Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wanderlust Kicks In (a short play)

A conversation I had last night at work:

Girl: "I went to Hawaii once."

Me: "Really? That sounds cool."

Girl: "Yeah, but I stayed with my sister."

Me: "Oh...OK then?"

Girl: "And I was there with [my now-ex-husband]."

Me: "..."

Girl: "What?"

Me: "What matters is, you were in Hawaii."

Girl: "I guess..."

Me: "I've...um...been to Texas."

Monday, March 30, 2009

SWISH! Wait, wha? Oh, wrong sport.



This one's a more accurate depiction of my football skillz:



This play probably made sense at the time. Probably.

(Thanks to Chris Brewer and photographer Nathan Papes)

Friday, March 27, 2009

FAIL



This church sign, located in south Springfield, first caught my eye because of the hokey nod to "intelligent design." Then I realized that "intelligence" had too many Es and not enough Is - not the most fortunate word to misspell when claiming a direct pipeline to God's wisdom. Finally, as I uploaded the picture just now, it occurred to me that entire syllables are flipped as well. Could this actually not be a misspelling, and instead be a new Bushian malapropistic buzzword combining "integrity" with "intelligence" while showing the standard religious-right contempt towards both?

Naah. I don't know these people. They may be perfectly nice. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they're just hilariously lousy spellers.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Inspired rules

Rule #82: Idol chatter
Radio DJs, and everyone else, have to stop steering every conversation toward American Idol. It's annoying when you don't watch the show and thus don't know any of the contestants from Adam Lambert. I imagine it's irritating even if you love the show; hey, I love Family Guy, but don't necessarily want to steer a conversation about health care to the time Peter sued his doctor for molestation during a prostate exam.

Rule #82-B: Facial profiling
If your Facebook status describes anguish over someone being eliminated from a reality show and you are over 21, you lose your right to vote.

Rule #83: Two enemies make a Right
Don't call George W. Bush a liberal just because he expanded government. It's interesting to see many Republicans rationalize the failures of the Bush regime by saying that he isn't, in fact, one of them. They'll tell you that the reason Bush failed was because he wasn't true to the conservative principles of small government and stingy federal spending. And because he wasn't conservative, he must have been liberal — the old "enemy of my enemy is my friend" mentality. At least they're consistent.

Saying Bush was a liberal because of his reckless spending is like saying a white supremacist is black because he once subscribed to "Vibe." I believe "hypocrite" is the better word.

Rule #84: Meta Critic
Rock music must stop making songs about being rock stars. Joe Walsh would be spinning in his grave if he'd committed suicide over just how far the conceit has fallen. His song was funny, clever and satirical: "Everybody's so different / I haven't changed." By comparison, Nickelback sounds like the very moronic Cristal-Hummer hip-hop that they're supposedly satirizing. And is there any less-appropriate time to be celebrating conspicuous consumption than today? Apart from ever?

Rule #85: Detroit Scions
Base Toyota in Detroit. Kills two birds with one stone.

Rules

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Exploring my neuroses in dream form

(Based on about 36 actual events)

I am at my grandparents' house in Louisiana. Time is warped, because they died 10 years ago, and yet I am my current age. Nobody is home but myself and my sister, who is of indeterminately young age. I am sitting in the middle of the living room, alone, watching a lovely sunny afternoon through the windows. It's not the best neighborhood in the world, but today it's delightfully quiet.

Then I hear a familiar, "tit tit tititit...tit tit" on the front door. It's my great aunt, "Boo," who lived next door until she died in 1992. Guess she got better.

"Ian!" I hear her say urgently. "Let me in!" I open the door.

She runs in, immediately ducks on the floor and covers her head, as if defending herself from a bear attack. I knew her to be a bit timid, especially when alone, since the death of her sister and roommate in 1986.

"There's a man knocking on my door, wanting to sell tickets for softball or something," Boo tells me. "I don't have any money. I don't want to deal with that today."

Next door, I hear, RAP-RAP-RAP-RAP! "Barbecue tickets," the man shouts. "Barbecue tickets!"

"When he comes to this door, don't answer! Wait for him to go away!" she tells me, as if the barbecue is laced with cyanide. I say OK, and proceed to close all of the blinds so that he can't see that we're home. That's when I start to get paranoid.

Soon enough, the man gives up on her house and proceeds to ours. We're mere feet away from the door, and we hear two sets of feet rustle. From my vantage point, I'm able to see through a crack that the burly barbecue man has been joined by a graying Jehovah's Witness. They knock gently at first. We're quiet as can be. Normally I'd open the door myself and talk to them, if only to politely decline, but Boo has me whipped into full-on stealth mode. We can hear murmurs between our two callers.

I think to myself how differently my grandparents would have handled this. They would have invited them in for coffee like old friends. They always bought whatever people were selling if it was for a good cause. Once, a local Republican politician came to visit, and the rapport was so easy that I thought she was just another visitor. My grandfather grilled her big-time, but even then it was friendly. This, lying on the floor, wasn't like us.

The knocking began to subside. Just then, my sister walked in from the kitchen. Assessing the situation, she quickly dropped to the floor. She sported the grin she always cracks when she's about to comically dash my efforts.

"WHAT'S UP, IAN AND BOO?" She asks excitedly.

"Shhh!" Boo and I respond.

"WHY ARE YOU LYING ON THE FLOOR?"

The knocking resumes. Rap-Rap-Rap!

"THERE ARE MEN AT THE DOOR!"

"We know," I hiss.

"WELL, TALK TO THEM! WE HAVE MONEY!"

BAM-BAM-BAM!!

"Barbecue tickets!"

"SAL-vation!"

My sister opens the blinds, as well as the slats in the front door. Boo and I sheepishly look up at the men, who have now been joined by a barefoot neighborhood kid selling a piece of furniture.

"No thank you," I say before any of them can launch into their pitches. "We don't have any money. Sorry!" The barbecue ticket man looks hurt, the preacher hands us a pamphlet and the kid shrugs with indifference. They leave. We stand up.

Just then, we notice that another solicitor is rapping on Boo's house. Nuts. I look down the street, and see that a long line of people are knocking on every other door in clockwork fashion, almost as if they're daring us to answer.

Boo runs into the bathroom. My sister starts yelling through the window that we're home. I brace for the barrage.

Then I wake up and ease my mind by reading a book about serial killers.

Monday, March 23, 2009

An awesome car I saw today, built of glass, steel and irony



Why does this car even need license plates, when the owner's balls are what should really be registered? Clearly, they're deadly weapons against The Man.

It's so deceptive, especially at night. You know, you need the five-o and you think, "Phew, I've found them!" But then...you get closer...and see the fine print. Psych!

You have to admit, though - this would make an awesome unmarked car. Some criminal would let their guard down and say to the driver, "Yeah, screw those pigs! I got drugs right here! Want some?" And BAM! Cuffed! It's almost not fair.

If I were the police chief, I would assign that car to this location:



This is a real sign just off a bike trail that I frequent. And, believe me, you don't want to go 18 mph in this zone. Rip your arm right off, man.

If they parked that "police car" there, and violators said to the cops, "I wasn't doing anything wrong," then the cops could quip, "Yeah, and we're NOT THE FIVE-O!" High-five! Score one more for the Good Guyz!

See? I'm nothing if not a law-and-order man.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bobby Jindal knows things, mm-k?

A Missourian asks: "Forty-nine states have reported an increase in unemployment rates, whereas only Louisiana has reported increased employment.

"What does the GOP's Indian-American rising star Bobby Jindal know about economics that the other 49 governors have forgotten?"

There are several answers for this, I imagine:

1) Job numbers are rising because they couldn't have gotten lower.
2) Alcohol is selling quite well.
3) Busboy jobs abound in Louisiana.
4) Somebody's gotta run the toxic-waste plants: "They smell like money to us!"
5) Drill, baby, drill!
6) College graduates can't stop working: coffee shop in the daytime, warehouse work at night.
7) A rich vein has been tapped in the fledgling Sarah Palin drool-tissue industry.
8) As people flood out of the state, job figures inevitably look better.

Of course, this question ceases to be serious with the description of "the GOP's Indian-American rising star Bobby Jindal." That's just overkill. Very telling, "I saw Jindal's State of the Union response and am responding accordingly"-caliber overkill. The writer isn't asking this question so much as he's daring you to ask it - in a very leading way. And why not? Jindal's got the brains, the youth and just the right looks for the GOP. Soon they'll be offering you a free shammy with purchase - a $3.95 value!

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what passes for a grass-roots movement in the Republican Party.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Infallible, indeed

Did Pope Benedict XVI really tell Africans that condoms spread HIV?

Really?!!

Is he trying to kill them off?

There's a line between remaining true to the tenets of your faith, and being absolutely reckless in your extremism. To say this crosses that line is like saying the Grand Canyon is a divot in the soil. Words cannot begin to express the sheer lunacy.

Actually, I don't know if "lunacy" is the appropriate word. The Catholic Church has been against condoms and birth control forever, though I've rarely met a follower who didn't use them. If your religion calls for an all-male power structure and a repression of all sexual urges outside of conception, fine. Enjoy your wine and wafers and I'll go live more realistic notions. But when your answer to the massive AIDS crisis on one of the world's poorest and most populated continents is not to use protection, perhaps "evil" is a better word.

Too strong a term, you ask? No, it's not. The pope is asking disease-stricken Africans not to take protective measures against AIDS because, in the eyes of a Catholic God, condoms are a sin. And if the choice is between sinning and dying, sorry, death's gotta win. After all, you should have known better. Even if it wasn't your fault.

Is there any philosophy quite as poisonous as the one Benedict is pushing? The whole idea that people will tangle in an orgy if given access to condoms is so antiquated, I'm not sure if it ever made sense. Human libidos drive sex, not access to rubbers. Indeed, the spread of HIV in Africa seems to have done just fine without them. And while it's true that condoms alone aren't going to stop, treat or cure the epidemic, their use is a start. Africans, by and large, are a devout people, a huge chunk of whom are Catholics. The pope may be their only education in AIDS, which is what makes this cross the line from dogmatic ignorance to all but abetting death.

It's funny how people can ridicule other religions for, say, not allowing hospital visits or blood transfusions. How irresponsible, right? How many children are going to die from easily treatable maladies, right? But how many of these well-intentioned people will completely shrug off this travesty because the pope is doing the talking? Insanity is insanity.

What's needed here is perspective. Muslims are expected to strictly follow the tenets of their faith. But when circumstances are such that praying or fasting is impossible or otherwise is a threat to their lives, they are implored not to take the risk; what matters is what the believer holds in their heart. The Catholic Church should adopt that sense of perspective sometime. Hopefully before millions more men, women and children die at the hands of their unworkable, illogical dogma.

Man, does the Vatican ever need an Obama...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What immediately came to mind when I saw this picture of the pope with the first couple of Cameroon


"That isn't a halo around your wife's head - it's a hole in the ozone layer."


"That's better. I might even make that an official miter, if women ever meant anything in the Vatican power structure."

Rules of questionable taste

Rule #80: Meth Blab
Let people buy all the Sudafed they want. If someone buys crates of the stuff, let that be probable cause and go after them. Otherwise, people should be able to buy a package or two without forcing them to surrender their personal info to a logbook. It's slow, tedious and pointless, and does nothing to curb the increasing crystal meth epidemic in this country (Ever heard of smurfing?). But the practice may curb sales to people who actually want to use it for its intended purpose.

Screw it; I'm being too specific here. I should actually broaden this rule to say, "Stop making the good suffer for the bad!!!" Of course, that's so succinct that I'd have nothing to write about for the rest of my life. And then I'd bored. And broke. And I'd have to start a recession-proof business to make ends meet. Anyone know of a cheap enterprise with a ravenous clientele and only a slight risk of death by explosion?

Rule #81: Golden Terra-chute
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney don't deserve retirement. They should have to work until they suffer strokes, just like the rest of us will have to do. Forget trying them for war crimes; take away their ill-gained fortunes and subject them to this job market! Let them see firsthand the effects of high payroll taxes, job insecurity, Medicare cuts and - however technically in Bush's case - the decimated VA system. Many U.S. citizens have struggled for decades, but the naked contempt for the poor and middle class under Bush-Cheney has brought with it a particular measure of detachment. Even if they learn nothing from the experience - and they probably wouldn't - then they'd at least see how the general public lives for the first time in their pampered, arrogant lives. And they'd finally have something to share with regular folk over that delusionally metaphorical beer.

Just make sure the jobs don't require heavy lifting, open flames or reading. Safety first!

Rules archive

All the favorite subjects and bugaboos

Rule #76: Love It or Leave It
Since conservatives hate government so much, they have to get out of it. Ronald Reagan is famous for saying that "government is the problem," and Republicans have spent the past 28 years proving it with their policies. Why they continue to push so hard to lead an entity they so openly despise is anybody's guess, but now is the perfect time to reverse that. So, conservatives, you think the private sector is more efficient at solving the world's problems? Fine! Go and prove it! Resign your bloated bureaucratic seats and bootstrap yourself with a fledgling business. Show us the true virtue of the unfettered capitalistic spirit, and why conservative principles will save the day, one dollar at a time. Leave the government for the liberals to screw up.

That way, when your greed inevitably consumes you and your business needs a bailout, there will be plenty of money in the U.S. Treasury, and plenty of liberals to hate as they save you from yourself. Again.

Rule #77: Exit, Stage Right
Ron Silver was a flip-flopper. Conservatives are so preoccupied with lionizing tributes to the late actor that they've forgotten that they're supposed to hate that. John Kerry was torn on funding for the Iraq war, and for that the GOP painted him as utterly unprincipled. But guys like Silver and Dennis Miller can go Jekyll-Hyde on their entire belief systems, and that's just A-OK? So much for staying the course! It's almost as if the GOP doesn't really care that someone flip-flops if it works in their favor, and aren't particularly concerned that some of their most vocal advocates proudly base their beliefs on blind anger. After all, what counts is that they play the part. Like all good actors.



Rule #78: Don't Call Her Daughter
Meghan McCain has a mind of her own. Deal with it. She voted for John Kerry in 2004; of course she's going to loathe Ann Coulter! Maybe instead of discounting Meghan's youth appeal and apparently multidimensional beliefs, Republicans could learn a lesson from them. But they won't, because that would be an acknowledgment that Sarah Palin somehow isn't perfect. And Sarah Palin is the future!

Rule #79: Spare the Divining Rod
Churches have no one but themselves to blame for the rapidly declining number of Americans who identify with Christianity. It's perhaps no accident that this downward trend comes as the Bush administration mixed religion and politics like few before it. Also telling is that of those aligning with Christianity, more are identifying themselves as fundamentalist and/or born-again. So it makes sense that Americans are feeling ever more turned-off by what is increasingly becoming a front for extremist practices and right-wing politics. They figure there's more to morality than the paradoxical notion of spreading the word by alienating its target audience.


Spoiler alert: yes.

So I'd opine that it's not that Americans are turning away from Jesus; they're turning away from Christianity. These days, there's a huge difference.

Rules archive

Saturday, March 14, 2009

In bad traffic news...

This afternoon, I drove alongside a company car (a Dodge Stratus, I think) for WorldNetDaily.com. A Ron Paul bumper sticker adorned its back bumper. Much to my disappointment, the woman driving the car took the highway and did not pave her own road. I'll bet she felt at least a twinge of guilt.

In other driving news, former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Donte Stallworth allegedly killed a pedestrian in a car accident. That sucks.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bristol Palin breaks up politically expedient engagement

Bristol Palin has broken up with Levi Johnston, her fiance and boyfriend of three years. Good for them!

It takes courage to halt a shotgun wedding when the Palins are holding the shotgun. Your name might as well be Moose Wolfington.

In any case, it didn't take a whole lot of brains (insert GOP joke here) to know from the start that a teenage marriage like this one would have been nothing short of disastrous. First off, it's the 21st century; no teenager needs to be married. Commitment isn't something to be taken lightly, and no one knows what they want at that age. As for all of the traditional reasons for wedding - pedigree, financial security, never having to be alone for five minutes, getting all those awesome tax breaks, shiny things, politics - well, women can do stuff now. So it'll just have to come down to love.

Politics, in particular, is always a fun reason to get hitched. If I read the narrative correctly (and I'm confident I did, because I read at a 12th-grade narrative level), then Bristol Palin was supposed to have done the honorable thing both by having her baby and by marrying the father. Faced with such a life-changing development, she could have succumbed to the temptations of life-hating, socialist Barackica and had an abortion, but she chose not to. Wait, that's not right... she DIDN'T choose not to, because it's a child, not a choice. Yeah.

And once you have a child, of course, you have to marry the father. That's just obvious. You want your child to grow up with both parents, even if mutual resentment will quickly and permanently surpass the one thing the two ever had in common - teenage libidos. After all, you don't want a broken home.

Finally, the narrative represents the Republican ideal of sex education: Don't have sex, but if you do, you must have the baby and get married. And then you'll have a wonderful family! Or a stormy one, in which case, hope you learned your lesson, hussy. Not that you'll be able to apply that knowledge, because it's still 1929 and divorce is shameful. And costly on the cusp of a Great Depression.

Fortunately, Bristol seems to have her head on relatively straight. She insisted that she chose to have her baby, and has said that abstinence education is not realistic. In her TV interview, she sounds admirably mature for an 18-year-old so clearly consumed by changes she can barely fathom. By all accounts, Levi's heavily involved in fatherhood as well. Perhaps there's hope yet that these two will provide a nurturing environment for little Tripp, unburdened by the conflict that unrealistic societal norms would have fostered. Maybe it'll even signal a long-overdue, more diverse understanding of "family" in this country.

The religious right must be pissed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

David Vitter can't control his impulses

(From Raw Story via Democratic Underground)

The Republican senator who found himself on a DC madam's client list is drawing new attention over "impulse control."

After missing a flight last Thursday from Washington to New Orleans, Louisiana Sen. David Vitter opened an armed security door and went off on a United Airlines employee, according to a report filed Wednesday by Roll Call.

The door sounded a security alarm.

Vitter had arrived at the gate for a flight from Dulles Airport, only to find that the door had been closed twenty minutes prior to departure.

After setting off the security alarm, the Louisiana senator proceeded to dress down an airline employee who told him entering the restricted area was forbidden. He invoked his standing as a senator, delivering a "do-you-know-who-I-am" tirade, the paper said.

I've never been a fan of David Vitter. But between this and the whole hookers-and-diapers flap, I can barely remember his politics anymore. He does appear to be a hypocrite in every way that matters, from "family values" to the rule of law. In that sense, he fits right in with today's Republican Party.

It doesn't surprise me at all that a politician from the party responsible for the PATRIOT Act and whose policies reflect fear and excess precaution would say, "Nope, that doesn't apply to me." Way to set a fantastic example, sir.

I've been out of Louisiana for more than two years now, so it's possible I'm missing something. But can't the state scare up at least a few politicians better than David Vitter, Ray Nagin or Bobby Jindal? Even if they're Republicans? (Judging by the 2008 election numbers, they'll pretty much have to be.) I remember following the last gubernatorial race and feeling like voting in it would have been like eating in a restaurant that had no food I liked (in other words, Macaroni Grill). I couldn't have been the only one.

Louisiana deserves much better than its current leadership. I've always known tons of dynamic people, and conversely I never knew any officeholders. Will someone worthy rise up to the challenge?

Don't make me carpetbag.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ah, spring...time for football!

Chris Brewer is out in Oregon not on assignment, so this week the Personal Ian McGibboney Press will continue his tradition of detailed recaps of our Sunday football games. A little late, perhaps, but that makes the heart grow fonder. Or something.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (PIMP) - Amid the dreary vicissitude that is a Midwestern winter, a warm and windy gameday greeted the Springfield Open Football Association. The conditions opened up Kickapoo High School to some of the best all-around gameplay of the SOFA season, with a 56-54 win by Red that came down to the final play.

The Red Team, consisting of Ian, Jerome, Pete and Matt, played through considerable injury. Ian was back after a week behind the camera due to a shoulder injury; Pete hobbled part of the time on his ankle; Matt's knee continued to throb; and Jerome had his pride hurt after dropping a long bomb in double coverage. He doesn't usually do that.

The Yellow Team comprised Jack, Bethany, Kurk and Jeff. They failed to score much early on, but made up for it in the second half with 14 unanswered points.

In the first half, Jeff and Jack batted several Red passes. Bethany held her own with several key blocks on defense. Nevertheless, Jerome continued his mastery of the long pass, making big scores for Red and putting Red ahead 20-6 at one point. Matt made numerous key catches as well. The half ended when Kurk intercepted a Red pass. He didn't make it far, because Red is awesome and took a 26-14 lead into halftime.

The second half was a triple helping of score sandwich - or, as Jack put it after the game, "a statistical madhouse." Ian caught a long TD pass from Pete in the left-hand corner, successfully juking a fleet-footed Jack for the six. Yellow answered right back with a stunning Jack-to-Bethany touchdown. Not to be outdone, Red responded to that with another Pete-to-Ian TD. Taking their turn, Yellow hammered back with an 80-yard kickoff return for TD by Kurk. Then Jack-to-Jeff scored on Yellow's next possession, successfully (and finally) out-juking Ian with the trademark Jeff Juke.

Yellow's final score came on a TD pass from Jack to Kurk. Ian blocked the pass, but deflected it right into Kurk's outstretched hands. This has happened before, and resulted in Ian's repeated defiance of the no-profanity rule. No penalty was levied for the infraction, because everyone does it. Ian did redeem himself on the conversion attempt, by deflecting an identical pass but toward the ground this time.

"He always had trouble with that," Ian's family said in a statement. "He needs help."

For the most part, Red kept up with the scoring, but the stats are less clear. Probably because touchdowns were so common for Red. Yellow's near-comeback, on the other hand, was remarkable in its uniqueness.

Electing to onside-kick - which in SOFA is done like a jump ball in basketball - Yellow regained possession. Red not only lost the ball, but teammate Matt lost a contact lens. Everyone bent down to look for it while advancing slowly in a circle, a sight witnesses likened to "a moving Stonehenge of flag-draped sadness." The lens was not found, despite Ian's past success in finding a contact lens that had fallen off the top of a stadium, and is believed to have since perished in the elements.

It's worth noting at this point that Bethany would have scored at least twice more if Ian hadn't not given up the pursuit both times and stopped her right at the endzone. Currently, women who score in SOFA net nine points for a touchdown. Some players plan to appeal the rule next week, arguing that the league needs sexual equality (and also that they're as good as any of the guys, and sometimes better).

I also think there should be a cleats subsidy to put everyone on equal footing. Er, I mean, some of the players in the league think that.

Red and Yellow will face off again next Sunday at 2 p.m. CDT. Plenty of good seats still available. If you see a full-contact shirts-vs.-skins match on the practice field, that isn't us. That was us 10 years ago.

Notable stat: Chris Brewer had a perfect record in the game, not registering a single fumble and going a perfect 0-for-0 in scoring attempts. His no-interception streak remains intact.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Enough already!

Rule #75: Dems versus Dims



Republicans have to stop saying, "Democrat Party." Enough already. Just stop. Stop pleading ignorance of the fact that the proper name is "Democratic Party" - usually pleading ignorance is completely understandable for the GOP, but not in this case.

In an age where Republicans are bitterly clinging to destructive tax cuts and long-discredited radio hosts, terms like "Democrat Party" epitomizes today's man-child of a party. The insult works on several fronts: 1) It's disrespectful yet passable enough to get away with; 2) anyone who complains about it comes off as petty; 3) it's a way to signify allegiance to the Rush-O'Reilly red-meat crowd without actually having to oink in public.

I haven't heard such deliberate name-mocking since my junior high years. Incidentally, I finished 8th grade in 1994, the last time the Republicans were touting Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich as their party's future. So I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.

And for you conservatives who have already begun dredging the fetid depths of Democratic Underground (not Democrat Underground) for proof that liberals do it too, save your energy. I know. "Rethugs," "Repukes," "Republitards," etc., etc. The difference with the Democrats is that Barack Obama isn't using any of those terms from Capitol Hill. The party is able to discern its cerebral, classy leaders from some basement activist named "jackknife." It's something the GOP should try sometime. How about now?

More rules

Monday, March 02, 2009

Crap about the CPAC claptrap

Did you catch the annual Conservative Political Action Committee convention? Boy, what a doozy! You've got to admire their persistence, pluck, drive, spunk, moxie, grit and chutzpah! Democrats should watch their backs, because the special fanatical motivation it takes for these people to do anything other than cower in the fetal position overcome by a paralyzing sense of regret could work wonders for the GOP in 2010 and 2012 if properly channeled. Fortunately for my sense of morbid entertainment, these folks have no shame, and no concept of the word "anachronism."

Being a CPAC member in 2009 is a bit like:

--Being an Atari game designer in 1985
--Starting a print-only newspaper targeted at bank executives in Detroit
--Working the tech-support hotline for Windows 3.1
--Watching any 1990s sitcom once family members start to inexplicably vanish
--Sinking all your assets into a Max Headroom boutique
--Taking up New Coke
--Investing in Studebaker stock
--Being a Motley Crue roadie...now
--Going to Burger King and saying you're not Herb
--Trying to bring back phone-booth stuffing
--Tolerating post-9/11 Dennis Miller (Oh, wait...)
--Come to think of it, taking out a subprime mortgage

If the CPAC was a car, it'd be a double-wide Hummer made with asbestos that runs on passenger pigeons.

If the CPAC issued a soundtrack, it would be on 8-track tape and sold only in Branson.

If the CPAC was a football team, they'd start Lynn Swann and J.C. Watts. Literally.

If the CPAC was a bed-wetting video for children, it'd be a two-hour loop of, "DON'T DO IT!!"

If the CPAC was a Ford Pinto, it would be too incompetent to blow up.

If the CPAC was a condom, it would be mesh.

If the CPAC was milk, it would already be cheese.

If the CPAC was your playground bully...you could probably kick its ass.

What a sterling lineup these goofs had. The new faces of conservatism are Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich? Really? Was Dan Quayle too busy? I hear George H.W. Bush can still constitutionally serve four more years. You want executive experience? There's your executive experience, hoss!

They may gripe that Barack Obama is the Second Coming of Jimmy Carter, but that's different than putting the actual Jimmy Carter up on a lectern as the hot new recipe for the future. (Maybe this is a bad example - Carter remains supremely active in politics and is much more maligned than he deserves to be. But you see my point.)

What this illustrious CPAC lineup does show is that U.S. conservatives are, in fact, at their best when they have something to hate. Rush Limbaugh first peaked in the Bill Clinton era, and seems set on surging again in the Obama age. He's a blowhard radio pundit with zero good works to his name, much like Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Michelle Malkin and their ilk. The fact that any politicians listen to these dipshits at all, let alone revere them in a leadership context, shows that they are less interested in leading than in being bullies. They're delighted Obama is president, because it lets them be especially pissy. And that's way more fun than, say, a President John McCain or - shudder - working with Michael Steele to make the world a better place.

And that's precisely why they need the old names to be new again - because true conservative hate needs the finest, most experienced names in the business. And the occasional overly articulate, brainwashed kid. Apparently, there's no room for anyone in between those age brackets, like Ben "Turd" Ferguson, in the Age of Change. The GOP will keep recycling (for lack of a better word) the old names until they literally drop dead of carbon monoxide poisoning from breathing so much fire. Or of an OxyContin overdose.

I'm not saying the CPAC is out of step with changing times...but rumors are swirling that Jackie Mason is in talks to headline next year. The main sticking point is whether he's too fresh and/or sufficiently extreme. And whether or not a professional comedian can possibly top the comedy of Rush Limbaugh.

After stomaching a few convention highlights, even I can't believe how intensely - and gleefully - conservatives cling to failed ideologies, bully tactics and a pathological need to lean on the same tired names over and over. The convention has helped me understand why there are so few conservative movies coming from Hollywood: Ronald Reagan and Charlton Heston keep missing their casting calls. That, and An American Carol.

No wonder Obama smiles so much.

Good advice for cancer, too

As I walked out of the doctor's office this morning, I held the door open for an elderly, infirm man. He had just emerged from his wife's car, with the help of his cane and the excitable motivation that comes only from dealing with American health care bureaucracy. As he slowly shuffled towards the door, he grinned at me and offered some calm, sage advice:

"Stay young, son. Don't ever get old."

Sounds good to me.