Saturday, August 30, 2008

Babies, Guns, Jesus!

Her personal story is impressive: former fisherman, mother of five.
- Paul Begala

That's a healthy thing. That means my perspective is fresher.
- Sarah Palin, second-place winner in the Miss Alaska competition, on her lack of experience

By any standard, Governor Palin is less prepared as commander in chief than Obama.
- Michael Medved proves that even conservative nutjobs can experience a rare moment of lucidity

Sarah Palin: babies, guns, Jesus. Hot damn!
- Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand…

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Few Minutes With John McCain

What do you want voters to know coming out of the Republican Convention — about you, about your candidacy?
I'm prepared to be President of the United States, and I'll put my country first.

There's a theme that recurs in your books and your speeches, both about putting country first but also about honor. I wonder if you could define honor for us?
Read it in my books.

I've read your books.
No, I'm not going to define it.

But honor in politics?
I defined it in five books. Read my books.

[Your] campaign today is more disciplined, more traditional, more aggressive. From your point of view, why the change?
I will do as much as we possibly can do to provide as much access to the press as possible.

But beyond the press, sir, just in terms of ...
I think we're running a fine campaign, and this is where we are.

Do you miss the old way of doing it?
I don't know what you're talking about.

Really? Come on, Senator.
I'll provide as much access as possible ...

In 2000, after the primaries, you went back to South Carolina to talk about what you felt was a mistake you had made on the Confederate flag. Is there anything so far about this campaign that you wish you could take back or you might revisit when it's over?
[Does not answer.]

[Long pause.]

I'm very happy with the way our campaign has been conducted, and I am very pleased and humbled to have the nomination of the Republican Party.

You do acknowledge there was a change in the campaign, in the way you had run the campaign?
[Shakes his head.]

You don't acknowledge that? O.K., when your aides came to you and you decided, having been attacked by Barack Obama, to run some of those ads, was there a debate?
The campaign responded as planned.

A lot of people know about your service from your books, but most people don't know that you have two sons currently in the military. Can you describe what it means to have Jack and Jimmy in uniform?
We don't discuss our sons.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Convention Time!

Well, we're halfway through the Democratic Convention and so far it seems to be moving along nicely. Of course, I say that every four years and still can't fathom the mental processes that would result in anyone voting for any kind of Republican anything at any time, any place, anywhere. Why do these people hate America?

Last night was Family Night, devoted to convincing undecided voters that Obama wasn't some sort of Islamic terrorist (do that many of them come from Hawaii?), with Ted Kennedy providing the dramatic high point, while tonight the Democrats delivered a few light love taps along the lines of "McCain's not a maverick; he's a sidekick!" (good one) and "Four more months!"

Hillary did her best to sway her former troops this evening. We'll see how well it worked, although there was this incredibly obnoxious girl on Larry King tonight trying to rationalize why she, a former Hillary booster, still believes Barack Obama needs to "earn her vote." I suppose some children actually would benefit from a spanking.

Still have Bill, Biden and, of course, the next President in the speechifyin' queue this week. Let's hope they hit 'em into the stands, as next week will bring Lake of Fire '08, featuring the Devil and his angels. Beware of that tapping foot in the next stall!

Next week, they'll try to convince you that Mr. Obama lacks many of the qualifications that John McCain possesses. And this is somewhat true.

True, Mr. Obama isn't rubbing elbows with drunken rednecks at topless beauty contests while the media turns its head;

True, Mr. Obama isn't running campaign ads comparing his opponent to The Brothers Grimm, Ish Kabibble and Spongebob Squarepants;

True, Mr. Obama has a terrible habit of inspiring audiences to believe that America can once again be the place we remember, a country that holds itself to the highest standards of ethical behavior in keeping with the belief that we are expected to set an example;

True, Mr. Obama isn't a transparent shill for oil companies, nor is he (along with his campaign manager) responsible for the impending loss of some 8,300 jobs in Ohio;

True, Mr. Obama isn't adept at handing out joke shop tire gauges;

And neither is he willing to drag his reputation through the mud and the muck just in order to win an election.

But even with all of these admitted faults:

I'll probably give him a try anyway.


(above: Palmer Cox's Brownies stage their own convention)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

When Pies Were Men And Men Were Pies!

"Cheery Jerry, the cherry pie-faced boy, has been the mascot of this roadside stand for decades. For a short while years ago, the ventilation for the top crust of each pie was a quartet of cuts that were made to look like Jerry's eyes, nose and mouth. The artistry was abandoned because when the pies baked, the cherry juice leaked and it sometimes looked like Jerry was suffering a facial hemorrhage."
- Michael Stern,

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Catch this tomorrow night at a theater near you with the added plus of a live broadcast panel discussion afterwards.

Listings here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Better Homes And Myrons

You may recall, Dear Reader, that our summers here at Screwloose Manor are usually celebrated by the township in the same way: namely, by festooning our home with cheery and brightly colored notices that indicate the displeasure of our neighbors with our, shall we say, laissez-faire approach to gardening and related matters.

It’s a season-long battle involving both parties trying to stare the other down and attempting to be the last to blink, like some tense and bureaucratic game of chicken.

Myron is the point man for the township and we have quite a collection of his official complaint forms, so large a collection, in fact, that we can compare handwriting samples and try to determine what mood he was in on any given day.

It’s always interesting to see how long it takes Myron to pay us a visit. Sometimes he seems to be jumping the gun, as if he figures we’re going to be trouble eventually so there’s no point in waiting to deliver the summons.

He’s probably correct on that point.

Other times, our Endless Summer Hydrangea bushes have to scribble a crazed and mazelike signature that wildly endeavors to hide the sidewalk beneath a chlorophyllic canopy, giving everyone in the neighborhood a rare and ageless glimpse of the Original Eden before Myron breaks out the notary seal.

Our predilection for attempting to revive the American Wilderness is a real and deep-seated one. Like Huckleberry Finn, we feel the need to “light out for the Territory,” so to speak, on occasion and one can’t very well do that with a well-manicured lawn that’s been emasculated by the short-sighted and prejudiced popinjays who feel as if you’re infringing on their space should a blade of grass be a hair out of place.

Blades of grass, indeed. Our lawn is large; it contains multitudes.

Their crusade to conquer and neuter an already impotent and compliant country by trying to prevent the full flowering of its naturally wild and exultant beauty will find no sympathy here. We will wait you out. Pave as many gardens as you please, but you’ll not get one inch further onto these lands. Ours is the sacred code of Life; ours is the everlasting battle between the Uncivilized and those that would Civilize them; ours the ancient and eternal struggle between the spontaneous and lively pipe organ of Nature and the sad and frustrated organ-grinder of Eternity.

And so the struggle continues, skirmish by skirmish, sortie by sortie.

Autumn is not far off now and soon the unending cascading of vines that characterizes the front of our home will subside and we can prepare to ignore the expected shoveling of the inevitable snow. We’ll have gotten through another year of engagement with the enemy and feel ready for our hard-earned hibernation.

But there was one more sneak attack today.

I was up early today when I suddenly realized I was overhearing a fairly loud conversation right outside my window between two men and it seemed to concern our garden.

I ran to the door and was outside in a flash, catching the conspirators as they were about to reach for the instruments of tidiness stashed in the back of their truck.

“Hey!” I said as I hobbled after the workmen, my cane leading the way. “What’s this about?”

Surprised, the two turned to face me. They seemed neither angry nor upset.

“Oh, hey man,” said one. “They just said to come out and do some cleaning up. Didn’t you order it?”

In point of fact, we’d been given the deadline of today to accomplish all the necessary work, but there was still some time left to do it by my calculation.

Explaining the situation, I continued “Well, can see most of this is done, really..." I motioned towards the fence.

“That’s what we were saying, looks all right to us but they asked us to…”

“And I’m going to do this bit today, I mean, they can send someone to take a look if they want, but I’m not sure what more could be done.” By this time we were walking together around the premises, generally agreeing that we seemed to be up to code.

“Seems all right to us. I mean, it’s your yard, right? If you like it, why should they care?”

"Well," I said, "that's sort of what I thought..."

I was warming to this fellow right away.

Having completed our business, the man pointed to my walking stick and asked, “So, how are you feeling?”

I was a little startled, but answered “Oh, you know, I’ve been better!” and laughed.

“What is it, arthritis?”

“How did you know that?” I asked, impressed.

“Where is it, your leg?”

“Legs and back.”

“You wouldn’t know this but my people, Native American people, have always known how to fix this. You get a copper bracelet…”


“Yes, and you wear it on your leg, there around the ankle and it will help the arthritis.”

Now I remembered hearing these theories about copper bracelets before, but usually filed them away along with healing crystals and other new age babble.

But who knows? Like those cancer patients who are finally willing to try anything, perhaps I was ready to hold some of my usual skepticism at bay.

“Hope you’re feeling better,” the man said, shaking my hand and getting back into his truck.

“Thank you, thanks so much,” I said.

I went back into the house to do some research on copper healing, but wondered about what had just transpired.

I mean, I had sculpted this American Wilderness in our garden and suddenly an Original American, a Native American, appears and offers me counsel on how to use the earth to relieve my pain before disappearing once more into the mist?

Had I conjured him? Had I just experienced a Field Of Dreams effect? You know, had I instinctively built this Old World, this New Frontier for him and maintained it until he felt secure enough to appear?

Probably not. After all, he was driving an official township truck.

But it was something to think about.

I sat down and fell asleep in my chair, dreaming about the frontier and the territory and the tumbleweeds and the earth and its metals and its magnets.

I can't wait till Myron sees what I've got planned for next year.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Isaac Hayes: 1942 - 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Can You Top This?

And how had (Barack Obama’s parents) come together at a time when it was neither natural nor easy for such relationships to flourish? Always through politics…Usually the Communist Youth League…for a white woman to marry a black man in 1958, or 60, there was almost inevitably a connection to explicit Communist politics…I don't know how (they) met. But the…article referenced above makes a very convincing case that Obama's family...had close relations with a known black Communist intellectual.
- Lisa Schiffren, National Review

Today, many are dead and Georgia is in crisis, yet the Obama campaign has offered nothing more than cheap and petty political attacks that are echoed only by the Kremlin. The reaction of the Obama campaign to this crisis, so at odds with our democratic allies and yet so bizarrely in sync with Moscow, doesn't merely raise questions about Senator Obama's judgment--it answers them.
- Tucker Bounds, McCain campaign spokesperson

Seventy-five-thousand people at an outdoor sports palace, well, that's something the Fuehrer would have done.
- Ben Stein, television personality

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Pump You

McCain's even letting Exxon have the top half of the ticket.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Coming To A Theater Of War Near You

(from Mad Magazine, Sept.'08 issue)

I usually try not to rip off the Huffington Post as transparently as this, but this is where John McCain spoke today.

As you can see, they've managed to sandwich him in between the Wet and Wild Women of Wrestling and the Extreme Motorcycle Stunts.

Oh, and stuff like this (from the ’07 event).

The entire event seems designed as a kind of nightmare version of America, a scientific experiment dedicated to discovering our lowest national common denominator. Most of today's news stories simply referred to it as "a motorcycle rally."

If Obama is an elitist, I'd like a dozen, please.

John McCain: Classy!



Indeed, McCain felt so comfortable at the event that he even volunteered his wife for the rally’s traditional beauty pageant, an infamously debauched event that’s been known to feature topless women.

“I encouraged Cindy to compete,” McCain said to cheers. “I told her with a little luck she could be the only woman ever to serve as first lady and Miss Buffalo Chip.”

I guess he's already written off the women's vote.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Some People Call Him Mr. Ra...

Mr. "Sonny Ray" (Sun Ra) takes the floor show in a decidedly different direction.

Of course, I've never reached this level of combustion yet, but I'm trying.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Citizen Cane, Or: Behind The Velvet Dope

Good evening to you, ladies and gentlemen. We are coming to you live from the newly reopened Acid Ballroom here in the heart of the spectacularly appointed Reflux Hotel, broadcasting to you from the usual cubbyhole at the corner of Disdain and Misanthropy.

The overcast sky is teasing me with the promise of a rainstorm which, at the moment, would have the sad and unfortunate effect of washing out this evening’s soirée at the estate of M. and Mme. Drunkass, the revelry from which is bouncing off the side of my house like a pimple ball of malice.

But that is not for you to suffer.

I idly wonder what Proust would have made of these garish marionettes and their haunted hierarchy of imbicilism. Would he have immortalized them better than I in some sort of A La Recherche Du Temps Baboon, reliving their bloated bellies and empty laughter as he munched his madeleine?

Of course from the sanctuary of his cork-lined room, Marcel wouldn’t have been bothered by the least of sounds, let alone the symphonic hymn of inebriation that is a Drunkass affair.

I am not so lucky.

But you know, they are the rule and I am the exception these days. Between television programs that present the sorry spectacle of competitive vomiting and an uneducated electorate that seems to think that the Antichrist is running for President, you and I, dear friends, are now living in a veritable monde du Drunkass, a global condition that threatens those of us who are still capable of raising an ice cream cone to our lips without accidentally mashing it against our forehead.

And the rain has not yet come.

And as I wait on my next line, I find myself twirling this new cane of mine.

I haven’t mentioned it, but with the recent trouble with back, legs, etc., I have begun to use a cane to get around.

Now I can’t tell how much this helps, to be honest. Some days it seems effective, others not so much.

But I must tell you, it has opened up a world of perks.

People are eager to help you, exceptions are made, and in general the world becomes a more hospitable place.

Just to give you one example, we went to a concert recently and asked whether or not I might be able to have a seat somewhere as this was a standing venue. In truth, I cannot stand for very long these days.

The surly looking gentleman at the door immediately seemed to become less grumpy. He happily led us inside the theatre an hour or so before it would be opened to the public and offered us any seat in the upstairs balcony, usually reserved for VIPs or guests of the band.

Having made our choice, another fellow came up behind us and cordoned off our area with a velvet rope so that no one would bother us.

Finally, we thought. Finally, someone is treating us the way we ought to be treated.

Throughout the show, we’d glance backwards at the crowd now straining against our rope, discussing whether or not to let this one in…or perhaps that one.

It was intoxicating.

I was a little frightened by the swiftness with which I’d decided that I deserved to be there and these others did not. After all, I’d never been that guy, the guy who had an “in” or “knew a guy that knew a guy.” I’d always had to scramble for what I got, like everybody else. Part of me started to feel guilty and uncomfortable.

I wondered how quickly I would condemn the next congressman or senator who was found with his hand in the cookie jar. Could I blame them, after having had a little taste of it?

As wonderful as it was, it felt a little like an admonition: Be careful what you wish for.

Beware of what you could become.

Things are back to normal now, though, and tonight there are important people being ushered in through secret entrances; tickets are changing clandestine hands and making money out of love; and whispers are building confidences and empires.

But tonight, I am here with you.

Waiting, waiting, waiting for the rain.

Wait with me.