Pull up and rest a spell, as I introduce you to the baddest gunslinger these parts have seen in quite some time. Ladies and gents, meet Black Bart.
Chapter I: The Early Days
They say the storm came out of nowhere that January morning when Black Bart made his first appearance. Most folks had never before seen both snow and lightning all at the same time, except perhaps during one of Lamby's Wicca Rituals. There wasn't the instantaneous bonding between a mother and her child that you so often learn about from the Hallmark Channel, but Rosemary had remarkably flexible standards and did eventually adapt to her son after little time had passed. And he in turn took to her breasts as if he had already known of their usefulness from past lives, or perhaps from an innate awareness of the postings on Limpy's blog.
He brought into this world a head of hair as black as Sassy Blondie's heart, and it wasn't long before his body was covered as well (perhaps this was how he differed from Sassy, perhaps not). It was around this time that he acquired his nickname, though it had yet to strike fear in the hearts of both the evil and innocent the way it does today.
If judging by appearance alone, Black Bart was a handsome and appealing young lad, pure as an Altar Boy, and unfortunately for his innocence, just as deferential to authority figures. But there was always an uncertain uneasiness about him. You see, he had a knack for taking an innocent rite of rural adolescence, and twisting it into something perverse or sadistic.
He would earn pennies by shoveling the neighbors' steps and walkways, just for them to subsequently discover - at the most inopportune moments - that their outhouses had completely been filled in with the removed snow.
Oh sure, lots of youngsters would steal the occasional apple pie from the window ledge where it had been left to cool. But only Black Bart would leave the pie in place, carefully extracting only the filling and placing a rat trap under the undisturbed top crust.
Other times he would wear a cap that he turned slightly sideways, and head down to the train depot with his shoeshine kit. Looking like a hapless orphan, he would dupe travelers into 5-cent shines. Often they would tip him a few pennies more for the mirror-like gloss he would coax out of their footwear, only to realize that he had used a razor knife to score the leather so that it would separate from the soles after a half-dozen steps.
And did anyone ever again trust the rope swing by the watering hole after Black Bart was through stringing grids of barbed wire (stolen, of course) beneath the water just far enough to not be seen from above?
The Annual Barn Dance was always THE social event of the season to look forward to, that is, UNTIL Black Bart. What compelled him to lace the punch with laxatives and nail the restroom doors shut? And wasn't that enough to satisfy him? Was it really necessary to pile manure in front of every exit and stampede the horses through as well?
What inspired him to convince the chubby kid down the road that he should carve his own baseball bat out of that lightning-damaged hickory tree? Was it a rare case of encouragement and friendship? Perhaps we will never know, as the same bat - soon after its creation - was later found at the scene of a grisly crime, covered in blood. The chubby kid was quickly convicted and sent away to do hard time at Pelican Island, and hasn't been able to speak since.
Maybe this final "attempt gone awry" to "reach out" to the community and make a positive difference is what finally turned Black Bart onto the dark path of outlaw and gunslinger. Your guess is as good as mine. This will give you something to chew on until our next chapter. Until then, keep your weapons holstered, but keep on the lookout for that desperado known as Black Bart.
"At Last" is not just an Etta James tune, it's probably what some, okay ... none, of you are thinking upon spotting something new here on "Why oh why".
So what WOULD you say to a brand new, brilliantly crafted post? Who wouldn't say yes? Well, would you be willing to settle for the latest installment of Presidential Trivia? Good, I thought so. Okay, here goes.
16) Abraham Lincoln - Little is known of this President, as there are few - if any - books on the man. So all that remains are hearsay and barroom talk, passed down through the generations. In fact, learning about Mr. Lincoln from those wise old sages in taverns and watering holes is the main reason so many underage youths are infatuated with gaining entry to those establishments. To them, I say, wait your turn, Sunny Jim, the time will come when you can legally learn about our 16th* (* so my "fact-checkers" tell me) President.
Here's what I've been able to piece together. He was informally known as "Honest Abe", but apparently not so much for his honesty, than as a sarcastic moniker noting the lack of it. Turns out that some of you are probably more honest than this shyster. Except maybe for Corn Dog. The origin of this nickname appears to stem from Abe's days as a Horse and Buggy Trader, where he gained a reputation for emancipating folks from their cash, employing many of the shady practices that we still see today. Using a fishing pole with a dollar bill to lure dopes onto the lot? Abe was the first. Injecting sawdust to hide equine lower intestinal problems? You guessed it: he also pioneered that nefarious trick.
But strangely, both law practice and politics have a cleansing effect, along with a way of sweeping past bad deeds under the carpetbag, and as such, this is the path that Abe chose. Yet, the shenanigans did not stop altogether, as he continued to scam and ridicule. At the end of a Pro Bono case, he would get his client drunk, and attempt to collect; claiming that Pro Bono was Latin for "in favor of penises, not stiffing the attorney". If the client was an attractive woman, he was notorious for whipping out the "Lincoln Log" a la Clinton, thus inspiring the children's toy set. Also of note, the word "plaintiff" was allegedly coined by Abe as a derisive slap at the typical accuser, who was usually plain-looking at best, and seemingly always in a "tiff" with somebody.
In particular, his foray into law produced - as is always the case - a resulting over-amplification of his narcissistic personality, and he was known to bop down the street flashing in sign language both an "A" and an "L" to passersby. His famous statue in the Lincoln Memorial beautifully captures his hands "signing" in this manner. Unfortunately, variants of this gesture were adopted by carriage riders and street punks alike, a tradition that carries on to this very day (Lamby's middle-finger wave when changing lanes, to cite one example).
Lincoln's term as President was - per my sources - uneventful. He wasn't the worst President we've had, so I suppose by that low standard he did a good job keeping things together. Probably the only remarkable event was the manner of his death at the hand of a disgruntled former customer from the carriage dealership days, who shouted, "Sick Sonofabichin Tradein!" during the dirty deed, which apparently is Latin for "tired of being Bono'd".
17) Andrew Johnson - Was the first President to be impeached, probably because of a Time Traveller who reported to Congress that Johnsons make shitty Presidents. He was an ineffective leader, and the Southern Reconstruction debacle started under his watch. But how effective would you be, if all the time you were Lincoln's Vice-President, he introduced you to those present by loudly proclaiming, "Allow me to whip out my Johnson"? It got old real fast for everyone, but by that time the die had been cast; and everywhere he went, people would throw condoms at him.
18) Ulysses S. Grant - Was yet another military hero who became a mediocre President (and thank you SO much for paving that particular route, George Washington ... did anyone note the sarcasm? Well, aren't you all so damned observant). Unfortunately, my friends, Julian Lennon was no John Lennon; and Grant was no Washington. His administration was both negligent and corrupt. And there's a reason his name is so similar to "useless".
However, in his favor, the Secret Service WAS instituted during his Presidency, and as a fan of "The Wild Wild West" (the TV show, not the movie), this was a major coup. James West and his sidekick Artemus Gordon worked for the United States Secret Service, and it was their duty to keep the country safe from a large assortment of evil geniuses and their wicked schemes. Blending elements from The Man from U.N.C.L.E., James Bond, and the ever popular western, our two heroes rode the rails in a private train fighting many a bad guy.
19) Rutherford B. Hayes - Be honest (not in the opposite fashion, like "Honest" Abe, but in the literal sense). How many of you, when reading the name "Rutherford B. Hayes", thought he was a pimp? I know I did. But as it turns out, there WAS also a President by that name. Here ... let me go look some crap up on him and report back .... .... .... okay, I'm back. Here's what I stole and bastardized, er, here's what I learned.
Mark Twain (author of "Huck Finn" and other fine works of American literature) stumped for Hayes. His detractors of course played on that fact and twisted it by producing "Hayes for President? Fhuck Himm!" buttons.
Now get this: Hayes expected the Democrats to win. When the first returns seemed to confirm this, Hayes went to bed, believing he had lost. The popular vote apparently was 4,300,000 for Tilden to 4,036,000 for Hayes. Hayes's election depended upon contested electoral votes in Louisiana, South Carolina, and *groan* FLORIDA. If all the disputed electoral votes went to Hayes, he would win; a single one would elect Tilden. With apologies to my Florida friends, The "Lamebrain State" indeed served as the "Nation's Dick" more than just in the 2000 election! At least back in those days, the only "Hanging Chad" would be the poor bastard election official that was rightfully lynched for handing the Presidency to a Republican.
Months of uncertainty followed. In January 1877 Congress established an Electoral Commission to decide the dispute. The commission, made up of eight Republicans and seven Democrats, determined all the contests in favor of Hayes by eight to seven. What a surprise. The final electoral vote: 185 to 184. Son of a bitch! History IS one painful "Mobius Strip" of repeated bullshit.
Hayes had announced in advance that he would serve only one term, and retired to Spiegel Grove, his home in Fremont, Ohio, in 1881, where he launched the Spiegel Catalog business (subsequently bought out by Eddie Bauer ... or was it the other way around?). Anyway, I digress. He died in 1893, thus making future rigged elections in his favor "difficult" at best.
20) James Garfield - I know what you're thinking: the Pug's going to make some lame-ass reference to Garfield the Cat. Damned straight, I am. It's my blog for Chrissakes, and I've been saving this joke since I started this insipid "Presidential Trivia" series. In fact, it IS the reason I started it. Tell you what: if you don't like it so much, then why don't YOU run for President and try to stop me. No, wait, don't. Knowing THESE voters, they probably would elect you. Hell, maybe I should run (*wink* *wink*).
Anyway, James Garfield did enjoy lasagna and crapping in sandy material. However, in a departure from the preferences of the cartoon cat, President Garfield also was infatuated with trains, and would spend endless hours ignoring the responsibilites of running the nation to hang out at the station. This would prove to have tragic consequences, as Garfield one day got into a heated argument and subsequent altercation with another train buff over the merits of "HO" versus "N" scale. An embittered attorney (one of many, I'm afraid) by name of Charles Julius Guiteau, was the other party in this fateful dispute, and he happened to already be agitated by the theft of his "Orange Julius" concession idea. So this was simply the wrong time and place for Garfield to be a "Subject Matter Expert Bully", as it cost him both his life and any possible "Model Railroading Hall of Fame" recognition. Live and learn.
Well that does it for this installment of "Presidential Trivia". I can only hope this continues to inspire your interest in the Oval Office, instead of just the oval tracks of NASCAR.
Recently I've been spending more time than I care to at the local supermarket. Well, like they say in "Produce", when lemons are on sale, make lemonade. And in my life, lemons are ALWAYS on sale. So allow me to "make lemonade", not in the usual way by going "Number 1" behind the store dumpster, but rather this time by sharing some of my observations with you, my fellow value shoppers.
1) It's apparently NOT okay to grab toilet paper and magazines off of shelves in order to restock the restroom for your convenience. They seem to have an issue with that.
2) It's apparently NOT okay to lovingly caress the cantalopes whenever a lady is present.
3) It's apparently NOT okay to complete your shopping with a cucumber protruding from your zipper.
4) It's apparently NOT okay to screen potential dates by aggressively combing through their carts, looking for feminine hygiene products.
5) It's apparently NOT okay to treat Whipped Cream containers as "Nitrous Oxide Samplers".
6) It's apparently NOT okay to pose as the "Local Rep" for pantyhose products.
7) It's apparently NOT okay to loiter in the dairy section, extolling the greater benefits of breast milk.
8) It's apparently NOT okay to linger and repeatedly recite Robert Shaw's "Quint" character's famous monologue from "Jaws" by the Seafood section, as follows:
Quint: "Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. It was comin' back, from the island of Tinian Delady, just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in twelve minutes. Didn't see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. Thirteen footer. You know, you know that when you're in the water, Chief? You tell by lookin' from the dorsal to the tail. Well, we didn't know. `Cause our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. Huh huh. They didn't even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief. The sharks come cruisin'. So we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know it's... kinda like `ol squares in battle like a, you see on a calendar, like the battle of Waterloo. And the idea was, the shark nearest man and then he'd start poundin' and hollerin' and screamin' and sometimes the shark would go away. Sometimes he wouldn't go away. Sometimes that shark, he looks right into you. Right into your eyes. You know the thing about a shark, he's got... lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eye. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be livin'. Until he bites ya and those black eyes roll over white. And then, ah then you hear that terrible high pitch screamin' and the ocean turns red and spite of all the poundin' and the hollerin' they all come in and rip you to pieces. Y'know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men! I don't know how many sharks, maybe a thousand! I don't know how many men, they averaged six an hour. On Thursday mornin' Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player, bosun's mate. I thought he was asleep, reached over to wake him up. Bobbed up and down in the water, just like a kinda top. Up ended. Well... he'd been bitten in half below the waist. Noon the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us, he swung in low and he saw us. He'd a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper, anyway he saw us and come in low. And three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and start to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened? Waitin' for my turn. I'll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water, three hundred and sixteen men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb."
9) It's apparently NOT okay to horizontally place your soup cans onto the rungs of the ladder that the stockboy is currently using.
10) It's apparently NOT okay to demonstrate to your fellow shoppers how the Indian Maiden on the "Land O' Lakes" butter carton can be strategically folded so that her knees become her boobs.
11) It's apparently NOT okay to dole out free samples of Ex-Lax chocolates to the kiddies a la Costco and Sam's Club. (Ditto for Preparation-H to their parents)
12) It's apparently NOT okay to try to exit with a steak over your eye, claiming that the dude collecting shopping carts punched you on the way in.
13) It's apparently NOT okay to meticulously and repeatedly read through all of the help screens on the DVD Rental Machine when there's a line waiting.
14) It's apparently NOT okay to brag to the lady butcher that you're "not just another piece of meat".
15) It's apparently NOT okay to order a cake inscribed with: "Al Qaeda Sleeper Cell 25 - Happy Anniversary!".
16) It's apparently NOT okay to taunt personnel at the Starbuck's counter with the can of Folger's you just purchased.
17) It's apparently NOT okay to block the cart return area with your vehicle. Especially when it's full of carts, and the store is running low.
18) It's apparently NOT okay to pose as the Store Manager and steer minorities to the "Ethnic Foods" section upon entering the store.
19) It's apparently NOT okay to pose as the Store Manager and steer white folks to the Ex-Lax and Preparation-H displays upon entering the store.
20) It's apparently NOT okay to get in line late at night with ONLY the following items: ski mask, rope, butcher knife, disposable gloves, flashlight, Mace, pantyhose, True-Crime novel.
21) It's apparently NOT okay to dress in a plaid jacket with matching hat, place a toothpick in your mouth, then review the Horse Racing sheet in front of the meat counter.
22) It's apparently NOT okay to attempt to convince housewives that they are taken for granted, and should run off with you to Mexico.
23) It's apparently NOT okay to break into hysterics while reading through the tabloids in line at the checkouts.
24) It's apparently NOT okay to jump onto the bagger's back after he asks if you need help out to your car.
By now some of you may have been wondering what happened to me, as I have been missing in action now for a couple of weeks. Well the good news is that the following rumors are untrue. For the record, I have not:
- been shot by a jealous husband, boyfriend, or lesbian lover; - been executed by the mafia because I posed a threat to Don Pardo; - been slain by a female serial killer posing as a prostitute; - been slain by a prostitute posing as a female serial killer; - been accidently axphixiated in an attempt to increase my own sexual arousal; - been accidently axphixiated in an attempt to increase the lady's sexual arousal; - been on secret assignment for the NSA in the jungles of Nicaragua; - been held captive in a pit in Lamby's basement; - been discovered dead in a bathtub in Paris; - been caught dead in a bathtub with Paris; - been suspended naked in an escape-proof Lucite box high above Times Square as part of a radio contest.
None of the above. Rather, the truth is that I've come into some money. But it's not what you're thinking. This time it has nothing to do with wrapping a dollar bill around Mr. Happy and using it as a condom.
It all started when I received the following email.
FROM THE DESK OF MRS. ALIMA MOHAMMED BILL AND EXCHANGE MANAGER, BANK OF AFRICA-(BOA) OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO
Dear Friend ,
I am the manager of bill and exchange at the foreign remittance department of Bank Of Africa (BOA). I am writing following the impressive information about you through one of my friends who runs a consultancy firm in your country. He assured me of your capability and reliability to champion this business opportunity.
In my department we discovered an abandoned sum of $15,200,000 US dollars. In an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer who died along with his entire family in November 2000 in a plane crash.
Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next of kin to come over and claim his money because we cannot release it unless somebody applies for as next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines but unfortunately we learnt that all his supposed next of kin or relation died alongside with him at the plane crash leaving nobody behind for the claim.
It is therefore upon this discovery that I and other officials in my department now decided to make this business proposal to you and release the money to you as the next of kin or relation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody is coming for it and we don’t want this money to go into the Bank treasury as unclaimed Bill.
The Banking law and guideline here stipulates that if such money remained unclaimed after Six to Seven years, the money will be transferred into the Bank treasury as unclaimed fund. The request of foreigner as next of kin in this business is occasioned by the fact that the customer was a foreigner and a Burkinabe cannot stand as next of kin to a foreigner. We agree that 30% of this money will be for you as foreign partner, in respect to the provision of a foreign account, 10% will be set aside for expenses incurred during the business and 60% would be for me and my colleagues. There after and my colleagues will visit your country for disbursement according to the percentages indicated.
Therefore to enable the immediate transfer of this fund to you as arranged, you must apply first to the bank as relations or next of kin of the deceased indicating your bank name, your bank account number, your private telephone and fax number for easy and effective communication and location where in the money will be remitted. Upon receipt of your reply, I will send to you by fax or email the text of the application. I will not fail to bring to your notice that this transaction is hitch free and that you should no entertain any atom of fear as all required arrangements have been made for the transfer. You should contact me immediately as soon as you receive this letter.
Trusting to hear from you immediately.
MRS. ALIMA MOHAMMED Bill and Exchange Manager, Bank of Africa (BOA)
Needless to say, I have been way too excited about this windfall to think of anything (including and especially my blog-related duties) other than securing this windfall with a speedy and well-composed reply. So here goes.
Dear Mrs. Mohammed,
I would like to accept your gracious offer. The information you requested is separately attached. My account eagerly and openly awaits the monies, mon ami. And might I add that I love your surname, as Mohammed is my second favorite religious figure after Jesus. Alima is a pretty name as well. I once met a girl named Alima from Peru, but other than her, the name is quite rare for this old llama.
I would like to thank you for your kind words as to my character. I often worry that consultants say what they think you want to hear, in order that THEY THEMSELVES may benefit financially. Clearly and quite refreshingly that is not the case in this case.
As far as the abandoned funds are concerned, rest assured that I will provide a suitable "foster home" for them. I have a soft heart and a kind soul, and could recount the countless times when I have taken in strays. There was that Cornish Game Hen with the injured wing, the rabbit with a leg that was snagged on a key ring, and that possum who was actually in an independently-confirmed coma.
Furthermore, I am willing to sign an affidavit confirming that I have had relations with the deceased, if that will help expedite the dismemberment.
On a lighter note and submitted for your amusement, I had a buddy whose nickname was "Unclaimed Bill", since - true to his name - he would always leave empty-handed at the end of the night. It's a good thing that, unlike Bill, I won't be empty-handed after this experience!
I cannot stand my next of kin either, but what - pray tell - is a Bukinabe? My friends and I once tried to get into a Lilith Fair in Austin, where we jokingly referred to the crowd as "Birkenstock Babes", which I also cannot stand. I am reminded of a favorite one-caption cartoon, where the doctor says to his female patient, "I'm all out of Birth-Control Pills. Here's a pair of Birkenstocks instead. Put them on".
Are Bukinabes similar, or do you shave your armpits and prefer male "companions"? If so, I may be persuaded to "bring the mountain to Mohammed", if you catch my drift. And I think you might.
Pug Pueriluwaite, ESQ Securities for Exchange, The Great Southwest
I think we'd all agree that a non-political post would be a welcome respite at this point. So what would you say to the continuation of your "virtual date" with the Pug?
Wait, before you roll your eyes and make that "gagging with your index finger" gesture, please remember that I have feelings. Even though not readily apparent, they do exist under a protective candy shell where only through careful licking they can be exposed and savored. So please resist the urge to crunch and destroy them in your hunger for instant gratification at my expense.
Besides, on our "virtual date" you are guaranteed to get lucky, as there is no threat of an awkward goodnight kiss or the possibility that someone you know will spot us together and think less of you (assuming THAT'S even possible).
Since the virtual Rohypnols may have already started to take effect, allow me to refresh your memory on where our date left off. We had just finished "the 5 things The Pug likes to hear on a date" appetizer, along with a couple of drinks and some witty banter from the Pug's side of the table.
So let's continue on with the main course, shall we?
The 5 things The Pug hates to hear on a date:
“My last boyfriend...”
No one wants to hear about your past flames. Even if they were really flaming flames. The Pug likes to pretend that his date is similar to a virginal young Brooke Shields, waiting for the right "pro" (tennis or otherwise) to come along. And of course by "right pro", I mean somone with an comparable set of bushy eyebrows that match up with hers. Okay, just kidding about the eyebrows. Though it is important to create the illusion that the girl has remained chaste in anticipation of her date with the Pug (similar to Brooke's character in "The Blue Lagoon", or - if you're extremely creepy - "Pretty Baby"). Wearing a Catholic school girl outfit probably wouldn't be a bad idea either.
“Do you mind if I take this call?”
Yes, I DO mind. Because The Pug has been burnt before. Whether it's covert camera phone pictures (for later posting) snapped of The Pug eating like a pig, or a competing male caller looking for a last minute "escort", he's been betrayed in virtually every way possible by this seemingly innocuous device. And don't get me started on those games that come with the damned things. I once had a girl knock out 12*-games of "Dig Dug" before the check arrived (* my projected estimate, as I seldom stay for the check).
“So how do you feel about religion?”
This is tricky subject matter on a date, for several reasons. First of all, the Pug does not want to be reminded that God may be monitoring his activities this particular evening. As this is a momentary escape from his responsibilities, the Pug also expects the Supreme Being to take the occasional evening off from his hindrance and persecution of yours truly.
Secondly, if you play your cards right, the Pug will provide the religious experience. In fact, (I hate to brag) a handful of women have been so profoundly affected, they subsequently chose to continue on the path of righteousness and became nuns full-time.
Thirdly, we already know (with the exception of a few rather unfortunate and disturbing episodes, no thanks to Craig's List) that the physical parts likely match up. So why bring religious affiliations into the equation? So what if you're a Fanatical Muslim and I'm Selective Pentecostal? Can't we for just tonight adopt the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in order to team up, take those hills, dig a foxhole, and deploy our own "weaponry"?
“And then I found this cute pair of sandals...”
It's not so much that the Pug is not into footwear. To the contrary! By the time this sordid little affair of ours winds down to its inevitable conclusion, my obsession with "all things feet" will be painfully apparent.
But a recollection of your recent shopping excursions is hardly appropriate dinner conversation, as it creates the impression that your credit may be maxed out, and therefore not available for securing my loyalty. This will likely cause indigestion.
“How do you feel about having a family?”
The Pug no longer lives in the deep South. So trust me. Offering up your family members for his sexual amusement is not a good idea. Yet. There will be time for that once a relationship develops.
Well, that concludes our virtual date. And please, no calls in 2-weeks about how I allegedly knocked you up. This will improve your odds of hooking up again, most likely at my company's Christmas party (anything to dispel those nagging gay rumors ... so try to wear some makeup and let me lead during the slow dances). I had a good time, and I'll blog you.
After accidently rolling onto the remote control and away from "Miami Vice", I had the good fortune of stumbling upon a Democratic Presidential Candidates' Debate from some podunk backwater college in New Hampshire the other day. And since I like to turn my good fortune into YOUR good fortune, I thought I'd provide a detailed analysis of the various lifeforms who participated.
This will hopefully help you to more rapidly decide on your next choice for President, thus saving you valuable brain cycles for deciding who should've really won on past seasons of "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance".
So here goes.
It was a classic and splendidly crisp New England fall evening. The cool breeze wafted the reassuring aroma of fallen leaves and evoked fading memories of Katherine Hepburn rolling in them after taking yet another unfortunate spill. Not that we were able to experience any of those things, as we were crowded into a stuffy college auditorium that vaguely smelled of Murphy's Oil Soap, old text books, stale Budweiser, and used latex.
There on the stage were the 7-candidates, resplendent in their Men's Wearhouse and T.J. Maxx ensembles, as well-groomed as any recent Supercuts patron. For that brief moment in time, each and every one of them bristled with an aire of sober regality; a vivid contrast to their intoxicated and bitter solo departures later that evening for destinations unknown.
The realization that the least of these candidates would still represent a tremendous upgrade over President Jethro Cokespoon, made for great anticipation in discovering who the champion of this litter would be. So swifter than the swiftest Swift Boat, I tuned in and opened my Junior Reporter's Notebook to the first blank page (which happened to be the first page).
And then, I carefully observed each candidate and jotted down my thoughts. Here is my rundown - sans automobile - of the "Magnificant Seven", in order from Stage-Right to Stage-Left.
Joe Biden looked tall, handsome and distinguished. In fact, if (more) people based their votes on who most looked like the ideal Starship Enterprise Captain, then Joe Biden would win hands-down. I could picture him in his naugahyde swivel chair, launching photon torpedoes at the Axis of Evil, and beaming down to Camp David for freaky interracial R&R with Lieutenant Uhura.
However there was a disquieting undercurrent with this man. It's tough to pinpoint, but I just had this uneasy feeling that he has a few missing persons chained up in the cellar of his summer cottage for his twisted amusement, perhaps as a substitute for golf (which his busy schedule no longer permits). This is not to say he would make a bad President, since he would be able to constantly play golf, once in office.
Christopher Dodd also was fairly tall and distinguished looking, and therefore ranked second only to Joe Biden in the "who would make the best Starship Enterprise Captain?" voting criteria category. But I couldn't get past the suspicion that he might - unbeknownst to everyone - really be Newt Gingrich's long-lost older brother. As the story goes, Christopher left home years earlier - never to return - after getting chewed out by his dad for competing in a disastrous Alderman race. Over the years, he repeatedly showed up to help Newt win his various competitions, just to disappear after each triumph. Newt being clueless, of course, always had a strange feeling about him, but simply attributed it to his own bisexuality.
John Edwards was both a pleasant surprise and a mild disappointment. I really liked what he had to say. You can sense that his confidence and poise has significantly increased since the 2004 Vice-Presidential debates. He also had an uncanny resemblence to a young John Ritter, so it's easy to envision a White House with TWO Vice-Presidents serving under him. Both attractive, one would be the "dumb blonde" female version of Dan Quayle, and the other would be the more sensible brunette who really gets things done.
He could also have a Chief of Staff who would be constantly attempting to catch him in mid-hijink. Since Don Knotts has already departed for that "Great Berry Farm in the Sky", we unfortunately don't have him available to reprise his lovable Mr. Furley character.
Not to worry, though, as I've already identified someone equally neurotic and effeminate to serve as "Chief of Staff Furley" and Don's body-double.
So - knowing the inquisitive minds of my readers - you're probably wondering what the "mild disappointment" was all about. Well, I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but at first I was HOPING this time around it was the OTHER John Edward (without the "s" at the end).
This one would totally kick ass as our next President. Think about it. He's a psychic. That would be a tremendous advantage in negotiations. Here's an example:
President John Edward: "(Insert Evil Dictator here), I'm sensing the word "Fluffy". It's just floating right there in front of me, in BIG capital letters. Did you once own a cat named Fluffy?"
Stoic Evil Dictator: "I do not see how this is relevant to the point of discussion, but yes, I did have a cat by that name. It was disemboweled by one of my father's political enemies. The infidel then fed it to his camel, then packaged the excrement and had a courier deliver it to me at my 9th birthday party."
President John Edward: "Well, Fluffy is speaking to me right now, and wants me to send you a message. He's in a better place now; and 72-virgins, along with all of the dissidents that you have tortured and killed over the years, take turns holding and feeding him."
Suddenly NOT-so-stoic Evil Dictator: "Forgive my tears, Mr. President. One who reaches into my soul cannot be a Great Satan after all. I shall disarm immediately. May I hug you, and apply a kiss to all 4-cheeks, as is the custom in my country?"
Dennis Kucinich, is another favorite of mine. I really like his position on a lot of things. But he IS a rather odd and eccentric fellow. Okay, I won't beat around the bush: he's a nerd for Chrissakes! But when you think about it, he is the prototypical representative of his party.
You see, the way I sort out candidates from the 2-parties is to use my "Animal House" filter. Here's how it works. Remember the Freshman Pledge Party scene early on, at the Omega House? As you may recall, the "prospects" were sorted out as they were ushered in. Per my filter, the ones that got to hang out with the Omegas in the main room (Kevin Bacon, et. Al.) would be Republicans. The rejects (Flounder, et Al.) would be steered into a distant corner. These are the Democrats.
This is probably why I'm a little cautious about Biden, Dodd and Edwards. They are too polished, handsome, white and male to be Democrats. The others - including Kucinich - are more in the Democrat mold, and would fit in nicely next to the blind guy and the Indian in that obscure corner of the Omega House.
Dennis Kucinich reminds me of that neighbor that everyone has, growing up. You know the one. He has a rock tumbler in his garage that runs day and night. You ask your mom why the grass and flower beds on your block are dead, and are told it's because that "nice Mr. Kucinich is working on a new "Klystron thingy" in his basement".
He was sporting a wicked comb-over for the debate, which shouldn't matter, and yet it does concern me. Will he also seek to "comb-over" our deficit problem, economic woes, and Middle East morass?
Still, I cannot help but believe that Dennis Kucinich could be an effective leader. Were the nerds not ultimately triumphant in all of those "Revenge" movies? Never underestimate nerd-power, for it is quite possible that all would experience a return to prosperity, and there would be a "salami and cheese sandwich in every lunchbox" under his stewardship.
Barack Obama is another up and comer. He is eloquent and - so far - squeaky clean. But I do have a couple of critiques. The first one is that he is still too inexperienced for the Presidency. He doesn't yet know how to fully exploit it for the inevitable post-Presidency return to the private sector. So let's give him another 4-years of seasoning.
The other red flag is his name. Am I the ONLY one who has noticed the similarity to "Osama Bin Laden"? Well if you had purchased my recent puzzlebook, "Close-Enough Palindromes for Dumbshits", you WOULD have.
In his defense, I do think he was set up in this debate to appear more dubious. Not unlike Nixon with his sweaty face and 5-o' Clock shadow in the 1960 Presidential Debate, I don't think Osama was portrayed fairly in the camera lens. For one thing, his ears - unlike in the photograph above - jutted out at perfect 90-degree angles. On the plus side, I suppose this - right or wrong - created the favorable impression that he's a really good listener.
Hillary was wonderful. It was obvious why she is the front-runner. I think I may be falling in love with her. No, wait. I'm already there. I dream about topless Whitewater rafting with her, down through that piece of land she once prized (the name of which escapes me at present). We would apply waterproof SPF-45 to each other, so the only burning would be our passion for each other.
And since every Clinton Presidency should be allowed at least one suspicious death per term, this time perhaps it could be Bill. Now don't get me wrong. I admire Hillary's current spouse, thought he was an excellent President, and have tried to pattern my life after his. But he has to go, so that I may assume my rightful place next to Hillary.
However I am not a killer.
So don't come looking for yours truly when his body is located one grassy knoll over from where Vince Foster was found, half-eaten Twinkie in his hand, the other half lodged in his windpipe.
Mike Gravel was tacked on at the end for comic relief. He was ornery at times, and reminded me of the neighbor who lived just across the alley when I was growing up. True story: this old curmudgeon would bolt out of his garage in a sleeveless white t-shirt with a 2x4 piece of wood after us, just because we were playing too close to his house. Mr. Gravel strikes me as the same type, driving everyone off of the White House lawn and out of the Rose Garden; and in the process, reminding us that at least "W" never pulled THAT crap (Truth be told, "W" would have been that cool neighbor who'd give you sips from his beer and let you look at his stack of Girlie Magazines).
So what choice would we have, but to devise an elaborate scheme for leaving a flaming brown paper sack of fresh dogshit on the front stoop? Sure there's the risk of being shot. But sometimes you have to fight for the freedoms that we hold so dear.
Mr. Gravel didn't always come across as a complete lunatic. Frequently, he appeared more as the Cowardly Lion from "The Wizard of Oz". And while funny and cute, it does worry me that THIS will result in Lamby voting for the man.
Oops. My bad. Mike Richardson was actually wedged in earlier, somewhere between two of the white guys. So, alas, like too many Hispanics in America today, he was overlooked (this time by none other than yours truly). I do recall that every time he spoke, all I could do was think he'd be the perfect Mayor for the town closest to the fictional ranch where Devo's "Whip It" video took place.
Anyway, thanks for pretending you're interested in the future of America long enough to read this post (and hopefully provide your own analysis and/or rebuttal). Per the local Magistrate, this technically fulfills my "Community Service" requirement, which means I may forgo turkey stuffing at the shelter this Thanksgiving. And for that, I give thanks.
I'm back, and badder than ever. My writing in particular. Damn this job and lifestyle of mine, and the demands that are repeatedly placed on my time and energy as a result. For they keep me from you: strangers who pose a slightly lesser danger.
In fact I am *this* close to accepting Leelee's standing offer of employment at her store, where I won't be held nearly as accountable; not for my time, effort, nor even the contents of the cash drawer. I can sleep on a cot in the back room, roam the beach during my frequent breaks, blog instead of contribute to society, and briefly share my cot with the occasional "sexually unfulfilled" but well-preserved patron. The Pug's own "Antiques Road Show", if you will.
But who am I kidding? Florida is no place for morally ambiguous, indigent drifters. So I guess I need to make my present situation here in The Great Southwest a wee bit more tenable.
I suppose I could start by actually completing something I set out to do. So here goes, with the FINAL question in my interview with the Cruel Virgin.
Maybe THIS will be my ticket to securing a better job of some sort, as any worthwhile interview should. Perhaps I will land a coveted position as "Cabana Pug", applying oil to supple body parts (still attached, preferably) and toweling off excess moisture as needed.
So here's to a complete and successful interview.
5. Do you believe there is alien life on other planets? If so, do you think their intelligence is superior to ours? Will we one day meet folks like the Vulcans and the Klingons, or is it all just a dream?
Funny you should ask, as me and my Trekkie cohorts often chat about this very topic during convention breaks. The one premise we do agree on is that Vulcans and Klingons don't exist in reality, due to the menace of trademark infringement attorneys.
But yes, I DO believe there is life on other planets. I think it's arrogant to think Earth is the only petri dish out there. I also am of the opinion that we are one of the least-advanced orbs in the universe. Allow me to elaborate. It goes something like this ...
Earth is well-known throughout the galaxy as the "Safari Planet". This is THE destination for extraterrestrials who want to experience a truly primitive vacation experience. The vast majority of earthlings remain unaware of these other-worldly "junkets" because of the "stay in your vehicle" policy that alien tours seek to enforce.
Of course, just as we are known to break the rules by absconding with a rock, stalactite or stalagmite, these Space Tourists are equally reviled for departing with the occasional human "souvenier". But rather than curse those few bad apples, we should adopt the same strategy as our National Parks in effectively accomodating the "trinket hounds". My solution is to draw from the seemingly endless supply of "W" supporters in populating a gift shoppe that caters to this need.
The one-way, self-sealing back door of the concealed gift shoppe holding pen will have a sign over it that reads: "Third Term Amendment Approved! Through here to vote early for "W" in '08. ("W '08" bumper stickers will be provided for your Ford Expedition, Crown Victoria or Mercury Marquis)".
Just as we are fascinated by hamsters futilely running on their little treadmills, our alien bretheren are similarly intrigued by us in our cute little automobiles and canoes. Which explains many of the reported encounters during these forms of recreation. Of course some of us inevitably take our enjoyment one step too far, by intervening in the cute little rodent's adorable activity, and for - lord knows - whatever reason, applying duct tape to the hapless critter.
Why then, should it be a shock for us to discover that cattle have been multilated, and numerous rectums probed? Is tactile interaction NOT a logical progression in the experience of new discovery? Is there ANYONE among us who achieves satisfaction simply by LOOKING at the bunny rabbits in the pet store? Of course not! We want to yank on their ears and tweak their genitalia. So judge not, lest ye be judged.
Now like any vacation resort, there's always the inevitable asswipes who have to shit it up for the rest of us. And not unlike the snowmobiler who ignorantly destroys the tranquility of a quiet glen, or the jet skier who selfishly churns the placid waters, there are dickweeds among the E.T. crowd.
An example would be the true story behind "The Roswell Incident", which is nothing more than a classic example of road-rage gone tragically awry. Suprisingly, the real reason for the coverup is that the public couldn't bear the knowledge of aliens behaving as stupidly as us. We expect better of them.
Well that does it for my "Interview with the Cruel Virgin". I hope you enjoyed it, and remember: keep watching the skies!