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Tuesday, 06 October
This Isn't Funny

Say! Elections are coming up again! Granted, it seems like we just did this--and we did--but these are off-year elections. Who fucking cares, right?

Well, I do. And listen, my tens of readers, you should too, particularly those of you fellow Washington Staters. Because of Referendum 71. (Jesus fucking Christ, give me strength to tolerate the referendum process.)

Here's the (very abbreviated) deal. Last spring, the legislature voted to expand domestic partnership protections. In response to this, a bunch of lying fucking assholes whipped up a frenzy of "OMG the fags want to get hitched!!!!!" nonsense and managed to get any number of mouth-breathers to sign up for a referendum that's tantamount to asking us, "Are you suuuuuure? Because if this becomes law, you might be, you know, a faggot." Voting "no" on R-71 would repeal rights for same-sex domestic partnerships. Never mind that it says nothing about gay marriage. Never mind that the liars are spreading all kinds of toxic horseshit about teaching about gay sex in schools. Never mind that the issue is (once again) being flogged by a bunch of motherfucking ignorant goblins.

Okay, that may be a little over the top. Let me clarify: those who are against same-sex domestic partnership rights are motherfucking ignorant goblins who should be thrown under a glacier. There! Didn't mean to sound cruel.

Look, I'm appealing to you as a friend. Maybe that's overreaching. How about just as someone who would have my back, even if you don't know me? I like to think that, say, if I were hanging out in a bar and some fucking douchebag punched me in the face for no reason, and you were also hanging out, maybe you'd come give me a hand and pull that fucker off of me. I like to think that I'd do that for some poor guy minding his own business in the same situation. I'm not even gay, and this goddamn bullshit feels like getting sucker-punched for sure. After eight stinking motherfucking years of feeling punched in the face every goddamn day during the Bush years, it's getting old. So can a dude ask you--my imaginary friends--to please stand up and give me a hand? Give my friends a hand? Can you help pull these wretched ass-goats out of the fucking bar and help me kick them to the curb?

I mean, for Christ's fucking holy choad, it costs you a stamp if you've signed up for voting by mail. You don't have to go anywhere! You don't have to smell kindly old ladies in vests! You don't have to endure faceless municipal buildings or desiccated church lobbies! And even if you still want to physically travel to your local polling place at the Denny's conference room . . . WELL, COULD YOU, PLEASE? I'm begging you.

I guess I lost my "be nice and ask nicely" tone somewhere. I'm fucking tired of being nice (not something I suppose I'm regularly accused of). But I'll try again. Please, guys, get out the vote. Approve R-71. Stand the fuck up for that nice guy over in cubicle 2043 and his live-in boyfriend. Leslie in HR can use your fucking help. You know these people, right?

Are you tired of getting fucking punched in the face? Are you tired of your friends getting knuckled out? I swear to God I've got your back. Just step up, and there's a whole lot of us who've got your back. Step up.

Tuesday, 22 September
Howdy, Duty

Coming home a few weeks ago, as usual, I checked the mail. I was delighted to find a couple of my magazines that I subscribe to--Hot Balls and, of course, Shootin' It On Food--and slightly less delighted to find a little fold-out deal that had "JURY SUMMONS" written prominently on its face. I stared at it for a moment and thought what any guy would: "Please let this be addressed to my wife."


No, for the first time, I had received a summons for jury duty, and was scheduled to appear on, of all things, on a Friday morning at 8:00 AM sharp at the King County Superior Court in downtown Seattle. On September 11, no less. NEVAR FORGET! (Your jury duty.)

I dreaded this for weeks leading up to the event. I'm not even sure why. I envisioned myself being empaneled for some tax evasion drear party that would lead to eight weeks of existential despair. (Work covers me for two weeks of jury duty, even on top of King County's generous per diem of ten bucks a day.) For the rest of it, I had no idea what to expect. In my mind, I was thinking me and thirty or so of my fellow citizens hanging out in some shitty conference room all day.

The wife drove me to the courthouse on the fateful day. Traffic was horrific, so I actually got out a couple blocks early and wandered over to the site.

There were literally hundreds of people in line, stretched around the block. It was 8 sharp, but I obviously wasn't getting into the building (and through security) any time soon. Fuck this, I thought, and went to get some coffee.

Getting in line, I immediately began smoking like a fiend, drawing grouchy looks from others, but really, fuck them. It was pretty clear that I wasn't going to be skipping out of the courthouse on every whim to satisfy my nicotine monkey. I had brought nicotine gum in anticipation of this fact, but that was a last resort--in the meantime, all these other people could go fuck themselves.

A young gal with a cellphone screwed into her ear was standing in line behind me; she was one of the few people who didn't seem to give a shit that I was hotboxing my brains out. Presently, she turned off her phone, and then looked at the jury summons in my hand with some confusion.

"Wait, are you here for jury duty?" she asked.

"Yeah, aren't you?"

"No. I'm here for, like, court. Like, I have to appear in court."

"Oh," I said. It's this sort of thing that just goes to show why chicks think I'm fucking rad.

"DUI," she clarified without prompting.

"Oh," I said again, causing her to immediately fall in love with me and give me a rapturous blow job right there on the sidewalk. Oh, wait, I'm misremembering! She actually then said, "Oh, it's cool." Then she called another friend, causing me to seethe about all of the anonymous blow jobs I seem to be missing every fucking day, somehow.

I continued smoking, and the line trudged along as only a line containing people fulfilling a public service can: sullenly. Then my friend Val walked by. I've known Val for probably ten years; she's a fellow actor, and I used to be in a sketch comedy troupe with her.

"Val!" I cried. "Have they finally gotten you on those multiple child abuse charges?" (Not really.) She of course had also been summoned along with several hundred of our closest friends. She hugged me and then loped forlornly to the end of the line. I continued chain smoking.

FINALLY, after clearing the metal detector, I was inside. "Ninth floor! Prospective jurors, ninth floor!" cried out some guy. Yeah, definitely not just bouncing out for a cigarette any old time I felt like it. I patted the nicotine gum in my pocket for solace. Then, since I was in the neighborhood, I also patted my penis, also for solace.

To the ninth floor! Where I found . . . amazingly . . . more interminable lines of the same people I'd been spending my morning with, all waiting to be herded into courtrooms. All wearing the same look of grim inevitability that they'd been displaying outside, only now I couldn't smoke. I gripped the magazine I had brought for boredom-fighting a little tighter.

Glancing around at the lines, I happened to notice a bench against the wall. Val was sitting on it, so I wandered happily up to her.

"Fuck standing in line," she said. "I'll just wait for someone to tell me where to go." Sounded good to me. I sat next to her, and we shot the shit for a while. Not much longer later, some clerk rambled by, yelling, "We need about fifty people down in this room!" We decided to get it over with and head down there, reasoning that we'd have to pick something sometime.

We went. We sat. A couple of weatherbeaten lawyers were up at the bench, quietly chewing on each others' necks sotto voce. Clerks (or whoever the fuck they were) bustled in and out, carrying papers, or garbage, or whatever. Val and I continued bullshitting, along with--improbably--another friend of hers who also had been called that day. I didn't know him, and I forget his name, so let's say it was "Congo Godzilla, the Ultimate Fighting Force."

At 8:55--five minutes before things were supposed to get rolling--a beady-eyed clerk dashed in and shushed us. "Folks!" he said. "We have way too many jurors here today. And nobody usually objects when I say this: you're all dismissed."

My mouth fell open, and I looked at Val and Congo Godzilla, the Ultimate Fighting Force and wel exchanged goggle-eyed looks. "Are you serious?" Val said to the ceiling. "I'm going back to bed!" pealed Congo Godzilla, the Ultimate Fighting Force as he bounced to his feet. He left immediately after giving Val a brief goodbye hug.

As we left the building (where nobody ever verified that we had actually showed up, so okay), Val asked what we should do. "Should I go back to work?" she fretted. I gave her a look like you would give someone who claimed to talk to her ancestors. "When I told my boss I got jury duty, she told me, 'Seize the opportunity!' " she admitted, seeing my stare. That made even less sense than the previous sentence, but carry on.

"Then what the fuck is wrong with you?" I hollered. "Are you kidding? Sazerac is right there! Sazerac is a hotel bar about two blocks away. "We need Bloody Marys!"

And so we got them. That was my jury duty day. I can't wait for another one.

Monday, 10 September
Embattled Craig Asks Court For Plea Withdrawal: "I Was Smoking Crack"

Attorneys for Senator Larry E. Craig filed court papers yesterday asking that he be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea to disorderly conduct in a Minnesota airport sex sting.

In an affidavit, Mr. Craig said that he was "so totally not gay, it's retarded. It's so retarded, it's gay." Mr. Craig's statement went on to assert in no uncertain terms his heterosexuality as well as his surprising profligate drug use. "I do not smoke pole," read the statement. "I smoke crack."

"I have always found the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport a soothing place to smoke crack cocaine," Mr. Craig said at a related press conference. "Unfortunately, in this instance, the powerful drug caused my legs to twitch spasmodically, apparently causing my feet to contact the shoes of a plainclothes officer in the next stall. This disturbed me in that I thought my male-on-male foot contact could be interpreted as gay. Nothing could be further from the truth: I was high on crack cocaine. I was also distracted at the time as I was also performing an unlicensed abortion in the stall at the time. I most emphatically was not cruising for anonymous knob-slobbing."

Mr. Craig continued to expand on the incident before a mostly silent press gathering. Some reporters were seen to be looking skyward and whispering thanks to God for unclear reasons.

"I have been known to smoke crack cocaine and perform illegal abortions in airports from time to time--I call those days 'weekdays,' actually. It is all part of Satan's plan for me, and I follow his chthonic commands devoutly. During my sacred shits, I stare worshipfully at inverted pentagrams and the unborn fetuses that I have nailed to the walls of my sacrament stalls, and certainly not the engorged penises of anonymous airport travelers."

Mr. Craig has attempted to argue that his guilty plea was due to intense anxiety and panic. "I acted like such a fag," said Mr. Craig, before crying out, "Wait! Oh, fuck, this isn't going well." Turning to his attorneys, he asked, "Do you guys have an EMP device to knock out all these electronic recording devices?" The gathered attorneys conferred briefly before gravely shaking their heads, causing the Idaho senator to mutter audibly, "Fuck, I could use some crack and the erotic touch of a male stranger."

When asked by clearly astounded reporters how he was coping with the stress of the widely scrutinized scandal, Mr. Craig responded, "Well, I think I'm holding up. Last night I beat a grandmother to death with a length of re-bar--I like to keep up with my exercise. I think I'm doing okay. To be honest, I feel good. I feel pretty. I feel stunning, and entrancing, I feel like running and dancing for joy, for I'm loved by a pretty wonderful family."

Editor's Note: This is so cheap and easy. We could not resist.

Thursday, 24 May
Kutcher Shocks Nation, Reveals Bush Administration As "Elaborate Hoax"


At a shocking press conference on Friday morning, actor and prankster Ashton Kutcher informed a stunned press gathering that the Bush administration has been a high-spirited prank orchestrated by the actor himself. "The past seven years, man . . . what can I say? You guys have all been punk'd." Supposed President George W. Bush then joined Mr. Kutcher onstage waving and smiling to the silent crowd while flashbulbs erupted in white cannonades. Dressed in a ratty "Voters Are Stupid Fags" t-shirt and Bermuda shorts, Mr. Bush grinned affably at the cameras and made flatulent noises by putting his right hand into his left armpit and flapping his arm.

Mr. Kutcher dissolved into laughter at this display while his wife, noted actress Demi Moore, snatched low-flying bats from the air and ate them with a blank-eyed vigor. Ms. Moore seemed to take no notice of the onstage antics of her husband and the ersatz president, but occasionally murmured ominous, cryptic phrases that were later determined by linguists to be ancient Aramaic incantations of immortality.

Presently, gathered reporters recovered from their immense shock, and began asking hard questions about the many controversial issues swirling around the evidently false administration.

"Mr. Kutcher, what about the Iraq war?" asked one.

"Oh, man, you guys should have seen your faces. That was [expletive] hilarious. I can't believe you fell for that [expletive]. It cost us a lot of money--like, billions, I guess--and a lot of lives, but those families who lost loved ones can rest tonight knowing that that [expletive] slayed. You wouldn't believe the ratings we pulled."

"It was so weird," continued Mr. Kutcher. "It wasn't like my movies at all. People really seemed interested in watching this stuff." At this point, pop music began playing, and Mr. Bush was seen to bend over an attractive blonde woman onstage and vigorously lick her back to the strains of "The Humpty Dance."

When pressed upon the myriad of other perceived administrative bungles of Mr. Bush's hoaxed administration, such as the Valerie Plame scandal and the ongoing questions surrounding embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Mr. Kutcher equivocated. "Look, it's all fake. You guys . . . you guys all fell for it. You're just going to have to wait for the VH1 thing we've got coming out, and you'll see what was going on the whole time. I think you're really going to laugh. All right, guys, I've got to wrap this up--if Demi eats too many bats, she won't put out, or she'll just kind of lie there, you know?"

But there was one final question for Mr. Kutcher: If the Bush administration was a hoax, who was--and is--the real president?

Kutcher remained coy on the topic, winking and replying, "Maybe you should talk to David Geffen. We've got to go now, folks." Kutcher and Moore then arose to a waiting helicopter, using only the power of their meteoric fame.

When reached at his Paris apartment, Mr. Geffen denied being the first openly gay secret President of the United States, and in fact denied any such aspirations. "I am not your president, nor do I wish to be. I'm a free man in Paris," said Mr. Geffen. "I feel unfettered and alive. There's nobody calling me up for favors, and no one's future to decide."

But Mr. Geffen did have one intriguing clue to offer. "I suggest you talk to Grape Ape," he told this reporter.

When reached for comment on this story, Mr. Ape would only bellow "Grape Ape! Grape Ape!" Mr. Ape's press secretary Beegle Beagle failed to elaborate on these comments, opting instead to speed away in a tiny yellow car.

Monday, 23 April
Gonzales Confined To Bed; Unable To Remember "Things Past"

WASHINGTON, April 23--Embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was confined to a sick bed at his Washington residence on Monday, necessitated by a chronic asthmatic condition that has plagued the frail attorney for most of his life. In a short meeting with reporters on Monday, Mr. Gonzales pawed ineffectually at a plate of madeleines and gingerly sipped tea while continuing to profess that he "simply had no remembrance of certain things past" with regard to vigorous questioning regarding the controversial firings of eight United States attorneys.

"I don't even know what the fuck these little cookies are," said the Attorney General waspishly, brandishing a small, cake-like snack. Mr. Gonzales then wheezed audibly for a few minutes while cameras rolled in the cork-lined room that Gonzales regularly frequents during his neurasthenic attacks. He then upset his teacup, spilling its contents to the wood-grain floor, causing Mr. Gonzales a moment of agitation followed by what appeared to be the calm serenity of recollection of pure physical sensation.

But it did not last. Gonzales' demeanor changed abruptly moments later as he snapped at the gathered reporters, "You don't fool me! Who are you? Al Roker is here to eat my feet! Isn't he?"

Startled onlookers nonetheless pressed Mr. Gonzales on his attendance of meetings with particular relevance to the fired U.S. Attorneys, which the Attorney General continued to deny any memory of. "I can't remember anything," said Mr. Gonzales in pitiable tones. "Where is my mother? I need her money."

Before lapsing into semi-dazed, barely coherent rasps, Mr. Gonzales added, "The vicissitudes of life have become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory . . . "

"This fucking guy," said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee in a statement today. Senator Leahy then performed a hand motion widely recognized as the "jerk-off gesture" and rolled his eyes broadly. "You'd think he was French."

Wednesday, 28 March
Bush To Name Pete Rose As Attorney General

WASHINGTON DC--In a surprising and some say shocking reversal of position today, President Bush called for the resignation of embattled attorney general Alberto Gonzales and announced his intention to fill the position by appointing controversial former Major League Baseball player and manager Pete Rose. The statement was given at a press conference in the White House Thursday afternoon.

"It has become clear that Doctor Gonzo has become too polarizing a figure to be able to effectively carry out his duties as attorney general," said the President, using the now-familiar nickname for Mr. Gonzales. "While I deplore the partisanship and vindictiveness that motivated the attacks against Gonzo, I feel that both sides of the aisle are ready for a change. I plan to appoint Charlie Hustle for that position."

Reporters immediately peppered the President with questions about his plans. Many queries carried an edge of disbelief.

"Mr. President," stammered one reporter, "can you be serious? Pete Rose has, to my knowledge, no legal training, no experience, no record of public service, and is widely held to be a man of questionable character with only a glancing acquaintance with the truth. Given the allegations of dishonesty and obfuscation that dogged Mr. Gonzales, how can you make this announcement? Isn't the public likely to be outraged?"

When the President responded, his face was tight. "I want you to understand one thing about this whole thing: I don't give a rubber fuck what anyone thinks. Not you, not the American public, not the world. Do you understand? I've got a few months to do whatever the hell I want and nobody can stop me. You all can go shit on your heads for all I care. I'm not too proud to have the balls to say that."

The President then stepped from behind the lectern, unzipped his pants, and displayed his testicles to the assembled crowd. Cameras clicked in the hushed room while the President stood with hands on hips, his slightly elongated scrotum still hanging wanly from his trousers. After a few moments of continued silence, the President strode to the rear of the room, and after a brief struggle with the door, exited.

Reactions to the unexpected and unorthodox announcement were varied. When reached for comment at his home in Milwaukee, Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig would only howl incoherently at reporters from his porch swing, occasionally brandishing a gold-tipped cane. Spokespeople for the Commissioner would not comment further, saying only that package deals offered exclusively through DirecTV would allow viewers to watch special footage of Mr. Selig rolling around ecstatically on large piles of money.

Mr. Rose played from 1963 to 1986, best known for his many years with the Cincinnati Reds. Rose, a switch hitter, is the all-time major-league leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at bats (14,053), and outs (10328). Three years after Mr. Rose retired from professional baseball, allegations arose that he had bet on games, both as a player an manager; after years of denials, Mr. Rose acknowledged in 2004 that the accusations were true.

When reached for comment, Mr. Rose said, "Well, it's a hell of a thing. I didn't even see this coming, not at all. I've been thinking, though. Holy shit." Rose indicated that he planned to accept the appointment with pleasure, and demonstrated some familiarity with the turbulent situation that had brought Mr. Gonzales in the line of fire, suggesting that he would replace the infamous eight US attorneys that were fired by Mr. Gonzales with the disgraced members of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox.

Rose refused to speculate further on the unexpected turn of events. "I don't know, you guys. I'm still kinda fucked around on this whole thing. I mean, it's great. Only in America, I guess. I mean . . . hell, what are the odds?"

Thursday, 25 January
Cheney Shoots You In The Face

EVERYWHERE, Jan. 25, 2007--For the second time in one year, Vice President Dick Cheney was involved in a gun-related incident once again after shooting you in the face with a shotgun earlier today.

Reportedly enraged with the media and public reaction to President Bush's recent State of the Union address, which was described as "imbecilic", "insulting" and "full of tainted meat" by its nine viewers, Cheney embarked on an ambitious project to shoot every American in the face, including you.

"We're running terribly low on blood supplies," commented Dr. Henry Bendix at Harborview Trauma Center in Seattle, Washington. "We desperately need donors." Dr. Bendix was about to expand on these comments, but was then suddenly shot in the face by Mr. Cheney. Nurses, orderlies and security guards converged on the bloody scene, and were all immediately shot in the face by Mr. Cheney, who paused after the carnage to dip his fingers in his victims' blood and stripe his cheeks with the salty gore. "That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die," panted the Vice President enigmatically before loping off into the distance in hunt for more victims, such as you.

According to White House sources quoted prior to being shot in the face, Mr. Cheney erupted with a killing rage immediately following press reaction to President Bush's puzzling State of the Union speech. Bush had declared the state of the nation to be "strong" and "nicely scented" before going on to declare his plans to "hunt down some prime snartch." Bush also spent time detailing his plans to reform shoe sizing in this country, which he described as "inconsistent." "I buy a twelve at Kinney's and it's like, it's like, a ten and a half at Thom McCann's. It's all fucked up," he said, resulting in scattered, confused applause from the audience.

Cheney reportedly bridled at the intense and widespread disapproval of the speech, which Cheney reportedly insisted was "fucking boss" to anyone who would listen, including aides and White House junior staff, all of whom gibbered insensibly with mortal fear prior to being shot in the face by Mr. Cheney.

At press time, you are currently listed in critical condition at your local hospital or hastily-assembled triage tent, loitering impatiently at death's door. Had all medical officials--and every other citizen in your region--not been shot in the face by Mr. Cheney, your prognosis would be listed as "Oh, man." You are a resident of where you live, and would be described by friends and family, had they all not been shot in the face, as

Note: Just prior to filing, this reporter was shot in the face by Dick Cheney.

Wednesday, 12 July
Mealy, Gapemouthed Incumbent Challenged By Ratfaced Thing And Rational Humans

12 July 2006

Nine or ten Liberal Democrats in Connecticut are upset with Senator Lieberman for his strong support for the war in Iraq.

So upset, in fact, that Senator Lieberman faces a strong challenge from fellow Democrat Ned Lamont in a primary election on August 8.

During a recent televised debate, challenger Lamont focused on Lieberman's support for the Iraq war.

"Snapfish Lieberman, if you will not challenge President Bush and his failed agenda, I will," he said.

Senator Lieberman replied, "Did you just call me a snapfish?"

Lamont responded by making a vulgar masturbatory gesture, and then used his index fingers to draw the corners of his mouth into a strange amphibian aspect. Lieberman angrily attacked his opponent, asking, "Hey, what in the heckies?" Which caused the rodential Lamont to visibly roll his eyes and reply, "Whatever, Turtle-Man."

Joe Lieberman has long been one of Connecticut's most dead-end politicians, with a record of appealing to spineless Democrats, ophidiophile independents, and even moderately tolerable Republicans.

But after three six-year terms in the Senate, Lieberman finds himself in a tough re-election battle with a little known challenger, and he is fighting hard to keep his specially-constructed reptile cage, where he enjoys crafting new legislation, tirelessly moralizing, licking his own eyeballs and eating delicious katydids.

The Lieberman-Lamont primary race in Connecticut is getting national attention. Many congressional Democrats who voted for the war will be watching to see to what extent unhappy Democratic voters take out their anger over Iraq on Senator Lieberman.

"This is going to be big," commented local Connectihoovian Rick Budd. "Safeway has a huge discount on tuna." When asked what relevance his remarks had to the Senatorial race, Budd groaned, "Another election already? Jesus fuck." After a brief explanation of the upcoming elections, Budd continued, "I guess I'll vote for Lamont. I don't care. But I like that guy's tomato paste."

This reporter informed Budd that the brand name of his tomato paste was actually DelMonte, to which Budd replied, "Whatever. I don't vote anyway."

Monday, 05 June
This Just In

Grangeville, Idaho Residents Applaud Chertoff For Inexplicable Antiterrorism Funds

GRANGEVILLE, IDAHO -- In a rare show of solidarity, state Republicans and one amusing housepet state Democrat lauded the White House Saturday for cutting New York City's antiterrorism funding by 40 percent and funnelling the savings to the tiny township of Grangeville, proud county seat of Idaho County, the largest county in Idaho, and home to large piles of scrap tin. Grangeville stands to receive nearly $42 million dollars in the decision.

The stunning decision was announced by Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, who explained, "I think we're all pretty tired of giving these funds to kikes, fags and you know. This is the Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Homeboy Security, you know? It's time to protect real Americans."

Representative Pete King, Republican of New York, charged that the Bush administration had "declared war on New York" with its decision to reduce antiterrorism funding by $83 million while increases went to cities like French Lick, Indiana; Army Of Apes, Wisconsin; and Grangeville.

"I'm not begrudging any other city, but why would you cut the number one target in the country by 40 percent?" said King, who demanded an investigation. "How can you possibly justify that?"

Responded Chertoff to reporters, "Pete King is a total pole-smoker. Listen, I get my orders just like anyone else: from Kang the Conqueror." When pressed for details, Chertoff demurred, saying, "I've already said too much."

Local leaders are already making plans for the influx of federal funds, including a much-publicized push towards increasing security around hotspots such as the town's much-loved stoplight; also to receive funding is Gravity Hill, the well-known side road where cars can seemingly be made to roll uphill.

"Chicks love that shit," explained resident Rudy Snell. "Chicks love to roll uphill. Then you go park at the Haunted House, and damn. I don't know. I guess it's, like, physics."

"Listen," continued Mr. Snell. "Does this mean free rubbers?" The Department of Homeland Security refused comment on the question.

Friday, 06 January
Shove Off

Abramoff Abandoned On Ice Floe

BAFFIN ISLAND, CANADA--Beleagured and disgraced political lobbyist Jack Abramoff was forced at gunpoint today by armed GOP officials to enter onto a loose ice floe in northern Canada. The ice floe was then kicked free by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) over the agonized screams of Mr. Abramoff as he drifted into the icy Arctic waters of Baffin Bay. "Have a good trip, you son of a bitch," Sen. Stevens was heard to say as Abramoff gabbled manically around the floating ice shelf. "You can rub noses with God when you see him."

Stevens then gave a brief press conference where he explained that the GOP's unexpected action in the Abramoff case was inspired by the indigenous "Renuzit" people of the region. Reporters who attempted to correct Mr. Stevens by suggesting that it was actually an Inuit tradition were angrily shouted down with hideous imprecations and vague threats against their families. Crossbow attacks were mentioned more than once by Mr. Stevens, who unnerved many in the crowd by drawing a bead on certain reporters in attendance with his fingers and making "FFFT! FFFFT! AAAAH, TED STEVENS SHOT ME WITH A CROSSBOW!" noises.

Prominent Republican figures have been distancing themselves from Abramoff ever since the scandal broke over the disgraced lobbyist's financial shenanigans. President George W. Bush donated an allegedly Abramoff-related sum of money to charity after the story broke, saying, "To be honest, we didn't know this money was tainted. We believed at the time that it was legitimate profit from baby meat." And Senate majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), when interviewed in a cooling pool of urine, commented, "It's disgraceful what happened here. Just disgraceful. I can only hope the American people see this for what it is: a rogue lobbyist acting in a manner that was really difficult to help but admire, and, subsequently, take advantage of. However, I have faith that the American public will see these actions for what they are--cheap Democratic theatrics designed to ensure that I share a cell with someone named Thick Dick Rick." Mr. DeLay added tearily, "Please don't make me share his cell. He's going to fuck me right into the wall."

Nothing is certain in Washington now with these developments, except perhaps for the lingering death that awaits Mr. Abramoff. As hypothermia sets in--almost immediately, according to health experts--he is likely to lose consciousness and then be eaten by hungry polar bears.

Coca-Cola is reportedly in contact with Abramoff's family about future Christmas-themed ads where Mr. Abramoff is eaten by the corporation's familiar polar bear icons for next Christmas season. "We think [the eating-of-Abramoff ads] could be big," said one Coke executive who preferred to remain unnamed. "Who doesn't want to see partially frozen lobbyists devoured by angry bears?"

"The only problem is finding the guy's corpse," continued the Coke executive. "The Arctic Sea is kind of big. Maybe if we stuck a GPS up his ass. Is he already gone?"

Additional reporting for this story was provided by S. Claus, D. Halberstam and H. Mandel.

Monday, 19 September
Bush Announces Radical New Education Plan

WASHINGTON DC--Speaking from the White House lawn on Monday, President Bush sought to capitalize on the political capital he had previously gained from his much-lauded "No Child Left Behind Act," a bold initiative which was widely met with the profound enragement and staggering hair loss of teachers and education professionals nationwide.

"As you all know," said the President to the press, "I have long believed that no child should be left behind. And I still believe that. But America must do better for its children. Nobody must be allowed to slip through the gaping cracks in the tarmac--tarmac? Is that a word? Sounds like a cheeseburger! Gimme a tar-mac! Heh.--uh, tarmac of our educational system. And there are still children being left behind. Heh. 'Behind.' That's funny."

"And that is why today I am proposing a new initiative: the No Children of the Corn Left Behind Act." The President paused for a moment as the crowd gaped unbelievingly at this statement. Bush, apparently sensing the confusion, assured the crowd, "No, no shit, folks." The press, reassured by the now-familiar profanity from the White House staff, chuckled a bit.

"We've done good by little Davey and young Chuck," continued the President. "But what have we done for little Malachai? What can we do for Isaac Chroner? I say we can do more."

"This is America," the President continued, "and I surely think that there are a lot of adults that can stand to be killed. Entire towns. And folks, I can't do that job myself. We need the children of America, and they need us. Who is going to mercilessly slaughter Linda Hamilton, if not our children? Lord knows I've tried." The line drew appreciative laughter. "And who will kill Peter Horton?" At this point, several hands were raised in the crowd.

When asked who would oversee this new program, Bush replied, "Well, I think that He Who Walks Behind the Rows has been doing a bang-up job so far. He's a man, er, or something, of faith, and I can get behind that. The children really look up to him. And I mean that, because he's like seven fuckin' feet tall."

"I really believe that this Row fella can bring it. Believe me, he can get these kids to really bring him the blood of the outlanders. And believe you me, this little Malachai fellow isn't anything to piss on either. He's got one heck of a future with this group; he can kill us oldsters just as quick as a laundry mangler, that one. Given enough support, I really do believe that one day, a child shall lead them."

Thursday, 04 November

So, that happened.

It won't be surprising to learn that, being an actor, I hang out with artsy folks. Nor should it be surprising to learn that, as artsy folks, they are all incredibly bummed out about the election results. I went to a birthday party tonight, but it was more like a dirge festival. Everyone feels fucked, burnt and betrayed in my circle of pals.

Me, I took the day off on Wednesday, mainly because I wanted to drink heavily on Tuesday night, no matter what. And I did. After the results came in, I told the wife, "You know, I don't think I'm going to stop drinking now, ever." She expressed her displeasure at this idea, to which I responded by making a drink. We're all going to have to live through the next four years one way or the other, and I figure that I'm not going to make it unless I drink heavily, constantly. The wife may disapprove, but then again, I'll be drinking.

The nation has spoken--perhaps we should drink more--and there's nothing to be done. And that's actually fine. As I've told some friends already, I'm not even necessarily bummed that Kerry lost (though I am a bit), mainly because the next four years are going to be such a gruesome catastrophe, such a numbing fuckaround, such a witless bunch of fucking horrors, and I'm A-OK with letting the GOP take the fall for it. Don't get me wrong: I don't want our country to devolve into the laughless joke it seems to be shooting for. It just will no matter what I think.

Ah, lord . . . it's easy to bring out the invective and the outrage. It's too easy, particularly when one feels righteous. But everyone feels righteous, otherwise nothing would ever get done. Hell, I lived through two Reagan terms and another term from a different Bush and lived, and those horrific bastards made me jellykneed practically daily. (There's that easy invective again.) I'll come through this OK.

I've deleted five different endings to this. There are no good endings one way or another. Hell, I probably hate you. Or you might hate me. It seems likely.

Can I buy you a drink?

Tuesday, 02 November
Making A Difference

As diligent readers of this site well know, I'm nothing if not a fucking stickler for hard reportage. With this in mind, I went out this evening for some choice "man on the street" quotes from people just like you . . . that is, crazy, frothing voters. Some of whom may actually vote.

Skot: Here we are out on First Avenue in Seattle, taking down some of what people are thinking on the eve of the election. Sir, may I trouble you for a moment of your time?


Skot: Hey, this one can't wait! Sir, may I ask who is getting your support tomorrow?


Skot: I see.


Skot: So that's a vote for Mr. Kerry.


Skot: Things are lively down here on the street, folks! I'm moving now over to another fellow . . . sir? Sir, if you have a minute, I'd love to hear about how you plan on voting tomorrow.

Firmly Decided Voter: Well, I have to confess . . . I'm still kind of on the fence. I'm not sure who I like at this point.


FDV: But I'm leaning towards Benzene Ring.

Skot: I'm sorry?

FDV: Benzene Ring. It's really a very elegant chemical structure. That Kekule fella sure knew his shit.

Skot: Sir, you can't say "shit" on TV.

FDV: Oh, are we on TV?

Skot: God, no. I'm just saying. We're on the internet.

FDV: The internet? Christ hell, man, then I can do whatever I want! Let me show you my dinger! It looks like driftwood, only pink! Well, mostly pink.

(A brief, unpleasant scuffle ensues.)

Skot: Okay, back to business. Hello, miss? Would you mind sharing your thoughts on tomorrow's election?

Thoughtful Voter: Well, I hope those cocksuckers all die in fire.

Skot: Ah . . . and you are referring to . . . ?

TV: That guy. With the tumor on top of his neck.

Skot: Nader?

TV: That's the one.

Skot: He's not even on most ballots.

TV: Really? Oh, Lord, that's a relief.

Skot: So, knowing that, who do you plan on voting for now?

TV: Oh, I don't vote. I think our babysitter does. I'll ask her.

Skot: Thank you. We've got time for one more. Ma'am?

Sensible Voter: Yes, sir?

Skot: May I ask you who you plan on casting your ballot for tomorrow? It's for a stupid website.

SV: I'm proud to say that I'll be voting for Eric Stoltz and Digable Planets tomorrow. This country needs change, and I'll be fucked right in my angry asshole if you can't tell me that Stoltz and DP aren't change.

Skot: You, ma'am, are the finest patriot this country has ever seen.

SV: I know that, you fuckin' little weirdo. Jesus, you're a creepy man. Get out of my way. I'm buying arugula here.

Tape ends here. Don't forget to vote.

Wednesday, 06 October
Teeth Vs. Hair

I don't know if I'm starting a tradition here--or even if I want to--but once again I am going to provide coverage of our election debates, heroically, even though yet again I did not watch tonight's, opting instead to nap briefly and then watch the hated Yankees fall to the Twins. And is there anything more American than rooting against the Yankees? I don't think so. (Yankees fans: I don't mean anything by this, you know that. Other than to suggest that you are all dreadful monsters.) So here again are some excerpts from the debate that I simply just made up.

Moderator (whoever it was): I now present the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, Joe Edwards.

Edwards: John.

Moderator: Joe Edwards, everyone! Mr. Vice President, you may begin.

Cheney: (He stares balefully at Edwards. An uncomfortable silence grows.)

Moderator: Mr. Vice President?

Cheney: Who the fuck is the hamster?

Edwards: Hey!

Cheney: I've never seen this area rug in my life. Security!

(Armed guards swarm the stage and bludgeon Edwards with truncheons. After much tumult, order is restored, and the candidates finally retake their podiums.)

Cheney: My apologies to the hamster for his brutal beating.

Edwards: Id's do pobblem.


Edwards: So I have to wonder, given the current administration's total mishandling of the intel leading up to the Iraq situation: where does the buck stop?

Moderator: Mr. Cheney, your rebuttal.


Edwards: (Rifling through notes) These weren't in the talking points . . .

Moderator: Mr. Vice President?

Cheney: My apologies. My pacemaker is tetchy. Sometimes I get alien transmissions.


Cheney: I see your point, Mr. Edwards, but if I may rebut . . . (Cheney suddenly juts out his entire lower jaw like a cash register drawer, exposing many dull, gray teeth.)

Edwards: (He emits a piercing cry and bursts into tears.)

Cheney: America, I hope you're watching this. Let me tell you: my father, God rest his soul, used to pull the goddam skin right off his skull to teach us kids some goddam discipline. And here Mr. Hamster is bawling like a baby over some goddam teeth. If he had any gumption at all, he'd rise up like a man and hack me into bait with a garden hoe just like I did my no-skin daddy, but no, he's gotta have a good cry. I think that says something.

Edwards: (Weakly) . . . please . . . see a dentist . . .


Cheney: In closing, my opponent's arguments have been so laughable and, dare I say, fruity, that I am comfortable sitting down and eating these Chicken Nibblers during his closing arguments. Thank you.

Moderator: Mr. Edwards?

Edwards: (He begins talking about tort reform; the audience stares wistfully at Cheney's Chicken Nibblers. Suddenly, Cheney clutches his chest and moans horribly.)

Cheney: My! Heart!

Moderator: Call 911!

Edwards: (Cheerfully) I'm sure Mr. Cheney would hate for valuable tax dollars to be wasted on emergency response when he is well covered. I'll send a fax to his HMO. I'm sure they'll get a hold of his primary care physician vacationing in the Yucatan.

Moderator: (Thrusting a microphone into Cheney's purpling face) Mr. Vice President! Mr. Vice President!

Cheney: (Weakly) . . . go . . . Yankees . . .

Friday, 01 October
Speak, Muse

As everyone is numbingly aware of by now, the first 2004 Presidential debate took place on this momentous evening. And the wife and I did our part: we faithfully did not watch it, and instead chose to drink Manhattans with a visiting friend.

So I did not see it (though I did see the Daily Show's "coverage" of it, and just need to ask--who gave the Crazy Pills to Giuliani? His report from Galaxy Eyes-A-Poppin' was really . . . weird.), so as I often do in these situations, I just made some crap up.

Lehrer: Senator, how do you respond to charges from the right that your Viet Nam medals were wholly undeserved, and that you wipe your ass with the flag of America?

Kerry: Sir, I wash those flags. Well, Rosa washes them. But those are clean flags.


Lehrer: Mr. President, you've maintained that the war in Iraq was justified for reasons having to do with--

Bush: [makes human beatbox noises while inexpertly poppin' and lockin']

Lehrer: Mr. President?

Bush: Shut up a second. I'm courtin' black votes as we speak.

Lehrer: This is not what--

Bush: [blinks eyes rapidly] Goddamn if that Grandmaster Flash doesn't give me the fuckin' twirls! I gotta play this for Dick. He'll shit his livin' heart!

[Kerry looks despondent for a moment, and then attempts to flash a Crip sign, but hurts his back. As he writhes for a moment, Bush mouths the word "fag" to the camera while pointing at the incapacitated Kerry.]


Lehrer: Gentlemen, I ask both of you: tits? Or ass? Senator?

Kerry: Mr. Moderator, I thank you for the opportunity to speak out on this question. America, since its infancy, has long had a dichotomy involving the elements of your query, and after much thought . . .

Bush: Tits.

Kerry: [sotto voce] Damn. There goes Michigan.


Lehrer: Finally, gentlemen, could we have your final statements?

Bush: I'm a scion of one of America's most fabulously corrupt families. If you don't vote for me, we'll track your ass down and stick funny needles in you until you piss fear. Don't fuck with me. Thank you, and God bless America.

Kerry: I married some lunatic Portuguese ketchup broad, which, honestly, still cracks me up. But to get the the heart of the matter, here is what counts:

[Kerry abrupbtly moves from behind his podium and casually unzips his pants to reveal an astounding set of testicles, which resemble two golf balls contained in a loose sack of dull, gray fur.]

Bush: [Off camera] Hey, no fair!


Friday, 03 September
Here There Be Unsubtlety

[The wife, who is the head of teaching at a local preschool, recently had a chance to acquaint herself with a new hire: staunch Democrat Senator Zell Miller! Senator Miller spent the day meeting the children and making sure they didn't kill each other unless, of course, it was good for America. I took the opportunity to take a day off from not curing cancer to be a fly on the wall for his first day. Here's my transcription of the events that day.]

Wife: Kids, I'd like you to meet Senator Zell Miller. He's going to be teaching you today. Can you say hello to the Senator?


Miller: Hi kids! I'm sure looking forward to spending time with you today! I brought you some buttons to wear. Do you boys like buttons?

Girl: I like buttons.

Miller: I was asking the boys. Nobody likes pushy lesbians, dear.

Wife: Senator . . .

Miller: AH HA HA HA! A small joke, dear! My apologies. I'll be on the straight and narrow today, don't worry. (The wife exits after a suspicious look. Once she's gone:) Just kidding, children. Nobody likes lesbians at all.

Boy: What's a lesbian?

Miller: Son, I'm glad you asked. Have you ever seen a Godzilla movie?

Boy: Yeah!

Miller: Then you've seen a lesbian. Horrible, scaly monsters, they are.

Girl: (Confused) Are the Japanese people lesbians?

Miller: Probably. Anyway, let's get down to brass tacks! What's going on here?

Boy: I have to go to the bathroom.

Miller: Son, I like your initiative. You haul ass to the bathroom.

Boy: There's someone in there, though. (He clutches his groin dramatically.)

Miller: (Sternly) Nothing makes this Marine madder than an occupied bathroom. (His jaw sets defiantly; it may be lockjaw.) We are going to liberate that fucking bathroom.

Girl: (Squealing) That's a bad word!

Miller: Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, young lady. And we are going to liberate the shit out of that bathroom! Our boy's gotta squat!

(Miller kicks down the door to the bathroom with a mighty blow. There is a five-year-old child inside perched uncertainly on the toilet.)


(Miller flings the screaming child through the bathroom window. Shattered glass explodes outward, and the wailing becomes slightly fainter, replaced by agonized groans. Miller plants a flag into the toilet bowl and adopts an Iwo Jima stance.)

Miller: Fuck you, Jim Carrey.

Boy: Do you mean John Kerry?

Miller: I don't even know any more.

(The Wife enters, terrified.)

Wife: Senator Miller! You have to do something! We're being attacked! By Mothra! It's eaten three children! (Pause.) Fortunately, they were really irritating children.

Miller: My work is never done. Aides! Prepare the catapult!

Wife: What will you use for ammo?

Miller: We have plenty of children. Many of them are quite heavy.

Wife: That's horrible! What on earth are you going to tell their parents?

Miller: They can always make some more Democrats. They'll be able to vote in a mere eighteen years.

God bless America.

[End transcript.]

Thursday, 11 September
We Have Liftoff

Thanks to the enigmatic campaign manager: Stoltz in '04 material.

Tuesday, 09 September
An Important Political Announcement

Editor's note: As many of IzzlePfaff's tens of readers know, IP has generally shied away from endorsing political causes. This steely nonpartisanship has, of course, been largely due to the author's vast ignorance of the political arena, combined with a kind of supernatural laziness. But no longer. I have taken a typically half-assed look at the upcoming contenders in the 2004 election, and in my estimation: they all blow. Again. The ridiculous, mendacious marionette jerking around in the Oval Office certainly isn't worth even considering, and a quick view at the moralizing, lifeless pickleheads on the left aren't much better. So I decided to strike out and find my own candidate, and inform them that I wanted them to run for the Presidency. My criteria were simple but subtle: 1. I needed someone who is so inoffensive and unnoticable that they won't bother me; and 2. I also needed someone, who even when they did bother me, I was still able to almost instantly forget about them. This is my motto for a new America: Just Leave Us Alone. It wasn't as easy as it sounds, but after a little nap, I had my candidate. He's someone reasonably well-known and marginally respected, but most importantly, I am able to forget about his existence pretty much without trying at all. I'm very excited about not thinking about anything political for four whole years, and I hope you will be too. I'd like to introduce him today, as he has agreed to be my--no, our candidate. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud to announce the beginning of the campaign for ERIC STOLTZ IN '04!

IzzlePfaff: Hello, Eric. Thanks for joining us.

Eric Stoltz: Hi, Skot.

IP: Please, call me Izzle.

ES: Come on.

IP: Please?

ES: Jesus, do you want to win this thing or not?

IP: All right, forget it. Eric, I'm sure America will be surprised to learn about your sudden candicacy for the office of President. Can you give everyone some reasons why you're entering the race?

ES: Well . . . because you called me? And asked? I guess that's the main reason. And don't forget, you're taking me out to Tony Roma's later.

IP: Yeah.

ES: And, uh . . . well, I guess I really feel pretty strongly about . . . you know . . . the stuff. (Pause.) That WTO stuff was wicked cool, man, I saw that on TV.

IP: So you oppose the WTO? That's a pretty bold statement.

ES: Well, I liked "Takin' Care of Business," but not much else.

IP: I see. Do you feel that your career in show business is an advantage to your campaign?

ES: I really do. Playing the stoic, conflicted lead in Some Kind of Wonderful taught me valuable lessons about the difficulty of making tough choices. And my recurring role on "Mad About You" has given me the necessary skills needed for simply being around odious people, be they congressmen or Paul Reiser.

IP: That's very impressive. May I just say that Mask taught me how to love again?

ES: Oh, that's great. What was your favorite part?

IP: I'd have to say the whole "not seeing it at all" part. It was on TV one night in college, but I ended up having drunk sex with a cute actress instead. It'd been three months, man.

ES: Ah . . . ah. (He lights a cigarette.)

IP: Excuse me, is that black tar heroin you're smoking?

ES: What? No! It's an ordinary cigarette.

IP: Because the public is not going to gladly accept a President with a heroin problem, least of all one who is seriously considering gender reassignment.

ES: What the fuck are you talking about?

IP: It's been reported on extensively in the press.

ES: Where? What is this?

IP: I'm quoting from the October 16th edition of the Weekly World News, published in 1994. I've highlighted the article here. The headline reads "HEROIN ADDLED HOLLYWOOD ALTERNA-HUNK TO HAVE SEX CHANGE."

ES: What the hell is wrong with you? The Weekly World News? Everyone knows it's all bullshit. I thought you were trying to help me here!

IP: It's buzz, Eric, buzz. Every candidate needs it.

ES: Jesus Christ.

IP: Eric, have you given any thought to a running mate?

ES: I have, actually. As a little surprise, I've brought them here to talk as well.

IP: Them?

ES: Yes. As my platform consists almost entirely on being wholly forgettable, I tried to keep that in mind when selecting my running mate. I'm happy to introduce Digable Planets.

IP: Digable Planets! The band who swept a nation away in the early nineties with "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)," and were then immediately discarded and forgotten about! Welcome! How does it feel joining the race for the White House?

Digable Planets: We--

IP: Eric, in closing, I'd like to thank you for being here today. I and all of I here at IzzlePfaff are really looking forward to an exciting campaign and a successful bid for the Presidency.

ES: Thank you for having me. Vote Stoltz in '04.

(Eric exits. Pause.)

IP: God. Who the hell was that again?

Wednesday, 09 April
I Might As Well Say Up Front That This Is An Angry Rant

I'm just so pissed off I can't stand it.

Slate has a piece out today by Christopher Hitchens that's a real peach called "Giving Peace A Chance" that I had the massive misfortune (or overriding idiocy) to read. It's a real bummer, actually, because I used to like Hitchens, particularly his crit stuff; but since he's started beating the war drum, he's become intolerable, churning out hectoring poison pen letters to the anti-war faction, calling anyone not hopping in line to pave Iraq a bunch of fucking gumboheads either too stupid or too cowardly to toe the line. I appreciate that there are many points of view in this world, but malicious bullshit like this is really not the way to win people over to one's side, not that he fucking cares, I don't suspect. I think he just wants to score points.

Case in point with this piece of tripe. Hitchens has a good time in the first paragraph taking bits of typical leftie sloganeering and then turning them inside out to make his overall point that rah rah! it looks like we're winning the war. Let me repeat that: he spends his time making fun of the slogans. Yes, Mr. Hitchens, it is dumb and disingenuously reductive to scream "No blood for oil." What's your point? Just because it's dumb doesn't automatically make your arguments right. Never mind. Even if people think that it's a fun thing to say, what Hitchens says is worse: " 'No Blood for Oil,' they cried, and the oil wealth of Iraq has been duly rescued from attempted sabotage with scarcely a drop spilled."

Ha. Ha. Ha. To be honest, I can't tell if he's seriously claiming that not a lot of blood has been spilled, which would be incredible, or if he's turning it on his ear to make a funny--"we rescued all the oil, don't worry!"--which is kind of a reprehensible joke to be making in light of the corpses lying around.

He goes on for a little while longer taking easy potshots at the predictions that did or didn't come true, as if hindsight were a talent unique to himself, while conveniently omitting any number of stupid-ass things that the pro-war faction claimed in the prelude to the invasion; or would he have it that nobody on the right ever said anything stupid or less than oracular prior to the war? But to stress again, he's not really interested in making any cogent points with this piss-dribbling; he's just being a prick.

And the end is worth discussing, as he heroically takes on another leftie rallying cry, "Not in my name." It's worth quoting in full:

But these are mere quibbles. We should celebrate our common ground as well as the gorgeous mosaic of our diversity. The next mass mobilization called by International ANSWER and the stop-the-war coalition is only a few days away. I already have my calendar ringed for the date. This time, I am really going to be there. It is not a time to keep silent. Let our voices be heard. All of this has been done in my name, and I feel like bearing witness.

No smarm here. Can't you just take a bath in the radiant goodwill he exudes here? Don't you just want to buy him a new puppy? Really, the only good response here is "fuck you." Yes, it has all been done just for you, Mr. Hitchens, the whole goddamn thing. They are still doing it just for you, and we as a nation think it's important that you take your victory lap, because that's what's crucial: not that you were necessarily right or correct in your beliefs (and maybe you were, I don't know everything), but that everyone appreciates that you certainly think you were. What an achievement of self-satisfaction! And to top it all off, you got to spend a little free time pointlessly belittling your opponents. Take a bow, it's been quite a performance.

Wednesday, 05 March
Think In Prose, Hear The Music, Shit My Pants

As my nineteen regular readers have probably figured out by now, I don't do a lot of writing about politics. There's a good reason for this: I'm not very politically inclined. I mean, I'm your average mook, on the lefty side of things, I have a general grasp of most issues, but beyond that, meh. Besides, the current political tenor in this country mostly inspires in me a deep, screaming terror that makes me want gulp down vast quantities of Xanax and watch porn flicks all day in a kind of narcotized whackathon of sheerest denial. However, it's really hard to get paid to do that sort of thing, unless you are Marlon Brando.

But the other day, I read--well, scanned . . . well . . . flung to the ground--an article in The Atlantic Monthly that purported to be an examination into the mind of George W. Bush. It is deeply stupid and makes virtually no bones about its own rah-rah bias towards our President; it is, in fact, such a naked, ass-up, lube-at-the-ready valentine that one wonders why at the end the author doesn't beseech the administration for at least a courteous reach-around. This from the same magazine that published a po-faced article a while back similarly purporting to be an examination of the mind, habits, and fuck, I don't know, bathroom fixture preferences of Saddam Hussein. It was similarly filled with portentous and utterly unverifiable claims as to what Saddam thinks and does and what he likes to eat and the various deep thoughts he deep thinks during the day; in other words: bullshit. The author could have claimed that Saddam enjoys wearing rubber boots and pounding finches to death with golden hammers while listening to Blondie; who's going to argue? You?

Anyway. The article pissed me off (but it does have some great howlers in it, like this early on: "[Bush's] two most obvious personal traits are humor and seriousness." They are? And who doesn't possess these obvious traits? Okay, Marlon Brando again, you got me). So I figured I'd take another look at it. And just so we're clear, I repeat: I have no intention of being fair, nuanced, judicious, rational, or thorough. It's just not my style. In fact, just for fun, I'm going to pack it full of malicious lies. See if you can spot them!

It starts off with some of the usual introductory hoo-ha about where Bush started out, and how he fumbled his way into the presidency: Harvard Business School, governor of Texas, etc., and some discreet obligatory mentions about his hard-drinking days and subsequent Jesus-locating. That's cool. I don't have any problem with the J-folk. It is fun to learn that (as an example of his crazy humor) that Bush teases Condi Rice by calling her a "mother hen;" it's even better when he quotes former head of the Christian Coalition Ralph Reed as saying, "I'd fuck dead goats for that man." Reed, who knew Bush during the taxing Texas Rangers years, was also apparently struck by how "focused" and "disciplined" Bush was as governor. So it's kind of unfortunate to read the next sentence: "The governorship of Texas, however, scarcely allows those to hold it to get much done otherwise." Well, if you're going to be focused and disciplined, you might as well be doing nothing at all.

Then the author (Richard Brookhiser, senior editor at National Review) gets down to brass tacks and enumerates the "traits he has shown and the factors he pays attention to" since assuming office. They are:

"Thriftiness with time." Uh, does he even have a choice? He's President! I'm not really that grooved out that he manages to make his meetings run "briskly," as if other administrations took time out of difficult policy sessions to unwind over a relaxing game of Uno. Let's talk Clinton when it comes for thriftiness with time. "Hey, lover, you want to go into a broom closet? I think I know where Harding's is." "No time! Blow me right here! And no slurping! I'm on a call!"

"The team." Well, this isn't exactly a trait or anything, but whatever. Brookhiser spends a little ink lauding the staff for their closed-mouthedness, which I of course uncharitably prefer to think of as "stark terror." Would you be inclined to shoot off your mouth with people like Torquemada Donald Rumsfeld creeping around, ready to set fire to your children's feet if he didn't like something you said? Or Dick Cheney, who in stressful times is given to pulling his incredible heart right out of his chest and holding it in his hand, while fixing his poor victim with a steely gaze and intoning "I keep this beating by pure force of will. You are an insignificant stack of worthless paste." Or, worst of all, Bush could always sit you down in a closed room with Ari Fleischer and make you listen to him, a Boschian nightmare too outre and frightening to contemplate for any amount of time.

"Q&L." That is, "Questioning and Listening." Notably missing in that set of activities is "Comprehending," but it's nice to listen to people. Brookhiser then goes on to cite this uncanny ability to listen to other people in the context of the stem-cell research debate, a topic that I had better not get too wrapped up in, or I'll just fucking burst into flames, so I'll just note that Bush effectively shut down government funding of the research, citing the J-Man and His Pop (a sort of divine Q&L). Here's Brookhiser's flinty-eyed assessment of the performance: "Another President might have ducked the problem by following the emerging consensus of the country, or of his own base. Bush handled it like a manager--staffing it out and then making his own decision." I'm entering this usage into my own lexicon. "Say, you really handled that like a manager." "What?" "I don't know."

" 'Instinct.' " This one is fucking great. "Almost everyone calls Bush an instinctive decision-maker, including Bush himself." Oh? Who, exactly? Four paragraphs later, you discover that "almost everyone" is, in fact, Newt Gingrich, an assessment that Newt would probably enthusiastically endorse. Newt cracked me up here, though, I must admit, because he really delivers the straight lines: "[Bush] hs a very wide repertoire of experiences [like snorting cocaine off the backs of strippers]." And in new situations or encounters, sez Newt, "he cues off things he probably doesn't even remember." You know, I've done this; I recall the sensation as "Oh, God, What Did I Do Last Night?" And then I cued myself off of things I didn't even remember, like where am I and who is this in bed with me?

"Providence." This one is puzzling. During one of the 2000 debates, some of the Republican candidates were asked to pick an important political philosopher from whom each person got his particular swerve on. Steve "Glint O' Crazy" Forbes named John Locke. Bush was next, and he mysteriously said "Sondra Locke," and then praised her performance in Bronco Billy as "fucking hot." The networks confusedly cut to a commercial, except for FOX, which instead simply showed some footage of Sondra Locke spare-changing on Sepulveda Boulevard.

"Follow-through." Brookhiser uses the example Bush's withdrawal from the ABM treaty to bolster his argument, I guess, that Bush . . . follows through . . . on things. It's really tedious, as are any assortment of words that contain the name "Paul Wolfowitz." When I can't sleep at night, I usually count Paul Wolfowitzes leaping over meadow fences and then landing on an array of poisoned spikes, and it really works well.

Finally, after this litany of gee-whillikers shit, Brookhiser concedes to at least a hat-tip of balance, and enumerates three--three!--limitiations. He also tellingly makes them more or less incomprehensible, or at the very least, dauntingly veiled: "Restricted habitat," "Phantom framework," and the enigmatically question-marked "Lack of imagination?" Note the weird, obfuscatory phrasing of these "limitations" as opposed to the previously Spartan entries that lauded him. But really the best thing here is the "Lack of imagination?" entry, which is so baffling and strange that it defies description. Brookhiser starts out thundering like a herd of mice: "Bush has intelligence, energy, and humility, but does he have imagination?" Then he segues into a freakish rumination on the relationship between Hitler and Churchill, and one kind of wonders how much cough syrup Brookhiser's had. Then, when you think it can't possibly get farther afield, Brookhiser wraps up the topic with the out-of-deep-space musing, "Bush thinks in prose. Can he hear music?"

And that's when the magazine hit the wall.

Wednesday, 11 December
Today I Mock the Infirm

Today, with much fanfare, Strom Thurmond turned 100 years old. I was reminded of the Simpsons episode where they had a newspaper story about Burns, and the subhead read "Credits long life to Satan." Did you see the Marylin Monroe impersonator who sang him "Happy Birthday"? And did you see him reach out and grab her as if she were a giant turkey leg? Poor bastard.

And of course I say "poor bastard" because I feel for the guy. Mostly I feel vague hatred, because he's such a vile old wallet of a man. He's a steak from Denny's left forgotten under the broiler and then absentmindedy dressed in a waiter's revenge of pork fat, lemon juice and graft. Now, it is, of course, easy sport to make fun of this guy any more. Thank goodness. In an age where spin and doubletalk increasingly insulate politicians from good old mean-spirited cock-twisting just for the fun of it, old Strom still makes it easy for jerkoffs like me: he's never done any single good thing in his political life, so I can have at it, and it requires virtually no effort.

Thank you, Strom. Thank you for being such an awful person. I'll never forget you, no matter how hard I try. Because I'm pretty sure that someday, someone will name a fucking airport after you.

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