Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chalk Outline of the Body Politic (A Look Back)

Back in November of 2010, I posted the following rant after the mid-terms but then took it down after a few days. Chock full of good, snide metaphor as it may be, it smacks of the same smug, patronizing tone that I find so distasteful in anyone who's not me.

I thought I'd archive it, give it a year and see if I had any legs as a political prognosticator. With New Hampshire coming up in a couple days (the first reality based contest) and the battle focusing in on the Empty-shirt-wearing-the-mom-jeans, Mister Seepage and Ron Paul, the dust should start settling and we'll see who's left chewing on the Republican carcass. 

A reminder to my friends on both ends of the political fringe. Please don"t mistake this as a leftist diatribe. Being a radical centrist, I think you're both crazy as hell. It's just that I find the battle for the soul (or whatever serves in its place...) of the Republican Party more fascinating.

Besides, who am I kidding? I am smug and patronizing.

Let's see what happens.

Nov. 4, 2010

I know you’ve been watching the returns and the apparent rise of the Tea (Terrorize Elderly Americans) party with a frozen look on your faces as if someone were waving a turd under your nose. Take a deep breath, though, and stop surfing through those Canada websites. This is where it gets really fascinating. (Of course I’m slightly sociopathic and find fun in some strange things; like history…)

You don't want to miss the part where the tea party true believers, just like the Religious Right that Bush Junior date-raped and dumped during his elections, meet reality. Flushed with imagined power, the rank-and-file fringe element of the Baggers actually believes that the Republican Party is going to leave its Wife for them. This is the same coalition of delusional "Salt-of-the-earth" types (Blazing Saddles subreference, folks...) , paranoid old people and completely whacked out billionaires that Karl Rove cynically co-opted in 2000 by leading them on; using and abandoning them at the altar. The current tea bag herders (Hey, Karl, what’s new?) will have tired of them soon, even though the baggers will do things for them, dirty things, that no respectable political base would.

The most entertainingly insane of the bunch have already been voted off the Island. Angle lost to Harry Reid. Harry Reid! This has to be the psychic equivalent of giving your best pole dance, and still being laughed off the stage; "No-one wants to see that, honey!"

And of course Christine O'Donnell, number one on the Republican MILVF list (Moms I'd like to Vote for- Just $5.99 to access streaming video of the "news conferences"; an extra $50 gets you ten minutes for a private discussion of the Chinese conspiracy, Pinky and the Brain and, just possibly, a happy ending.) This dumbed-down (god help us…) Sarah Palin and her ilk (good word) have possible futures on “Dancing With The Stars”, FOX and the “Late Show Top Ten List”, but what about all the little, pale, pink-eyed people out in the towns and villages that have powered this movement with their energetic banality?

You can actually envision them standing outside the Capitol building in the cold, greasy light of dawn; soiled panties bunched up in their purse, no money for the bus, an ominous itch developing and hot tears of shame carving gullies through their make up. "I did it again! Oh why do I keep falling for the same sweet lies? He's probably putting those campaign videos up on Face Book for his pervert friends? Oh, God!!"

In the meantime the rest of the body politic will move on as the two vaguely more functional ends of our lunatic fringe continuum continue to do whatever we can to screw things up in more surprisingly unforeseen ways.

Here are the parts I’m looking forward to watching (Remember, though, that I do have antisocial tendencies and I’m sort of at loose ends for entertainment since “Lost” went off the air)

1. The Republican Party Civil War as Boehner and McConnell each have to play different hands for different stakes with the Baggers.

2. The bellows of dismay when the Baggers realize that they were a means to an end.

3. The continuing bellows of dismay when the mainstream Republicans realize they’ve played this hand one too many times and that they’ve lost control of the Baggers  This will start to get fun right about the time raising the debt ceiling comes up. It should be as epic as “Lord of the Rings”, with Jim Demint as Sauron.

4. The subtle maneuvering by the Republicans to torpedo Sarah Palin before she can do more damage. She cost them a possible shot at the Senate by backing candidates even less qualified than her. (You want to look thin, stand next to a fat person. You want to look sane, stand next to O’Donnell)

This coming few years can be a lot of fun if you don’t actually think about it or have any stake in the future. Turn on “E”; have a beer and wait for the end. (Of course, I don’t have any kids and the cats will probably die before me so what the hell…)

Meanwhile, somewhere out of the way in an old burnished and worn boxing ring,  Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes continue to trade blows before a silent audience of old white guys. After many hundreds of rounds, neither seems to have a notable advantage. However, Mr. Smith is the only one that appears to be smiling.

Let's sit back and watch the fun, kids. Better bring along that well-thumbed, dog-eared copy of The Wealth of Nations, just in case we need a ruling.

Get comfortable. This is going to take a while...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

In Praise of Crazy Women

Listening to the news this afternoon, I learned that Michelle Bachmann has officially withdrawn from the race.

While she wasn’t necessarily a credit to the race, (or gender or species) I’ll miss the fun she brought to the party, as will most of late night TV. This set me to thinking and, before too long, I could see that shimmery, wavy air thing that usually presages a flashback. Settling back into the hotel room sofa, I relaxed and waited for it.


About a year ago, I was sitting on the deck with Glen, discussing the world scene, politics, fine cheese… the usual hot topics. We had gone through the custom rote declamations of amazement at the pinheads currently holding down both ends of the political bell curve and capped it off with nearly 20 minutes of our best material on the trio of wackettes that were mesmerizing the TEA (Terrify Elderly Americans) Party. Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and Christine O’Donnell, despite being crazier than a soup sandwich, were completely dominant over that edge of the spectrum. (Actually, “dominant” is a fitting term. You get a feeling that a lot of these folks would pay dearly to have one of these ladies give them the spankings they so richly deserve.)

Glen and I had settled into the smug, superior, self-satisfied silence that always caps reviewing and solving problems you know you won’t be personally called on to deal with.  After a moment or two, though, Glen sheepishly confessed to something that had been weighing heavily on his mind. He felt he had to talk this out even though he was worried that I would…

1. Think he was nuts or…

2. Share his secret shame with the world.

Right on both counts, it would seem…

“I realize they are completely mad,” he agonized, “but I find them oddly attractive. Is there something horribly wrong with me?"

“Yes,” I assured him. “Yes, there is.”

But he’s not alone. I think he put his finger on the cause of their almost inexplicable appeal.

“Hey, what’s that shimmering, wavy thing in the air there?” Glen whispered, warily.

“Just another flashback,” I explained.

“It’s coming closer!”, he nervously hissed.

“Hmm… Best keep your arms and legs away from it”, I opined lazily as the “Wonder Years” music washed over me. “I’m not sure what would happen if…”


The scream cut off abruptly but I was already back several decades and the 70's music soon drowned out the gurgling sounds.


At some point in our early years, most of us guys have been involved with crazy women. We will, for the most part, deny this if asked; especially as it will be our wives doing the asking and we do not want them ever thinking, even for a moment, that:

1. We ever went for crazy women

2. They might, in fact, be those crazy women

They aren’t. Fortunately, those of us who survived crazy women learned to sincerely appreciate non-crazy women. Just as bungee jumping over a dry, rocky river bed may be exciting once; you’re nuts if you continue that sort of behavior after the cord snaps a few times. (Yes, a few times. We’re guys. We learn but not particularly quickly)

This is because young guys are all crazy as well. Well, perhaps not crazy but definitely of diminished capacity because they’re completely in the thrall of their sad, hormone-driven nether brains and the nether brain knows, instinctively, that there’s nothing more exciting than crazy sex; trumping angry sex, makeup sex or outdoor sex and possibly incorporating all of those at the same time. You don’t know where you’re going or where you’ll end up with Crazy Woman but it’s like a ride on an extreme roller coaster that has not been maintained or inspected. You may excitedly raise your arms or something into the air during a curve only to lose it suddenly. It’s amazing what some women will do to disappoint their fathers and a bit disconcerting to realize that you’re probably it.

Eventually though, assuming you survive, the ride comes to an end. Crazy girls heads back to Bradley University, change hats and enter a convent or join the Young Republicans. Perhaps you, yourself, come to the realization that it’s time to move on. This could happen while you’re assembling what’s left of your record collection and clothing scattered about the lawn, trying to get the painted graffitti off your car or snagging pieces of your cat out of the blender. It could occur during the day’s 14th frantic, suicidal personal phone call at work. It may come at 3 AM when you wake up to find her standing over your bed in the darkness. Sure, she’s naked, but she’s also holding a knife and staring blankly at you. You leave the apartment and most of your possessions and go far, far away.

It’s reassuring to know, though, that ultimately even "Little Elvis" himself is able to draw a line in the sand. (Yep, I'm that endowed... Sorry...) This usually happens in your early 30's when the raging hormones start to die back a bit. I remember finding  myself in that situation, getting involved with a girl because she was the sister of an old friend and it theoretically seemed like a nice thing. However, when going to seal the deal, Elvis actually initiated a dialogue. As I recall, it went something like this...

Elvis: "What the hell are you doing?"

Me: "Uh, what do you mean? Boy? Girl? Elvis gets touched?"

Elvis: "Are you nuts? Look in those eyes. She scares the hell out of me!"

Me: "For god's sake, knock it off! You're embarrassing me! Do your stuff, dammit, she's getting that "sympathetic" look!

Elvis: "No way, man. You wanna tap that, you're on your own! I'm taking the boys and spending the night up in the abdomen. Good luck!"

Me: "No!! Don't leave me alone with... What do I... Oh Lord!!!!"

"Wanna cuddle?"

I understand that years of trauma and psychic damage elsewhere have confirmed Elvis's sage wisdom from all those years ago. Thanks, little buddy. (You can come down, now...)


Back in the hotel room, I draw out of the reverie and back to the news, silently wishing Bachmann well, in an odd way. O' Donnell has disappeared; Palin's stuck in a dead end relation with some guy who walks dogs for a living and the Republican whack-a-mole game has dwindled down to a few less colorful players. Thank god there's still one crazy girl left. While not at all attractive, it still provides someone for the Tea Party to lavish their twisted affections on until they finally sneak away in the middle of the night, tears of embarassment stinging their faces.

Keep cab fare and a change of underwear in your murse, Santorum.