Tuesday, May 31, 2011


            Sometimes I think my lovely (and dangerous) wife keeps me around for amusement purposes only, like having a court jester or village idiot on retainer.  About two or three times a day she has to "rescue" me from myself, and I'm pretty sure she lives for those moments.

           Yesterday I was happily web-surfing away the afternoon, trying to find something interesting without stumbling into uncharted waters that might sink my computer's little ship.  I seem to find all the hull-bursting reefs on the internet, like a magnet finding stray shards of iron.  Anyway, because it was a holiday,  no one seemed to be blogging, the news was exceedingly dull, and I found myself clicking from link to link in search of anything marginally worthwhile to read or watch.
            That's when I hit the "magic button" on my keyboard.  I have no idea where this magic button is located, or what icon is printed on the key, but about once or twice a month I manage to accidentally hit it during my spastic attempts to type, and the resultant chaos always involves a lot of cursing, panic, and eventually a call for my wife to come and help me fix the mess I've made.
            This particular "oh shit!" button is the one that makes all the toolbars and taskbars at the top of my computer monitor disappear.  The upside to this is having a wonderfully expanded view of things, since the monitor isn't cluttered up with AVG, Google, Yahoo, Bing, and all the other toolbars I never use...  The obvious downside is not being able to navigate to any of the sites I DO want to see.
            I have no idea how this happens, or if I'm the only person who is blessed with the opposite of The Midas Touch.  I'm pretty sure the fairy tale would have worked just as well if the Midas Touch had turned everything to shit, which is what I seem to be capable of doing at any given moment.  I can be back here minding my own business, not even staring at internet titties, when it happens.  Presto!  No toolbars... no Google search bar... nothing.  Just a monitor screen on whatever page I was looking at when the cyberspace version of "The Rapture" sucked all the helpful shit off of my computer.
             I'll plunk and poke around in my typical ham-handed manner, but eventually I'll have to announce (and this always! draws a heavy sigh from the wizard in the other room...) that I've done it yet again, please come help at your earliest convenience.  She's always prompt to the rescue, so there's that.
             I'm sure the people who designed the "oh shit!" key know where it is.  They could tell us, but won't.  And the people who know how to correct this mysterious problem would rather tell you the combination to the vault containing their life's deepest, darkest secrets than reveal the cure they use to restore all the taskbars.  Makes 'em feel all-powerful, and gives them an air of superiority to flaunt for a bit.
             If asked, I'll swear I only do this to give my wife the satisfaction she needs to feel empowered.  It's done on purpose to give you happiness, honey...  No need to thank me, I'm here to help.
             Where was I?  Oh yeah... Wicked Weasel bikini competition...


BUYER'S REMORSE FOR GOP GOVERNORS...                             

An article in Mother Jones might be instructive to anyone pondering the national elections in 2012.  According to that story there has been some serious blowback in reaction to the overreach of some battleground state governors, and that could signify good news for Obama's reelection campaign next year.

From Rick Scott in Florida to Ohio's John Kasich, voters are coming to realize just how badly the Tea Party-led swing to the right has affected their states.  Governor Scott Walker's horrible handling of Wisconsin's budget fiasco, complete with his venomous anti-union stances against teachers, firefighters, and policemen, has proven to be very unpopular in that state.  Michigan's Rick Snyder is now one of the most unpopular sitting governors in the country, and even New Jersey's Chris Christie, the messiah of Faux News talking heads, has taken his lumps of late.
When you add up the electoral votes at stake in each of those battleground states, then realize that the policies being foisted upon the citizens of states that elected Tea Party backed governors and legislatures have proven extremely unpopular with the masses, the stage might be set for a major shift in the political tides next year.

The Tea Party insurrection took place in reaction to the election of Barack Obama, with a mighty assist from the billionaire Koch brothers and the propaganda mouthpiece of Fox News.  But everyday people in those states have seen the extreme policies of their newly elected governors and legislators for what they are, and they don't like the direction of their states' politics.  Just as the teabaggers have forced all Republican candidates to the far right of the political spectrum, the blowback from their policies could invite a resurgence of progressives and independents to rejoin the ranks of the Democratic alternatives next fall.
Consider this:  whomever the Republicans nominate for the presidency will have to pass muster in extremely conservative caucuses and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina to win the nomination.  Tea Party litmus tests on everything from Medicare vouchers, prayer in schools, gun control, tax reform, repeal of health care reform, etc. will be hurdles for any national candidate in the general election.  In short, they might pander to the extreme right for the nomination, but how will it play in Peoria?
Combine the potential candidacy of someone chosen from the far right with an uprising of awakened progressives and independents in battleground states, and the potential for sweeping electoral gains are possible for the Democratic Party next November.

              I may be wrong, but I think the future's so bright we gotta wear shades!                  





            And they're off!  With thousands of eager-beaver reporters following in the wake (and those wonderful "emissions") of her "not a campaign bus" campaign bus, Sarah Palin and her clan have rolled away from the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally in D.C. toward Mt. Vernon.  Since she feels no obligation to the "lame-stream media" she isn't telling anyone where they're headed next.  But folks in Philly are already crowding around the Liberty Bell, anxious to hear how Palin will blame liberals like Obama for the crack.
             Palin's "not a campaign bus" tour has everything a person who is trying to avoid publicity could ever want:  a flashy paint job with a photo of the Constitution, complete with some patriotic quotes, a rolling Diva parade designed to only stop where sufficient coverage can be guaranteed, and the Magical Mystery Tour vibe that made The Beatles bus trip such a resounding success.  (ahem, that last line was with tongue firmly in cheek... The Beatles Magical Mytery Tour bus adventure was a belly-buster of a flop, mainly because nothing exciting or mysterious or magical took place for the duration of the tour...)
             Now that she's pulled off her "Flo from Progressive" impression, complete with exhaust belching Harleys and her very own "not a hair out of place" helmet, Palin has climbed back aboard the family bus to conduct a few sit downs with Greta from Faux News, wherein she'll happily explain that she's just off to see our 'amber waves of grainy fields and all the freedoms of speech in this great country of ours!"


             Sure, it's a publicity stunt to drive up her sagging visibility quotient.  Sure, it's yet another way for Sister Sarah to drum up some business for her books and speaking engagement calendar.  But what if the media circus never abates?  What if everywhere she goes people come up to her and urge (no, beg!) her to run for the White House?  What if the field of potential GOP candidates continues to implode with gaffe riddled interviews, speeches, and public flubs?  What if no one stands out for the Republican Party, and the teabagger people threaten to abandon ship for a third party candidate sufficiently infused with Jesus, the NRA, and veiled racist bona fides?

              Well, folks, that's how we end up with Sarah Palin jumping into the race later this summer.  And before anyone writes that fairy tale script off as wishful thinking by an avowed progressive, let me warn you that I believe she's the most serious threat to Obama's reelection, other than assassination.
               Never underestimate the ignorance and gullibility of the American voter.  And we all know how dangerous large groups of ignorant people can be... just look at how many millions of idiots voted for Curious George W. Bush.  Twice!  Don't think this silly, stupid woman isn't electable.  She's by far the most electable candidate in the Republican field, given the teabagger litmus tests of fiscal insanity, religious dogmatism, and xenophobic paranoia that will define the Republican party nominee.
                Her publicity tour to avoid publicity will be a great success.  We have to wait to see if it hands her the Republican nomination.

Monday, May 30, 2011


     Sarah Palin was reportedly appalled to learn she'd have to 'ride a hog' ...

               The national media is abuzz with rumors swirling around the vacation bus tour being conducted by Todd and Sarah Palin across the northeast, beginning with this weekend's stopover in D.C. to take part in the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally.  Speculation is running wild that she's planning tactical stops at strategic sites across the country, all leading up to her eventual press conference announcing her candidacy for the Republican nomination for president.

The Palin's greet commoners in front of the Port-o-Potties in D.C.                                      

               I'm not one of the folks who finds this flaky twat's publicity tour a complete joke.  Sure, it's corny to travel around in a blue bus, vamping for the cameras at significant national monuments and tourist attractions pandering for votes.  But to dismiss Palin as just another ambitious candidate is to totally underestimate the power of charisma over ignorant and gullible masses.  Palin pulls crowds wherever she goes, and most of them would pull a lever for her at the polls in a heartbeat, if she's willing to give them a chance.

               She's apparently not letting anyone in on the ultimate secret of her tour until she's had a chance to get sick of travelling in a bus with members of her immediate family.  If travelling with her family is anything like travelling with mine, she'll be over this shit in about a week, if she isn't already.  But perhaps she's convinced everyone that this is yet another necessary evil on the way to the promised land, and they'll all play nice together until she's decided to haul her publicity-seeking ass back to Arizona to her new home.  In the meantime, America waits and watches for the slightest indications of her intentions.  She'll be front page news every time she steps out of the bus to look at a national icon or greet working folks along the way, and in her world, any pub is good pub.
              In keeping with my tradition of ridiculing dangerous rightwing ideologues, I plan to follow her trip on-line as she moves about the country, adding my commentary as needed.  I won't necessarily rely on news reports or facts upon which to base my commentary, just as Sarah rarely relies on facts when she pontificates about whatever pops into her pretty little head.  I feel, like Sarah Palin, I have the freedom to create my own facts to fit my own agenda, and I intend to do just that until she parks this fucking bus and takes her butt back to Wasilla.

             Here's my first report from the Palin Family's Magical Mystery Tour Bus Trip: 

             Sarah was relieved to discover that all she had to do for the Rolling Thunder rally was hop on the back of a motorcycle for a photo op.  Someone had told her she had to ride a "hog", and she's been worried about swine flu ever since.

            See you at Mt. Vernon, where Sarah hopes to meet Betsy Washington, the lady who made the first flag!


                                      JOSEPH FARAH... A REAL PRINCE...

             Taking a page from the oh-so-successful playbook of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson (heavy sigh...) a guy named Joseph Farah has written a screed in which the blame for the recent spate of tornadoes in America can be laid directly at the feet of President Obama.
            Farah writes that Obama's speech suggesting Israel return to its 1967 borders is the reason we've been hit with such violent and destructive weather.
            Ah, it's all Biblical.  I was no misinformed...



           I have no idea how a nation can go from "land of the free" to "you're under arrest for dancing", but welcome to Amerika, the police state version.

           Apparently, the Park Police have a problem with free expression within the boundaries of the Jefferson Memorial.  I wonder how ol' Thomas would have reacted to this scene if he were alive to witness it.

           "... with Liberty, and Justice for all."

             Follow-up report from a Faux News affiliate.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


             Photos of Stones River National Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
                     one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, Dec. 1862-Jan. 1863

             We're heading down to Center Hill Lake for an afternoon on a houseboat with good friends.  I'd like to wish everyone a great day, and post a little reminder of what this long weekend is really about...
              It's easy to take the sacrifice of others for granted.  We owe a debt we can never repay.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

SANTORUM'S GOOGLE PROBLEMS JUST GOT A LOT WORSE... (Rachel Maddow reports on Rick's "dog pee" stump speech)

A SQUATLO STORY: NUMBER FORTY-TWO "HUMILIATIONS, GALORE!" (my brief college tennis education...)


            Sometimes it's hard for a person with a lifetime of humiliating experiences to pinpoint the worst of them all, but when I give it some thought and really concentrate on the memories that make my mind immediately change channels in defensive retreat, the following story always rises to the top of the septic tank.
            Back in 1972 (black and white television, wooden shoes, for those of you too young to remember those dreary days) I graduated from high school by the slimmest of margins. My father had seen enough of my academic prowess to know better than to spend hard earned cash sending me to a real university, so he pointed across the river at a local community college and suggested I apply for admission there.  The tuition was a pittance and I could live at home until I either woke up and got serious about an education, or was driven completely mad by my parents.  I never got serious about an education, and left for a factory job in middle Tennessee just before losing my ever-loving mind at home.
             But in between my high school graduation and my sterling career building radial truck tires for multi-national manufacturer, I attended said community college for a few semesters.  While there I was informed by a fellow slacker that the school was forming its first tennis team and was looking for interested players.  My friends and I had only taken up the game the summer before, but we had made a lot of progress and thought we were good enough to give it a shot.
             During team tryouts I made a great impression on our new coach when I attempted to jump over the net to retrieve a ball and managed to snag my foot on the top cord of the net on the way over.  I landed face first on the other side, with my foot still hanging in the net.  All of this happened within twenty feet of our coach as he entered the courts through a side gate.  He was oh-so-impressed, and it showed... shaking his head as if to say, "What in the hell am I doing out here?"
            Somehow I recovered well enough to earn the number two singles spot on our team, and that's me holding the Bancroft Teardrop wooden racket in the team photo above.  Ignore the white short-shorts and the calf-high white socks, complete with racing stripes.  That was the style in those days, kids.  Honest.  Check out footage of the NBA circa '72 and note the attire...
            Before our season started our coach thought it would be a good idea to match our men's team up against seasoned competition, so he arranged for us to play a scrimmage match against the University of Tennessee's womens team in Knoxville.  We had one girl on our team, but other than Mary none of us had ever played against a girl on a tennis court in our lives.  Foolishly, we laughed at the prospects of hammering a bunch of defenseless women on their own courts, and couldn't wait to get on the bus for a ride to our first triumphant match.
             When we got off the bus in Knoxville we were greeted by the womens' team coach from UT, and she introduced us to our opponents.  Every one of them looked like a cross between a Playboy centerfold and 'the girl next door.'  We were dazzled.  Looking around I noticed that every one of us had a silly-shit grin on his face, and at that moment the best thing we could have done would have been to climb back into the bus and head for home with some semblance of dignity intact.  Instead, we took our sloshing testosterone out on the courts and were summarily beaten like rag dolls by those young women.
             The number two player for UT was a young lady who (I later learned) was Chris Evert's teammate and friend in Florida before coming to UT on a scholarship.  Evert turned pro and made a few dollars on the women's circuit, and her friend went to UT and spent at least one afternoon beating the living shit out of a grinning fool from a small community college team.
             I should have known I was in trouble the minute I saw this girl.  She was about five three, with long, straight, jet-black hair, and stunning blue eyes.  Her little tennis outfit barely covered her beautiful ass, and watching her bounce around in a blur of white rump and that flying curtain of hair was more than my primitive mind could handle.  She stroked backhands as smoothly as any of us could hit a forehand, and was pinpoint accurate with her shots.  In the thirty minutes it took her to destroy my throbbing libido I'm quite certain the girl never broke a sweat.
             I, on the other hand, was dying.  She ran me from corner to corner for the first ten minutes, and then when she was satisfied that I was on the verge of exhaustion, simply overpowered me with overhand smashes and topspin lobs.  I found myself clinging to the back fence of the court clutching my side trying to breathe, while she crouched down in anticipation of my next service.  My best serves came back with twice the velocity, and the only time I was actually in that match was before we shook hands during the introductions.  And through it all, I couldn't stop grinning.  God, she was gorgeous!
            Not my opponent, but a reasonably close example of the girl who kicked my ass...

            When we shook hands after our match, I couldn't help but notice this girl was now grinning back at me.  The look on her face told me all I needed to know about college tennis:  I hadn't  gotten her best game.  She may have even been playing left-handed, for all I know.  That was the first lesson I ever got on a tennis court, and the theme of that lesson was this:  you can't judge a killer by her looks.
             We walked off the court and I truly expected to be greeted by smirking teammates who would hound me relentlessly for suffering our only loss of the day.  Instead, I found the rest of my buddies already in their sweats waiting for my match to conclude so they could get back on the bus.  They'd already had their own clocks cleaned... my match had taken a few minutes longer than anyone else's, although I don't remember winning enough points to have delayed things.
              We were humble mother fuckers on that bus ride home.  The coach was as happy as I'd ever seen him, because he'd planned a quick humility lesson and had had it go perfectly.  From that day forward none of us harbored any delusions about our limited abilities, and we actually paid a little more attention in practice when he tried to correct our obvious flaws.
               But when I look back over my life for those "top ten" moments of humiliation, I always remember the look on that beautiful young woman's face as she reached out to shake my sweaty hand.  It was educational.  I'm not over it yet.