Friday, June 25, 2004

Back from what?

I guess we gave up on Jerusalem, then?  Posted by Hello

Ever notice how the groups who always claim to "want to take America back" are never the ones who had it in the first place?

Thursday, June 24, 2004

The (prayer) finger!

I have a good friend who likes to forward prayers in her e-mail. She and I hang out a lot and have a lot of laughs, even if we are on nearly opposite ends of the whole religion thing. This excerpt is from her latest release; it's a prayer about what your five fingers remind you of and somesuch (insert your own joke here). I'm not a big prayer man, but I found this one compelling. The Five-Finger Prayer starts with the thumb and index finger, then goes to the middle finger:

3) The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators...These people shape our nation and guide public opinion...

Yes, whenever I see George W. Bush or any of his crew, my middle finger definitely comes into the equation. It's such an automatic reflex that the revival crowd would surely be impressed.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

A parable for modern warfare

This wasn't so much a column as it was a skit; then again, I try to be unpredictable in print, so this may very well have been a column. It was written on 5/16/03, soon after Bush Deuce stuffed a sock in his fake flight suit and declared "mission accomplished" on an aircraft carrier near San Diego. Natch, it's all about the Iraq War. It may very well be the most naked satire ever written; but since when is nudity bad?

What if the War on Iraq was a typical gas-station holdup?

(Setting: A FUEL-N-FUN franchise, somewhere in America. A ROBBER storms in and guns down all but two of the store’s customers. The CLERK is an Arab-American male.)

ROBBER: All right, stick ’em up!

CLERK: Is this a robbery?

ROBBER: No, it’s a liberation.

CLERK: What?

ROBBER: A liberation! You know, I’m a liberator.

CLERK: And just what the hell are you liberating?

ROBBER: I’m liberating all of the food and beverages that have been held hostage here under your capitalistic tyranny! (Pause.) Now empty the register!

CLERK: You’re liberating the money too now?

ROBBER: Just do it! (CLERK swiftly empties money into bag and hands it to robber.) Now fill me up on pump one, please.

CLERK: You got it, buddy. (Pushes buttons on master pump board.) Thank you, and have a nice night.

ROBBER: You too. Appreciate it. (Runs out to car and begins pumping gas. CLERK stands stunned for a moment. ROBBER reenters store.) I almost forgot. One pack of Marlboro menthols, please. (CLERK hands over a carton of cigarettes. ROBBER heads toward door.)

CLERK: Hey, wait a minute…

ROBBER: (Turns head.) What?

CLERK: Didn’t you say you were here to liberate the merchandise?

ROBBER: Yeah, that’s what I’m here for.

CLERK: Well, then, how come you didn’t take any of that stuff? (Long silent pause. Then, in an accusatory voice:) It’s all about the gas, isn’t it?

ROBBER: No, the gas is just gravy. I’m really here because I care about the people who have to pay to get their food from you!

CLERK: Is that why you shot them all dead?

ROBBER: For their own good! But hey, you saw that one guy hug me and kiss me on the cheek. He’s happy that I have expelled you from the store!

CLERK: He only thanked you because you have a gun and you let him loot the store, dumbass!

ROBBER: Well, I’d love to stay and chat, but this store is sufficiently liberated. This store is now free to select a new clerk in a fully democratic job-application process.


ROBBER: Now it’s time to concentrate on Stop-N-Rob across the street. They need some serious upheaval. I mean, did you see the prices in that joint? Not only that, but they probably harbor the people that fled from here when I barreled in! Have a nice day.

CLERK: Well, hold on…I mean, you haven’t actually caught me. You just pushed me away from the register. Shouldn’t you nab me before you go across the street?

ROBBER: Nah! I got my gas, didn’t I? You’re irrelevant now.

CLERK: Gotcha. I’ll go call the police.

ROBBER: I already did.

CLERK: What?

ROBBER: I asked them for their help in this robbery to begin with, figuring they’d help me since they always have whenever I needed them. But when I want to commit one simple crime, they have the nerve to tell me no? Hah! Well, who’s the loser now? Ha ha ha! When you do see the police, tell them that sometimes you gotta act alone.

(Saddam Hussein portrayed the clerk. George W. Bush portrayed the robber. That Iraqi guy who shows up in every kissing-the-troops picture played one of the two store survivors. The United Nations performed as the police.)

Monday, June 14, 2004

Another UL gripe

From a blurb in the June 9 Times of Acadiana:

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette launched its "Support Ragin' Cajuns" campaign with a bang last week...Hebert, athletic coordinator for UL, will be in charge of the campaign, which is accepting donations, though the signs are free.

"ALL MONIES DONATED WILL GO TO MAKING MORE SIGNS," Hebert says. "We believe that if the university thrives, the community will benefit."

Okay, so let me get this straight: we're launching a huge campaign to print signs to give away, and we're using the donations we do get to make more signs? How exactly is that supposed to raise money for us?

Oh, right. "It's good for business." My bad.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Bush's favorite John

Who's negative here? Posted by Hello

You have to love

The Kerry Gas-Tax Calculator...The John Kerry Travel Tracker...John Kerry on the Patriot Act...John Kerry: Wacky...John Kerry: the Raw Deal...Kerry Media Center...Kerry this, Kerry that...and that's just the home page!

And they say that Kerry is the one with no message of his own?

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The all-new Vermilion

June 9 marks the first issue of the UL Lafayette Vermilion for the Summer semester 2004. The issue is the first of four that will come out this semester, being that it comes out every other Wednesday rather than weekly as it does during the year.

The paper is currently under new management, and the newly coronated dudes in charge are open to suggestions. Here are mine. Throughout the new issue, witty space fillers acknowledge the ongoing layout shifts. One I especially like says, "Please be patient while we edit our staff. Thanks, Vermilion." Which sounds eerily ominous of a series of layoffs, but I know that the excellent, highly competent and godlike editors of the paper would not do such a horrible thing to its most faithful sycophants, er, writers. Anyway, on with The List:


1) The cover-- Kind of a compromise between the old newspaper layout and a tabloid. Once they get the flag fixed--way too much empty space, guys--and possibly a lettering that does the name justice, the cover will look tight.

2) The cover story-- Extremely sad though it is that the cover story had to be about a mother's grief over a recently murdered student, it is good to see the Verm tackle something weighty. To my knowledge, this is the first pilot issue of a semester in years that didn't use the front page to honor the previous semester's outstanding graduate. The shift toward the controversial can only improve the content (not that they forgot the outstanding graduate--that's on page three). This content seems stronger throughout the paper.

3) The masthead-- I have always strongly opposed the move by the Verm several years ago to eliminate staff writers' names from the masthead. When I started at the Vermilion back in 1998 (when gas was cheap and we walked to school in the snow), the masthead had the names of literally every person involved. This included the editors, staff writers, photographers, cartoonists, circulation people and business associates. Before I got to UL, I wanted to be on the Verm just to join that community of names. It gave me pride to belong to it. Then, for some bizarre reason, they just quit doing that and put only the editors' names in. This was the beginning of the editor-centric policy that has often caused friction. But I'm happy to say that this is now being reversed, bit by bit. Good. I like knowing who writes for the paper.

4) More room for comics-- Does justice to the intricate strips.


1) I think that everyone involved with the paper deserves to be in the masthead. Yes, this is possible, and in much smaller space than is now being allotted for it. At least it would make us columnists and cartoonists feel less like lepers. As far as I can tell, those are the only two groups not listed. The outgoing editor-in-chief made us feel bad enough when she left us (and only us) out of her farewell letter.

2) The layout itself looks like it's going through growing pains. Headings look disjointed and are sometimes illegible. I don't think anyone's to blame for this; it appears to me that the printing plant's computer was missing the font for bylines and headings (which was a common occurrence when I ran my high school paper). Work on that and you're golden. Hopefully you'll choose a thicker font too.

3) One of the guys' names in "Sounding Off!" is what is known in journalistic terms as "not there." That section, additionally, looks like it was cut and pasted. Nas-tee.

4) We aren't world famous yet.

Overall, I think the Vermilion is moving in the direction in which it needs to move. I commend the new brass for its willingness to take a chance, as well as for putting up with my exceptionally picky ass. Thanks peeps! Can't wait for June 23!

Word Up!

Since the advent of the Internet, users have faced a lingering problem: "Sure, this site is great and all. But wouldn't it be better through the eyes of Snoop Dogg?"

Well, worry no more! Take ya ass to and rezead that bitch like ya suppose ta!

Highlights from Snoop's reading of this sizite: "Big Baby Bush" and "Fox Informative Shiznit." Hours of fun fa you and tha shortiez!

Friday, June 04, 2004

Proper dress and ID required

My sister recently finished eighth grade. This is a yearbook picture of her school's 4-H Club. My sister's not in the club (and, fittingly, not in the picture). Still, this picture struck me for the students' appearances. Notice that every single one of them dutifully wears their uniform and ID as if they were in the deepest levels of NORAD. Guess there's much more going on at those livestock shows than I thought...

test shot 2 Posted by Hello

I don't understand the point of having to wear ID cards and school uniforms. Administrators say that it's to foster a sense of security and to ease anxiety over clothing choices. Come on, does anyone really doubt that these kids are bona fide students and are not, in fact, criminals? Would keeping non-students out (the purpose of wearing IDs) have affected a thing at Columbine High School in 1999? As for the idea that uniforms equalize fashion, I have four words: jackets, shoes and jewelry.

The sad irony of all of this is that none of it works; having to pick up my sister early one day, I got lost on campus and walked through what turned out to be the girls' gym locker room. Between classes. When all the students were milling about. With no duty teachers asking me, a grown man, if I needed help. The solution to school security, I think, is simpler and more cost-effective: the use of intuition among teachers and personnel.

I never had to wear a school uniform and I didn't have to wear my ID until 10th grade. But I turned out fine!

test shot 1 Posted by Hello

School officials should quit drooling over discipline and focus on the really important aspects of education, such as, uh, education.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

How pathmetic!

Nothing is lamer than a protest by the religious right. Except, perhaps, a guy who misspells "arithmetic" on a sign about education. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Stupid Useless Vehicles

Can anyone explain to me what is so appealing about SUVs?

Is it the lousy gas mileage? Is it that it gives the driver the feeling that, not only are they invincible, but that they must also actively hunt down every smaller car on the road? Is it the massive hugeness that surely must compensate for some personal shortcoming? Surely there must be a reason that Excursions and Escalades still sell in the era of $2 gasoline! Help me out here...

Just a Gigolo

This is the picture that, when I'm old, they'll look back at and say, "Man, look how young he was!" Posted by Hello