with a giant spear?  Did all those Japanese military men hurl those missiles at Godzilla because they wished they could crush the city of Tokyo beneath their own feet?

Yes, we have freedoms.  Some of us have more freedoms than others.  Meg Whitman can buy herself 119 million dollars worth of freedom.  That's a lot of freedom.  Enough, it would appear, to rewrite history.  An illegal immigrant can leave work at the end of the day, buy a 40, get drunk and shout obscenities at the sky, or loudly sing songs about a home he probably will never see again.  That kind of freedom is cheap. 

I write this thing that you're reading.  It, too, is a relatively cheap kind of freedom, which is, I suppose, why blogs are so widely reviled.  But I can't help thinking sometimes that it's all I have.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Okay readers, if you have any interest in hearing what I have to say when technical constraints prevent me from being long-winded, I'm on Twitter.  Vikki_Tikkitavi

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


While the rest of America seems to be tilting at 9/11 windmills, on this 90th anniversary of women finally being granted the right to vote by American men, I find my mind going to that Palin woman.

No, not the one who took Dan Quayle's "Dumbest Vice Presidential Pick EVER" title, although since I've gone there, how about that Ben Quayle, son of Dan Quayle?  The Quayles are an established Hoosier dynasty, but Ben apparently left Indiana and is running in Arizona.  I guess even Indiana has a limit on how much stupid they'll buy, although, wow, I thought once you were done in Indiana, you were pretty much done.  It's like finding out that there's an NFL team you can be traded to after the Lions don't want you anymore.

Ah, Arizona.  Remember when they were merely cranky about black people?

So, no, I don't really spend time thinking about Sarah Palin, although she did blip on my radar today when I found out that she criticized liberal women for "crucifying" women who don't support women's rights, and then she referred to us as witches.  I think.  She called us a "cackle of rads," although maybe she meant a gaggle, and meant to call us geese.  Frankly, I'm not sure what she meant, and it's best not to try to examine Palin-speak too directly, lest the sight of it turn you to stone.* 

The briefly governor Palin also accuses us rads of "hijacking feminism," although if you ask me, she's the one who's driving it like she stole it.

But it's the unfortunately-monikered Bristol Palin that I've been thinking about, because, for several months now, the Palin camp's message regarding Bristol has been that she has her life pulled together, and is totally still on message about abstinence being the only method of birth control that works, although, frankly, it certainly didn't work for her, did it? I mean, other methods of birth control have "failed to use correctly" statistics built into their effectiveness rates, so I don't know why abstinence shouldn't. If it did, can you imagine how low the effectiveness rating would be? I mean, when I was a teenager, I failed to be abstinent almost all of the time. I was smart enough, however, to have a back-up method - hence the gloriously child-free years that followed, during which I managed to not become the country's most egregious cautionary tale.  I mean, unless we're talking about how ill-advised it is to marry an actor, because then, yes, I would probably qualify as a precautionary tale.

But anyhoo, in short, the Palin camp message has been that Bristol is just fine, which, I have to admit, puzzles me.

Because is she's fine, and not crazy, or damaged, or slutty, or disease-ridden, then what the fuck are we talking about with all this blather about teenagers needing to avoid sex? 

If she's fine, then no harm done, I mean, except for the unwanted baby part, which could have been avoided if she'd slipped a raincoat on Levi's Johnston.  So, except for having to drag that kid around, she's okay, right, Palins? 

Then why not solve the having-a-baby part of the equation, Mr. & Mrs. Palin, instead of trying to prevent the sex part?  Because I don't know if you know this - I mean it seriously seems like you may not - but you can easily prevent sex from resulting in babies.  Seriously, you can - it's almost laughably simple. Whereas, trying to keep teenagers from having sex...pretty much impossible.

Unless...they have another reason for keeping teenage girls from having sex?  Because we all know that it's teenage girls that we sort of collectively are really interested in keeping celibate, right?  Take a look at that picture of that "Purity Ball" I put up there.  You don't see any little dudes hanging out making creepy-ass pledges to their opposite-sex parents, do ya?

And look, there was just this study done, that proves that merely having sex does not affect a student's academic performance, either. 

So can we all just agree then, that what we really want to control, is not the consequences of sex, but the sex itself? 

And if we'll admit to that, then why not just name the grizzly in the room, and say that what we really want to control is female sexuality?  And we want to control it not just by keeping females from engaging in sex as long as we can, but also keep them from avoiding the unwanted and avoidable consequences of some sex acts, and also keep them, once they are fully into adulthood, from enjoying sex in the same non-judgemental atmosphere in which men enjoy sex?

Bristol is a cautionary tale only because her parents never taught her how to procure, use, and insist upon, birth control.  All Bristol did was exercise the autonomy that was rightfully hers, and for that she has become the go-to joke about dim-witted baby-having sluts by stand-up comedians everywhere, and she doesn't deserve that.  I have no idea how bright Bristol Palin is or is not, but it was her right and her time to consent, and instead of it being one step on the path to healthy adult relations, that one night of sex became a millstone around her neck, and all because her parents buy into some dumbass Christian hoo-hah about the role of women.  If you ask me, they should apologize to her for thinking that she wasn't worthy of knowing everything that they knew, and more.  If I had a girl of my own, you can bet your ass I would know her worth. 

And Bristol, if you're out there, you're worth everything, sweetie.  Everything.  Come and sit by me, and I will tell you more.

*See what I did there, Sarah?  That's how you call someone a nasty name in a roundabout, mythical allusion-y type way.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The damage done

In one of the many strange jobs I have had along the crazy-ass road to where I am now, I used to analyze claims for a company that, legally, could only pay out if there had been a violation of an obscure little corner of the legal codes. Okay, so figuring out if the law had been violated was frequently easy, but there was always a more basic question to be answered before any checks got written:

How are they damaged?

And I don’t mean how were the people that made the claims damaged as humans, although lord knows I could’ve written a book about that. What it means is, upon what is their claim for damages based? It’s such an important question, and yet one that’s so easy to lose sight of as you slog through the piles of facts and allegations, that at the time of my employ I wrote it large on a piece of paper and tacked it to the wall of my cubicle: How are they damaged?

Later, when I served on the jury at a civil trial wherein an inmate of LA County’s correctional system sued the county for allegedly denying him medical treatment during his processing, the question would take prominence in my life again, as I sat in the jury box for 6 weeks watching the plaintiff’s lawyers bark up a succession of wrong trees.

We denied the plaintiff an award, mostly because he was caught in a lie in court - and caught on film not using his arm sling by a private detection hired by the county. But what bugged me most was that his attorneys had ignored the most important question to be addressed in a civil suit. When the jury was released and the lawyers from both sides stopped us in the hallway and asked us why we had gone the way we did, I couldn’t help but let my long-stewing frustration escape. “You never demonstrated damages!” I said to the plaintiff’s side. “Even if we had believed him, we were supposed to base an award on – what?” I recall that the attorneys for the plaintiff looked a little stunned at my intensity – or maybe they were just pissed that they had spent months working for no payday. When I looked over at the county’s attorneys, I expected them to nod in agreement and murmur something along the lines of “she’s quite right, of course.” Instead they eyed me suspiciously, as lawyers are wont to do when someone outside of their profession borrows their language and employs it to make a point of her own.

And the point is, if you’re going to drag all those people into a hideous paneled room with uncomfortable chairs and no internet access for a month and a half and make them listen to how you’ve done been wronged, then you damn well better say exactly what’s wrong with you, and exactly what it’s going to take to make it right. But the good news about that whole waste of time was that although points of order and the rules of hearsay and the citing of precedents can all get pretty complicated, the basic principles of law can be so refreshingly simple, that even a woman trained as an actress can understand them.

Which brings us to last week, when Proposition 8, the ban on gay marriage, was overturned in court. The proponents of P8 argued the case alone because the Governator and our Attorney General and former Linda Ronstadt beau/current gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown declined to defend the vile piece of legislative caca. And those proponents failed to accomplish, and perhaps even to identify, the one crucial goal of their case.

Bet you can guess what that was.

And for those of us who have spent the last couple of years arguing with homophobic idiots, saying “tell me how it hurts you if gay people get married!” vindication has come at last. Whether we knew it or not, we had put our fingers on the pivotal argument of the case, and just like in real life, wherein our asshat relatives stammer about the sanctity of an institution that they themselves have managed to unsanctify on occasions too numerous to numerate, the proponents of P8 failed to address the crux, and the judge quite rightly called them on their weak-ass shit. They could not demonstrate damages, my friends, and that, as my mom used to say, is the name of that tune.

Of course the final word has yet to be written on Prop 8. It’s difficult to imagine that those five uptight SCOTUS motherfuckers wouldn’t be game to fuck it all up. After all, they’re all Catholics, a church that might not win the gold medal for homo-hating, but it’s certainly, you know, on the podium.

Meanwhile, Judge Walker has set the clock ticking on the stay that keeps gay people from marrying right now in the wake of the overturning of P8. The proponents of P8 are being allowed a chance to argue that P8 should remain in force until the appeals are exhausted, but in another glorious turn of the legal screw, they might not have grounds to even argue the stay in court because…get this, now…they can’t demonstrate that lifting the stay would damage them.

Fuck yeah.

How glorious would it be if the court decided that all those meat-headed hatemongers don’t even have a dog in the gay marriage hunt?

If that day comes, and 5pm Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 brings an end to religion-backed bigotry in California, then rejoice, readers, for Lady Justice has shown herself to be not only blind, but maybe a tiny bit butch as well.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

An Open Letter to Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown

Dear Genius,

After reading what you said about your "no" vote on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court of the United States, I am including a link (you click on the words "a link" and it takes you there) to a list of U.S. Supreme Court Justices that have no prior judicial experience. See how many? There are 40 of them! Did you know that there have only been 111 Supreme Court Justices, like, ever? So 40 is actually kind of a lot. In case you have trouble with fractions, (and a lot of people do so don't start tripping) that is about 36%. More than a third!

Just something to consider before making a whole speech about how you couldn't vote for Elena Kagan because she didn't have any judicial experience.   Oh, and regarding your point about how, given a lack of judicial experience, you would prefer more "practical courtroom experience" than Kagan has - did you know that's kind of a dumbass point of view?

It's true!

See, because if you are hiring a lawyer to sue someone who screwed you over, then yeah, you probably want a good amount of practical courtroom experience.  But if you are looking for a judge for the Supreme Court of the United States, practical courtroom experience is actually not really the most important thing.  Because Supreme Court judges don't argue cases.  What they do is, they listen to the guys arguing cases, and then - and pay attention, Scott, because this is the important part - then, they draw upon their vast knowledge and understanding of the law, and they use it to decide who wins.
Okay, so, if you look Kagan's resume, and here it is (again, click on the words to see it) compared to former Chief Justice (the Chief Justice is like the head guy of all the Justices) Rhenquist's resume, you know, just FYI (For Your Information) on that, you can see that wow!  She had some jobs where she really probably had to know a lot about the law!  And not just like who-can-sue-who-type law, but really complicated law, like the kind of laws that senators vote on.  And you are a senator, so you can ask one of your assistants to show you a copy of a law that you have voted on recently, and you can see for yourself that it's pretty complex and frankly, not just anyone can make head or tails of it. 
Also, I don't know if you know this, and it's not bad if you don't, because it was only a news story for a couple of weeks and it's summer - right? - and who really pays attention to the news in the summer? - but Elena Kagan used to work for a Supreme Court Justice!  No, she totally did! 
I know, weird, right?   
So anyway, I just wanted to give you a heads up, you know, so just in case you wanted to maybe cool it with what you're saying?  Because it's not that smart? 
p.s. And also BTW (By The Way), you can tell all your friends that when you criticize someone for not really being super open about their point of view on a lot of stuff, and you hint around that maybe they are kind of a liar, then really, if you ask me, you totally should not then go and lie about why you are not voting for that person.  Are you feeling me?  Just say you are not voting for her because you don't like the way she thinks about stuff.  That's all.  You shouldn't make up reasons that are just totally transparent.  Because it makes you hypocritical.  For real.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Hey momma, look sharp

Lately, Sarah Palin has given up on comparing herself to a pit bull with lipstick, and has instead employed a "mama grizzly" analogy.  I'm not sure how she, and the people who pay to hear her speak, are like female grizzly bears, because she did not elaborate.  She never elaborates.  I don't think she knows how.

If I were to give her the benefit of the doubt, which I suspect she relies upon pretty heavily, I would speculate that she is invoking a protective ferocity regarding one's offspring, which I am not against out of hand.  In fact, I admire female bears generally for their willingness to die in order to save the lives of their cubs.  Although I should point out that these are actual cubs, mind you, not pre-cub fetuses still in-bear-utero.

What Palin doesn't mention, of course, because I think she can only utter variations on 3 or 4 sentences per event, is that male grizzlies will kill, and even eat, grizzly cubs, even if they were fathered by him.  So I'm guessing that Todd won't be invoking any "papa grizzly" comparisons any time soon.

Parenting is not easy, and lord knows that you encounter plenty of bad examples, usually right in front of you on line at the supermarket.  When I used to wait tables, I saw all kinds of parenting on display in the restaurant, including the kind where toddlers were basically set loose in our dining room as if it were their own private play room.

Of course, the inevitable occurred one day, and a child was injured as a result.

The child, a four-year-old boy, ran full steam out of the restroom and straight into the legs of a server in the hallway who was carrying one of those giant trays absolutely loaded with dishes. And although the waiter actually had the agility and the presence of mind to regain enough control of the tray to slam it into the wall with the dishes trapped between the wall and the tray, rather than let the whole kit and caboodle fall on the boy’s head, one small dish from the tray did fall on his head, causing a one-inch bruise under one eye.

Of course, the parents sued the restaurant.  I don't even have to tell you that, do I?

They were also very nasty to the waiter, which struck me as particularly vile, since it was his fast thinking that kept 50 lbs. of heavy-duty stoneware from raining down upon their offspring’s little fontanelle.

Don’t get me wrong, I also saw some exemplary parenting in the restaurant. I once saw a woman dining alone with her toddler look at the menu and exclaim loudly "Look, Geoffrey!  They have salade Niçoise!" Think how differently your life might have turned out if your mother had done that for you!  Also, many times, I saw parents tell unruly children that if they didn’t behave, then they would have to leave the restaurant. And once, I saw a parent actually follow through on that threat.

The thing is, when you see parents who think their children can do no wrong, and then you see parents who are really dedicated to making sure their children grow up to be good members of society, you may have vastly different views of their parenting skills, but you don’t generally doubt, at least not on that criterion alone, that they love their kids. They all love their kids, right?

I would venture to say that there are those out there who maybe even think that the conscientious parents might love their kids a tiny bit more.  Because they are willing to take the heat and work just a little harder.

And yet how funny that the Democrats, the ones who are willing to give this overgrown bully of a country a little tough love, a little correction, we are the ones who are said to not love the U.S.A. Because we criticize the country we are raising up, we therefore do not sufficiently love it.

Yeah, see what I did there? Y’all didn’t even know you were mid-metaphor, didja?

Look, I fucking love my country as much as the next guy. I love it as much as that meathead in line behind me at the hardware store with the Toby Keith t-shirt and the Bush/Cheney sticker on the rear window of his 4x4, whether he thinks so or not. Because I’m there, buster, buying mulch for my front yard so it looks well-kept and the property values stay up and the gangs don’t move in and your kids still feel safe cutting down my street on their way to school.

And I’ll be there in that voting booth, whenever the state needs to authorize another bond to pay for their education. Even though I don’t have kids myself and it means higher taxes for me - I’ll be there.

I’ll be there wherever there’s the LAPD beating an immigrant protester. I’ll be in the way gays yell when they’re angry that they can't marry the one they love. I’ll be in the way people say yes to their doctor, even though they know what he's about to do will send them to the poorhouse. And I’ll be in the way soldiers fight back their tears as they unload the coffins from overseas in the dead of night, so that no one can see the cost that we pay for this war that we’ll never win and this victory that we'll never have. I’ll be there, too.

I’ll be everywhere. Because I love my country. And I’m not giving it up without a fight.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Small people got no reason to live

Say what you will about Obama’s handling of the oil spill, that he got BP to put up not only 20 billion for spill-related claims, but 100 million for unemployment compensation in advance is brilliant. Hopefully the deal is structured in such a way that BP can’t split and pawn its debt obligations onto some unprofitable subsidiary, whilst taking the profitable part somewhere else.

Oh, that’s right, BP cares about small people, so they won’t do that. I forgot.

The Republicans have been falling over one another trying to show how much they are on BP’s side in this whole thing. It’s a little puzzling until you remember that the Republican political strategy since 2008 can be summed up in 2 words: Batshit Crazy.

And speaking of batshit crazy, what about the residents of the Gulf, whose feelings about this disaster can pretty much be paraphrased thusly: I can’t believe Obama let the oil companies jeopardize our livelihoods with that dangerous deep water drilling and…you’ve suspended deep water drilling – how dare you! 

Pro-deep water drilling Louisiana Parish President Charlotte Rand has proclaimed to the media that her community is being used to promote the president's agenda.   Shocking!  Except, wait, what is that agenda, again?  Oh, it's energy independence and lower emissions and more green jobs and um, really good things that we all want?  For shame, Mr. President!

Is anyone else getting the feeling that it is not possible for Obama to win? Americans want government to be smaller but do more things. They hate deficit spending but don’t want their (fill in the blank with any government benefit program) to change or run out. They want unfettered capitalism, and they want the government to force private industry hire more people and treat them better. They decry the nanny state, except when they need Washington to come in and clean up the messes that others have made. It reminds me of the old engineers joke: You can have it good, you can have it cheap, you can have it fast. Pick two.

Well, America, you can have a government that is effective at doing what you want them to do, or you can have a Libertarian government that leaves you to fend for yourself. YOU CANNOT HAVE BOTH.

In fact, considering that the Supreme Court has already let it be known where they stand on the whole small people vs. big oil deal, I’m surprised that they haven’t declared that BP’s oil spill is protected free speech, and it is unconstitutional for the government to limit what they spew.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

My bad

I have friends who will go see any dumbass vampire whatever that comes along. I have friends who went fucking apeshit over that ridiculous Harry Potter hoo-hah. I have friends who think nothing of forking over their hard-earned money to watch lame CGI car-monster things blow up other lame CGI things. I know people who just want to watch movies where cars are driven fast and that’s all. I know people who will go to see any comic book-inspired movie, no matter how lame, and will insist that these movies are really, really good, and even that the actors in them should win Academy Awards.

Everyone’s entitled to their own peculiar brand of Crap That They Happen To Like, and I’m no exception. But I take pride in at least knowing that the Crap That I Happen To Like is crap. I don’t try to pretend that it’s not crap. I know it’s crap, but it’s Crap That I Happen To Like, and so leave me alone and let me enjoy my crap and I promise I won’t bore you at some party or in your cubicle by waxing rhapsodic for twenty minutes about how some actor of middling talent has elevated the franchise.

So here’s the Crap That I Happen To Like: Sex and the City. Yup. It’s bona fide crap, but I like it. And, yeah, blah blah blah it was a pretty funny tv series but the movies suck blah blah blah. Believe me, I, unlike the people who think Watchmen wasn’t awful, harbor absolutely no illusions about the level of crapitude that I am endorsing every time I shell out to go see SATC on opening day, or pre-order the latest DVD on Amazon. The scripts are awful, the filmmaking is beyond hacky, the plots are just the worst, and the costumes are, well, they look like they were the product of some kind of dare. I don’t care. Well, of course I wish it were good, but it’s not good, and I’m still going to see it any way.

What I object to, is not any legitimate criticism of any of the above. I could read reviews that complain about the implausibility of the characters’ dialogue and wardrobes all day long and it would not bother me a bit. I would probably agree with them on all of their points, in fact. (Speaking of which - Michael Patrick King, if you are out there somewhere, please – I beg of you – please bring back the series writers for the next one.)

What I object to is the hate. My crap isn’t hurting anyone, and it’s certainly none crappier than most of the other crap out there, so why make it so personal?

Because when reviewers ridicule the aging faces and bodies of the women in the movie, and express disgust at the thought of them having sex, I have to take it personally, because I AM THE SAME AGE AS THEM. I am hanging out there myself, about halfway between Carrie and Samantha, so if the thought of their middle-aged lady parts is grossing you out, then fuck you. You’re a hater, and you’re not even an imaginative one, because it’s the easiest fucking thing in the world to make fun of women who are not as young as the women that you think are hot.

Older women have always been Hollywood’s reliable punching bags, and so it’s no surprise that critics are particularly hostile to movies where the joke is not on us. Normally, when we’re not being mocked for daring to still possess a sex drive, or for having the gall to believe ourselves to be still vital and sensuous, we’re being told to make ourselves invisible, because once the cooch dries up and the skin goes “leathery,” as one reviewer so tactfully put it, then what the fuck are we still hanging around for?

Holy fucking shit, y’all, why do you think so many women happen to like this crap, anyway? Because it means someone cares about us. Because someone still thinks we are worth the bother of making terrible, shallow, mindless crap for. Someone still thinks we are worthy of a hilariously relentless product placement assault. Someone still thinks that there’s a sliver of market that would rather look at a really expensive impractical shoe than a really expensive impractical piece of automobile nonsense. It’s because someone out there knows that for us, “Lawrence of my labia” is way funnier than some pimply young dork fucking an apple pie. I know, hard to believe. But then, you’re not a ridiculous gross old dried-up wrinkly-faced cougar like me.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

But it's a dry heat

Arizona, apparently not satisfied with the amount of public ridicule being leveled against them, has decided now to outlaw the studying of non-white culture in public schools. According to the governor and the state school czar, ethnic curriculums, such as those focusing on Latino, African-American, and Native contributions to American culture, promote hating on white people.

Um, I have news for you, Arizona, it’s not “The Influence of Zuni Decorative Motifs in the Art Deco Movement” that’s prompting the brown people of your state to give you the collective stink eye, it’s…well, it’s a lot of things, not the least of which is that little “show me your papers” thing you’ve got going on now.

It’s hard to imagine the Republicans, who are always yammering about how much they love freedom, and how much everyone else hates how free we are, backing laws that restrict freedom of speech and movement.

Just kidding. It’s not hard to imagine at all. Nobody really thinks that Republicans love freedom. I mean come on. If it’s one thing the W years taught us, it’s that Republicans don’t give a good goddamn about freedom.

Come to think of it, it’s hard to say what Republicans do love. I would say that they love other Republicans, if they weren’t so found of throwing one another to the lions whenever one of them strays too far towards the center of an issue.

I would say that they love money, except that the majority of them tend to do better financially when a Democrat is in office.

I would say that they love the military, except they don’t really treat them very well, and no Republican administration has tried harder to reform the VA than Obama's has.

I would say that they love their god, except I don’t see how that could be, since they’ve made him out to be such an asshole. For one thing, he’s always causing homosexuals to be born, and then turning right around and trying to wipe them out with hurricanes and such. Hey Republican God, why not send a hurricane or typhoon or something to wipe out bin Laden, if you’re so simultaneously pro-America/handy with the catastrophic storms?

I would say that they love the flag, except they’re always disrespecting it by pretending that it represents their anger, or their insecurities about minorities, or their ignorance of our foreign policies, instead of what it really represents: The United States of America.

I love America. But America is not perfect. We’re like a family that way. It’s okay to say that. It’s okay to want to make it better. I mean, if you can’t even admit that we made some pretty bad decisions when we were younger, then I don’t even know how we can move forward at all.

And as a special message to those Americans who got their shit kicked by those floods in Tennessee: I’m sorry about what happened to you and your homes and your stuff. And it sucks that all that coverage of the world’s lamest terrorist, and the world’s shoddiest oil rig, pushed the spotlight off of you in your hour of need. Truly. The media was bored by your disaster, I guess, and it shouldn’t be that way. I could not agree more. I’m glad you banded together, and that your politicians are working with the various branches of government to enable your recovery. You have behaved admirably under unbelievable adversity, and that truly makes me feel proud to be an American.

But what hurts me, my brothers and sisters, is when you take what the media has done, and you construe it to mean that we don’t care about you because you are not New Orleans, nor Haiti. Or when you say that we only care about the things that Oprah tells us to care about. Whatever you think of our president, you weren’t cheated out of your due because you are white. It hurts me that you think that. That you maybe know in your heart it isn’t true, but say it anyway, hurts me even more.

Look, we don’t love you any less because of who you are, no matter who’s got his ass in the big chair in Washington. We love you the same, goddammit. That’s the whole point of it all, of everything we’re supposed to be about. So what good does it do to continue to count coup upon one another’s heads?

Here’s an idea: let the schoolkids read about Pancho Villa if they want to. Meanwhile, let’s all set about to prove to those kids that’s it’s not 19fucking10 in America anymore. How about that?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You're doing fine, Oklahoma!

As we inch ever closer to women having fewer rights in this country than they did 40 YEARS AGO, I have become gradually inured to the idiocy and cruelty of those in the anti-abortion movement.

So it came as no surprise to me that the Oklahoma legislature has decided that women (all women - without exception for rape victims, or those who have conceived through incest) seeking to have an abortion must not only submit to an ultrasound, as several other states already require, but that the doctor must position the ultrasound monitor where the woman can see it, and (in case she chooses not to look) the doctor must also describe the physical characteristics of the fetus, including its limbs and organs.

Pfft! Snooze. Why don’t you call me back, Oklahoma, when you pass a law requiring women to name the fetus, paint the nursery, and buy one of those really expensive strollers? Then we’ll talk. Until then, you’re fucking rank amateur female subjugators. You’re like the Bristol Palin of women hating. You’re all blah blah blah, don’t have sex if you aren’t rich enough to hire someone else to take care of your baby for you, sluts. I challenge you, Oklahoma, to get all medieval on us women, and I mean literally medieval. Like, pass a law that any woman wanting an abortion must be burned at the stake first. Then we’ll know you’re really serious about this oppression of women shit. Until you do that - fuck off, Oklahoma. Go stage another production of that nancy musical with your name in it that you love so much, you fucking pussies.

Except, uh-oh, it appears that Oklahoma took me up on my dare, readers. Because they just also passed a law that “protects doctors from malpractice suits if they decide not to inform the parents of a (sic) unborn baby that the fetus has birth defects. The intent of the bill is to prevent parents from later suing doctors who withhold information to try to influence them against having an abortion.”

Wow. Just fucking wow, Oklahoma. You got me. I mean, I wasn’t expecting you to come at us from quite this angle but I got to say…wow.

You’ve just legalized doctors lying to women so that doctors can make women’s medical decisions for them.

Ah…it’s fucking brilliant. I applaud you, and your stupid musical, too. And I expect you not to rest on your laurels Oklahoma, but to muck back in straightaway and start passing some legislation that will enable others to lie to us too, like pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers, and oh, fuck it, why not include the people who make tampons and douches and feminine hygiene sprays and Pamprin and condoms and spermicides and all that shit that women use to deal with that nasty fucking hole they got between their legs that separates them from all the real people walking the face of this earth? Because bitches be some dumb fucking bitches, bitches. And the fewer things they got to think about, the better.

Monday, April 26, 2010

¡Atienda, usted dumbass gabachos conservadores!

Latino activists have been using re-fried beans to smear swastikas on the windows of the Arizona state capitol building to demonstrate that in terms of fascism, extending healthcare benefits to the poor, and reining in corporate greed, really can’t hold a candle to enabling the police to detain anyone, at will, and demand proof of citizenship before being released. I mean, weren’t you paying attention during any of those World War 2 movies I know y’all love to watch? At the very least, you must remember that having one’s papers in order was a very big deal every week on Hogan’s Heroes, right?

Sooooo….maybe you should stop complaining about Latinos, because they seem to have a better understanding of history, government, and, um, what words mean, than you do.

They’re also funnier than you - admit it. I mean, you guys didn’t even know what teabagging meant - you had to have the media explain it to you. Whereas Latinos employed refried beans, a substance that A) they love, B) looks alarmingly like shit, and C) has been used against them via pejorative stereotypes for decades! It’s the perfect medium for their political statement, and what’s more, there’s none of that pesky sniggering over unintended gay-adjacent innuendo.

You’ve been outplayed, dumbasses, and if you had the sense god gave a gander, you’d slink back home and think about what’s really making you mad, and stop pretending it has anything to do with how much money the government spends.

And speaking of fascists, as a special bonus to those right-wing dumbasses out there who also happen to be Catholic, I challenge you to go home and also think really hard about this bureaucratic demi-god you’ve got lounging about in Vatican City. Are you aware that he’s basically hiding child molesters, and those that covered up the crimes of child-molesters, behind the drapes in the Basilica? Doesn’t that…bother you at all? Are you going to try to oust him, ever, or do you intend to give your highest spiritual leader on earth the kind of free pass you wouldn’t give to a grade school principal?

Also, Catholics: no more making fun of Scientologists, or Mormons, or any other sect in the Pantheon of Preposterous Beliefs. You’re officially ridiculous now, so sign over the great art and buildings and fade into history, already, wouldja? Thanks.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Everybody must get stoned

The recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the twin U.S. and Mexican border cities of Calexico and Mexicali on Easter Sunday raises two issues in my mind:

God must be hella pissed at Mexico and Mexico-adjacent Southern California! I’m not sure why he would miss LA and our even more godless and even more latte-swilling and lord knows, gayer neighbors to the north, and hit all the Catholics on the border! Maybe he’s trying to tell them that it’s time to dump that Nazi pope guy and found a church not based on buggering children. If so, he’s going about it exactly the wrong way. Everyone knows that the more you fuck with a people, the more they will loyal up to the worst kinds of leaders. Can I get an amen up in here on that?

And given the contrast between the two towns in terms of the kind of damage done, and the amount of casualties, I would say that it’s become clear that stringent building codes, and the enforcement of same, are clearly life- and property-savers in events such as this. The recent quakes in Haiti and Chile also prove this fact.

But what I want to know is, when are the teabaggers going to march in protest of these socialist building codes? We are being forced into a government-run safety program, financed with not only our tax dollars, but our take-home pay as well! It’s the nanny state again, people, telling us that we can’t be trusted to keep ourselves safe and healthy!

Okay, look, you know what? I am tired of this.

I mean it. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t keep doing this stupid sarcastic parody of someone who believes this idiocy.

So listen up, teabaggers, because I’m going to give it to you straight: building codes are yet another example of why you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about. I don't know what kind of wild west fantasy you think you're living in, but I can guarantee you that you are not really living there, and if you did, believe me, you would tuck tail and run back to the real USA, where the government tries its best to keep at bay the thousand different corporate fuckers who are trying to poison and/or cheat you and yours.  And just because the media is too chickenshit to say WTF when you assert that the government’s role is too keep us from doing bad things, not to make us do good things, doesn’t mean that your fact-free shit don’t stink.

Also, if you wouldn’t mind, I would like a pledge from each and every one of you that you will never go on Medicare, Medicaid, or receive any kind of VA-financed health care. Plus, a pledge to never show up at any public hospital emergency room, unless you have the means to pay in total for the care you receive.

In addition, if your spouse, children, mother or father, grandparents, or any other close family member receives any of the above services, you will need to remove them from that program, and pay for the equivalent level of health insurance for them as well.

I believe this requirement falls under “family values.”

When you have done this, then you may hurl your bricks. Until then, maybe you should think about what Jesus said about glass houses.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The best medicine

Well, I certainly hope that everyone who considered voting for Ole Whitey McCain in 2008 is breathing a huge sigh of relief with accompanying exaggerated forehead-wiping gesture. Whew! What a dodged bullet that was, eh?

And if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, please to check out Grumpy’s reaction to his party being unable to stop the health care reform bill:
"There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year…they have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."
It goes on in typical McCain keep-away-from-my-Gran-Torino fashion.

In response, Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid released the following statement.
Reid of course makes an excellent point about the revelation of McCain's brazen hypocrisy on the ol' "Country First" front.  I guess country only comes first when it's a Republican country.  Democratic countries can go fuck themselves, apparently.
"For someone who campaigned on ‘Country First’ and claims to take great pride in bipartisanship, it’s absolutely bizarre for Senator McCain to tell the American people he is going to take his ball and go home until the next election."

But Reid also, and in typical Democratic leadership fashion, misses the bullseye on one crucial point: the Republicans can't take their ball and go home, because IT'S NOT THEIR FUCKING BALL.  So, they can go home if they want to, but no one's going to chase after them and beg them to come back, nor is the scoring going to cease in their absence.

Yeah, the ball belongs to the Dems, and if the Republicans want to play, they have to play according to the rules of the playground, the most important of which are these:

1. Stop fucking whining about the rules.
2. Cop to your own fouls, if you want a call to go your way.

If you don't follow 1 & 2, then no one will ever want to pick you again, no matter how good you are.

Ah, but just like every thickheaded jackass bully you ever met in your childhood, the Republicans just can't seem to figure out why everyone is laughing at them.  They can only rage and stomp their feet and shout words whose meanings they do not understand, and then become even more enraged when they discover that their demonstrations have only made people laugh even louder.

And I think laughter is a perfectly fine reaction to have to all this.  Yes, it's troubling to hear their bench yell "Nigger" and "Faggot," and yes, it's heartbreaking to see them treat a sick man with a disrepect you wouldn't show to an organ grinder's monkey, but in the end, their histrionics have become so telling that it's just sorta sad.

The best was when Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) said on the floor of the House, "If ObamaCare passes, that free insurance card that’s in people’s pockets is gonna be as worthless as a Confederate dollar after the war between the states — the Great War of Yankee Aggression."

First of all, "free insurance card" is pretty funny.  Perhaps no one has ever hipped Broun to the fact that Congress is pretty much the only place where health insurance is still free. 

Secondly...The Great War of Yankee Agression.  You know, when the overly-agressive Yankee types tried to tell the Southern man what he could do with his own hard-earned darkies.

I told you it was sad.  Because they have no idea, no idea that we're onto them.  They think they're pretty clever, with all their talk of deficits, and future generations, and constitutionality, and interstate commerce, but really, it's all about the colored boy in their White House, giving away free health care to all his no-account jigaboo cousins.  It's all about health insurance welfare queens, my friends.  Because some people, and yes, they're mostly old white dudes, believe that every thing they have ever gotten they have earned, whereas every thing non-old white dudes have ever gotten has been handed to them, completely undeserved.  This is a necessary belief, if they are to continue to perpetuate a system that favors them, you understand.   They must believe it, in order for the planet they inhabit to remain in place, and not get knocked out of its orbit of presumption like some juiced-up Barry Bonds dinger.

So we may as well laugh at them, because there is certainly no talking to them.  How do you talk to someone who has free health care from the government, but doesn't think anyone else deserves it?  How do you talk to someone who believes that a seven hundred billion dollar mistake in the desert is a bargain, but that same amount spent on the health of our people is a scam of historic proportions?  How do you talk to someone who, when confronted with the tragedy of the thousands of people who die in this country every year due to lack of coverage, wants to quibble over how many thousand?

And in the end, we may as well laugh because this bill that they have demonized, does precious little to deserve its reputation.  It doesn't really help people who can not afford coverage at all.  It makes health care more expensive for many women.  Many of its most important reforms don't take place for years.  It's a step.  A very small step.  And very dearly paid for by those who fought for it, yes, but much more dearly paid for, of course, by those it disappoints.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why does the Lone Star State hate our fifty stars?

Well, now that they’ve discovered a blonde, white woman from Texas who’s a terrorist, I certainly hope that the right wing will subject the Lone Star State to the same kind of pejoratives that they did California in the aftermath of the hoopla over John Walker Lindh, the “American Taliban,” AKA the “misguided Marin County hot-tubber.”

I can’t wait for all the televised hand-wringing about how the conservative Christian climate in Texas makes it a breeding ground for anti-American sentiment. I want Texas listed alongside of Syria and Iran as state sponsors of terrorism. I want to erect a fence around Texas to keep them from crossing the border into the real America. When we do allow them to travel, I want them to be searched, x-rayed, and body-scanned. I want to see their passports; I want their Lone Star beer confiscated if it exceeds 3 ounces, or is not contained in a clear ziplock bag. If someone in a cowboy hat prays to their “god” or goes to the bathroom while on a commercial flight, I want crazy hysterical fucking hell to break loose.

And I call for the government of Mexico to enforce the border along the Rio Grande with national troops, and to stop allowing Texans to cross over to trade guns for cheap hooch, illegal drugs, and sequined sombreros.

I want an apology from the governors of Texas from 1985, when Colleen LaRose (What is that, French?)was first arrested, to when she was allowed to escape their jurisdiction in 2005. That means you, Rick Perry, and you, George W. Bush. Please explain to the American people how you allowed the radicalization of Jihad Jane to happen on your watch.

And I call for the people in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana to build new settlements along their borders with Texas, in order that Texans may be contained within their existing lands. And I call for patriotic Americans to populate these settlements in order to ensure that the country of the United States of America is not threatened by the growing menace of domestic Texan terrorism.

Lastly, I want to remind the American people that the Lone Star State did secede from our Union once, and had to be forcibly integrated back into these United States by order of a treaty of war. And it has not escaped my notice that Texans, including their terrorist-colluding Governor Perry have frequently expressed a desire to secede from us once again. And so I say unto them…now seems like a really good time to do that.

So, you know, feel free.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Oscars 2010: Let's face it, everything below the waist is kaput!

Whoever said there is no balm in Gilead wasn’t lulled into an insensible stupor last night by the 82nd Academy Awards telecast. Hey, world, got earthquakes? Tsunamis? Crazy teabaggers flying into buildings? Crazy teabaggers setting their houses on fire? Crazy teabaggers trying to storm the Pentagon? Crazy teabaggers refusing to admit that their central beef, i.e., government giveaways to the banks and corporations, can only be solved by more government and not less? Just curl up in front of the world’s most predictable media event and wash all that scary hopey changey stuff right on out of your hair.

The Oscars!® It’s good for what ails ya!®

The Oscars have long suffered by comparison to other award shoes, and have famously sought to distinguish themselves from them, so of course the show began with a musical number danced and sung by Neil Patrick Harris – which was a completely new and original idea if you do not count the last Tony Awards show. Or the last Emmy Awards. Oscar then followed that up by proceeding to reward exactly the same people it always rewards and be ridiculously overblown in all the same ways it always is.

Case in point is that a major acting award went to someone who does a lot of crap but who managed to pull off a respectable serious performance. And no, I’m not talking about Sandra Bullock. Jeff Bridges finally won the Oscar on his fifth try for what was basically Tender Mercies 2, and I’m fine with it even though he is frequently terrible because he did Starman, and I love Starman, and he was really really good in Starman. The academy, like Olympic judges, prefers performances with a high technical difficulty, which usually means that they’re unduly impressed when an actor plays a real person. Morgan Freeman must’ve thought he had it all sewed up then, since he played not just a real person, but a real black person. A real, cool, black person – everything Hollywood loves, in theory. But I think the voters realized that Bridges, the Dude, was not, you know, getting any younger, and it was time for him to have his little statue.

Similarly, Sandra Bullock won for Steel Magnolias 2 under the Ron Howard Provision of academy voting, which is, if you stick around long enough and don’t rock the boat and do reliable box office, you will be rewarded, even if your work is mediocre.

And so, blah blah blah, predictable awards, predictable witty banter, predictable self-effacing visual humiliation of Ben Stiller, predictable terrible dance number in which the dancers’ interpretation of the song tends toward the hilariously literal…

The only mild surprise was that The Hurt Locker managed to hang onto what everybody figured it would get, in spite of a last minute whispering campaign against the filmmakers (financed by, oh, I don’t know, the producers of Inglorious Basterds, maybe?) and a rather suspiciously-timed lawsuit filed by one of the soldiers that the screenwriter interviewed before he wrote the script. But the Academy was rather obviously prepared for their first female Best Director, as they had long time bridesmaid Barbra Streisand there to hand over the award for which she was at one time herself famously snubbed. Also, they had the band poised to play “I Am Woman,” because hey, that’s not dated and cheesey!

Another predictable result of the Oscars was Japan’s reaction today to the Best Documentary win. The film, The Cove, tells the story of a small Japanese town and their horrific and secretive culling of the local dolphin population for food. If you’ve never seen film of what they do, they trap, drown, and spear the dolphins in numbers sufficient to turn the water of the cove completely red with blood. It’s barbaric and ugly, to say the least, and Japan has shut their eyes to it for years, saying that, essentially, we should respect the practice because it is a very old practice. As if that makes it okay.

I’m not sure why, if they’re so miffed and defensive, they don’t simply point out the incredible hypocrisy of our position. After all, lambs are cute. Pigs are intelligent. What exactly is the basis of our objection to this? There’s nothing going on in that cove that doesn’t happen on the kill floor in slaughterhouses all over the United States in every single minute of every single day.

You know what else is predictable? That there will be two reactions to this part of my post: 1. crickets, or 2. but I love bacon! Man, that shit is tired.

So go at it. I’ll be in the bar, trying to replicate that insensible stupor.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Grating expectations

According to a new study, that tracked fifty thousand cell phone users through logging their locations when calls were made, you could write an algorithm that would predict the current location of any particular person with 93% accuracy.

Yeah, right. You know what this really means? That people who are on their fucking phones all the time are unimaginative slaves to tedium. What the fuck else is new?

I object to being judged based on such a selective sample, mostly because I already live in a city that admittedly loves to hear itself talk, especially via the latest technology. In fact, I would pay cash money for someone to do a study that would consist of walking up to people who are on the phone in public and shaking them silly and yelling “Who the fuck could you possibly need to talk to for 18 hours out of every single fucking day?”

Come to think of it, fuck the study. That sounds like an awesome reality show to me. Someone get my agent on the phone.

Not that we aren’t a highly predictable species, because we are – although if you were paying attention, you might have noticed that something fairly unpredictable happened last night.

An American skater won the men’s figure skating gold medal, even though he didn’t attempt a quadruple jump – a Russian skater (barely) landed a quad, and didn’t win! Yes, it was a victory for skating over jumping, which was an unexpected direction for the stodgy and normally predictable Olympic judges. Of course, this unexpected event was immediately followed by an eminently predictable Russian response from silver medal consolation prize winner Plushenko and his coach, who ventured that any male skater who couldn’t land a quadruple jump was, essentially, a fag – a fine statement from a dude who minced and air-kissed his way through a long program so pandering and cutesy that it made Johnny Weir’s routine look like Don Imus on ice.

Unlike those conservatives who have been in a perpetually apoplectic state since November of 2008, I welcome the occasional bout of unpredictability. I voted for change not just as a catchy slogan, but as an actual means of progression toward a goal. Unfortunately, it’s been lean times for the unexpected, especially in the good ole’ US of A.

I mean, it’s all wealthy powerful male role models apologizing for shagging skanks here, and delusional religious meatheads dictating America’s education curriculum there. Yawn. Total snoozeville - although I have to say I never have figured out why conservative types home-school their kids, I mean, except, I guess, unless they’re worried about their kids forming opinions about racial minorities based on their own experience, instead of their parents’ rabid pronouncements. But no doubt conservatives own the public school curriculum. The only soupçon of progressive a kid in America is likely to get is from the teacher her/himself, who is, after all, still a mammal, and is still capable of catching the stench of bullshit wafting off his or her teaching materials.

But make no mistake, the course we are currently on, wherein progressives become disillusioned with the man they voted into office because he has to, after all, be president of a country wherein not everyone is as progressive as they, was predictable. Progressives deserted Clinton in droves in his first year in office, vowing to NEVER VOTE AGAIN! Fucking pussy-ass so-called liberals give liberals a bad name, if you ask me. I mean, I’m grateful that they delude themselves long enough to get to the polls for a Democratic presidential candidate, but their subsequent four-year-long case of the political vapors has become quite tedious, and it also makes me want to upchuck on their Shepard Fairey collectibles. I long for them to buck the fuck up, but I know in my heart it will never happen.

And adding to the general atmosphere of been there, done that thing, is the omnipresent shit-for-brains conservative Washington Post columnist writing a smug, condescending and factually-challenged column about how smug, condescending, and untruthful liberals are. Dang! If I had a dime for every time I’ve read one of those in the last year, I could buy myself a latte and start on to swillin’ it.

Also predictable? That some right-wing-fed looney bird, no doubt feeling the flames of white man entitlement like the heat from a thousand white-hot suns, would attack hapless federal employees in their cubicles. It’s been done before, remember? And conservatives failed then, and will fail now, to convincingly distance themselves from the murderer. In other words, Joe Stack is NOT Joe 6-pack. Joe 6-pack works in a goddamn cubicle at the Austin office of the IRS, assholes.

But the all-time queen of the clockwork reactionary is, of course, former governor Sarah Palin. As appalling as it is for such a prominent political figure to openly mock the sincere and even desperate dreams of the majority of Americans, as the former governor did when she fake-asked Obama voters “how’s that hopey, changey stuff workin’ out?”, it is, at the same time, neither surprising that she did it, nor that she proclaimed herself a proud American in the next breath with a straight face.

Of course I have lots of sympathy for anyone trying to raise a mentally disabled child, because I think no other group of Americans is more consistently discriminated against.

Hopefully the former governor will forgive my liberal stance on that subject.

I also personally feel that when the soup goes bad, you need to stop serving it up. So, put a rubber on it, Todd, because Mother Nature is telling you that you’re done. You’re in your forties, you have five kids now – which seems to me to be more than sufficient - and besides, your offspring have demonstrated that they’re more than capable of picking up where you left off.

It’s a shame that pimping out your children for praise while also insisting that they remain off limits to criticism doesn’t pay sufficiently to keep the Palins in ammo and snowmobiles, because without a doubt it is there that the former governor’s talents truly lie. Palin has recently appointed herself the arbiter of all things retard, and apparently has no compunction regarding the hypocrisy of using political affiliation as the determining factor in her pronouncements on acceptable use of the term.

And so, predictably, the Palin retard alarm went off this week when an episode of the network cartoon “Family Guy” featured a character with Down syndrome who identified herself in the script as a child of the “former governor of Alaska.” Palin described her reaction to the line as feeling like a “kick in the gut.”

Predictable results ensued. Right and left talk-show yammerers lined up and duked it out, no doubt for significant personal compensation, although no actual edification on the subject was produced.

Until yesterday, when, quite unexpectedly, the actress who played the character, and who has Down syndrome herself, weighed in:
I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line “I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska” was very funny. I think the word is "sarcasm".

In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.
I don’t know if Palin felt a kick in the gut when she read what someone who is actually “retarded” thinks of her, but if not, I certainly volunteer to fly to Alaska and deliver one.