Friday, December 29, 2006

A Ford, A Chevy, And Two Dicks In A Box

What to say about the late Gerald Ford? His defeat by Jimmy Carter was the first presidential election I was old enough to remember, so I wasn’t terribly “politically aware” during his administration. I do remember the Chevy Chase pratfalls on Saturday Night Live, but didn’t realize who he was spoofing; I just thought Chase being such a klutz was its own joke.

My limited opinions about Ford are tempered by his connection to Richard "Dick" Nixon, and his pardon of his former boss a month after his resignation. Ahh, the perks of having friends in high places!

Some have said Nixon and Ford arranged the pardon before Nixon resigned, giving Ford the presidency and Nixon nothing to worry about, from a legal standpoint. It wouldn’t save Nixon’s reputation, but it would save his ass from being thrown in the slammer.

Ford himself said he was trying to save the country from having to go through a painful trial. Painful for whom, exactly? The decision caused a lot more strife in the country, and probably cost Ford the presidency in 1976.

I don’t think it matters whether or not Nixon and Ford made a deal. I don’t think it matters if a Nixon trial would have been difficult for the country. All I see is yet another wealthy and powerful person who was able to avoid a penalty any average American would have been given for an equivalent transgression. You can’t tell me there aren’t dollar signs on the inside of that blindfold Justice is wearing.

As an alternative to trial, Ford could have used his imagination and given Nixon some suitable and satisfactory punishment, rather than just a clean slate. Exile comes to mind. Get out, and take that damned nose with you. Yeah, force him to live on a garbage scow anchored in the middle of the Potomac, with only whatever food, clothes and shelter he could find aboard.

Perhaps Ford was trying to spare the country further difficulties. In addition to Watergate, the Vietnam War was still raging at the time, and our participation in it came to an end during Ford’s administration. That could not have been easy to deal with. To live in a time of divisive, costly war and corruption at the very top of our government – it’s so hard to imagine.

On a related note, Ford did pardon Vietnam draft dodgers, and from a moral standpoint, he made the right decision. He also appointed John Paul Stevens to the Supreme Court. Maybe these balance the Nixon thing out. I don’t know. I don’t have any particular ill will toward Ford, whatever the case. It’d be pointless now anyway.

I certainly would never have played golf with the man. No one in his general proximity was safe when he was wielding a golf club.

Meanwhile, over in Iraq, another former leader of a nation is about to die under very different circumstances. But who knows, Saddam Hussein's successor could always pardon him. That’d be cool, right?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2006: Year Of The Ho?

Girls sure done gone wild in 2006, didn't they? At least, many of the ones in the public eye did.

We had Miss USA Tara Conner, whose title was on the line after she was spotted drinking and partying underage in New York City. This included swapping spit with Miss Teen USA Katie Blair. After mulling it over for a few days, pageant co-owner Donald Trump let the beauty queen keep her throne, presumably so she could kneel and barf in it after a night of hard partying. Conner agreed to go into alcohol rehab, as anyone under 21 who tries booze clearly must be an alcoholic.

Not sated by this penalty, MADD got very mad at Conner and at the pageant, and pulled their involvement (whatever that was). Indeed, MADD cannot stand the thought of young people dying behind the wheel here in the US, but could care less about teenagers dying behind the wheel of a Humvee in Baghdad. A beacon of moral clarity, aren't they?

Then there was the discovery that Miss USA Nevada Katie Rees had herself done some heavy partying a while back, with pictures to prove it. In the candid shots she's seen showing off her breasts and her thong underwear, kissing women (and not just on the lips, but in some cases on something that rhymes with lips) and simulating oral sex on and recieving simulated oral sex from others. Incidentally, this party took place just a few miles from my home, which leads me to ask, where was my invite? WTF, Rees?

Miss Rees did get the boot from the Donald; the case against her was just too strong. She has since spoken publicly about the pictures, saying she was young then and wants to be given a second chance. During her press conference, just a few days ago in Clearwater, Florida, Rees was wearing a turtleneck that would make Muslim women look immodest. I can tell you for sure, the temperature here didn't justify the outfit - it's been up in the 80s Fahrenheit - so she was clearly trying to show that she's changed (her clothes, at least).

Earlier this year, the soon-to-be-single mother of two Britney Spears was spotted partying with Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. A veritable tramp trifecta! While her two companions already had their party creds established, Britney merely had dropped her kids or driven with them sitting on her lap. She joined the club in a big way, though, by being photographed climbing into a car while wearing a short dress with nothing underneath.

Presidential supporter Britney Spears shows off her "Bush."

The aforementioned young ladies (and all others) would do well to remember that, with a small handheld device, anyone around them can snap a photo and post it to the Internet (i.e. the entire world) in seconds. And a lot of people have these devices. I do have to say, given the timing of the incident (with her seeking liberation from married life), and her company, I'm quite sure Britney's disrobe malfunction was intentional.

But hey, the sans panties practice is a nice way to avoid yeast infections. Good example for other young women to keep their netherlands healthy. (If she were smart - and judging by her political leanings and her choices in men she clearly isn't - Britney would have spun the story this way.)

Famous young people are often chided for their behavior, as they are expected to be role models. I'm not sure that's realistic. I mean, they ought to rein it in a bit, I think, but they're still young people with many of the same inclinations as their peers. Sometimes they show bad judgment, and they pay for it. We shouldn't act surprised by any of it. (OK, if some teen star turns out to be a serial killer, we can all act shocked.)

Beauty pageant winners, in particular, are held to high ideals. They look great in a fancy gown and can play the piano or twirl a baton, so they ought to be held up as a shining standard for all people their own age? The whole premise of the beauty pageant is flawed; people shouldn't be rewarded for being attractive, nor expected to act any differently than other people their own age.

A final thought as I contemplate a year of juicy controversy ahead: Where were all these bisexual exhibitionists when I was growing up? DAAAAMMMN!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?

Like all kids from families who celebrate Christmas, I always looked forward to that magic morning with utter excitement. Still, unlike some kids I was able to sleep the night before (making the morning come all the quicker) thanks to a little tradition called Midnight Mass. The daytime masses were trying enough for a little tyke; the late night ones were serious snore-fests.

The Santa stories I grew up with inevitably showed Old Saint Nick's elves industriously assembling wooden toy trains and boats in the days leading up to Christmas. In short, what I saw depicted in no way resembled what I usually found under my own Christmas tree. Not that I am complaining – far from it!

The items on my Christmas list had names like "Kenner," "Mattel" and "Hasbro" printed on them and were on store shelves all year long. Many of them tied in with movies and TV shows I liked. Whereas, the toys the elves created were, well, kind of generic.

When asked to explain this discrepancy, I believe my mother said there were so many children to make toys for that Santa’s elves sometimes came up short, and Santa had to get some pre-made toys from stores to make up the difference. Something to that effect, but a sensible enough explanation, wouldn’t you agree? I certainly bought it.

(Back then I should have asked her to explain why cartoon characters are always six feet tall and mute when you meet them in person. Stop waving and talk to me! Why won’t you talk to me? Alas…)

As I got older I discovered Santa had the inexplicable habit of giving the best toys to kids who were already well-off (i.e. most able to afford them). Benevolent as he was, Father Christmas was apparently also class-conscious. Though of Northern European extraction, Santa was obviously not influenced by any of their egalitarian social views. But I was never bitter; I got some great stuff for Christmas and have no complaints.

Here’s hoping the holiday season and 2007 leave us all with nothing to complain about. Enjoy.

PS: Looks like I got an early Christmas present this morning. My friends Finchy and Filly returned after a long absence.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Midweek Miscellanea

The panda cub born at Atlanta Zoo finally received her name last week. Like other pandas born outside China, she was given a Chinese name – Mei Lan (“Atlanta Beauty”). I understand that all pandas here in the US originated in China. However, if the Chinese were given, say, some American alligator or bald eagle eggs to hatch in their country, would they feel compelled to name the hatchlings something like “Frankie” or “Annette?”

In a perspective that’s not likely to win me any friends, I have to say, I don’t understand why mountain climbing is even permitted in this country any longer. It’s not just
recent events, but regular events that bring me to this conclusion. Mountain climbing is a thrill, I’m sure, but it’s very risky. And while I think those willing to take risks should generally be allowed to take them (e.g. go ahead and smoke, just not anywhere around me), the risks don’t stop with the participants.

Rescue operations for lost or stranded mountain climbers endanger countless rescue personnel around the world each year. In addition to manpower, this isn’t a cheap undertaking – helicopters, dog teams and all sorts of specialized equipment are often needed. If I seem like a swell guy for saying this, remember, we’re talking about something people do “because it’s there.” (I’d also like to make clear that I am not referring to
unfortunate individuals who simply got lost on their way somewhere.)

True, rescue work is dangerous by nature. But just as I don’t think we should put the military into danger except for a “good cause,” I don’t think we (being potential mountain climbers) should put rescue personnel into danger for something we want to do just to say we did it. That’s not a good cause. I don’t have an alternate suggestion, but this is something to keep in mind when contemplating a new hobby.


Don't mind me – I can't comprehend that some people believe the "fun" of things like skydiving and mountain climbing outweighs the risks. If I'm going to take a risk, it's going to be something like, I don't know, eating at Taco Bell.

What's happened to sportsmanship? As if doping isn't bad enough, now people are "gendering." An Indian woman who won a medal for running in the Asian Games has
turned out to be a man. A gender test is not one you can study for, and can fail in an instant.

I finish today with a question: Do the good folks at 7-11 realize that the whole point of the “pay at the (gas) pump” phenomenon, that being convenience, is lost if you have to go inside and ask an associate for a receipt each time?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Nicolypto

Nicole Richie, socialite, reality TV star, serial dieter and adopted daughter of singer Lionel Richie, was arrested last week in Los Angeles for DUI. News of the arrest, complete with mugshot, have of course been posted all over the Internet.

What's not yet generally known is that Ms. Richie was only taken into custody after a profanity-laden, anti-Semitic rant against police officers at the scene.

During the tirade, Richie claimed that Jews were responsible for all the eating disorders in the world, with their "delicious bakery and deli foods." She added that since the officers had a box of glazed doughnuts in their squad car, they must be "a couple of those g*ddammed bakery Jews."

At the police station, Richie also allegedly cursed at a male officer, and referred to him by the term "sugar nuts."

Richie had been working on a Yucatec-language version of The Simple Life at the time of her arrest. It's unclear if her legal troubles will impact the show.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Radiation Is Sounding Pretty Tasty About Now

With the recent E. coli poisoning outbreaks – which can be caused by both meat and vegetables, and all segments of society eat one or both – it may be time to revive talk of food irradiation.

Controversial because it involves zapping foods with a dose of radiation before selling them to the public, irradiation allegedly kills dangerous bacteria such as E. coli. It’s that “dose of radiation” part that has a lot of us worried, though.

We’re told that the food doesn’t retain the radiation, but how we do know for sure? How do we know some agricultural concern isn’t really downplaying the danger simply to line their own pockets? Will eating irradiated vegetables cause us to end up with an unhealthy green glow?

It certainly gives a new meaning to "eating your greens."

The difficulties that dependence on foreign oil have presented to us revived talk of using nuclear power not long ago. Will our dependence on eating to live make us turn to nukes in the agricultural sector? I can see the protest signs now: "No cukes!"

Whatever the case, I think we owe
scallions an apology.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bond, Lame Bond

"Christ, I miss the Cold War." That's a line spoken by "M" in the new James Bond movie, Casino Royale. I kind of understand how she feels.

Bond has changed with the times. Cold War plotlines, for example, are no longer suitable. Overt sexism - somewhat tolerated in the days of Sean Connery and Roger Moore - is now frowned upon. And sleeping around in the day of AIDS can be more deadly than the life of a spy.

But I mourn the end of the gratutious, tachycardia-inducing masterpiece that was the main title sequence of the classic Bond movie. Remember those, fellas? Semi-nude women doing somersaults through space, gleaming female lips kissing smoking pistols. You know, that sort of subtle thing.

The new film, which is actually pretty decent as far as actioners go, has a lame playing card-themed cartoon as its opening sequence, with no females sans the queen. What the?

I also miss the Bond who could (and would) unzip a woman’s dress from across the room using a for-your-spies-only magnetic gadget. Typically the only protest the woman would muster was a halfhearted “Oh, James.” Yes indeed, Bond created a healthy, realistic view of sexuality for a growing boy like me. Women never say no!

This new Bond has very few gadgets, and certainly none likely to increase his nookie quotient. In their absence, he is left to use his looks and charm. The bastard.

I never saw what the fuss was about the possibility of a blonde Bond (in the form of Daniel Craig). Unfortunately, the first role I saw Craig in was that of a brutal gangster in Road To Perdition; he may have been typecast as a baddie for me then.

Further, Craig's distinctly Aryan traits – blonde hair and piercing blue eyes – say “Nazi” all over. Had Schindler’s List been made today, Craig would be ideal for the role played by Ralph Fiennes. Picture him in the uniform. Am I wrong? (Yes, I am aware he was in Munich as an Israeli assassin.)

But all this is neither here nor there, for I'm not judging Craig’s suitability for the Bond role, but the new Bond movie’s place in the overall Bond oeuvre. And I have to say, it's in a good place. It seems like a Bond movie, which is important, though it spends a lot of time at the card table.


The thing with James Bond is, though, men have always wanted to be him and women have wanted to be with him. (This Bond is more "ripped" than any I can remember.) Bond was always a fantasy, from the gadgets to the outrageous stunts to the ever-shifting exotic locales to the ease with which he beds women. So I ask, though times change, do fantasies really change with them?

Monday, December 11, 2006

It Couldn't Happen To A Nicer Guy

Augusto Pinochet, the butcher/dictator of Chile for much of the 70s and 80s, is dead.

The timing of this is interesting for me, as I'm currently reading a book on Pinochet’s assumption of power in a September 11, 1973 coup. Pinochet wrested power from Salvador Allende, a Marxist who had been democratically elected by the Chilean people in 1970; Allende died in the takeover.

Now-unclassified US government documents detail this country’s involvement in that coup, from financing opposition newspapers, to fomenting financial crises, to supporting terrorist acts within Chile to aligning ourselves with anti-Allende forces within the Chilean military.

One high-ranking Chilean military official, who did not wish to subvert the will of his country’s constitution by staging a coup, was assassinated as he drove to work one morning. It seems
René Schneider was just too democratically minded for his own good.

The US feared having a potential Soviet and/or Cuban ally in our basement, so we actively sought to overturn an undesirable though legitimate Chilean election, ironically, mimicking the Soviets in their interference in the affairs of nearby countries. In doing so, we helped install as the leader of Chile a man far less democratic and far more brutal than his Marxist predecessor. (We should remember Chile in case we have any designs on making Hugo Chavez the next Salvador Allende.)

Pinochet ran secret detention camps and tortured and/or disappeared thousands during his 17-year reign of terror. It's probably a smaller number of victims and certainly a shorter time span, but President Bush has done the same things, and for ostensibly the same reason - protecting his country. Pinochet had his communists and Bush has his terrorists. Disappearances are now simply called "extraordinary rendition."

This is also relevant now because we have a not-so-dissimilar situation with Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Since any enemy of Iran was a friend of ours, we supported Saddam, who had risen to power in a coup of his own, and who violently crushed all dissent thereafter.

Put simply, we have a history of supporting these assholes when it suits our interests. We’re still doing it today in the Middle East, with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia (a monarchy rather than a dictatorship, but that’s just semantics) and in Eastern Europe. It's pure hypocrisy when we go against one dictator by supporting another. It's also un-American, un-democratic, and it's something we've already lived to regret.

Friday, December 08, 2006

On The Offensive

“Offensive” is one of the most overused words of the modern era. It’s supposed to pack a potent punch, but upon examination comes up decidedly lacking.

For starters, there are some who are easily offended. Often these people seem eager for a fight; they’re just looking for something to be angry about. I am thinking about people who are so
insulted by a satirical cartoon that they instigate deadly riots. Or who get miffed when others give them a generalized holiday greeting instead of a faith-specific one. Or who try to prevent women from feeding their babies. Or who try to stifle a message of peace at Christmas.

How should the offensive be dealt with? Hard to say, because it’s so damned subjective. There lies the honey-flavored barbecue rub.


In my experience, the way such things are typically handled is, if even one person complains, the offensive person/behavior/thing has got to stop and/or be punished. I know this is a bit muddled, but stay with me here.

As I
stated on a previous occasion, the existing practice is that when anyone claims to be offended, their rights automatically supersede those of the offenders. Why? Could not an offending party counter by saying that they’re offended that their rights are being curbed because someone else objected to their holiday display?

Far too many concessions are unquestioningly given to offendees. Offenders have rights, too, damn it. (You have probably already noted, I am not using “offender” here in the traditional sense of a criminal, but anyone who does anything deemed offensive by others.)

I’ve long felt that the prohibition of something should be directly tied to its capacity for demonstrable harm. So, while I generally feel people should be allowed to govern their own behavior, I agree with the ban on cigarette smoking in public places, for example, because of the discomfort and disease issues it presents.

Whereas, public breastfeeding may freak out some uptight people, it really doesn’t harm anyone. Sure, there are plenty of people around who “don’t want their kids (or selves) seeing that,” but they always seem to have a hard time explaining exactly what harm is being done to the viewers. They become indignant at the challenge, but rarely present a coherent, compelling argument.

Interaction with other humans will always require some give and take. And that means sometimes taking some shit you don’t like, because you’re also probably giving some of it to someone else. As long as no harm is done, we all have a self-interest in allowing it to remain that way.

Let me put it in other words: Lighten up, you lightweight, namby-pamby, pantywaist, c*cksucking, motherf*cking, grab-ass-tic pieces of amphibian sh*t. “You people” make me sick.


Man, I hope that didn't come across in an offensive way.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Nancy Plays Nice

Played up by consternatives as a fearsome dragon lady before the November elections, House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi has thus far not breathed terribly much fire. To start, she's offering two-month severance packages to outgoing GOP staffers; their Democratic counterparts were reportedly offered nothing more than boxes when Republicants took Congress in 1994.

Pelosi is also
allowing perv protector and outgoing House Speaker Dennis Hastert to have a primo office instead of a modest one. Though, Hastert’s own corruption and/or corpulence may ensure his occupancy of said office will be brief.

"Payback" is not always such a bitch, is it?

On more substantive matters, Pelosi has said Democrats will “absolutely not” cut funding to troops fighting in a Iraq. A real “cut and run” type liberal, this broad, eh? I guess that ballyhooed Democrat-led retreat from Iraq has been called off.

Pelosi also plans to make an
increase in the federal minimum wage a priority in the new session. Low-level workers of all political stripes have been making the same hourly wage for 10 years, even though the cost of everything else has gone up over that time, so this is welcome relief.

Many consternos seem to know more than I do about Pelosi. I have seen her in some confirmation hearings, and heard her name here and there, but like Harry Reid, she was pretty much a new face to me when she got promoted to House Speaker. I do remember her rankling me when she said impeachment for Bush was “off the table.”

However, assessing what I’m seeing of Pelosi now against the rhetoric I’ve heard about her from the right, I must say, "Oh, what a scary, scary woman.”

Finally, in other Democratic
atrocity news, House members will soon be required to work almost an entire five-day week like the rest of us. It’s about time, the lazy, overpaid, corrupt bastards. They’re already complaining, but I say, “Deal!” How are you going to clean up the big messes we are in now, including those within your own chambers, by continuing to put in a couple hours a week? My parting advice: Order in Chinese.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

This Is Just Redactulous

Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the release of emails between the White House and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regarding White House visitor logs have now been met – with almost completely blacked out pages. It seems NARA, the agency charged with maintaining such records, is doing its best “Al Jolson” impression.

You've got to imagine NARA is just laughing about this now, saying, "Wait'll those suckers see this. Happy reading, folks!"

This release came about as the result of an earlier FOIA request for the release of logs detailing White House visitors, which remain undisclosed and in dispute.

Are lists of people visiting the White House something that could be used to compromise national security, and therefore require classification? Is the secrecy of communications regarding those lists of vital national importance, necessitating their release in heavily redacted form?

Doubtful.

The only conceivable harm visitor lists (and related communications) could present would be to a person who had invited in, say, questionable guests. Since it’s the president’s house, he’s ultimately responsible for them, no? Bush could certainly be embarrassed or worse by the revelation of visits from such GOP-tainting figures as Jack Abramoff, Mark Foley and others.

This situation is reminiscent of one involving Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force meeting. The meeting, which occurred shortly after he took office, reportedly consisted of corporate energy interests (including Enron) giving their wish lists to the second in command. We don’t know exactly because, even after a FOIA request and a Supreme Court ruling against him, Cheney has refused to disclose complete details of the meeting.

We do know that no one who didn’t have a financial interest in the energy industry was invited to attend, i.e. no environmental protection or consumer protection groups or anyone else who was likely to make a fuss.

It seems to me that FOIA is a worthless piece of legislation if it doesn’t result in the release of some actual information. We classify material to protect our country from harm, not to protect individual officials from embarrassment stemming from their own questionable activities. This is an abuse of executive privilege and as such should be addressed by Congress when January rolls around.

And, while they're at it, recess appointments. And signing statements. And extraordinary rendition. Basically, all of this administration’s counter-democratic policies of secrecy, subversion and deceit. Which covers most of them, I believe.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Is That A Recorder In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?

This post will probably be lost on anyone who’s not a huge music fan. FYI.

The
bootleg has long been the bane of rock music. I imagine sneaking a tape recorder into a concert has probably been going on as long as portable recorders have been around.

Often the intent is to sell these surreptitious live recordings to hungry fans at record conventions (or now, online). (A different type of boot, which I am not addressing here, involves stealing tapes from a recording studio.)

The quality of these recordings is sometimes unintentionally hilarious. Like when the people nearby the recorder are talking louder than the musicians are playing.

You hear people who don’t actually know what group they’re seeing; they yell out song titles of other groups. You overhear men brag of specific acts they’ve undertaken with specific women. All this is immortalized on tape for the ages.

Boot track listings are typically quite a treat in themselves. They are rife with typos. When a bootlegger doesn’t know the title of a song he’ll simply resort to naming it what he thinks the lead singer is saying. (What the hell is a "Pumpkin Black Clash?")

Digital recorders have sweetened the bootlegging deal. The bootlegger can capture an entire show without flipping the tape over, and with superior sound quality. Meaning there’s no music lost to the eventual boot owner.

As a person who doesn’t typically buy or trade boots, nor ever recorded a show himself, but who has received a number of them over the years, I know the pitfalls and the virtues of boots.

People like myself, who are serious fans of a couple bands, would gladly shell out cash for the legitimate equivalent of these recordings, if such products existed. But, they typically don’t.

King Crimson have made an extensive backlog of concerts available through their website for a fee; Frank Zappa and Emerson, Lake & Palmer have taken boots of their shows and put them out on their own labels. They are in the minority.

I was too young to see many of my favorite bands in their heyday. I missed tour after tour of bands that I would eventually come to idolize. How do you catch up for missing a heyday?

Sure, there are live albums, but they offer select tunes from select shows. People like me enjoy complete shows, sometimes featuring those odd songs the bands never seem to play anymore. If they are even around anymore.

Groups have complained that they are denied profits from the sale of these illicit recordings (see "People like myself..." above). But the approach that most take – prohibiting recording devices from their concerts – actually helps the boot market. If you let people who want to record a show do so, they won’t be buying it from a bootlegger.

Even in that scenario, there may still be a market for boots, but with the market saturated by so many recordings (facilitated by permitting recording, as bands like the Grateful Dead have done), it will be small and struggling. With choices available to consumers, sellers would be forced to lower their prices, or may find the hassle not worthwhile for their return on investment.

Some groups also complain about their fans getting an inferior product. But it’s not the fans who are complaining. For me, getting to hear an entire concert that took place when I was probably already in bed for Kindergarten the next day is an incredible thrill.

Many boots that were initially made for vinyl and sold for ridiculous prices are now available for download on the Internet for free.

Technology may eventually make the whole boot thing moot. It’s easy for people to download things onto/off of private servers. It’s also easy to create a CD from that. And another. And another.

Further, cameras and recorders, historically banned from concerts, are now integrated right into cell phones. And no one seems to be saying “No cell phones allowed” at rock concerts.

It’s conceivable one of these devices will soon have the capacity to store a significant amount of audio and/or video information. Then the whole thing may be over.

Rock bands, do protect your interests. But also take delight in the knowledge that there are so many people keen to hear your music out there.

Friday, December 01, 2006

May I Have An "N-Word" With You?

A number of black politicians, activists and entertainers are calling for the "n-word" to be retired forever from entertainment. I wish them luck; it's a noble effort, but one that won't be easily pulled off.

The question that immediately comes to my mind is, will existing works like Blazing Saddles, Roots, Richard Pryor's standup films, Quentin Tarantino films and myriad "blaxploitation" films, for starters, be grandfathered over? I hope so, because that's all good stuff in its own way.

As for future instances of the use of the "n-word," some will be tougher to discourage than others. An all-too-obvious example is rap music. Rappers commonly use the word in their rhymz, and don't take well to others trying to reign in their inspiration. Some artists even use it, or a variant of it, in their names. (Look up "NWA" if you don't already know what it means.)

The "n-word" obviously sprung from prejudice; I imagine the hayseed slave owners couldn't pronounce "negro," so they went with the closest thing they could muster. Many of them weren't big on the "booklearnin'" you see. Incidentally, feel free to correct me on any of this.

I don't know how the word got appropriated by and enmeshed into black culture, but I'm sure there have been many studies and theses to explain the phenomenon. It doesn't make sense, being as it's the word of the oppressor. It's kind of like adopting your abusive father's hurtful nickname for you ("Little Shithead," "Spawn Of The Postman," etc.), and giving it to others as well. Perhaps it's used in an ironic, mocking way?

Even if the "n-word" goes away, it seems prejudice will always be endemic to some forms of entertainment. What black standup comedian doesn't focus on his own "blackness" in his act? The same for Jewish comedians. The same for comedians of any non-WASP background. The same for obese comedians.

Typically, these attributes are the first thing the comic will point out about themselves. Then they'll go on to devote much of their act to related topics. This does not apply to all comics, of course, but those who don't focus on some issue that depends upon the prejudice or xenophobia of their audience are - forgive the expression - in the minority.

(For years I've thought that, if I ever did standup, I would start by explaining that since I am part-English and part-Irish, I like to plant bombs in my own car. Ba dum bum! A lot has changed in Northern Ireland, fortunately, making the joke now almost irrelevant.)

I think the "n-word" should be used sparingly in entertainment (as should quotes around controversial words, and parentheticals), and never in real life. But I am not one to limit the expression of others. I do think how you use a word and how you intend it to be taken matters. If you have a person saying it to demonstrate what prejudice is (as in Roots), wouldn't that be a legitimate use? Or maybe it's so hateful it does need to be banished? I don't know, but I just don't see that happening.

On a completely unrelated matter that doesn't warrant a solo posting, will Christians who were looking forward to seeing The Nativity Story at their local cinemas this weekend instead give the film an immaculate rejection now that the unmarried teen star has become pregnant? Who could support such immorality? For shame!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Peace (Or Two) Of My Mind

After causing a tremendous furor, a housing community in Denver, Colorado has decided against fining one of its residents for posting a "peace wreath" outside her home. Many of her neighbors, some who have family members serving in one of our military conflicts overseas, complained that they were offended by that particular holiday decoration.

Still others thought the wreath was "Satanic," as some people believe the peace symbol is really a broken crucifix.

I'm going to put aside the aforementioned community's deed restrictions regarding signage for a moment to make a few points:

*A key message of Christmas is and has always been "Peace on Earth." Look at your Christmas cards, you twits.

*Military families have historically missed this subtlety of the peace message - that peace means their loved ones would come home and be out of harm's way. If they were really thinking, those who wholeheartedly support the military would be the biggest peace activists of all. Instead, they often deride peaceniks.

*Far too many concessions are given to the "offended." "Offenders" have rights, too. The presumption is automatically made that if anyone is offended, their rights somehow supersede those of the offending party. But, as we all know, "offensive" is highly subjective. The easily offended could stand to suck it up for the sake of fairness; instead, they act selfishly, as in Colorado.

*Satanism is a belief system that's followed by many. Therefore, posting an inverted, encircled pentagram (unlike the above, it's an actual Satanic symbol) on one's door should be as permissible in a community as creating a manger scene on a lawn at Christmas.

Deed restrictions, or covenants (which sounds like some creepy Mormon practice) would make a great blog topic of their own, and perhaps I'll do one sometime. Suffice it to say, unless you're raising goats in your yard, or your kids are running a mushroom tea stand, I think your Nazi neighbors should basically leave you alone.

More important to me, though, is the issue this wreath controversy brings up with regard to determining how the "offensive" should be handled. I see a spin-off post coming very soon...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Immodest Mommas

Last week some women held a “nurse-in” at several US airports to protest the earlier removal of a nursing mother from a Freedom Airlines flight. The protest participants, who cleverly refer to themselves as "lactivists," each came armed with a pair of weapons loaded and ready to dispense.

Public breastfeeding is one of those issues that seems to keep resurfacing in public debate. In Florida, the law ultimately sided with mothers, stating that a woman may breastfeed in any location she otherwise has a right to be. To do this, the state had to twist its own laws; there are stringent anti-public nudity statutes here that prohibit even skimpy swimsuits that show off far less than breastfeeding does. (This is in the Sunshine State, of all places.)

I don't think public breastfeeding is an issue the law should get involved with, unless it’s expressly to allow it. When the kid needs to eat, he/she needs to eat. It's not shameful, it’s natural and necessary. We Americans are way too uptight about way too many things, and are too eager to bring the law into the picture.

I am baffled (and sometimes amused), however, by how motherhood causes so many women to lose their characteristic modesty. I mean, many of these women were never the kind to just whip out "the twins" before the other twins came along. Then, all the sudden, they do so regularly and indifferently. Even Suzie Churchgoer (that shameless harlot!).

Hey, I welcome anything that gets people to loosen up, even for a short time.

The indiscreet breastfeeding phenomenon is no match, though, for the birthing videos some families like to share. Hey, wanna see the miracle of life on my 16:9 flatscreen plasma TV with Dolby Digital 5.1? I feel like saying, “No thanks, but I can come back sometime and see videos of your wife's vagina when it’s not all torn and bloody? How’s tomorrow evening for you folks?”

Friday, November 24, 2006

Excerpts From OJ's Book

OJ’s “theoretical confession” book and TV special, If I Did It, have been wisely cancelled by Fox. Chalk one up for good judgment, but whomever greenlighted the project should still be sacked.

In the book/show, OJ was reportedly going to explain not how he murdered ex-wife Nicole Brown and companion Ronald Goldman, but how he would have done so, had he done so.

Ok, quit laughing. No, really, let’s cut OJ some slack. I mean, a jury acquitted him, so he really couldn’t be guilty, right? Are you questioning the American justice system?

Though the project has been cancelled, some excerpts have leaked out, including some which I have procured and reprinted here. No questions, please.

OJ’s own words:

I knew Nicole would be coming home late that night, so I would’ve waited outside her place in the dark with a machete I had a homeless dude buy from a pawnshop. Black clothes would help hide me. I would be nervous, not about what I was going to do, but about my time limitations; I had to be at the airport in a few hours for a flight to Chicago .

Before long, Nicole would have appeared. I would probably be expecting her to be alone. When I saw her I would just start shouting and slicing, shouting and slicing. "You think I need you, bitch? I got blonde white girls lining up outside my gate!" Shouting and slicing, shouting and slicing.

"I am The motherfucking Juice. I am the star of Naked fucking Gun, bitch! You do not want to fuck with me! They’re gonna use you for a hand puppet after I’m through with you!" Shouting and slicing, shouting and slicing.

"Oh, who’s this? Your Jew boyfriend? You want some of this too, Schlomo? You picked the wrong shiksa, bro! There you go. Consider your punk-ass self circumcised all over!" Shouting and slicing, shouting and slicing.

"Yeah, just keep barking, dog. Your mama ain’t coming home tonight, or ever!" I would be really lucky if no one heard me.

After I was finished, I would sneak back over to my car, which would be parked a few blocks away. I would toss the machete into the Los Angeles River on the way home; it would be out of the way, but a good place to get rid of the thing.

When I got home, I would try to clean out the car completely and quietly, so I wouldn’t disturb Kato (Kaelin, OJ’s housemate). Afterwards, I would have a quick shower and get ready just in time for the airport limo’s arrival.

That’s how I would have done it. If I had done it. But I didn’t. Really.

Folks, whether or not the glove fit, OJ is still full of shit.

Speaking of racism, I had not planned to weigh in on the Michael Richards controversy, but since it’s not going away, I will contribute a few thoughts.

I think Richards’ words were shocking, and I do not agree with his sentiments. But I am not sure the incident was a “Mel Gibson moment,” either. Comedians have been called geniuses for (arguably) going too far and shocking their audiences. Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor and George Carlin, for just a few examples.

Not to say Richards' words approached "genius" in any way. Not even close.

It may indeed be a double standard, but what comedians say onstage cannot necessarily be given the same weight as identical comments from another person in another context. It’s not to be taken at face value. It’s for shock value. It’s off the cuff (Richards seemed to react in anger, so his remarks probably fit into this category). It’s boundary-breaking. It’s satirical.

For the latter, kind of like when bloggers say they want the terrorists to win.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fare Most Fowl

Turducken may sound like a German city, but no, this umlaut-free word is actually a hybrid meat. It’s a sort of poultry loaf.

This emerging Thanksgiving tradition is made from, drum roll please, turkey, duck and chicken. It’s three! three! three! kinds of bird flu in one. (Since it’s pieced together from different sources, why not call it Türduckenstein, or Frankenfowl? Hey, even the German thing still works.)

Don’t mind me, I don’t eat animals, so all flesh repasts, even those I used to regularly consume, seem like something out of a grotesque horror movie. Tomorrow, I will simply load up on tasty, healthy white carbs.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner, as always. But remember, you can’t spell turducken without “turd.”

Monday, November 20, 2006

It Rhymes With Chuck

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) has once again suggested that the United States reinstate a military draft, and plans to instigate legislation to that effect when Democrats take over Congress in January.

Rangel’s previously stated rationale for this position was that a disproportionate amount of Americans who see combat are minorities or low-income people. Chuck, I’m guessing that would be because a disproportionate number of people meeting one or both of those criteria have joined the military.

As for the reasons behind the disproportionate enlistment, well, let’s first determine then address them. I’m all for that. They could be a family history of enlistment. They could be a lack of viable alternatives for those who can’t afford college or find a decent job. Again, let’s determine and address – not draft indiscriminately (pun intended).

Rangel also feels that if members of Congress knew their own children might be drafted, they’d never vote for war. Um, Chuck, can I chat with you again? I agree, but why don’t you introduce a bill that specifically requires all non-minor children of lawmakers be drafted if a war is started? That way you address the problem directly.

On a side note, I once had an idea that, when a person who has been executed for a crime is later found to be innocent (it does happen), the sentencing judge should be executed. With regard to the draft issue, this is relevant in that it makes the person with power over the life and death of others think really hard about whether the execution/war is the right thing to do.

Over the weekend Rangel pointed out that conflicts we may be facing with Iran and North Korea underscore the need for a draft. In other words, he thinks we should accept, as official US government policy, that international diplomacy no longer exists. Just bulk up those troop levels on a permanent basis.

I’m not naïve about Iran and NK; they’re both run by kooks that should not be allowed to have nukes. Come to think of it… well, I’ll just hold that thought. So where do we get military personnel to deal with those problems, if need be? Right now I’m thinking the 100,000+ troops we have in Iraq – some having completed multiple tours of duty there – could have been better used.

OK, OK, shoulda coulda woulda. But to Rangel’s point about increasing US military involvement in the world, perhaps we shouldn’t keep getting ourselves into some of these situations. We didn’t ask for war with Afghanistan, we were thrust into it by 9/11. Iraq was an elective war, however. So inadequate US troop levels caused by commitments that should never have been made mean we need a draft? Chuck that. We need a change in policy.

The change is diplomacy first, pride aside. There are some countries we don’t talk to, and that will always lead to conflict. If we go to war, it must always be a last resort. Some would argue that’s the current US policy, but it’s simply not true.

Some countries can’t be reasoned with. But we need to be able to demonstrate that we have at least tried to do that before starting wars. Wars that require troops. Troops that are people who sometimes don’t sign up on their own, and therefore, as some suggest, need to be compelled into service.

To his credit, Rangel has said that as an alternative to compulsory military service, young people be allowed to choose some other kind of national service. We can debate that, as far as I am concerned; the former, hell no (we won't go!). I do think that if people are given a choice, they’re not going to take the military option. Certainly not when war is underway and/or another on the horizon.

Chucky, let’s drop all this ridiculous talk about a draft, shall we? It’s stirring up the base (me, for starters) with thoughts of kids being forced to kill and/or die against their will, and for bad reasons. You know, morally unconscionable stuff like that. Relax, have a draught (pronounced "draft"see what I did there?) on me, and take some time to think this thing through.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Nipplecat, Foleyboo, Et Al

Since Watergate just about every scandal in America has had the suffix “gate” appended to it: Abramoffgate, Coingate, Foleygate, Monicagate, Nipplegate, Plamegate, etc.

But what if those guys had broken into a Democratic Party office at a different hotel complex? What would scandals now be known by?

Abramoffsuites? (Embassy Suites)

Coinastoria? (Waldorf Astoria)

Foleyarms? (Carlton Arms)

Monica6? (Motel 6)

Nipplelodge? (Travelodge)

Plamejohnson’s? (Howard Johnson’s)

Imagine hearing on the nightly news: “And now with the latest on Monica6, here’s Joe Schmoe.” It sounds not so much like a political scandal as an AOL chat screen name.

I guess none of those names slides as easily off the tongue as "somethinggate."


The Dems should have kept an office at an adult motel. At least then we could have had some interesting scandal names: The Pussy Cat (e.g. Nipplecat), The Peek-A-Boo (e.g. Foleyboo), The Halfway Inn (???), The Happy Palms Motel (???), etc.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Uncool Cat

The artist formerly known as Cat Stevens is back after an absence of nearly thirty years from the music world. Yusuf Islam is once again serenading the world with his voice and his acoustic guitar, but instead of singing about mornings and moonshadows, he’s singing about Mohammed.

Forget that Lord Humungus guy from The Road Warrior; Stevens (I’m using that name to differentiate the man Islam from the religion of the same name) is the real ayatollah of rock and rolla. He’s got the long, scruffy beard and everything.

Stevens’ new CD came out in the US yesterday, and fans are still lined up outside their local Tower Records for a copy. Of course, since Tower has recently shut its doors, they’ll have a long wait.

But I’d sooner sit outside an abandoned building in heavy rain than buy a copy of the CD. Apart from Rick Wakeman’s wonderful piano part on “Morning Has Broken,” I had little interest in Stevens when he was a full-time secular entertainer. I’ve got even less use for him as an overtly spiritual one.

I was interested when Stevens’ alleged support of the fatwa (death sentence) against Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie caused a John-Lennon-saying-we’re-bigger-than-Jesus-like controversy, and radio stations purged Cat Stevens from their playlists. Then came the album bonfires.

I must admit, I was responsible for getting Stevens on the no-fly list – through a now no longer anonymous tip – that ended up in his being turned away from the United States in 2004. I was afraid he’d be bringing his guitar, and felt America needed to be protected.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Graphic Discontent

Movie ratings in the US didn't always include specifics about a movie's content. Now that they do, even those specifics can be extremely... nonspecific.

For example, what the hell are "thematic elements?" How does one judge the appropriateness of a movie for a kid, for a relative who's easily offended, or even for oneself with that kind of designation? You're not going to see that movie, young lady. No daughter of mine is going to be exposed to thematic elements!

Then there are "disturbing images." Today's torture-oriented horror flicks certainly have a lot of those. But just what constitutes a disturbing image? It could be someone being dismembered, no doubt. It could also be an obese old person naked or George Bush winning an election. Or any image of Julia Roberts.

A seemingly new edition to the list of film ingredients is "graphic nudity;" the "graphic" part being the recent phenomenon. When I first saw this listed I was intrigued. You mean there's a whole new level of nudity out there yet for me to discover? A graphic level? Va-va-voom. I mean, if you liked nudity, you're gonna love graphic nudity.

Well, turns out the graphic kind was really just plain old full-frontal nudity with a new name. So disappointing. Almost as dissappointing as when the nudity turns out to be a guy. I mean, Jesus, who needs to see that? It's sick and degrading.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Fragmentia Friday

I've had my fill of US politics for a while. So enjoy some bite-sized slices of life for a change.

So Like The IRS
Tax collectors in India don’t have the balls to do their jobs. Literally. India has
employed eunuchs as tax collectors, based on the belief that they are very persuasive and don’t take no for an answer. Not to mention their lovely singing voices and dance moves! It seems India leads the way in providing employment for the transgender community. Move over, Netherlands.

This Townhouse Ain’t Big Enough For The Two Of Us
China’s newest “one” policy
applies to dogs, as people there are no longer allowed to keep more than one dog as a pet. The purpose is to reduce the possibility of the spread of rabies. Yes, China boasts advanced nuclear weapons, but has apparently never heard of the rabies shot; only about 3% of dogs there have had them. Ancillary benefits from this policy may be felt in China’s waistline, what with fewer mouthwatering canines around to tempt people into snacking.

Unconventional Wisdom
Given that the word “final” is an absolute, how can there be more than one edition of Final Fantasy? Moreover, does it make any sense that they stopped making Neverending Story movies?


The Clock Has Stopped
Veteran newsman Ed Bradley has died. As a correspondent for 60 Minutes, Bradley was the “voice of Sunday night.” Hearing him always instantly reminded me that a return to the schoolweek or workweek was not far off. But that was no reason not to like the man. He had his own style; in recent years he conducted many a serious interview while sporting an earring. He was a rebel in a conservative industry. We need more like him.

Service Not Included
I went into a restaurant's men's room last night and saw a sign over the sink reading "Employees Must Wash Hands." I waited like half an hour, but the lazy bastards never came in and washed my hands. I was not pleased.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Terrorists Have Won, But I'm Making The Demands

Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1992. Crystal-clear colas and Nirvana CDs all around!

But first, I have some political demands:

That Karl Rove be turned over forthwith to the nearest Democratic Party or liberal organization office for trial. The charge? Being a major prick who’s done more than any other hominid in turning American political discourse into static and smear. For starters.

That Rick Santorum (formerly R-PA) be forced to march in the next scheduled gay pride parade, dressed as a stem cell.

That those who support a gay marriage ban be forced to give specifics about why marriage needs to be “protected,” and how an amendment will do that, or shut up forever.

That Bush-supporting, soon-to-be-divorced Britney Spears be like totally sent to fight in Iraq and stuff.

That House Majority Dems sign into law the official amending of the words “Republican” and “conservative” to “Republicant” and “consternative” (or “consterno,” in Bogswork Orange lingo), respectively. The time for House Bill 069-069, aka “The Bogs Bill,” has come.

If none of those happen, I will settle for these:

That Pat Roberts’ (R-KS)
long-delayed report on pre-Iraq War intelligence be completed and released by year’s end. Grab a Starbuck’s there Paddy, and order in some Chinese, because you won't be just coasting along anymore. Get to it, beyotch.

That House Majority Dems clean house by enacting tough anti-corruption rules with real consequences that will be enforced in a nonpartisan manner. And do it ASAP.

That, in tandem with the previous demand, House Majority Dems enact the
lobbying rules I have previously set forth. (Honestly, they should hire me as a policy advisor. A real ideas man, I have the pate of a James Carville, without the eccentricity. And without the neo-cunt partner.)

That recent efforts to compel the president to appoint only demonstrably qualified candidates for various offices be revived.

That recent efforts to raise the federal minimum wage be revived, but with the “permanent tax cuts for the rich” provision stripped out. I mean, come on.

I’d say our elected officials have their work cut out for them. Let’s start checking some action items off this list, shall we?

PS: A former classmate of mine, a Democrat and Iraq War hero, was elected to the Florida House on Tuesday. Nice job!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Want The Terrorists To Win

I want the terrorists to win. You betcha. I want them to win… well... wait, are they running for anything? Are they playing a game or something? Something that one would expect could be won? Oh, it doesn’t matter. The point is, I want them to win. I want terrorists to win because I don’t have a problem with suicide bombings, beheadings, religious zealotry or the rest of the wonderful things they bring to the world. Losing friends and loved ones to acts of terrorism would be no biggie for me. And I am not alone in this. The accusations you've been hearing in the press are all true. Many, many other people in this country share the unconventional desire to see the terrorists win. And they my peeps!

Oh, by the way, I am also a Democratic operative who feels guilty that my party held back information on Mark Foley for political gain.

I also know for a fact that terrorists around the world are sitting by their TVs and radios with fingers crossed, waiting for today's US election results.

And, as I write this, I am basking in the afterglow of a three-way with Naomi Watts and Scarlett Johansson. (Sorry, no links there. But I can tell you what the order was: First, NW and SJ with me watching; then me and both of them together; then me and NW, then me and SJ. Sigh.)

It sure is fun to make shit up, isn’t it? All the more so when there’s an election at stake, and the unquestioning masses will eat up every syllable of nonsense you spout, no matter how ridiculous or unsubstantiated. Not to suggest that you, dear reader, were ever fooled by any of my fabrications.

As I post this, the polls for the midterm elections are just opening on the East Coast. I voted already, so I will get to skip the lines.

Today’s elections aren’t a referendum on terrorism. I’m not sure they’re a referendum on anything, but if they are, a good guess (or suggestion) would be the unchecked criminal mismanagement inflicted upon the United States (and, indeed, other parts of the world) by our leaders over the past few years.

The worse possible outcome of today would be that, based on the results at the polls, some elected official might end up believing that Americans really aren’t that bothered by all that crap. That the message has not been loud and clear: Enough is enough. Hit the road, all you crooked sons of bitches! Your kind aren't welcome here anymore.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Saddam On Trial Part X: If It Success, He Will Be Execute

Saddam Hussein has been found guilty of crimes against humanity and has been sentenced to death by hanging.

Sing it with me ladies: LULULULULULULULULULULULU!!!

I registered my rationale for supporting a death sentence for Saddam - even though I'm on record as a death penalty opponent - last year, so I won't rehash it here.

In a sign that there may actually be a burgeoning American-style democracy in Iraq, the verdict has moved into an appeals process of indefinite length. It could go on well past the end of Saddam's natural life. We shall see.

I don't have much more to add here, it just seemed like a natural time to close out my "Saddam On Trial" series. It's been a hoot. We've seen questionable use of personification, defendents dragged into court in their jammies, Saddam's personal weight loss program and much more.

Dibs on TV movie of the week rights!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Confessions Of A Democratic Operative: Part 5 (The Final Chapter)

I next found out I was going to be sent to see what kind of dirt I could get on a South Florida Republican called “Mike Farley.” Our intel had it that he was gay, and the notion was certainly something we could exploit for political gain.

I asked why one of our gay operatives couldn’t handle it, but was made to understand that the “Lavender Hill Mob,” as we called them, was already quite busy on Capitol Hill in DC.

Sitting alone in a Palm Beach hotel, I scoured the local gay publications I had spread out on the bed before me. There were a lot of these free papers and magazines around, and they were a good source for finding out where the “action” in the gay scene was.

After picking out a few clubs, I donned the blue jean shorts I had cut from one of my own pair, some construction boots I had picked up at the Salvation Army, and a “wife beater” t-shirt from JC Penney, and headed out into the muggy Palm Beach night.

I got a lot of looks at the places I went, but luckily, no aggressive come-ons. That first night ended without me finding Farley. But the next day was Saturday, and the clubs would be hopping once again that evening.

Saturday night, as I sat sipping a Guinness at “Baxters,” and Pet Shop Boys music fueled the bumping and grinding out on the dance floor, I felt a pair of eyes on me. I looked around, and quickly spotted a gray-haired man on the opposite side of the bar eyeing me.

Holy shit, it was Farley. I had to think quickly. I made definitive eye contact with him, and motioned toward the men’s room with a nod of my head.

Getting up from my seat at the bar, I headed into the men’s room and began to wash my hands at the sink. Less than a minute later Farley entered. He came right to the sink and said hello. I dried my hands and said hello back.

He told me his name was “Mike,” but I could call him “MF,” which he boasted stood for “Man-Fucker.” I made up some bogus name for myself.

Farley wasted no time. He asked if he could “get me off in one of these stalls.” I wasn’t ready for this. I said that’d be nice, but that I’d rather go somewhere we could be alone. His eyes were on fire. He took my arm.

I tossed a $10 bill on the bar on the way out, and then headed off with my “conquest.”

Farley took me to his home, a really nice Key West-style place in an upscale neighborhood. Beautifully appointed. Say what you want about Fo… er… Farley, but the man knows how to decorate.

Too bad he doesn’t know how to hide incriminating items. Farley was out fast after I slipped a powerful sedative into his merlot. I got everything – pictures of him in compromising positions with what looked to be teen boys, pictures of gay GOP parties (you’d be surprised who was in these photos), Farley arm in arm with friends at gay bars. Yeah, a treasure trove of evidence.

One interesting photo showed Farley with a Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate and the head of a large national evangelical organization enjoying each other's "company" at Fantasy Fest in Key West.

The recent leak of explicit emails between Farley and some of his pages (the work of a fellow Democratic operative) was simply the first punch. The coup de gras will come Monday before the election, when these photos are released.

I knocked over a few items in the house – a lamp, a bookshelf, etc. – to make Farley think the incident was a theft. I knew he’d be too embarrassed to make a police report, so I wouldn’t have to worry. It would be a while before he realized such compromising materials were missing – and that the incident was politically motivated.

Well, that's it. I’m done. I’m out of the Democratic operative game, and I’m happy. I await whatever legal consequences these confessions bring upon me. I had a job to do, and I did it well. Vive la Democratic Party!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Political Prognostications Part 1

There are a lot of predictions out there regarding the outcome of next Tuesday’s elections. There are also a few of them in here, from me.

Here in Florida, Republicant voters will put their pathological dislike of homosexuals aside and vote Charlie Crist into the governor’s mansion. I don’t know or care if Crist is gay, but it sure is fun to think about the possibility of his constituents voting for a man with a “lifestyle” they obsessively despise. What a hoot!

Crist’s Democratic opponent, Rep. Jim Davis, has been MIA on campaigning, partially due to a funding deficit, and doesn't seem to have a chance. Meanwhile, Crist has posted signs bigger than Texas and run nonstop TV ads criticizing Davis’ abysmal House attendance record. Davis’ Democratic rival before the primaries even made an issue of this.

Senator Bill Nelson will keep his seat - a mixed blessing. Dragon Lady Harris is disliked almost as much in her own party as she is by Democrats. But Nelson is about as desirable a candidate as Lieberman, his kindred spirit. There were no good Senate candidates this time around, I’m afraid.

The US Congress is where the real excitement will be. Democrats will regain some seats, though not enough to wrest control completely over from Republicants. However, that number will be significant when there are swing voters on issues that come before the House and/or Senate. Names like Hagel, Voinovich and Warner can’t always be depended upon to vote with their fellow Republicants.

I also predict that the only way there's not going to be big trouble in the upcoming elections is if they are not as close as recent ones have been. Whoever wins, we should all hope they are decisive victories. America seems conflicted and unable to make a firm decision at the polls.

OK, tell me again why it is we want to continue with a two-party system?

More to come after Election Day.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween, Señor Chavez

Sniff sniff. Can you smell that? ¡Dios mio! It smells a lot like... chocolate candy.

The above words are paraphrased from Hugo Chavez’s speech at the UN, where he suggested President Bush was El Diablo. Bush had been in the building a day earlier, and Chavez claimed he could still smell the sulfur. He even crossed himself.

The silly thing is, Chavez was probably being serious.

A Bush fan I am not, but he’s no Satan. No, the Prince of Darkness listens to cool heavy metal music and has orgies. He rocks!

I know it’s not right to stereotype, but in my experience, Latin people are extremely superstitious. And I mean Latin in the broad sense of Italian, Hispanic, etc.

For instance, why is it images of the Blessed Virgin always appear in those countries?

I’ve known some Latinos who, religious or not, viewed Halloween as an evil holiday, and refused to participate in any way. On October 31st their porch lights are out and they don't answer the door for anyone.

And I thought it was just about kids dressing up as Power Rangers and soliciting free candy!

Like many holidays (holy days, get it?), Halloween was a Pagan festival turned Christian. Doesn’t the holiday’s ultimate acceptance of Christ as its personal savior make it now as acceptable as “Jolly Old Fat Bastard Day” or “Candy From An Anthropomorphic Bunny Day?”

Get over it, you silly, cheap bastards, and make with the goodies. Otherwise, I’ve got a whole can of Barbisol here with your hard-to-pronounce name on it. (That’s what I’d be thinking if I were still a kid.)

ABOVE: Perros del Diablo.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Confessions Of A Democratic Operative: Part 4

I had assignments off and on throughout the 90s. When 2000 arrived, Democrats were desperate to retain the White House, and Democratic operatives like myself undertook our most crucial assignments ever.

“Kid,” Soros said to me by phone from his limo, “I’m sending you home to Florida. We’re expecting some funny business from the GOP in the state and we want you down there to ensure things go our way.”

Well, everyone knows what happened.

What most people don’t know is that prior to the election I scoured the streets, halfway houses and YMCAs of Dade County enlisting vagrants who, for a pack of cigarettes or a couple dollars, would say they had been “disenfranchised.”

“Operation Beggar’s Banquet” (aka “Democratic Dregs”) was my responsibility. Getting our participants cleaned up and “ready for primetime” (looking like actual voters) was a massive undertaking in itself.

With my prompting, those people claimed they had been turned away at the polls; this was true, as they were not registered to vote. Many had never voted in their lives. But their claims stirred up enough controversy to create doubt about the true winner of the election and delay any concession from Al Gore for weeks.

To further the uncertainty, I slipped a number of hanging or pregnant chad voting forms into the boxes at various voting precincts. These made the count much closer than it would have been under honest circumstances.

We almost got away with stealing an election. The Supreme Court, the highest legal authority in the land, ultimately saw that the truth prevailed.

Soros was said to be so angry he shot his own dog.

The next time I spoke to him he told me to stay in Florida. They had “something else for me” there.