Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Save This!

Note to the reader: This is my 69th post here at Thoughts Askew. I encourage everyone to celebrate this milestone in the appropriate fashion.

I detest daylight savings time with the kind of passion that is usually reserved for politics, religion, and other topics one is not allowed to discuss at a bar for fear of the inevitability of broken bottles being smashed over the heads of previously peaceable neighbors. I wonder, as someone who only commune with the sun for a few hours a day anyway, who is the sanctimonious bastard that thinks he can take yet another sixty minutes of rays away from my pasty white skin? I love going out late and having a good time on occasion, but I am hardly a vampire (it wouldn't be a good fit anyway since I fear the sight of blood more than Medusa fears combing her hair). And, no, I am not going to get up earlier, so get that bit of insanity out of your head.
What can be done to combat the approach of that fateful day when time stands still or goes backwards or forwards or to a dimension beyond our ken? A couple years back, those who make the great calender in the sky (whom we must perform human sacrifices to in order to prevent the dragon from eating the sun) dictated that daylight savings time would be moved back a week or two from the date upon which it had fallen in the past. A step in the right direction without a doubt, but why can we not eliminate the concept entirely?
I suggest a boycott of DL in order to show"whitey" the strength of our numbers and our determination to defeat his dastardly plans, whatever the hell they may be. We must have a plan to confront DL . This coming Sunday, November 2nd, refuse to turn your clocks back. Don't worry about your computer, that poor guy is still probably programmed to change the time weeks ago and doesn't know what is going on out there in the real world. Microwaves, oven clocks, and other timepieces won't change unless you tell them to, so think of all the hassle you will be avoiding there. Your cel phone will annoy you by changing on its own, so just destroy it - you may remember living without one for a good deal of your life unless you are twelve years old or younger. If you are that young, quit reading this damn site, as it is written for adults, you motherfucking ass hole.
Show up for your appointments on the old schedule - the time your clocks say it is. People will respect your decision to fight the system, even if you show up an hour late all the time (or is it an hour early?). They will adjust to you eventually. Or you can move to Arizona or Hawaii, where Daylight Savings Time has been eliminated. Either way you win!

Author's Note: It has been brought to my attention that it is Standard Time at which I should be directing my anger - apologies to Daylight Savings Time. I hope no one was offended or otherwise injured by words, so carelessly flung as they were.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Chosen One

Content Warning: I have a lot of trouble taking anything too seriously, so know beforehand that even though this may be an important election, I am unlikely to treat it as such, at least within the boundaries of these pages.

Election time is rolling near, and those of us who aren't poor African-Americans just trying to get an ACORN prepare to vote in a contest that will determine our future to an even greater extent than the results of American Idol. Barack "The Insane in the Membrane Hussein" Obama looks as if he will be the next president of the United States, barring a last second collapse of the kind that only the Chicago Cubs and the Democrats are capable of producing. John "No Pa(l)in, No" McCain appears to be headed back home, even if they have to chop him up into several pieces so that he can occupy all those residences concurrently. So, although it may be too soon to assume the race is over, for our purposes we will declare a winner and proceed to analyze the how and the why of this cycle's assumed results.
Why will Barack Obama win? Because he is dead sexy. In the past, once we have pared down the field to a mere two contestants, the uglier candidate is the one who will be voted off the electoral island. Surely we cannot be such a shallow land? Elections for the most important office in the nation must be decided by carefully regarding the issues and weighing the views of the candidates. To some extent this point is well-taken. The majority of voters do approach the process seriously, even if they are extraordinarily uninformed. Races aren't decided by these folks in reality, though. The so-called issue voters generally fall evenly on each side of the aisle and end up countering the totals of the other side, resulting in a stalemate. Who is left to break this sister-kissing tie? The idiots, who, according to NOFX, are taking over.
The best of the rest are a conglomeration of people who just can't seem to make up their minds between two parties that could not be more different (granted you could easily disagree with both groups of imbeciles). These folks definitely have no clue about the issues and they sure as hell aren't going through the trouble of finding out. What do they base their choice on then? The way the candidate looks and the way they present themselves.
Sounds like I am spouting off at the mouth again without any evidence to back up my claims, eh? Let's look at the presidential showdowns dating back to the first televised debates and you will see what I mean. Occasionally, the race comes down to two ugly white men, and the nation has to use other factors to make the decision.

1960 - Tricky Dick vs JFK (just fucking kidding). Nixon could not have been more qualified for the nation's top office. He had already governed the state of California, whose GDP back then equaled the entire continent of Africa's. In addition, tricky Dick had been the Vice President under Dwight Eisenhower the past eight years. His opponent was the youngest in history, John F. Kennedy, a World War II hero with only ten years spent in Congress. JFK won of course, since he is considered the hottest man ever to sit in the Oval Office. How do I know his beauty did the trick? Check out this fact: those who watched the two debate on TV said that JFK was the better debater by a landslide over the sweaty, pasty-faced Nixon. Those that heard their clash on radio claimed that Nixon had won. *Counter-argument: Everyone knows that thousands of dead people (thanks to the unlikely coalition of George Romero and Richard Daley) voted JFK over the top in Illinois, thus handing him the victory.

1964- LBJ (loathes Bob Jones) vs Goldilockswater. These guys were pretty much a toss up in the ugly department. LBJ fooled the voters with some brutal commercials pertaining to Goldwater's nuclear policy. Johnson was never scared to be a bastard when he felt the time was ripe. Check out this vignette about LBJ's first race for a State House seat back in Texas. Going negative can be effective as long as you don't try the strategy against a pretty boy-type.

1968 - Tricky Dick Returns vs Humphrey Dumpty. These fellows tied for the league lead in mirrors broken per day or MBPD's. Humphrey inherited the Vietnam War from LBJ and lost mainly because the party was split in half over whether to support the war. Nixon won by claiming he would end the fighting, although being Nixon he was probably lying due to the fact that he always was. If Tricky Dick had one of those Pinocchio noses, we would never run out of building materials. Humphrey got a dome named after him as a consolation prize.

1972 - Tricky Dick vs. Photo Not Available. There aren't any pictures of George McGovern available to tell us what he looked like. My friend Mark claims he was a fetching young lad, but McGovern's biographers are all dead, so we may never know. George was from South Dakota, which I am not sure is even a state. He may even still be alive. No one knows. No one even knew who he was then. He lost, quite badly. Hunter Thompson wrote a book about the race, read that instead of my jibber-jabber.

1976 - Impeachment Replacement vs. Peanut Farmer. Former football star (from before the invention of the forward pass - ask McCain if you are unsure about any rules from this era) Gerald Ford came in off the bench to replace Spiro Agnew after he was forced to resign and then became president when Nixon followed suite. The tawdry shenanigans of Watergate along with the fact that Ford had been hit in the head too often spelled his doom. Jimmy Carter, the well-spoken Governor of Georgia managed to bring the Dems back to the presidency for the first time since LBJ proving that smart ugly men can defeat dumb ugly men.

1980 - The Teflon Ron vs. Peanut Farmer. The gipper was able to win one from the peanut farmer by using his theatrical skills to great effect. A Hollywood actor for many years, Ronnie had starred alongside such great actors as Jane Wyman and Bonzo the Chimp. With a bottle of "Formula 44" always in his hip pocket to defeat the onslaught of greying hair, Reagan was able to portray himself as attractive and well-spoken rather than a senile old man consulting astrologists before he made important decisions. The former governor of California proved that dumb attractive white men can win against smart ugly white men. I think this concept is like rock-paper-scissors, but with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

1984 - The Teflon Ron vs. Garrison Keillor. Reagan's opponent during his re-election bid of 1984 was actually a Minnesotan named Walter Mondale. More people probably know who Minnesotan Garrison Keillor is, or maybe Jesse "The Body" Ventura. Either one could have attained more electoral votes than Mondale, whose brief moment in the political spotlight didn't even garner him the honor of having a dome named after him. The poor guy just got a lake, which, according to the license plates I have been reading lately, there are 10,000 of in Minnesota. Kind of like having a cornfield named after you in Iowa. Mondale's true claim to fame was his VP nominee, Geraldine Ferraro, who was the first and so far only non-retarded woman to run for the nation's second highest office.

1988 - The Prudent One vs. Zorba the Greek. Reagan's VP, George HW Bush was able to continue the Republican legacy by defeating a Massachusetts Liberal named Michael Dukakis by portraying his opponent as weak on crime and not manly enough to be our President. A slight bit of the racism was used via the Willie Horton ad, in order to freak out the white peeps and send them scurrying into the protecting arms of their right wing daddies. Bush was accused during his years in office of being a mediocre chief executive, lacking in vision. Now that we have experienced eight years with his son as our leader Bush Sr. seems worthy of having his visage chiseled into Mount Rushmore. Palin has made Quayle look like a boy genius as well. Strange how time changes our perspective on things, eh?

1992 - The Arkansas Horny Toad vs. The Prudent One vs Utter Gibberish. Bill Clinton was a poor Arkansas boy who raised himself up from nothing to become governor of his state. When he first entered the presidential race, everyone figured that Bush Sr.'s reelection was fait accompli. Things changed all of sudden when the economy began to collapse and Bush broke his lip reader's promise not to raise taxes. The race was further livened by the entry of an eccentric Texas billionaire named Ross Perot. While the other two candidates kept Dana Carvey busy, Clinton managed to become the second coming of Beatle mania, driving the ladies into a frenzy and drawing in the Branford Marsalis crowd with his sexy saxophonic stylings.

1996 - The Arkansas Horny Toad vs. The Third Person. World War II veteran and long time Kansan legislator Bob Dole was the next to take on the lascivious lady killer. The campaign was a hopeless endeavor for the challenger, who was the first non-athlete to adopt the hideous habit of speaking about Bob Dole in the third person when he was, in fact, Bob Dole. America was enjoying an impressive run of prosperity under Clinton, and saw no need to change sex-mad horses in midstream. Bob Dole went on to a successful career as a rep for a pfarmaceutical company selling boner pfills for pfogies.

2000 - Dubya vs. Al Bore. Al Bore defeated the eldest son of George HW Bush in a tight race. Rainbows graced the sky, global warming was ended, there was no 911, no WMDs, no needless war in Iraq, and someone in the White House actually noticed the arrival of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Alas, 2000 was the year that our corporate masters chose to change the system, and instead of our votes counting, the Supreme Court was allowed to pick the President. They chose Dubya, a downhome folksy guy from Texas who understood the average American (billioniare). Well that is what we were told, and the strategy was bought hook, line, and sinker by much of the nation. Al Bore was smart, and perhaps could even be termed an intellectual. He was also incredibly boring and easy to make fun of, so he never had a chance, except that he won. Isn't all of this very confusing?

2004 - Dubya vs. Frankenkerry. The Democrats in their infinite wisdom thought to nominate another Massachusetts liberal to represent their party, since that plan had worked so well the first time (see Zorba the Greek). John Kerry had the kind of charisma normally only seen in inanimate objects. At least he was a military hero, but once the Swift-Boat mafia was done with Frankenkerry, you would have thought the Vietnam avoiding, occasional National Guardsman was the true hero, protecting America from the traitorous Democrat.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Freedom Isn't Free, In Fact It Costs a Buck o' Five

As you may have gleaned from the previous column, I enjoyed my trip to Washington, DC and the soccer game I attended there. There was one small detail that bothered me whilst I sat in my seat and viewed the action. The constant robotic chants of USA, USA, USA! Don't get me wrong, although I do have some socialist leanings (like my support for the Neo-Marxist Obama), I was rooting for the American side with one hundred and thirty four percent of my being. I thank God, Allah, Zeus, the mother goddess, and 7000 Hindu deities every single day that I was lucky enough to be born in the good ole USA.
Nevertheless, I was unable to join in with any fervor when the crowd began the endless repetitions of our country's name. Maybe I was just unused to the spectacle since I had never attended a national team game of any kind before. Who knows? The possibility could exist that I am just a traitorous liberal surrender monkey as our "patriotic" 24 hour news network would no doubt describe me. Although in order to keep my sanity I continue to doubt every word I hear spoken on Faux News.
The chanting and screaming just makes me think too much of the mindless nationalism that is sometimes foisted upon the American people. We are given slogans and songs and told to be proud of who we are. I like singing as much as the next guy (much to the regret of those unlucky enough to listen to my warbling), but words are no substitute for solutions and we as a nation are currently suffering from many serious problems that cannot be fixed so easily. Our response to 9/11 was to start singing "God Bless America" at baseball and football games.
Despite my misgivings, a part of me wanted to scream along with everyone and be part of the fun. We were seated on the side of the field opposite of Sam's Army, the official US soccer supporters group. They were having fun - singing, dancing, waving flags, beating drums, and yes, chanting USA. Given my druthers, I would have been right there next to them.
-Post interruption-
My friend and fellow blogger Robert has made a good point that made me stop in my tracks. Since I didn't seem to be in any way organized or have any special destination with this rant, I think we can all thank God for that. Roberto points out in his article about Saturday's match that the stands were filled with the kind of diversity you rarely see at events in America. The people shouting USA were not a lily-white group of Hitlerites, but a rainbow of fruit flavors representing each part of our various cultures. If a soccer game can bring about that kind of solidarity in our country, there surely can't be any reason not be proud to shout our nation's name in praise and in thanks. There aren't many other places on Earth where such a peaceful gathering could take place.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Impending Evacuation: Part Two

Friday was spent with Robert's family in Raleigh, where we were treated to a traditional Ecuadorian meal of chorizo, steak, chicken, shrimp, and salmon. Not big vegetarians these Ecuadorians. We finished off our feast with shortbread filled with dulce de leche and guava, with a bottle of port to wash down the deliciousness. The next morning the five of us hopped into an Acura built for two (and maybe a midget) and made our way towards the nation's capital.
When I entered Washington DC on a beautiful fall Saturday, I expected to be greeted by a dirty, murder and narcotic-riddled city teeming with congressmen, lobbyists, and other assorted gang members. I had no doubt there would be a crack-house named in honor of former mayor Marion Barry somewhere near Pennsylvania Avenue.
Riding through the Mall area and past the parks astride the Potomac River, I realized how mistaken my preconceptions were. The weather could not have been more beautiful, nor the surroundings more picturesque.
The natives were everywhere, some jogging, others playing volleyball, while still more plied the still waters of the Potomac in kayaks and canoes. The road to my cousin's flat was surrounded by the lush vegetation of Rock Creek Park, an urban jungle composed not of cold steel and concrete, but rather the verdant green of trees and plants. The city contains an impressive amount of parkland, 720 acres of which surround the river's edge.
Everything was not wine and roses, of course. Washington's streets were an intricate maze, with roads running into one another at angles that defy any attempt at reasonable explanation. Driving was, as a result, a tricky proposition at best, and the dense traffic made the task all the more difficult. Once you are ready to put your car to rest, trying to find a parking space in the capital can be harder than finding a politician who won't accept a campaign donation from one of our "rescued" banks.
Thankfully, DC is blessed with an excellent public transportation system and once we arrived at my cousin's place we were able to dump the car in exchange for the relatively stress-free comfort of the metro (subway). Once ensconced in our train, we headed out to RFK stadium, named after JFK's equally assassinated brother, in order to view the forces of good (= USA) do battle with the satanic Cuban side in a soccer match of unmatched historical importance.
A small, but boisterous crowd of 20,000 greeted us as we moved towards our seats, and despite the defection of two Cuban players unafraid of the current American economic crisis, the game went on as scheduled shortly after seven p.m. The damn commies put up a heck of a fight for the first forty-five minutes, pulling into a defensive shell and holding the US side to a 2-1 halftime lead.
Those who view the beautiful game of soccer as a boring affair slightly less interesting than watching their carpet grow would have been shocked at the second half results. The ejection of a Cuban player late in the first half led to the opening of the floodgates. With only ten players on defense the Americans were able to take advantage to the tune of four goals, and the game ended 6-1 in favor of Uncle Sam's bunch (for a more professional look at the results, check out my friend and soccer expert Robert's analysis).
The victory ensured the United States advancement into the final round of World Cup qualifying. My need to celebrate such a momentous occasion was insatiable. Since I was suffering from the dreadful sting of poverty at the time, as was my brother (a perhaps as yet unmentioned traveling companion), we chose to eschew the usual bars and nightclubs in favor of the excitement that runs throughout the length and breadth of the downtown Washington neighborhoods.
In other words, we chose to defile ourselves in the semi-privacy of the stoop in front of my cousin's flat. DC is chock full of areas where the houses have been turned into apartments and rented out to the younger denizens of the city, who are otherwise unable to afford the astronomical housing prices prevalent in the District.
We grabbed some beers and a grill and proceeded to find our inner girl scout by roasting smores and draining some Coors (or possibl another beer that does not taste like old socks). We sat, chatted, and watched groups of young people go by on their way to the bar district only a few blocks away. Those returning a little later on were infinitely more entertaining courtesy of their awkward stumblings, feeble fumblings, and incoherent grumblings.
As the night faded and my time in Washington came to an end, thoughts of a return danced on the outer edge of my vision. There was no chance during my short visit to get lost in the labyrinth of the city's eighteen Smithsonian and Smithsonian-affiliated museums. If I took five minutes to look at each individual exhibit, I will likely have seen them all by the year 3405.
I also have plans to visit the reflecting pond in front of the Lincoln Memorial and challenge Michael Phelps to a 400 meter freestyle race there. Finally, a third national political party needs to be created in order to bring back democracy to America and to destroy the current kleptocracy. Sounds like I will be busy on my next trip!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Impending Evacuation

The bailout/rescue or whatever you want to call the thing has been signed into law, but the economy continues to fail without the commanding presence of Richard Pryor (see prior post). The stock market has crumbled to beneath ten thousand for the first time in years. Bank stocks continue to tumble like meteors from the heavens, threatening to turn mankind into the newest version of the dinosaurs. To avert the seemingly inevitable apocalypse, I have decided to head to DC and remove the politician's heads from the asses within which they have been deeply entrenched for way too long.
Sadly, a miracle worker I am not, although my keen senses have at times been compared to those of Helen Keller. In actuality I am visiting the town that made corruption famous in order to witness the American national soccer team do battle with the evil forces of Communism represented by Fidel Castro's Cuban side. In years past we could expect to win by forfeit, as half of the Cuban team could be counted on to defect before the game, leaving the opponent without enough players to compete. This year the potential defectors will, in all likelihood, hear about the state of our nation and decide that living in poverty in a Caribbean island isn't really that bad after all.
Seems as if we may actually play the game - and in order to understand the intricacies of international soccer, I am bringing along Latin American and MLS futbol expert and friend of the blog Robert Mera in order to grasp fully the implications of such an earth-shattering match. Robert will also be celebrating his 30th birthday this weekend, which means I have to obtain accurate information from him before then as Bob Dylan says not to trust anyone past the age of thirty. Upon further review, though, I have aged gracefully past thirty myself and should be trusted. Ponder the question; when have I ever led you astray?
While in the city of DC (stands for District of Corruption) we will be staying with my beautiful and brilliant cousin Jennifer (that is sick dude, don't even think that) and her wonderful fiancee, Adam. My coz is adding to the diversity that my family was dreadfully lacking upon my birth. In 1975 we were just a ho-hum group of crackers, mostly Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Things have changed significantly since that fateful year. Added to my delightful, sprightly gayness has come my father's marriage to a lovely Turkish lass named Nalan. Jennifer has jumped into the mix with her coming betrothal, at which time she will be converting to Judaism, the religion of her future husband. Now, I will have an inside track in order to uncover the worldwide conspiracies which the Zionists are clearly behind.
Maybe instead my family's newly found diversity can be used to bring the world together. Heck we even have a black sheep/conservative in my Uncle David to make sure that all sides are represented in these negotiations. Our next family reunion has the potential to be more earth-shattering than the Camp David Accords. Or we may turn into the Palestine family and start throwing rocks and tanks at one another. Either way, good times will be had by all.