Monday, October 31, 2005

Easily confused

I was just waking up this morning when I thought I heard Nina Totenburg say that President Bush had nominated Lance Ito for the Supreme Court. Well, I thought, it's about time Lance got the respect he so richly deserves for his masterful handling of the O.J. trial. However, after downing a couple cups of coffee I was disappointed to learn that the nominee was Sam Alito and not Lance Ito at all (but you can understand my confusion after the whole Harriet Miers fiasco). Personally I think Lance would have been a little easier to confirm but what do I know?

If Jay Leno features the Dancing Alitos on tonight's show, remember: you heard it here first.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Back to the Bunker

Well it turns out that news of the Bush Administation's demise was greatly exaggerated but since it took us almost three hours to get the old Volvo started we decided to run a few errands before heading back inside. First order of business was a complete (and I mean complete) makeover for Becky Sue at Chakras. One of her sorority sisters works there and got her in without an appointment.

I was heading down to Zetos to stock up on some drinkable wine but remembered I'd spent most of the checking account balance on a bitchin' satellite radio. I figured I might have a royalty check or two in the post office box Becky Sue doesn't know about (I hope). And darned if I wasn't right. A quick stop by the Wachovia ATM at Friendly and I was liquid again. Since I was in the neighborhood I cruised by the B&N to check the inventory on my books. One of the drab little bookworms had moved my stuff to the Romance section again: "How many times do I have to tell you people, it's historical fiction - the lurid covers are my publishers idea. And besides, how do you know that Admiral Nelson DIDN'T have an octoroon mistress diguised as his cabin boy?" I made room for my books in with the legitimate literature and was headed out the door when I ran into Harley.

Good old Harley. We used to play racquetball every Tuesday at the rec center before he had his stroke. I persuaded him to follow me back to Zetos because I knew they'd let him sample stuff they'd never open for me.

They were having a promotion on Childress Vineyards' Signature Reserve so we tried all three of the offerings. Not terrible. Not terrible at all. But I had my eye on some Spanish reds and with Harley's influence we got into a few. A couple of cases later the checking account was back under a grand again. God only knows what Becky Sue was racking up at Chakras.

Harley started looking a little under the weather and I hadn't even pumped for the latest dirt in the department yet. As I helped him out to his car he stopped and looked me in the eye. "Are you...are you still with Becky Sue." (JEEZ are they still on about that?) "Because... you know, they'd take you back in a second if you'd just, you know, say you were wrong."

OK, so a man has a moment of weakness and his grad assistant is looking especially hot one day and, well...there was the whole election thing and one thing led to another and...Besides, dude the signs are all there and we're just hiding out until this Republican thing passes over like the Angel of Death.

Harley bummed me out big time so when I picked up Becky Sue (who was looking VERY hot - thank you Chakras) she was all like: "Dude, who pissed on your picnic?"

We stopped at Ganache and got a couple of ungodly expensive cheescakes to take back to the bunker. There was a "booze it and lose it" traffic stop on Market Street but the cop took one look at the Volvo and waved us through. Back at the bunker we knocked back a couple bottles of the Valderamino, half a cheesecake and slept soundly through the night. I dreamt of Bill Clinton during the good times.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I guess we can come out now

After the 2004 election it was pretty gloomy around the old bunker. You try living without sunshine and fresh air for months at a time and see if it doesn't affect your outlook. Besides, things were getting pretty desperate: we were reduced to drinking California Merlot (shudder!) and Becky Sue was getting a little hairy for my tastes. I'm sorry but there is NO WAY I'm waxing anything but my surfboard (which is doing me little good down here let me tell you.)

So anyway, we read on the Internet that the Bush Administration was melting down because of some indictments or something and that next Tuesday some people are planning to run the Bush Adminstration out of town. Wow. I mean Becky Sue got out some of our old Jefferson Airplane/Starship LPs and we marched around the bunker shouting some old sixties slogans: Hell no we won't go. Hey, Hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today. The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching - gosh we had such fun! We started watching some of our old Watergate Senate hearing tapes but we both fell asleep. Afterwards we acted out a play we wrote last February we call "John and Mo Dean - Nixon's cruelest revenge". (We always fight over whose turn it is to wear the blonde wig.)

It will be good again to breathe the sweet pure air of Democracy again. To tell you the truth we both were more than a little worried that America had turned to the radical right for good. But you know, you just got to have a little faith. Like Lincoln (a Republican, we should point out) once was reported to say: "you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but Dick Chaney isn't fooling anybody any of the time." In fact, we heard that even Anne Coulter carries around a bottle of hand-sanitizer when she knows she's going to have to press the flesh with Chaney. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA But, you have to forgive us; we've been living on pimiento cheese sandwiches, non-vintage wine and "The Daily Show" since 2002 so we're a little left of center.

So if you see us on Tate Street give us a grin and a wave. I hope my graduate students eventually forgive my sudden absence but, kids, if truth be known, I haven't read a paper all the way through since 1987. Besides, see how well you've done without me? Believe me, you can't get that kind of education in anybody's classroom. (Becky Sue says to speak for myself).

It's good to know that we won't be the last of the Liberals. That there is a place for righteousness and truth in this country and that at this very moment all around this great nation of ours, millions of people are sloughing off their lethargy and taking back their country from our would-be oppressors. We're tired of being scared of the future. We believe there's hope for the future. Now fix me a decent Mojito and let's celebrate!

Gosh, I hope the Volvo still starts.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lions 1, Harriet 0

"Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue." Steve McCrosky

Bye Harriet. See ya (wouldn't want to be ya)

What an exciting and ultimately ego-deflating period this must have been for our heroine. For the rest of us who watched this poor woman suffer through this awfulness, we can, at last, stop feeling her pain. Wearing her bravest smile (and Eisenhower-era suits) she reminded us of one of those not-quite-so-confident Christians being led into the arena (which turned out to be an apt analogy.) We could imagine her initial panic (while trying to siddle unnoticed toward the door) feeling her benefactor's white-hot gaze turn her way: "Hey, how about Harriet? She's a woman AND a lawyer!" "Don't you worry Harriet, they're gonna love you."

Unfortunately for poor Harriet, they didn't love her. Despite her outward appearance, she wasn't mired nearly enough in the values and attitudes of the 1950s - at least we don't think she was. It was hard to tell.

So what's next for our brave albeit recalcitrant Born-Again Christian soldier? We imagine a couple weeks at Betty Ford Center ridding herself of nasty, recently-acquired Oxycontin habit. After that a smoking-cessation clinic followed by months and months of therapy; the inevitable talk-show circuit (Please be kind Oprah), the consolation prize book deal and finally, her consignment to the dustheap of history.

We're pretty sure the next nominee is going to be a certified fire-breathing, scorched-earth, born-to-be-bad conservative with skin as thick as elephant's hide just itching to turn back the clock as far as she'll go. We wonder what Robert Bork is doing these days.

If you're the praying sort we hope you include poor Harriet in your prayers tonight. She never asked for this much attention or abuse. She was just going along to get along. Only after the 100,000 watt media spotlight turned on her did she realize what she was in for. While you're at it, pray for Rachel Dratch who will return to bit-player status on SNL.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Appalachian is Hot Hot Hot

This one's been making the rounds but in case you missed it, check out App State's promotional video and be sure you've got your speakers turned WAY UP

If you end up getting a loop of promotions try it in another browser

Signs of life

There's always some discussion about changing the signs coming into Greensboro to reflect the city's new and dynamic outlook. Here are a few suggestions that get at the heart of what this town's all about.

  1. City of Conflicting Opinions
  2. City on your way to somewhere else
  3. City where progress stopped, took a look around and moved on.
  4. City of denial
  5. Our skyline speaks for itself
  6. Still bigger than Cary
  7. Will trade day jobs for nightlife
  8. Where all the children (in the NW) are above average
  9. Now bypassable from all directions
  10. Just a short commute to the RDU airport
  11. More corporate headquarters than most cities half our size
  12. Biding our time
  13. Tired of pretending were Raleigh or Charlotte
  14. Where Nordstrom is coming next (maybe)
  15. You're never more than two hours away from anything
  16. Jet noise? What jet noise?
  17. Where High Point spills over twice a year
  18. It only looks like we've given up
  19. Where issues come to divide
  20. Fewer murders than last year
  21. If only baseball season were longer
  22. Ground zero of the blogosphere (bloggosphere?)
  23. We'll get around to it sooner or later
  24. Soft on crime but tough on trees
  25. Let us relax our zoning for you
Maybe we can put a few of these on the ballot and get a real firestorm going.

Divina Comedia Reduxio

A man dies and goes to Hell. When he arrives he is met by the Devil who informs him that, yes, Hell was sort of like that which Dante described - except that Hell, keeping up with earthly trends was much more modern now, having moved away from most of the Medieval punishments depicted by Hieronymus Bosch. The truly wicked sinners still end up suffering the torments of the 5th and 6th rings (with the 7th ring reserved for politicians and prelates) but most run-of-the-mill sinners get off with an eternity of annoyance and frustration.

The Devil takes the man to a dimly-lit corridor and shows him three rooms. “You will spend eternity in one of these three rooms,” said the Devil. “You must choose one.”

In the first room a group of people in their late-twenties and early-thirties sat on concrete blocks talking. “These people are new parents and will spend eternity discussing every aspect of having and raising babies,” the Devil explained. “Would you like to join them?” The man thought for a while and asked to see the next room.

In the second room a group of gray-haired people sat on a cold bare floor talking. “These people are new grandparents and will spend eternity discussing the joys of being a grandparent and showing you pictures of their grandchildren.” Before the Devil could speak again, the man quickly moved to the third door.

The Devil grinned and opened the door to the third room. In the room a number of middle-aged people sat on fluffy cushions talking and laughing. “These people are pet owners. They will spend eternity talking about the cute things their pets do.”

The Devil closed the door and asked: “So, now that you’ve seen all three, which room do you pick?”

The man thought a moment and then said: “Listen your honor; I know that I've led a life of sin and depravity and don't deserve any special privileges but isn't there anything else?”

The Devil scratched his chin and considered a moment. “The only other thing we’ve got is treading water in a boiling sea while Harpies continuously rip out your eyeballs and monsters devour your lower limbs - it’s kind of old-fashioned.”

“Sounds good to me,” the man said.

“We’re talking eternity now, you understand?” the Devil asked.

The man glanced back at the three doors and nodded his head. In a flash the man was gone.

The Devil smiled to himself: “Nobody ever takes the three rooms.”

Monday, October 10, 2005

Disaster du jour

Well it’s happened again. Just when we were feeling pretty sorry for ourselves because of the destruction and misery caused by our twin hurricanes in the Gulf (We’re number one! We’re number one!), along comes, first, Hurricane Stan burying all these villages in Guatemala under oceans of mud and then, right on the heels of that, an earthquake in India/Pakistan kills upwards of 20,000 in a matter of minutes.

It’s a fact - nobody does natural disasters quite like the Third World! The tsunami back around Christmastime set the disaster bar pretty high: not only thousands but hundreds of thousands dead! It boggles the mind. So does the question: Who’s gonna pay for all this mess? All the concerts and telethons in the world won't make a dent in the bill these latest disasters are going to generate.

While this column normally eschews all things political, today we’re wondering whether our friend President Bush might be feeling a little put upon. Almost as if (maybe, possibly) somebody (and you know Who we mean) might have it in for him. We're also wondering if being president might be getting a little old.

Being president must have seemed like a hoot-and-a-half back in 2001 before all the unpleasantness started. But the times are a-changing and not for the better. 9/11 was a huge tragedy but damn if it wasn’t exciting as hell. Those were heady times for the President. Everybody liked him – he liked himself. Then the wars, which started out so successfully, bogged down into what they are today. And then the scandals, the indictments and the natural disasters started. (Let’s not forget those four hurricanes in 2004). So we wouldn’t be surprised if the old boy didn’t have one of those little count-down thingies on his desk: “only 1194 more days to being a private citizen”. Gee, that’s a long time. Now, we’re depressed too.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Discovery Channel After Life

Lot of talk these days about Evolution versus Intelligent Design. I'm trying to keep an open mind but the extremes of both sides (OK, mostly the Young Earth faction) make me wonder why people think the way they do. I personally subscribe to the "Who the Hell Knows?" theory of life on Earth. The major tenents of this theory are: geological evidence? interesting; paleontological/anthropological evidence? pretty cool; DNA evidence? I think you're getting somewhere; biblical evidence? sketchy, but maybe there's something there biblical scholars missed, intentionally left out, or misinterpreted. Those of us in the WTHK camp are ready to believe and disbelieve everything all at the same time.

Truth be told, how many of us really understand the scientific evidence anyway? Not me. My information comes from the popular press: National Geographic, Discover Magazine and a variety of newspapers and other magazines. I'm also, to my wife's continued annoyance, a Discovery Channel, TLC, and History Channel junkie. I recognize that what I'm getting is pre-digested for my meager understanding. I'm a curious-minded person but don't have the discipline to study anything in the depth necessary to defend any point of view with certainty. I suspect I'm not alone in that but that hasn't stopped a lot of people from trying.

Similarly, I worry that Scripture, is being pre-digested for the meager understanding of the masses. Who among us 9 - 5ers really has the time, inclination, talent and discipline to sort through the writings that eventually became the Bible? Not me. It's way easier to have someone tell us what they say. Although, I do find it annoying when someone who purports to know tells you something different from what some other person, who purports to know tells you. Someone recently said that "reason is the enemy of faith." Seems to me that ignorance is the real enemy of faith. OK, I'm climbing out on a very slender branch here so lets get back to the subject heading.

So here's what I'd like to see as part of the After Life (is there is such a thing). After the almost certain long lines, processing hassles, lost paperwork and harried civil servants you finally get your ID, meal card, rooming info and after-life schedule which includes orientation. You follow the signs or the yellow brick road or whatever to the "After Life Theatre" which is continuously showing "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know." Since time is irrelevent in the After Life the interval between "let there be light aka The Big Bang" through "life begins on earth", "what really happened to the dinosaurs", "the Adam and Eve you only thought you knew", "the veracity of every religion that ever was" all the way to "who realy killed Kennedy" and "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about Aliens" flashes by in seeming nanoseconds. Missed something? Not to worry. Like we said it's "continuously showing."

What happens after orientation I'll leave to the imagination of other writers but I hope it includes a European-plan-type tour of the universes (no rock walls or paragliding though).