Saturday, December 29, 2012

My New Years Prayer

Dear God,
     The world is a big place, and it's filled with billions and billions of people, but You know as well as I do that the world doesn't need most of them. Most of the people in the world are just annoying, and the rest of us would be better off without them.
     I understand that this is the season to be jolly, but how jolly can we be when we have to deal with people who get our goat on a daily basis? So I ask You, dear Lord, to answer my following prayer: please, Please, PLEASE get rid of all the jerks, low-lifes, and mentally unambitious idiots who do nothing more than take up space in this world and use up perfectly good oxygen.
     No more people, Lord, who don't decide what they want at a fast food restaurant until they get to the front of the line. This especially irks me at McDonald's. McDonald's serves hamburgers. And fries. What's so difficult?
     We don't need people like that, Lord.
     Along the same line are the people who don't prepare to pay for their merchandise until after it's been rung up. The cashier--and the rest of us in line behind this bozo--has to wait for them to dig through their wallets or pockets or purses for cash, cards, or coupons. Those people really bug me, Lord.
     And the people who bug me even more, are the ones in line ahead of me at a store and send off the slowest member of their family to go get one more item. Again, the cashier and the rest of the rapidly growing line behind them has to wait for that human tortoise to come back with... the wrong item!
     No more people who drive slow in the passing lane. Where I live, the speed limit is 75 mph on the open freeway between my city and the next one over. Why are they only going 45? (I'm talking about you, New Mexico.)
     We also don't need people who don't know how to merge onto the freeway. Speed up and merge! Or slow down and merge! Just merge!
     And forgive me, Lord, but I hate people who apply their brakes in traffic because they waited until the last minute to merge into the lane next to them. We don't need people like that, Lord.
     And no more people who check their cell phones in the movie theater, or, even worse, actually answers it while the movie's on. In fact, just get rid of all cell phones users who have no common courtesy or appreciation of human interaction. Those people need to go the Hell, Lord.
     And, Lord, how about doing something about those people who who say, "I don't mean any disrespect," just before they say something disrespectful. "I don't mean any disrespect," or "with all due respect," is just another way of saying, "Stand there while I punch you in the face." Let's get rid of those people, Lord.
     And those mostly young people (mostly guys) who drive with all the windows of their car down and blast their music so loud all the surrounding vehicles vibrate from the bass distortion, take those people now, Lord. You don't even have to wait until they get to where they're going to. They deserve to go. I know their eventual punishment will be going deaf at a young age, but I'd rather see them burning in Inconsiderate Hell for all eternity.
     And, Lord, can you  do something about rich celebrities who try to tell us how to live our lives? I don't need millionaires with no real talent telling me that I don't pay my fair share in taxes. Someone who owns an Italian villa and dates a supermodel has no idea what I'm going through. Keep pretending to be someone else, buddy. That's all you're good at.
     And take Sean Penn, Lord, just on general principle. He prefers to get into fights with middle-aged, overweight photographers, instead of someone who actually knows how to defend himself. He doesn't deserve to live.
     Justin Bieber, too. Because I have a pre-teen daughter, I've seen two of his movies, one came out in the theaters and one came out on TV, and in both of them he's slapped an employee of his in the face. The guy's a jerk, Lord. Your giving him an embarrassing sense of fashion isn't enough. You need to do something more.
     By the way, Lord, have you heard the latest Justin Bieber joke?
     Question: Why's Justin Bieber so pale?
     Answer: Because there's no light in the closet.
      And, since I'm talking about worthless celebrities, how about Roman Polanski? I've read the court transcripts about his drugging and rape of a thirteen year-old girl. We really don't need people like him, Lord. Why all of Hollywood worships him as some kind of cinematic God just because he can tell a cameraman which way to point a camera is beyond my comprehension.
     And, Lord, can you do something about Congress?
     They really get my goat.

American Chimpanzee

Monday, December 24, 2012

Toy Stories

Well, I did it. I was able to get my little girl the hottest Christmas toy du jour of the season. The stores were all sold out, it wasn't available online, but I was able to get my hands on one with only less than 12 hours to spare.
     I won't tell you how. All I'll tell you is: who needs two kidneys? Just ask comedian George Lopez's wife, who was generous enough to lovingly give her husband one of hers just before he dumped her. I don't blame George for divorcing her. Who wants to be married to a woman with only one kidney? But I digress...
     No, the toy in question wasn't Sesame Street's new Tickle-My-Tonsils Elmo doll, that would be in poor taste. No, I got the The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo doll, with removable piercings and changeable tattoos. Eyebrows are optional. My little girl is five years-old. She'll love it.
     And now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over, and all that's left is pretending to love the gifts you were given, I can sit back, drink a little spiked eggnog, and think back to a simpler time when the toys we played with could kill us.
     It wasn't that the toys we played with were necessarily dangerous. It was that, as boys, any toy we played with could be turned into something dangerous. I don't know why hurting each other was so much fun.
     I'm reminded of the Saturday Night Live skit "Bag-O-Glass" with Dan Ackroyd and Jane Curtain. In it, Dan Ackroyd played a sleazy toy manufacturer who sold such toys as Bag-O-Glass, which was a bag full of broken glass, and a Halloween costume called Johnny Human Torch, which was a bag filled with oily rags and a lighter. Man, what we would have given for a Johnny Human Torch costume back then.
     My favorite of the toys we played with when we were young and innocent were Lawn Darts. Today they're made with Nerf, but back then they were heavy and had a metal spike at the end that could puncture skin and bone (Don't ask. I don't think the statute of limitations is up yet.). We had a lot of fun throwing them at each other, as well as throwing them up high in the air, and then hustling to get out of the way when they fell back to Earth, spike first.
     Speaking of Nerf, it seems a safe enough toy, but if you soak it with water, it makes for a very painful projectile. Nerf was invented so that kids could play safely, but kids were invented to find ways to turn something safe into something dangerous. With Nerf, you could play indoors without breaking anything, but what's the fun of playing indoors if you've eliminated the possibility of breaking something?
     Another fun toy we had was something we called "clackers." I don't know if that was the actual toy name, but that's what we called them. Clackers were two hard glass balls attached to some some strong twine that was attached to a handle, usually made of wood. You would flip the balls up and down so that they would "clack" against each other. That was interesting for about five minutes. Then we'd get bored and start hitting each other with them. They would leave a nasty bruise wherever they made contact. I think we may have even broken a bone or two, but we could never tell our parents, because then they would take them away, and we wouldn't be able to have a contest to see who could be first to clack them together so hard that they would shatter.
     One year, when I was about ten years-old, my grandmother bought me some Hot Wheels tracks to race my Hot Wheels cars on. Only I didn't have any Hot Wheel cars, the track set didn't come with any, and my grandmother didn't have the foresight to buy me any (I still love her, however, God rest her soul). What a boring gift, right? Wrong! I used those plastic tracks to torture my friends and younger brother. It happened like this: I was disappointed when I first unwrapped my present and saw all that was inside were these long plastic tacks. I picked one up, and kind of wobbled it in the air. It made a cool whipping noise. A light bulb went off over my head as my younger brother made the unfortunate decision to walk in front of me just then. I gave him a nice whack against the back of his thighs. He was wearing shorts. Another unfortunate decision on his part. His skin turned red and started to welt almost immediately. He yelled and started crying. I laughed like the little jerk I was. It was a good thing my parents had gone out. They went to take my grandmother home, and left me in charge of my little brother.Unfortunate decisions all around.
     "You'd better not tell mom and dad I hit you with my Hot Wheels track," I threatened him. "You'll get grandma in trouble 'cause she gave them to me.
     My kid brother swore he wouldn't tell. He was half my age. He trusted me.
     As a kid, everything we got our hands on was either destroyed, or used as a Weapon of Mass Destruction against each other. Those green plastic Army men? We would douse them in lighter fluid and light them on fire. That was the one good thing about my dad's nasty smoking habit, we had access to plenty of lighter fluid.and matches.
    If we got our sweaty little hands on a magnifying glass we'd use it to burn leaves, ants, and other insects. Soon, we found that the funniest thing to burn was each other. Our moms could never understand why we'd come home with little black holes in our clothes.
     When there was a shortage of toys, we found interesting uses for tacks, rubber bands, stickers from crab grass, snow balls, rocks, and snow balls with rocks hidden inside. Those old wooden tops became something all of the neighborhood kids wanted (well, the boys of the neighborhood, that is). I know our parents would never have bought us one if they knew all we wanted them for was to terrorize our pets and puncture each other's feet. Sometimes we'd puncture each other's feet by surprise, sometimes on a dare, and sometimes as a test you'd have to go through to join the club. What club? Whatever club one of wanted to start, just so we could bully our friends into standing still while we tried to get the little metal spike on the bottom of the top to land just right.
     The reason I know that our parents--or, at least, my parents--wouldn't buy us a particular toy if they knew what our plans were for it is because I remember once getting a Wood Burning Set as a birthday gift from an aunt or uncle who undoubtedly wanted to stick it to my parents for one reason or another. It was basically a little soldering iron that was supposed to be used to burn letters or designs in wood or leather. My eyes lit up at the possibility of what I could carve my initials in. My toys. My furniture. My dog.
     A hand came down on my shoulder. I looked. It was my dad. He must have seen the evil gleam in my eyes. It was a bit disappointing that I never saw that Wood Burning Set ever again, but I really couldn't blame him. When I got a chemistry set for  Christmas one year, the first thing I tried to do was make explosives. However, I never seemed to get the formula just right.
     Besides the explosives, another thing I tried to make was a time machine. I took the wire metal rack from my mom's oven, wrapped it in tin foil, attached an electrical cord to it, and, in theory at least, once someone "went through" the rack, they would appear on the other side in a different time and/or dimension.
     As luck would have it, I couldn't talk any of my friends into giving it a whirl. Not even any of their younger, stupider brothers or sisters. I was disappointed at the time, but not so disappointed that I considered traveling through time myself. Worse case scenario: death by electrocution. Best case scenario: actual time travel... but with no way to return. Either way, I guess I would have had to mark the results down in the "lose" column.
     One of our greatest disappointments as kids was that we weren't allowed to buy, use, or be anywhere near fireworks. This was because one of our older brothers (Um... not mine. By the way, does anyone know when the statutes of limitations is up on that kind of thing? Just asking.) had purposely distracted a friend of his who was about to throw a lit cherry bomb. I don't know about his parents, but us kids thought the friend looked pretty cool with only three fingers on one hand. After some time had passed, the poor guy began to think so, too, and really grew to like his new nickname: Freddy Three-Fingers. His name wasn't really Freddy, but he didn't mind. He thought it was really tough and mafia-sounding.
     Every stick in our hands became a gun or rifle in our imaginations. We made rubber-band guns with the wooden clothes-pins our mothers would hang our clothes with on the backyard clotheslines. We had all heard of potato guns, but neither I nor any of my friends knew how to make one. Maybe if we had an Irish kid on the block.
     In a related story, I've heard how dope-smokers can make a bong out of an apple. Besides the waste of a perfectly good apple, I just don't see the point. These dopers could grow up to be engineers or inventors, but, chances are, they'll just continue being dopers. To tell the truth, I don't think anybody really knows how to make a bong out of an apple.
     Well... maybe Cheech & Chong.

The Aw, Nuts! Humor Blog

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Very Scarface Christmas

It's A Wonderful Life

Somewhere... in the cosmos...

"You sent for me, sir?
"Yes, Clarence. A man down on Earth needs our help."
"Spendid! Maybe then, sir, maybe then I'll get my wings?"

The notorious drug lord, Scarface, lay dying. Shot in the back by the hitman sent by his enemies. In the distance he could see the mountain of cocaine piled on his desk. It looked comical to him now.
     His vision slowly began to fade as his life poured out of him in a red, warm liquid. Fading... fading... and then miraculously clear!
     "Hi, I'm Clarence," a jovial voice said, as a white-haired old coot slid into view above him.
Scarface's eyes blinked. He felt his chest. There were no wounds, no blood, but... but that was impossible. His mind felt sharp, crystal clear. Sobriety, he laughed at the irony, felt better than any drug.
     The old man helped him up.
     "Who are you?" Scarface asked, suspiciously.
     "I'm Clarence, your guardian angel."
     "My guardian angel? Well, why didn't you help me?"
     "You never gave me a chance."
     Scarface thought. He guessed it was true enough. He never gave anybody a chance to help him. In Scarface's bitter life experience, the only one you could count on for help was yourself.
     "Why are you here?" he said, finally.
     "You have a second chance, my son. A second chance at life. Come with me."
     Clarence walked toward the huge front doors of Scarface's mansion. Scarface followed, looking around. The army of men sent to kill him--the ones still alive, that is--stood motionless, frozen in time. Somehow it all seemed perfectly reasonable.
     They walked like phantasms through time and space, passing images of men. Men with their wives. Men with their families. Happy men. Living good, decent lives.
     Scarface spat in disgust.
     "Who're these babosos?"  he asked.
     "We're traveling into a world where you were never born," the angel told him. "Since you were never there to corrupt them, these men--your soldados--were able to lead normal lives. To find love. To have children."
     Scarface spat again.
     "Pendejos," he said. Idiots.
     More images floated by. His wife, Elvira, married to someone else, and playfully chasing after the children that he was never able to give her.
     His best friend, Manny, and his sister, Gina, her belly full with life. Scarface felt a hot anger rise inside of him. He couldn't help it. It was his nature. He could see wedding rings on their fingers, but it didn't matter. He wanted to kill them. Kill them both.
     Manny lovingly held Gina's round belly in both of his hands.
     "What do we call him?" he asked his wife.
     "I don't know, but I've always liked the name Antonio," she answered.
     "Yes... Tony. Somehow that seems right."
     Scarface felt a pain in the heart he never knew he had. His vision blurred, but this time with tears.
     "We're here," the angel told him, stopping suddenly.
     "Of course we're here," Scarface said, harshly. Scarface always had to be the one who knew everything. "Where else would we be?"
     He looked around. He didn't recognize...
     "We're in Cuba," Clarence told him. "The Cuba where you never existed."
     "I don't understand," Scarface said, shaking his head in confusion and disbelief. "Everything's so clean and prosperous. Everybody's... happy."
     "That's because you were never born. Remember that boy you killed because you wanted his churro?"
     "I was hungry," Scarface sheepishly explained.
     "He was born to overthrow Fidel Castro and free your country from its chains. He was supposed to lead your people to democracy, prosperity, and liberty. When you killed him, you killed that reality.
     "I didn't..." Scarface tried to say. "I never..."
     And then he stopped. He blinked his eyes rapidly. That looked... just... like...
     It was his parents. They looked older than he remembered, but it was them. They had five young children with them. Three girls and two boys. The brothers and sisters he never had, because, in a violent burst of anger, he killed them both. All because he had mistakenly thought they had stolen his drug stash when he was 16.
     "Since you were never born," Clarence explained, "your parents had the family they always wanted. And in this new Cuba, they were able to live long, happy lives."
     "All this..." Scarface said. "All because I was never born?"
     The angel nodded with sad, sad eyes.
     "Have you learned anything, my son?"
     "And what is that?"
     Scarface was quiet for a long, long time. And then...
     "Chente was right," Scarface finally said. " 'Don't get high on your own supply!' "
     Suddenly they were back at the mansion.
     "Say hello to my leetle friend!" Scarface yelled, holding the world's biggest gun in his hands. It was half machine gun and half bazooka. With the bazooka half he...
     BOOM! The door to Scarface's bedroom exploded outward into a thousand pieces. Dead men on the other side flying backward. Scarface walked to his balcony and began shooting at the army of killers beneath him. He was so intoxicated with the battle that he never noticed the Cuban hitman in the dark sunglasses silently walking up behind him.
     BAM! The hitman shot him in the back.
     Scarface broke through the balcony and fell into the fountain below him. The hitman and Clarence both walked to the edge of the balcony and looked down at once great drug lord.
     "Shoot him again," the angel said.

The Aw, Nuts! Humor Blog

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Kwazily Kwanzaa Kwistmas

As an urban militant straight outta Compton--and who also just happens to be gay--I've gotta shout out loud how incredibly racist I find the white songwriting community to be for ignoring the black holiday of Kwanzaa. This ancient tradition, which dates back to pre-Tupac times, is due reparations for this blatant disrespect. Reparations, that is, in the form of holiday Kwanzaa songs. You can keep your forty acres and a mule, you racist muthafathas.
     Kwanzaa, or "Kill Whitey," is from the African language of... um, from the original... ah, who am I kidding? "Kwanzaa" is a made-up word that's meant to be African-sounding. I think we succeeded.
     The above paragraph reminds me of the movie Skin Games, starring James Garner and Louis Gossett Jr. It takes place pre-Civil War, and Gossett, who plays a free black man, is sold over and over again as a slave in a money-making scam. Toward the end of the movie, he makes up African-sounding words to communicate with a group of new slaves just brought over from the dark continent. But I digress...
     Kwanzaa is constantly ignored or overlooked. For example, I saw the Michael Buble Christmas special the other night, and that racist honky didn't sing one Kanzaa song. Charlie Brown? Racist! Rudolph? Racist! The Great Pumpkin? Delicious!
     When I spoke with my old friend, Al Sharpton, about these deserved reparations, he enthusiastically agreed with me, and told me to "call back when there's a profit to be made. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go comb my hair."
     Jesse Jackson was more pragmatic, and saw this Kwanzaa discrimination as a way to "stick it to those Jews well into the future. For my children, but not for my children's children, because I don't think children should be having unprotected sex."
     "What about your illegitimate children?" I asked him.
     "They're the government's responsibility. I didn't fight for civil rights in the 60's so I'd have to take care of my kids in my 70's. By the way, have I ever told you how Dr. Martin Luther King died in my arms?"
     "Uh, gotta go!" I hung up. He's tried to tell me that story only every time I've ever talked to him. A story, I might add, that's completely untrue. I happen to know that while Dr. King was busy being assassinated (and dying in MY arms, I might add) by Mark David Chapman--in an attempt to impress Jodie Foster--the good reverend was busy seeing Miss Rudolph--a juju woman--and trying to persuade her to help a friend of his who had been cursed with tiny feet.
     So, apparently, I was on my own. I went to N' Da Hood Records and spoke with the owner, Mr. Morty Lansky.
     "Get out of my office!" he suggested helpfully.
     Next, I went to Dissin' Dat Publishing, but the president, Mr. Bernie Siegel, was busy taking credit for songs other people had written.
     Last on my list was CEO Abe Rothstein at Whut'Chu Talkin' 'Bout, Willis? Productions. His secretary led me to his door.
     "Go right in," she flirted.
     I stepped through the door... and found myself back outside in the alley behind the building. There was an old wino relieving himself behind a dumpster. At least, that's what I hope he was doing.
     "Can I help you?" he asked me.
     Can he help me? Can he help me?
     Well, why not? I told him my whole story. He listened respectfully, occasionally taking a swig from a bottle of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill he had hidden in a brown paper bag. When I was done talking, he stayed quiet for a few moments. Finally, he said:
     "Why don't you write one of your own?"
     "What?" I asked him.
     "Why don't you just write one of your own?"
     That caught me by surprise. I wasn't used to the concept of doing things for myself. Doing things for myself is the government's responsibility. The wino continued:
     "If you're waiting for some cracker to write a Kwanzaa song for you, you're gonna be waiting a long time."
     He made sense. I thanked him and left. He continued talking, for some reason. I don't know to who, as there was no one else there.
     "If I'm hungry, I eat," he said to someone I couldn't see. "I don't wait for some peckerwood to serve me no Grey Poupon."
     And so, my brothers and sisters, I offer you the first Kwanzaa song.
     Please, don't let it be the last.

     The Kwanzaa Song
I'm killin' me a white man fo' Christmas!
There ain't nuthin' no one can do!
I'm killin' me a white man fo' Christmas!
And next I'm gonna kill me a Jew!
Happy Kwanzaa, Everybody!
The Aw, Nuts! Humor Blog

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Problem With Rudolph

I got home from work the other night and saw my little girl watching the holiday classic Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
     I grimaced.
     I'm not saying that particular Christmas special is bad (which it is), I'm just saying the only thing worse was listening to Miley Cyrus sing Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. And the only thing worse than that is watching her dance to it. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself on YouTube. Anyway...
     I sat down and watched it with her. Why? Because that's what Dads who love their little girls do. As my mind wandered and my eyes glazed over, once again I was reminded of that time, not so long ago, I met a brave little pig.
     I drove down to a farm in the lower valley of El Paso, because I had heard farmers tended to have attractive daughters with liberal ideas about hospitality, but, instead of a daughter, this farmer had a pig. The pig was missing three of its legs, one of its two eyes, both ears, its tail, and part of its snout.
     "What happened to your pig, Farmer Brown?" I asked the old coot.
     "Well," Farmer Brown says to me, "one night the pig wakes me and the missus up, 'cause there was a gas leak (and I'm not talkin' 'bout my missus). We barely got out of the house when all that gas exploded, creatin' a fire. 'Oh my god! The baby!' I yelled, and the pig runs into the burning house and saves the baby. From all the excitement, my missus falls to the ground. Heart attack! I don't know what to do... but the pig does.He jumps up high and lands square on her chest. Her poor ol' ticker starts right back up again, good as new. That little pig saved all our lives that night."
     "And his injuries were caused by the explosion and the fire?" I asked.
     "Nah, that weren't it," Farmer Brown explained. "You see, with a pig that brave... you don't want to eat him all at once."
     I think about that pig every time I hear the Christmas song Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Oh, sure, the song starts out happily enough. There's Rudolph. He has a shiny nose. Big deal, right? It's not like he wants to serve in the military.
     Well, it is a big deal, and not just to the Tea Party. Apparently, it's a big deal to all the other reindeers. They laugh at poor Rudolph. They call him names. They shun him. And all Rudolph wants most in the world is to be accepted by his peers and to play their stupid little reindeer games with them.
     That, and gay marriage.
     And what about the adult reindeers? The ones who should know better? Did they step in and stop the bullying, or stand up against late-term abortions? No, they didn't. They weren't part of the solution, they were part of the problem. I'm pretty sure they voted for Obama.
     Even Santa Claus, who, as the fat cat in charge of the whole North Pole operations, decided to ignore the problem. If he didn't acknowledge the bullying by the reindeers--both old and young--then it didn't exist. Like God.
     Finally, a greater power interceded. No, I'm not talking about Donald Trump. I'm talking about a blizzard so huge Kim Kardashian would barely be able to hide it behind her, ahem, talent. Christmas, it would seem, might have to be cancelled. Santa, in probably the first kind words he ever spoke to Rudolph, finally acknowledges his "special" reindeer, and asks him to guide his sleigh that night for what is essentially a suicide mission.
     Like a Japanese pilot from World War II, Rudolph agrees, and Christmas is saved. Santa collects his bonus, and Rudolph, well, then and only then do all the reindeers love him. You know what I think about that?
     Too little, too late.
     In the first place, Santa lives in the north Pole. He's been doing this Christmas thing for centuries. You would think he'd have a plan B for what happens when the snow starts to fall. Secondly, well, there is no secondly. I just wanted to use the phrase "in the first place" to make my point seem more important than it was.
     If I were Rudolph, and Santa Claus came groveling up to me after years of neglect and abuse--POW!--right in the kisser. I would have punched him like the punching-bag he's shaped like. You can take your sleigh and your toys and all your non-glowing-nosed reindeers, fat man, and stick them where the skin turns pink!
     The song is bad enough. Watching the TV claymation version of it is even worse. An elf is brow-beaten just because his true calling is dentistry? Those elves would rather walk around with rotten teeth and bad breath? And Santa apparently values production on the toy assembly-line over the health and welfare of his loyal workers? Where are the Teamsters when you need them? Plus, I was always bothered by the Misfit Toys. An island filled with irregular, but otherwise perfectly fine toys. Santa couldn't have given them out in the minority neighborhoods? He preferred for them to fend for themselves, and, ultimately, go to waste? I don't need to tell you who Santa voted for?.
     No, I've never cared for the song Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and I care for the TV special even less. My little girl loves it, though.
     Go figure.

The Aw, Nuts! Humor Blog

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Congressional Orientation

When President Obama calls, I jump.
     It's the least I can do for the man who once saved my life in 'Nam.
     And that's how I found myself conducting the orientation for the incoming freshman class of legislators. I met with them on the Sunday after the election, and quickly began my spiel.
     "This is the Capital Hill cafeteria, but you won't be eating here. What you'll do is go to any four- or five-star restaurant where lobbyists will be eagerly waiting to buy you lunch, and the best part is you get the tip.
     "Once you take office you'll be assigned a personal receptionist. She'll make sure that your constituents will in no way be able to get in contact with you.
     "On a similar note, you will be assigned a stretch limousine. The windows will be tinted extra dark, so you can conduct the people's business in private with enthusiastic interns. You'll also be assigned a chauffeur in the ethnicity of your choice."
     We made our way over to the White House, and walked toward the Oval Office.
     "What's behind that door?" a newbie asked. I believe he was Beto O'Rourke from El Paso.
     "That's where we keep the aliens from Roswell," I answered, and then diverted his attention. "You're name's 'Beto,' isn't it? What kind of a name is 'Beto' for an Irishman?"
     "That's my given name," he answered.
     "Well, give it back," I told him.
     I pointed out what looked like a small fountain, only it was filled with cash, instead of water.
     "Here's a bowl we keep filled with hundred dollar bills. Help yourselves. It's free for everybody... except the taxpayers. President Obama first got the idea when he read 'Stranger in a Strange Land' in college. And, speaking of President Obama, he just got back from a round of golf, and is excited to meet with each and every one of you, so let's split up into two groups. Democrats to my left. Republicans to my right. Okay, you Democrats can go right in. As for you Republicans, well, it seems the President has just left on another vacation and can't meet with you after all. You'll be meeting with Joe Biden. No? Well, then, follow me."
     We left the White House, and made our way down the street.
     "This is the Capital Hill Post Office. This is where you'll cash any personal checks. If you don't have the necessary funds in your account, the American tax-payer will be more than happy to cover it for you. Just ask Ron Coleman."
     I pointed to the former Congressman. He was waiting impatiently in line to cash another check. He's been out of office for years, but he's never left. I always see him cashing checks.
     From there we made our way to the Capital Hill gym.
     "This gym comes with a personal trainer," I told my group.
     "Is he any good?" O'Rourke spoke up again. Man, that guy asks a lot of questions.
     "We don't know," I answered honestly. "No one in Congress has ever used him. Everyone prefers the massage therapists. They're personally trained by Al Gore, for those of you with a sore gluteus maximus."
     I pointed directly across the street.
     "That's the International Bank of China," I told them. "You'll go there for loans."
     "Where do we go for escorts?"
     "You'll go to the Russian Embassy for that."
     I stopped.
     "Well," I started again, winding down, "that concludes your orientation. Any questions?"
     They hemmed and hawed, but finally one of them spoke up.
     "Where was that bowl of money again?"

American Chimpanzee

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thank You, Obama

First and foremost, I'm thankful for the re-election of my close and personal friend, President Barack Hussein Obama--the man who once saved my life in 'Nam.
     You see, I've worked hard all my life to support myself, my family, and various mistresses and illegitimate children. Now, I figure, it's time to let the government do it. Why?
     Because I can.
     Do you have any idea how expensive it is to feed a houseful of hungry kids, some of whom might even be yours? Well, neither does the government, that's why they're so better suited for the job.
     School supplies? I say, if the government requires us to send our children to school, then they should be required to buy the clothes, supplies, and breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that go along with it. How can I stay at home and make sure that the government workers in charge of upkeep on my home are doing their job if I have to be at a job? Having a job is not my job, that's the government's job.
     The price of gasoline keeps going up with no end in sight, that's why I need the government to subsidize my gasoline usage. I need the government to pay for all the things I need, so that I can then buy all the things I want. I think the late, great country singer Jerry Reed said it best: "Who's gonna collect my welfare check / to pay for my brand-new Cadillac?" Who, indeed? How can I afford the new iPhone Cinco and iPad Extra-Absorbent if I have to pay for little inconveniences like electricity?
     I see a bright future ahead. A bright future for me, that is. A future where I don't have to get up earlier than I would like to, to go to a job that I don't want to go to, to earn a paycheck with a good chunk taken out of it by the government so that they can then distribute it to other people. People I don't know. People who aren't related to me. People I'm not having sex with. I don't want a future where I have to pull my own weight, my friend. And neither do you. Want it for me, I mean. You wouldn't want that kind of future for me, would you? No, you wouldn't. Not if you could see me making my sad face. Come here, kids. Yeah, you illegitimate ones, too. Make your sad faces. See? You wouldn't want it.
     Every morning when you go to work and put in your eight, ten, twelve hours, rest assured that you're doing a good thing. For me. An aging, aching me. A me who supported a bloated government all his life, until he realized that he didn't have to.
     And, while I'm on the subject, I think I'm going to enjoy getting older. I already have my plans laid out for me. Besides doing nothing and being a financial drain on other people's tax dollars, I'm also going to steal. Why?
     Because I can.
     Hey, I'm an old man. what's the worse that can happen?
     Best case scenario: I steal and get away with it. I have more stuff, and the excess stuff I have I can sell on eBay or garage sales. Preferably garage sales, because that way there's no paper trail.
     Worse case scenario: I steal and get caught. In which case, all I have to do is act feeble and confused and they'll let me go. And if they don't let me go, I'll start crying. Nothing sadder than a pathetic old man crying. If they still don't let me go, then, when they're leading me away to the back room where they keep shoplifters, I'll fall. They'll then have to call for an ambulance for my personal getaway car. And, after all this, if they still want to have me arrested and press charges, I can sue them for roughing me up and pushing me, making me fall on the hard floor. And then they'll let me go because they wouldn't want the bad publicity. I might even get a nice fat settlement out of it.
     That's what those jerks get for going against the new entitlement generation.
     And, while I'm kind of on the subject, when I'm on the road, you'd better get out of my way. I'm having the government buy me a big, heavy duty SUV. The kind Al Gore drives. Something I can use to push cars out of the way when they're going slow in the fast lane. Before my retirement, I used to worry about silly things like insurance or how much a tank of gas cost, but since the government will be footing the bill, I say the bigger the better.
     Where did I get this crazy idea? It's not so crazy, amigo. I first got the idea when the company I work for tried to fire me. I say "tried" because they didn't succeed. True, I'm bad at what I do, and the job I have is obsolete, but what does that have to do with anything? I've been a loyal employee for 7 months. That's a long time in the life of a Monarch Butterfly. My company, like my government, owes me. They owe me big.
     When it came time to get rid of me, my supervisor made the mistake of being a nice guy. He called me into his office to save me the embarrassment of a Donald Trump in the boardroom moment.
     "Jim," he told me, sadly, "I know this couldn't come at the worst possible time, what with the holidays and all, but we have to let you go."
     I looked down at a piece of lint on my knee. He mistook this for crying, and walked over to comfort me.
     "I really feel bad about this," he continued, "if there's anything I can do."
     He put a hand on my shoulder. Before he could react, I ripped open my shirt, buttons flying everywhere. My boss stood there in shock. He couldn't move. Shock turned to disbelief when I pushed myself backward to the floor in my chair.
     "Help! Help!" I yelled, mussing up my hair.
     My boss moved forward to help me, and that's how they found him when my co-workers burst through the door to see what the emergency was. My boss. Standing over me. Reaching down to get me.
     "Don't hit me!" I begged, feigning terror. "Please, don't hit me! I'm a bleeder."
     My boss looked at all the convenient witnesses.
     "No, it's not what you think," he tried to tell them, but it was too late.
     My boss was fired on the spot. I, on the other hand, got my own office and a raise. And job security.
     Do the math. Being a contributing member of society got me fired. Being a selfish jerk got me my job back. With a promotion. All because my company is afraid I might sue them. And I might. Why?
     Because I can.

American Chimpanzee

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Patraeus Testifies!

An angry gaggle of Congressmen, upset by the FBI's revelation of an affair between ex-CIA Director David Patraeus and Paula Broadwell, his biographer, were questioning the former Army General at Capital Hill.
     They first began by conducting a Rorschach Test, which is a psychological test in which a subject's perception of an inkblot indicates his or her inner truth. The inkblots were supplied by the Hill's resident psychologist available to all members of Congress free of charge, and whom no member of Congress has ever used. It's a sweet gig, and it pays well. All courtesy of the American taxpayer.
     Former senator Larry Craig, known hither and yon for just how impressively wide his stance is, showed Patraeus the first inkblot.
     "What does this look like to you, General?" Craig asked.
     The former General took his time considering the black splotch of ink. He knew his reputation was on the line.
     Finally, he said, "That looks to me like the Invasion of Normandy, where so many of our brave soldiers died fighting for love of God and country. God bless the USA."
     Senator Craig looked at the inkblot, and laughed.
     "Clearly," he said,"clearly this is a picture of a man performing homosexual sex with another man in an airport bathroom stall. How you see the Invasion of Normandy in this is beyond me."
     Barney Frank, the former Democratic U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, showed Patraeus the next inkblot.
     "And what does this one look like, General?" Barney asked, tripping over his enunciation of the simplest of words in the English language.
     Patraeus looked intently at the splatter, again taking his time. He knew he had to be careful, but, gosh darn it, he saw what he saw. The Rorschach Test was supposed to be a test where there was no wrong answer. Apparently, that wasn't true. At least not in front of these bozos.
     "That looks to me the taking of San Juan Hill, with the great Teddy Roosevelt leading the charge."
     He leaned back, pleased with himself and his answer.
     Barney made a kind of farting sound with his mouth, spit and spittle flying everywhere.
     "Clearly, General," he said sarcastically, "clearly this is a picture of someone's homosexual lover being arrested by the DC police for running a homosexual prostitution ring out of that someone's home." Barney eyed Patraeus sceptically. "You disgust me, sir. You leave me with a bad taste in my mouth, and I don't mean in the way I enjoy."
     Patraeus didn't know what he meant by that, and didn't want to know. Sometimes, when you didn't know what to say, it was better to say nothing at all, so he kept his mouth shut. Which is more than he could say for Barney Frank. Or so he heard.
     Former President Bill Clinton stumbled into the room right at that moment, whistling the song Buffalo Gals. His eyes brightened when he saw everybody, as if he just wandered into a party just for him. His face betrayed him, however. This party was strictly stag.
     "Hiya, guys," he said, quickly regaining his composure. Every since the election was over, Clinton found himself with little to do. "What'cha doing?"
     "Well... er... ah," was the general consensus.
     Clinton walked over to the table, and picked up one of the inkblots. His eyes grew wide.
     "Hey," he said to no one in particular, "where'd you get these pictures?"
     "Well... er... ah..." was the general explanation.
     The psychologist couldn't help but be curious.
     "Which picture are you talking about, sir?" he asked the first black president.
     "Well... the one with the intern... and the cigar... and..."
     Clinton was interrupted in his description by the poor timing of a secret service agent who just then stuck his head into the room.
    "Excuse me, gentlemen," the agent said as he scanned the room. "Have you seen..." He stopped. "There you are, sir," he exhaled in relief when his eyes fixed on the former president. He walked over and took Clinton by the arm. "This way, sir. Put down that picture of James Bond and come with me."
     Clinton did as he was told. Reluctantly.
     "See ya," he said, disappointedly, as he ambled slowly out of the room, not really wanting to leave. His head kept craning backward to get one last look at the inkblots on the table. The Secret Service agent had to keep encouraging him to move forward, toward the door.
     It took longer than it should have, but the president finally exited the room, and everyone was able to get back to business.
     It was now U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner's turn to question Patraeus, but when he looked at the inkblot in front of him, he made a scrunched-up kind of face. He looked at the inkblot from top to bottom, from side to side, and even turned it upside down for a better view. Finally...
     "Can I have another one," he asked the psychologist. "This one seems to be broken."
     The psychologist was curious, to say the least, but he took it away without a word and handed Weiner another one.
     "Nope," Weiner said, after a quick glance. He tossed the new inkblot to the side, "This one's broken, too."
     The psychologist handed Weiner ten different inkblots. Weiner looked at them all.
     "These are broken, too," he said. "Don't you have any that work?"
     The psychologist took them from the Congressman, and shuffled them in his hands, looking at them himself.
     "Just how are these broken?" he asked Weiner.
     "Well, just look at them," Weiner asked. "They're all pictures of a guy with a big nose sending pictures of his hoo-hah to a young girl. Can't you get me any that aren't?"
     "That's right," Barney Frank interjected, "you seem to have an awful lot of pictures of men performing homosexual acts."
     "Yeah," Larry Craig confirmed. "Handsome, rugged men, I might add. And what your fascination is with airport bathroom stalls is beyond me, but there it is."
     The psychologist was indignant.
     "Let me assure you," the psychologist assured him, "that I do not have a fascination with airport bathroom stalls. Or homosexual acts, for that matter. These tests are an indication of what a person's state of mind is at the time he takes the test. The General, being a military man, of course saw military battles. And you gentlemen..." He paused, unsure of whether to go on. "And you gentlemen..."
     "And 'you gentlemen' what?" Barney Frank said. "What's your point?"
     "My point is that the pictures you see in these inkblots are a mirror of your true selves, your inner selves, if you will. The part of you that you keep hidden away in the depths of your souls. The part of you that you keep hidden from the public."
     "I resent that," Larry Craig said, resenting that. "I am definitely NOT a homosexual, just ask my wife, so why would I see homosexual acts in those inkblots?"
     The psychologist began to answer, but Larry Craig cut him off.
     "Don't bother giving me any of your psychological mumbo-jumbo, I get enough of that from my pastor. I am NOT a homosexual. NOT, I tell you. I just have a wide stance. A wide stance doesn't make me a homosexual, does it? DOES IT?"
     The psychologist again tried to answer, but was once more cut off.
     "Of course it doesn't. I'll prove to you I'm straight. Bring me a girl--any girl--and I'll have sex with her right here in front of you. I will, I tell you."
     "Please, Congressman Craig," the psychologist tried to calm him down. "I wasn't saying..."
     "Darn tooting, you weren't saying," Barney Frank spat, angry as all get out. "You and your ilk leave a bad taste in my mouth, and not in the way I prefer."
     "You'd better leave, sir," Weiner told him. The psychologist tried to offer some kind of defense, but the congressman held up a hand. "I said you'd better leave."
     Patraeus looked at the psychologist. He didn't know how this had gone so quickly from being about him to being about everybody but him, but he wasn't complaining.
     The psychologist looked at the six condemning eyes burning into him from across the table. He knew there was no talking reason to any of them. With a sigh he stood up, and began collecting his materials.
     "Uh, sir?" Weiner said.
     The psychologist stopped what he was doing, and looked up. The three men exchanged glances at each other, and then they all said as one:
     "Leave the inkblots!"

American Chimpanzee

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ol' Bama

This Being The Further Adventures of
Tom Sawyer
Chapter XXXVI 
Aunt Polly was fit to be tied. Here it was, the end of the book, and the board fence surrounding her home, thirty yards long and nine feet high, was in dire need of another whitewashing. It was almost as if her nephew, Tom Sawyer, didn't whitewash the fence at all, but a dozen or so of his worthless friends.
     "I don't care how rich you are, young man," she had told Tom, of course referring to Injun Joe's treasure. "I don't want to see hide nor hair of you until you're done whitewashing the fence. Now go do a good job this time."
     "Yes'm," Tom Sawyer answered his aunt.
     "And remember, a lazy man does the same job twice."
     "A stitch in time saves nine, Tom. A stitch in time saves nine."
     Yeah, Tom thought to himself, but what's gonna save me from an old bag of wind who doesn't know when to close her pie-hole? 
     And so, armed with a bucket of whitewash and a long handled brush, he surveyed the fence that stood before him. It looked to him what he imagined the Great Wall of China must look like, and he figured that it would probably take the entire two days of the weekend to complete the task. The thought weighed down on Tom's spirit, for he had been hoping to sneak off and catch pretty Becky Thatcher somewhere where her father, the Judge, wasn't, and steal a kiss.
     Tom couldn't understand how his heart could ache with both pleasure and with pain at the thought of Becky Thatcher. She had even promised to bake him an apple pie today, as a reward for his saving her life, and Tom wondered if her kisses would be as sweet.
      In the distance he could hear Ol' Bama sauntering his way, singing the old spiritual "I'm So In Love With You," by the town Reverend, Al Green. When, all of a sudden, Tom got himself a virtual inspiration of an idea. What he would do when Ol' Bama arrived was to pretend to be having so much fun whitewashing the fence that the dumb old neighborhood watch organizer would beg him to the point of tears to whitewash the fence for him. Heck, it already worked once. Then Tom could sit himself down in some shaded part of the yard and just enjoy his idleness. And perhaps even sneak off to "accidentally" bump into Becky Thatcher, whom he already considered to be his girlfriend, even though he had yet to tell her about it.
     Ol' Bama turned the corner, and saw Tom hard at work whitewashing the fence. He stopped, his eyes grew wide, and he stared openly at the sight. Tom Sawyer do work? It was hard to even imagine, but there he was.
     "My! Don't that beat all," Ol' Bama said in astonishment.
     "What? Oh, hi," Tom Sawyer pretended to be surprised. "I was so busy playing that I didn't see you come along."
     "Now, Tom, what you're doing isn't playing, it's work. I know, because I've been careful to avoid it all my life."
     Tom was bent over, enthusiastically pretending to be enjoying himself. Ol' Bama came closer, and with a move quicker than lightning, snatched poor ol' Tom's wallet, which was sticking out of his back pocket a mite.
     "Hey!" Tom yelped as he saw Ol' Bama rifling through his personals.
     "Now, don't you mind me none," Ol' Bama said, as he emptied the wallet of any cash it contained. "You're a rich man now, Tom. You should be happy to share your good fortune with others."
     Tom wasn't so sure just how happy he felt.
     "Why," Ol' Bama said, spying a plate of food covered with a small dishrag, "is that your lunch? Did your Aunt Polly make you that? Why, your Aunt Polly's just about the best cook in the county. The only thing better'n your aunt Polly's cooking would be one of Becky Thatcher's pies, yessiree." Ol' Bama uncovered Tom's lunch. "My, oh my. That sure does look good. Why, you wouldn't mind none if I helped myself to your lunch, would you Tom?"
     Before Tom could answer, Ol' Bama sat himself down, and began to eat enthusiastically.
     "Of course, you wouldn't," Ol' Bama said between mouthfuls. "Why, not with you having so much, and so many having so little. You should be happy to share your bounty with others."
     Again, Tom wasn't so sure. And neither was the rumbling in his belly.
     Aunt Polly came out with another plate of food right then.
     "Why, hello Mr. Bama," she told him. "Well, ain't it nice that Tom was kind enough to share his lunch with you. Here, Tom. I brought you out another plate since you were so generous, and some apple pie for the two of you."
     Ol' Bama took the plates from her.
     "Thank you kindly, Miss Polly," he said, and set the plates down. Aunt Polly turned and began walking back to the house. Before she was even through the door, Ol' Bama was done eating the 2nd plate of food. Tom could only look on in astonishment at the speed with which Ol' Bama could shovel down someone else's food. Done, Ol' Bama picked up the first piece of apple pie.
     Tom Sawyer's old friend, Huckleberry Finn was turning the corner to Tom's house, just as Ol' Bama was finishing up the pie, and licking the plate clean for good measure.
     "Why, hi, Huck," Ol' Bama greeted him with enthusiasm. "You're just in time for dessert."
     "I am?" Huck said, not believing his good fortune.
     "Oh no you ain't," Tom said, as Ol' Bama handed Huck the apple pie.
     "Now, Tom," Ol' Bama chastised. "You don't want to begrudge your best friend a piece of your Aunt Polly's apple pie, now, do you? Not when you have so much, and poor Huck here has so little. He's so poor he can't even afford to change his mind."
     Tom Sawyer felt a bit ashamed of himself, and kept quiet.
     One by one Tom's friends showed up to make fun him, and stayed for all the free stuff Ol' Bama was handing out. There was "Skinny" Mulligan, "Fats" Domino, "One-Eyed" Willie, "Crackhead" Bob, and the Petey brothers: "Little" Petey, "Big" Petey, "Regular" Petey, "Irregular" Petey, "Ortho" Petey, and the one who always said everything twice, "Re" Petey. They weren't really brothers, they just happened to all have been named Petey. And one by one Ol' Bama gave them all of Tom's belongings. Tom could only look on googly-eyed.
     "Thanks, Ol' Bama," "Re" Petey said, and all the others agreed. "You're the best. The best!"
     By the end of the day, Ol' Bama had given away twelve marbles, part of a jews-harp, a piece of blue bottle-glass to look through, a spool cannon, a key that wouldn't unlock anything, a fragment of chalk, the glass stopper of a decanter, a tin soldier, a couple of tadpoles, six fire-crackers, a kitten with only one eye, a brass door-knob, a dog-collar--but no dog--the handle of a knife, four pieces of orange peel, and a dilapidated old window-sash.
     Tom sulked, but Ol' Bama told him, "Don't you be sulking now, Tom. You should be happy to have your fair share taken from you, so that it can be given to the less fortunate. It's the American way, Tom. The American way."
     Tom wasn't so sure, but since he never paid attention in school, he couldn't be sure if it was or it wasn't. Once all of his belongings were given away, he asked Ol' Bama: "Now will you help me whitewash the fence?"
     "Sorry, Tom," Ol' Bama said with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, "but I'm on my way to eat my fair share of Becky Thatcher's pie."
American Chimpanzee

*a tip of the hat to the original Petey brother, Dom Irrera

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Night at the White House

To say the least, I was a bit surprised when the President himself greeted me at the front door of the White House wearing a toga, a tie, and a corona civica. President Obama--the man who once saved my life in 'Nam--had invited me to join him, his family, and "a few close friends" to watch the coverage of the presidential election. I misunderstood. I didn't realize I had been invited to a toga party. I came attired in my best casual suit and I was way over dressed.
     The White House was filled with men and women, young and old, Simon and Garfunkel all dressed in togas and dancing wildly. There was a huge screen on the far left wall, but instead of showing the election results, they were showing only the scenes where Helen Hunt appears naked in her new movie, The Sessions, which is to say they were playing the entire movie.
     I ducked as a bottle of beer flew past my head. It shattered against the door behind me. I felt like I was in college again.
     "Glad you could make it," Obama told me. I could see he was sincere. Michele, on the other hand, was giving me the stink eye from the other side of the room. Before he became president, whenever Obama would step out "for a pack of cigarettes," I know she knew I was somehow involved.
     "I  wouldn't miss it for the world," I answered, and handed him a folded piece of paper. "I guess you can have this back now."
     Even though he knew what it was, Obama unfolded it, and took a look. He let out a chuckle. It was his legal birth certificate from Hawaii.
     "You were right, Jim," he told me. "Hiding my birth certificate sure did keep those Tea Party guys from paying attention to everything else I was doing."
     Obama smoothly handed the document to an aide who was standing next to him. The aide bowed low and slowly backed away from us, chanting, "Salami, salami, baloney," on his way out.
     "By the way," he said, "there's a girl I'd like you to meet."
     He nodded toward a spicy little bite of kimchi in a tight little toga. She was half sex kitten and half Viet Nam flashback. I shook my head.
     "I'm married, Mr. President," I told him.
     "What does that have to do with anything," he said, and gave me a wink. "Go have a good time. We'll talk later. As-salaam alaykum."
     "Aleichem sholem."
     I looked over at the makeshift stage. Bruce Springstein and the E Street Band were performing. The occasion was so special, even Clarence Clemmons took the night off from touring with Hendrix and Joplin just so he could come back and play some hot licks on the sax for The Boss one last time.
     Joe Biden was standing next to them, and leaning against the old refurbished jukebox I had given the Obamas as a wedding gift. Biden had a bottle of beer in one hand and was pretending to sing into a microphone. He was drunkenly swaying side to side. Springstein was singing a rock-n-roll version of the old Isley Brothers hit Shout. Thirty-seven minutes later, he was still playing the same song.
     I looked around. A mountain of empty kegs filled one corner. Someone should have alerted the Guinness World Record judges, because urinary records were undoubtedly being broken.
     Jay-Z and Pimp With A Limp were in one corner. They were in a heated discussion, apparently arguing about the size of something. Pimp had both of his hands in front of him with his palms about a foot apart. Jay-Z was using the thumb and forefinger of his right hand to measure out about three inches.
     "It's not the size of the boat," I could hear Beyonce say to Jay-Z reassuringly, "it's the motion of the ocean, baby."
     And then she excused herself to go talk with Ron Jeremy.
     I heard the roar of a motor in the distance. It grew louder. Bill Clinton came bursting through the front door on a Harley-Davidson. He had an alto saxophone strapped to his back, and his hair was greased into a 50's duck tail, Fonzie-style. He wore a pair of Ray-Bans, and seemed oblivious to the shenanigans going on around him, as if this was an everyday occurrence.
     Maybe it was.
     Clinton grabbed a long-neck from a barrel filled with them, all iced down, nice and cold. He broke the neck off against the edge of a desk, and poured the frothy liquid down his gullet.
     "Hey, Jim," he called out to me, almost shouting, "what's got two grey legs and two brown legs?"
     "I don't know. What?"
     "An elephant... with diarrhea!"
     He got the biggest kick out of his own joke, and with a rebel yell, he aimed his hog toward the door and was never heard from again.
     I walked over to the stairwell, where I saw a gaggle of gray-haired geriatric groupies gathered around someone playing a guitar. I looked closer. Holy smokes, it was Mayor John Cook! He was sitting on one of the lower steps, strumming his six-string, and trying hard to impress the chicks.
     "I gave my love a cherry, it had no stone," he warbled. The (much) older ladies were looking at him adoringly. Hilary Clinton, not so much. She happened to be walking down the stairs right then. I hadn't seen Hilary since she went into hiding after taking the bullet over this dead ambassador thing in Libya. So much for 2016.
     She sniffed the air, as if she had just stepped in something, angrily grabbed the guitar out of the El Paso mayor's hands, and smashed it against the wall. Not just once, but several times. Making sure it splintered into a thousand pieces. Everybody looked at Hilary in shock, especially Mayor Cook. She just shrugged.
     "Sorry," she said, not really meaning it,and continued walking.
     Obama jumped up on the stage. He seemed excited. Springstein had just begun playing Louie, Louie, when the President held up his hands, and the room quieted down. I looked at my iPhone. Fox News had just called Ohio.
     "It's official, guys," he announced. "Mitt Romney is losing so bad the Dallas Cowboys are laughing at him. You know what that means, don't you?"
     Everybody looked at Michele, and then yelled at once.
     "ROAD TRIP!"

American Chimpanzee

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Same Old Bernanke

I hold no grudges. 
     So when Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Board Chairman, asked me to meet with him for lunch, I agreed, but I agreed knowing that Bernanke had a chip on his shoulder regarding me ever since he asked me if I had ever slept with his wife.
     "Not a wink," I assured him.
     I remembered the last time I had lunch with Bernanke. It was in Washington DC when they had their big earthquake. The waiter had just put the check down in front of Bernanke when the tremors started. The Chairman jumped up and ran out of the restaurant screaming like a little girl, his hands waving wildly above his head. I got stuck with the bill. So... this time around...
     "Who's going to pay," I asked him.
     "The taxpayers," he told me. 
     Same old Bernanke.  He never changes. 
     This was just before the Democratic National Convention, and President Obama--the man who once saved my life in 'Nam--was stymied about this whole economy thing.  The housing market was still in the toilet, the job market was still stuck in reverse, and the economy was still dancing Michael Jackson's moonwalk (i.e. stepping forward, but moving back).
     "We just don't know what to do," Bernanke confessed to me.  He sounded exasperated.  He'd have been pulling out his hair...  if he still had any.
     "Yeah, but why call me?" I asked him as I looked over the menu. For the record, I wanted to go someplace simple, like Frisco's on Yarborough Drive. Their burgers and rolled tacos were the best in the city, and it wouldn't cost us the price of one Chicago vote, but Bernanke asked me what the most expensive restaurant in the city was, and then insisted we go there. I continued, "Political spin is not what I do."
     "That's what I told B.O.," he said, rather bluntly, "but he insisted I talk with you."
     I looked at him.  He tried to meet my gaze, but then shifted his eyes.  There was something more he wasn't telling me.
     "Look, Jim," he continued, "you've always had a way of taking a half-step to the side to look at things.  The President wanted that off-kilter point of view.  He doesn't care what happened in Pakistan."
     The waitress came by just then to take our order.
     "I'll take the ribs," I told her.  "With a baked potato, extra butter and sour cream."
     She turned to look at Bernanke.
     "Whatever's the most expensive item on the menu," he said, without even looking at her, "bring it to me."
     Same old Bernanke.  He never changes.
     I thought about what happened in Pakistan.  Obama personally sent me down with SEAL Team Six to capture Osama bin Laden alive, and I've been persona non grata ever since. I didn't mean to kill him. I thought he was holding an automatic weapon in his hand, but it just turned out to be a Ron Jeremy video.
     Shiite happens.
     "Well," I said to Bernanke, after the waitress had left, "what do you have?"
     "I have an idea," he began, and shifted forward in his chair in excitement.  "First off, we know the economy is in the toilet.  We know Obama is dismantling the space program and the military.  We know the economy's so ugly if it went into a haunted house, it would come out with a job application.  So, what we do is sell the American people on the idea that this miserableness they feel is actually happiness.  The world might be going down faster than Monica Lewinski in the Oval Office, but that's okay as long as you're happy, we tell them."
     "Ben," I said, "that's the stupidest idea I've ever heard in my life, and, trust me, I know all about stupid ideas. I've had the misfortune of riding in an elevator with Joe Biden."
     Bernanke was a bit miffed by my casual dismissal of what he thought was his "great idea."  Bernanke's the kind of guy who must have been praised too enthusiastically by his mother during his potty training years. 
     "Hey," he insisted, "I know things are in the crapper.  Unemployment rose to 8.3 percent in July, economic growth has slowed sharply from the start of 2012, and the price of gasoline is higher than Lindsay Lohan on a Saturday night, but if we tell people it doesn't matter, if we tell people that they're happy... after a while, they'll start to believe it. And once we convince them of that, it'll be a breeze to convince them to give us another four years."
     He looked me straight in the eye, and waited for me to say something. It was an old trick, so I waited too. When he started to shift uncomfortably in his seat, I finally spoke.
     "To do what?" I asked.
     "What?" he said, his eyes blinking rapidly.
     "Another four years to do what?"
     "What do you mean what?"
     "I mean what exactly do you plan on doing in your second four years that you didn't have the opportunity to do in your first four years?"
     Bernanke stayed quiet. He tried to meet my gaze, but kept averting his eyes. Then he stood up suddenly, and acted like he was looking around.
     "Where are the bathrooms at?" he asked.
     I pointed in one direction, and he quickly walked off in the other. He left and never came back... and I got stuck with the bill. Again!
     Same old Bernanke. He never changes.

American Chimpanzee

Friday, November 2, 2012

Disney + Lucas = Monkeys

That George Lucas is a genius.
     First, he's sold Lucasfilm Ltd. to Disney for 4.05 BILLION dollars, and now, while the hacks are busy converting their movies into 3D, he's already onto the next big thing: monkeys!
     Although Lucas has also converted and released his Star Wars franchise in 3D, his main focus, besides draining your wallet of all the money it might contain, has been to add monkeys into his epic tale of a galaxy far, far away.
     It's not such a crazy idea.
     There's no idea so bad that adding a monkey to it won't make it better. When I watched the movie 12 Monkeys a decade or so back, I remember thinking at the time: "You know what this movie needs? More monkeys." That Monty Python guy should have made the movie about 13 monkeys, because that one extra monkey would have made all the difference at the box office.
     I know we're all tired of Sylvester Stallone's Rocky franchise, but don't tell me you wouldn't get excited at the prospect of seeing Rocky Balboa fight an angry chimpanzee in Rocky VII. A chimp, when it's angry, has that monkey strength going for it. It's like The Incredible Hulk, the angrier it gets, the stronger it gets. And it doesn't care if it rips your face off. Monkeys fight dirty, my friend. Never forget that. But my bigger point is: who doesn't want to see an angry chimpanzee rip off Sylvester Stallone's face?
     Me? I personally couldn't stand the movie Titanic. Kate Winslet was especially unwatchable. If I wanted to see a naked fat woman, I'd go back to my first wife. But if you were to replace her with a monkey, I'd be first in line to be bored by it all over again. That's assuming you could find a monkey as Rubenesque as Miss Winslet.
     Clint Eastwood's new movie, Trouble With The Curve, was an embarrassing flop. In fact, I think the only person who saw it was the person sitting in that empty chair next to Mr. Eastwood when he addressed the RNC. You know what it needed? Monkeys.
     As for the horror genre, it seems about played out. You know what could save it? Zombies.
     But we already have zombies.
     Well, I say, quit'cher whining. I'm not just talking about any old zombies. I'm talking about monkey zombies.
     What's that you say? How about Superman as a monkey? Now you're just plain being silly.
     No, there's not a movie so bad or so good that it can't be made better with a monkey added to it. And the trend doesn't have to be limited to movies. After all, the best part of the song Guitarzan by Ray Stevens is when that funky little monkey who likes to get drunky sings the boogie woogie.
     For example, what could have saved Conan O'Brien from unceremoniously being dumped from the Tonight Show? That's right, monkeys. Monkeys could have also saved George Lopez from being unceremoniously dumped by TBS.
     Right now, Oprah is looking for some gimmick to save her Oprah Winfrey Channel. My suggestion? Monkeys. The idea's gold.
     If Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were to try to tour as the Beatles with two other guitar players--even if those guitar players were, say, Eric Clapton and Slash--the idea would be loathed and belittled. But if John Lennon and George Harrison were replaced by monkeys... sheer genius.
     If a monkey were to tour as Elvis Presley, I'm not sure how successful it might be, but I'm betting a monkey would still be more entertaining than Britney Spears.
     Finally, you know the saying: If a million monkeys were to sit at a million typewriters for a million years...'d have a million dead monkeys on your hands.
Fifty Shades of Funny

Friday, October 26, 2012

Night of the Living bin Laden

when hell is full
the dead will walk the earth
I have nightmares.
     It's been years, and I still have nightmares.
     It all began with a simple phone call from President Obama. And when Obama calls, I jump. It's the least I can do for the man who once saved my life in 'Nam. But this particular phone call caught me by surprise.
     "I want you to go to Pakistan," he told me, smoothly. "You're the only one I can trust to verify that Osama bin Laden is dead."
     "Of course he's dead," I answered. "We've both seen the video."
     I paused... and then we both broke up laughing at the same time. Video. What a joke.
     "And don't worry," he assured me. "Your little, ah, 'problem' in the Middle East has been smoothed over."
     That's Obama for you. Mr. Smooth. And that's how I found myself back in Pakistan, taking a freight elevator down to the basement where bin Laden's murdered body was kept.
     The elevator stopped. There were three guards, all of them big. The one in the middle was the approximate size of a truck. He stood in front of me. Not moving.
     "He wants a gratuity to let you enter," my interpreter explained, business as usual.
     The Incredible Bulk took an aggressive step forward. He was trying to use his size to intimidate me. His mistake. I gave his kneecap a swift kick. It shattered, and down he went. He fell in slow motion, like a giant oak in the forest. Screaming all the way down. Fat men amuse me. When they fall, they make more noise.
     I knelt over him, and relieved him of his weapons. An old AK-47 that had been hanging casually over his shoulder, an old hunting knife strapped to his ankle, and... a brand-new .45. He must have collected a lot of "gratuities" to pay for it. I stood and secured the gun in the waistband of my jeans. And then I stepped over him. The other two guards got out of my way.
     In the middle of the room was a wooden table so old Jesus probably used it at The Last Supper. On top of the table was the lifeless body of Osama bin Laden. The real one. Not the decoy the SEALS unceremoniously tossed over the side of a boat.
     I stepped closer. They hadn't even bothered to clean him up. I took out a pair of scissors and clipped a lock of his hair. It was filthy. I put it into a small plastic baggie and sealed it.
     "Did he have any last words?" I asked my interpreter, conversationally. But I really didn't care. I was just distracting myself from what I had to do next. With a cardiac syringe I took a sample of his blood directly from the source. "I mean, besides, 'Don't kill me!'"
     "He vowed to come back. To revenge himself upon his enemies. You know, the usual camel dung."
     "Is that a fact?" I said, my mind a million miles away. I put away the blood and hair samples. Just one more thing to do. I forced open his jaw. It was easier than I expected. In fact, it took no force at all. Using several sterile cotton-tipped applicators--Q-Tips--I swabbed the inside of his cheek. I couldn't help but see his teeth. They all had gold fillings. Every one. I laughed.
     "Only the living are rich," I said in Arabic.
     My interpreter came closer.
     "It would be a shame to let all that gold go to waste," he said, sticking a finger in bin Laden's mouth to take a look for himself. The guards both grunted greedily in the affirmative.
     Bin Laden's eyes opened suddenly. They were a dead, milky color. He bit down. Viciously. Like a starving jackal. My interpreter screamed. Blood gushed out of where his finger had once been. The two guards rushed to help. I don't know why they bothered.
     Me? I headed for the freight elevator. As I stepped inside I could see bin Laden grab one guard by the head, gouging out the man's eyes with his thumbs. Then he brought the screaming guard closer and took a nasty bite out of his neck. More blood. Everywhere.
     Bin Laden was standing, off the table now. He began lumbering toward me. Every step an effort. I looked down. The guard whose kneecap I shattered was trying to crawl inside the elevator with me.
     "Mercy," he cried. "Mercy."
     Using his own gun, I shot him in the head. A quick death is mercy of a sort. With some effort, I rolled his lifeless body back, out of the elevator.
     I pushed the "up" button, and the freight elevator creaked to life. The elevator was slow. It barely moved. I could hear screams all the way up.
     Finally, the screaming stopped.
     No sooner did I exit the elevator, than it began to descend again. I heard it stop. And then I heard it start to climb back up again. I stepped back and waited. The .45 heavy in my hand. Whoever got off that elevator...
     I would be ready.
Fifty Shades of Funny

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Presidential Debate Demands

Thank God the debates are over.
     The demands the two presidential candidates were making for each of the debates were driving me nuts. You see, I'M the Walt Disney of the political world. I'm in charge of making their dreams come true.
     For example, while President Obama insisted that there be no brown M&Ms in his candy bowl, Governor Romney insisted just as forcefully that he receive all the brown M&Ms that Obama discarded.
     Like I said, these bozos drive me nuts.
     The last of the presidential debates was held at Lynn College, proudly named after Ginger Lynn, a legend in the hallowed halls of academia. Many a college professor has pulled an all-nighter contemplating the beautiful simplicity of Ginger's mathmatical theorum: 2d + 1v = dp.
     The college is located in the city of Boca Raton, Florida. Did you know "Boca Raton" is Spanish for "rat mouth"? Somehow, it seems fitting.
     Lynn College found out the hard way that not only do presidential debates require a lot of work, but they also requires a lot of cash. For this particular debate, Lynn College has spent nearly $5 million just in campaign contributions alone. When I asked the president of the college about this, she assured me that it was merely a coincidence that tuition will be going up by the same amount next year.
     My taking care of all those demands means paying attention to details. Is the temperature set at a cool 68 degrees? Is the broccoli cut into individual florets? Has Ron Jeremy arrived yet? The list of demands is almost endless. For example, I recently shredded papers containing a total of 473(!) demands. And that was just from Michele Obama.
     Here's an abbreviated list of the items and services I was required to provide for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney backstage:

     1) An Elvis impersonator who only covers Led Zeppelin songs.

     2) Pumpkin aromatherapy candles. The scent of pumpkin is supposedly an aphrodisiac for women. Which probably explains the...

     3) Box of Magnums. Interestingly enough, they weren't for Obama.

     4) A map of the campus drawn by a one-legged map-maker. People with one leg know the easiest way to get places.

     5) A small bottle of KY Warming Oil (see items #2 and #3).

     6) All the leftover Red Bull from the Joe Biden debate.

     7) A vegetable tray, which should be immediately be thrown into the trash. Just keep the steaks coming, cheapskates.

     8) A case of Grey Poupon mustard. Gee, I wonder who ordered that one?

     9) A one-humped camel that likes to hump twice.

     10) Because of the recent resurgence of al-Qaida, a terrorist attack is certainly possible.
Therefore, all audience members will be required to change their underwear every half hour to foil the plans of any potential underwear bombers. To make sure of this, underwear will be worn on the outside of any and all clothing.

     11) An empty chair, just in case Clint Eastwood shows up.

     12) 72 virgins. Although, since this debate is being held at a liberal arts college, I don't know if I'll find any.

     13) Copies of the President's new book, We'll See, But Don't Hold Me To That, and an Obama look-alike to sign them.

     14) A really old debate moderator. Wait... never mind.

     15) A duffel-bag filled with cash to be picked up by some guy from Chicago. I was assured I'd know him when I'd see him.

     16) One Hawaiian birth certificate. Name and date to be filled in at a time to be determined later.

     17) An apple. Actually, this is also a part of ObamaCare, since you-know-what keeps you-know-who away.

     18) Plenty of weed and blow. Just kidding!  (No, I'm not.)

     19) A coupon for one free abortion to be redeemed at the Planned Parenthood of your choice (see #2 and #3).

     20) DVD copies of the movies The Re-Animator and Return of the Living Dead.

     21) A young Korean masseuse to administer the Al Gore Special.

     22) Cucumbers.

     23) Something nice for the wife.

     24) In fact, make it a baby-doll nightie with fur along the bottom to keep her neck warm.

     25) A name whose number of letters don't easily divide into 6-6-6.

     26) A copy of the Koran.

     27) A copy of Fifty Shades of Grey.

     28) ObamaPhones for everybody!

     29) A good economy.

     30) Sarah Palin (see #2 and #3).

Fifty Shades of Funny