Friday, September 30, 2011

Monty Python's The Meaning of Robin of Berkeley

Now that Robin is -- apparently -- no longer a licensed psychotherapist, she's spending a bit less time distance-diagnosing President Obama with severe mental illnesses and speculating that his "narcissistic personality disorder" may have been triggered by a blow to the head like movie amnesia, and more time reflecting on the formative (and uniformly traumatic) events in her life.  Like that one time she saw Rosemary's Baby:
I saw the movie sometime after it came out, though I was only a teenager.  I can’t imagine how shocked I must have been.
(To which commenter Chris Vosburg, who has corresponded with Robin, helpfully replied:  "Well, Robin, you could ask someone who was there at the time, I guess, like, oh, I dunno, YOUR FUCKING SELF?")

This week, she once again uses her clinical skills to connect with her readers, by reminding us of that universal tendency of 4th graders to obsess over their own mortality.
Obama and the Meaning of Life
When I was a young girl, I would often lie awake at night and ask myself what was the meaning of life. Why was I here? What was this strange existence all about?
This is a right of passage most girls of Robin's generation went through, usually after hearing the Burt Bacharach-Hal David song "Alfie (What's it all about?)," from the 1966 film starring Michael Caine.
 These questions usually triggered feelings of panic.
You know why elementary school boys find little girls icky?  Because they burst into tears whenever you punch them in the arm or suggest their existence is a random spark in a vast and meaningless void, a cosmic accident which is all too quickly remedied by the icy embrace of Oblivion.

In fact, I remember when my sister was little, there were months when she would only play with one doll: Malibu Barbie's pal, Existential Crisis Midge, who never left the Dream House, and would just sit around the finished basement in her sweatpants, taping Brother Theodore segments off Letterman.
Of course, I had absolutely no idea what was the meaning of life -- and I had no one to ask. No matter how much I wracked my young brain for an answer, I hadn't a clue.
It's true, adults are often useless when a 7-year old girl in a party frock demands they furnish a rational counter-argument to nihilism.  And our school books weren't much better; I recall being even more confused about the possibility of authentic morality after reading that one story where Tom, Betty, Susan, and their dog Flip go to the sea shore, and Tom impulsively shoots an Arab on the beach.
As I grew up, I found some soft spirituality, in the form of Buddhism and Sufism. I loved to read the Sufi poems -- I still do; I feel comforted by the poets' adoration of God. Buddhism also gave me a road to dealing with suffering, as well as some vague notions about what life was all about (as in, being awakened to the "truth," whatever that means).

But it's been only in the last couple of years of my life that I finally have a clearer idea of why we are here, and what this wondrous and brutal existence is all about. It took my whole world being tossed around like a pair of dice three years ago, and then thrown out there in a completely new configuration. Somehow, for reasons I'll never know, everything looks different. 
And what was this world-tipping event which shattered Robin's spiritual contentment?  Spoiler alert:  It was Obama's election.
And now I finally have some answers, because they are all contained in a book I'd never even seen before, called the Bible.
Along with her childlike dread of the abyss, Robin also suffered from a lifelong fear of opening nightstand drawers in hotels.
Just like Dorothy in the Land of Oz and her ruby* slippers, the hidden jewel was there all along. I was just kept away from seeing it by a culture that detests and fears anything having to do with God.
And just like Dorothy, all Robin had to do to possess this jewel was to kill a witch, as both the Bible ("Do not suffer a sorceress to live" -- Exodus 22:18) and L. Frank Baum recommend.

And if you're wondering about the asterisk on "ruby," the footnote reads: "*Thanks to readers for the correction."

As you may recall, American Thinker got tired of moderating comments on Robin's posts -- or rather, the person assigned the task found Robin herself insufferable and possibly, fictional -- so now you have to follow a link to her personal blog and leave your comments there. (Incidentally, Robin reacted to the whole comment moderation kerfuffle the same way she reports reacting when the light bulb burned out in her Easy Bake Oven and she concluded that God is Dead):
We all go through it: the harsh wake-up call that things aren’t as they appear to be. [...] Just this week, I’ve been dealing with people undermining me whom I thought I could trust.

As a recovering liberal, I’ve had the shock of a lifetime learning that many of the threats to our country come from within. [...]

With the sabotage going on in my life, last night I couldn’t sleep a wink. I lay in bed disturbed, thinking of these people who want to harm me.
Anyway, so I clicked over to Robin's blog to see what the correction was, wondering if she confused the book's Silver Shoes with the movie's Ruby Slippers.  Nope.  She thought Dorothy was tromping around Oz in sensible Emerald Brogues.
Commenter:  Sorry, Robin. Your editor has let you down again. “Dorothy in the Land of Oz and her emerald slippers.” They were ruby slippers.

Robin:  You would be a great editor yourself! There was something about emeralds in Oz, wasn’t there? Maybe I’m thinking of the Yellow Brick Road (LOL). Of course, it’s been a while since I saw the movie!

Another Commenter:  The Emerald City, where the wizard lived. It’s kind of ironic that the city with the fraud-wizard was green, isn’t it? (;-})

(I assume this is either a joke about the bankruptcy of alternative energy company Solyndra, or else the commenter believes photo-voltaic cells are actually occult objects designed to collect some form of ancient, extra-dimensional eldritch power that is beyond human ken.) 
Robin again:  Thank you! The emerald city, the ruby slippers, and the yellow brick road — so much like the magical world we live in, if people would only look!
...at the screen!  Where the movie is showing!  And then, maybe, retain some of its more famous, iconic, and culturally inescapable elements!
For people to look in the eyes of a newborn baby and think humans are some cosmic mistake . . . has to be one of the greatest delusions of life.
So while admittedly getting a few of the minor details wrong, Robin clearly grasped that the main point of this 1939 MGM classic was to serve as a singing and dancing rebuke of Darwinism.

Anyway, back to her search through the cut-out bin of the cosmos for that one Monty Python DVD...
I asked a friend the other day how often he ponders the meaning of life. He is a brainy Ph.D. who immerses himself each week in heady tomes. To my surprise, he answered, "Never."
Because he correctly and instantly divined that any other answer could be interpreted as a willingness to hold a conversation with Robin.  He is brainy!
I see the doom and gloom around me in the vacant faces of all the lost souls. They have no idea what is going on -- not just with their idol, Obama, but with this whole strange existence. 
I agree there are many reasons to be sad nowadays, but this is a recurring theme in Robin's writing:  the light goes out of a child's eyes every time Robin walks into the room; people shoot her hateful or lesbian-filled looks; or step on an insect just to make her frozen yogurt turn to ash in her mouth.  So before I accept that this localized malaise is a reaction to Obama's fall from godhood and not Robin's presence, I think we're going to need a control group.
A minority of them are starting to wake up politically, to realize that Obama is no savior of the oppressed. Instead, he's simply a puppet doing the bidding of people like Ayers, Soros, the SEIU, and God knows who else. Rather than transforming this country into a utopia, he's helping to make it a nightmare that no one can wake up out of.
Fortunately, what with a Universe devoid of meaning, and all the comment moderators undermining and sabotaging us, everybody is lying awake at night, winkless and unable to get down into the nightmare-filled sleep from which they fail to wake up out of.
Just to clarify things: it's Obama who's putting a sledgehammer to the economy; it's Obama who is aiding and abetting the uprisings in the Middle East; it's Obama who is sending out the signal that it's open season on Whitey. Not George and not Dick Cheney, but Obama, Obama, Obama.
For those who doubt Robin's political science bona fides, I should point out that she holds the Fulbright-Jan Brady Distinguished Chair in Pat Buchanan Studies at George Washington Glass University.
We fight each other because we are pawns in a spiritual battle between good and evil. The most important decision of our lives is which side we are on. Will we choose God or evil? It's as simple as this.
Do pawns get to choose?  Traditionally, they haven't had have much of a voice in where the giant hand moves them, nor do I remember the start of a match ever being delayed because some of the white pawns decided to switch sides.
If we choose God, this involves more apparent sacrifice, e.g. no more whoring around, tormenting conservatives, or, in general, being Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. But the rewards are so enormous that we, as humans, have not even an inkling of our great fortune.
You know me, I hate to be argumentative, but before this pawn gives up blogging, I'd like Robin to furnish a link to the chapter and verse in the Bible which proclaims that "tormenting conservatives by disagreeing with them is a sin on a par with soliciting a prostitute for diaper play".
Around where I live, most people have chosen to turn their backs on the only Force that will give them real hope, not the manufactured kind.
They're just mad that George Lucas keeps fucking with the original movies.
Not coincidentally, I see mostly empty or frightened or angry faces around me.
Yeah, I know we've covered this, but I'm really going to have to insist that you hide in the bushes with a pair of binoculars and then report on bystanders' facial expressions.
And yet, the answer is so simple and accessible -- and it's been there all along, just waiting for them to open their eyes and look. They can do this at any time...just like the metaphorical Dorothy in the Land of Oz. They simply need to ask with all of their heart and all of their soul to go home again.
Just click their cubic zirconium Crocs together three times.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sometimes I Doubt Your Commitment to Sparkle Motion

I've been reading Sarah Vowell's The Wordy Shipmates, about the Puritans who founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and I have to confess: it's making me feel a bit self-conscious about the shoddy quality of our modern religious fanatics.  I mean, take Roger Williams, a man who basically regarded himself as too saintly to be caught praying with his his own Hell-bound wife and their tainted seed, and who spent his life passionately playing Calvinistball, a soul-gambling game whose motto was "it isn't whether you win or lose, or even how you play the game, because God decided the outcome before you were born.  Chew on that in the locker room, Sporto."

But we'd be a lot better off if he was the kind of inflexible fundie extremist running the religious fringe these days, because he was the was the opposite of a theocrat.  As Vowell remarks, Roger Williams was not only a crazy radical cleric who was too pure even for the Puritans, but a First Amendment absolutist about a 150 years before the First Amendment.  Williams believed in keeping religion entirely aloof from the dirty business of government.  And perhaps due to his certainly that nearly every person he ever met was a doctrinal slacker destined to broast in eternal torment like a sentient breaded chicken, he regarded the heathen Native Americans as actual human beings with rights, dignity, and freedom of conscience.

Which brings us to Scott Lively.  I'm sure you're familiar with this carbuncle on the Body of Christ, but just in case, I'll let Wikipedia do the honors, because I'm really tired...
Scott Lively is a noted anti-gay activist and the president of Abiding Truth Ministries, a conservative Christian organization located in Temecula, California. Abiding Truth Ministries is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Lively has called for the criminalization of "the public advocacy of homosexuality" as far back as 2007. He is also directly linked to pending Anti-Gay Legislation in Uganda that would, if passed, make homosexuality punishable by a lengthy prison sentence or even death.

Along with Kevin E. Abrams, he co-authored the book The Pink Swastika, which states in the preface that "homosexuals [are] the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities."

Lively is the former state director for the California branch of the American Family Association and formed Watchmen on the Walls based in Riga, Latvia.
Uganda, Latvia...Mr. Lively either has a yen for preaching in exotic locations with low Trip Advisor scores, or he's dimly aware that most of his compatriots are on to him.  I was acquainted, of course, with his efforts to make homosexuality a capital offense in Kampala, but Watchmen on the Walls was new to me.  Again, according to Wikipedia:
[T]he group's name derives from the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, in which the "watchmen" guard the reconstruction of Jerusalem. "The cities they guard over today, say the contemporary Watchmen, are being destroyed by homosexuality."
I'm sure we all remember that old spiritual, "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho," in which the eponymous hero uses gentrification to bring the walls tumbling down, in order to create an airy, loft-like floor plan.  Or, as the song puts it, "He razed the walls/While raising the property values."
"In Latvia, the Watchmen are popular among Christian fundamentalists and ethnic Russians, and are known for presiding over anti-gay rallies where gays and lesbians are pelted with bags of excrement."
This part is a little hard to believe, if only because it requires some gays and lesbians to be present, and I figure after the first couple of excrement-peltings, they probably would have begun declining invitations to the rallies, even if it was a Wednesday night and there was nothing good on TV.

Anyway, Mr. Lively is so depressed about Americans' lackluster approach to beheading the homos, that he's sitting slumped on the couch in his sweatpants, eating one of those take-out word salads from the supermarket straight out of the plastic container.

'Gay' culture war:  It's nearly lost

Many Christians are only now awakening to the seriousness of the threat to our society posed by the homosexual movement. But, unfortunately for us all, it is only the sounding of the victory trumpets by "gay" activists that has stirred Christians from their slumber.
The gay victory trumpets caused the collapse of our Society's walls, probably because we didn't hire enough Latvians to watch them.  And as anyone who's ever lived within earshot of an urban renewal project will tell you, that kind of thing is noisy, whether the contractor is using a wrecking ball, demolition charges, or a ram's horn.
The watchman's walls have been broken and breached, the village is in flames, and triumphal "gay" culture warriors are leading a long string of young prisoners by their necks into the woods. Most disturbingly, many of the captives, including some of the children of these still sleepy-eyed Christian parents, seem happy to go. 
Well, Mr. Lively, if America's children would actually prefer to be dragged into the woods on a leash than remain in your immediate vicinity, perhaps '"gay" culture warriors" aren't our biggest problem.  And while we're on the subject...why the woods?  Do the gay warriors maintain a secret Never Land in the wilderness where they all live like Lost Boys, battling pirates, consorting with mermaids, and rescuing Indian maidens?  Because frankly that sounds a lot cooler than your program of stomping around the Ugandan National Assembly like the Queen of Hearts, shrieking "Off with their heads!"
I have long warned that the homosexuals agenda is not about tolerance but control. It started, of course, with a plea for tolerance, but then immediately shifted to a demand for acceptance and in due time to celebration of all things "gay." 
You'd think we would have learned with the Negroes.  It started, of course, with a plea for freedom and tolerance.  But only a hundred and fifty years later, it shifted to a demand for acceptance and in due time to celebration of all things "Black" (or at least those things that Pat Boone hadn't already stolen).  And did it stop there?  No!  Now one of them is President!  You think the White House was gaudy with those Chairman Mao Christmas decorations?  Well, you just wait until the first "gay" chief executive goes all Robert Verdi up in that bitch.
It wasn't enough, however, for prominent public officials in every major city to lead the "Gay Pride" parades. No, the agenda continued to unfold to another level, requiring forced participation in "gay" culture. Much of the country is on that cusp of celebration/coercion today, led by California with it's new aggressive K-12 homosexual advocacy curriculum, mandated by law. 
Now we come to that famous Annie Hall moment, where Woody Allen pulls Marshall McLuhan out from behind a sandwich board in the lobby of the New Yorker theater to refute some blowhard's theories on media.  Because as it happens, I'm married to a public school teacher in California, and not only is a "new aggressive K-12 homosexual advocacy curriculum, mandated by law" the kind of shin-deep bullshit rarely seen outside a stockyard, but even if it were true -- in the alternate dimension where gay barbarians conquer the Legions of Civilization with a blast from their warrior trombones, then vanish into the Schwarzwald with their leashed captives like a combination of Cesar Millan and Arminius -- the state of California doesn't give elementary school teachers enough time or resources to teach math or science, let alone homosexuality.

On the bright side, Mr. Lively, they've also eliminated the Music program, so at least there won't be any further generations of triumphal "gay" trumpeters (marching band being the root of all evil).
I'm old enough to remember the debate about whether homosexuals should be allowed to be teachers at all, let alone allowed to punish students for disagreeing with the class-time advocacy of their sexual lifestyle. I remember the protestations from the pro-homosexual side, that "gays and lesbians just want the right to be left alone. They would NEVER interject their private lives into the classroom." They all lied, and we believed them, and now our children and grandchildren are being forced to celebrate "gay" culture under penalty of law. 
Undoubtedly our children would be much better off with level-headed fellows like Mr. Lively in the classroom, but as for that "forced to celebrate 'gay' culture under penalty of law" stuff, I believe he has "discouragement of bigotry and bullying" confused with "tearing the tag off your mattress."
That is the end game for the "gays."
Which totally gives the "gays" an unfair advantage, because in chess, the Queen is the strongest piece on the board.  Sorry, Bishops.
The final stage of their agenda, which has always been about taking control of things, is the power to punish dissent: to silence or crush their detractors. They only have this level of control in a few places yet, but they are moving fast to achieve it everywhere, and the momentum is on their side. And wherever they have it, they use it.
I'm no math whiz, so maybe it's just a matter of ratios or pi, or something complicated like that, but I've never understood how gays and lesbians, who culture warriors like Mr. Lively insist are an infinitesimal fraction of society, are -- at the same time -- sufficiently numerous to take over every school in every district in the country, en route to conquering the world.  Maybe, like Lee Van Cleef, they're in league with that mind-controlling Venusian pickle.
"Children of Earth!  You will all bow down before me!  Also, your essay on Harvey Milk is due tomorrow.  Oh, and I'll be in my office Wednesday, but not Friday."
This brings me, in conclusion, to the subject of "gay marriage." Huh? How does "gay marriage" in any way relate to homosexual propaganda in schools? Or to Christian parents awakening late to the indoctrination of their children?

It is the same issue, my friends. "Gay marriage," "gay" curriculum, "gay" parades, "gay" TV shows, "gay" soldiers, "gay" adoption, "gay" diseases, "gay" recruitment and on and on.
Well, Mr. Lively -- do you mind if I don't call you Scott?  'Cause it kind of makes me nauseous -- if you don't mind some constructive criticism, it sounds like you may have the same problem with the word "gay" that Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, and his pal Winky had with the word "space"...it's a slight touch of Modifier Mania:
...or maybe it's just a tic.  In any case, you should probably get that looked at.
So many seemingly separate issues that are really just one issue: the unnatural, dysfunctional, personally and socially destructive phenomenon of homosexual sin.
Homosexuality: it's the Swiss Army Knife of Sin!
We are warned clearly and emphatically about it in the Bible. We have seen its corrupting effect in history. And we are literally watching its ethic of sexual anarchy supplant the biblical model of family as the guiding value system of our society. 
On the bright side, as one of the last heterosexual married couples left on Earth, Mary and I are entitled to a complimentary appetizer with any regular priced entree at the Sizzler.
 I'm not going to add here how much I really love homosexuals and just hate their sin.
Too bad.  I feel you should always close with your best joke.
As a question of public policy it really shouldn't matter what I think about the perpetrators, just whether I am telling the truth about their agenda. I don't want to reinforce the ridiculous assumption that Christians need to offer a disclaimer to prove they aren't haters. It wouldn't mitigate their hostility toward me for saying it anyhow. Trust me. 
Surprisingly, I do trust your assertion that gays and lesbians aren't stupid enough to believe you're not a human boil swollen with the pus of irrational hatred.  I think we've made a breakthrough here.
We need to stand firmly and unapologetically on the hard truth that homosexuality is not a benign, morally neutral social phenomenon.
Mr. Lively likes his truth about homosexuality firm and hard, and who can blame him?
It is an insidious and contagious form of sexual perversion condemned by God as an abomination.
Science has proven that you can catch a same-sex blowjob from a toilet seat, but you should still put down that waxed paper.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Please Stand By

Sorry about the interregnum, but I was working hard and fast on a pitch for a project I would dearly love to get, and which left me without even the minimal surplus brain power required to read Jonah Goldberg or Dr. Professor Mike Adams.  However, since submitting the produce of my labor, and going into the indeterminate waiting period for a response, I have remained busy, whipping up a frothy, but non-Santorum mixture of stomach acid and general angst.  But I'll have a new post later this evening.


In the meantime, I heard today that Sean Maher of Firefly and The Playboy Club has come out of the closet, and my first thought was, I sort of hope his friends and colleagues are good at faking polite astonishment -- you know, the kind you're called upon to counterfeit when it's your birthday, and your co-workers suddenly call you into the conference room at a strangely late hour of the day to attend a spontaneous but urgent meeting with a suspiciously vague agenda and you're supposed to be surprised by the paper plates and plastic forks and the Carvel "Cookiepuss" ice cream cake emblazoned with your name, melting on the conference table.

In other words, a happy event, but as far as twist endings go, this didn't exactly feel like the climax of The Crying Game (which used a literary device I like to call "The deus ex Pup 'n' Taco"-- in honor of a 1970s Southern California fast food chain -- because the diner, metaphorically speaking, came in expecting Taco, but was flummoxed to find Pup on the menu).
So despite the absence of what magicians call "a good reveal," we would still like to send out our best wishes to Sean, whose work we have always admired, his partner, and their two children.

Now, in that same spirit of keepin' it real, here's another found object entry for our caption contest.

Joey:  S'matter, babe?

Kay:  Oh, nothing.  But when Arlene told me about the double date, I just assumed it would be, you know...mixed doubles.

Click to embiggen and share your insights into how a quick application of "reparative therapy" could make this the greatest night of their young lives!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, M Bouffant!

I'm laboring on a pitch for a project that I may or may not get, depending on whether I meet the deadline, so time is in extremely short supply at the moment (although there's a new post below -- but I warn you, it's a high-minded and fancy one, and should only be read through a monocle, or lorgnette).  But we couldn't let the day go by without celebrating our friend and fellow Angelino, M. Bouffant, who on this date -- some uncertain number of years ago -- cunningly escaped unlawful detention in a womb, through a process similar to that used by the prisoners in Stalag Luft III (you film buffs will undoubtedly recall that iconic image from The Great Escape of Charles Bronson emerging from the tunnel, bare-chested and glistening with amniotic fluid).

So please join me, and well-known Commie cheesecake model Jane Fonda, in wishing M. the happiest of birthdays.
"Oh, hello there.  I was just boning up on Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, but I don't mind if you read over my creamy white shoulder."

Poetry in Motion Sickness

The rainbow has inspired many a poet.  Coleridge called it "That gracious thing, made up of tears and light."  Thoreau said, "The true harvest of my life is intangible - a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched," while HungryBear9562 rhapsodized, "Whoa, that’s a full rainbow, all the way. Double rainbow, oh my god! It’s a double rainbow all the way."

But while it's all well and good to savor the honeyed words of those yearning scribes whose souls have been touched by Calliope, the question remains: what do the kind of fellows who give free investing advice on Saturday morning Christian radio programs think of these Skittle-hued wonders?  Thankfully, one such man has stepped forward to share his epodic insights.

According to Jeff Carter's Townhall bio, "Jeffrey Carter is an independent speculator. He has been trading since 1988. His blog site, Points and Figures was named by Minyanville as one of The 20 Most Influential Blogs in Financial Media."  We can also deduce that Mr. Carter's byline, which simply calls him Jeff Carter, thinks his bio, which insists on referring to him as Jeffrey, has a big stick up its ass, and we can imagine that in certain situations -- such as when Jeff(rey) is in an airport men's room, and a loud argument breaks out between the two -- it could make things uncomfortable for travelers occupying the adjacent stalls.

Anyway, on with the lyricism, as only an independent speculator can provide:
The Color of Rain
When it rains, what color do you see? Do you see dank, dark grimy raindrops. Or, is your spirit electrified when you look out your window and a lightning bolt pierces the sky? Perhaps you run away from those lightning bolts. 
Perhaps you sprint toward the lightning bolts while wearing a hubcap on your head, waving a fireplace poker in one hand and barbecue tongs in the other, and screaming random insults at the storm in Cockney rhyming slang.
Do you enjoy looking out your window with curiosity at the gathering storm? Dark clouds rolling at you like a wagon train.
Whenever I see a cloud shaped like Ward Bond, I know it's time to clean the gutters.
 Anticipation builds. From experience you know full well that the earth, and your dwelling are going to get pounded by little drops of water that sound like millions of bullets falling on your roof.
Unless you're in Arizona and it's New Years Eve, in which case those are millions of bullets falling on your roof.
The occasional burst of thunder might shock you. Or, it might be a distant call to something else.
The thunder might be cold-calling you about discount auto insurance.
At the end, if you are lucky, your rainstorm will turn into yellows, blues, reds, and greens.
Assuming the rain inspired the right kind of mushrooms to sprout.
A rainbow. If you grew up around enough Irishmen, you know that there is a pot of gold somewhere at the bottom of it.
And a whiskey bottle.  If you grew up around enough Catholics, as I did, you know that there's an Irishman somewhere at the bottom of it.
Yesterday, I devoured a book. It is titled, The Color of Rain. It’s the tragic and in the end, uplifting, story of Mike and Gina Spehn. Like a tragic thriller, it’s really three separate intertwined stories in one. You should pick it up and read it. I guarantee that it will make you think. It might even change your life and help you find your own personal rainbow.
I realize this trend toward the privatization is all the rage, but I don't think even the Libertarians have quite figured out how to prevent moochers and free-riders from accessing our personal rainbows.
I am fortunate to be able to appear on their radio show every Saturday morning. Mike and Gina allow me seven minutes to talk about finance and topics of the day.
This week's topic:  Is it best to sell the pot of gold you steal from leprechauns through an online auction house such as eBay, or store it in a safety deposit box as a hedge against a collapse in currency value?
After high school, Mike and I didn’t see each other as much. It’s not rare to see your high school friends disburse. It’s actually pretty odd to see them hang together.
Less odd to see them hang separately, especially in Texas.
Over the next twenty years, I would see Mike every now and then. We would check in with each other.
Mostly they'd use Foursquare, and for several weeks in August Jeff was the Mayor of Mike.
 One night in 2003, I got a phone call. The voice said, “Mike Spehn’s wife died.”
“Ugh.” I said, “Car accident.”
“No.” Pause. “Cancer.”
“Really? Wow.” 
This is why I don't use the Express Check In with my friends.  Sure, it's convenient, but you miss the little details, such as, oh, one of you has cancer.  Still, I give Jeff credit for his allusion to John Donne's Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, "Now this bell tolling softly for another, says to me, Thou must die.  Ugh."
When I attended the wake, I didn’t realize that there were a number of compelling mini dramas playing out all at the same time. Tragic, funny, death, birth.
Perhaps Jeff would have been better prepared for Mankind's complex, often contradictory relationship to life and death if he'd watched the "Chuckles Bites the Dust" episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

You know what?  Forget that.  Bringing up a sitcom at a time like this just coarsens and diminishes the whole experience.  I apologize.
 All the stuff that makes us human and is a part of life is in this book. Mike and his father. Gina, her grief and her past. Mike and Gina. Mike and his grief. A community of faith, and the loss of two members. The Brady Bunch, minus the housekeeper as Gina says! 
The untimely death of Alice would explain all the grief.  And perhaps suggest that "Sam the Butcher," was more of an alias than a job description.
This book is not just about them, it’s about each of us and how we relate to the world and each other. Like the roots of an Aspen tree, we are connected to our past and our future. 
Looks like somebody took that fiction writing seminar at the Learning Annex, "From Timber Metaphors to Bears Gettin' Busy: Learning to Write the Scooter Libby Way."
The book does a great job of telling heart wrenching individual stories. But the book isn’t simply a couple of intertwined stories that play like a Hollywood drama. There is much more in it for you.
Especially if you hollow the book out and hide your stash of dried mushrooms in it.
 At the end of the day, the pages will speak to you. The ink will intermingle itself into your consciousness.
At this point you should probably reduce your fungi dosage, unless under the care of a qualified Yaqui shaman.
You won’t have to dig deep within yourself to find the message the book wants you to know.
It's pretty shallow, as messages go.
The story of Gina and Mike’s struggles and eventual rebirth will read similarly to everyone. 
At least until the ink gets into your brain, at which point the experience often becomes more varied and individual.  Some readers will envision colors, some will look in the mirror and see their face melt and morph into an image of Ann B. Davis -- not the murdered maid from The Brady Bunch, but the sexually frustrated secretary from Love That Bob! -- while still others will change the way they think about love and family, but won't be able to urinate without the sense that they're being watched by a moose on a unicycle.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, S.Z.!

UPDATED below.  And Up-Updated. And Up-Up-Up-Updated with Cats O' Plenty!

Well, you probably saw the kerfuffle yesterday; right bloggers went into a paroxysm of ultrasonic outrage, squealing and shrieking that online progressives were covering up for my supposed "gaffe."  Yes, it's true that in delivering birthday greetings to s.z., I departed from my prepared remarks and referred to her as the "Founder of World O' Crap," whereas wingnuts have always considered her the "Father of WO'C," -- at least since Vox Day was marginally polite to her that one time because he thought she was a gay man, rather than an uppity woman.
 Good?  She's the best!

But then, s.z. was always hard to categorize, because unlike a lot of bloggers she didn't have issues, just a point of view, which could perhaps be summed up as:  stupid and mean-spirited opinions are a bit like graffiti and garbage -- if left to accumulate, they make for a depressing and unhealthful neighborhood -- but a measured application of gentle mockery, like the judicious use of broom and scrub brush, can work wonders at brightening up the place, so let's all pitch in and make this a better Internet!  And that, at least insofar as I understood the charter, is what World O' Crap was created to do.

When I started moving the archives over -- thousands of posts, from the original Salon blog and our previous domain -- I was amazed at how she always managed to stay funny, despite some pretty repugnant provocations, and how she never lost her temper, regardless how much the source material might have offended her moral sensibilities.  (And Sheri is probably the finest, the most moral person I've ever met; smart, but self-effacing, she lives a life of service that our conservative Christian politicians and bloggers, who beat their breasts with the subtlety of Ricky Ricardo abusing a Conga drum on the dance floor of the Tropicana, could never, and would never be tempted to, match -- first by serving her country, and when illness made that impossible, by serving her community with the same selfless, and often exhausting dedication.)

Perhaps that's why WO'C has never suffered the chronic troll infestations that have plagued (and, frankly, amused) a lot of other lefty humor blogs.  S.z.'s ability to dismantle any hate-filled screed in that graceful, witty, even-tempered way of hers didn't leave much room for sputtering rebuttals, although we came close with the Marley Brothers, those Save Christmas in Massachusetts guys who haunted our comments section for several weeks, cut-and-pasting urban legends about the Death of Santa by a thousand "Happy Holidays".  As you may recall they got a little face time from Fox News, and used their notoriety to rouse the rabble and bring pressure to bear on mass market retailers.  To contribute toys and clothes and food to needy families and make this truly the Season of Giving?  Nah, the Marleys boys were just peeved about Wal-Mart's modest decorating scheme, and the lack of benedictions mouthed by their cashiers.  But it did prompt this piece from Sheri, which both infused me with the Yuletide spirit, and caused me to aspirate my Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice Latte.
I don’t know about you, but I had a hard day warring on Christmas today. First, I visited a lady with cancer who is currently undergoing chemo, and made arrangements to take her to the nursing home tomorrow to see her husband who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. We laughed together over her new hairstyle, I commiserated with her over her nausea and weakness, and we talked hopefully about better times in the future. She thanked me for the visit and for the little Santa teddy bear I had got her from the Dollar Store. Then I punched her in the gut because she didn’t wish me a “Merry Christmas.”

Next, I went to Sam’s Club and bought a large bag of Meow Mix for Shirley’s cats. Shirley, who lives across the street from my parents, is on welfare and has been having some serious health problems for a while. Her cats, which live outside and prowl the neighborhood, have been looking kinda thin and raggedy lately. So, to make me feel better, I spent $9 to buy them some food.

After ringing up my purchase and taking my money, the cashier smiled and thanked me for shopping there — but she didn’t wish me a “Merry Christmas,” so I slapped her.

After exiting the store, I gave a few bucks to the college students who were there collecting for the community food bank. They didn’t wish me a “Merry Christmas” either, so I decked them.

Then I went to Shirley’s house, put out food for the cats, and visited with Shirley for a few minutes. She was clearly touched that somebody cared about her and her cats, and thanked my several times for the cat food – but she didn’t wish me a “Merry Christmas, so I broke her thumbs.

On the way home, I stopped to see drop off some cookies I had bought for my neighbor Linda at the new Mexican bakery in town (of course, nobody THERE said “Merry Christmas” to me, so I was forced to torch their business). Linda has lost control of much of her body due to the ravages of MS, and finds it hard to speak. She did manage to tell me a little about her black cat, to tell me about what she was watching on TV (“Little House on the Prairie”), and to thank me for the cookies, but … well, you can guess the rest.

But enough traipsing down Memory Lane.  We do have our traditions here, so let's get to s.z.'s horoscope:
Jupiter joined with Uranus is also found in your Solar Return chart, and this suggests the need for progressive change in your life.
Granted, that was pretty embarrassing for all concerned when you came home unexpectedly early from church; still, I wouldn't regard it as an omen.  I would, however, recommend changing the locks.

Happy Birthday, Sheri!

Riley:  Damn!  It's another birthday!  And it's coming right at us!

Moondoggie:  Is that cake?

D.Sidhe was kind enough to email this glamour shot of her cat Nagi recumbent in the sink, as a gift for s.z., and I can't think of a more fitting tribute to someone who spends so much of her time, money, and energy caring for the least among us.

If you've got a photo of your own furry friend -- cat, dog, or whiskery Grandma -- send it along (my email is at the top right) and we'll make it a menagie a trois.

It's a officially a party!  I just received this pic from Margaret Nolan, who is best remembered for her role as "Dink," James Bond's masseuse in the opening scenes of Goldfinger (although it might be a different Margaret Nolan, we didn't really get into details):
"More Birthday Greetings to S.Z.!  When we wake up, we'll sing to you."

Incoming from Gappy...!
 Oh hai s.z.  You caught tryin' to wrap up your bifday gift.   Is correct.......is me!
 Ah gots you flowers too.  Happy bifday!

Next! From Brian Schlosser, and his Lipizzaner Kittens!
 Kittehs #3 (Abbie, left) and #2 (Lucy, right) converge on an elusive feather...
 Lucy sez "I will getz dat fether for u, SZ, wif my lion skilz!!"
 "happee birfdae, SZ! Fether mite be pre-nommed, tho!"

"Kitteh #1 (Thursday Next, not shown) is a Jehovah's Witness, and does not celebrate birthdays..."

And acrannymint writes in with the following gangbang of cute:
"In honor of s.z.'s b'day from Ceridwyn, Sam, Tess and Boris."

And at last...heydave's long-promised cats, Hoover and Coolidge!
Here we see (Madame President Herbert) Hoover and (Madame President Calvin) Coolidge hungrily stare at food from the “cat pyramid” intended to let them feed themselves.  With a name like Hoover, I’d expect her to vacuum up food wherever it is.  But despite their seeming intelligence, they are absolutely confounded by such and intricate device.  Maybe they’re cat savants?

Anyway, when I told them it was s.z.’s birthday, they gave me the smartest blank stares ever!

And from KWillow: "Cat photos for the birthday girl."
Here are a couple of our cat "Smokey" aka "Chester" 
 ♫ I'm just a cat in a gilded cage... ♬

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Deathbed Confession

My apologies for the lack of posts this week, but I've been down with the Spanish Influenza, or the Burmese Dropsy, or the Zanzibar Grippe; anyhow, some bug that feels potent enough to reduce the workforce of a major civil engineering project, something on the order of the canal across the Isthmus of Panama, say, or the trestle over the Tsavo, or the Bridge to Terabithia.  Unfortunately, this was also the week when Mary started back at school, so she's not available to post llama pictures.

I'm feeling a bit better today, and hope to get back to blogging shortly.  In the meantime, this photo desperately needs a caption, and I was thinking we could make it a fun group activity, like a barn-raising, or a quilting bee, or the tar-and-feathering of a tinhorn gambler discovered with two Jacks in his sleeve garter.  I'll get the ball rolling...
Flustered by the newsreel cameras in his hospital room, Billy accidentally asks the homicidal dummy from Dead of Night to hit a home run for him.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Birthday, D.Sidhe!

Please join me in wishing the happiest of birthdays to our friend and occasional guest blogger, a lamp unto our comments, and (as s.z. once memorably remarked) one of the sharpest cookies on the internet -- D.Sidhe! 

I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part...and Moondoggie volunteered.  It would have been nice if he could have jumped a shark, or Snake River Canyon, or a canyon full of river sharks, but hey...at least he finally consented to put the motion in "motion picture."


Happy birthday, D.!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, AnnPW!

Ah, Christmas.  The crunch of new fallen snow.  The smell of gingerbread fresh from the oven.  The still and frosty night air warmed by the sound of voices raised in sacred, but joyous song.  Yes, while most families were gathered 'round the hearth, trimming the tree, mulling the wine, and flocking the dog, AnnPW's parents were making the Roast Beast with Two Backs.  And on that special night, they planted a seed that would one day blossom into a Unique Page View.  Mom?  Dad?  Our Hit Counter thanks you.

But more important, that Yuletide liaison resulted in Ann, who has been a friend of the blog and a delight to the Comments section for many years now.  And so we felt that, instead of the obligatory Ann Coulter picture, which she has never escaped, this year we'd get her a Glamour Shot.  Once again, I must quote Li'l Innocent, who remarked below:
Hell, we all deserve lovely pinups. I remember one of about 1939 vintage - a fab candid shot of Gary Cooper sitting in a folding chair on a movie set with the neck of his shirt slightly open, very simple... and as a college gal pal of mine memorably said of it, "Look at that. What a piece of ass." 
So on behalf of your friends at World O' Crap and a classic piece of ass, I'd just like to say:  Happy Birthday, AnnPW.

Gary Cooper, being stalked by the pitchfork-wielding maniac in the climax of Todd Browning's adaptation of the Grant Wood opus, American Gothic Horror (1933).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thrilling Days of Yesterbirthdays!

Yes, it's September, which means we're getting into High Birthday Season around here (you can always tell a World O' Crap reader -- they're the ones whose parents would rather have unprotected sex than put up the Christmas lights).  And now that I've thoroughly squicked you out, please join me in wishing a nostalgically festive natal day to Ivan G. Shreve, Jr., the proprietor of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, and the Internet's only accredited expert on Mayberry R.F.D.

In addition to this being the anniversary of the day Ivan made his big entrance through the proscenium arch of the maternal loins and began to strut and fret his hour upon the stage (actually, 44 minutes with commercials and station identification), he has also marked the occasion with another guest post for Stacia of She Blogged By Night, this time on Cecil B. DeMille's early Sound Era oddity, Madam Satan,  If you've ever wanted to cheat on your wife with Lillian Roth, then party on a Zeppelin!, you owe it to yourself to click here.
The Graf Zeppelin arrives over Los Angeles for Ivan's annual birthday bash.  This year's theme: A Movable (But Highly Flammable) Feast.

But that's not all!  Since Ivan was s.z.'s first blog-child (he was inspired by her scintillating literary gifts, but disappointed that she seldom used them to write about Mayberry R.F.D.), we're going to skip the traditional Ann Coulter pic, and instead run a shot of TDOY goddess Jane Greer.
Note to NRO Cruise Speakers:  This is how you do do a Glamour Shot.  Happy birthday, Ivan!