Monday, November 16, 2009

Bow? Wow. Wow!

I have mixed feelings on the subject of President Obama bowing to Japanese Emperor Akihito because while I understand his move as a symbolic one of the U.S. being less egotistical and prideful than we’ve gained a reputation for in recent years and willing to meet others without affectations of superiority, I also can’t help but think of the many World War II veterans, who we just celebrated on Wednesday and what they might think about the action?

First things first, I think it’s important to point out that both Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon bowed to Japanese Emperors. It’s not an unprecedented action from either side of the political spectrum. And President Obama certainly set a precedent when he bowed to Saudi Arabia’s King. Had he not done so in this instance it could have looked very suspicious.

Regardless of the intent or the precedent of other president’s from each party having done it, I still have some issues with our President bowing to anyone. When two people bow to one and other, they show mutual respect. When one person bows to another, they show deference. While an arrogant, smug United States is bad for the world, it’s not as bad as a meek one could be. The message our President should be sending to one and all is that we are willing and ready to meet as equals. Bowing to an individual does not communicate that at all. It is a sign of weakness.

A man as eloquent as President Obama should be able to communicate his desire to meet and speak as equals without the grand symbolic gestures. He should also listen to the people and realize that they are not in favor of him bowing and scarping. Our last administration never admitted a wrong or made an apology—the Change I Believed In promised it would when called for, but so far it has not.

I keep coming back to the veterans of WWII, specifically those who fought in the Pacific. I’ve seen many wonderful documentaries about Japanese and American veterans meeting on bits of land where they fought each other and killed each other’s friends and comrades. They have found peace. They embrace. The forgive one and other. They share a deep and impenetrable bond and it’s an amazing testament to humanity.

Individually, it’s a wonderful thing and something to be celebrated, but in the grander scheme of things can you imagine a day, some sixty-something years in the future when a President of the United States bows to a leader of al-Qaeda? No matter what passes between now and that hypothetical day to establish friendship, don’t you think it would be an insult to those who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001?

Each side has come a long way since Pearl Harbor, and Japan has paid a great price for their actions of December 7th, 1941. I don’t mean to suggest that we shouldn’t be allies, or friends; that we shouldn’t be respectful of each other and the traditions we each hold dear, but a man who has called Hawaii home should never forget what happened there. No matter how mended the fence, or how strongly new ties have been formed, the leader of our nation should be respectful enough of those who died at Pearl Harbor to never bow to office that ordered their deaths.

There are better ways to make friends, Mr. President, than by being symbolically humble. For the sake of those entombed in the harbor, you should apologize and find a better way.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Bears in the News

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that commas are not important. They are important. And if you happened to go to today and ignored a comma, you might just have one of those “whahuh?” moments just like I did.

I saw this headline:

Gay, Grizzlies unable to reach deal by deadline

I missed the comma.
Images of gay bears bartering for honey, at a frenzied pace, before some negotiating deadline, flooded my mind. It was an odd moment to say the least. So, the next time someone tries to tell you that commas aren’t important, please remind them that the gay grizzlies may disagree.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Invade Canada! Steal Healthcare!

The problem is that President Obama isn’t doing things the American Way. We the people need to wake him up and properly explain the job to him so he can start correcting his egregious mistakes. Some solutions are so simple that intelligent, Harvard-educated men like him just don’t see them. If he’d gone to Yale and spent some time in the Air National Guard, he’d be much better equipped to deal with this silly little heath care problem that faces our country.

When we didn’t have oil, did we sit on our asses and try to conjure it up by talking? NO! As the old saying goes, crap in one hand and wish in the other, then see which hand gets filled first. Well our President is wishing and wishing and wishing and he needs to start crapping or we’re going to elect Sarah Palin to do our pooping in 2012.

The answer is simple. We don’t have health care available to all of our citizens. Canada does. Solution: Invade Canada and steal their healthcare.

What are they going to do about it? The only resistance we’ll face is a few burly guys with hockey sticks yelling, “eh!” And not only that, but Canadians are far too polite resist us—and for crying out loud, a good portion of the country is French, we haven’t even invaded yet and they’re probably considering surrendering!

Granted, after we steal Canada’s health care, that will leave them with none. And that’s sad, but they’re Canadians, the only time they’ll notice is when they loose a tooth or two playing hockey but honestly, Canadians are like West Virginians in that missing a few teeth just means an elevated status within their borders!

Plus, it solves the whole Iraq problem too! Everyone wants our military out right now! No one cares about how that region will survive after we go. With all the alternative energy possibilities being explored, we really don’t need their oil anymore—so to hell with them! Our military has better things to do! Invade Canada!

Shock and Awe can be replaced with Eh and Aboot! We’ll invade, control the country within 24 hours, take all their health care and it’ll be over! Our exit strategy will be to shake the hands of the defeated Canadians and listen to all their well-wishes and no-hard-feelings speeches.

Granted, most Canadians complain about their healthcare system as well, but I have to think that if we take theirs and add it to ours, that has to be better right? Maybe they’ll be able to make some more, maybe they won’t. As a token of good will and neighborly friendship, we can even give them Detroit, including the Red Wings. It’s not like we use Detroit anymore anyway. They get another Original Six hockey team and we lose all those unemployed auto workers who helped cause this healthcare crisis in the first place! Two birds. One stone! Bam!

It’s time to start making this new president of ours accountable. It’s time to teach him the American Way. We aren’t the beacon on the hill because we wait around and hope things will get better! We take what makes us better from those who are weaker than us and then expect them to be grateful to us for it! And our friend’s to the north are the perfect victims for our current needs.

Sorry Canada. You’re going down. But hey! Detroit!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Memo to Fat NFL D-Linemen

Week 2 of the NFL season is in the books and there were a lot of good football games to be watched. However, a theme seemed to develop over the day and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’d been disturbed by this trend throughout the pre-season and last year as well.

Of course I’m talking about the disturbing trend of fat defensive linemen jumping, prancing, pirouetting and otherwise frolicking after sacking the opposing team’s quarterback. In the Bears game alone this past week, I had to endure the sight of wide-load Defensive Tackle Anthony Adams perform awkward ballet moves at least 3 times—and he didn’t even have any sacks!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that these guys start doing some kind of premeditated dance after making a good play. There is nothing more pretentious and phony than a previously thought-out celebration dance and it’s bad sportsmanship besides. And I’m all for expressing the exuberating feeling of accomplishment at making a good play. It is a game after all! But someone needs to tell the fat guys that there are just some things fat guys should never, ever do.

Chief among these things are skipping, performing spinning turns and doing that ballet move where you take a running leap, bringing one knee up and letting the opposite leg kick out in back of you completely straight—while placing one arm in front and the other in back. Actually, let’s just leave it at the fact that fat guys should not, under any circumstances, perform any maneuver that even closely resembles ballet.

I just don’t think the proper way to celebrate athletic accomplishment for a 350lb man should ever involve doing anything that some women do while wearing tutus. Call me old-fashioned, but I think a fist pump or a Hulk Hogan muscle pose works just fine with the added benefit of not appearing effeminate to the meathead opponents across the field who want to rip your head off.

Fat guys dancing in the NFL have simply gotten out of control. Retired NFL fat guy Warren Sapp goes on the Dancing with the Stars and all of the sudden each and every one of these Beluga’s is channeling his inner Baryshnikov! It’s got to stop! It’s just not fair to those of us watching to be subjected to this! Aside from Rerun on What’s Happening, America does not want or need to see fat men dance. It’s not pretty. If I want to watch that kind of undulating jiggle, I’ll make Jell-o!

It simply has to stop. It has to stop now. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell needs to step in and make a rule change. Fifteen-yard penalties should be assessed for Unnecessary use of Blubber. The NFL in recent seasons has gone out of it’s way to protect the health and long-term wellbeing of its players, but how about a little love for the fans now? My eyes will never be the same again! The image of that fat man flying through the air like Tinkerbelle her own damn self will haunt me at least the rest of this week and potentially the rest of this season.

Enough is enough. We all have our limitations in life. It’s nice that those fat guys can stand up and be role models for the rest of us who are chubularly challenged and show us that even fat guys can be athletes. They give us hope. But we’ll never be Olympic divers, we’ll never sit in coach, we’re not meant to try bungee jumping and under no circumstances, should we ever prance like ballerinas—especially not after grabbing another sweaty man forcefully, hugging him and jumping on top of him (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dear Mike...

This is the email I sent my House Representative, Mike Quigley, today:


Please explain to me why yesterday, instead of working to fix our economy, dealing with the two wars we're fighting and figuring out a fair and all-encompassing health care system for our country, the House of Representatives spent their time playing party games?

Why is rebuking Joe Wilson more important than working to help your constituents? Is your party more important to you than us? If this is how you choose to spend your time, regardless of the politics of your next opponent, I think I would prefer them over you.

Nothing will ever get accomplished in Washington DC while petty party games are more important to you than the betterment of those whom you serve. Is your goal to serve us and better our lives sir, or is it to keep getting re-elected, take your paychecks and your amazing health care benefits and never actually DO anything?

I'm extremely disappointed in how the House spent it's time yesterday. I'm disappointed in you. I'm tired of party loyalty superseding loyalty to the people who elect you. You serve at our pleasure sir. It is my deep regret that so many of those whose pleasure you serve at are sheep who don't bother to demand better of you. It is my deep regret that you don't demand better of yourself and your peers.

I voted for you. Ultimately, the responsibility for your actions is my own. So, I'm disappointed in myself too. Through your actions yesterday, I let my country down, because I'm responsible for the seat you hold.

I certainly hope you choose to make me proud from this point forward. I hope that when your peers seek to play games and waste time, you will be vocal and loud and remind them that it is imperative to stay on target, that petty bickering must be put aside. I hope you remind your peers that back home in Chicago, people are losing jobs, people are going without adequate health care, people's sons and daughters are dying on foreign soil.

As the person who represents me in our government, that is my expectation for you. That is the charge I give you. When your peers go astray, I want to see Mike Quigley's name rebuking them for wasting time. I want to everyone to know that my representative will not sit idly by and allow such pettiness to take precedence over the issues. Every time something stupid like a rebuke comes up, I want to see your name in print calling out your peers for their foolishness. I want to hear the sound bytes of you standing up to them--even your own party--shaming them for putting party pride ahead of the people whom they represent.

If you want my vote again sir, that is the path to getting it. I have higher expectations for you in the future. I do hope you won't let me down.

You can go here, if you want to write your own.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


What do you do when the right thing to do, conflicts with…the right thing to do? This is the dilemma now faced by the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Bears and family of former Bears great Walter Payton. At first, when you hear the idea, it seems like a no-brainer. The Payton Family wishes to have a statue which is currently being sculpted, just outside of historic Soldier Field where Walter Payton spoiled and delighted Bears fans for years.

However, the Park District, which owns Soldier Field, has rebuffed the Payton’s and their supporters. They have done so respectfully, and regretfully—offering to place the statue in any other CPD park, but not at Soldier Field. The problem is that Soldier Field and the park-owned property around it, were dedicated to the memory of our nation’s soldiers. Bears legends like Dick Butkus, Mike Ditka, Gayle Sayers and George Halas do not have statues outside of Soldier Field for this very reason. There are places commemorating their achievements in the various concourses inside the stadium, but the field, and the park area around the stadium are expressly meant to be a memorial to veterans.

It’s easy to see each side of this issue. That Payton deserves a statue is beyond argument. He does. That it should be at Soldier Field seems to be the fitting location for such a monument. However, if that statue became the focal point for visitors to the stadium, which it surely would, then wouldn’t that be a bit of an insult to the Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Seamen and Guardsmen to whom this stadium has been dedicated? Is it right to honor one at the risk of diminishing the honor of many others?

It would be sad to see the statue of Payton go up anywhere else. It would be sad to diminish, in any way, the sacrifices made by those who have honorably served our country. Payton is not a veteran. If he was, perhaps this would be a bit easier. Still, to see his statue at another park, or any other place in Chicago just wouldn’t seem right. Like Michael Jordan’s statue at the United Center, Payton’s statue belongs at the place the Bears call their home. It’s the fitting place.

And so the only solution that seems obvious is this: The Field Museum of Natural History is the neighbor of Soldier Field. Why not place the statue at the outermost limits of the Field Museum property, where fans trekking to Soldier Field will still be able to stop and admire the statue, while the ground that is sacred in it’s dedication to our veteran’s goes untouched? Certainly, Walter Payton is an important piece of Chicago history and in the history of our beloved Bears. He deserves to be placed near the place where he embodied the hard-working, never-quitting attitude of our blue collar city.

Payton’s statue deserves to overlook the place of his triumphs and conquests. Those to whom the stadium was dedicated deserve their respect and admiration. Compromise is the solution. The answer is simple. Time to step up and do the right thing—for both parties, who each, in their own way, are right and just and deserving.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Two of my childhood heroes wore the number 23 on their uniforms. One of them was Ryne Sandberg of the Cubs. One was Michael Jordan of the Bulls. Ryno went into the baseball Hall of Fame a couple years back. MJ went into the basketball HOF last night. Ryno’s speech inspired, thrilled and pleased me. MJ’s left me feeling something I’d never felt for him before: pity.

That Michael Jordan is the best player to ever play the game is truly beyond argument. Just like no one will ever replace Babe Ruth as the titan of baseball, Michael Jordan climbed every mountain and swam every sea in a career that set him apart and above all others. He was the best that ever was and the best that ever will be. He proved that to us time and again. His legacy is safe and permanent.

He took the stage for his speech last night and spoke like perhaps he was the only one who wasn’t sure of that—the only one who didn’t know. Instead of showing the class and dignity that earned him global respect and admiration, he was petty and small in his words. His goal was clear: To remind the conquered of his place above them.

His speech was less a celebration that it was a reminder of what didn’t need to be said. His teammates barely received a mention. MJ was too focused on his enemies. Instead of spending time thanking and praising his own coaches, he spent time ridiculing those who thought they could stop him. Instead of thanking and praising his own teammates, he tweaked those he consistently defeated. Throughout his career he seemed—at least publically—to win with grace and dignity. On this night, he celebrated this victory with classlessness and prideful taunts.

It was always known that MJ talked trash on the court. Those who have played basketball know that’s simply part of the game. They also know that it’s put up or shut up. You have to earn the right to talk trash. Your words are empty unless you can back them up. The saddest part about this night was that Jordan, too old to back up his words, still defiantly acted like he could. Time stole from him the ability to do so. His speech was bitter. It wasn’t enough that in his prime, he was the best that ever was—it was all too evident that the fact that he couldn’t walk out on the floor and be the best today, even at this age, cuts him deeply.

You’d like the think that safe in the knowledge that you conquered all who challenged you, that you rose above all others to be the very best would bring with it a sense of peace, a bit of humility. At the very top of the mountain, you could look down on the world without looking down on them if you choose. It simply wasn’t to be. This was a night for reminding those not as great of their inferiority. It wasn’t enough to go into the Hall of Fame as the best, MJ needed to remind everyone else that they were not. It was sad.

He said that he learned something new about each of the people enshrined before him and that he wanted to share something new about himself as well. He wanted to share where his competitive nature came from. He wanted to share with us the logs that built his fire. We were there Mike. We watched each person you chose to call out last night, when they turned themselves into a log you burned to fuel your obsession. You humbled them, each in turn.

John Stockton and Jerry Sloan went into the HOF with you last night, each without an NBA Championship. Each, without a championship because you stood in their way. How classless it was of you to remind them of their failure in an effort to point out your own greatness.

When you’re the best that ever was, you don’t need to tell people. You don’t need to remind them. You don’t need to point it out. I wish someone had told MJ before he took the stage. His speech made it seem like he still felt a need to prove it. Sad, because his own doubt can only work against him.

When Ryne Sandberg went into the Hall of Fame a few years back, he did something he rarely did during his career. He spoke eloquently. His speech was not about himself and about glory, it was about the game, about the sanctity of that game. He bravely said what needed to be said. My heroes remain my heroes. I’m old enough now to know that even heroes are full of weakness. I just wish the hero that was the best of all time, could have gone in with as much dignity and class as the hero who was not.

Friday, September 11, 2009

National Where Were You Day.

Happy “Where Were You Day!” That’s what this is, isn’t it? This is the day of the year when we nod our heads solemnly, when we frown, when we tell each other we can’t believe it’s been eight whole years—how it seems like only yesterday—and then we perform the custom of his new holiday: We trade stories about where we were when those terrorist planes flew into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and crashed in a Pennsylvanian field (if we remember that there were more than the planes that crashed into the WTC that is).

This is the Kennedy moment for my generation, and a new one to add to the collection of those who came before. This is the moment frozen in time and that is the topic of conversation today. The protocol is simple. You look sad, you express disbelief in the time that’s passed, you share your personal experience—where you were when you heard, who you know who knew someone who knew someone who died, or was a hero. Of course there are people who truly were personally affected eight years ago today, but they probably aren’t treating today like an opportunity to tell stories unless it’s for catharsis sake.

For the rest of us though, it’s how we mark the day. It assuages our instinct of needing to show some kind of solemnity. Bad things happened on this date in history. We survived it. So it’s incumbent upon us to be respectful of those who didn’t. Strange, that we decide to do so by marking our own moment in time.

Eight years later, I’m afraid it’s the only personal connection most of us have to the event. It’s been a long time since any of us have sent books and magazines to soldiers. It’s been a long time since we’ve flown our yellow ribbons in support of troops that still fight—regardless of whether or not you believe in the reasons they do. Gone are the feelings of unity and oneness that prevailed for ever-so brief a time. We are every bit as divided a nation as we were on September 10, 2001—if not more so.

Funny, how it doesn’t embarrass anyone. Funny, how so many promises made in vain and left unkept not remembered at all today. Funny, how when those things are brought up, we choose to blame leaders we elected—making hasty and easy scapegoats instead of taking any personal responsibility. Funny, how today has become about me-me-me. This is where I was when the world changed!

Someone’s mother was in a plane that crashed. Someone’s father was in the building it crashed into. Someone’s son was a fireman. Someone’s daughter was a cop. They rushed in, while others rushed out. When was the last time anyone donated to help the forgotten families? Not really the in-vogue charity anymore, is it? They still sing God Bless America before baseball games—I wonder if anyone thinks about the reason they started doing so?
I was in my car, on my way to work. I heard about it on the radio. I guess that’s important. I guess my role in it all means something. When you ask me, I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you that I’ll never forget where I was, as long as I live.

I’d tell you what that day means to me too if you bothered to ask, but you won’t. No one does. Not anymore. It’s for the history books to sort out now. The ones we write today will paint a valiant picture of those of us who survived the day. Though, when others look back, when those who write the history are removed from it far enough to see it objectively, I wonder if they’ll ask: How did the day that changed everything, really change anything at all?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sacramento Book Review

Okay, for those of you who may be interested, I'm going to be doing some freelance book reviews for the Sacramento Book Review and the San Francisco Book Review. My first two reviews appeared in the September issues. Here are links to the reviews on the website:

A Princess of Landover by Terry Brooks

Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia


Monday, August 24, 2009

Whale Wars Season 2

Mercifully, the second season of the Animal Planet program Whale Wars has come to an end without anyone dying, despite the great efforts of eco-terrorist Paul Watson, the captain of the Sea Shepherd ship the Steve Irwin.

This show has been a frequent topic for discussion here and like with a train wreck, I just can’t seem to stop myself from watching. As always, I’ll start with the obvious. I fully support legitimate operations like Greenpeace who work within the law to do their part against illegal whaling. I am anti-whaling. I cannot, however, condone what Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherds do. How he continually gets these people to drink the Kool-aid is beyond me.

Sea Shepherd, an organization started when Watson was kicked out of Greenpeace, uses non-peaceful tactics to try to accomplish the goal of ending whaling by Japanese whalers in the Arctic. And let’s be honest here, the Japanese whalers exploit a loophole in the laws that outlaw whaling in order to kill, sell and eat an endangered species. What they do is wrong. But, as my dear mommy used to tell me when I was a boy, two wrongs don’t make a right and it seems that’s what the Sea Shepherds ignore. They don’t fight the system, they fight the source and they use tactics that cannot be called anything but terrorist in nature.

The arrogance, idiocy and delusions of grandeur that “captain” Paul Watson constantly displays are astounding. His lack of knowledge of basic seamanship and his ship’s capabilities leave you with open mouth and a sore neck from repeatedly shaking your head. Watson almost seems driven to get himself or someone from his crew killed in what his eyes, would be a great publicity move.

So it is that Season 2 begins and after the pestering that Watson’s crew accomplished in the previous year and the publicity it got, the Japanese whalers stepped their game up in defending their ships. Sadly, knowing full well what those evil people were doing, I couldn’t help but root for them as they—with intelligence, strategic planning and well thought out defenses—constantly repelled the—wing it and hope for the best—strategies of the Sea Shepherd crew.

It was like watching Star Wars and rooting for the Empire, but it couldn’t be helped. The Japanese whalers equipped themselves with anti-pirate/terrorist devices like water cannons, protective netting and LRAD systems, which are acoustic weapons that attack a person’s nervous system and often render them unable to move or properly function. The Sea Shepherds, not anticipating any of this and not being prepared for or intelligent enough to counter the strategies, spent the entire season floundering.

Instead of creating sympathy for his cause and helping the whales, Watson succeeds only in almost getting him and his crew killed or hurt. He is such a buffoon and so obviously overmatched in tactics and seamanship that he only succeeds at being laughed at and not taken seriously.

Finally, frustrated failure after failure and the seemingly mocking way that the Japanese whalers start killing and processing whales right before his eyes, with reckless abandon and zero regard for the safety of his crew, Watson rams one of the Japanese vessels and sustains a hull breach that fortunately for him, was above his water line or he and his crew would now be dead and frozen in the frigid waters.

I won’t lie, I hope the charges filed against him for ramming the Japanese ship don’t stick because I certainly want to see a third season of this show. Of course it would be much more safe for the Kool-aid-drinking crew, Watson himself and the Japanese fleet if he was tried and convicted.

It’s nice to have something you believe in so strongly that you’re prepared to die for it. Just ask al-Qaeda. I just can’t help but wonder how much more trouble the Sea Shepherds could have caused by using all the money it takes to make these recapture your youth, pirate, eco-terrorist adventures and spent it on changing the laws and policies of the countries involved?

Be prepared. Sooner or later Watson is going to get someone killed. It’s going to be big news when he does. He’ll be smiling behind his crocodile tears though, because this fanatical man is counting on that death. There’s a big difference between being prepared to die for something you believe in, and seeking that death out. And like a train wreck—or a ship crash—I just can’t look away.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Let God. Let Go.

This morning, Scotland released the terminally ill man who was convicted and serving a life sentence for the death of 270 innocent people in the 1988 bombing of a Pan-American flight that crashed in Lockerbie. Abdel Basset al-Megrahi is a free man and he will return to his native Libya where he is expected to die in less than three months.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, the man responsible for his release noted that al-Megrahi had not shown compassion to his victims but that he was motivated by Scottish values to show mercy.

My first reaction was one of outrage. Many of the passengers on that plane were American college students flying home to New York for Christmas. This man obviously deserves to die, not comfortably, treated like a hero by his fellow countrymen, but in a cold, hard, hospital prison. This man doesn’t deserve our compassion.

Theories are already abound regarding the “real” reasons why al-Megrahi was released, most involving the interests of British Petroleum in Libya and Moammar Gadhafi’s hard lobby for his release. Many see this as nothing more than a wheel greasing gesture. MacAskill explains it a bit differently though. He says, “Some hurts can never heal, some scars can never fade. Those who have been bereaved cannot be expected to forget, let alone forgive... However, Mr. al-Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power."

It was that last sentence that turned me. Or, at least, made me step back and face my hypocrisy for a moment. I’m still not sure I’m turned. I’m not convinced the right thing is being done, but I also don’t know that mercy, even on the unrepentant can be so easily condemned, at least not by a Christian man like myself.

It’s so easy to hate someone who, in the name of another god, mercilessly killed so many innocents. It’s easy to pass my judgment on him. It’s easy to want him dead or for him to suffer until he dies. It’s easy to hate the man who released him. It’s easy to feel anger and resentment, knowing that this murderer will go home to a country that will treat him like a king for his last few months of life. Those emotions, anger, hatred, resentment, they are all easy and quick and they feel so right.

They are also contrary to every single Christian teaching. It is the Old Testament that teaches and eye for an eye. The New Testament teaches us to turn the other cheek, to judge not lest we be judged. It teaches us to have mercy, to show compassion. “Blessed are the merciful; for they shall be shown mercy.”

How does one who professes to be a Christian stand opposed to an act of mercy? This man will die in three months or less. Before that death, he has experienced the mercy that he did not have for others. Whether he appreciates it or not, he has experienced that which his life has obviously been devoid of—mercy, compassion, love, the very pillars of the Christian Faith. How can that be wrong?

Of course, it’s naïve to think for a moment that mercy, compassion and love are the real reasons for this release. With BP having such a large interest in Libyan oil and Gadhafi lobbying so hard for his release, it’s very hard to see this as anything other than an act of appeasement for financial gain. But if you put that obvious factor aside, can we truly be outraged over mercy and if we are, what does that say about us?

I’ll admit. I struggle against my faith here. The very idea of this murderer receiving a heroes greeting by his people, being able to die in peace and comfort in his home land and getting to do so without ever having shown remorse for his actions simply boils my blood. I want him to suffer. I want him to hurt. When he breaths his last and faces his Creator, I want him to do so alone and afraid. What does that say about me?

There is another Beatitude, this one about justice and I’d be lying if I said that in this case, I felt justice was being served. That makes me wonder if I understand the concept of justice as it was meant though. I think about what I believe and how my Lord suffered for me, how He endured pain and hatred, anger, resentment and even death when, had He chosen to, His justice could have been swift and powerful and unyielding. He chose mercy instead.It makes me feel like a hypocrite. Politics and reasons beneath the surface aside, how can mercy ever be wrong? How can a believer ever question mercy? It’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be. Let God. Let go.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Use Your Illusion

Change, as President Obama is finding out, is just an illusion in a two-party political system. It’s especially an illusion in a two party political system where most of the elected officials are representing various lobbyists and special interest groups instead of their constituency. The honeymoon is over for Obama and he’s learning that the platform he ran on and is trying to implement is a pipedream.

On one hand he has the Republicans. In the absence of a single, intelligent, well-spoken, sensible spokesperson to stand as the probable candidate to run against Obama in 2012, they’ve chosen the tried and true Republican tactic of making the people afraid. The theory is that if they can make the people fearful enough, it won’t matter who they trot out in 2012, that person will have a chance.

Fear Socialism! Fear neo-Nazism! Fear loss of the Bill of Rights! Fear the Mexicans! Fear the terrorists! Just make sure you’re very, very afraid! Because if there is one thing we’ve learned in our history, turning our country into a socialist, neo-nazi, Mexican utopia can happen in the blink of an eye. Our government is famous for making quick changes right?

But that’s how they make it seem. I’ve yet to hear a good argument about how socialized healthcare can be bad when socialized education is an ideal in terms of the use of our tax dollars. Government run education was something all of our founding fathers believed in and something we support without even thinking about it today. Why is our health less important than our intelligence?

Worse than the Republicans though are Obama’s fellow Democrats. Welcome to reality President Obama. Now that all the hangers on have gotten a good sniff and browned their noses up sufficiently, your own peeps are leaving you hang out to dry. It was naïve and foolish to think that these people, so many of them, not unlike their Republican counterparts, in the pockets of the big insurance companies would rally behind you.

You have to give Obama credit for trying to do the very things he promised he would during the election. He’s trying to implement the very platform on which he ran. I think this crazy strategy has fooled his peers. It was all fine and well to say the things he needed to say to win the election, but to actually go through with them? Who will pay for the Senator’s trips to the Bahamas if not the healthcare lobby? Who will slip the House members free Viagra? It was one thing to stand proudly next to him while he was talking about healthcare reform on the campaign trail, but it’s a whole different thing now that they’ve found out he really meant that stuff!

And in typical Democrat Party fashion, the in-fighting has begun. Give the Republican’s credit, they can at least stay on point and to a man, spew out the pre-approved buzz words and catch phrases the powers that be instruct them to use. The Democrats are all over the place. The Dems have gotten so used to just talking about change that they have no idea how to solidify and actually make it happen.

And this is where the problem becomes a little more obvious. Our country is being run, not by the three branches of government, created to check and balance one and other. Our country is being run by two petulant groups who struggle for power over one and other. It’s a very American idea to stand opposed, to conquer an opponent, and that very struggle has become what our political system is at it’s very core. The two-party political system may be the most un-American thing—EVER.

I fail to understand how someone can align themselves, unquestionably in all matters with one team or the other. I fail to understand how we the people can pick and choose teams like our lives are a fantasy football league. How can there ever be change in a system that fights against independent thought? We have two teams. One is the “You’re Either With Us, or Against Us Team.” The other is the “Me, Me, Me Team.” In every area of life, business, personal, financial, people work together and make compromises for the greater benefit. In politics, we just pick sides and fight.

Sometimes one side gets an upper hand and steer the ship back their way. Sometimes the other side steers it back. No progress is made because progress is the enemy. It doesn’t matter what you think about government-run healthcare, any person of even moderate intelligence can see that our healthcare system is broken. Any person of even moderate intelligence can see that money is being squandered, wasted, hoarded and stolen in the current system.

Does American stand up, show the spirit of our founders and work together to fix the problem? No. We fight about it. There is no talk of compromise. There is fear and in-fighting and foolishness and nothing gets fixed. How can we maintain that we live in the greatest country in the world if we can’t offer our people the opportunity to get necessary medical treatment? Regardless of what you believe the answer is, how can we sleep at night knowing that kids will die while we sleep because their parents couldn’t afford to get them treated?

How great can a country be when we’re more concerned with being right than we are with fixing the things that are wrong? If you judge a team by it’s weakest link, how can we maintain that we are strong? How can we be proud of our country when our health care for the poor is no different than that of a third world country? How does the American dream live when small businesses are unable to operate because they cannot offer health insurance to employees and for themselves?

How are we anything but sheep when we line up on one side or the other and refuse to budge? We the people suffer. We have the power to shake things up, but we the sheep are too foolish to use it. Our country gets weaker and weaker and we do nothing to stop it because we’d rather be right than make it better. If the people we’ve elected are unable or unwilling to make our lives better, then we need to remove each and every one of them. Screw partisan voting—we need vote based on results. We need to mandate the betterment of our country to our politicians. They need to know that they can either work together to make things better or we’ll try someone else next time. We need to let them know we won’t forget their failures.

They’ll never budge from party lines unless we make them. But we won’t. We’re sheep. We tune into one cable new network or the other. We repeat the things we’re told there. We repeat the propaganda we learn. Our side is right. The other side is out to screw us. We stand opposed. Nothing gets done. Children die. Politicians get rich. The very perpetrators of the broken health care system get rich. A hard-working person who got laid off and couldn’t afford health care dies and sends his family into debt because they can’t pay his hospital bills. That is his legacy. How is that any less murder than abortion?

Change requires action. Standing opposed means inaction. Working together is the solution. They won’t do it unless we make them. So the American dream will die a little more today and a little more tomorrow and we’ll wonder why things aren’t as good as they used to be. Democrats. Republicans. Neither side is ever going to win. And we will never move forward and be all that we can be unless they learn to stop fighting and start working together. Change is illusion and the American Dream is becoming one.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

King Prince of Pop?

So. Before he died, Michael Jackson was the King of Pop. Now that he's dead, does that mean Prince is now the King and if so, who becomes the Prince?

And since we've always called Prince, Prince (except when we called him "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince" when he was that symbol for a while) what will his name be now? Will he be King Prince? And if so, does that mean he's his own father as well as that father's son? And if he is King Prince does that mean whomever becomes the new Prince has to be Prince Prince?

And where does Will Smith fit into all of this? He was, after all, the Fresh Prince. Obviously, being the Prince of Fresh is not the same as being the Prince of Pop, but I suspect that Pop and Fresh (in addition to being the name of the Pillsbury Dough Boy) are at least close to one and other in the land of Hip, right? So if the kingdom of pop doesn't have a new prince does the Fresh Prince become the Prince of Pop to assure that there is a royal to ascend to the throne should something happen to the King Prince of Pop?

It's all just very confusing and I wish the media would spend a little more time covering this part of the story because I think we have the right to know!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Email Me!

You know what pisses me off? These people who send emails where the signature at the bottom says something like: Please consider the environment before printing this email!

What they don’t tell you is that they sent the email from their air-conditioned office, the one they got to by driving their huge S.U.V. They don’t recycle or use energy saving light bulbs, but they have no problem telling me to save a tree by not printing out their damn email?

I’m always tempted to write back: But I want to hang your inspirational words up so everyone can see them and be enriched by the genius that is you! P.S. Yes, your order will ship on schedule!

Who are these people to condescendingly “remind” me that I should be environmentally conscious? Why can’t these do-gooder greenies save the world with their bumper stickers like all the rest of their friends?

So, since I can’t keep my job if I ridicule and offend the customers, I have a policy and I think everyone should adopt it. Any time you get an email that tries to guilt you into not printing it out—print it out for the sole purpose of making a paper airplane.

People just don’t make enough paper airplanes anymore.

But the enviro-emailers aren’t the worst. While I’m not a fan, I’d rather deal with them than the self-righteous religious nut jobs who feel the need to end their business emails with scripture passage quotations.

The Lord is your shepherd, you shall not want? That’s great. How nice for you! Guess you shall not want a reply then because my religious beliefs are my personal business and I don’t need you cramming yours down my throat every time you click send!

Where do these people get the nerve anyway? Let’s say for just the tiniest of moments that I’m not really a religious person. I get an email at work from some schmuck sitting behind a desk at some other company. It includes some scripture passage. Does he really think I’m going to read it, be surrounded by some heavenly light, have angels fly out of my ass and start screaming hallelujah!?!?!?

What is the point? You’re not going to convert someone at the bottom of an email. You’re not going to save anyone’s soul. In fact, all you do is form some kind of inclusive club with those who believe what you do, and make everyone else feel excluded. I’m no Harvard MBA but I’m pretty sure that’s bad for business.

Once again, I had to come up with a personal policy to combat these religious zealots. I choose to do evil. Every time I receive an email with some religious babble in the signature line, I retaliate by putting a little wickedness into the world. I steal a co-workers stapler. I fart in an elevator. I put all the toilet paper in the bathroom just out of the reach of short people.

Nothing major. Just enough to make people shake their heads and grumble. It’s my only defense.

I don’t begrudge anyone their personal beliefs. If you’re religious, that’s great. Frame the Ten Commandments and hang them up on your cube wall. If you’re an environmentalist, that’s super. Plaster your Prius with militant environmentalist thoughts and ideas. Just don’t force me to read them at work huh?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Mr. President!

Where were you 48 years ago today? No. Seriously, where were you 48 years ago today? I know you keep throwing people off track by letting them think you may have been born in Kenya, but I know the truth. You're...

Canadian, eh?

The Canadians are coming! The Canadians are coming! God help us all the Canadians are coming!!!!! Impeach Obama now or we'll all be forced to care about hockey!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

For I was hungry...

I'm a giver. I give. As long as you don’t hijack me at the register and guilt me into donating to your cause, as long as I don’t feel manipulated into donating, you can count on a buck or two from me. If your kids are selling lemonade, I’ll never pass them up. If your selling candy so your team can afford to take a trip to play in some tournament, I’ll get my sugar fix from you. If you’re collecting for Miseracordia or Firemen’s Charity or whatever on the street corner, I’m happy to help.

So I was reaching for a dollar bill in the center counsel of my car today when I read the name of the charity the girl was collecting for and I stopped. PLEASE HELP OUR CHRISTIAN MISSON TO AFRICA. Hmmm. I closed the hatch, left the dollar bill where it was and politely shook my head no. Sad, considering I’m a Christian huh?

That’s the problem though. These people are going to go out into the world and do “good” in the name of Christians. Only I don’t trust those people. They hijacked my faith. In fairness, not all of them have. Maybe it’s even fair to say that most Christians are still good, but it seems like the loudest, most visible, most vocal ones give the rest of us a bad name. I didn’t donate because I wasn’t sure which kind these were—would they make me proud or make me ashamed of them?

On their mission, will they teach love forgiveness and compassion or judgment, self-righteousness and intolerance? Will they be so backward thinking that they refuse to acknowledge science? Will they insist that dinosaurs walked the Earth 3,000 years ago to accommodate their biblical timeline? Or will they understand that science is the greatest proof of God’s existence? Will they embrace the fact that God is more than a book which was never meant to be taken literally in every single instance?

I was at a stop light when this all happened. I only had a few seconds to make up my mind. My typical, usual, normal reaction is just to give. I can always spare a buck or some spare change. I certainly could have in this instance too. And either way, my dollar isn’t going to make much difference. It’s just a dollar. It’s just spare change. My little stand doesn’t really mean much.

But I’ve always believed that the way you change the world is by not letting the world change you. And today, I wonder, did change the world by not giving without knowing exactly what those people believed in, stood for and represented, or did I let the world change me by not doing something that normally comes natural? I’m not sure. What I do know is that I have a growing resentment for many of those who fall under the title of Christian. I find myself apologizing for them, disassociating from them, distancing myself from that title.

How sad. But true; And now I want a new title. When I stand up to be counted, I want people to know on which side I stand. I’m tired of being lopped in with the intolerant and self-righteous. I’m tired of apologizing for what I believe, because others who read the same book I do twist it to their own agendas.

Maybe those kids out there collecting money were the good guys. Maybe they weren’t. I don’t know. But I couldn’t take the chance of supporting that which I so fully resent. What a complete shame.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

And that's the way it is

I find it a bit ironic that after the media storm that was the coverage of Michael Jackson’s death, the passing of Walter Cronkite last week has been met with such apathy from the media. Of course, they reported his death, but somehow, with him being the very symbol of integrity in journalism, I’d have expected more.

Perhaps the media didn’t make such a big deal of it because of the contrast that was so evident when contrasting the very things Cronkite was known for, and what the mainstream media has become.

The idea of fair and balanced reporting is such a foreign concept to today’s audience. Today, we have networks devoted to telling us what we want to hear. If we are conservative in thought, we have news networks devoted to telling us how to think and why we’re right and why the other side is wrong. If you’re liberal in thought, you have the same on your own network.

The idea of fact-based news is already antiquated and obsolete. I can’t help but wonder, if perhaps, Cronkite wishes he hadn’t lived to see what’s become of things since he passed on the torch?

Then again, sensationalism in news is nothing new. Less than scrupulous writers have always played fast and loose with the news and the facts for the sake of the “get.” Perhaps the problem is that today there is just so much news and so much competition that stretching facts and bending them to appeal to a certain audience is the only way to assure a certain share of viewers?

After all, the media is, first and foremost, a business. A company who sponsors a certain news program will never be profiled as harshly on that program as they should be—if they do something worthy of media scorn. Is that wrong? If a politician from one party has a scandalous affair, some networks will portray him as a repentant sinner and others as an untrustworthy monster. The next week, they’ll switch positions when a member of the other party does the same thing. Is that wrong?

The common axiom is that we American’s get the government we deserve, meaning that we elect them, so we deserve them. I think the same is true of the media. We get the media we deserve. We get weeks of coverage on Michael Jackson’s death because we watch it and talk about it and blog about it and as long as it brings in the viewers, it brings in the advertising dollars which is what makes the world go round.

We get ridiculously slanted news because we want it. We watch it. We buy into it. We support it. We watch Fox News and buy Ford trucks, or we read the New York Times and donate to Greenpeace. We don’t demand the facts. We don’t even ask for them. All we want is the latest buzzwords. We don’t want news, we want marketing. If you’re willing to tell me what I want to hear, in the way I want to hear it, and explain the events of the world in a way that aligns with my preferences, I’ll patronize you—that’s the way it works now.

Facts? Balance? Integrity? There is no place in the world of big business news for such things. We get the government we deserve. We deserve a government that spends its time posturing, fighting and more concerned with power than people. We get the media we deserve. We deserve the media that markets the events of the day to us rather than report them. Sure, reporters have changed since Cronkite sat in his anchor chair and reported the news to us, but more importantly, we have changed.

We’ve all chosen sides. We all want to be right. We’re willing to be lied to—even to the point of ridiculousness, to maintain that aura of being in the right. The media is biased. The media plays to an audience. The media bends facts and changes stories to suit that audience.
We are that audience. We get what we deserve. We get what we demand. And that’s, sadly, the way it is.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Evil That Men Do...

Pay attention kids, because this is a very important thing happening right now. I know that learning lessons can be quite boring but you really don’t want to miss this one. The lesson is this: It’s okay to molest little children if you are one of the greatest musicians of all time. Oh, don’t get me wrong, Michael Jackson faced a little adversity based on his “alleged” kiddie diddling while he was alive, but that’s all in the past now that he’s dead.

Across the world, friends, Roman’s and countrymen alike are wondering why the evil that men do doesn’t live on after them and Catholic priests are crying out to God asking Him why they couldn’t have invented the moonwalk. Michael Jackson is dead and everywhere you look, everything you read, everything you see on television shows St. Michael of Moonwalk in the light of angels. The settlements made with children who attended Jackson’s “sleepovers,” are forgotten.

In dying, Jackson succeeded in once again becoming universally loved. His sins are forgiven. His transgressions have been cast aside. It is the evil that will remain interred with his bones. I don’t begrudge the man respect for his musical talents. I don’t begrudge him his place with the icons of music history. Like anyone else, when Billy Jean comes on my radio, I feel like dancing.

But we didn’t lose the music, we lost the man who made it. He hasn’t had a hit in years. New Michael Jackson hits weren’t forthcoming. His death didn’t mean an end to his music—his pedophilia took care of that. His music will always live on and we won’t have to miss it one bit.

The man is gone though. Usually when pedophiles die, people say good riddance. They proffer that he should have done the world a favor and died sooner. When priests do the same things Jackson did to young boys they are ostracized, they receive death threats. When civilians do those things they register as sex offenders and get bricks thrown through their windows and threats warning them to leave the neighborhood. No one but their family members mourn them when they die. Society chuckles and hopes they burn in hell.

There’s no explanation for the phenomenon going on now. A few weeks ago you couldn’t utter Michael Jackson’s name without some righteous indignation boiling up in you. Now we celebrate his life and work and accomplishments and we forget his sins. Every channel has a tribute program in the works or already playing.

So learn the lesson and learn it well: The lines have now been clearly drawn. Celebrities are all saints once they die. All sins are forgiven. We only remember the good, we discard the bad and we celebrate their life as if it were some guide to how we all should live.

Somewhere, in his prison cell, O.J. Simpson is fashioning a rope out of his bed sheets. Fame and heroism along with a clean slate are only a sharp crack of the neck away.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Plot to Kill Billy Mays Unfolds

Wine stains around the world rejoice today with the confirmation of the death of their arch enemy and nemesis, Billy Mays. The battle between Mays and wine stains on white carpet, oil stains on dress shirts (because apparently people wear dress shirts to work on their cars sometimes), grass stains on pant legs and blood stains on the clothes Drew Peterson wore to kill his wives has come to an unexpected end.

Early word is that a team of assassins hired by a secret society known as the Red Wine Stain Coalition carried out the deed. Mainstream news is, of course, not reporting on this angle because the RWSC is widely believed not to exist, but those in the know and conspiracy theorists around the world obviously believe otherwise.

On the condition of anonymity a member of the RWSC spoke with me regarding this tragedy. “How’s that for ‘acting now’ bitch? Huh? You though you could eradicate our kind, you thought you could spearhead the Oxy-Clean Holocaust, eradicating our kind just because you don’t like the way we look. You called us blights on the carpets of the world, you used your oratory skills to convince others that we had no place in the world, you poisoned the minds of people against us all for your own financial gain. Well now, in the end, you know that wine stains are NOT to be fucked with!!! Too late, you discovered that we would not be oppressed by some bearded guy with a whiny voice and evil in his heart! Power to the stains!!!!”

Meanwhile, the world has put aside their grief for Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson and now focused it on their real hero, pitchman Billy Mays. Prisoners in a Taiwan prison have started to grow beards and are doing daily reenactments of Mays’ infomercials aimed at stain eradication. The eBay website is inundated with merchandise once sold by the man the RWSC called the Hitler of Stain Removal.

Candlelight vigils are taking place at As Seen On TV stores across the nation as Mays’ many devoted followers gather to mourn the loss of their champion. Vince Shlomi, better known as the Shamwow guy had this to say, “We will miss Billy. He was our leader, he was an inspiration to me and other shady salesmen of dubious products everywhere. His death will not go unavenged! I hereby vow to beat up a hooker every day until the assassins who killed my hero turn themselves in!”

One thing is for sure, Mays’ death will not end the war between infomercial peddlers and stains, in fact, it seems to have just escalated matters. Foolish people will point to matters in the Middle East or North Korea as the most pressing potential causes of war, meanwhile, under their noses, pitchemen and wine stains have begun a fight, which will surely cause us all to eventually choose sides.

Who was Billy Mays? The evil dictator of an empire of cleanliness enthusiasts hellbent on purging the stains from existence, or a simply a benevolent man with a message? We may never know, but you can be certain, the war has begun and sides must be chosen. One thing is sure; historians are sure to look back upon this, as the beginning of all that comes next. May Providence be with us all in the trying times to come.

Friday, June 26, 2009

...meanwhile at the Pearly Gates

St. Peter: Name?

MJ: Ummmm. Michael.

St. Peter: Michaelllllllllll?

MJ: Ummmm. Jackson.

St. Peter: You’re the one who liked to have little kids over for “sleepover parties” where they’d sleep in your bed with you right?

MJ: Well….ummm…you see….ummmm…

St. Peter: Beat it. Just beat it. Beat it-beat it!

MJ: But…I love the children…with a child’s heart!

St. Peter: You’re bad. You’re bad. You know it!

MJ: Nothing happened!

St. Peter: [chuckling] who do you think you’re talking to here kid?

MJ: Ummmmm.

St. Peter: I’m sure as hell not the man in the mirror, I can tell you that.

MJ: This is because I’m black isn’t it?

St. Peter: [laughing] Black huh? You really think so? No kid, it don’t matter if you’re black or white.

MJ: Please let me in?

St. Peter: You should have stopped before you got enough.

MJ: It wasn’t my fault!

St. Peter: Well whose fault is it? It’s not human nature!

MJ: I’m….I’m….I’m gonna kick your ass!

St. Peter: Oh yeah? You wanna be startin something?

MJ: I…I…I just….wanna be where you are!

St. Peter: You should have thought of that before you played hide the pickle with those little kids

MJ: That was never proven!

St. Peter: Say, say, say what you want, but you’re no smooth criminal, we know EVERYTHING up here.

MJ: Can’t I just have one more chance? What more can I give?

St. Peter: Don’t cry kid. We just have a very strict rule up here about kiddie diddlers.

MJ: Then where do I go?

St. Peter: [shrugs shoulders] You could go haunt O.J.

MJ: I think that guy is creepy.

St. Peter: You are not alone.

MJ: Can I go haunt MacCaulay?

St. Peter: If you ever want in here…that would be….dangerous.

MJ: So there’s still a chance for me?

St. Peter: You know the Big Guy. He just can’t stop loving you.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A New Sport!

I did something today that I don’t normally do. I read one of the articles way in the back of the sport section. You know, the ones about the fringe sports? Well get this! Apparently, the U.S. has a soccer team! You know, the sport you see all those six year old kids playing while their mom’s stalk the sideline, trying to outdress each other? Yeah! That sport! Apparently, adults play it too!

I’m pretty new to the concept, so I’m not sure if the adults still have their moms on the sideline or not, but it seems that not only do we have an adult team that represents the United States, but they beat the best team in the world yesterday!

USA! USA! USA! Way to go!

It was a pretty big upset too. The team from Spain (they call it football over there for reasons that don’t make a bunch of sense since everyone knows that real football is played with your hands!) was on some world-record-setting stretch of consecutive victories and the US team only wound up in the semifinals by a bit of a fluke having to do with crazy tie-breaker rules. It seems that everyone knew the US was going to get a butt whoopin’, but you just never know what’s going to transpire once…hmmmm—what do they do in soccer? Drop the ball? It’s just a guess, but I’m going to go with it—they drop the ball! On any given day, one team can beat another!

Now, the US moves on to the final where they’ll play…some other country, I suppose, for the championship. And it has to be important, even ESPN had an article on it’s site about it! And not just a brief, 200-word article, they had a full, feature-length article and the person who wrote it even knew the names of the coach and some of the players! Can you imagine that?

I, for one, am happy for the team and more than that, I’m happy for all those six year old kids and their mom’s in their pink designer jogging suits with matching purses that have tiny dogs in them with matching bows tied in their fur. Now they can dream of something big like this! Now they can dream of someday playing in a big soccer…ummm…game? Match? What?

These little kids and their moms can now dream the kinds of dreams that kids playing little league baseball and pee wee football and biddy basketball have dreamed. They can dream of a world in which their sport is actually important, relevant and worthy of one article on the website of the most powerful sports conglomerate on Earth! They can dream of someday being famous enough to find their name mentioned on the back page in a tiny article of a major newspaper—and if it’s a slow sporting news day, people like me might even read it!

Who could have possibly foreseen that soccer could ever have reached such an important height, not only here in the US, but across the world? It’s simply amazing! It’s almost like a legitimate sport now! How cool is that?

Well I’m pretty darned happy about the whole thing. Kids should be able to dream. Soccer moms should be able to think that all the money they pay to have their kids play soccer can amount to more than just a fashion show for themselves. This seems like a great first step. Congratulations USA! Congratulations soccer!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Help Wanted


Seeking energetic, unmarried (and therefore virginal—because you’re all about the abstinence until marriage thing) conservative politician for important position within the government. Previous experience isn’t important, but the applicant must be able to keep it in his/her pants, believe abortion is murder, gay people are gay by choice and shouldn’t be allowed to get married, poor people suck, rich people rule, Dinosaurs walked the Earth only 3000 years ago, the best way to solve a problem is to bomb the fuckers, poor people don’t need healthcare because if they start dying off we won’t have to support their broke asses anymore and of course, that all socialist ideas lead to communism.

The applicant must be at least 35 years old. If your skin is brown (even if you just have a really good tan) you move to the top of the list—same goes for applicants with boobs. If you’re male or have white/grey hair, we unfortunately cannot consider you at this time.

Must be an effective orator, have their own Twitter and Facebook accounts, be able to name at least 3 Miley Cyrus songs and be able to complete an entire interview with Jon Stewart without looking like a complete idiot.

We have officially run out of candidates for this position because each has proven to be an idiot, an adulterer, or spends too much time hunting moose from helicopters and not enough time teaching her teenaged daughter how to roll a damn condom on remain virtuous pure and chaste until marriage.

All applicants meeting the above criteria will be given serious consideration. Those with who can prove incurable impotence will be become automatic finalists.

Start Date: 2012 (however, some preliminary work will be required before then)

Please send applications to: R. Limbaugh at:

Thank you, and God Bless America!
(and by America, we mean only the people living here legally who make six figures or above)

Monday, June 22, 2009

On having safe trips...

I took a business trip a couple weeks back and before I left, everyone I saw said the same thing to me: “Have a safe trip!”

I have decided this is one of the dumbest things anyone could tell another person. My reply was the same to everyone: “I’ll try, but it’s not really up to me.” The consensus is that I’m a morbid freak who just needs to learn to accept socially accepted colloquialisms and not take everything so literally.

There’s probably some truth to that, but I’m going to state my case anyway because knowing me, I have to be right to at least some degree, right?

I understand that the intent is a wish of a safe journey, not an instruction, but that’s not what people are saying. The words they use, in the combination they say them makes it kind of an instruction. If people had been coming up to me and saying, “I hope you have a safe trip.” I’d probably have replied with a thankyouverymuch before making an Elvis-like exit. If they’d said something vaguely medieval like “Safe journey!” or “Godspeed!” I’d probably have bowed with a flourish and thrown a thank-you M’lady or Good sir back at them.

I wasn’t being wished a safe trip though, I was being told to and while its all fine and well to want to have a safe trip, I don’t fly the plane, I don’t pick the mugging victim, I take my chances with every taxi I get into—I have very little control over things actually.

But really, what’s the difference between that and my everyday life? Why is safety so important for my trip, but not for my everyday life? Why aren’t these people who care about me calling to wish me a safe trip to work each day? More people die in auto-related accidents than do in airplanes after all. Why is my trip safety important and my everyday safety not?

I’ve decided that “have a safe trip,” is one of the dumbest things that anyone can say to anyone else. I wonder what they’d think if next time I replied with, “thanks, have a safe staying here!” After all, they could get struck by lightning, they could have a tree fall on them, they could eat poisoned sushi, they could fall down an open sewer, they could catch Flying Pig Flu and topple over with fever! Anything can happen!

Some expressions have just run their course. I’m not mounting up on a horse and riding down a trail filled with highwaymen and vagabonds waiting to assault me and steal the coin purse hanging from my belt. At no point will I be forced to use a sword to defend myself and my trusty steed. In fact, if I try to bring a sword with me, they won’t even let me travel now! Travel has become pretty mundane for the most part—at least compared to when the actual journey part was perilous and treacherous.

Travel now consists of sitting in a plane, reading a book, watching the clouds fly by and if something bad happens to the plane, well there’s not much I can do about it is there? People who are travelling are no more likely to die or get hurt than those who stay home now. So, while I appreciate the demand that I actively take measures to assure that the trip I take is a safe one, or even the wish and hope that it will be, next time, I think I’d rather hear a “see you soon,” a “take care,” or a “have fun,” than the standard and irritating “have a safe trip.”
Unless, of course, you see me saddling my horse and sheathing my sword, in which case I’d heartily welcome the wish of a safe journey.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oops! Our bad!

Oops. Our bad! No hard feelings black people! That’s the message that the U.S. Senate sent out today, apologizing for wrongs done to blacks through slavery and Jim Crow segregation laws. This isn’t the first time our Senate has apologized either. They’ve issued mea culpa to people of Japanese descent who were interred during World War II, to Hawaiians for overthrowing their kingdom so that we could have a nice vacation spot and to Native Americans for the whole stealing and raping of the land and killing them off with smallpox thing.

And that’s nice. I remember when I was four years old and my mom taught me that you should try to never hurt people, but if you do, that you should always say you’re sorry. Then I got to have ice cream.

So, I can’t help but wonder why it takes Congress almost 150 years to do something that I mastered at the age of four. Do they not serve ice cream in the Senate cafeteria? Did all of our Senators grow up without mothers?

What troubles me most is why now? I mean no disrespect but everyone who was once a slave is now dead, the apology, in addition to being long overdue, is falling on ears that are listening from heaven, so I can’t help but wonder why our elected officials are finally apologizing to dead people when those of us who are still alive are in such desperate times.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that dead people vote more religiously than the living do?

I can’t help but wonder if in 150 years, our Congress will get together and formally apologize to the descendants of slaves who were alive in 2009 and didn’t have health care, who were unemployed, whose mortgages were in foreclosure because instead of actually doing something about the problems of the day, in a dire and serious time, they chose to pander and prance on camera, posing for pictures, slapping each other on the back for doing something a child could and would have done in less than five minutes back when the people we were apologizing to were still around?

I wonder if they’ll apologize to the rest of us who face the same circumstances? I wonder if they’ll admit that their predecessors, so completely incompetent that they wanted no part in solving the issues of the day, chose instead to make news splashes with issues that were important, but in no way time sensitive?

I wonder how alone President Obama must feel? I wonder if he shakes his head and questions exactly how he’s supposed to affect change in a country that desperately needs it when an entire third of the government is actively working on apologizing for things that happened 150 years ago. Even as a black man, I wonder if our President is just rolling his eyes and asking God, how can he possibly be surrounded by so much ineptitude? What a lonely feeling it must be to try to solve a financial crisis, out of control unemployment, financial institution collapse, a couple of wars, lack of a coherent and effective healthcare, energy crisis and every other problem of the day when the 535 members of the legislative branch of the government are high fiving, smiling and posing for pictures with whatever black people they can find?

Perhaps we should take note. Perhaps, when our Senators and Congressmen are next elected, we should ask them what they were doing with their time when we were hurting? Were they actively seeking solutions to current issues that faced our nation, or were they posturing, taking care of business that children could have accomplished in much less time?
Perhaps the Change We Need involves more than the election of just one man. Perhaps we’ll have to clean the whole damn house and save our ancestors from the idiocy of a too late apology that can only sooth a sting that won’t ever fully heal.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Electronic Leash

You never realize how much a part of your life your cell phone is until you lose it. That’s what happened to me on a recent trip to New York. I lost my phone. And it wasn’t just any old phone either, it was my Blackberry, which had three email accounts coming directly to it. Essentially, once lost, it was identity theft waiting to happen. I’m normally pretty anal about making sure my phone is with me and secure, but in this case, a little monsoon and an inside out umbrella diverted my attention.

The good news is that I found my phone after retracing my steps—the monsoon ostensibly keeping the many people who could have picked the phone up and kept it indoors and away the place where my phone sat filling up with rainwater. Long story short, I had to get a new phone and instead of opting for another crackberry, I chose to go with an iPhone.

At the risk of sounding like someone who should be wearing white shoes, suspenders and a WWII baseball hat, I’m simply amazed at what has become of cell phones. I’ve been here for it all. I remember being in high school when just having a pager was the coolest thing ever (mine was aqua blue see through). I remember gawking at the people with cell phones that were essentially little briefcases with a phone attached. I remember the brick phones, the Nokia craze, the introduction of flip phones. I was amazed when I got my Blackberry that I could actually visit websites and email from my phone.

But somewhere along the way, my phone became an appendage. It’s a part of me now and I’m dependent on it. The day I spent without a phone in NY was one of the longest in recent memory because a phone is so much more than a phone now. It’s a lifeline to the world.

It’s my watch, because there is no reason to wear something on your wrist to tell the time when you have it there on your phone. It’s my picture album, long gone are the days of keeping photos in my wallet. It’s my address book—in fact, when the data from my recently demised phone was found to be unrecoverable, I officially lost touch with anyone for whom I don’t have an email address.

It’s my primary communication tool. I text, I email, I talk—and probably in that order now, actual talking being such a drain on my time and all. It’s my datebook, my calendar, my calculator, my camera. If its not within my reach at all times, I literally start to get jittery.

And my new phone, my iPhone, it doesn’t stop there. It tells me how the stock market is doing, it gives me the news, it tells me what the weather is like outside and anywhere else I may like to know it. It tells me how to get where I’m going and it tells me where I’m at. It connects me to YouTube so I won’t miss a second of the goofy videos that people post. It will download 16 gigabytes of music and video for me to listen to and watch. I cut my teeth on a Commodore 64 computer in grade school!


That’s right. There was a time in my life when making the word “hi” appear on a screen 100 times after only typing it once seemed magical in a computer that weighed more than I did and maxed out at 64 kilobytes. Now my phone, that I carry with me everywhere, in my pocket, holds 16G worth of information. It’s constantly connected to the World Wide Web. If I want it to go faster, I can connect it to my WiFi.

We’ve come a long way from creating sprites on low-resolution screens. Now I can watch, crystal clear, my favorite television show which I happened to miss last night, right on my phone.

And yes, I’ve become so addicted to it, I need it at my side so badly that when my phone was destroyed, I simply couldn’t wait more than 12 whole hours before I HAD to get a new one. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have anyone’s number to put into it. It didn’t matter that I didn’t especially have anyone I needed to call. The idea of being out of touch, unreachable made my skin crawl. What if Britney Spears did something stupid? I might not now about it for HOURS if I waited until I logged on to my laptop—the computer that I bring with me when I go places because the idea of being without a computer is as ridiculous as being without a phone.

What’s left? If they figure out a way for me to have my drivers license and insurance card and my Borders Reward card on my phone; if they make a credit card application that allows me to pay by swiping my phone instead of an actual credit card—well I’d have no need for a wallet at all. If they figure out a way to make it start my car and open the door to my home, I can stop carrying keys too.

I’m already dependant on it. Why not go the whole 9 yards?

I really can’t say when it happened. I just know that it’s a fact of life now. I am a cellaholic. I am addicted. I don’t want to be rehabbed. I’m a happy addict. I need my phone and my phone needs me. We’re happy together. We’re always together. We’re like peas in a pod.

I’ve come a long way since that aqua blue, see through pager I used to wear, clipped to my pants, mostly as a symbol of how cool I was and how I was someone people wanted to be in touch with! The electronic leash was loose then, it was comfortable, it wasn’t threatening in the slightest. Now? Well now it has me, bound tightly in inescapable knots that I wouldn’t try to undo even if I could.
Dependence. Bondage. Enslavement. Necessity. Convenience. Aid. I don’t know. I don’t care. The cave men had their pointy sticks and fire; I have my iPhone. How’s that for evolution?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Whale Wars is Back! Deathwish II

The show I love to hate is back and it’s back with a vengeance! Whale Wars has returned for a second season on Animal Planet and the incompetence, disregard for human life and flat out stupidity of Captain Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd command crew have never been more prominently on display!

I think their slogan should be Save the Whales AND Die Trying, the “and” being an obvious substitution for the word “or” which just wouldn’t make much sense because as far as I can tell, the goal of Watson and his Eco-Pirates is to accomplish both aims, not one or the other.

Last season, the witless captain coerced crew members into actual, honest to goodness, punishable by law piracy, routinely sent untrained, untested, amateurs into the Arctic Ocean in tiny inflatable boats to harass the Japanese Whaling boats they struggle against—that is if they can get the boats launched in high seas with almost no training to do so.

And let’s break here for the disclaimer shall we? My problem isn’t with the cause. The cause is one I actually feel is noble, worthwhile and one that should be fought for—don’t doubt that. My problem is with the careless regard for human life on the part of the captain and his command crew, my problem is with acts of terrorism and end justifies the means ideology and the seeming goal of martyrdom for the cause.

This season, only two episodes in and the Sea Shepherd flagship, the Steve Irwin, a ship that Captain Watson sails into the iceberg rich waters of the Arctic Ocean even though it’s hull has a ZERO ice rating (which means that it’s not built to withstand any contact with icebergs) is already stuck, due to a poor decision by the captain, in a field of icebergs with no apparent way out.

Of course, being only the second week of the show, obviously they’ll not only survive, but their pure dumb luck will see them through, but what seems obvious to me is that these people are living on borrowed time. My favorite scene so far was the one where the hull keeps getting battered by an iceberg in the same spot and it seems that a hull breach is imminent. Two of the dumb kids who volunteered to help save the world are dispatched to the area to monitor the situation (yell and scream when water starts rushing in) and the camera person taping for Animal Planet refuses to stay with them citing the absolute idiocy of being there.

At least someone has some common sense!

My favorite new character though is the woman who was formerly in the U.S. Navy and has obviously been on a well-run, organized, ship where the crew has been trained, the captain is competent and the command crew is…well, sane. With every new dumb thing Captain Watson does, they cut to her telling us why its not the right thing to do—it’s brilliant!

My favorite returning character, aside from the foolish Captain Watson is the imbecile First Mate, Peter Brown. This man can’t seem to get through a sentence without mentioning how deadly what they do is and how happy they should all be for the chance to die! His nautical experience obviously doesn’t qualify him as a First Mate, as he was at the helm trying to steer through a field of icebergs, a more experienced crewmember kept reading off the bearing he should be heading—and Brown, inexplicably, didn’t know how to steer the ship to correspond to those bearings!

He kept demanding, “Port or starboard?!?!?!?!” Oh yes! The crew is in good hands indeed, when Mr. Brown is at the helm!

The sad part is that because these people are such buffoons, the cause becomes lumped into that buffoonery. These people come off as being stupid—and they are. Sure, before they get on board, they are all told that they should be prepared to sacrifice their lives for the whales; what they aren’t told is that their lives will constantly be put in peril, not for the whales, but for the inexperience of their Captain and his command crew, for the complete lack of training they receive and for the decisions made with careless disregard for life.

Simply put, it’s a clusterfuck. But it sure is entertaining! And we’re only two weeks in! Will Captain Watson finally screw up bad enough to earn his first martyr? Will Peter Brown manage a single sentence that doesn’t mention risking life or dying? Will the former U.S. Navy Sailor get tired of all the incompetence, mutiny against the idiocy and take the ship over? Stay tuned!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Second World Countries

Does it bother anyone else that while we still have Third World countries, we don’t have First World, or Second World ones anymore? This is the problem with putting me into an airplane—my mind wanders to subjects like this one.

It really started bothering me, at 30,000 feet too. I’d never even heard of a first or second world country! I assumed, incorrectly, that First World countries were the ones with indoor plumbing, the Third World countries were the ones without and that really bothered me because for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what that meant as to how a Second World country would be defined? Would it be a country with some indoor plumbing but not a lot? Would it be a country where they had indoor plumbing you were still at risk from having wild monkeys fling poo at you for sport?

I had no idea what the hell a second world country might be and more importantly, I didn’t have Google and Wikipedia to tell me for as long as I was in the plane! It was very disturbing. And, of course, when I got home and I was able to GooPedia “Third World Countries” I was shocked to find out that the term had nothing to do with living in huts, pooping into holes you dug into the ground or monkeys doing anything.

Apparently, the whole idea was a Cold War thing. The First World was the good guys (from our point of view), the US and our NATO allies and the countries who were neutral but friendly. The Second World was the USSR and their commie friends. And Third World countries were just countries who didn’t line up on either side.

There are no qualifications in terms of disease, famine, unsanitary conditions or war—and there are no per capita monkey minimums! Canada could wake up tomorrow and decide they want to be a Third World country if they wanted! Can you believe it? Well—perhaps Canada was a poor choice for example, but I digress.

Here’s my problem. After the collapse of communism and the USSR, we all became friends and the Second World was assimilated into the First World which is fine and well, but why didn’t the Third World get a promotion? Why didn’t we call the Third World countries and say, Listen fellas, you’ve all been doing a great job there doing nothing and staying off the radar of those of us who have been drawing lines in the sand, so we’ve decided to promote you to Second World Countries!!!!

I mean, take a look at the list. It’s not what you’d call a group of countries with a lot of notoriety. They could probably use some self-esteem! But no! Instead of giving them a promotion, we decide to just ignore the idea of Second World Countries altogether and let the Third World continue on at the lowest rung of the ladder. Hey Third World! You suck so bad we’re keeping an empty category in between ourselves and you in the hope that we can get some dumbass country to stand between us and buffer us from the stank of you! Seriously, it’s called soap! Try it!

Poor Third World. No money. No friends. Not only do they not have a Facebook page, they don’t even have the internet and even though there isn’t a Second World anymore, they still get the bronze medal in the Olympiad of Life.
Oh well, I’d write more, but my new iPhone just beeped and I have to check my email. Take care!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Separate and Unequal

I think that a very important issue is being overlooked here in all the confusion over the gay marriage thing that’s taken the country over lately. Specifically, what about us single people? I mean, if you ask gay people why they want the right to be married, they say its because they want equality, the right to be with their partner in the hospital, the tax benefits, the insurance benefits, the list goes on and on and as a single man, it leaves me thinking, just what is equal about rewarding someone—be they straight or gay couples—for partnering up?

Where’s my equality? Where are my equal rights? Why do I pay more in car insurance, with a spotless record, than a married person with an accident on their record? Actuaries be damned, how does getting married make me a better driver and therefore worthy of reduced rates?

Gay marriage is an issue for more than just reasons of equality; it’s an issue because there are advantages to be gained by getting married. So where are my fellow single people at in all this? Why are we taking the sides of the religious right or the gay community in this battle? Let them each fight their own fight. Why aren’t we looking out for ourselves?

Is it not discrimination to be charged more to insure an automobile because we are not married? Even if the statistics say that we are more likely to get into an accident, what if those same statistics said that gay people were more likely to get into an accident? How would that go over?

Why do married people get tax breaks that aren’t available to those of us who are single? What if our relatives are all a bunch of bastards and we’d prefer to have our friends at our bedside in the hospital—why can’t we have all those things too? Someone please explain to me the equality in this situation? Somebody please tell me why we reward the married with rights and privileges that the single are not entitled to have?

Look, if there weren’t enough people in the world already and we needed to focus on populating the planet, then I’d understand why a government might want to give incentive to couples to marry, but as things stand now, we have too many people. They should be giving people incentives to not marry!

I’m not against the institution of marriage. I’m not against anyone’s right to be married either. I’m just curious, in the midst of all this talk over people having equal rights, why those of us who are not married aren’t part of the conversation? Sure, we could choose to be. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that, but if we were to choose not to be, then we have to accept a status that isn’t equal to those who are married? Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t sound very American to my way of thinking. All men are created equal, but those who aren’t hitched are a little less so. God Bless America! (if you’re married).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Socialist Threat

The cloud of Socialism hangs over the United States of America. Make no mistake about it my friends! Of course, I’ve always been a fan of clouds. Sometimes you can just stare at them up in the sky and matrix them into all kinds of fun shapes, a puppy, a crocodile, Jessica Alba.

The Republican Party, which has been in complete disarray since losing the election last November, has now proposed that the Democrat Party rename themselves the Democrat Socialist Party. I for one, think it’s a beautiful thing! Of course, I don’t think the Democrats will do it, or that the idiotic tactics being employed by the Republicans are going to do them any good, but I’m overjoyed that the threat of Socialism is running rampant throughout the U.S.!!!

Now don’t tell anyone, but I’m not really supporting Socialism in the U.S. Although personal heroes like Kurt Vonnegut and Jesus Christ were outspoken Socialists, I don’t really think socialism is the answer to our countries problems. But the threat of socialism is a beautiful thing, don’t you think?

Our country is made up of a tiny percentage of rich people, who have more money than they could ever use and they sit on it. Then there are the rest of us who bust our humps, get paid salaries that allow us to get by and little more and it gets you to thinking, how did all of this happen?

Back in the day, we had actual industry here in the United States. Industry, for those of you too young to have ever witnessed it, can be simplified to “making stuff.” Yes. We used to make stuff here. We used to ship it to other places just like China and Japan and Indonesia ship stuff that they’ve made here now.

When we used to make stuff, the same type of thing was happening. The people who ran the companies made all the money and they allowed their employees to live paycheck to paycheck, barely surviving. They did this because they were greedy little bastards, but if we’re honest with ourselves, deep down, we all are and would have done the same thing.

To continue the history lesson though, the workers eventually got a little pissed off and just like that, the Unions were born. The Unions fought to get fair wages, reasonable workday lengths, over time pay and all kinds of things that made the workers happier. The rich still got rich, but not quite as rich as they were before. Then the Unions started to get run by nefarious types and before long, they were as corrupt and greedy as the captains of industry.

The workers were greedy too though. They didn’t want their kids to grow up to be coal miners and farmers and machine operators and laborers of any kind. They wanted their kids to have jobs in offices, with desks and phones and collared shirts, so they sacrificed and saved and sent their kids off to college.
About this same time, captains of industry were upset about the way things had turned out with the weakening of their profit margins. Paying workers an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work really wasn’t a popular idea, but the Unions, being run by nefarious sorts, were unbreakable, so other plans had to be made.

It turns out the plan was to stop making stuff here in the U.S. You won’t believe this, but you can pay a 12 year old Chinese girl less than a dollar a day to do a job that a Union worker in the U.S. would make $20.00 an hour to do! Of course this probably seems a little unfair to the U.S. worker doesn’t it? Surely our elected representatives would have something to say about that, right?

Unfortunately, no—they did not. You see, it takes money to get elected to political office and it’s much easier to work for a lot of money from a captain of industry, than it is to work hard for a bunch of people who can only give you a little bit each. Thus, the captains of industry purchased the United States of America and set the puppets they put into office about to do their bidding, instead of the bidding of the constituency they were supposed to be “representing.”

Sadly, we the people, didn’t much notice. We didn’t want to work in factories and fields and mines anyway. We wanted to work in offices, with water coolers and staplers and photocopy machines. As the Unions really didn’t protect the office dwellers, since the office dwellers were the ones who they were protecting laborers from, the office dwellers became an exploitable commodity. Of course it wasn’t like the old days—the office dwellers still got a few vacation days here and there and insurance and such, but most of them were put on something called a salary, which essentially meant they were paid for 40 hours worth of work a week, and given 60-80 hours of work to do each week.

And predictably, there weren’t enough real office jobs for all of the people who were too good to work in fields and factories and mines so enterprising new captains of industry created fake jobs for them. A fake job is any job that isn’t essential. If you don’t make it, mine it, transport it, etc, you have a fake job. Some companies, who can’t afford to hire people from our country to make their products, can afford to pay millions of dollars for 30 seconds of advertising time for a commercial during events like the Super Bowl—how’s that for fake?

That brings us to the present time. The economy is in bad shape. Many of us are finding out just how expendable we really are; we’re finding out that our jobs are fake, or that they can be pared down and done by fewer people. The captains of industry don’t much care, because they still have so much money that they won’t ever possibly spend it in their lifetime, and neither will their children’s children. Unions are dead. There is no industry here anymore to support them. The office dwellers can’t spend money because they aren’t making money and so those who have sit tight and wait, while those who do not, begin to suffer. And that is precisely why the threat of socialism is such a beautiful thing right now! We should all embrace it! Say it with me now: Workers of the world, unite!

The current political intent is to scare you with Socialism. The former Soviet Union was a socialist country you know! Communists in fact! They want you to be afraid of it, they want you to mistrust it. They want you to be worried about it happening to you, they equate it with a loss of freedom, but that’s not really the case. Socialism isn’t a bad thing necessarily, not if it’s Democratic Socialism. You see, there is a big difference between Communism and a Democratic Socialist government.

Socialism, at its core, is the belief that Capitalism unfairly conglomerates power and money, to those who have the capital and money. In other words, it believes that the rich getting richer is an unfair way of doing business. Socialism is more of an equal opportunity kind of government. It stands in opposition to the imbalance of Capitalism. And, of course, it’s a horrible idea for the United States. We were founded on the principles of Capitalism and have thrived under them. It would be foolish to just do away with them.

But the powerful and rich have gotten too powerful and too rich and they control too much of the money and too much of us. In November, for the first time in a very long time, we the people decided that we had just about enough of the puppets of the those captains of industry running things, so we elected a guy they hadn’t gotten their hooks into yet. And he has messes to fix.

Some of the methods and ideologies of the fixes he’s putting into place smack of socialist ideals. Universal health care means everyone gets it! Not just those who can afford it! And those who make more, have to pay more so that those of us who make less, don’t go broke paying for it. So, unless you’re rich, that should sound like a great plan!

The thing is that the economy works best when there is a lot of money flowing through it. It doesn’t do that when it’s all bunched up at the top. It doesn’t trickle down as they’d have you believe. Greed is too powerful an instinct to us. We gather to us all we can and more. Me first. So, our President is putting money into the bottom and letting it flow up. Not all of it, mind you, just enough of it to make those who have it pretty nervous.

Which brings us all the way back to the pretty cloud of socialism that’s hanging over our country. Embrace it my friends! Don’t embrace the idea of socialism—it works brilliantly in some places, but it would never work here. Embrace the threat of it! It’s been a long time since those at the top of the food chain have feared those of us at the bottom. And fear is a powerful motivator. They don’t like that we’ve elected a President without consulting them. The Republican Party is in disarray because we did. We became so disgruntled with their representation that we turned our backs on them and now they are all busy running around and howling at the moon. The more liberal Democrat Party is in power now, trying to fix the economic problems with liberal theories and ideas—some of them that even smack of socialism. And they fear it.

It would be an end to all they know. It would be an end to their power. It would be an end to looking down with disdain at the rest of us. It would be a mistake. As much as we don’t want to admit it, we need them. But they don’t know that we still know that. They are afraid of the step we’ve taken away from them, and they live in fear of further steps, like the step to socialism.

People of power will not go down without a fight. The fear will make them change their ideas and thoughts and they will look to appease us—because there are so many more of us than there are of them. And when used, there is power in numbers—when we vote, like we did this past November. In order to avoid the calamity that would be actual socialism in the U.S., they will make efforts to make wealth and power more accessible to us. They will share, so as not to lose. We shouldn’t want equal pay for everyone, but we should want what is fair. We should want to be able to keep our jobs in favor of executives getting multi-million dollar bonuses. That’s ridiculous. That’s the kind of compromise we can force.

Such is the power of the threat of Socialism. It is a weapon. It is fear. It is motivation. What our President is doing now isn’t socialism, but it’s close. That closeness, combined with the lack of any real message or direction from the Republican party has caused them to try to make us—we the people—afraid of socialism. Be not afraid my friends. They have unwittingly provided us with the weapon we can use to close the gaps that exist in our country today. Let’s make them think that we’re actually crazy enough to use it!