Saturday, September 29, 2007

Handicapping the Democrats

Hi everybody,

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.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An Interview with the Cruel Virgin - Question #5

Hi everybody,

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!


Sunday, September 02, 2007

An Interview with the Cruel Virgin - Question #4

Hi everybody,

Even though I've failed miserably in my mission to complete the interview within 10-days, as Sonny and Cher so capably sang, "The Beat Goes On" (Which, by the way, should be "Music-On-Hold" for Peep Shows). And so, humbly submitted for your desperate and insatiable thirst for momentary and fleeting enjoyment, I give you ... the fourth question.


4. What do you enjoy about blogging? What part drives you crazy?

Well it certainly isn't for the monetary gain. That's for damned sure. And I'm not even entirely confident it's for the approval of you, my motley group of readers. Because even Janet Jackson's horribly misshapen and hairy nipple wouldn't hold your attention for more than a halftime. So I suppose it's only fitting* (* not unlike her funky nipple ornament) that it's HER song, "What Have You Done For Me Lately?", which would serve nicely as YOUR collective Music-On-Hold.

However I was able to come up with a couple of things that I do enjoy about blogging. So here goes:

1) It's the one last refuge for this aspiring author and raconteur. Penthouse refuses to publish any more of my letters to their forum, and ditto for Popular Mechanics re: my endless narratives (with sketches) about building (and populating) my own secret basement torture vault. Even Readers Digest finds my ficticious "Humor in Uniform" and "Life in these United States" submissions "undigestible".

So here we are, on this last remaining island that even Papillon could grow accustomed to. And apparently as long as I manage to scam unwitting passersby into at least 5-hits a day, they'll keep me on their scuzzy drive.

Sure. It could have been radically different for me. Maybe I could have been "that guy". You know, the one who writes all of those instruction manuals in broken English. That's one heck of a gig. I wonder if the only time his boss yells at him, is when he inadvertantly writes instructions that are too coherent. Showing up drunk to work would actually better prepare one for that particular task.

Or perhaps it should be yours truly writing all those fortunes they place in those cookies. I sure as heck know I could do a better job of it. For instance, here is a fortune I just thought up: "People know you masturbate frequently, yet they cannot help but admire your bicep". See what I mean? Who wouldn't love to crack open a delicious treat, and have that nugget of insight waiting for them inside? Here's another: "People are drawn to you, not unlike flies and rodents to our kitchen". And I've got a million of them, so you'd never get the same fortune twice.

Then I would branch out into greeting cards. Instead of the tepid, "Lordy, lordy ... (then you open the card and inside it says) LOOK who's 40! (with a little mirror strip below the "40"), MY creations would be different. For example, here's one I just "noodled": "Happy 50th Birthday, Honey!" (then you open the card and inside it says) "At first is WAS the money. But my love for you is now SO deep, I no longer plot to kill you in your sleep!"

Okay, so my greeting cards need a little work. Maybe I'll need a creative partner (along with an illustrator), just like Lennon needed McCartney (Technically, I think McCartney needed Lennon, but I digress).

In the meantime, blogging represents the realization of a dream that is not all wet. And without our dreams, all we have left is reality.

2) Meeting "interesting" people, well, like YOU for instance. Let's face it, where else - other than in those free weekly metro-area "alternative lifestyle" newspapers - can we find that there are others just like us? Need proof? Go ahead and Google the most bizarre and digusting keywords, and chances are one of our blogs will be near the top of the FIRST results page (Lamby's blog, usually).

This is why I periodically pay homage to The Police's "Message in a Bottle" when seeking an appropriate metaphor to describe how - although still creepy and eccentric time-bombs - we are not ALONE. And so we scoop up those "hundred million" bottles washed upon our shores, place them into out mental shopping carts with the loose and wobbly casters, and trudge back through the sand to our spider-infested Tiki huts.

And it is there, after a brief repast and nap, that we use Piggy's purloined spectacles to read through each and every note contained within those vessels. Even the poorly spelled offerings in crayon (sorry for singling you out, Scary). The next morning, we are back on the beach with our shopping cart, as part of the ever-descending circle of life.

Every once in a while, we may find an unusual object amongst all of those non-returnables. Perhaps it is a volleyball with a bloody handprint on it (something from /t.) to keep us company in our increasingly unbalanced states of mind. Maybe it is something that initially appears to have little value, such as an ice skate (Pinks' blog), but then proves useful at cracking one's nut. You just never know.

We also quickly realize that warmth is an essential requirement for those cold evenings where the incessant pounding of the surf is the only companion at hand. Lacking fire, we take solace from the only source of heat that is readily available in sufficient quantity: the compost pile fermenting with new posts from other bloggers. Though not aesthetically pleasing, the acrid smell does become an acquired taste. And the steady emission of thermal comfort is a blessing on many a frigid* (* Sorry, I couldn't think of any of my female readers who might fall into this category, which is why I MUST make love to each of you, either single-file or in a casual, group setting) night.

To answer the second part, "What drives me crazy?", that's easy. That I cannot write FULL-TIME is what drives me crazy. Usually, I have to leave a lot of additional ideas out of my posts, take shortcuts, and make other concessions to time. Along with almost every other blogger out there (and boy, some of you are REALLY "out there") I would love to write for a living, if I could make a decent living from it. I would look forward to collaborating on a project to start with, and could use a good illustrator and industry veteran. Who couldn't? Meanwhile, I won't quit my day job.

Well there you have it. Sorry it took so long. Stay harmless, lucid, and maintain that grasp on reality (as best you can)!