Friday, November 25, 2005

Your Christmas Questions Answered

Because I don't celebrate Christmas, I feel I can bring utterly impartial and completely objective perspective to some of the questions you may be asking now that the holiday season is upon us.

Q: Is it possible to arrive at a store too early?

A: Not if you bring blankets and a pee cup.

Q: Are we experiencing a reindeer shortage this winter?

A: It would appear so.

Q: Is it possible to buy too many video game chairs?

A: Not when they're as attractive as these vinyl-covered beauties.

Q: Is Taxicab Santa Bowling legal in my state?

A: Probably, but be safe and check with local officials first.

Q: Does a dead basking shark make a good Christmas present?

A: Tough call. Sure, the little girl being dangled over the dead basking shark appears to be both horrified and terrorized. But the girl playing with the dead basking shark's mouth appears ready for hours of fun.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanks For Nothing

Oh, really? We're supposed to believe that "Marshmallow", who got himself pardoned by Pres. Bush the other day, is now the quote-unquote "Happiest Turkey on Earth" just because he got named grand marshall of the Disneyland Thanksgiving Parade? Is that based on something Marshmallow himself is on record as saying or did this come from Marshmallow's "people"? Because if I'm Marshmallow and it was me who got jammed into some flimsy plastic tube by some icy-fingered animal handler just so I could then be paraded around the park solely for the delight of the cheering and leering crowd, and the whole time some kid wearing a construction paper Indian headdress on the float next to me keeps saying she's serious when she says she's going to throw up if she has to look at the red, stringy flesh hanging off my neck one minute longer, well... that may be a fairly accurate description of a day at a theme park, but happy? I don't think so.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Trip To Bountiful

Ah yes, it's that time of year again. Thanksgiving. A time for each and every American to consider how truly fortunate we are to live in this great country of ours, a time to give thanks for the gracious and bountiful gifts we all enjoy, a time to share our joy, our love and our appreciation with our far-flung families...

... and a time for dogs to wonder just what the hell they did wrong that could possibly explain why they're getting stuffed in a crate and shoved into the cargo hold of a plane for five-and-a-half hours.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Here's Where I Stand

I can honestly say I don't know what Bill Ford, the chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company, was saying or talking about in this picture of him addressing the National Press Club in Washington today. But I can't imagine there's ever a good enough reason for a public figure to make that gesture.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

They Can't Be Serious

Seriously? The White House website is asking me to cast my vote for the 2005 National Thanksgiving Turkey? Geez. I have to be honest -- it's not much fun to ridicule the President's incompetence if they practically yank on your pant leg and beg for it.

Intelligence Had Nothing To Do With It

Today's LA Times on "Curveball", the Bush administration's chief source on Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction:
Curveball was last in his engineering class, not first, as he had claimed. He was a low-level trainee engineer, not a project chief or site manager, as the CIA had insisted.

Most important, records showed Curveball had been fired in 1995, at the very time he said he had begun working on bio-warfare trucks. A former CIA official said Curveball also apparently was jailed for a sex crime and then drove a Baghdad taxi.

[The CIA] interviewed 60 of Curveball's family, friends and co-workers. They all denied working on germ weapons trucks. Curveball's former bosses at the engineering center said the CIA had fallen for "water cooler gossip" and "corridor conversations."

"The Iraqis were all laughing," recalled a former member of the survey group. "They were saying, 'This guy? You've got to be kidding.' "
The report goes on to say that the German intelligence officials who interrogated Curveball repeatedly warned U.S. officials that the information he was providing was "vague, mostly secondhand and impossible to confirm" and that the Iraqi informant was "not a stable, psychologically stable guy."

So let me see if I have this right -- we went to war based on information from some guy whose history and psychological background wouldn't have even allowed him to be a contestant on "elimiDate"?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Faith In The Crowd

Pope Benedict and a few friends took in the CBS mini-series movie 'Pope John Paul II' at the Vatican today. The Pope is believed to have enjoyed the film about his predecessor’s life, though the pontiff’s viewing experience did seem to be somewhat diminished when one of the Catholic Church’s taller cardinals entered the theater fifteen minutes late, sat down directly in front of him and proceeded to make a series of calls on his cell phone.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Price Of Beauty

Criminy! This little guy just doesn’t take a bad picture, does he? Of course, in order to keep him that gosh darn cute, I hear they have to feed him a steady diet of these...

Call Me What You Will

The tiny Texas town formerly known as Clark has agreed to change its name to Dish in exchange for ten years of free satellite television service. Following a unanimous town council vote on Tuesday night, DISH Network has agreed to provide all 125 residents of the Fort Worth suburb free basic service and a free digital video recorder satellite receiver. "The getting our name out there is working," said Dish mayor Bill Merritt, "and the second part is really to market ourselves - come here and you get something out of it." Several years ago, the towns of Douche, Virginia and Enema, North Dakota entered into similar deals with major corporations but with decidedly mixed results.

A Matter Of Interpretation

First Lady Laura Bush may have signaled a political split with her husband today during a calligraphy lesson she received at the Suchiya-cho Townhouse in Kyoto, Japan. The Chinese character Mrs. Bush is pictured holding is “ei”, which is widely understood to mean “eternity” but can also be interpreted to mean “My husband lied the country into war by misleading Americans into thinking there was a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda and by falsely claiming that Saddam Hussein was reconstituting his country’s nuclear weapons program.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Get This Man A Chair

In a photo taken near Basra on Nov. 15, 2005, an Iraqi soldier is shown sitting among dozens of old artillery pieces that were seized and later destroyed by British and Iraqi troops, thus preventing the weapons from being converted into IEDs. Which leads me to ask the obvious question, namely... what the hell is the guy doing sitting among dozens of old artillery pieces?!? I mean, are things so bad in Iraq that a guy can't find a more comfortable place to sit than on a huge pile of bombs? Holy crap, is this war eff-ed up.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Republican Rock Stars

Actually, I have no beef with Mayor Bloomberg, other than the obvious guitar and cowboy hat thing. But holy cow, you just can't keep Bush out of that phony military gear, can you?

If This Is How They Keep Our Poultry Safe...

Reuters brings us this photo of a farmer's wife holding a box of the Tamiflu antiviral drug near a chicken on her French farm near Lyon on October 14, 2005. Why she would be bothering to do so remains unclear, since everyone knows chickens hardly ever read packaging.

Friday, November 11, 2005

A Man With A Plan

President Bush travelled to Tobyhanna Army Depot in Tobyhanna, Pa., today to reveal his innovative two-step plan to develop a strategy for victory. Step One: Stand in front of a sign that reads, "Strategy for Victory". Step Two: Actually develop a strategy for victory.

Good luck with that, 43.

From The Office Of The Supreme Being

Dear Good Citizens of Dover, PA:

God here. I thought I should reach out to you personally in light of Pat Robertson’s remarks yesterday that in voting out of office those school board members who supported “intelligent design”, you had in essence “voted God out of your city” and that if disaster were to befall you in the future and you should turn to Me for help that I “might not be there.”

I'm here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is, Mr. Robertson doesn’t speak for Me. I didn’t die and appoint him Me. However, he is right about one thing. You, in fact, did vote Me out of your city and to that point I have only one thing to say: I hear you.

I clearly disappointed you over the last term and to close My eyes to that obvious fact would be foolish. That’s why I’d like to take this opportunity to go on record, right here, right now, and say the following: You may have voted Me out of your city but I am not going away. I won’t be disappearing from sight, hiding on some puffy white cloud, licking my wounds and throwing thunderbolts at the TV while I write a scathing memoir about how no one understands Me or My ideas and how the only explanation for what's happened is that I’m somehow ahead of My time. Heck, I created time, so not only would that be intellectually disingenuous but physically impossible, as well.

But I digress. My point here is simply to reassure you, the good citizens of Dover, PA, that the next time you go to the polls, you will find My name on the ballot, proudly but humbly seeking your vote. But – and I can’t stress this enough – it won’t be the same old God that you, in your collective wisdom, clearly found wanting. It will be a new and improved God, a God who listened to his constituents, a God who better understands what you want, who is more responsive to your needs, who “gets” it and is intensely aware of the fact that times have changed and that the Celestial Father needs to change with them.

Because in voting Me out of Dover, you’ve profoundly changed Me. But mind you, not all of Me. There is one thing that remains unalterable and that is this – I still love you. All of you. Even the ones who voted me out of the city. And I always will. You can take that to the bank.

So once again, I'd like to thank you for all your support over the years and I remain convinced in the belief that together we will move forward to a better place and happier, healthier times.

Yours Supremely,


P.S. Vote me out again and I will smite you with such a wrathful vengeance it’ll make Hurricane Katrina, that earthquake in Pakistan and the tsunami in South Asia look like a birthday circle at Gymboree.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

And While You're At It, Tuck In Your Shirt, Comb Your Hair And Clean Up Your Room

The caption accompanying this photo says it shows Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates meeting today with Michelle Tjelmeland, 32, of Springfield, Illinois, one of five winners of Microsoft's 'Start Something Amazing Awards'. Yeesh. How about awarding a 'Start Standing Up Straight Award", Bill? I mean, you're smart and all, but geez -- your spine looks like a map of Lombard St.

All Guts, No Glory

Wow. Leave it to Bush to screw things up again. That glory hound Sheriff Andy gets the medal when everyone knows it was Barney Fife who really kept Mayberry safe.

And anyway, wasn't it Andy who said keeping Otis the Drunk in that jail cell was a "slam dunk"? Nice goin', Mr. President. You've done it again.

Sure, The Flying Part Would Be Cool, But...

Not much to say here, other than it sucks to be a bird. I mean, the chicks (ducklings?) being hauled away for inspection are the lucky ones -- what about the little fellas in back on the bottom of the pile?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Just Askin'

Over at the official White House website, they're publicizing Pres. Bush's meet-and-greet yesterday with a group of 2005 Nobel Prize recipients. At the moment, there are two pictures up at the site. First this one, where we see Bush is kind of in the mediocre middle of the pack when it comes to height...

Then there's this one, where Bush and his fellow brainiacs magically appear to be of roughly equal stature...

Which leads me to my question: Why, with the whiff of failure, scandal and incompetence all about him, would the White House us offer both pictures? After all, when the President went biking around the Crawford ranch with Lance Armstrong over the summer, this was the photo they offered to memorialize the event...

See how the White House let us see that he's "beating" the seven-time Tour de France winner, who appears to be carefully observing the standing rule on Bush bike rides that no one "passes" the President?

So I ask you -- what's up with today's picture where he seems like a such an unimpressive little shorty? Kind of like handing people a club to hit him over the head with, isn't it? And as much as I'd love to chalk it up to humility, I'm willing to wager the only time Bush and humility have been used in the same sentence is when he got the word wrong.

All of which only makes me very worried, since if we can't count on these guys to get their p.r. right -- which is pretty much all I've been able to perversely admire about this administration -- I'd say we're even more screwed than we think.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Low And Inside

Reeling from a series of setbacks ranging from the faltering war in Iraq to record-low approval ratings to the recent indictment of one of his cabinet members, Pres. Bush sought to end his disastrous trip to Latin America on an upbeat note yesterday by challenging a team of Panamanian Little Leaguers to a game. The President easily defeated the eight-year-olds, at one point mowing down thirteen consecutive batters with a combination of fastballs, sliders and what he termed a little “chin music,” which he said was necessary to “keep the kids honest.” After the game, which the President won 34 to 0, he told the assembled coaches and diplomats that he felt “ten feet tall” and “ready to take on North Korea and Iran”. Reporters were unclear whether the President meant militarily or on the baseball field.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Well, This Is Awkward

Laura Bush’s gracious attempt to speak to her Brazilian hosts in their native Portuguese backfired today when she accidentally asked to have “lunch in a library.” Not wishing to embarrass the President’s well-intentioned wife, officials at the Biblioteca Demonstrativa in Brasilia quickly set up a table complete with tablecloth and centerpiece, but since the facility was built without a working kitchen, the most they could offer was a glass of water and polite but uncomfortable smiles as the First Lady waited patiently for a menu.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Don't Make Me Say This Again

According to the Washington Post, Pres. Bush has ordered White House staff to attend a series of mandatory briefings that will "provide refresher lectures on general ethics rules, including the rules governing the protection of classified information." No word as yet on whether Pres. Bush will receive his own series of "refresher lectures" to reacquaint him with pledges he made during his campaign to be a "uniter not a divider", to avoid the use of our troops to engage in nation building, to ensure that the federal government complies with all environmental laws, to restore "confidence in government" by attacking pork-barrel spending, to restrict tax cuts to "the bottom end of the spectrum" and to pay the nation's debt down to a "historically low level."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Repairing Our Image Abroad

That went well, don't you think?

The Fat Man's Going Down

First Saddam, now Santa... it's like I don't know this country any more.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Private First Class Claus

Despite assurances that newly lowered recruitment requirements would not affect the nation's battle readiness and would be well within standards mandated by the Pentagon and Congress, the Army's recent decision to conscript the portly, superannuated graduates of a three-day, Michigan-based Santa School has raised more than a few eyebrows among lawmakers and military analysts in Washington. An Army spokesman vehemently denied that the Kris Kringle Brigade was being formed as a result of recent recruitment difficulties, adding that the ability to shimmy down chimneys, operate a reindeer sleigh and accurately remember who was naughty and who was nice made the fighting Santas a valued military asset that could be used in almost any conflict the nation might find itself involved in with the exception of Syria, where the extreme heat might make their heavy wool suits and thick, bushy facial hair problematic.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Stamp Collectors Do It With Hinges and Mounts

The New York Times reports that a block of four rare U.S. airmail error stamps worth nearly $3 million will be traded today for a stamp that is "equally rare and far more obscure." Charles Shreve, the stamp dealer and auctioneer who arranged the swap, called the exchange "the most exciting thing to happen in the hobby in over a decade." Which is saying something, since the last ten years have been some of the hobby's most dynamic, from the heated Great Watermark debate of 1996 to the campaign by philatelists in 1999 to eradicate unjustified discrimination against Victorian wing margin stamps to last year's controversial effort to replace the term "philatelist" with something that sounds a little less sexually deviant.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Royalty Suits You

Seriously, Matthew Modine? You wear a turtleneck sweater under a pinstripe suit to meet Prince Charles and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall? You look like a sausage.

Okay, I'm really sorry. Guess I'm just pissed that I didn't get invited.

But you do look stupid.