Monday, October 30, 2006

Undead To Santorum: Drop Dead!

(PA) - There’s only a week to go until Election Day and the rhetoric of the flailing Rick Santorum campaign seems to have become increasingly shrill as the candidate desperately tries to find a way to gain some traction.

His latest statement, declaring that his opponent Bob Casey massages the feet of Al-Qaida frontman Osama Bin Laden with unguents and sweet oils, doesn’t seem to have helped his standing with the electorate.

Faced with the looming prospect of returning to private life, we thought it would be interesting to see if he would be welcomed back to the ranks of the Undead from whence he sprang.

With this in mind, we traveled to the Undead Mall of America and spoke to a random selection of shoppers.

One Count Dracula told us, “He was sent to do the bidding of the Prince of Lies and claim the Earth for Satan. Instead we get this stuff about ‘man-on-dog’ sex. No thanks.”

A Mr. Lawrence Talbot chimed in, “We’re witnessing the Last Days Of The Beast, in my opinion. I wish him the best, but I can’t say I’d be glad to see him come back. At the very least, I would hope they’d alert the neighbors if he was moving in.”

Representing the medical community, a Dr. Frankenstein offered, “I think the whole Terry Schiavo thing really hurt him. I mean, even I could see she wasn’t coming back. Having said that, I don’t think playing God is necessarily a bad thing, but at some point you’ve got to admit that that dog won’t hunt.”

Lastly, a Mr. Dick Cheney, greedily clutching the latest in waterboarding paraphrenalia, opined, “I can certainly appreciate that he was an abomination and an affront to everything Good and Decent. But he’s outlived his usefulness and will probably be recycled into demonic excrement or a truss for Hitler.”

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Life In These Untied States

When Mr. Cheney was done meeting and greeting, he…rubbed his hands vigorously with [Purell hand sanitizer], dispensed in dollops by an aide when the vice president was out of public view.
- NY Times reveals the cure for common people germs

Okay, I need to apologize, I was wrong because I speculated either [Michael J. Fox] didn't take his medication or he was acting. I never said the word faking. Now, if you people on the left want to equate acting with faking, I mean, go ahead.
- Rush Limbaugh forgets his medication

I will say that this is the first time that it ever occurred to me that “Rainy Day Women No. 12 and 35” could sound, in an instrumental bridge, like “The Trolley Song.”
- Ben Brantley on Broadway’s latest “jukebox musical,” The Times They Are A-Changin’

Friday, October 20, 2006

Why They Love Freedom

I want you to stay home on Election Day because you must accept the fact that your party has abandoned you. You've gotta accept the fact that your vote doesn't matter anyway. So all you Democrats, stay home.
- Political commentator Sean Hannity encourages participation in the democratic process

It could lead to the breakup of the United States of America.
- Radio host Michael Savage contemplates the logical result of a Republican loss

I think I’d just commit suicide.
- Presidential hopeful John McCain demonstrates grace under pressure

Monday, October 16, 2006

Another Year Older On The Jersey Turnpike, or: John Lennon Is Not A Toy!

It’s hard not to think of Jean Shepherd when I’m on the New Jersey Turnpike.

The Jersey Turnpike, I imagine him saying, it’s the best and worst of America stretched along an endless length of asphalt! Brave is the man or woman who risks falling victim to the clutches of its greasy talons!

And so it was last weekend as we made our way into the heart of Jersey to celebrate the birthday of a singer-songwriter of our acquaintance. The idea had been to fit in a stop at the indie record store so I could buy some jewel cases for a new CD project but, as the saying goes, making plans is just another way of making the Turnpike laugh.

We had barely made it past the toll booth when the traffic began to congeal. According to the radio, we were on the side of the Turnpike with the 7 mile delay. The other side was experiencing a 16 mile delay that wouldn’t become visible until we’d begun to ease out of our own dilemma.

There’s nothing worse than that stop-and-start peristaltic motion as your capacity for hope sinks somewhere into the floor.

I warned you, you fathead! I can hear Shep laugh. It’s the Jersey Turnpike, brother…Sargasso of dashed dreams and busted radiator coils. What made you think you could beat it?

As we eased out of the mess, it looked as if there might be 5 minutes to spare at the record store, so we dashed in to find they were having a 50% Off toy sale. There were, however, exceptions. Behind the counter was a large John Lennon figure with a sign that read John Lennon Is Not Part Of The Toy Sale.

I flashed back to reading about Mark David Chapman’s latest appearance before the parole board, just a few days before what would have been John’s birthday. It’s startling to see pictures of how he looks now. How could he look so old? How did I get this old?

With jewel cases and non-Beatle toys in tow, it was time to plunge ever deeper into parts of Jersey Unknown. The street address only made things worse as the numbers went up and down without reason. As dusk encroached, we stopped at a random house out of desperation. Who would answer? Jean Shepherd’s ghost, out for Halloween, telling us that we should have made a left at the Sinclair dinosaur?

Luckily, the man of the house doesn’t seem too disturbed by complete strangers knocking at his door looking for directions. The directions turn out to be good, too, until we get to the last block. The house’s address doesn’t seem to exist until closer examination reveals a handscrawled sign on the side of the fence. The house itself is well hidden by tall trees and untamed shrubbery, a microcosm of Jersey itself.

Inside, things were better, with the singer’s mom bringing out sausage and peppers and strangers exchanging their own stories of getting lost in Jersey. It was the best you could hope for in the Garden State, bumping into someone else and quizzing them about the Parkway exit that brought about their doom and how they escaped it.

The singer was well into his 4th or 5th Beatles song when I thought, well, John Lennon isn’t part of the toy sale any more, and neither is CBGB’s, but we’ve made it this far. And we’ve all gotten lost along the way, but we’re safe now and having a few laughs. And there’s more sausage and peppers in the fridge if the bass player will put it in the oven.

And I’ve got another birthday coming up in a couple of days.

And you know that can’t be bad.