Saturday, May 28, 2005

A Newfound Respect for Che Guevara

I am currently reading “The Motorcycle Diaries” which is basically a collection of notes written down by Communist revolutionary icon Ernesto “Che” Guevara during a biking trip he took around South America in the 1950’s (yes, I realize it is unconventional reading for a Republican). One particular passage that I thought the world of Gab may appreciate went as follows:
“Ever aided by the letter of recommendation from the “press”, we were put up by some Germans who treated us very well. During the night I had a bad case of the runs and, being ashamed to leave a souvenir in the pot under my bed, I climbed out onto the window ledge and gave up all of my pain to the night and blackness beyond. The next morning I looked out to see the effect and saw that two meters below lay a big sheet of tin where they were sun-drying; the added spectacle was impressive. We beat it fast.”
I have to admit I found the prospect of the sight of a future peoples’ revolutionary leader projectile pooping upon the proletariat’s peaches absolutely hilarious, though maybe only because I have been there.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Kiddie Cuisine

You know, after watching my two older kids last night I couldn’t help but wonder about something. Why is it that a four year old will be utterly overwhelmed with disgust at the prospect of eating a meal you spent several hours preparing for her but ravenously consume a slimy object pulled from the deepest recesses of one of her nasal cavities in a fit of culinary ecstasy bordering on ecclesiastic rapture?
I swear, it was almost like watching a Darfurian devour a donut.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

First Smile

Yesterday, my new boy must have had a stomach ache. He was crying with an intensity that is a rare find in humans over the age of three. In fact the last time I saw someone sobbing so uncontrollably, it was myself upon finding out that MTV was canceling Beavis and Butthead. In order to soothe him, I picked him up, rocked him gently and quietly sang him a couple of tunes from my large repertoire of Irish drinking songs. I was just getting into “The Night That Patty Murphy Died” when he finally quieted down and closed his eyes. His lips then parted into what I believed to be was his very first smile. It was a big one, stretching from ear to ear and his whole body seemed to have been put into it. His arms stretched out long and his legs stiffened rigidly. I thought it was a sure sign of contentment until his diaper started vibrating and he unleashed a long and loud blast of posterior gas that would have been more at home in an interstate truck stop in the immediate aftermath of a wildly successful burrito extravaganza. I was amazed that something so offensively obnoxious could be unleashed by something so tiny and helpless.

Of course Carson then erupted into a fresh fit of hysterics, having woken himself up. I could not blame him though. For such a little guy to have passed something so momentous could not have brought much of a feeling of relief. My bet is that he probably felt more violated than anything else.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Decatur Debacle

The trip had gotten off to a rough start. My old friend Jack and his brother Steve got drunk after leaving Alabama and misread the map, resulting in several lost hours searching eastern Arkansas for the naval air station I was training at on the other side of the Mississippi River in western Tennessee. When they finally made it they were five hours late, pleasantly plowed and ready to get on the road back to their house for the July 4th holiday weekend. After reloading the cheap Styrofoam cooler they had brought with discounted beer from the Navy Exchange, we turned Jack’s Ford Ranger south and headed for Mississippi.

I had not seen Jack in well over a year. We had been stationed together at the Naval Training Center in Great Lakes IL, but after graduation I was sent to the USS Belleau Wood in San Diego while he was forward deployed to a destroyer home-ported out of Subic Bay in the Philippines. We had kept in touch and when we both found that we were going to be in the same general area of the US while he was home on leave in Alabama, we made plans to go visit his hometown in Decatur Alabama. We had survived a multitude of legendary benders together in Chicago and Jack wanted to see how I would fare drunk in Dixie. That was the primary reason he turned down my offer to drive, insisting instead that I sit in the back end of the Ranger’s passenger compartment and try to boost my blood alcohol level to something on par with what Jack and Steve were operating at. Not wanting to offend the hospitality of the person who was hosting me for the next three days, I obliged and started knocking back cans of Molson at a prodigious rate.

We crossed into northern Mississippi sometime after midnight and found eastbound Highway 72 nearly deserted. Without any significant traffic to contend with, Jack kept a pace that was at least 25 mph above the posted speed limit but were still making dismal time. Having been drinking steadily since just after noon, Jack and Steve seemed to be pulling the truck over every ten miles or so to either empty their bladders or, in Steve’s case, occasionally launch a liquid lunch onto the shoulder. I tried to hold out as long as I could, not wanting to break my seal, but as we crept towards the Alabama border I finally felt the need to relieve myself.

Not wanting to waste any more time, I told Jack to hold his course. I told him I would just work my way out of the truck’s back window into the flat bed and take a leak over the pickup’s tailgate. Unfortunately, I misjudged the size of the pickup’s back window and ended up getting stuck halfway out. In a futile attempt to free myself, I tried to plant my foot on the driver’s seat and push myself the rest of the way but instead caught the Styrofoam cooler and split it right up the middle. As the cooler burst, it sent an ice-water tsunami racing towards the front of truck that doused Jack’s feet and startled him into a minor swerve. Seconds later we found ourselves on the side of the highway anyway, cleaning out the truck cab and trying to get me freed from the back window before I flooded the truck again with a liquid that, though most likely much warmer than the water that had escaped from the cooler, would be just as shocking to the senses.

In the end, everything worked out. We cleared the inside of cab and transferred the cooler, along with what was left of the ice and beer, to the truck’s bed and got back on the road. As we were accelerating, Jack’s radar detector went off and caused him to breath a deep sigh of relief. He turned his head back and told me that if I had not broken the cooler, he probably would have come up on the cop at a speed that would have sent them right after us. After expressing his gratitude, he corrected his posture, told us to keep our beers below the window, double-checked his speed and ensured that the truck was moving down the road straight as an arrow. We spotted the state trooper parked at the beginning of a bend in the road but did not even crack a sweat. Jack’s driving was absolutely perfect. It was a crying shame that the condition of the Styrofoam cooler was not.

As we turned into the bend, the wind dynamics in the truck bed must have changed. When we were right alongside the patrol car, the breeze lifted the lid right off of the cooler and sent it flying into the middle of the road. Jack and Steve were staring straight ahead and had no idea what had happened but I had seen the whole thing. I just buried my head in my hands and shook my head. Jack spotted me in the rear view mirror and asked me what was wrong. “I think we’re about to get pulled over for littering.” I answered without looking up. Sure enough, no sooner had the words left my mouth when the patrol car hit its lights and peeled off onto the road behind us.

Jack, who had been the epitome of self-assured confidence just a moment before, came completely unglued and started barking orders at Steve and I. While he maneuvered the truck onto the shoulder we frantically set to trying to force the beer cans, both empty and full beneath the seats and get rid of all the evidence of open containers that we could find. As the two troopers got out of their car, Steve threw a handful of Tic-Tacs into his mouth, shoved a penny under his tongue and inhaled a blast aerosol breath freshener. He then implored us to do the same. By the time I got the breath spray, one of the officers was already at the back of the truck and I was terrified that he would see me trying to cover up the beer on my breath. With my vision locked squarely on the approaching policeman, I opened my mouth, brought my hand up above my chin and, emphasizing speed over accuracy, swiftly sprayed peppermint-scented instant blindness right into both eyes. The pain was excruciating, taking everything I had to keep the bloodcurdling scream at the tip of my tongue contained behind my clenched teeth while I resisted the urge to claw my own eyes out.

After what seemed an eternity, I eventually heard one of the officers say something to Jack. “Evenin’ sir. You got a license and registration?”

I then heard the glovebox open and the sounds of rustling paper followed by “Here ya go, Officer.”

After a quick pause, the trooper posed another question. “Y’all been drinkin’, son?”

My heart sank right then with the realization that we were probably soon going “swampin’” a la Mississippi Burning, but Jack was unfazed. With a surety in his voice that betrayed nothing but the highest confidence he had in the Tic-Tacs, breath spray and the penny he had covered his breath up with, he turned to the trooper and replied. “Nope. Not a drop.”

I heard the policeman inhale deeply through his nose as if he was smelling Jack’s breath. After exhaling he said, “I think you have been drinkin’, son. In fact, I’d say you’ve been drinkin’ Molson beer.”

My jaw just dropped in amazement. I wiped the tears out of my eyes and managed to catch a quick glimpse of the look of awestruck surprise on Jack and Steve’s faces before they watered back up. Then, surrendering to the inevitable, Jack blurted out, “Sir, that has got to be the most incredible thing I have ever seen. How on earth could you possibly smell the brand of beer I’ve been drinking over Tic-Tacs and breath freshener?”

The cop laughed. “Smell? I didn’t smell anything. I just read the label on the can you’re holding between your legs!” Not surprisingly, the officer next asked Jack to step out of the vehicle. The other trooper appeared on the passenger side of the vehicle and asked Steve and I to step out as well.

Steve complied with the order immediately, getting out of truck and walking towards the back of the bed. I was left in the back of the cab, fumbling blindly for the lever to put the seat up so I could get out as well. After yelling at me twice to hurry up, the officer finally sauntered back over and asked me if I was having a problem. I turned my head towards where the voice was coming from and told him I couldn’t get the seat up. With a grunt of disgust, he found the lever and freed the seat before stepping back to give me room to get out. Still almost completely without sight, I swung my right leg out, stepped into the darkness, misestimated the distance to the ground, tripped, fell out of the car and rolled head over heels across the shoulder before coming to a stop just before sliding into a ditch, virtually ensuring an encounter with the breathalyzer as soon as it was finished with Jack. “You that drunk, son?” the trooper asked.

“No,” I answered. “I just can’t see.” A fresh bolt of agony ripped through my eyes when the cop shown his flashlight into them.

“You blind?”

“Not usually.” Knowing fully well that we were busted, I could not see anything good coming from me trying to lie my way out of the situation (not that I usually have any kind of moral aversion to that kind of thing) so I decided that it was the time for the truth and just blurted out what I had done to myself. The officer chuckled and told me to stay put, as if I was in any shape to make a break for freedom without a sense of vision.

When I finally regained my sight I was watching Jack failing his roadside sobriety tests while Steve had a go at the breathalyzer, which I did not understand because he was not the one that was driving. Eventually though, one of the officers walked up to me and asked if I was 21. After acknowledging that I was, he asked me to prove it so I pulled out my military ID card. The trooper’s demeanor immediately changed. “You boys in the service?”

I nodded my head and pointed at Jack. “Yes, sir. Me and him are.”

The officer handling Jack then turned and asked, “You guys in that Desert Storm operation?”, referring to the first war against Iraq that, at the time, the troops were just beginning to return from.

I took the cue from the officer’s question that the moment for truth had passed and started lying my ass off. “We sure were, officer! It was terrible! We spent over a year at sea battling those savages and just got back this week. We haven’t had a beer in nine months!” In actuality, I spent the entire war trying to (unsuccessfully) learn how to surf in California and Hawaii. Jack spent the war sampling bar girls two at a time all over the Pacific Rim.

Jack and I ended up fabricating war stories for what seemed like more than a half hour. Eventually, the officers gave us back our IDs, made us pour out the open beers we had in the cab and told us to make a beeline for the Alabama state line, which was about ten miles down the road. We thanked them profusely for their understanding of our situation and promised that we would never even think about drinking and driving again. We then got in the truck and within fifteen minutes crossed into Alabama.

Once over the state line, we all breathed a huge sigh of relief at the serious consequences we had narrowly avoided. We were incredibly jubilant and in the mood to celebrate so we finished off the rest of the beer over the course of what remained of our journey to Decatur Alabama. We figured that we had gotten our scrape with the law out of the way early and should be in the clear for the rest of our bender. That was pretty much a true assumption for Jack and Steve but in my case I could not have foreseen that I would again find myself highlighted in a police officer’s spotlight less than twenty-four hours later.

The following day was positively brutal. The three of us spent the morning attending to our hangovers with some hair of the dog and by the time we arrived at the house of some of Jack’s friends for a July 4th picnic, we were barely able to stand. The libations were plentiful, the food was never ending, the company was without equal and the girls were absolutely to die for. I would have been hard pressed to find a more attractive grouping of the tender gender in any other locale in the US and, much to my advantage, they seemed to find northern big city boys fairly interesting. I met a really sweet belle who I’ll call Bobbi Sue (to play up the southern stereotype and mask the fact that for the life of me, I can’t remember what her real name was) who I hit it off with really well. She was incredibly gorgeous, way out of my league and was basically perfect in looks, body and personality. As an added bonus, she had a southern drawl that just drove me wild.

After sunset, we were all gathered around a bonfire when my conversation with Bobbi turned to kissing, which led to embracing, which soon led to a level of mauling that was probably highly inappropriate within such a large group of people. She eventually excused herself, exchanged a few quiet words with Jack and then returned to ask me if I wanted to go for a ride. Of course I did, so we excused ourselves and went to her car, an old beater with no air conditioning which made for some very uncomfortable traveling conditions in the middle of an Alabaman summer.

As we tooled down the road, both of us were sweating profusely when Bobbi turned to me and said, “My Gawd, it’s hawt! You feel like going for a swim?”

Though I kind of knew where this was going, I felt I needed some confirmation. “I’d love to, but I don’t have a bathing suit.”

She shot me a cruelly seductive smile and said, “Oh, that don’t matter much. I don’t have one either.” My heart started racing, I felt my blood pressure shoot through the roof and my breath got short. A few minutes later she pulled over to the side of the road and led me through some brush to a pond that seemed to me to be barely fifty feet off of the road. Before I knew what had happened she was in the water. Her clothes were not. I followed suit as quickly as I possibly could. I jumped in and swam after her, but she teased me out to the other side of the pond. Once I got there, she swam away again, splashing me every time I got close. I eventually caught her on the far bank and just as we were about to kiss, the cops hit the spotlight.

Now, I have always believed in chivalry. When in trouble, a man should always protect his woman, making certain that she is secure before looking after his own welfare. At least, that is what I believe when I am out in public fully clothed. When I’m completely naked and trespassing however, I’m more or less a creature of instinct. As soon as that light hit me I was off like a flash (no pun intended), diving into the bush.

My life as a fugitive was decidedly short lived. I was stumbling panic-stricken through the underbrush, letting out a litany of colorful adjectives as I tried to navigate my way through the dense undergrowth in my bare feet. Before long, I found myself in the spotlight again while a voice boomed over the patrol car’s loudspeaker, “Where in Gawd’s name do you think you’re going, kid?”

That turned out to be a damn good question. I stopped cold, stood straight up and surveyed my surroundings. Seeing nothing but darkness, I shrugged my shoulders, pointed in the general direction I had been heading and answered, “Over there?”

“Git back here!” the voice responded. I obeyed and walked the twenty feet back to the pond. I was greeted by a grinning officer who asked, “You know this is private property?”

I shook my head. “No sir, I’m not from around here.”

“Where you from?”


“You got some ID for me?”

I instinctively reached for my wallet but only managed to come up with a handful of my own ass. I then pointed towards my clothes on the other side of the pond. “It’s in my pants.”

The officer’s partner, who was coming down from the car grabbed them on his way over. As he was making his way to us, the cop in front of me then asked, “So, what do you two think you’re doing here?”

At this question, my brain instantly began formulating a cover story. Unfortunately, the only thing it could come up with right then and there had something to do with alien abduction and bizarre medical experiments so I wisely opted to do something that just did not come naturally to me when dealing with members of the law enforcement community. I opted to tell the truth.

A bit irritated by the delay in my response the officer repeated his question, this time adding the word “boy” at the end of it. Admitting defeat, I just looked at him and said “Foreplay, sir.”

After a few minutes of petty harassment, the officers ordered us to get dressed. They then listed off the number of ordinances we had broken and expounded upon the various penalties we could be subjected to. After he finished, one of the policemen handed me back my ID and said, “But we’re going to let you off with a warning tonight though. I figure you’ve got enough punishment coming your way.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked as I slipped my wallet back into my back pocket.

The officer shouted up at his partner to turn the spotlight back onto the area I had tried to escape through. “That place is just one big patch of poison ivy. My bet is that anyone dumb enough to try and run through it naked has one hell of an uncomfortable week ahead of them. I figure fining you now would just be redundant. Come 48 hours from now, you’ll have learned your lesson.”

Man, did I ever.

Saddam Shown in Underwear

To these pictures Saddam took offence,
He thought they showed him without fashion sense,
He cried, screamed and bawled,
Was outraged and appalled,
By his shorts scarred by wet flatulence.

Friday, May 20, 2005

First Attempt at Fratricide

Yesterday, my wife left my two week old son sleeping on the couch while she attempted to do something in the kitchen. The baby’s bouncy seat had been put up on my reclining chair to move it out of the way while vacuuming. My four-year-old daughter decided that the baby would sleep better in the bouncy seat than on the couch, so she enlisted the help of my two-year-old son to help move him.
My wife, still in the kitchen and oblivious to my daughter’s intentions, was suddenly alerted to the fact that something was wrong by the sudden outburst of crying from my newborn. When she went into the living room to see what was going on, she caught the two kids trying to heave the baby into the recliner. My daughter had the baby’s feet while my son had his arms and both were struggling to lift him over their heads into the elevated bouncy seat. My wife, sensing the impending disaster, let out a cry that alerted the two sneaks that the gig was up. My daughter immediately dropped her end of the load and ran for her room. My son, left holding the loot, put up a valiant attempt at holding the baby but buckled under the weight of his brother before my wife could get there. They both fell crashing to the floor. No one was hurt but after hearing about the incident, I decided that I had been lax in imparting fatherly wisdom to my two oldest kids and had to set matters straight when I got home.
I pointed out to my daughter that she had blundered grievously. When fleeing an enraged authority figure, be it a parent or a police officer, one should NEVER seek safety in an enclosed space with no escape route. I also lectured her on the importance of posting a reliable lookout when committing a random act of mischief. Otherwise though, I thought her instincts had been sound. Once confronted with a danger that she knew she could not physically best, she made a break for it.
My son on the other hand, could have done better. Not only had he been duped into trying to pull off a caper he was not yet ready for, he was the one left holding the bag when the heat came down. I let him know that there was no honor in being patsy and to be prepared to run when things got hairy. I also tried to explain proper flight techniques, such as running in the opposite direction of your accomplices to sow confusion within the pursuing authority but I think he is still a little young for that. Maybe next year.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Teen Beat

So, over the weekend the family of my wife’s cousin stopped by to see the new baby. In tow was their ten-year-old daughter and thirteen-year-old son. While discussing the antics of the kids, the father of the brood started lamenting the side effects of buying his son a guitar. He said he comes home from work wanting peace and quiet but instead is invariably subjected to his son belting out hard rock riffs in the basement to the tune of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC at top volume.

Personally, I don’t know what he is complaining about. I would have been quite happy to see my son have decent taste in music. It could have been much, much worse. Could you imagine the reaction he would have had if he had walked downstairs to see his son tarted up in pink tutu while belting out the greatest hits of The Spice Girls?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Yeah, the writer’s block is still holding on strong. While waiting for the muses to turn back up, I figured I would pass on this reaction of my four-old-daughter to the birth of my new son:

My daughter desperately wanted a baby sister. She wanted one so badly that she refused to even entertain the possibility that we could possibly have anything but another girl. After Carson was born and she was told that we had had another boy, she broke down in tears and was crushed at the prospect. She eventually warmed up however and before long she appeared to enthusiastically dote on her little brother.

Then she noticed the security bracelet strapped around his ankle that would trigger an alarm if anyone tried to remove the baby from the hospital and asked us what it was for. We told her that the bracelet prevented the baby from being stolen. Upon hearing this, her eyes lit up and she asked, “But if Carson gets stolen, does that mean we could go back and get a girl this time?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

42 Midgets Mauled by Lion in Cambodian Ring Fight

In the land of Pol Pot a fight was once arranged,
That some thought quite twisted and awfully deranged.
But a ring was reserved by a sprite Asian scion,
So forty two midgets could take on a lion.

The nation was awed by dwarven battle calls,
And thought that for shrimp, they had ginormous balls .
The world cried “FOUL” and decried it with rants,
But the fight still sold out several weeks in advance.

When the day then arrived, the arena was packed,
And all standards of decency finally cracked.
The midgets emerged to hard confetti rains,
They were dwarves high in courage, but a bit short on brains.

The cat was released, tearing into the ring,
The crowd then went crazy and started to sing,
The midgets, those proud gladiatorial elves,
Quaked, shaked and cowered, then shit on themselves.

They had thought that their victory was all but assured,
But once faced with the beast, found their thinking absurd.
They were awfully upset and despite the crowd’s jives,
Gave up the fight and then ran for their lives.

By that time though they knew it was really too late,
To escape the sheer terror that chased them with hate,
They ran to the front, turned then made for the back,
But just could not thwart this fierce feline attack.

The first dwarf was felled as he reached center stage,
A victim of sheer predatorial rage.
A paw to the groin made his vision go black,
As the claws of the lion ripped open his sack.

The crowd’s howls went silent, a hush fell so thick,
While weaker spectators got violently sick,
They expected to see some momentous sad spectacles,
But not torn-off dwarf scrotums or free flying testicles.

The silence was broke by a deafening roar,
And the lion took off on a quest for more gore.
The dwarves tried flee but did not stand a chance,
And their running look more like an end-of-life prance.

The beast ran them down, took them out one-by-one,
The midgets now thinking this feat less than fun.
Heads, hearts, feet and torsos, arms, legs, guts and hands,
Flew off the field and ended up in the stands.

When it was over, the midgets were mourned,
And the stadium was left quite grotesquely adorned.
The spectators fled once the midgets were killed,
The lion passed out once his stomach was filled.

The legend of this quite fantastic event,
Then spread fast like fire ‘cross the whole internet.
It launched a sensation like these things often do,
When they’re written so well, and completely untrue.

Newsweek Report Retracted

Last week, Newsweek magazine published a story alleging that US military interrogators desecrated copies of the Koran in order to intimidate and coerce Muslim detainees at Guantanamo Bay Cuba. This story enraged the Muslim world and resulted in major protests in Afghanistan (resulting in 14 deaths and over 100 injuries) and the Palestinian territories and other unrest across the Middle East from Egypt to Pakistan. Fundamentalist entities in Pakistan have demanded the extradition of the alleged blasphemers so that they can be tried according to Pakistani law (which upon conviction could lead to a death sentence) and Afghani clerics have threatened to declare holy war upon the US if the people who committed this act were not brought to justice. The damage done to the credibility of the US throughout the Middle East is incalculable (but likely on par with the Abu Ghraib revelations) and no matter where the investigation into the matter eventually leads, probably irreversible. Of course, US troops will now find themselves in the midst of this fallout and can now expect to be the target of further ire from an already bellicose Afghani population for an instance that they had nothing to do with.

And now, we find that the act that is causing all of the trouble probably never even happened. I hope that the people at Newsweek are proud of themselves. They finally broke a story that really made an impact across the globe. It has got people talking, in fact rioting, over its content and given the Islamic fundamentalist militants another rallying point in their war against the satanic US. The propaganda arm of al Qaeda could not have done it better.

So, what should we do with Newsweek, a magazine with journalistic standards apparently so low that even the folks at the Weekly World News are probably shaking their heads in disgust? I, for one, no longer find any journalistic value in it anymore and do not even see it fit for use as toilet paper. I would rather risk the wrath of my wife by using the guest towels if I was caught in a pinch.

As for the strife now rolling through the Middle East, I find it hard to believe that this has been a spontaneous reaction to the alleged desecration. Even Afghan government officials have speculated that pro-Taliban agitators have been escalating the violence. These agitators, who are currently working their compatriots into a frenzy over this fabricated blasphemy are sympathetic to a militant regime that, in addition to barbarically trampling the rights of their own people, destroyed two towering 1,300 year-old Buddhist monuments carved out of the side of a cliff in 1998. Frankly, I would find the militants’ indignation laughable if it was not so dangerous to American interests, deployed service men and women being chief among those. As far as I’m concerned, any militant cleric that has the nerve to decry an indignation to the Islamic faith deserves to get slapped upside the head with a rotten pork chop for blatant hypocrisy before getting sent straight to hell in the first class compartment of a Tomahawk missile.

So, am I suggesting that good Americans openly vandalize Islamic relics in response to the fundamentalist element’s disrespect of non-Muslim relics? Absolutely not. As an unrepentant advocate of western culture, I demand that we behave better than that. Furthermore, disrespecting the Koran would be an inexcusable affront to the Muslim citizenry of the United States who have done nothing to deserve the insult. I also believe that the extremist elements we are currently fighting do not speak for the world’s Muslims any more so than the Ku Klux Klan speaks for the Baptist church. I believe it to be our duty to better distinguish between the two. We do however need to put instances like this in perspective. If someone did desecrate the Koran during an interrogation it would be an ABERRATION, something out of norm, something not worthy of being trumpeted across the globe as a blazing beacon proving our fascist inclinations and intentions of global subjugation. For me, this Newsweek fiasco is little more than an example of the media elite zealously searching for the next Abu Ghraib story, desperately foaming at the mouth to uncover some heinous example of the Bush administration’s evil intentions, something that will disgrace our troops, empower our enemies and prove that they, the liberal journalism elite, were right from the very beginning. Not to mention, stories that uncover the evils of the United States sell and of course, Newsweek does exist to make a profit. It is just too bad the only way they see themselves able to make this profit is at the irreparable expense of a nation that allows its media to speak freely and to the benefit of those with no concept free speech whatsoever.

The American media is often called the fourth branch of the US government, independent of its control yet crucial to keeping it honest. The problem is that unlike the executive, legislative and judicial branches of federal governance, the media is not susceptible to the same checks and balances that keep IT from gaining too much power. So how can people keep a free press from growing too powerful and exerting undue influence over world events such as that which has been witnessed over the past week? By hitting it where it will hurt them the most: their profit margin. As of this moment, I am promising myself to never again buy another issue of Newsweek magazine, letting it join Dan Rather, CBS News and Mitch Albom in the JEP Report’s “Jaded Journalist Hall of Shame”.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Writer's Block

Maybe it's the lack of sleep from the new baby or the fact that I have been away from work for a week and my brain is turning to mush. Either way, every time I get in front of the computer I come up with absolutely nothing. I've been tempted to down a bottle of tequila and a fistfull of Ex-Lax tablets just to make something happen worthy of writing about. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

Friday, May 06, 2005

My Brand New Boy Is Here!

The chaos commenced in the midst of the night,
With a scream from my wife that had filled me with fright,
She said it was time, that the pain cut quite deep,
But unfazed I rolled over to get some more sleep.

One second later, I was startled awake,
By a sound like I'd been in an awful earthquake,
I found myself rising, being pulled off my back,
As my wife heaved me up by the skin of my sack.

She cursed me, then struck me and swung at my nose,
As I stumbled around in the dark for my clothes.
I scooped up the kids and then fled fast to hide,
But the laboring banshee soon found us outside.

We made for the car, traumatized by this strife,
Scared white by the demon who'd once been my wife.
We sped off in terror, like three frightened cads,
But didn't get far since she still had my 'nads.

She ran down the road with the speed of a kite,
Catching up to us as we were stopped at the light.
She tore open the door and then hopped right inside,
Saying that future flight would result in lost hide.

The kids were dropped off at my mother-in-law's,
And we flew to the clinic without nary a pause.
Her cursing was loud, my eardrums left scarred,
I needed that screaming beast swiftly de-carred.

Her yelling maintained till we pulled in the lot,
She beat my poor head as I searched for a spot.
Done with the ride and abused to the core,
I threw my wife right through the hospital door.

Soon we were waiting, but far less than bored,
As she screamed at those in the maternity ward.
My wife once sedated, then ended her grief,
So I scrounged for meds for my own mental relief.

My wife soon was birthing, she pushed and she twitched,
And said that my parents had never been hitched.
She spewed out vindictive and shouted it loud,
And used words that would have done wharf sailors quite proud.

After hours of labor, after curses and begs,
They pulled an iguana from between her two legs.
This hideous thing, looking mangled and mean,
Was slimy and scaly and shrivled and green.

They took it away to the back of the room,
And I felt an emotion of impending doom.
A beastly creation was all I could see,
The poor thing looked almost the same as poor me.

They pricked it and cleaned it and gussied it up
They then showed it off like a proud Westminster pup.
I then found myself overcome with such joy,
To find that the lizard turned into a boy.

With my penance now finished and tears in my eyes,
I rushed over to hold my new wonderful prize.
But before I could get there I fell in a heap,
The meds I had taken had put me to sleep.

I eventually left my wife's hospital suite,
And found my way down to my child to greet.
After an hour of watching my newborn cherub,
I escaped from my wife and then went to the pub.

I was met at the bar by a host of loud cheers,
And rounds upon rounds upon rounds of free beers.
We partied, we sang and we drank and were hailed,
And my son was routinely resoundly regaled.

The sky soon turned red and then turned back to night,
And I crawled away from the pub listing to right,
I flowed into my car and 'neath the light of the dome,
Avoided the cops as I poured myself home.

I stumbled into the house and then fell down the stairs,
Then I rolled to the shower for cleansing repairs.
Before I got in, I removed all my clothes,
Then was hit with the urge to make comedic prose.

When I'm sober I'm sure that I'll certainly dread,
This collection of verses that sprang from my head.
And my son I am sure will soon think me a punk,
For announcing his birth typing naked and drunk.

My brand new boy was born today, May 6th. 9lbs and 1oz of total unadulterated awesomeness!

Coincidentally, he shares a birthday with Sacto Ritch.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Happy Cinco de Mayo

The chiles and red jalapenos,
Proved a potent and volatile mix.
Mixed with liberal amounts of tequila,
May spark a wide range of intestinal conflicts,
Now a stomach may soon find a remedy,
But one thing that cannot be fixed,
Are the nail marks gouged 'neath the toilet seat,
During a bathroom excursion May 6th.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Prelude to Mother’s Day

Well, Mother’s Day has snuck up on me again and, as usual I am at a loss for what to do for my wife and mother. I am usually reduced to stopping on my way home from work on the Friday before and cutting an improvised bouquet of flowers I liberated from a local cemetery, but as my wife’s due date is May 6th, I think my time is going to be spent in the hospital maternity ward instead of committing petty theft at a nearby graveyard.

Now that I have a little warning, I should be able to come up with something for my wife but my own mother is a little tougher. What do you get the woman who single-handed raised and nurtured me, installed in me my amoral disposition and seemed to always be standing by with bail money when the situation required it? I know it had better be something good since, though she usually left corporal punishment to my father (who was unusually adept in the art of inflicting pain), she is the person that delivered upon me the worst beating I had ever endured in my life. That is saying an awful lot considering I spent four years bar brawling my way across the Pacific Rim and once played a game of rugby against British Royal Marines.

If I had to guess, it was during the winter of 1982. I was twelve and my little brother was five. My mother, probably pushed past her threshold for tolerating our incessant bickering, threw us outside to play in the snow while she could enjoy some peace and quiet indoors while she tried to get things done. Before long, my little brother started getting on my nerves and I determined to scare him off so that he would leave me alone. I goaded him into a snowball fight and was on the verge of pulverizing him into submission when an opportunity presented itself to me that would virtually guarantee that he would leave me alone for the rest of the time we were outside.

We owned a German Shepherd named Duke at the time, a huge dog capable of leaving behind droppings that would have impressed a Wooly Mammoth cursed by Montezuma. As I was packing another frozen projectile to heave at my out-gunned younger sibling, I happened to glance over and notice the dog leaving behind a fresh deposit in the snow and decided to escalate the conflict by unleashing the “Duke-ulear” option. I walked over once the dog had finished and started packing the pile into a snowball, hoping that my brother was watching and would soon be running away for dear life. Unfortunately, he was busy trying to pack his own snowballs and had not seen a thing. In fact, when I looked up to see his reaction, he was nowhere to be found.

Not sure of where he was, I called out his name and saw him round the corner of the house to see what it was I wanted. I decided to throw the snowball at the house close to him so that he would see what was inside of it once it exploded against the bricks. I wound up like a major league pitcher and let the snowball fly with all of the strength I could muster and, though it possessed a frightening velocity, the loaded snowball flew wide of its intended target.

My brother saw that the snowball was heading right for him and even though he was only four, realized that if he did not do something fairly quick, he was going to take the thing full in the face. He turned his head to the side just in time to move his face out of the way but the missile nailed him about an inch above his right ear. The force of the hit blew his stocking cap right off of his head and into the air as well as lifted him right off of his feet and dumped him onto his side. It was such a vicious strike that at first I thought I had knocked him unconscious and, overcome with a near hysterical fear that I had really hurt the kid, rushed over to help him. Before I got there however he rolled back over and, apparently unhurt, futilely attempted to defiantly heave a chunk of snow right back at me. That is when I caught a full glimpse of what my “Duke”-ulear snowball had done to him.

When my brother was four, he was a toe-head blonde with straight hair that looked as if it had been styled by someone who had placed a bowl on his head and cut around it. The side of his head that had not been hit still looked like that. The other side however, was haphazardly spiked and intermittently brown, with hair flying off in all directions. He resembled a cartoon character who had survived an explosion that torched one side of his body while leaving the other pristine. I fell down upon my knees in hysterical laughter and my brother followed suit, at least until he brought his hand up to the side of his face and realized what he had been hit with. After that his expression changed, his eyes welled up with tears and as he started to cry, he picked himself up and ran inside to tell my mother.

I knew right then that I was doomed and my only chance for survival was to flee. Unfortunately, I was laughing too hard to do anything about it. I eventually made it up to all fours and, still paralyzed with hysterics, slowly started making my way to the front gate, which I considered the first obstacle on my way the Marine Corps recruiting office where I planned to lie about my age, jump on the first bus to Paris Island and spend the rest of my life in the relative safety of close quarter combat in remote and exotic locations. It was a lousy plan but my intellect was far too conflicted to effectively deal with the situation. On one hand, I was certain that I was mere seconds away from meeting a grisly end to my short existence in this world. On the other hand, the event that prompted that situation was probably the most singularly hilarious thing I had ever seen in my brief life up until that point. When you are a twelve-year-old boy who is confronted with that extreme of a contradiction, your survival instincts just go all to hell.

In fact, my fight-or-flee instincts did not return until my mother exploded out of the back door. She was in her slippers and without a coat, sweating profusely even though the outside temperature was certainly below freezing. Her fists were clenched, her teeth were bared and her complexion had turned redder than Chairman Mao. A foam had collected around her lips that was suggestive of advanced-stage hydrophobia and was no mistaking that she had infanticide in her eyes. My hysterical laughter came to an abrupt end as I bolted upright and, with an adrenaline surge born of sheer terror, made a desperate break for it.

Though I initiated the race with a good ten-foot head start, it just was not enough. I was clearing the neighbor’s fence when she plucked me out of mid-air and threw me face down into the snow. I don’t remember much after that.

When my memory picks back up, I was bent over the couch with a burning backside that would have looked more at home on the posterior of a baboon in heat than on an adolescent human who had just assaulted his little brother with a sizeable chunk of canine waste. The carpet was littered with the splintered remnants of wooden spoons, strewn leather belts and broken yardsticks. My mother was crushed, having realized she had come completely unhinged and I believe my brother was in the bathroom staring in horror at his new protein enriched scalp treatment. I was in serious pain, my brother was thoroughly traumatized and my mother was probably questioning her fitness to be a parent after losing her self control so completely. Now, when I think back about that incident and recall all the mayhem that I had caused by throwing that snowball, I truly believe that I had received the punishment that I thoroughly deserved. Then I remember that look on my brother’s face once he realized what he had been hit with and decide that it was definitely worth it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

BSC Rebuttal to “Conservatives ♥ South Park”

The Blue State Conservatives site has a good rebuttal to the May 1, 2005 NY Times Article written by Frank Rich “Conservatives ♥ South Park”, that tried to debunk Brian C. Anderson’s book “South Park Conservatives”. In his article, Rich claims that the “faith-based right became the new left” and suggests that the Christian fundamentalist zeal to rid the public airwaves of “indecent” programming would lead to a new “political correctness” in which evangelical overlords would dictate what we were allowed to watch based upon their moral values.

In short, Mr. Rich’s article is hyperbole, simple rhetoric designed to portray the evangelical right as mainstream conservatism. Granted, the GOP has its fair share of ideological extremists just as the DNC does, but they are no more indicative of the mainstream Republican agenda any more so than Ward Churchill is indicative of mainstream Democratic doctrine. The difference is that liberal bias in the mainstream American press ensures that conservative embarrassments get a lot more airtime.

Mr. Rich does have a point however. Regarding the activities of some “decency” advocates aligned with the Republican movement to police entertainment subject matter on the airways, Mr. Rich writes:

Should such theocratic conservatives prevail, "South Park" conservatives will be hipper than they ever could have imagined - terminally hip, you might say.

He is right on that point. At present, the mainstream media bends left and now that there are alternatives available to information consumers they are taking their intellect elsewhere, as the book “South Park Conservatives” authoritatively illustrates. If the ultra-conservative elements of the GOP start over-exploiting the recent rightward shift in American attitudes by attempting to impose their morals on mainstream voters, they can expect the same sort of backlash that they benefited from when the liberals attempted the same thing with same-sex marriage. One of the quickest ways the right can undo recent gains is by trying to “clean-up” the airways and censor material they consider objectionable but mainstream America considers entertaining. Personally, I welcome advice on how to entertain myself from the moral majority about as much as Pope Benedict would welcome fashion tips from Marilyn Manson. Letting the religious right, people who are susceptible to delusional interpretations of latent homoeroticism in Spongebob Squarepants cartoons, have a voice about what I should be able to watch on television is completely ludicrous, and I would bet most conservatives would agree with me.

Unfortunately, it is not just far-right fruit loops bestowing believability to Mr. Rich’s dissertations. Recent FCC actions have provided some real concern to those of us who are vehemently opposed to being subject to legislated morality. The Janet Jackson Super Bowl fiasco was a perfect case in point. I was not personally offended by what happened during the halftime show (which my multiple TiVo re-viewings of the incident will certainly attest to) but I was not at all happy that it happened during a family oriented event with no warning to viewers of what was to have transpired. People should have been held accountable for that, namely the performers that committed the act and, to a limited extent, the organizers of the event for not knowing what their performers were up to. Fining every station that broadcast it however was going way too far and I believe that the FCC really overstepped their bounds on that action.

Then you have the repeated persecution of Howard Stern. Now, I will go on record right now and say that I am not a Howard Stern fan by any means. It is not because I find him indecent or offensive, it is just that humor is a very subjective personal trait and I do not find him all that funny. I will be the first to point out however that millions of people DO find him funny and he has developed a rabidly loyal following. Now even though I may not appreciate his humor all that much, that gives me no right to clamor for his show to be thrown off of the air. His fans have a right to listen to him and I have the right to tune into WRIF’s Drew and Mike morning show if I am not enamored with Howard Stern. Turning the dial is not that hard of a thing to do and frankly, if Stern’s product had no entertainment value as his critics imply, he would not have enjoyed the spectacular success that he has. Even though I am not a fan, I wish him all the luck in the world on his new endeavor at Sirius.

Of course, the evangelicals have the fallback argument that their actions are designed to “protect our children” but frankly, if the children’s mothers and fathers are not monitoring what their kids are exposed to, the children are in far greater danger of bad parenting than they are of bad radio.

In my opinion, Mr. Rich is unable to debunk Brian C. Anderson’s “South Park Conservatives” so he is resorting to the tactic of trying to sew hysteria about what the implications could possibly be of a nation seduced by Republicanism. I believe the truth of the matter to be that in 2004, independent voters were not so much seduced by the right as they were repulsed by the left. As a conservative, I believe we now have home court advantage. The independents are ours to lose, which we could easily do by giving the religious right too much sway over the GOP’s domestic policy. If moderate voters feel threatened by the specter of faith-based policymaking in 2008, they could easily cross the aisle. The only thing that would save us then would be a cataclysmic blunder by the DNC, something like nominating Hillary Clinton to run for president in which case the 2008 election would be in the bag.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Those Bestial Swedes: 200 Animals Molested in Sweden Over 30 Years

The amazing thing is that in Sweden this type of behavior is not, apparently, against the law. As long as the animal is not harmed, the animal’s “significant other” can not be prosecuted. I guess that’s life in the socially progressive nation of Sweden.

So, in a land renown for its buxom blue-eyed blondes, what could possibly drive a man to take the equestrian arts to a level of depravity that would gag the Marquis de Sade? A physical appearance that would make Quasimoto feel like Mel Gibson? There’s always plastic surgery and in the great welfare state of Sweden, if a person is so facially deformed he’s forced to cruise for dates at a Nordic dairy farm I would guess he could probably get fixed for damn near free. Social awkwardness? Well, if a man was too awkward to ask a human female for a date, I certainly do not see how a bovine bestiality bender is going to increase his social standing at all. Feelings of inadequacy? Well, I’ve been to a farm in the spring season before and have had the misfortune of coming within eyeshot of a horse’s reproductive appendage. If a man has feelings of inadequacy, the last thing he needs to try to do is measure up to THAT, especially in a region like Scandinavia that is exceptionally susceptible to gender bending arctic breezes.
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