Archive for February, 2009

I’ve always taken solace in the small things in life, the things that anchor my existence and tell me that all is well with the world. Such a thing buoyed my spirits this morning after my first cup of coffee.

I followed my usual morning routine, shower, mundane middle-America jeans and tee shirt, coffee, turn on tv, boot up desktop, start sipping and listening and browsing. I fully expected to hear from CNN or read in Google’s newsfeed that the world was on the brink of collapse and only Jesus Christ could save it.

But no. Jesus is too ordinary. His name doesn’t evoke heroism, merely a continuing wonder about how the meek are going to inherit the Earth. I have my doubts about that, although I concede sheer numbers may someday raise the meek to a position of strength.

No, at this moment we do not need a Jesus. We need a…a…a…a Chuck Norris, by God! And we’ve got him. Help is on the way. The little thing that brought me solace this morning was a tiny headline stuck way down in the on-line version of the Washington Post. It read “The GOP’s New Savior.”

Wait. Don’t leave me yet. There’s more.

Right beside the headline as big as life (well, not quite) was a picture of Chuck Norris.

You may ask, and rightly so, who gives a crap about the survival of the GOP. Certainly, I do not. But Chuck Norris riding to the rescue is a matter of world-shaking consequence. A GOP revitalized would be a hazard to our health, a biological and environmental catastrophe, a catastrophe to end all catastrophes, the Mother of Catastrophes.

And therein is my dilemma. I have always liked Chuck. He’s this kid from Oklahoma, an ex-Air Force sergeant who taught movie stars the finer points of self-defense, and who eventually became a bigger star than most of those he taught.

And his television show, Walker Texas Ranger, was one of my favorites. I even listed it on my Facebook page.

That was before he endorsed Mike Huckabee in the preceding presidential primary. Huck is a fine guitar player and a master of quips and zingers. But a president? Puleeze. Sorry if I’m insulting people from Arkansas, but that’s just the way it is. We’ve had one president from Hope. That’s enough.

At any rate, when Chuck lined up with Matt, I began to question my own political judgment and taste in movie stars. I even stopped watching Walker, totally confused about my identity. Could I live in my self-created logic-tight brain? I finally decided, no. I discontinued my association with Chuck and Huck and declared my fidelity to the Democratic candidate who, I fervently hoped, would be Barack Obama.

And that was that. Until this morning. When Chuck’s picture mysteriously appeared.

So, where’s my solace?

Chuck doesn’t stand (a) (the)—help me out here grammarians— chance of a snowball in hell of resurrecting the Republican Party.

Not even the personal intervention of The Intelligent Designer could breathe life back into the tired old bromides that have sustained the party of disunity for so long.

All’s well with the world after all.


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I confess straight up and down that I didn’t watch much of Barack’s speech yesterday. I was too engrossed in the audience.

There was Turncoat Joe, sitting up front somewhere with his classic just-been-hit-in-the-forehead-with-a-rubber-mallet vacant stare, silly grin and all. Sure, he hugged Barack later, but that was just another blatant example of his opportunistic sincerity.

And then Senator Shelby of Alabama. He just stared down at his desk or something, like a sixth grader waiting for the recess bell to ring. To refresh our memories, Shelby not too long ago wandered through fields of poppies and came out wondering if Obama was really qualified to be the President. Then, when someone asked him if he really believed what he had said, he parsed and ‘splained until he worked himself around to his original statement. I think he was tripping through Oz for sure and I bet it galled him that he had to look upward from his seat at Obama behind a kingly dais.

Not to mention Sarah Palin’s ex. Ole John Boy sat there indolently like a Navy captain sneering at some poor seaman. Isn’t it odd that when we think of John, the first image that pops up in our minds is of Sarah as a Miss Alaska Runner-up?

And who could fail to notice Madam Pelosi, even more elevated than Barack, cheering him on with such enthusiasm that at one point she leaped out of her chair and exhorted the crowd to cheer and clap in the manner of a high school cheerleader? This is the same Madam Pelosi who, not long ago, warned Barack that he and Joe better not impinge on her turf. And who, before that, seemed enthralled with GB II’s Iraq war spending. (Note that I did not capitalize the word “war” or classify the operation over there as a real war. I view Iraq as one battle in a larger war, the war for hearts and minds, which we rapidly began losing with the ascendancy of Rush Limnbaugh to the shadow office of Uber-President.)

As for the speech itself, presidential speeches serve many purposes, paramount among them rallying the party and instilling a sense of public confidence in the President. Obama certainly achieved the latter. In a day-after poll, the percentage of those confident in him and his abilities hovered at 91 percent.

Presidential speeches also function as a road map for the nation. They envision the President’s goals and his means of achieving them (programs, e.g.). In the latter sense, only time will tell. A great deal will depend on a cooperative Congress as well as an improving economy. Not all events and outcomes are at the President’s pleasure. However, I am optimistic that Obama’s vision will trump Bobby Jindal’s any day.

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I hereby swear or affirm as the case may be that I’ve been neglecting my Bay Area blog in favor of Open Salon. Even so, I do keep up with the news. I am aware, for example, that Missus Mayorette is with child. I fully expect the Three Wise Men, bearing gifts of gold and myrrh and frankincense, to appear on the steps of City Hall at any moment. When that happens, I’ll think about the glorious event and all of its potential ramifications. ‘Til then, other matters in life are higher up on my list.

Such as the state’s financial crisis and the fact that Arnie has declared that he will accept money from Barack’s stimulus package. That’s a good little Repug, Arnie. Your alignment with the left on this issue clearly sets your apart from the governors of several Neo-Confederate states, such as Haley Barber of Mississippi, who originally said that he wouldn’t accept any of the tainted dollars but who has since parsed his stand and acknowledges that he may accept “some” of the money. Even Rick Perry, the Tejas governer, now admits that he (may) (might) (probably will) (will) relent. At least Arnie had the guts to come just right out and say it like a man. To paraphrase a saying I heard once, “He may be a Republican, but he’s our Republican.”

And I’m also thinking about the governor’s race in 2010. I really haven’t cataloged all of the contenders yet, run them through my purification chamber, and cranked out the name of the winner, but I’ll get around to it.

In the meantime, I continue to write totally irrelevant gobbleydegood for Open Saloon…whoops…Salon and endure the rificule of its stable of professional writers and general, all-round, journeyman-level assholes. If any of you bloggers revel in humiliation, create a fake identity and head for Open Saloon, er, Salon.

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A slew of those 25 things clones is making the rounds. The latest is a series of 25 questions we’re supposed to answer Yes or No to without additional comment. The questions are kind of personal, and I have a hunch a sedate housewife or a CEO might be reluctant to answer some of them. Here’s an example followed by my response:

Have you ever held a snake?

Me: That kind of depends on the whether we’re talking reptilian snakes or the human variety, although the similarities are often striking.

The Snake thing is included in a set making the rounds on Facebook. With certain deletions and additions to spice up the list, here’s my version of the game, along with my answers.

Have you ever?

Kissed any one of your Facebook friends? Depends on the kind of kiss we’re talking about. I have relatives who are my Facebook Friends.

Been arrested? YES and spent two hours in the coldest jail in Asia before I was released in the middle of nowhere on a night with the lowest temperature ever recorded in the history of temperatures.

Kissed someone you didn’t like? Well, I liked them before the kiss…..

Slept in until 5 PM? Only when I was too drunk to move.

Fallen asleep at work/school? This is no problem for me. I’ve learned to sleep sitting up with my eyes open.

Done it in the men’s restroom while your friends were dining in the main dining room? At a Jack in the Box in Okaland.

Ran a red light? On Van Ness near City Hall, right in front of a San Francisco motorcycle officer. The son of a bitch followed me into a parking garage and gave me a ticket.

Been suspended from school? YES, for slapping my hand on my desk and accusing the kid next to me of making me hold my nose.

Totaled your car/motorbike? YES, twice, but only one was my fault.

Sang karaoke? Is it spelled right? There’s a Latin melody called Carioca.

Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? Every day of my conscious life.

Did it standing up while watching a baseball game in Giants stadium? Isn’t that what the 7th inning stretch is all about?

Caught a snowflake on your private parts? Only when caught in a sudden blizzard.

Kissed in the rain? YES. We were riding across the desert when a thunderstorm blew over and forced our lips together. My horse didn’t like that at all.

Sang in the shower? No, but I tuned my electric guitar once. Once.

Sat on a rooftop? YES, but they hauled me away, Santa Claus costume and all.

Been pushed off of a thousand foot cliff while nude? Yes

Broken a bone? A few wishbones, but my wishes never came true.

Shaved your head? NO. The barber in basic training handled my sartorial needs.

Blacked out? Only when my alcoholic consumption rendered me unconscious.

Played a prank on someone? Once signed up a friend for a correspondence course.

Felt like killing someone? No, just waterboarding them for an eternity.

Made your girlfriend/boyfriend cry? A couple of times when I couldn’t pay for dinner and she had to ante up $115.49.

Had Mexican jumping beans for pets? With tortillas a few times.

Been in a band? I was drummed out of my first grade rhythm band on the first day of practice.

Shot a gun? Many times. I shot my best friend in his right leg one day. My mistake devastated me until I learned he had shot himself in the hand with a German Luger.

Tripped on mushrooms? Not sure. Are you talking about those big round mushrooms vegans use as a meat substitute?

Donated Blood? They never explained why I wasn’t qualified.

Eaten alligator meat? This is another “not sure questions.” A cousin worked in a sausage factory, and he told me they throw everything in the grinder, including alligators.

Eaten cheesecake? Oh, God, YES! With blueberry jam.

Still love someone you shouldn’t? My pet pig, Rosie.

Think about the future? Only when someone asks me this damned question.

Believe in love? Occasionally, when under the influence of something.

Sleep on a certain side of the bed? No. It’s all mine.

Now it’s your turn. Be honest now. That’s the whole point of the game. Relationships are built on honesty. Unless dishonesty is called for.

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Okay, so GQ Magazine has selected Justin Timberlake to head its list of the Top 10 Most Stylish Men in America. GQ’s on-line version has a shot of Justy looking suitably sexy, if you can call ducking your chin and gazing up at the camera with a sort of a moonie-eyed look calculated to make women swoon and men admire his savoir faire, sexy. His image is enhanced by a black suit jacket, white dress shirt and pale blue polka-dotted tie. Oh, and a little accent, a hint of a folded handkerchief tucked neatly into the right-side pocket of his jacket. He appears to have his hands casually stuck in his pants pockets, but that is unknown because the photo is cropped at the waist. He could be wearing a one-piece jock strap below the jacked as far as we know.

The problem with Justin’s entire image is that no one ever wears the kind of clothes depicted in GQ and on the other side in Ellle and Vogue. I have never in my entire life ever seen a man or a woman dressed in the manner of a fop or its feminine equivalent. Most of the people on Earth are generics, people like me who may rate a 5 on that well-known scale. And they dress generic, too.

Take my life-long wardrobe, for example.

Since the third grade, my preferred dress—my only dress—has been a tee shirt and jeans in temperate weather and a sweatshirt and jeans when the chill sets in. The tee shirt is usually white sans logo, tucked under my beltless jeans, but recently, I have begun to collect shirts with messages on them, like “U.S, Naval Academy,” and “Lewis and Clark College.” These have no meaning other than to display my maleness in the case of the Academy shirt and my feminine side with L&C. And I’ve also begun to vary the colors. Now, I switch between robin’s egg-blue, light tan, gray, and black.

With the fall weather, I defer to a sweatshirt, usually gray but occasionally black. No whites. White is not a sweatshirt color. Only one of my shirts has a logo, one that someone gave me, with a neat Reebok stitched over the left breast. This is my only concession to identifying marks.

Except once, before constant wear caused it to rot, I wore a Texas tee-shirt, a beautiful, light, off-brown color with a small saddle and the words “Texas Lone Star State” over the left breast and a larger version of the same logo on the back. Whenever I flew from places like Honolulu to Dallas, I’d wear the shirt and everyone wanted to talk to me. One young girl stood in front of me and in apparent amazement said, “You look just like my Uncle Bob.”

And in a mall in Annapolis, some guy spotted me in a bookstore and seemed enthralled. He worked his way to my aisle and stood beside me, sneaking glances in my direction and even moving outside when I left. The funny thing is, he never said a word, just looked at me and my tee-shirt.

But the oddest reception my Texas tee-shirt received was in Arkansas. I put it on one morning before my cousin and I left for shopping in WaMart but the minute she saw it, she said, “Boy, you don’t want to wear that around here. These people hate Texans. They don’t even like any kind of shirt with anything on it, nothing, nada, no Nike, no nothing. They’ll think you’re a stuck up snob.” She was kind of breathless at the end, but I decided to wear it anyway. No one said anything, but they looked at me in a strange sort of way and I’m sorry I embarrassed my cousin.

Yes, I’ve occasionally worn a suit and tie but that was on the infrequent occasions when I was actively engaged in socially acceptable work attire. But I was distinctly uncomfortable and shucked everything in favor of my regular wardrobe the minute I returned home.

The third item in my lifelong wardrobe is a pair of jeans. In my birth country, we called them blue jeans and rolled them up a couple of turns at the cuff. The jeans were loose-legged and lighter in weight and color than Levis. The latter became my jeans of choice in California and remain so today. Only in California, we never washed our Levis. We permitted them to become saturated with accumulated layers of grease and oil until they could stand alone. I fully expected them to go up in flames caused by spontaneous combustion.

My only capitulation to style was an aviator-style leather jacket with the collar turned up. But even that didn’t last long when the weather turned cold. I usually wore a generic brown jacket that I bought at a Sears in Hollywood. Later, when I needed an even heavier jacket, I picked up an earth-gray waist length jacket filled with down or something that kept me reasonably comfortable.

Which brings me back to Justin. He looks distinctly uncomfortable in his GQ duds. I have a hunch he doesn’t command a lot of attention when he walks down the street. That is the death knell for a Hollywood star of his stature. I have a suggestion. Buy a Texas tee-shirt. But avoid Arkansas.

Short Addendum. I’ve always worn shoes, but to tell the truth, I never actually looked at them.

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Do Acres Vote?

This morning I received an email from an unnamed relative in the heart of the Confederacy. This particular relative apparently makes money by forwarding information that is of no practical use to anyone. Except rednapes. The information he inundates me with are about as racist as they come, and all of them are anti-Obama. He delights in collecting information that proves Obama didn’t win the election and that he doesn’t represent the “real” America.

Today’s update is representative of the tone and content of the info making the rounds among a fairly large proportion of people in certain parts of the country. As usual, it is deceptive and misleading. He begins his email with the following map.


According to the map, we can imagine that the Republicans captured the entire United States. The author of the email cements this image with the following statistics and explanatory information, which I have included verbatim, including typos and other errors. I have also assigned alternate names to a couple of professors who I call Professor x and y. Read the following and think about it, and answer a couple of questions I’ve asked at the end.


“Number of States won by: Democrats: 19 Republicans: 29

Square miles of land won by: Democrats: 580,000 Republicans: 2,427,000

Population of counties won by: Democrats: 127 million Republicans: 143 million

Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Democrats: 13.2

Republicans: 2.1

Explanatory Information

“Professor x adds: “In aggregate, the map of the territory Republican won by Republicans was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of the country.

“Democrat territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off various forms of government welfare. Don’t think the educated voted for Obama, just primarily, those who want everything fro Government. That’s big cities. That includes the hyper liberal blue bloods who pattern everything by failing, fiscally broken, Europe. Not sophisticated people.

“Professor x believes the United States is now somewhere between the “complacency and apathy” phase of Professor y’s definition of democracy, with some forty percent of the nation’s population already having reached the “governmental dependency” phase.

“If Congress grants amnesty and citizenship to twenty million criminal invaders called illegal’s and they vote, then we can say goodbye to the USA in fewer than five years

“Pass this along to help everyone realize just how much is at stake, knowing that apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom.”

Now that you’ve had an opportunity to examine this scholarly study, answer this question: Name three essential facts that the professor has omitted.

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I’m assuming (yes, I know we shouldn’t) that the Republicans will forgo any and all benefits that may come their way from the positive results of Obama’s stimulus package.

For example, if their coveted portfolios rise in value, I would expect them to flat refuse the increased monetary value and donate the gains to charity. I believe it is only fair that one who opposes America’s President to the death on principle ought, as gentlemen and gentlewomen continue to stand on their iron-bound adherence to the values of fiscal conservatism and courage. Here are a few other potentially profitable areas that all good Republicans must resist:

  • Infrastructure assistance to their state or district.
  • Farm subsidies.
  • Small business start-up funds.
  • Faith-based initiatives.
  • Tax cuts.

Good conscience demands that the Republicans resist accepting the benefits of the preceding and many more that have yet to be named. There is one perk, however, that Obama should offer and that the Republicans are duty-bound to accept, a one-way ticket to Americana, Brazil.

Americana is a community established by Southern settlers at the End of the Civil War. Today, the original settlement has grown to a metropolis of more than 200,000 people. Each year, the original founders are honored with a celebration in a local cemetery.

I feel certain Americana’s population would heartily welcome such prominent politicians as John Boehner and the Leader of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh.

I wonder how Limbaugh is pronounced in Portuguese.

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