Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Electoral Kindergarten

Do you remember Robert Fulgham? He’s the fellow who wrote the book of aphorisms entitled "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten". Mr. Fulgham was right and it’s time to apply his lessons to the current stalemate between the two Democratic candidates for President.

Essentially what we have here is a playground standoff between Barack and Hillary. Both have their hands on the ball and neither will let go. Remember how you used to decide such dilemmas in kindergarten? Well, there’s no reason those methods won’t work now.

Odds and evens
Both candidates go on "Larry King Live", choose odds or evens and display one, two or no fingers. Best two out of three wins. If the candidates can’t be trusted not to cheat, Larry could always make them draw straws.

Rock, paper, scissors
Let Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts preside over a round of rock, paper, scissors. Remember, paper covers rock, scissors cut paper, rock breaks scissors and bullshit baffles brains.

Choose a number between one and ten
Pick somebody trustworthy like Walter Cronkite to choose a number between one and ten (or, in this case, one and 2,024, that being the number of delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination). Candidates each guess what the number is and the closest wins the endorsement of all 308 currently uncommitted superdelegates.

Take turns
The fairest solution usually is to take turns. For example, Obama could agree to be a one-term President and not run against Clinton in 2012. Or Hillary could be President for two years and Barack for two. Or they could alternate years.

Who had it last?
That would be George W. Bush. Why not repeal the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution and give W one more term? Then again......

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bye Bye Family

At a hastily called Washington, D. C. press conference, Wyoming Representative Horn E. Guy announced that he was resigning from Congress. Given the recent revelations of Guy’s participation in Capitol Hill orgies complete with male and female hookers, his resignation came as no surprise.

What did come as a complete shocker, however, was Rep. Guy’s failure to assure the public that he wanted to spend more time with his family. It is believed that this is the first instance in American history where a politician resigning in disgrace did not invoke the "spending more time with my family" rationale.

When confronted with this egregious oversight, Guy shrugged it off.

"Look, I’m sorry I got caught," said Guy. "But I’m not sorry about what I did and I sure don’t want to spend more time with that harridan I call a wife and those three snot-nosed brats that she says are my kids."

Apparently Rep. Guy has no intention of returning to Wyoming. Although he will be vacating his Congressional office shortly, he will not be giving up his Washington townhouse.

"No way," said the disgraced Congressman. "Ever since I moved to Washington, I’ve had the time of my life."

"Growing up in Wyoming was a waste," said Guy. "I never knew about all the sexual delights a guy could experience. Washington has helped me discover and accept the real me, a me that likes hookers, orgies, S & M, bondage and sex in any form whether it’s gay, straight or totally out there."

When asked how he will be able to afford his current lavish lifestyle, Guy seemed unconcerned.
"Don’t worry about me," said Guy. "One thing a former politician doesn’t have to worry about in Washington is lucrative employment. Heck, I’ve already got three offers to be a lobbyist, one for the sex trade, another for the pharmaceutical industry and a third for a consortium of music companies."

"That’s right," said Guy. "It looks like I’m going to be working for sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. Party on!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What I've Learned So Far

As I rapidly approach sixty, I realize that my life has been a learning experience. In the interests of passing on my wealth of accumulated useful knowledge to the next generation, here’s a list of what I’ve learned so far:

* Don’t eat the yellow snow. I think this one goes without saying but for transplanted southerners who’ve never seen snow before, it’s definitely a useful lesson.
* Avoid places with blood on the floor. There may be any number of reasons why it’s there but none is worth risking your safety to explore.
* Always take a nap whenever possible.
* Steer clear (literally) of cars with dents. It may not necessarily mean that the operator is a bad driver but why take a chance? This rule also applies to secondhand car purchases.
* Check that the wipers aren’t frozen to the windshield on cold, icy days. This lesson may be imparted in another fashion but it will likely cost you anywhere from $150 to $300.
* Start drinking decaf after age fifty. If you really need a caffeine-like jolt, just look at yourself in the mirror in the morning before you get started.
* Double-check to make sure the server uses the orange-ringed coffee pot when you order decaf in a restaurant. Otherwise, you may miss your afternoon nap.
* If your wife catches you looking at another woman, just say that she reminded you of her.
* Replacing a toilet is harder than it looks.
* Remember; traffic cops seldom seem to have a sense of humor.
* When a dog continues to bark to be let out, there’s usually a good reason.
* Cold water and vinegar can remove urine stains and odor from a carpet.
* Replacing a faucet is harder than it looks.
* Putting a piece of aluminum foil in a light socket to correct for a loose connection doesn’t work. Don’t ask.
* Locate where your car jack is in your trunk BEFORE you might actually need it.
* Check your flashlight batteries periodically and not just when the lights go out.
* Do not call computer help lines expecting help. If you’re looking for a pleasant, congenial conversation, fine. But if you actually want help, you’re going to have to pay someone.
* Appliance repair is an oxymoron.
* Repairing a light fixture is harder than it looks.
* Baking powder is not the same as baking soda.
* No one will eat chocolate chip cookies made with baking powder.
* Carob chips aren’t as good as real chocolate chips.
* Don’t let your wife throw out your favorite sweatpants/shirt/jeans/hat/slippers. Believe me; you’ll regret it.
* Don’t forget your wife’s birthday, your wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day.
* Your parents were right: investing in bonds is a better long-term bet than mutual funds.
* Don’t sing in the shower. You’re not Frank Sinatra.
* Duct tape cannot fix all problems. Most, but not all.
* Changing your car’s oil and filter is harder than it looks.
* Never go to bed angry unless, of course, it’s really late and you were in the right and there’s no way in hell you’re going to apologise this time. Except for that, never go to bed angry.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Coulter Backs Hillary

Noted right-wing pundit Ann Coulter recently announced that, rather than vote for John McCain, she would cast her ballot for Hillary Clinton. Most thought this was just another over-the-top ruse by the foul-mouthed fulminator to undermine McCain’s support. No one thought that the cartoon-commentator would actually carry through with her threat.

Well it looks like Ann Coulter will remain true to her word and actually mark her "X" for Mrs. Clinton. Asked to comment on her election day plans, the wafer-thin wordsmith confirmed that she is going ahead with her previously unthinkable plan.

"Yeah, it started off as a joke," said the crypto-fascist neo-con. "But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense."

Apparently Ms. Coulter realized that she and Mrs. Clinton had more in common than she had previously imagined.

"You know, I don’t really care for her politics," said the thin-skinned political commentator. "Yet, surprisingly, I find that we are actually simpatico in so many ways."

Asked to elaborate, the professional television shrew detailed several reasons why she and Clinton might have a bond in sisterhood.

"First of all," said Coulter. "She’s really, really bitchy, just like me. I’ve gotta admire that kind of chutzpah in a fellow female. Then when I more carefully reviewed her record, I realized that she may actually have lied more times than I have. Definitely my kind of gal."

When pressed to say why she would support her ideological doppelganger, Coulter dismissed politics as a secondary consideration.

"Sure we disagree on many fundamental issues," said the screeching talking head. "But she has personality traits that, frankly, I find endearing. Like me, she created herself out of nothing. By simply yelling and shouting and calling other people names, she’s managed to achieve a status way beyond her abilities. Personally, I know how hard that is to do and I’ve gotta admire it."

Although this latest move by Coulter may jeopardize her status as a member in good standing of the conservative commentariat, she appears to be serious in her determination to "cast one for Hillary."

"She lies, she waffles and she plays dirty," said America’s favorite political harridan. "What’s not to like? Plus, we have one more thing in common that binds us together. We’ve both slept with Bill, assuming, of course, that she has."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

White House Foreclosure

In a surprise move, President Bush and wife Laura vacated The White House in the middle of the night nine months before his second term was due to end. Apparently the midnight move was not a voluntary one but instead was a forced eviction.

At a hastily called news conference, former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino detailed the unusual circumstances that gave rise to the Bushes’s precipitous departure. Speaking from a temporary briefing room in an outbuilding on the President’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, Ms. Perino explained that Mr. Bush was simply the latest victim of the subprime mortgage crisis.

"Two years ago, like many Americans," said Ms. Perino. "The President took out a sizable mortgage on his principal residence which, in his case, happened to be The White House."

"As you’ll recall," said the former press secretary. "At that time, the President was sorely in need of additional funding for the War in Iraq and was having trouble convincing Congress to authorize more money."

Apparently the President couldn’t resist the attractive introductory four percent teaser rate being offered at the time. Convinced that the Iraq War would be long over by the time the escalator clause kicked in, Mr. Bush relied on his well-known business savvy to negotiate a billion dollar mortgage on the nation’s most prized residential property.

"Unfortunately," said Dana Perino. "The war didn’t progress as well as expected and the new higher adjustable interest rate took effect. The President was hoping for an economic surge or at least some financial relief from Congress but, to date, none has been forthcoming."

The White House has reportedly been put on the market by the mortgage holder, a consortium of large Saudi Arabian banks. Given the recent softening in the Washington real estate market, the asking price is somewhat less than the outstanding mortgage debt. In the interests of avoiding further financial panic, the listing agent has agreed not to post a For Sale sign on the White House lawn.

Although a number of potential buyers have shown interest in the property including Bill Gates and the People’s Republic of China, it is believed that the most attractive offer to date has come from the Disney Corporation who are planning to open a new political amusement park in the nation’s capital.

"If we can also acquire the Capitol Building and the U. S. Supreme Court," said Disney CEO Robert Iger. "We hope to be able to open Disney World D. C. by the summer of 2012."

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Leavenworth Visa Card

In recent years, there has been an explosion in so-called loyalty cards rewarding you for your purchases and affinity credit cards advertising your membership in an exclusive group. From frequent flier reward cards to university affiliated credit cards, your wallet can say a lot about who you are and how you live. But, as with any new popular trend, there are winners and losers. Here are just a few of the cards that ultimately didn’t make it:

Train Miles
Amtrak’s loyalty reward program seemed to be doomed from the very start. Awarding one point for each train mile travelled followed the industry standard. However, earning 1,000 bonus "Whoops" points for each derailment did not endear the Train Miles card to most Amtrak customers. Once frequent rail riders realized that accumulated points could only be redeemed for more train tickets and onboard goods and services, the Amtrak loyalty program quickly went off the rails. Now primarily owned by masochists and collectors of railroad paraphernalia.

The Yugo Mastercard
For several years, a proud Yugo owner could have a Mastercard embossed with a picture of a brand new, four-wheel Yugo. Not only did the card demonstrate pride in ownership, it also provided such useful extras as 24-roadside assistance and free towing anywhere. Since there was also a two percent cash back credit to be used on Yugo parts and service, Mastercard quickly realized their Yugo card was hemorrhaging money like its automotive namesake. Still used in Belgrade and parts of northern Saskatchewan.

The Leavenworth Visa Card
Graduates of many of America’s finest schools have snapped up credit cards showing their affinity to, or membership in, such institutions. Since one of the nation’s most famous institutions is Leavenworth Penitentiary, it was hoped that present and past members would apply for this special Visa card in droves. However, it turned out that most Leavenworth grads were not interested in advertising their past institutional affiliations. Apparently Visa’s slogan "It’s everywhere you want to be" has a few exceptions, one being federal maximum security prisons. One notable exception seems to be inmates charged with identity theft or credit card fraud.

The Ford Pinto Texaco Gas Card
This card was a so-called co-op affinity card advertising both a car company and an oil company. Often combining two different brand name products can have a synergistic effect. Unfortunately, in this case, no such synergism was ever realized. In fact, the more the gas card was used, the sooner the user’s Ford Pinto blew up. Today, the gas card is, like its car model namesake, a rare collector’s item usually found only in automobile memorabilia collections or Federal District Court evidence storage facilities.

The No-Name Discover Card
Thinking that a linkage with a cross-section of generic products would boost Discover card usage, card company executives introduced the No-Name version of the card. Sadly, it turns out that even purchasers of generic goods and services weren’t interested in "Discovering" their world, at least not with a Discover card. To date, the Discover card remains the only non-affiliated card in the financial sector.

The Blue Cross Diner’s Club Card
Looking to boost moribund revenues, the venerable Diner’s Club card entered into a joint venture with America’s premier health care insurer. Although the new card appeared to be a win-win venture for its two partners, it was unable to carve out any desirable or profitable market segment. It turns out that fine diners who subsequently need medical service in the form of emergency room treatment or a full stomach pump do not comprise a big enough, much less a desirable, target group to pursue. The one promotional TV ad linking fine dining and emergency medical care has reportedly not been shown beyond YouTube.

Subway Miles
Another New York City exclusive, the Subway Miles card rewarded frequent users with extra "miles" on the city’s underground transit system. Initially, riders took to the convenient electronically fare-loaded plastic card. However, program limitations eventually derailed the experiment when users found out they could only redeem their accumulated "miles" at the which is accessible only be bus, whose drivers would not honor the Subway Miles card. The
subsequent discovery that the miles could only be used on the line after 11 P.M. on weekdays and on certain specified Sundays was likely the last straw for this noble experiment in urban mass transit.

The Libertarian Party American Express Card
Membership has its privileges with the Libertarian Party American Express Card. As with other politically affiliated cards, this one let users self-identify as belonging to the country’s fastest growing political movement. Unfortunately for card users, membership also has its liabilities, terms and restrictions. Once card users discovered there were credit limits, purchase restrictions and strict repayment guidelines, the sound of cards being cut up from coast to coast was almost deafening.