Sunday, February 26, 2012

Whitney Houston's Funeral

First Don Cornelius, then Etta James, and now Whitney Houston...  this has been the worst Black History Month ever
     When I was first asked by Jet magazine to fly to New Jersey to cover Ms. Houston's funeral, I was enraged.  I'm an original gangsta from Compton.  As an urban militant and former member of The Inkspots, I found this kind of pop culture news reportage beneath me, especially in a time when if a black man goes to court looking for justice, that's all he finds...  just us.  However, as a gay man, I thought it would be fabulous.
     So I called my dear friend, George Takei, and asked him what I should wear to the affair.
     "Black," he said, inscrutibly, "is the new black." 
     "George," I told him, "black sucks."
     "Honey," he replied, "Uhura's black.  So if that were true, I'd still be straight."
     When I got to the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J. for the funeral service, I was surprised to find out that there was a two-dollar cover-charge.  They sat me pretty far in the back.  I slipped the usher an extra buck.  He sat me even further in the back, just a few aisles in front of the last row, which was reserved for Bobby Brown. 
     Eventually, Bobby Brown--his nose lightly dusted from having just eaten a powdered donut--showed up, sat down, and immediately started making out with his date.  His date was a tall, pretty Asian girl.  Funny, but I've never seen a girl with that noticeable of an adam's apple before.  Almost as immediately, the ex-Mr. Houston left.
     "I thought there was gonna be food," he grumbled, as he staggered out.  I checked the soles of my shoes.  I could swear I had just stepped in something.
     I must admit, I was a bit disappointed at first with my seating arrangement, but soon realized that from my vantage point I'd be able to observe and report on everything.  Whitney Houston's death was a tragedy, but it was also a chance for me to cash in.
     I received a text from Dolly Parton, a personal friend of mine.  She wrote that, unfortunately, she would be unable to attend Ms. Houston's funeral, mainly due to the fact that she wasn't invited.  (Attention, English students:  that's what us professional Pulitzer Prize winning writers call irony.)  What many people don't realize is that Dolly wrote Whitney's biggest hit I Will Always Love You.  I find it fitting that the song was such a big hit for Whitney.  White people have been stealing the black man's songs and becoming rich since the beginning of music.  It was time a black artist did the same to whitey.
     I thought for a few minutes about the circumstances that brought me here.  It was only a few days ago, but it seems now like an eternity, that Whitney Houston was found dead in the bathtub of her hotel room.  When Clive Davis got the news at the party he was hosting downstairs, he decided to continue partying "in honor of Whitney."
     I looked around and saw Whitney's Waiting To Exhale co-star, Angela Bassett.  I would have gone up to offer her some comfort and support, but thought it better that I didn't, especially since she had that restraining order against me.
     Dionne Warwick insisted, through tears, on reading a poem.  Unfortunately, that poem was about how she was the one who should have won Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice.  She generously offered to stay and sign autographs for five dollars a pop.  They had her escorted out.
     Alica Keys sang Send Me An Angel, but had to stop when she began crying.  She spent the rest of the services asking people who Bob Dylan was, and why would he mention her in one of his songs.
     Stevie Wonder admitted that he had a crush on her, even though they had never met, and that if she were still alive she would want everybody to "buy my new album."
     Tyler Perry confessed that, even though no one knew it, he and Whitney had become close friends in the last few years, and what a shame it was that "the only person who can confirm that has now died." 
     Kevin Costner, who hadn't accepted any of Whitney's phone calls since the last time he looked in a mirror and saw a full head of hair, gave a touching eulogy about how close they were.  Tyler Perry rolled his eyes at that.
     "She wasn't his friend, she was mine," he huffed to Oprah, who was sitting next to him in the pew, taking up enough space for two people and a small child.
     "Pass the gravy," Oprah said.
     I couldn't help but notice that Kevin Costner brought his daughter, Christine, to the funeral with him.  She was a young, pretty girl.  Somebody told me that she was his wife, but I didn't believe it. 
     "Oh, yeah?" I said.  "Then why did she just leave with Clive Davis?"
     Speaking of Clive Davis, there was a touching moment when he first entered the church.  He walked mournfully up the aisle, and made his way over to where Whitney's grieving mother sat.  He gently took her hand, and solemnly asked her to move. 
     "You're in my seat, Cissy," he told her, with all the due respect the sad occassion required.
     He had her moved to the back of the church, in the seats that Bobby Brown had just vacated, where her crying wouldn't disturb him.  But it didn't really matter, since Whitney Houston's mom thought she was at the Michael Jackson funeral.
     Whitney's daughter, Bobbi Kristina, was said to be stoned, but that was completely untrue.  She had just accidentally inhaled smoke from the cremation.
     Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were there, even thought they were purposely given the wrong day and time.  However, they were asked to leave when they kept passing around the collection plate. 
     The Reverand Wright--President Obama's pastor, mentor, and close personal friend--was there to throw in a few anti-American remarks.   "The chickens have come home to roost in the U.S. of KKK," he said, "and now, sadly, so has Whitney Hutton."
     Paul McCartney made a surprise appearance, but nobody recognized him.
     "But I'm Paul McCartney."
     "You know, from the Beatles."
     "The what?"
     "I just performed on the Grammys."
     "Sorry, man, but you don't look nothing like Chris Brown."
     As it turned out Sir Paul wasn't there to pay his respects to Whitney Houston or her family.  He just saw a large crowd and thought it would be a good opportunity to promote his new album where he covers old songs that nobody remembers anymore.
     R. Kelly was schedualed to perform I Look To You, and I had a chance to talk to him just before the services were to start.
     "Did you know her?" I asked him.
     "Did you ever meet her?"
     "Then why are you here?"
     "Well, I'm dropping a new cd soon, and..."
     But he wasn't able to finish.  The church's pastor, Marvin Winans, finally began the service.  The church grew quiet.  The pastor lifted his eyes and arms heavenward, and he asked in a voice full of sadness and longing:
     "Who's going to pay for all this?"
Fifty Shades of Funny

Obama's Nobel "Piece" Prize

In the spirit of the President Day's holiday that just passed, I'd like to thank the Norwegian Nobel Committee for having once awarded me the Nobel Peace Prize.  I didn't deserve it, but I accepted it, none the less. 
     Lest you think I'm being critical of President Obama's honor of a few years ago, let me assure you that's not the case.  I side with Bill O'Really, who felt that President Obama's--the man who once saved my life in 'Nam--winning of the Nobel Peace Prize was good for America, and I'm all for what's good for America.  But, let's face it, the deadline for the Norwegian Nobel's Committee's nominations was February 1st.  Obama was sworn in on January 20th.  That was just eleven days, and no one in any kind of authority has been able to accomplish anything so quickly since God created the universe in six. 
     No, the reason Obama won was because he wasn't George Bush.  So, in essence, all of America deserved to share a piece of that award, because none of us are George Bush, either.  So, with logic like that, I humbly and with sincere gratitude accepted my portion of the award.
     I'd also like to point out that not being George Bush has benefited me in other ways as well.  The other day I called in to where I work and asked for the day off with pay.  When my boss told me "no," I told him: 
     "But I'm not George Bush."
     "No, I guess you're not," he replied, mulling it over.
     "Okay, take the day off."
     "With pay?"
     "With pay.
     Wow, what a break!  I wondered what else not being George Bush could score for me.  I walked into my bank, and asked for some cold, hard cash.
     "Sir," the vice-president informed me, "we're not in the business of just handing out money to anyone who comes in off the street and asks for it."
     "But you don't understand," I told him, "I'm not George Bush."
     "Well, since you put it that way."  He handed me a big, white bag with the dollar sign printed on the side of it.  "Here, take as much as you want."
     "Gee, thanks."
     I took ALL of it.
    That was so cool.  It was late afternoon now, and I was getting pretty hungry, so I stopped at Chico's Tacos and ordered two double-orders of rolled tacos with extra cheese, a cheeseburger, side of fries, and, of course, a diet soda because I'm watching my weight.  Before they could ring it all up, I informed the cashier:  "You probably haven't notice, but I'm not George Bush."
     It worked.  Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch?
     This not being George Bush is a great scam.  Just last night I was feeling pretty frisky, so I came to bed and told my wife:  "Hi, sweetie.  You look very beautiful tonight."
     "I've got a headache," she said, flatly.
     "But I'm not George Bush!"
     "Yeah, well, you're not Brad Pitt, either."
     It was worth a shot.

Fifty Shades of Funny

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Racist Feminist

With all due respect, no one ever says "with all due respect" unless they're about to say something without any due respect, so...
     With all due respect, whatever happened to the woman's movement?  There was a time when women were tough.  They had to be.  They had to fight for family, for equality, and for fabulous hair products.  Now they seem to be back to square one, where the only movement they seem to be interested in making is in a pair of tight jeans as they're walking in front of anyone with some angle to their dangle. 
     That, and abortions.
     The gay lobby, on the other hand, is tough.  They're so tough they even made Tracy Morgan cry.  The black lobby is tough, too.  You can lose your job, your life, and even have your credit rating ruined, just by saying something African-Americans might misconstrue as being racist, such as using the word "misconstrue."  I wanted to ask Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton about this, but they were too busy getting people fired for making jokes.
     Feminists, on the other hand, have seen their power, much like their youth, squandered with each passing year.  But what do you expect...
     They're women.*
     I blame hip-hop.  Rappers say the most vile, sexist things to and about women without the fine ladies of NOW even raising an eyebrow, much less their voices.
     Chris Brown can beat Rihanna like she's Michael Vick's least-favorite dog, and--no matter how much she deserved it**--the feminists stay silent.  And then, a relatively short time later, Chris Brown performs on the Grammys, and the entertainment industry cheers him back like a conquering hero.  The women artists who also performed on the show (I'd name a few, if I could, but they were all pretty interchangeable.) slobbered all over him, when, really, shouldn't they have collectively taken a stand and refused to share the same stage with him?  It reminded me of Ike Turner, the great rock & roll/soul legend who used to beat his wife, the great rock & roll/soul singer Tina Turner, like she was a dusty blanket on a clothesline.  They made an entire movie about how he used to abuse Tina Turner, and, he still had no problem finding a girlfriend.  He later went to prison on, I believe, drug charges, and, when he got out, you could find him with a pretty blonde hanging on his arm and pretending she never saw What's Love Got To Do With It.  When I hear guys complain that they can't find a girlfriend, I just have to laugh. 
     But I digress...
     Country singer Miranda Lambert may have complained later on Twitter about performing on the same show with Chris Brown, but that didn't keep her from performing.  Other female artists, like Bruno Mars, complained as well, but what did they do besides smile, sing, and shut their yaps?  When it came down to it, no one took a stand.
     Why have feminists so effectively been nuetered?  In my opinion, it's because they're afraid of being called racists.  That's essentially what the feminist movement has become.  A force concerned with how they're perceived, rather than with doing what is right.  And if they're overly concerned with being perceived a certain way...  well, what does that say about them?  Me?  I don't have a racist bone in my body--in fact, some of my best friends are white--so I don't waste my time worrying if anybody perceives me in a way that's not true.
     Maybe it began back in the Clinton administration, when they decided to stay silent as President Clinton got friendly with chubby interns and government employees, and ruined their lives if they didn't get friendly back.  It was more important to the feminists and the fine ladies of NOW that Clinton be pro-choice.  That made it easier for them to turn the other cheek.  And not the fun one.  Unless it was for Slick Willie's slick willie. Then again, maybe not. 
     But, again, I digress...
     You see, if the fine ladies of NOW were to go after sexists, they'd have to start with the black community.  They'd have to go after the African-American men who disrespect women, as well as the African-American women who tolerate it.  And if the fine ladies of NOW were to go after the men of color who abuse women, they'd first have to start with Chris Brown, and they couldn't do that, because then he wouldn't have been able to perform on the Grammys. 
     But that's not the only reason the woman's lobby has become weak.  It's also become weak, because women have taken their eye off the ball.  They've stopped seeing the forest, because they're obsessing on one tree.  They've stopped caring about women's rights, and started obsessing over a woman's right to murder her unborn baby.  That, and free birth control.  I guess that's two trees.  When they ask me if I'm pro-choice, I always tell them "Yes, I choose life." 
     That drives them nuts.
     Now, if Chris Brown had kept Rihanna from excercising her man-given right to have an abortion, then and only then might we have seen some enraged feminists.  It's hard to be angry and apologetic at the same time, but I'm sure somehow they would have managed it.  And if they're overly apologetic about calling a spade a spade...  well, what does that say about them?
     Women are more than half the population in the U.S. and the world, and they still complain about being treated like 2nd class citizens.  Tell me, who's holding them back?  The men who can be lead around like a dog with a Scooby snack, or their fellow females who can't seem to get along with one another?  Especially when there's men involved.  And speaking of men...
     When it comes down to it, men would just like to be able to stare at, comment on, or take up residence in any part of a woman's body that she chooses to flaunt as an accessory.***
     Not me, of course.
     I'm happily married.

*See?  I was able to say that without any repercusions whatsoever.
**See?  I was able to say that without any repercusions whatsoever.
***My wife is reading over my shoulder as I write this.  Here come the repercusions.

Fifty Shades of Funny

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Hardest Working Man In Politics

"Mayor Cook, what are you doing here?"
     I was walking into the bathroom at city hall when I bumped into him.  I was there to pay my Excessive Oxygen Usage Fee.  He was dressed in gray coveralls, and busy cleaning the mirror over the sink with some paper towels and a clear blue liquid in a plastic spray bottle.
     "I work here," he answered, and then, without missing a breat, he vigorously went to work cleaning the sink using the same supplies.  "This is where I do my best thinking."
     I couldn't argue with that, so I took the opportunity to ask him about the plastic bag fee the city is thinking about adopting. 
     "Well, it's like this," he began, putting away the paper towels and picking up a scouring brush for the toilet.  He gave the bowl a few squirts with the magically versatile blue liquid and enthusiastically began scrubbing the commode.  "The city's so broke we can't even afford to pay attention, so we're looking for additional ways to increase revenue.  In fact, I'm glad you're here.  Let me run some ideas by you."
     "We don't say 'shoot' anymore.  Now we say 'shinola,' as in 'you don't know the difference between.'  It's a federal mandate."
     "Of course, Mr. Mayor."
     He put down his supplies, picked up a broom, and briskly started sweeping the floor.  "You know and I know that when we talk about fees, what we're really talking about are taxes.  Just like when President Obama talks about investing in America or everybody paying their fair share, what he's really talking about is taxing and spending.  So let me know what you think about our using the following words in lieu of the word taxes:  compelled contributions, minimum due donations..."
     "It still sounds like taxes to me."
     Done sweeping, he got the mop and energetically began mopping the floor.  "Well, then, in that case the only thing we can do is come up with more fees.  What do you think about these:  a fee for grown men wearing their pajama bottoms as pants in public?  A fee for wearing your pantaloons below your hindquarters?  A fee for thinking about Sarah Palin when you should be thinking about your wife?"  He was done mopping, and we stood by the bathroom door.  "So...  what do you think?"
     "You know me, Mr. Mayor.  I think raising taxes in this economy will only make things worse."
     "No, I mean, what do you think about the bathroom?"
     "It looks good, Mr. Mayor," I told him, honestly.  "You did a good job."
     "Thanks," he said, standing back and taking it all in.
     He was genuinely proud.
Fifty Shades of Funny

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Genius Of George Lucas

That George Lucas is a genius. 
     While the hacks are busy following his lead by converting their movies into 3D, he's already onto the next big thing:  monkeys.  Although he's also recently released his Star Wars franchise in 3D, he's already a step way ahead of those unoriginal film-making losers by next adding 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 wouldn't make better.  Are you telling me that Jar Jar Binks wouldn't have become a beloved Star Wars character if he were played by the orange orangutan Clyde from those Clint Eastwood Which Way movies?* 
     When I watched the Bruce Willis/Brad Pitt movie 12 Monkeys a decade or so back, I remember thinking at the time:  "You know what this movie needs?  More monkeys."  They should have made that movie about 13 monkeys, because that one extra monkey would have made all the  difference in the world at the box office. 
     I know everybody's tired of Sylvester Stallone's Rocky franchise, but are you telling me you wouldn't get excited at the prospect of Rocky Balboa fighting an angry chimp in Rocky VII?  No one wants to fight an angry chimp, not when they have that angry chimp strength going for them.  They're like the incredible Hulk.  The angrier they get, the stronger they get.  And, man, they fight dirtier than Gloria Allred in a divorce court.
     Me?  I personally couldn't stand the movie Titanic.  Kate Winslet was especially unlikable, but if James Cameron--that George Lucas wannabe--were to replace her with a bonobo monkey, I'd be the first in line to watch it again.  That's assuming you could find a bonobo monkey as Rubanesque as Miss Winslet.  Instead, he's picking up George Lucas' crumbs by also converting and releasing Titanic in 3D.  Man, is there nothing that guy won't do to squeeze an extra nickle out of his fans?  What is he?  A Democrat?  My dad had a saying.  He said:  "There's nothing sadder than a two-dollar hooker.  Unless, that hooker happens to be a monkey."  Or James Cameron.
     Clint Eastwood's movie Hereafter was an embarrassing flop.  Like many of its characters, it died at the box office.  You know what would have saved it?  Monkeys.  It's the same thing with the horror genre.  Zombies seem to be about played out.  You know what would make zombies cool again?  Monkey zombies.  "What's that?" you say.  How about a monkey Superman? 
     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 by adding a monkey to it, and the trend doesn't have to be limited to movies.  After all, the best part of the song Gitarzan by Ray Stevens is when the pet monkey who likes to get drunky sings the boogie-woogie and it sounds real funky.**  And the only thing that could have saved Conan O'Brien from being unceremoniously dumped from The Tonight Show?  Monkeys.  That's right.  Monkeys.  Just ask Johnny Carson.  That is, if you could.  He's dead.  When they were looking for a replacement for the retiring Oprah why didn't they try to replace her with a monkey?  Or Flavor Flav, at the very least.
     Sure, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have just released new albums, and both still tour successfully, but if they were to try to tour together as The Beatles with two replacement guitar players, no matter how talented those two replacements were, the idea would be loathed and belittled.  But if John Lennon and George Harrison were replaced by monkeys that would be a marketing stroke of genius.  Even Yoko Ono*** couldn't ruin it.
     If a monkey were to tour as Elvis Presley, I'm not sure how successful the tour might be, but I'm betting you the monkey would put on a better show than Madonna did at the Super Bowl.
     Finally, you know the saying, if a million monkeys were to sit at a million typewritters for a million years...
     .....then they could probably write my columns for me.

*"Right turn, Jar Jar."
**"Come On.  Your time, boy.  Sing one, monkey!"
***"I'll get you, my pretty!."

Fifty Shades of Funny

Saturday, February 4, 2012

GOP: The Gay Old Party?

     Politics.  An age-old problem that's been boring me my whole life.
     As you've probably read, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie recently met with President Obama in the Oval Office, but Obama made it absolutely clear to the Hollywood power couple that, with the upcoming presidential elections, he wasn't at all interested in being adopted.
     Which, in a round-a-bout way, brings me to the subject of this column.  The Republican pickings for president are so slim this time around, that I'm considering running for the nomination myself.  I say "thinking about it," because, to tell the truth, I couldn't afford the cut in pay. 
     I don't know how he found out about my political musings, but, just before he decided to publically throw his support behind Mitt Romney, Donald Trump called and wanted to give me his opinion about the subject.
     "Tell him I'm washing my hair," I told my personal assistant, Joe Biden.  Biden, these days, has so much free time on his hands that he decided to get a second job, just in case this vice-presidential thing doesn't work out.
     I was watching the recent Republican debate that was being broadcasted on PBS on their popular political show Sesame Street.  As I watched, my mind wandered to one of the more important questions of the day:  What's all this fuss about Bert and Ernie being gay?  Does the gay lobby actually have nothing better to do than accuse innocent muppets of homosexuality?  They've already tainted Disneyland with such accusations.
     "I bet you don't even know that Plato's gay," a gay actor--not Tom Cruise, because Tom Cruise is not gay--once told me.
     "You're telling me that Mickey Mouse's dog is gay?"
     The gay actor--not John Travolta, because John Travolta is not gay--paused.
     "Yes," he said, and raised one eyebrow.  "And Goofy was his lover."
     It's like that lesbian protestor who threw gay-dust on Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum just a few days ago, screaming:  "You hate gays!  You hate gays!"  At first, I actually thought she was chanting the "U.S.A!  U.S.A!" cheer.  It would have made more sense.  The United States, after all, is the land of the free and the home of the Chippendale dancers.  But she wasn't, and I wondered who she thought she was going to convert by being such a jerk.  Whatever Rick Santorum's anti-homosexuality feelings are--if, in fact, he has any at all--I'm sure she made them worse.  The only true point I think she made was how easy it is to get at any political figure, if you're so inclined.  Instead of gay-dust, she could just as easily have had something more dangerous, like Donald Trump's hair.
     And, now that I think about it, local El Paso politician, Mayor John Cook, sure does look an awful lot like the man who offered to give me "guitar lessons" in the public bathroom of the Downtown plaza when I was a little boy.  Yes, the same public bathrooms that my parents used to warn me to stay out of when I would take the city bus to catch a horror movie double-feature at the Palace Theater for 35 cents.  My parents also warned me to stay away from the Coney Island hot dog stand, which was next-door to a bar.  But I was a kid.  And the hot dogs were delicious.  And 10 cents.
     You do the math.
     But I digress...
     As I was trying not to consider the sexuality of inanimate objects, I couldn't help but wonder:  What if the Republican presidential hopefuls were gay?  That might make the coming year easier to take.
     I bet if Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney were gay, Newt would be the Bert and Mitt would be the Ernie.  Newt would be the top and Mitt would be the bottom.  In fact, if you translate the name "Mitt Romney" from the original Mormon, it literally translates into "The Bottom."
     Newt Gingrich would be the salad and Mitt Romney would be the one doing the tossing. 
     But I don't want to come down on just Gingrich and Romney, even though they are the front runners, and are fighting like an old gay couple who were never given the opportunity to marry.  Ron Paul, to me, has always looked like the creepy uncle who sneaks into your bedroom in the middle of the night.*  In fact, didn't he play the lead in the movie Priscilla, Queen of the Desert?
     Rick Santorum, with his vest addiction, reminds me of the high school teacher who invites the football team over to his house for beer.**  Instead of a Navy SEAL, Rick Santorum*** is more like one of those baby seals who get clubbed in the head.
     And, finally, if the Republicans were gay...
     I'd pay good money to see Michele Bachman's and Sarah Palin's private honeymoon videos.

*Um...  not my uncle.  I mean yours.
**Fortunately, I didn't play on the field with the football team.  I played the field with the cheerleaders.
***Speaking of Rick Santorum, I've heard through the grapevine that he's hoping to improve his presidential chances by changing his name to Rick Obama.

Fifty Shades of Funny