Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Great Front Page!

What a great front page the El Paso Times had this past Wednesday, 5-23-2012.
     The story of the two children who died was heartbreakingly tragic, and the story, on the 2nd front page of the Borderland Section, about a truck being hit by a gold Nissan and then by a train made for an exciting double-whammy, but the remaining three stories I thought were interesting enough to share with you. 
     I hope you think so, too.

     In a recent meeting, the El Paso Independent School District trustees have instructed administrators to find and hire a consultant to advise the scandal-ridden district on improving its image with the community it serves.
     Their immediate recommendation was Dogbert from Dogbert Consultants, Inc. of the comic strip Dilbert, because "he has the right combination of greed and lack of ethics that would fit in so well around here," plus "he sure looks cute when he wags his little tail."
     Unfortunately, the trustees had to withdraw their recommendation when they discovered that Dogbert was only a cartoon character, and was not, in fact, real.
     "The fact that he was a talking dog should have been our first clue," they admitted.
     During the same meeting, the trustees snuck away for a few hours to discuss the duties and responsibilities of interim Superintendent, Terri Jordan, in a special, super-duper, double-naught spy, closed door session, where it was unanimously agreed upon that, while she would be in charge of laundry and light housekeeping duties, she would be exempt from doing windows.
     Meanwhile, in another part of town--mainly, the part your television sits on--U.S. Rep. Sylvestre "El Gato" Reyes released a devastating attack ad on his strongest opponent, Beto O'Rourke.
     The ad accused O'Rourke of admitting to smoking "weed" (marijuana), snorting "blow" (cocaine), and, while living in Indonesia, eating dog ("It was tough.").  When it was pointed out to the congressman that it was actually President Obama who admitted to all that, Silver (as he's affectionately called by his fellow congressmen, as in "thirty pieces of..."), allegedly said, "Oops!"
     I went to his congressional office to ask him about the ad, and was greeted by his cousin, who handed me off to his nephew, who directed me to his uncle, who pointed to his daughter, who nodded in the direction of his 2nd cousin once removed, when finally...
     "Does anybody here speak English?" I asked in frustration.
     Reyes' sister was finally kind enough to get me in to see the congressman.
     Reyes greeted me enthusiastically, that is, until he found out that I had already cast my vote in one of the early voting sites.
     "Let's get this over with," he said, rather brusquely.  "I have a family reunion to go to."
     "In Mexico?" I asked him.
     "In the next room," he answered.  "It all comes down to this:  You've got to know the kind of man you're voting for, and with me you know you're getting someone who's never done anything improper in his life."
     "Yeah," his wife said, from their bedroom.  "Lucky me."
     "That's been my modus operandi from the first day I was elected into office.  If you don't do anything, then you can't be accused of doing anything wrong."
     Just then, another relative of his entered the room, and brought him a cup of coffee.
     "Thanks, mija," he told her.  "You're doing a good job.  Give yourself a raise."
     "Gracias," she said, and then left the room, closing the door behind her.
     "Who was that?" I asked the congressman.
     "That's my Deputy in Charge of Environmental Fabrications and the Transportation of Hot Liquids."
     "Indeed," I said, because I've found saying the word "indeed" makes it seem like you understand what's just been said.
     "And what kind of a name is 'Beto' for an Irishman?"  Reyes asked.  He was on a roll now.  There was no stopping him.  "The name 'Beto' is a Democratic name, while 'O'Rourke' is a Republican name.  And El Pasoans don't vote for Republicans, ju'no?"
     I hesitated.
     "The city or the movie?" I asked.
     "The city or the movie?"
     Now it was the congressman's turn to hesitate.
     "Indeed," he finally answered, nodding his head with great gravitas.  "Indeed."
     Which leads me, finally, to the story about Aliviane, which coincidentally sounds a lot like my favorite album by Roxy Music, an El Paso non-profit that is under federal investigation (which is still better than being under Rosie O'Donnell).  Aliviane paid suspended UTEP professor S. Fernando Rodriguez $344,000 in 2010, bringing his total compensation over ten years to $1.2 million, according to documents obtained by the El Paso Times under the Freedom of Being A Busybody Act.  Rodriguez and his company, CER Analytics, were paid approximately 4% of Aliviane, Inc.'s total budget of $9 million for the fiscal year beginning September 1, 2010, which begs the question:
     How do I become a non-profit?

Fifty Shades of Funny

An Election In Egypt

When President Obama calls, I jump.
     It's the least I can do for the man who once saved my life in 'Nam.
     You see, our platoon was pinned down in the jungle by enemy fire, and we decided to make a run for it.  Better a live chicken, than a dead duck, as B.O. used to say.  A bullet caught me in my gut, and when Obama discovered I hadn't made it, he ran back to get me.  Only...
     ...he got the wrong guy.
     So he ran back.  And got the wrong guy again.
     By the end of our courageous retreat he had saved me, saved the whole platoon, and received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his trouble.  His feat was so impressive that President Kennedy himself came back from the dead to personally award B.O. his medal.
     That's why I wasn't surprised when he called me on a secure line when the time came for someone to fly to Egypt and "convince" Egyptian President Mubarak to retire.
     "Convince him with extreme prejudice, if you have to, just make sure the transfer of power is done peacefully.  And, while you're at it, make sure you keep the Muslim Brotherhood on the outside looking in."
     "That sounds like the kind of work we used to do in the 'Nam," I told him.  I thought awhile.  "Don't you miss it, B.O.?  Don't you miss the fun we used to have?  Like arranging the fall of Saigon?"
     I could sense that President Obama was smiling on the other end of our line, but I could also sense that he was slowly shaking his head as well.
     "C'mon, B.O.," I tried to convince him.  "Let's do it.  You and me.  Just like old times.  We'll fly into Egypt and--sharia don't like it--we'll rock the casbah!"
     Obama was silent.
     I knew he was tempted, but he couldn't say anything.  Even on a secure line, you have to watch your mouth.  You never knew when a Linda Tripp might be listening.  Plausible deniability.  I taught him well.
     The problem he had back then was that he was afraid he'd end up like Jimmy "One-Term" Carter.  When President Carter pushed the Shah of Iran out of power in the late 70's, that created a vacuum, and that vacuum was filled by the Ayatollah Khomeini...  and that's when Carter's problems really began.  Two tall towers later, and we can see what not having democracies or governments friendly to the United States in the Middle East can do.
     "Nature abhors a vacuum," Obama explained, "and I don't want another Ayatollah in there.  What I want is an Ayatollah of Rock-N-Rollah in there."
     "What happened, B.O.?"  I asked him, suddenly serious.  "Under Reagan and Clinton--heck, even under both Bushes--Egypt was perfectly fine."
     "I admit it.  I dropped the ball.  I never should have sent the unemployed youth of Egypt Spike Lee's movie, Do The Right Thing.  I thought it would keep them entertained."
     In the end, I had to decline.  Obama understood why.  Things had already gone too far.  The whole world was watching, just as it's watching now.  It's not like the old days, when Reagan bombed Gaddafi Duck.  These days you have to walk on egg shells.
     Well, in any given situation, if I'm forced to walk, then I'll take my cue from those great philosophers of old, The Bangles, and I'll...
     Walk Like An Egyptian.

Fifty Shades of Funny

Friday, May 18, 2012

This Just In!

When Robert Moore--my editor at the El Paso Times and master of the ancient martial art of Tai Kwan Donut--asked me to write a humor blog for, I had to decline.  I was too busy writing "quotes" for Joe Biden.
     "Can you still write a column for next Friday's paper?"
     "Sure.  About what?"
     "It doesn't matter.  Just make sure it eats up some space."
     Now I was in a bind.  I had committed myself to writing a column, but I had no idea about what.  I stepped outside to retrieve my morning newspaper, and there, on the front page, was the answer to my dilemma.  It was a smiling President Obama, the man who once saved my life in 'Nam.
     He was standing next to President Calderon from Mexico.  Obama had a big smile on his face, because he had just shrewdly negotiated away even more American jobs by agreeing to let Mexican truck drivers on U.S. roads.
     I like when Obama smiles.  It makes the bad news he's about to give me easier to take.  Always has.  Always will.
     "What the American people don't understand," he explained, "is that losing jobs to Mexico is good for the American economy."
     When asked how, he answered in that Harvard educated way of his:  "It just is."
     Well, he did promise to create more jobs.  I just didn't think they'd be for Mexican citizens.
     On page two, there was an article about Obama and the United Nations talking tough about Gaddafi in Libya.  They want him out of there.  Where've they been for the last forty years he's been in power?  I mean, I don't want to criticize anybody, but...
     Hey, wait a minute...  Gaddafi's dead.  I know, because I wrote about it in Zombie Gaddafi on October 22, 2011.  Go see for yourself.  Just how old IS this newspaper, anyway?
     Well, no sense in wasting a perfectly good old newspaper, especially when a new one will cost me another sevety-five cents.  I'm not cheap, I'm frugal.
     Another article:  U.S. Teens Are Having Less Sex.  I didn't read this article, because it will just remind me of how much sex I'm not getting, but I assume the drop in teen sex is in direct correlation to the increase in teen marriages.
     In the Borderland section of the paper, there was an article on anti-immigration.  It irks me that this subject is always referred to as "anti-immigration," when it is really about anti-illegal-immigration.  As an American citizen, I have to follow the laws of my country, and I don't like being called a racist because I believe that non-citizens should do the same.
     In the Living section, I always enjoy reading what Charles Edgren has to say about his pets.  He has almost as many dogs as I have ex-wives.
     In the Sports section...  well, I don't really read the Sports section.  I enjoy sports as much as the next guy, as long as the next guy is someone who doesn't enjoy sports.
     And, finally, in the Business section, I discovered that the economy is still in a recession.  Don't worry... soon as those Mexican jobs kick in, I'm sure Obama will be able to smile our way out of it.

Fifty Shades of Funny

Sunday, May 13, 2012

English Only?

Alejandrina Cabrera, a City Council candidate in Arizona,  was barred from running because she allegedly does not speak English proficiently, and state law requires elected officials to know English.  She is vowing to appeal the judge's ruling.
     I decided to ask her about it, so I made arrangements through the Arizona Sun newspaper's Saturday Spanish-language edition to interview her.
     "Hello, Ms. Cabrera.  How are you?"
     I don't speak Spanish myself, so I assume the Spanish word "que" must be some sort of greeting. 
     "Let me get right to the point, you concede that you may have to continue learning English, but you don't agree that your English is not satisfactory to communicate  with the council and the majority of citizens at large."
     "Que?" she answered.  Her head was nodding up and down like a bobble-head in an earthquake.
     I thought about her answer.  Apparently, the Spanish word "que" must have multiple meanings.  Much like how "aloha" means both hello and goodbye in Hawaii.  "Que" must be used as both a greeting, and a form of acknowledgement.
     "You've also said you know that while many people know both languages in the community where you live, the truth is that, whether we like it or not, all people there speak Spanish.  If you go to the market, if you go to the Post Office, if you go to pay your water bill...  nobody speaks to you in English."
     "English?" she jumped in, enthusiastically.  "I speak English.  Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, Saturday."
     One thing I've noticed about Ms. Cabrera, she sure speaks English better when she's talking through a third party, because through a third party she said, "He (the judge) can't take away my constitutional rights, and if he takes away my rights, he takes away the rights of the community."
     Her attorneys, meanwhile, have argued that the state law doesn't properly define proficiency in the language.  Cabrera declined to give details of her appeal, mainly because it required her to use English words of more than two syllables.
    Her attorneys, who have said that the most important part of this case is being able to charge $250 an hour, asked me before we started the interview,  "Hey, who's paying me for this time?"
     San Luis Mayor Juan Carlos Escamilla filed a court action last month asking for a determination on whether Ms. Cabrera had the English skills necessary to serve on the Council, and he stressed, "it doesn't have anything to do with her refusal to sleep with me."
     An expert testified that in the tests he gave Cabrera, he felt that she didn't demonstrate the level of proficiency needed to serve on the Council, and that it had nothing to do with the fact that she "wouldn't sleep with me."
     County Judge John Nelson said he also based his ruling on Cabrerra's failure to properly answer question he posed to her, such as:  "Are you going to sleep with me, or what?"
     "Is this true?" I asked her.

Fifty Shades of Funny

Friday, May 11, 2012

Random Thoughts...

She had urban curves.

An urban body.

Body by Pillsbury.

Baby teeth are nature's way of saying:  "It's time to stop breastfeeding."

Social satire, satirical fiction, and occassional parody.

A bar never empties out for two guys getting along outside.

I'm not a dork.  It's my birthday.

We're a nation of bullies.  Our chief export is bullying.

An outrageous comment is taken more seriously than the truth.

The Star-Bellied Sneetch.

On the internet I pretend to be Danny DeVito to pick up girls.  That way, when they see I'm not Danny DeVito, I figure I still have a shot.  But not if I said I was Brad Pitt.

I grew up reading Mad Magazine.  I never had a chance.

"I'm not going to compromise my principles."
"I respect that.  You're fired."

     If you make a left turn when you're supposed to go straight, just because you weren't bright enough to get in the proper lane...  you might be an El Paso driver.

     If you make a left turn when you're supposed to go straight, just because the line in the turning lane is too long and you don't want to wait your turn...  you might be an El Paso driver.

     If you don't put on your turn signals to turn or change lanes...  you might be an El Paso driver.

     If your kids are riding outside in the back of the truck, while your buddies are riding inside in the front...  you might be an El Paso driver.

     If you drive too slow on the freeway and too fast in a school zone...  you might be an El Paso driver.

     If you think it's perfectly reasonable to drive less than 45 miles per hour on the freeway...  you might be an El Paso driver.

     If you speed up when you see another driver put on his turn signal...  you might be an El Paso driver.

     If you adjust your speed to make sure that another driver cannot merge safely into your lane or the freeway...  you might be an El Paso driver.

Dear Mr. El Paso,
     I have a friend whose wife shaves off her eyebrows and then draws them back in.  What should, I mean my friend do?  --please withhold my name

     Sorry, but Mr. El Paso doesn't withhold anybody's name by request.  You are Bill A. Vila, and I've eaten at your restaurant.  Don't be so stingy with the nachos, man.

Dear Mr. El Paso,
     My wife is furious and refuses to have sex with me.  Is it because I charge her family when they eat in my restaurant?  --Bill A. Vila

     No, it's because you're fat.

Fifty Shades of Funny


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hallmark Cards by Obama (Part One)

President Obama--the man who once saved my life in 'Nam--understands that the public is getting sick and tired of speeches that sound good, but, ultimately, accomplish nothing.  So he's come up with a fool-proof plan for winning a second term as President in the upcoming November elections.  He's sending specially created Hallmark Cards to every registered voter.  Even the ones who are here illegally.
     The cards will have a thoughtful picture of our Commander in Chief on the cover, and a confidence-building saying on the inside.  For example, on one card you'll see Obama looking wistfully out into the distance, toward the future, with that drunk-eyes-focusing-on-nothing look.
     "Let's All Work For A Better Tomorrow..." the front cover will say.  On the inside the punchline will be:  "Because The Harder You Work, The Better I Look."
     Another card would show President Obama running in a field of daisies.  The front cover will say:  "The Sun Is One Thing You Can Count On Rising Every Day."  On the inside:  "Just Like The Price Of Gasoline."
     Here are some more examples:

Outside:  "Let's Tax The Rich..."
Inside:  "So The Price Of Everything Can Go Up."

Outside:  "If You're Gonna Dream, Dream Big..."
Inside:  "Just Don't Come Crying To Me When Your Dreams Don't Come True."

Outside:  "Only In America..."
Inside:  "Are You Rewarded For Failure, And Punished For Success."

Outside:  "We're Partners, You And I..."
Inside:  "So Give Me All Your Money... Partner!"

Outside:  "So Much Left To Do..."
Inside:  "So Many Vacations Left To Take."

Outside:  "I See A Better Tomorrow..."
Inside:  "But Don't Hold Me To That."

Outside:  "All My Hopes And Dreams..."
Inside:  "Don't Have A Snowball's Chance In Hell Of Passing."

Outside:  "A Prosperous Future..."
Inside:  "Would Sure Be Nice."

Outside:  "A Second Term..."
Inside:  "A Guy Can Dream, Can't He?"

Outside:  "We'll See..."
Inside:  "We'll See."

Outside:  "A Strong America..."
Inside:  "Is Something We're Never Going To See Again, Are We?"

Outside:  "Let's Face It..."
Inside:  "We're Screwed."

Outside:  "You've Gotta Vote For Somebody..."
Inside:  "It Might As Well Be Me."

Outside:  "A Strong Economy Is Just Around The Corner..."
Inside:  "Then Again, You Never Know."

Outside:  "Success!"
Inside:  "If We Redefine The Meaning Of The Word."

     The purpose of these Hallmark Cards is to prepare the Amercian people for a future of "more of the same" no matter who we elect. 
     Let's face it, whether we vote in a Democrat or a Republican, everything's going to stay the same.  Nothing's going to change.  The price of gasoline is still going to go higher.  The American economy is still going to hobble along, until something happens in the private sector to stimulate it.  We're still going to send our troops to fight in foreign countries with explicit orders not win, and if any of those troops come back injured, we're still going to short-change them out of any medical benefits they've earned, while Congress continues to enjoy the best medical insurance coverage in the world. 
     Our politicians will continue to take care of their own, and the American taxpayer will continue to get stuck with the bill.  But if you put it in a card...
     It makes it easier to take.
Fifty Shades of Funny

Celebrity Jeopardy: Washington DC

"Welcome to Final Jeopardy!" said a well-groomed Alex Trebek.
     It was the last few minutes of a special political edition of the television game-show, Celebrity Jeopardy.  The handsome host's special celebrity guests were Mayor John Cook of the city of El Paso, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and President Barack Obama of the United States of America.
     The answer to the Final Jeopardy question was:  "What most economists agree to do in order to get out of a recession, stimulate the economy, and encourage business and job growth."
     Alex Trebek turned his blindingly white smile to his first contestant.
     "Mayor Cook, will you show us your answer please? 'What is raising property taxes?'  Sorry, but that is incorrect, and it seems you unwisely wagered your entire winnings of $24.  Too bad, and, no, I do not wish to hear your rendition of the song El Paso by Marty Robbins.  I said no, Mr. Mayor, so please put away your guitar.  I said put away your guitar!  Security!"
     As Jeopardy's security force came on-stage to help Mayor Cook into a white coat with very long arms that tie in the back, Alex turned his attention to hs next special contestant.
     "And, Mr. Romney, how did you answer?  'What is President Obama's a nice guy, but vote for me?'  No, I'm afraid that is also incorrect.  I see that you, too, have foolishly wagered the entire amount of your winnings, leaving you with a final total of zero.  Good luck in November, Mitt.  By the way, what kind of a name is 'Mitt'?  It's your given name?  Well, give it back.  Ha, ha!"
     Alex beamed as he faced his final contestant.
     "Mr. President, I must say that it was indeed a pleasure to have you on this special political edition of Celebrity Jeopardy.  I'm so glad you could fit us in between your other televison appearances:  Storage Wars and Queer Eye For The Straight Guy."
     "The pleasure was all mine, Alex," said a cool and confident President Obama.
     "I see that you have done quite well with a possible winning total of $50,000.  I don't see how you can possibly lose, so let's see how you answered."
     "I answered:  Borrow Money From The Chinese."
     Alex Trebek's composure fell faster than Bill Clinton's pants at the Miss Arkansas pageant.
     "Humma-humma-humma..." he stammered.  "I'm afraid that is incorrect, and it's not even in the form of a question, for that matter.  Well, all is not lost.  Let's see how much you wagered."
     "I wagered seventeen trillion dollars," the President said as he smiled his winningest smile.
     "Seventeen trillion dollars?  Are you insane, Mr. President?  That is well beyond what you won here today, Mr. President.  In fact, you now owe us $16,999,999,950,000!  How will you ever pay it?"
     President Obama flashed a sly smile at the cameras as he answered in question form.
     "What is raising taxes?"

Fifty Shades of Funny