Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best of 2008

In 2008, we elected a president. Third time’s a charm for me. Even though technically Missouri didn't count my vote because the state failed to vote for the winner for only the second time in 100 years, it still felt good to have done my part for change.

Not surprisingly in such a pivotal year, vitriol spewed forth like never before throughout 2008. Fortunately, such immature bile ended permanently the moment Barack Obama became President-elect of the United States, never to be seen or heard from again. America grew up, realized that the time for misinformation was over and the populace as a whole vowed never again to let prejudice and lies steer the national debate.

Here's to at least four easier years ahead! But first...

One long, last year of this

The Bush administration and its minions on the religio-neocon right save something for the third act. Lame stuff, yes, but something.

1/28: Celebrating celebrities who chose to be alive...or something
What does it mean to be "pro-life," anyway? Just ask the guy with the nail in his head from "Happy Gilmore"!

1/29: The lame duck quacks
Bush's final State of the Union address gets the respect it deserves.

6/25: Oh, those Republicans! Always looking ahead
Now available: Reagan/Bush '84 T-shirts!

11/19: God + guns = somebody's guts
Guns in parks? Or are you just happy to see me?

Election 2008

1/18: We have nothing to fear but fear-mongering candidates
Romney vs. Huckabee, as if that was relevant.

2/5: Hail primary, full of race...
Thoughts during my first Super Tuesday as a primary voter in a bellwether state.

2/25: Unsound bite
Hillary wasn't selling. Maybe if her campaign seemed less like a sales pitch...

2/26: Cheap snapshot
Barack Obama's wearing Kenyan garb! OMG!!!!

3/3: Blessed Handsome has his haters
Barack Obama's middle name is HUSSEIN!! That's a big deal! The fact that his name means "Blessed Handsome?" Not so much.

3/4: It’s partisan time!

3/25: There's something not Wright about Obama

4/23: Dear Hillary...
6/5: Get on with it!

4/25: Ladies and gentlemen, the John McCain platform

5/6: Irritating things
Things that were irritating me on May 6, 2008.

5/23: Short Fuse has his Short List for VP
We had no idea...

6/9: It’s the right thing to do

6/10: Their company car's license plate reads, "DESPER8"
Meet Barack Obama! Or, at least, the Republican Party's official caricature of the future president.

7/10: Jesse Jackson: "I want to cut his nuts off"

(My dad made this)

That terroriffic New Yorker cover that shouldn't have existed because people are idiots or something.

7/28: Here's something that could use some change
I made a lot of sacrifices to attend a Barack Obama appearance in Springfield. In doing so, I gave up seeing him as well.

8/23: Obama-Biden!
8/29: McCain-Palin - The Dead Parrot ticket
First thoughts on...well, you know.

9/2: Sarah Palin tries to seduce me...

9/3: Stuff I noticed about the RNC tonight
9/4: Empathy for the unsympathetic
Notes about the GOP convention. Two posts that can be distilled into one word: mean.

9/25: Burning questions (and other thoughts)
John McCain threatened to bail on the presidential debate. Obama says "uh" a lot. Things like that.

10/1: A pereleel to Seereh Peelin's deep deeposity
My take on the infamous Katie Couric video.

10/7: Liberals DO have backbones!
Even my X-rays are political.

10/8: What happens when you merge a revved-up mind with back pills
This pissed off some people.

10/21: I never want to feel this horrible again
On the eve of the election, I had a dream that I forgot to vote and Obama lost badly. Fortunately, dreams don't always come true.

10/23: Template conservative blog post
Saw this a lot on Facebook and MySpace throughout the year.

10/28: What a dumb argument!
We're on the road to socialism! Or rather, roads, because roads are socialist.

11/4: The moment of truth
11/4: Election Day observations
Making history and whatnot.

11/12: Making up for lost blog time
Complete with original Sarah Palin cartoon!

Springfield Ian

1/19: A petition not worth signing
True fact: 90 percent of the time you visit a Springfield library, someone will accost you at the door and ask you to sign a petition to let the people vote on special preferences or something that would astound you if you could ascertain just what the hell they were talking about.

2/13: Now I know how Hillary's campaign feels
A (mostly) apolitical post about the 2008 Springfield ice storm. For some reason, I didn't include the photo of a neighbor's snowman that looked increasingly like the Grim Reaper once it started to melt.

3/21: Warning: This blog contains traces of Peanuts
In which I rediscover the power of Charles Schulz. Also has baby picture of me looking like Charlie Brown.

5/1: Copyright 1987, me
A story of the old woman and her cornbread, and my early success with claw machines that continues to this very day (see below).

5/26: New Indiana Jones - is it worth it?
Maybe not, but I still like it more every time I see it. Not to mention that the Pop Culture Gods finally gave me something new in which to geek out.

6/17: Things I miss #1
An ode to Atari's "Math Gran Prix." If any of you Hollywood filmmakers out there want to option it, I have a hell of an idea for a movie. Or, at the very least, a hilarious joke trailer for YouTube.

7/1: Mission accomplished
I bought one tank of gas in the entire month of June. I rule. Included: hot receipt action.

8/12: Something
I wrote a staff editorial for my newspaper. An interesting experience I (and they) wouldn't mind repeating.

9/30: Entering hostile territory
With shaggy hair, a shirt with a big pot leaf on it (in context), I walk into a Subway where two employees are talking with a military guy about how, duh, they're voting for McCain, obviously. And after one of them mentions how her aunt once tried to run over Bill Clinton, they try to trivialize my experience meeting him. Still, the sandwich was not bad and didn't contain any razors that I could tell.

12/9: Something I “won”
Speaking of claw machines...I won a plush doll of Missouri's only native president, Harry S Truman. In Louisiana. Weird.

12/22: Speaking of oil change...
Posts like this are great because if there's any hole in my car's maintenance record, I can remember not only that I did it this day, but can also evoke fond memories of the bizarre spectacles therein.

12/26: 2008: My year in staying resolute
Looking back on my resolutions for the once-new year. Batted a hair over .500. That's better than Joe DiMaggio.


10/6: Ten years already? (Actually, it's felt like it)
My post on our first-ever game in what would become the Springfield Open Football Association, and how the intense pain I felt after the game reminded me of my 10-year high school reunion, which happened the same weekend.

12/29: Pointing (swollen) fingers

At left, my right finger. At right, my left finger. Such is the treachery of flag football.

1/21: Tom Brady as I like to see him
In a year where the Saints underwhelmed, Tom Brady did so only once - but at just the right time.

9/14: Internal memos
Letting off some steam after the Saints lost to the Redskins. Creatively this time.

7/20: Swimsuit issues

(This picture was not taken in 2008.)

See you next year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Not exactly pocket science

Yesterday, I bought a new wallet. And nothing else.

The checkout girl bagged it. Bagged it!


Louisiana boy takes football skills out of state, makes good

(No, not Jake Delhomme...I'm not heartless.)

One of the highlights of my week is the flag-football game I play in every Sunday afternoon. We've been doing them for several months now, and in that time I've evolved from a barely mobile has-been with an aggravated back injury to a fully mobile (and thus much-improved) has-been. These days, the only wincing I do is when I accidentally mention these games to my physical therapist (she's quite understanding, in the sense that she hasn't screamed at me to stop immediately). On the field, I play mostly receiver and cornerback, but have also served as quarterback in many an offensive series.

This pass got dropped.

Chris Brewer, my co-worker, fellow blogger and guy I scream at while playing Tecmo Super Bowl, is the one who organizes these games. And by organize, I mean, devised a league name (SOFA), keeps stats, does occasional commentary and sometimes takes photos when sidelined. His weekly analyses are remarkable in their total recall; this week, he has topped himself by writing yesterday's account as a legit (and, dubious quotations aside, mostly true) sports article. Reading this made me feel like I was someone important, even if Chris is a total flag-football geek for writing it (like I can talk).

Now, fans of this blog (fan?) know that I hate to blatantly rip off other writers. So I will excerpt only the best parts, as in those involving me:

Yellow holds off Red in first SOFA Santa Bowl

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (AP) – Ian McGibboney wanted one shot at redemption for dropping a touchdown pass early in the first half.

He got that, and one better.

McGibboney hauled in two touchdown catches and added five more receptions, and Ryan Cook scored two touchdowns as well to pace Yellow to a 52-40 win over Red in the first-ever Santa Bowl at Kickapoo High School’s practice field.

“I-Mac,” as he is known to his teammates, came on very strong after spraining a finger on an errant throw by Pete Hendricks on a conversion pass early in the second half. After Chris Brewer batted down McGibboney’s pass intended for Cook, he switched out from quarterback to receiver and caught a 35-yard touchdown on a post pattern for a 26-12 lead with 18:12 to play.

The turning point of the game occurred when Red stopped Yellow five yards from the endzone on fourth down with 15:23 to go in the game. Facing a mere 26-18 deficit, Red’s quarterback was sacked in the endzone by Hendricks and on the ensuing Yellow possession, McGibboney caught his second touchdown to put the game nearly out of reach, 34-18. [...]

The win wasn’t entirely easy for Yellow as they faced many challenges from Red, but key stops on defense and timely first downs on offense kept Red on their heels. “Our guys did an excellent job of adapting to the pressure Red gave us today,” Hendricks said from the podium post-game. “Every time Red made a run, we made one of our own. Ian and Ryan had some stellar catches today.” [...]

McGibboney should appear on the injury report this week but should be good to go for Week 13.

Yeah, the injury. I hurt my left index finger really badly on a failed touchdown pass, which hurt like hell for, well, however long it's been between now and when it happened. It's real sexy. Want to look at it?

At left, my right finger. At right, my left finger.

Like Dom DeLuise said in Cannonball Run, "It only hurts when I point."

Friday, December 26, 2008

2008: My year in staying resolute

A look back at my New Year's resolutions for 2008, and how I fared with them:

1) Try out for the New Orleans Saints. They need a few good men in their defensive secondary, and I could fill in at either cornerback or free safety. Yeah, yeah, I know the NFL doesn't have open tryouts. But really, what are they afraid of? That I'll be bad?

The Saints apparently took this warning to heart, as even Jason David has been pulling his weight in the past several games. Ironically enough, with my oodles of physical therapy and weekly football games these past few months, I could almost make this offer for real now. Not quite, though, unless we're talking about the Detroit Lions...

2) Vote for Barack Obama in the Missouri primary and then, eventually, whatever Democrat wins the nomination. Because that's the only way that this country will even begin to start healing itself.

Yeah, that worked out like I'd hoped, even if Missouri picked the loser for only the second time in a century (the last miss being in 1954). Still, my presidential vote in November came as close to almost counting as it ever has, so that's encouraging.

3) Further my progress toward eating more organic and home-cooked food.

I did this literally to the point where I began to crave even the box for Totino's pizza, which I'm sure isn't the goal of eating well. But I've persevered and will continue to do so.

4) Don't go bankrupt...

Not there yet, but even with Vampire Double Cross Insurance I had more than $1,000 worth of out-of-pocket expenses this year. For me, that's 2,000 meals. Or 38 healthy, nutritious meals.

5) Stop shopping at Wal-Mart.

Mission accomplished. And not in the George W. Bush-Iraq War "Mission Accomplished" sense, but in the sense that I actually accomplished the mission. And that there was a clear mission to accomplish.

6) Blog more and more furiously. With an election year coming, that shouldn't be too difficult. Also, I want to make more videos, as soon as I figure out what it is with my camera that adds 45 pounds to my face.

Mission Accomplished, in the George W. Bush sense. This was probably my weakest year ever for blogging, though the same could be said for just about every creative and social goal that I had in 2008. Time for Change.

7) Stop being so hard on myself. Man, am I hard on myself! I could absolve myself of this problem if only I weren't such a FRUSTRATINGLY PERFECTIONIST PIECE OF CRAP!!! YOU SCUM! dROP AND GIVE ME 20! AND 20 MORE FOR THE TYPO IN THAT LAST SENTENCE!! GRARARARARAUGUGUGH!!

I think this actually got worse this year.

8) Lay the groundwork for a future New Year's resolution.

Didn't have time. But each year holds out fresh hope.

9) Turn 28. This one I think I can keep.

And I did. However, my resolve doesn't seem likely to hold up on this one in 2009.

10) Of course, I'd be amiss without mentioning the one thing that everyone can get behind in this tumultuous time: washboard abs. Oh yeah.

If you see them at the right angle, with the light just so (and if I haven't had any water in the last 36 hours), you can see some decent definition. It took me two years last time, so I'm halfway there. Hope! Change! Maybe a tan in a few months! Wheee!

Five and a half out of 10. In the NFC West, I'd have a playoff berth.

Happy rest of holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Speaking of oil change...

On my way to get an oil change today, I pulled up next to a beat-up old pickup truck. Its make was hard to ascertain because its gate, bumpers and brake-light molding (and I think even its mirrors) had long since been removed. Its windows had a folksy opacity, and exterior had apparently been hit too many times with the Bondo stick. Inside, an old-fashioned CB radio setup sat where side-curtain airbags reside in newer, safer cars. All the while, a man of indeterminate age wearing glasses, a bandanna and about two year's growth set the course.

Further setting this truck apart was its bevy of bumper stickers. Among them: "You've been a bad girl. Go to my room!" The famous nude-woman mudflap silhouette. "DON'T LAUGH - Your daughter might be in here!" A rebel flag.

Oh, and Calvin pissing on the name "BUSH."

The dealership was very nice about scooping out my exploded head.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Rules

Rule #53: Sole Man
OK, OK, we've discovered George W. Bush has excellent reflexes. Now give it a rest. I understand that in this time of reconciliation we're so desperate to find something redeemable about this man that the fact he has a working brain stem qualifies; but don't get carried away. After all, considering Bush has dodged so many things in his life - Vietnam, the Alabama National Guard, taxes, prison, accountability, karma in general - we should be surprised he isn't limber enough to shift shapes.

Rule #54: KKKs Say the Darnedest Things
Don't name your kids JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell and Adolf Hitler Campbell. You might as well name them Beatmeup, Blackssuck and Fuckjews. Those names would at least be more concise on the Alabama driver's licenses they're eventually going to wind up with.

Rule #55: Going Out of Business Section
Newspapers aren't going anywhere. The newspaper business might.

The rest of the rules

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas carol question

In "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," why is crying on par with pouting? Which Sgt. Major Coach Alpha Dad wrote this? Was it Jimmy Dugan of no-crying-in-baseball lore?

You better watch out,
You better not cry.
You'd better not pout,
I'm telling you why.

Kinda sounds like a vindictive girlfriend, doesn't it? Richard Nixon, too. Or perhaps all of those famous family dynasties who went nuts rather than admit they needed professional help like the "weak" people.

Anyway, can't pouting also be a good thing? In the right situation, it could be the prelude to one hell of a present.

I think Calvin of "Calvin and Hobbes" said it best after listening to this carol: "Santa: Kindly old elf, or CIA spook?"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bah humbug

I just read an e-mail forward that was actually an inspiring, real-life example of generosity. It involved a deserted woman with six kids who struggled to find a job. Even after she found a graveyard-shift job, she paid half her wages to a teenage baby-sitter to sleep on her couch every night, had to air her tires every time she drove and was patching on top of patches on her kids' clothes. Times were tough.

After working a busy Christmas Eve shift (and having mysteriously received new tires earlier), the woman returned to her car to see it full of brand-new presents and necessities. The implication was that her regular diner customers had secretly been attuned to her needs and provided accordingly. The story ends with her drive home, in tears of joy as the sun dawns on the best Christmas ever.

Or, it should have ended there. But instead, it devolves into a missive on THE POWER OF PRAYER. "God still sits on the throne, the devil is a liar," the message continues.

I'm a largely secular person who perhaps dwells on the negative more than he should. But I can't help but roll my eyes at this sentiment. People may find solace in prayer, but the idea that good luck comes because of it smacks of competitiveness - as if those who endure suffering just aren't thumping enough. Well, I'd venture to guess the percentage of people who pray in the world is somewhere in the high nineties, but that doesn't mean anyone's listened to most of them, apparently. So when people credit prayer for their good breaks, they should also realize that other factors are at play, and understand that someone who is worse off may be that way by virtue of something other than not praying enough.

And to its credit, the message ends with this: "If you can spare a little, help someone in need this Christmas. Let's all remember the real meaning of Christmas and share that with others."

Agreed. Because miracles ultimately lie with us. As Mister Rogers once said, "Wishes don't make things come true." And he was an ordained minister.

The shoes were a start, but...

I think it's time we threw the book at George W. Bush. Let's see how well his smirk, quips and reflexes help him dodge that.

UPDATE: Some guy on the radio just praised Bush for his dodging skills, saying Barack Obama would not have been able to move as well because he's too tall and can only move like a basketball defender. Huh? I can't even decide how offensive that is. But it is the first time I've heard anyone suggest that a quick-thinking and energetic 47-year-old couldn't go to school against a haggard 62-year-old buffoon (even if he too has strong reflexes). On a metaphorical level, at least, Obama already has.

Friday, December 12, 2008

But how would they fare against REAL bears?

You know what pisses me off about the Bears' win over the Saints, besides everything else?

It's that these insensitive douchebags are happy today.

May they get a piece of Powlish sassage lodged in their hearts. Oh, and their governor sucks too.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's February 1988 all over again! Except I'm two inches taller now

Not long after I visited Louisiana last December, the area was beset with several rounds of tornadoes.

This time around, it snowed less than 48 hours after I headed back to Missouri.

What bizarre weather pattern would you guys like me to bring next year? I'm taking applications.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Something I "won"

For the past week-plus, I've been having fun accomplishing nothing in south Louisiana. Tonight I'm kicking back at a motel near Little Rock, and will be back in Springfield tomorrow.

As often happens, a very random stroke of luck swung my way during my stay. While at Big Lots, my sister and I noticed a very odd toy in the claw machine. It looked like Richard Nixon, but was actually Missouri's own President Harry S Truman. On Keely's dare, I went for it. Fifty cents and some typically agile clawing later, the Nixon-looking Truman doll was all mine! Oh yeah!

You can't really tell from that pic, but Harry's head is cocked back in a way that, at the right angle, makes him look like Superman - a spastic, Richard Nixon-looking Superman.

So now you know I wasn't wasting my time all week.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Not dead

I'm currently in Lafayette, where my Internet access is as reliable as Britney Spears driving a taxicab. Combined with my erratic cell phone and MySpace's "profile maintenance," my ability to communicate seems to be thwarted by God Itself. Which makes my inability to explain my problem to anyone suck all the more.

But now that both my connection and the program I want to use are both working (finally), I'd like to share a few observations from this past week:

- Plaxico Burress shot himself in the foot by shooting himself in the thigh. He may have taken the title of All-Time NFL Idiot from joint-holders Michael Vick and Albert Connell (as well as literal joint holder Ricky Williams). Not only was every detail of the caper dumb (Bringing a loaded gun into a club? In your sweatpants? In the midst of the Roger Goodell less-than-zero-tolerance conduct crackdown? During an 11-1 season?), but the timing was just as bad. Come on, Plaxico! You were just four weeks away from cementing a positive answer to the question, "What was New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress known for in 2008?" But now, the answer has nothing with to do your winning Super Bowl catch against the heavily favored Patriots; now you're just some goof with a gun.

- I've been told my shaggy hair makes me look like Drew Brees. Pictures forthcoming, because right now I'm just lucky to have text capabilities.

- I can get all the way from Springfield, Missouri, to Friendship, Arkansas on less than seven gallons of gas. That's just over 266 miles. Not bad. Loved the girl's accent, too.

- There's more ahead.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

That face up there? 56 percent man!

That's right, I have a feminine side - a 44 percent feminine side, to be exact, assuming there are no both/neither/other options (And this isn't even considering my too-neat handwriting). Go Genderanalyzer!

Monday, November 24, 2008

This week in irrelevant news...

--The Catholic Church has officially forgiven John Lennon for his 1966 remark that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. In response, Lennon put out the following statement...


...Because he's been dead since I turned six months old. The scandal's been dead much longer. Anyway, Lennon wasn't even gloating when he said it; he was, if anything, bewildered. Yes, he did call some Christians "thick" and suggested that the religion in its current judgmental form would eventually lose favor. And he followed up the furor with trademark defiance. But an attack on Jesus it wasn't.

I do find it funny that the Vatican instead calls him a "show-off." Yes, The Vatican.

Left: Show-off. Right: Not a show-off.

Instant karma's gonna get you.

--Michael Jackson converted to Islam and has renamed himself Mikaeel. What reports don't tell you is that he wanted to be Catholic, but the Catholics have no room for accused child molesters known for their elaborate showmanship. OK, that's harsh, I know. No need to continually bash the Catholic Church over the extremely ignorant things its bishops say. But I still can't get past the idea that the leadership of the Catholic Church thinks that it alone has the power of forgiveness over long-dead controversies, and that Barack Obama and the U.S. government owe it things. The church pays no taxes and, yet, have their hand out? By conservative logic, that makes them welfare cheats! I don't think that's what Jesus meant when he said to help the poor.

--Chris Brewer posted his usual recap of our weekly flag football blowout, except that he didn't think any of it was worth mentioning (because, he told me, this time it was three-on-three). Still, he audaciously declares the "only eventful thing" of the day to be his popped knee. Missing from his blog is that he popped his knee because he reached for an uncatchable pass - because I was just covering him that well. He also skinned a few layers off his forearm in a last-ditch attempt to keep me from scoring the walk-off winning touchdown. You gotta admire the devotion, though, even if he decided not to post the picture I took of his arm and pained face, and even if he is a complete scrub.

For the record, we played two games. The Pacific Coast StupidSonics (my name for the team with the Californians and Oregonian) whipped My Better Team (The Louisianian, Indianian and, uh, other Californian) handily in the first game, while My Better Team pulled off a surprise win in the second after a defensive stand for the ages. On the day, I scored three touchdowns, one PAT, two sacks, netted a couple of pass blocks and managed some decent quarterbacking. Yes, this was probably due to the three-on-three game caused by people just not being around this weekend, but this may be the only time in my life this ever happens and I want it preserved for all time. So thanks, Chris! But do visit his blog for the cool observation I made at the movies last night (hint: it involves white supremacy).

--There was something else I wanted to cover, I think, but it was apparently too irrelevant to remember. Oh well.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

God + guns = somebody's guts

Right now, in Springfield, the city is considering ending the ban on concealed weapons in public parks. Good God.

As someone who frequents several of Springfield's parks, I am beyond astonished that anyone wants this so badly. What's next, guns at the Japanese Stroll Garden? Day care centers?

I've honestly never understood the mentality behind concealed weapons. The justification that's often used 100 percent of the time is, "I should be able to protect my family any way that I can." It's a testament to our times that this is seen as a solid defense; after all, is anyone really against personal and familial protection? And if they are, what kind of barbarians are they? I need to hide my piece in case one of these family haters gets in my face, yo!

But even beyond the idiotic semantics, how is a concealed weapon preferable to an exposed one? For one thing, it's harder to get to. Also, a concealed weapon gives the criminal no clue that you're armed, which invalidates the argument that hiding your piece makes you somehow more immune to crime.

On the other hand, people - even law-abiding family-type people - can get angry. And having a weapon in the heat of passion can, at best, complicate the situation. At worst, someone could get their eye shot out in a gruesome way.

Concealed weapons mainly fill two psychological urges:

1) "An armed society is a polite society." Another way to put this is, "An armed society is a fearful society." Essentially, we're supposed to assume everyone around us is packing heat in their jackets, and thus no one should try anything stupid. Of course, this fails to take into account that people often get angry for no reason, which all of the weapons training in the world won't stop from making the situation more dangerous once a gun is introduced.

Even if this picture weren't full of holes, a fear-based existence can only be maintained for long before society becomes a bleak shadow of itself. Personally, I'd fear the public a lot more if everyone carried rather than the odd nutball. I wrote last year about how easily a gunman's actions could devolve into a free-for-all firefight if an armed and panicking public were able to reply in kind.

Think of the people you know or have seen in schools, parks and malls. Every thug, Goth, punk, nerd, poseur, control freak, head case, Jesus freak, nervous wreck, teacher's pet, snob, spaz, hothead, hophead and armchair warrior. Now think of the police. Who would you rather trust with firearms?

Which brings us to the second psychological factor:

2) Dirty Harry/Death Wish fantasies. The Second Amendment protects a citizen's right to bear arms; it does not mean every person is a de facto police officer. The difference between a trained law-enforcement official and a concealed carrier is the difference between a state trooper and a teenage motorist. Sure, both can use the highways with impunity, but that doesn't give the 16-year-old the ability to pull over violators or engage in high-speed chases whenever he feels the need. And the state troopers aren't going to see that teenager as much of an asset as a vigilante. Cops generally don't.

Still, the vigilante scenario is alive and well among many law-abiding citizens, who are of course the ones who beg to pack hidden heat the most. Deep down (or perhaps not so deep down), they want to be the hero. They want to be able to say they kept the peace in the park. And to do that, they're eager to raise the potential danger factor in a policed area where firearms aren't currently allowed. And judging by the political leanings of much of the most vocal pro-gun crowd, they're the same ones who stump the most against protests, which often take place in parks or other public meeting grounds, because private property is off-limits to free speech due to the potential conflict and danger that such a risk poses. The law has decided that there are limits to freedom in that respect.

So if we can't exercise the First Amendment on private property, why should we allow unmitigated Second Amendment rights on public property?

In the gun nuts' zeal to protect their families, I suddenly feel a lot less safe in the park.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Go figure

Last night, I pulled beside an SUV at the red light of a major intersection. Written in white all across the right-side windows was, "I VOTE REPUBLICAN!" The other side sported a smaller, "McCAIN 08."

Ironically, it was in the left-turn lane. And when the light turned green, it made an illegal U-turn. Not so ironic.

I wasn't sure if the driver needed AAA or AA. Zing.

Go Saints!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My back thinks we're socialist!

If this country is so hot for the idea that hard work is the key to personal and financial success, shouldn't our health care system not completely undermine that the first time you need a test of some sort?

Just sayin'...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Making up for lost blog time

First off, I apologize for not posting much in the past few days. I guess you could say I was on a honeymoon, except that there was no exotic traveling or hot lovin' or gradual alienation of unmarried friends or anything like that.

And now, as MC Hammer says, "Pump it up. It's time for the news."

--A large group of Catholic bishops got together and gave Barack Obama an ultimatum over his stance on abortion, and demanded that he reverse it. They're also calling out Catholic politicians such as Joe Biden and demanding they not take communion or otherwise practice their faith within the church.

Or what? Am I missing something here? Does the United States government owe the Catholic Church, or any other religion, anything? Or is it just that time of the cycle again, when Catholics decide that our leaders aren't worthy to shine Benedict XVI's miter (as long as they're Democrats, that is)?

Strictly from a PR perspective, this isn't the best approach. In this age of hope and change and unity, why would such a massive organization try so hard to be divisive? "Agree with us 100 percent on every single issue, or we don't even want to see your heathen face in this house of Jesus. Actually, all you really have to do is agree with us on abortion and gays, because that's the only two things we ever talk about."

Joe Biden is a Catholic. You'd think the church would see this as an opportunity, but here's how I see that conversation going:

Bishop: "Psst, hey, Biden, we need you to help us out. Talk to the big O for us, will ya?"
Biden: "I'll see what I can do."
Bishop: "Thanks! Oh, and get the hell out of our church, heretic."

This isn't to knock Catholics in general; most of my family is Catholic, and I used to consider myself one as well. But crummy proclamations like the one emanating from these bishops ensure that I will never again align with the church. And they show exactly why Americans rejected such wannabe theocrats in this election.

--In St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, eight Ku Klux Klansmen are in custody for shooting a woman in the head during a botched initiation ritual. No one's really sure what happened, but it seems to me in this day and age the Klan would be rolling out the red carpet for the few yokels left who want to join, not rolling the red out of their heads. But I'm not in the KKK, so I shouldn't judge. Maybe it's a rite of passage. They all seem brainless anyway.

Thanks for representing, Louisiana. I've never been prouder to have a Missouri driver's license.

--Here in Springfield, a law is currently being bandied about regarding the downtown square. In short, they want to close the square at 11 p.m. on weekends, a full two and a half hours before the bars close (at 1:30 a.m., which is itself pathetic). Originally, the plan was to apparently allow for people to walk through, but not to loiter. But the latest version allows for anyone who even sets foot in the square after 11 p.m. to be arrested. Yes, arrested. Even if they're visitors who aren't aware of such a stupid law. Advocates say that visitors are being scared off by the "riffraff," which by my own account refers to the pasty, pierced goths and the homeless vets. What is their logic with the tourist trade here? "I got arrested where Wild Bill Hickok shot that guy and where they lynched those black dudes once and all I got was this lousy T-shirt?" As hard as the city's trying to sell downtown, they sure are trying to scare people away from it. But that would be logical.

They say that closing the square would allow police to focus on the streets as bars close. Because nothing says "secure" like a dark square at 1:30 in the morning that the cops aren't anywhere near. Believe me, I've trotted down that square at unsavory hours. It's not so much the homeless as the aggressive drunk club girls you have to worry about.

But maybe it is in the best interest of the city to close off the public areas and allow only those with money to spend to stick around. Let those who just want to hang out and be scary go do it some other the suburbs...where they'll marry my sister! OH NO!!

--I can't type "square" to save my life, apparently. I keep having to retype it, because my digits don't naturally go from "Q" to "U." Heh. Almost sounds like a pickup line, doesn't it?

--Obama and Nancy Pelosi are now calling for the Big Three U.S. automakers to be included in the bailout plan. One popular theory on the Intertubes is that the reason Ford, GM and Chrysler are being priced out of the market by Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and others is that we have to pay health care benefits. Maybe it is and maybe it isn't - but it could also be that Toyota, Honda and Hyundai make better and more efficient cars that are more conducive to the lifestyles and wallets of today's environmentally (and pocketbookily) aware motorist. Ford, for one, could sell that new 65-MPG Ford Festiva here as well as in England. Again, logic.

--George W. Bush admitted the "Mission Accomplished" banner was a mistake. Yes, and I'm sorry I harassed Julia Hiatt in third grade during recess that one time that got me sent to time-out. Too late now. Today, I'm waiting for Bush to say his second mistake was admitting to the first mistake.

--Man, I hope Obama makes blogging boring for the next few years.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sarah Palin's God

Conceived on a whim and rushed into, not that ticket, the cartoon...

Oh, and Happy Veterans Day!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day observations

--Ddddddddddddrrrrrroooooovvvveeee.....Sssoorry, tremblingggg....

-- Drove over to my precinct at about 6:25 a.m. Considering I spent most of the night wide awake and that I have to work from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. tonight, that was quite a sacrifice.

-- The polling place had moved into a mid-size church for the last election, the gubernatorial primary. I was unable to find the place last time (it was hidden in plain sight) and didn't vote. This time I made damn sure to locate it a few weeks early.

-- The parking lot was packed with cars, mostly neutral but about 50-50 among those with bumper stickers. A long line snaked outside, but I was told that those were the people with last names A-G. The H-O (yes, I know) and P-Z lines were oddly much shorter.

-- The church smelled like a flame-broiled Whopper. Quite nice. Saw a coworker exiting with his "I Voted" sticker. Nifty.

-- The woman in front of me - youthful-looking middle age - kept eying me. Maybe I give off Obama vibes. Those are aphrodisiacs, I've heard.

-- When I got my ballot sheet, I almost accidentally marked McCain-Palin. Seriously. I still get shivers thinking about it. I connected the Obama-Biden arrow with aplomb. Then I traced it over a few times just to be sure. Also voted for Nixon - Jay Nixon, that is - for Missouri governor. Also voted against a measure that would end public election of judges in favor of a "nonpartisan" commission's appointment with a public referendum after a few years. Oddly enough, fellow Greene County voter John Ashcroft also stumped against it, which makes me wonder.

--Even with a packed house and a busy ballot, I was in and out in about 25 minutes. I headed over to McDonald's for breakfast, where I wound up right behind the same woman who'd been in front of me at the polls. Destiny?

-- My journalism professor, who is serving in Iraq, sent out an e-mail saying this weekend's Texas Tech upset of Texas was an omen. He claims the military vote is 70 percent for McCain, and that it'll make a big difference. He's certainly a source for information you never hear anywhere else.

-- Later that afternoon, I got on the horn with my 18-year-old sister to make sure she and my family had voted. She's a political-science student, so I shouldn't have worried. She and my dad went this morning, and my mom went this afternoon. Didn't talk to my brother, but he's a reliable voter. My sis and I talked for about two hours about the election. Good times.

--On my way home this evening from my usual bike ride, I found myself stuck at a major intersection behind a van with an Obama bumper sticker. The driver opened the door and - after a few seconds - tossed her cookies all over the pavement! I thought maybe it was just a drink, but after she did it once again - visions of Mr. Creosote dancing in my head - and once we got moving I confirmed that it was, in fact, tossed cookies. "I know exactly how you feel," I said to myself. Later in the drive, it occurred to me that I'd been out of info reach for the past couple of hours, and maybe she knew something I didn't. And then, I suddenly felt the need to vomit myself. Fortunately, I managed to hold it down and eat something. Now I'm watching results trickle in. If only I could add my adrenaline to the power grid...

--That new CNN thing with Jessica Yellin being beamed into the Election Center as a 360-degree hologram from Chicago is awesome. Let's tap that technology for all of us who often need to be in two places at once.

--Just saw the Chicago celebration (so loud that CNN's Suzanne Malveaux had to get a special microphone after her first segment was completely drowned out), which was contrasted with the mood at the GOP's ballroom in Phoenix. Despite the excellent boys' choir, it still seemed like, er, reality.

-- [This space reserved for hope.]

Monday, November 03, 2008

The moment of truth

Yesterday afternoon, I got home after an exhilarating bike ride on a perfect southwest Missouri day. I had the day off to soak in some sunshine, hit the library and then the bike trail. Few things in life give me more peace. When I stepped in the door afterward, I flipped open the blinds and let the sunshine stream in. I plunked down and, as I often do, cracked open my bottle of water and sat down to check the latest goings-on online. This is when my mood changed.

It was then that I read that Barack Obama's beloved grandmother, Madelyn Payne "Toot" Dunham, had died Monday morning, just one day before the 2008 election. As we all know, Dunham had been like a second mom to Barack, raising him for a large portion of his childhood and was his rock in the years following his mother's early death. And despite the fact that she had been ill for some time, and that I didn't know her personally, I cried. First I cried because of the terrible loss that has befallen the Obama and Dunham families at such a pivotal moment. Then I cried some more after reading well-wishers online, who expressed the sort of spiritual sentiments for which I'm not known. The idea that Toot died assured of her grandson's victory and that she could be watching from heaven with Martin Luther King Jr. genuinely moved me (and anyone who knows me knows I'm generally not of that frame of mind). Someone made a comment online that Obama will never, ever regret having suspended his campaign to visit her in her final hours.

My grandfather, one of the biggest influences of my life and my lifelong next-door neighbor, died shortly before my 19th birthday. As much time as I spent with Pop all my life - at least as much as with my parents - he died while I was at the mall buying running shorts with my girlfriend. My cousin had made it from Hawaii to be at his bedside, but I wasn't there. That is the single thing I'd change in my life. Five months later, his wife of 53 years died as well. My last remaining grandparent, my dad's mom, died in 2006, and I spent my 26th birthday at her funeral. All three grandparents had been a huge influence in my life (my dad's dad had died in 1963). Losing them as an adult really gives you an appreciation for the fragility of life. In my relatively short adulthood, I've lost an unimaginable numbers of relatives, coaches, mentors and friends, to the point where I wondered if I could even shed a tear anymore. But something about Obama has sparked in myself an appreciation for the good in my own life and in those I know and love. He's reminded me of an optimism and decency that my 6th grade English teacher made me promise to never lose.

And this is why I cry for Barack Obama.

For me, support of Obama is so much more than the sum of his campaign and platform; he also brings a distinct humanity that many of us didn't know could exist in national politics. Obama isn't so much the man you want to have a beer with - well, that too - but he's also the man you'd trust with your children, or with your life on an operating table. Many make a big fuss over John McCain's patriotism or Sarah Palin's "realness," but in the end those qualities go only so far. Obama has both the cool intellect and the bedside manner that our country needs in its time of crisis. He isn't just the face of the U.S.; he will be its brain and heart as well.

And this is what perhaps has been the most remarkable aspect of Obama's campaign, no matter how it turns out. For too long, Americans have been more consumers than citizens, disheartened by a government they have always seen as too far gone. But Obama has given many of us not just change for its own sake, but a renewed faith in the idea that the people matter.

Obama's election would do so much more than install a Democratic president; it would validate a genuine movement toward civility and unity in politics. Obama is one of those rare candidates who makes politics feel less like a sport than a privileged civic duty. You don't want to work for him or vote for him as much as you want to do those things for the country. One of Obama's most common refrains is, "This election is not about me. It's about you." And it is, indeed, about all of us. After eight years of arrogance, fear, loss of rights and secrecy, U.S. citizens are hungrier than ever to be a part of their nation again.

Much of the credit for Obama's success goes to the incredible discipline and technology-driven nature of his campaign. While McCain freely admitted to not even checking his own e-mail without help, the Obama campaign made text messages, YouTube and other online works staples of their effort. They fought back quickly and decisively against any and all allegations, and even set up, a one-stop repository to counter all lies and innuendo.

It's sometimes said that someone can be measured by the quality of their critics. Obama's critics have taken desperation and prejudice to a whole new level. It started obviously enough, with fearful rhetoric about his race, childhood influences and that scary middle name of his. Then came the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose moment of incendiary speech electrified a nation of those who apparently didn't see the irony of criticizing a supposed Muslim for his Christian pastor, or the irony of letting McCain's courting of John Hagee slip by. As the public got to know Obama, and realize that the right-wing caricature hid a scholarly, upbeat, electric, all-American family man, the attacks predictably escalated. Suddenly, Obama's policies were deemed socialist and Marxist, and he became inextricably linked with the most extreme actions of anyone he'd so much as shared a table with in his life. But those mean attacks didn't catch on, because anyone who lived through the 1990s - such as every registered voter alive - could recall a time when Obama-esque economic policy did this country proud, just as it had in most of the pre-Reagan era. Nothing socialist or Marxist about that. Nothing reasonable about that perspective, either.

These attacks, assuming everyone goes to the polls today (and you'd better!!), will represent the death rattles of what will likely be seen as one of America's sorriest periods in history. It won't be easy to climb out of the canyon that was the Bush era, but the first rung has already come in the form of the Obama movement. Today is our chance to toss up a giant grappling hook in that climb by electing Barack Obama as President of the United States.

I look forward, as many do, to crying more tears tonight. Tears of joy. Let's get it started!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sarah Palin shares the wealth!

"And Alaska, we're set up, unlike other states in the union, where it's collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs..." --Sarah Palin, socialist-hater

I will concede, though, that Keith did a slight bit of trickery here. He explains how Sarah said she was able to give out rebates to every citizen because, quote, "Alaska is sometimes described as America's socialist state because of its collective ownership of resources." The way he says it, it's as if she said that herself. Even I wondered about that, so I found the New Yorker article in question and discovered that Keith is quoting the author's words with the latter quote, not Palin. Technically, he's not wrong, nor does that change the point that Palin essentially endorses a socialist structure, but it does give critics something to play with. And she's still a fraud.

As for the Obama-McCain race, McCain has picked up a point here and there. So now he's losing handily by a slightly smaller amount. Football fans will appreciate Rachel Maddow's gridiron take on the final drive of this race:

That's about as good an analogy as it gets. In that respect, it's very much like the 2006 game between the New Orleans Saints and the New York Giants at The Meadowlands. Saints fans will recall that the Giants didn't run a single offensive play in Saints territory the entire game. The end result? A 30-7 blowout by the Saints. I'll take it. Won't you?

Monday, October 27, 2008

What a dumb argument!

I don't understand how this whole "redistribution of wealth" hokey has caught on with conservatives lately. While it does make sense on a "anything to the left of my far-right view is radical communism" level, as well as fitting the whole Hail-Mary desperation mode of today's GOP, as an argument it's ridiculous.

Of course we have redistribution of wealth in this country; without it, we wouldn't even have a functioning society. By definition, taxation is taking money from one source and dedicating it to another. It's why we have roads, street lights, parks, schools, libraries, Medicare and Social Security. And as much as many Republicans and libertarians hate all of those things, I have yet to come across anyone clamoring to pave their own roads or dig their own drainage ditches. Apparently, redistribution of wealth is good enough for some things.

But the real sore point lies with (sneer alert) "social programs." How dare we spend money assisting those with nerve to ask for help? No one needs help, except maybe for directions to bootstrap class!

The entire economic premise of the Republican Party is that money is the indisputable sign of success. This leads to the following conclusions:

1) If you work hard, you will make a lot of money.
2) If you have a lot of money, it's because you worked hard.
3) If you don't have a lot of money, it's because you are lazy.
4) Low-wage jobs are that way for a reason, and anyone who works them deserves what they get if they don't have the drive/means/connections/luck to find a better job.

See, in a Republican world, someone who busts their ass for 60 hours a week at Burger King possesses less virtue than someone who spends the same amount of time speculating on the stock market. Call it a stigma tax. Inheritances apparently don't factor in either, except insofar as those poor people have to pay the dreadful Death Tax just for the crime of being born in a worthy bloodline (at least among those 2 percent of Americans who even have to consider it).

This mind-set allows them to get away with the some of the most heartless economic policy I've ever heard. They want tax cuts for the richest Americans and corporations because, in their view, economic relief is not about lifting millions of hurting middle-class Americans out of debt and financial uncertainty that ultimately reverberates into all tax brackets - instead, tax cuts are seen as a reward for achieving a high score. The super-rich need these cuts, we're told, so that these benevolent altruists can hire more workers and thus let their bounty trickle down. See? They're just trying to help! Why are you trying to punish success? What poor person ever gave you a job?

Well, in the past three decades we've seen just how well that works. Which is to say, it doesn't. Maybe giving rich people even more money to put away for a distant rainy day with no mandate to trickle it down (and every loophole possible to avoid paying income taxes) isn't the best recipe for economic success. Maybe "redistributing" that money to those most likely to need and spend it will jump-start the economy better. Not bogus "stimulus" packages, either, but lasting reductions in both income and payroll taxes that keep the middle class afloat financially. Historically, the U.S. has been healthiest economically under a progressive tax system - including the rich. The growing divide between rich and poor begun through Reaganomics is literally killing our country. It's unsustainable.

Anyway, isn't the GOP tax platform also redistribution of wealth? Those Bush tax cuts had to come from somewhere, and it wasn't Exxon-Mobil! Though I suppose with the record deficits we're now facing, the notion of "wealth" is a bit looser than it used to be. So it's more like, "distribution of debt." And with the socialistic takeover of the big banks by Big Government, that's one thing the GOP is only too happy to distribute.

This whole "redistribution" allegation is something the Republicans should really reconsider. I say we give them eight years or so to mull it over.

'Change. Thats what's up.'

The Budweiser "Whassup?" guys have teamed up once again in this pro-Obama video. The commercials were silly trifles in 2000, but this one has a sharp and surprisingly moving edge to it.

For all of its other benefits, the YouTube age has graced us with video possibilities that weren't prevalent even four years ago. They've affected this election a great deal, and will continue to have impact on all corners of our society in the future. This breed is particularly exciting, I think: the commercial icons breaking away from endorsements to champion causes. With today's advanced video technology and uploading availability, these independent spots can be made to look every bit as professional as the shills. The corporations may not like it, but the public does. Yay for disclaimers! And these guys.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A simple question for conservatives

If Barack Obama promises tax relief for 95 percent of working Americans, doesn't that by definition not refer to those who don't pay taxes?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

'You could see the hand of God over her'

Sarah Palin visited Springfield yesterday, making a speech in the parking lot at Bass Pro Shops. It was everything you'd expect.

I suspected as much.

I wasn't at this splendid event, given that the weather started out cold and progressively worsened until the sky was dark gray and drizzly for Palin's big moment. Also, I don't like her voice, policies or apparent disgust for intelligence. And I had to wash my hair, which is starting to look like Dennis Miller's in his prime. You know, before he went all like-this-woman on us.

But if the newspaper coverage is any indicator, I didn't miss much:

On energy, Palin said she and McCain would tap the country's existing energy resources, such as billions of barrels of domestic oil.

While she was explaining the proposal, the sun shone briefly through the clouds, prompting Palin to say: "We all see the light. Yes! We gotta drill, baby, drill."

The crowd dutifully chanted the catchphrase.

I can see why Palin would appeal to those who see Jesus in their toast...

"I don't want our country deep-sixed like Sodom and Gomorrah," said Christina Flowers, a 38-year-old evangelist. "And I hate it when people call Obama a messiah. There's only one messiah."

...But why anyone else would want a leader who sees a single ray of sunshine and thinks, "God is winking at me to turn this sky black," should have any sort of power whatsoever bypasses me completely.

This next quote you might want to read only after any fluids you're drinking or food you're eating has safely passed through your throat. Ready? OK, good. Carry on.

She pledged that she and McCain would balance the country's budget by the end of their first term.

How are they going to do that, liquidate the entire military? On second thought, I don't want to know.

Says nothing about photographers, though...

I like this collection of quotes from Palin supporters at the rally. I wish I could say these are out of context, but I also wish for world peace and look how well that turned out.

McCallister said she started the election cycle supporting Democrat Barack Obama, liking the idea of having an African-American president and breaking down the country’s racial barriers.

But as she listened Obama’s hope-filled speeches, she became disenchanted with the candidate.

“Then I realized at the end of the day, I never could grasp what he was saying,” she said.

Granted, there are some who say they don't think Barack Obama offers much substance. I disagree, but they're entitled to their opinion. But this is the first time I've heard of anyone not being able to grasp what he says. "Hope, change, huh?"

Sandy Gumm, 53, of Camdenton, fears abortions would increase if Barack Obama is elected president.

“It’s going to be wide open season on unborn babies,” she said.

"I want to promote a culture of death, where more and more babies die." - Barack Obama, at a California rally last never.

Amber Theobald, 48, of Marshfield said: “We’re worried about America. We just wish America would stop drinking Obama juice.”

What she didn't tell you is that she's a distributor for Bush Beer. Look for her latest lines, Palin Punch and Coke-Cain!

This final entry speaks for itself. But you know I'll say something about it anyway.


Many voters expressed a faith-based connection to Palin’s Christian values and willingness to express them in public.

Ruben and Rebecca Cortez drove two hours from Grove, Oklahoma.

“We came because Sarah Palin is a Deborah and Esther of our day,” said Rebecca Cortez, referencing the Deborah and Esther of the Old Testament.

Deborah, a Judge of Israel, was chosen to help defeat the enemy Canaanites.

Esther was a Jewish Queen of Persia who helped Jewish people from a plot by a malefactor.

Rebecca Cortez said Palin was chosen, in part, to defeat the modern day enemy — Obama.

Rebecca said she never knew who Palin was until the day John McCain chose her as his running mate.

As she watched Palin appear on TV with McCain at a rally in Ohio, Cortez said, “You could see the hand of God over her.”

Just so you know, the weather Friday morning was clear and sunny. For Palin's speech, clouds and rain rolled in. Today, the weather is again clear and sunny. To paraphrase Eva Amurri in Saved!, "The real miracle would've been not having an overcast day at all."

All in all, though, I'd conclude the rally was a great secession, er, success.

(Oh, and I just heard that last night, as Palin dropped the puck at a St. Louis Blues hockey game, the team's goalie slipped on her red carpet and had to skip the game due to the resulting injury. See, now that's what I call a sign.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mayberry, hold the Machiavelli

When you ask most Republicans what time period they'd like most to travel back to, the answer you're most likely to hear - aside from the 12th century, perhaps - is the late 1950s/early 1960s. Ah, the good old days, when men were men and women ironed without irony. When Mayberry exemplified all that was Good and Right with America! Forty years later, what would the good sheriff Andy Taylor and his precocious lad Opie think about such a heathen, colorful time as now? Why, there can't be a smidgen of gosh-durn doubt about who they'd vote for in 2008! Right? Whistle with me now...

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking: "Ron Howard is a typical Hollywood librul! He with his corruptive Richie Cunningham, Apollo 13 ways! A Beautiful Mind just proves his intellectual elitism and Cocoon just shows he wants to ride the Wilford Brimley train! And that Andy Griffith, man, all that Christian music and Matlock just hides a scary terrorist-lover who regularly endorses Democrats in North Carolina!" Fine, you got me there. But the Fonz? Henry Winkler was a Bush-Cheney supporter in both 2000 and 2004, but even he's man enough to admit he was wrooooo....well, you saw the video.

In any case, it's hard to deny the support from interesting corners Barack Obama's been getting in the past few days. Colin Powell. Christopher Buckley. CC Goldwater. Scott McClellan. And now, Sheriff Andy, Opie and the Fonz. Wow!

But, McCain-Palin fans, take heart. You have your own celebrity couple to celebrate!

And, best of all, they're now! And who won't look back fondly on their era?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Template conservative blog post

I am not a close observer of politics, but I've been casually following this race. And I've decided to support John McCain and Sarah Palin, because Barack Obama is [something unbelievably inflammatory based on a long-debunked e-mail forward from my uncle] who will take America [into whatever communist leader's colon my pastor said he would]. McCain, on the other hand, is a war hero and Palin is real, just like actual women I know down at the Wal-Mart.

I realize that some of you might disagree with me or want to tell me where I'm wrong. Don't. No comments, please. Yes, I've given this post a provocative title, I've specifically targeted this message to some of you and have left the comment option open, but that's only because I want you to know how I feel. I don't want to engage in a debate or anything else that might lead to bad feelings or defensiveness. So just know that Barack Obama is [something not socially acceptable to say since 1964] and that anyone who supports him or doubts Sarah Palin is [anti-American garbage].

[Friend you used to respect]

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I never want to feel this horrible again

Every once in a while, I have a dream that's a little too vivid in a bad sense. It may involve the death of an immediate family member, being evicted from my apartment on false pretenses or some other form of irreversible trauma. These dreams have such a lifelike quality that I'm still left wondering about their authenticity even hours after awakening.

Well, I had one of those dreams early this morning. And the thrust of it was that John McCain had won the presidential election.

The dream began on the early morning of Election Day. I get up and call up friends and family in my home state of Louisiana, urging them to vote (I had actually talked to my 18-year-old sister last night, reminding her to do the same thing - she doesn't need reminding, fortunately). Even though Louisiana seems like a lost cause for Barack Obama, I don't want my home state to go gently into the neocon night. I currently live in Missouri, one of the most-watched swing states, and this may be the first time since my first presidential vote in 2000 that it will actually count.

In the dream, I spend the rest of the day soaking up news and online coverage of the day. Predictably, pundits, voters and the candidates themselves have endless amounts of analysis. My job precludes me from officially aligning with (or contributing to) any campaign, so there isn't much I can do in traditional grass-roots avenues. But still, I feel satisfied that I've gotten friends and family on both (three?) sides to take an active interest in the race.

As I go to work on what promises to be a busy night of coverage, I feel more eager and energized than I have in quite some time. Even with the heavy work load owing to the election and the significance thereof, and my admittedly cautious optimism, I feel lighter than usual.

It's then that I realize, in all of the day's hoopla, that I've completely forgotten to vote. This occurs to me at almost the exact minute the polls close. My heart sinks. How could I forget?!! Not only is this disheartening, but it's embarrassing. What would everyone think? Yes, I could technically say I voted for Obama in the state primary on Super Tuesday, but I could never say I made a difference where it counted most - in the voting booth on Nov. 4. Fortunately, no one asks me even jokingly if I voted, because that's like asking if Chris Rock is funny. It's just implied. I finally get over myself by realizing that Missouri could go blue even without my help.

But before the electoral map even swings our way, it's over. At 9 p.m. CST, all of the major networks announce that John Sidney McCain III is the next president of the United States. And that Sarah Palin is the next vice president. As it turns out, McCain turned in such a stunning and unexpected performance in Ohio, Florida and even New England that the race is set to be an electoral blowout.

"What? How? No electoral model I saw made that even remotely possible," I think to myself. Not even Karl Rove's. As it turns out, the popular vote is close - but in the counties where it counts most, the vote skewed McCain's way. I'm ready to scream voter fraud, but exit polls and voter interviews suggest that voters simply made 11th-hour decisions to vote McCain. Fraud can't explain this.

Now I began to feel bad about my own voting inaction. When Missouri officially goes red, I feel worse. Pundits on TV note that the Obama campaign's successful efforts to draw millions to register and to court the youth vote had been canceled out by Election Day complacency and a sudden groundswell of conservatives who suddenly weren't.

Regardless, there is a general feeling that no one really hails McCain's election. Obama supporters are devastated, and Republicans are merely saying meh, we dodged a bullet.

"How can this be happening?" I ask, the dread in me palpable. "We squandered a chance to make history to have a president-elect that gets no one excited?" Someone around me says that McCain was the safe choice, and that they had fallen back on him when the time came to mark the ballot.

The scene then changes to me sitting in my apartment the next morning. Weather-wise, it's a perfect day, and I open the windows of my lake-view apartment to let the sunshine in. I'm sitting on my living-room floor, folding laundry, with CNN on in the background. Just then, Sarah Palin begins her victory speech.

I don't remember exactly what she said, but the accent and the smugness were as real as if I had it blaring on my speakers right this minute. And I remember the sinking feeling. And how I couldn't even think about Obama or hope anymore. I had the same feeling that I had during the hardest time of my life, which my unconscious brain is unfortunately able to conjure with dead-on accuracy. Except I felt it for the both the U.S. and the entire world.

Then I woke up. Relief wasn't instant, but I eventually came to my senses. And now I realize how no one who cares about the future of this country should allow this nightmare to happen. I will not forget to vote on Election Day, and neither should you.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama

With all of the newspaper endorsements Obama has received in the past few days - even the Houston Chronicle, which hasn't gone Democrat since 1964, and the Chicago Tribune, since ever - Powell's word has to be the strongest and most principled. Towards the end, he says that Obama isn't a Muslim, but that a Muslim has every right to be president; he then relates an anecdote about Muslim-American soldiers dying for their country. He also praises Obama's positions, intellect, timeliness and eloquence - which, he says, is something to consider in a leader. And, of course, he laments the negative and reactionary direction in which the GOP has taken John McCain's campaign, as well as McCain's rightward political shift. Even then, however, Powell is complimentary of McCain's works and service to his country. I don't know if there's such a thing as a perfect endorsement, but this comes close. It's going to turn a lot of heads. I know it got my attention.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The all-important plumber's-crack vote

-- "Back in Arizona, Evan Mecham and I used to hold guys like you at arm's length."
-- Worst bitch-slap. Ever.
-- Even McCain had to admit it was first down for Obama
-- "Americans need a hand up, not a handout. Just don't pull too hard, because I'm an old man dry-rotted by an ancient ideology."
-- "If I hold my arm out like this, you won't notice that I'm not wearing a flag pin."
-- "I was a POW, so I can't do the terrorist fist jab all that well."
-- "See my ring? Joe the Plumber rooted it out of the drain."
-- "Oil can!"
-- Frank Luntz: "All right, who in this room now supports Obama?"
-- Inscription on his hand: "Time for a bathroom break? M"
-- "Psst,'s the name of every voter who thought I won the debate. No, the bottom two fingers."

-- Leave it to McCain to pick the worst possible way to look Reaganesque
-- "Pretzel!"
-- Wow...he really is frozen in carbonite...
-- Yes, John, it's hard not to swoon over Obama
-- For the first time, McCain reveals his initial reaction to the Sarah Palin pick
-- Fox News: "Once again, John McCain reaches across the aisle, only to be ignored by Obama."
-- "Mmmm...lipstick!"
-- "I'm open!"
-- McCain dances with the ghost of Lee Atwater
-- "My plan to tax employer health care benefits will leave a lot of Americans looking like this."
-- McCain cringed as his maverick reputation slipped out of his hands, to float away forever
-- Someone could use a McCane
-- ....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Clever blog title here

--I want to see Fireproof and An American Carol. But I don't want to pay for them.

--In order to watch the American Carol trailer on an official site, I had to sit through an ad first. I don't get it; aren't trailers themselves advertising? Are we headed toward a day when commercials themselves have commercials? "Get a flame-broiled Whopper for much? Stay tuned to find out. And now, here's a message from Valtrex!"

--If I weren't so angry at the Republican Party for all it's done to ruin this nation for pretty much my entire lifetime, I'd pity them. They hate Obama, don't particularly care for McCain and see Sarah Palin as an icon of feminism. It must suck to be so hateful, divisive and eager to believe that a majority of Americans are terrorist sympathizers. And desperate on top of that. William Ayers? Yawn. Even Republicans who've worked with him have defended him and decried the party's effort to make him into some kind of right-hand monster. Next?

--I can't wait until Election Day. Seriously, I can't. I'm ready for this to be decided. Let me rephrase that...I'm ready for the campaigns to be over. But Obama can just keep on talking.

--Yesterday I got cut off in traffic by some jerk with an Obama sticker on the back window and...well, I'm sure he didn't mean to.

--My hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana is currently touting itself as one of the best places in the country to do business. Sounds good, until you realize that's like saying you made the best disco record of 1985.

--Did I really just see some Cajun spell "Rezko" as "Rezceaux"? And here I thought they'd run out of words to "eaux." Maybe the G-EAUX-P figured that talking point would play well in Louisiana. As if it wouldn't anyway.

--I saw a thread on Democratic Underground this morning that called out those who remain negative no matter how well things turn out. The writer said they understood the need to be cautious, but that constant negative energy is tiresome. I agree. It's one thing to address worst-case scenarios, but it's another to say, "Obama seems poised to get 100 more electoral votes than he needs, but what if the delegates change their minds on January 6?" Or, "The Saints trashed the Raiders 34-3. But they played dreadfully, because there were plenty of plays in which they didn't score at all. Reggie Bush scored two touchdowns. He's clearly not living up to his hype." Hell, I'm getting tired just thinking about it.

--The Saints played like they meant it against the Raiders. Next step: getting Morten Andersen to retire as a Saint like he's practically begging to do. Hey, if Taylor Mehlhaff doesn't work out...and even if he does...

-- And now an entry from today's guest blogger, my back: "Ow."