Friday, March 26, 2010

Are Right Wing Crackpots The New Terrorists?



For awhile now we’ve had to sit by in shocked amazement at the Republican crazies waving their signs and chanting their hate-filled, fear-mongering slogans dressed in their costumed weirdness running amok all over the television news.  Spurred on by conservative instigators like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, these radical nut cases are no longer content to simply spit on Congressmen and call them racial and homophobic slurs, now they have dialed up the nastiness in response to their frustration over their failure to defeat the health reform bill, using threatening phone calls and tweets, and even putting congressmen’s personal address information on the internet so that they could be harassed, intimidated and fearful for their safety and that of their spouses and children.  Yes, they've made it unsafe for CHILDREN!

What the hell is wrong with you conservative activists?  You lost.  Get over it.  Move on.  Even after all the rallies and protests and screaming and nonsensical rants, you still failed.  I have a message for these ignorant fools who are just making matters worse for themselves and our country:  just  go back to your loser single-wide and shut the hell up and let the people who know what the hell they are talking about deal with our national policies and keep your big stupid nose out of it.  You think you are helping to make America great?  Not only are you NOT making America great, you are defining our country as a nation of gibbering idiots hell-bent on destroying our system of democracy.  You are making us the laughingstock of the world.  So go back to that racist rock you crawled out from under, you disgusting little worm.

They won’t stop, of course.  They are just getting started.  They are committed to their idiotic ideals and won’t give up no matter how ridiculous they sound to the intelligent public-at-large.  And now they are angry and getting increasingly violent, even cutting the gas lines to the home of what they thought was the home of a congressman, but was instead his brother.  And the language being used by the Republican pundits are not subtle at all when it comes to inciting violence.   It was words spoken by radical Republican congressmen not  unlike Palin’s  recent mentions of “fire”, “reload,” “aim,” and “salvo,”  that led militant right-wing extremists to blow up the Oklahoma Federal Building in 1995.  And now these pundits seem to want to encourage the same kind of domestic terrorism with the same incendiary language and made up lies.
 
Doesn’t our country have enough trouble with foreign terrorists that they have to go and spur our own homegrown yahoos to go and blow stuff up and start killing people?  Where’s their brain?  Oh wait, I forgot, they are Republicans.  Brains aren’t exactly their strong suit.  No, they are better at believing wild-ass conspiracy theories or absurd claims than actually using their brains.  In a recent Harris poll of 2,230 Republicans, a whopping 24% think Obama might be the Antichrist.  Another 45% still cling to the theory that he was not born in our country and is ineligible to be president.  I bet another 70% will say they believe they were abducted by space aliens, 65% will claim Elvis is still alive and living on Mars and a whopping 85% will say that they bid on a piece of toast on Ebay that had a likeness of Jesus on it, but lost the bid.  How sad.  Someone definitely needs to change the water in the gene pool, Bubba.  That just ain’t right.

Language seems to be a big part of getting these mentally challenged misfits radicalized.  A document obtained by Politico recently exposed the Republican National Committee and their detailed plans to raise election funds with “an aggressive campaign capitalizing on ‘fear’ of President Barack Obama” and a promise to “save the country from trending toward socialism.”  The presentation represented our current administration as “the Evil Empire” and Obama as the Joker in Batman.  Seriously?  How badly do you want to take over this country and impose your totalitarian will over it’s populace that you would put it and innocent Americans at risk?
 
The radical conservative movement is gathering tremendous momentum.  And many of them are armed and dangerously mentally unfit.  Some come to Obama speeches with their guns and carry signs with messages saying that “the tree of liberty needs to be watered with the blood of tyrants.”  These are the same people that think President Eisenhower was a communist agent,  that federal agents will be knocking on their doors any day now to confiscate their guns and that the government has secret plans to declare martial law and put them in concentration camps for being “patriotic” Americans .  And why do they believe all this bullshit rhetoric?  Because they hear it replayed over and over on Fox News. Because Glenn Beck told them it was true and that FEMA was secretly running concentration camps for just that purpose.  That is, until they were forced to admit it was just a big bald-faced lie.
 
Not since slavery nearly divided the nation almost 150 years ago has there been such a wide chasm of political thought.  What’s so hilarious is that so many right-wingers feel that if they had only won the election in 2008, then none of the hardships we are struggling with today, economic collapse, bailouts, unemployment, the crisis in Iraq/Afghanistan, etc., would be as severe.  As if the Obama administration suddenly came in and changed everything and suddenly we are all going to Hell in a hand basket.   How?  The “Party of NO” and their obstructionist plans defeated any chance of any bipartisan changes.  Just look how long it took to get health care reform passed!  

In reality the problem they have with this administration has nothing to do with the economy, health care or taxes.  It’s about race and prejudice. A report suggests that racism and the election of an African-American president continues to spur right-wing extremist recruitment and radicalization.  Let’s hope that Republicans can somehow learn to tone down their message of hate, intolerance and fear before it’s too late and the conflict erupts into another bloody civil war.
 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Nightmare At Church And State


I’m laying in bed, unable to sleep, watching television when a documentary about the civil unrest taking place in America comes on and discusses how protests and riots are practically all that’s seen on the news these days and how we are helpless to stop the violence and bloodshed being brutally handed out by the government’s morality security forces, the “Dark Angels.”

Wait. What?

The show continued on showing liberals and the members of the Frappucino Party waving protest signs claiming that the President is leading the country toward a theocracy and demanding an end to the burning of books, music and movies that might have the slightest tinge of impiety. Banners saying “Stop revising our history books with your lies” and “Kill the Bill” referring to the National Dress Code Bill, which would force everyone to adopt a uniform style from the 50’s…no the 1850’s, are displayed throughout the crowd.

Hold on, this has to be some kind of a …what the hell?


The narrator spoke...

“The death spiral toward full governmental control of individual freedoms began when the then President Jack Harroldsen became ill and died shortly after taking office in 2009, leaving his Vice President, the Reverend Billy Joe Hickom, a former governor of Kentucky and twice mayor of Higginsville, MO (Pop. 4,571) to assume the Presidency and institute some drastic changes on the political landscape.

Hickom had been a third-rate governor, noted for his many failures, incompetence and the ease at which he alienated everyone, even those in his own party and staff. The choice of Hickom as VP candidate was incredulous to any and all that knew of him. The media, in fact, had generously referred to him as a “half-wit legislator without an ounce of integrity nor common decency.” Yet President Harroldsen sought him out because he knew a loss with such a man on the ticket would drive the Democrats raving mad. He hadn’t counted on that aneurism months after the election that claimed his life and propelled this fundamentalist Christian whack-job to the highest position in the land.”


No friggin’ way! This is too crazy to be true. Isn’t it? This has got to be a Twilight Zone episode or something.

The narrator continued…

“What followed came to be known as the ‘Church Wars’ as the different denominations fought each other to become the official religion of the United States. It was a violent time in America where you were judged harshly, even shunned or worse, based on the church you attended. Eventually there was just one church, the newly formed American Church, which was also known as the Presbapticostal Church. Those who espoused religions other than Christianity were beaten and tortured until they either died or converted to the American Church. Atheists and agnostics found religion quickly, otherwise they simply disappeared never to be seen again.

Under the direction of President Hickom, a new law was passed with the help of his newly named Rebiblical Party, in which a systematized method of pay-as-you-go redemption was instituted. People with enough money could purchase "Salvation Points" whereas for the right price any penalties or infractions you incurred could be wiped clean with no lingering stigma attached to your reputation.

For example, Senator Hume Gifford, (R-NC) was charged 70 “Salvation Points” after being caught in a motel room with a young black male exotic dancer with whom the Senator claimed he was discussing the bible. According to sources involved in the investigation, the Senator was expounding on the concept of “turning the other cheek” in one sense of the phrase. He was released from custody and had his record expunged after he paid the fine (approximately $7.5 million dollars US).

Not everyone got off so easily. Farmers in rural Kentucky were strongly advised to keep their relationships with their livestock purely on a platonic basis after one of their own, Cyrus Dillon of Knob Lick, KY, was caught violating the code of morality with a sheep. He was summarily beheaded.”

Images flash on the screen of women and children crying as their husbands and fathers are chained and loaded like cattle onto waiting transport trucks. Their eyes portend a sense of hopelessness and defeat as the trucks head to an underground complex where prisoners of the “Dark Angels” are given the opportunity to make peace with God before they are individually executed for their crimes against the church. The new state cable channel televises the executions and replays them around the clock. “Subject Before God” boasts the highest ratings of any show currently showing on television, moreso than “The 700 Club” even.

At a break in the show the narrator reminds that citizens are obligated to report anyone that they believe is guilty of a crime of immorality and briefly goes over the reward point system that is established to encourage people to inform on their friends, teachers, co-workers and even family members. The greater the crime the greater the point values. Special accommodations are made in death penalty cases involving abortion, adultery and unrepentant homosexuality.

No way the radical religious right could ever take dominion over our country. Our free-thinking society would never stand for their takeover of our cherished institutions such as our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our entertainment media and news media, our science and medical research endeavors…and certainly not our sports teams!

As the narrator discusses the President’s mission to cleanse the country of the stain of secular humanism and how everyone who espouses those beliefs are to be considered agents of Satan whether they be politicians, writers, housewives, teachers, students, or other wrong-thinking intellectual opponents of America’s new model of society, the sounds of machine gun fire and rocket explosions nearly drown him out as the camera pans to show homes and buildings burning and the masses of charred bodies of the young and old smoldering in the streets.

Suddenly I am jolted awake from my slumber to find myself covered in sweat with my heart racing excitedly. Quickly I switch the TV to CNN and see Republicans spitting at congressmen, yelling “Baby Killer” on the House floor at fellow congressmen, and using all manner of hateful and vile language at Democratic members of Congress. There were those radical right-wing activists, those Tea Partiers, and they were calling President Obama things like Hitler, the Anti-Christ, and labelling him as being Marxist and Fascist and Communist and Socialist (because they can’t all be wrong, right?) and spreading their ignorant hatred and contempt for our elected leaders in every disgusting way imaginable, including violence and destruction of property…and all in the name of freedom from oppression.

Ohhhh….it was only a dream. Everything was back to normal again.

That’s the last time I ever go to bed watching the news.



"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
- Sinclair Lewis


Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Speech To The Tea Party Movement

Teabagged And Tagged
A Speech By Sarah Michele Rushbeck

“Good evening fellow patriots!

Clap your hands for freedom people! Don’t you just love America? I love this great big wonderful land of ours. And I love freedom. Thanks all you vets out there for protecting our freedom. You guys are awesome. I’m so proud to be an American and live in the greatest nation on earth. God bless us all, my fellow Americans. God bless our freedom and our flag and our soldiers on the battlefields and those here at home.

It's my extreme honor speaking before you today, at the bargain price of only $75,000, to discuss with you the specific details of how we, in the Tea Party Movement, need your support to help reshape this great country of ours into the land that our forefathers and foremothers would recognize as their America, and not some socialist mecca for Godless bleeding heart liberal fornicators bent on oppression and tyranny.

And speaking of Godless bleeding heart liberals, there’s no one worse in our view than Obama. Yes that's right, I won't even dignify him by calling him our president. He has crippled our economy because of his government bailouts and his stimulas package. He has single-handedly brought us to the worst economic depression in our country’s history along with the highest unemployment rates . It is his fault that auto plants are closing, small businesses are failing and why people are terrified that their next stop is homelessness.

He has weakened our reputation around the world with his failed foreign policies and incompetent handling of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and continues to expose us to even more terrorist attacks like the underwear bomber. Looking back at his record, you have to wonder whose side he is really on. Wonder no longer, my friends. You don’t have to be a professor of political science to see that he is clearly driving the bus of America into a state of fascist tyranny.

Even now Obama is threatening to take away our rights to choose our own health care providers and institute a socialist government run program that decides your fate and the fate of your loved ones with their evil death panels rather than leaving the whole matter alone and letting the private sector, whose only interest is you and your families well-being, to manage your health care needs with all the care and sensitivity that our friendly and loyal insurance carriers can muster. Yes friends, we are all going to hell in a handbasket and Obama is to blame.

That's right folks, the America of today is sliding right down that poop chute to hell and taking all of us with it unless we can organize and take back control of the ship of state and put it back on a course for freedom and justice for all natural born heterosexual Christian Americans, the backbone of this great country of ours. That’s where the Tea Party Movement comes in. When you join us, and pay the one-time only registration fee, we will guide you to where you are needed, tell you what to say and what signs to carry. We will tell you who to support, who to hate and what to think.

Sound too good to be true? It's true! We realize that no one has the time or the interest to know about the policies and laws that shape this great country of ours. And we know that some of you don’t know how to read or don’t understand a whole lot about what is going on in politics these days. That’s okay. We will teach you a few catch phrases like “Stop the socialist take over of America” or “Impeach the Congressional Socialists” or “End Obama’s Fascist Tyranny Before It Ends You.”

It doesn’t matter that you don’t understand what it means. If you just scream it as loud as you can and carry your signs with confidence then others will follow because that is how a mob mentality works. It’s simply better if you just remember that facts are not as important as rhetoric. We can always change the facts to suit the situation but we need a consistent stream of rhetoric coming out of our Tea Party patriots so others like you can hear the message and join our cause.

Lets take, for example, the current debate on health care reform. I’m not going to try to intimidate you with terms like “health care rescission“ or “end-of-life care” for instance. We don’t want you to know that. The specific details of the health care reform bill are just too complex for you to possibly understand, so don’t worry if you don’t know what it’s all about. Just know that we of the Tea Party Movement have your back. We have spent weeks going over every line of this legislation with a fine toothed comb to save you the time and trouble, so if you just follow our lead you can be sure that your course will be the right one.

Who are the people in the Tea Party Movement?

Are we some fringe group of paranoid wackos that propose a complete overthrow of the government and a return to the simpler times in America's history, like the time of our forefathers when slavery was in style, women were content to fulfill their roles as wives and mothers and everyone was straight? Are we a bunch of uneducated, working-class, beer-swilling, racist goons that are more concerned about the skin color of our leaders than in giving any audience to their obviously socialist policies?

Are we a group of ignorant sheep being led astray by money and power-hungry right-wing narcissistic corporate shills thinly disguised as patriotic freedom fighters whose continuous repetitions of the same idiotic insults, labels and fearful prophecies of future enslavement under the current regime incite others to follow blindly and unthinkingly toward self-destruction?

Are we the puppets of obstructionist conservatives who will do anything and say anything to destroy any reforms or policies that might lead to Obama going down in history as anything more than a white-hating, non-American Muslim terrorist born in Indonesia and whom is secretly holding our nation hostage to his fascist whims? Even if those reforms are shown to be viable and efficient changes that will be of benefit to all Americans, even those with undesirable ethnic affiliations, religious persuasions or sexual preferences?

And finally, do we care more about name-calling and tearing down that too-smart-for-his-own britches, pompous, uppity black man, Barrack Hussein Obama, than addressing the real issues that are facing this country? Well that's just what those elitist Ivy League God-hating, long-haired hippie-freak socialist, military-weakening, criminal-coddling, fascist, big government, treasonous, terrorist-loving, marxist, one-world government wanting, lying, cheating sexual deviates and baby killing commie Democrats want you to believe.

Truth be told, we are just everyday Americans just like you that have been pushed too far by this administration and are angry and disillusioned about the direction this so-called President is leading this great country of ours. We are a grass-roots organization who wants less government, lower taxes, strong defense, strict adherence to the Constitution, an end to the evils of our permissive society and most of all our God-given right to freedom.

Freedom is the thing. You will hear me mention freedom a lot because it is the core of what we are about. That and “we the people.” I say that a lot too. If you are for freedom and love America and support the troops then you are already ready to march for the Tea Party Movement! Isn’t that so exciting! We need you out there on the front lines bashing those liberals and shouting down their calls for progress. Not in our lifetime, baby! No way!

For decades America has receded from it’s core Constitutional values and adopted laws and policies that fly in the face of the wishes of our founding fathers. And who have been there leading the charge to disrupt our way of life? Why the liberals, of course. It was them who passed the Clean Air Act in 1963 which stripped away corporate profits and led to outsourcing. It was them that fought against segregation and passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 taking away our natural born freedom to subjugate lesser races.

It was the libs that helped to enact Medicare in 1965, even though the leading political minds of the day, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush, all foretold of it leading to socialism and the end of freedom in this country. Yup! Just like we are going to turn into a nation of slaves living in squalor if the health care reform bill passes. Same thing! It was also the liberals that successfully pushed for the passage of a Supreme Court decision allowing inter-racial marriage in 1967 which led to the break-up of the family unit. It is also them that continue to support same-sex marriage and abortion rights yet oppose prayer in public schools and drilling for oil in protected wetlands. I bet our founding fathers are rolling over in their graves about these deplorable developments!

So join with me, my fellow patriots, and lets finish this terrorist monster sitting in the oval office. Lets send a message from the heartland of our nation and give Obama the quick exit he deserves in 2012 and get our own Tea Party candidate in there and put America back 0n the side of the people instead of the special interest groups. If people don’t like the way we true Americans run things, then we will be more than happy to fly them free of charge to Siberia. I’m sure the commie bastards will really love it there! Ha ha!

So once again, to recap, we want freedom for the true Americans amongst us, no more bloated government spending, less government including less stringent safety standards, less regulation on food safety and chemical pollutants, less government oversite and less corporate bureaucracy. Also, we want to live by the letter of the Constitution. It’s served us for this long, why change it? And we want a strong national defense. Why doesn’t the greatest nation on earth not have the largest army? No excuses, we need that. And we want lower taxes and a return to the decent society of our forefathers. So are you with us? Great!

You can pick up your Patriot Packets on the way out. They are $25 each, but only two for $40, so get one for a friend! And thank you again for coming to this event. God bless you all! Go now and fight the good fight against those liberal swine! God bless America! God bless freedom! Don’t forget to get your ‘I’m A Tea Bagger’ T-shirts in the lobby!”


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Babies And Random Weirdness


I have been so busy lately that I haven’t been able to think of a topic to write about. This ever happen to you? Instead I have compiled some random thoughts and stuff to spill out onto the blogosphere to help get my creative juices flowing. So here goes:

This is my first post with my new laptop computer. What this means to you is that you can now read my blog faster than you may have before. It may not be any funnier or more interesting, but at least now you can get through it faster so that you can move on to a good one with funny pictures of squirrels waterskiing or babies on skateboards.

Monday morning we welcomed our first grandson into the world! It was a long, painful labor punctuated by extreme periods of massive boredom, but somehow, even after over 24 hours without sleeping, we parents stuck it out and got through it. The baby popped out (yeah, magical moment, yada yada) and we were finally able to take some pictures and go home. We are now resting comfortably, thank you. I’m not sure about the mommy and baby but they probably are too. The baby’s name is Sir David Hoggswoggle Tippledy Jibberjabber Crackerjack Goldencheese Thumbwhistle (it’s a family name). He was a short kid, mostly bald and about the weight of a small Virginia ham. He has no visible scars, tattoos or other identifiable marks and to date claims no gang affiliation. (Southside Cribs, yo!)

Spring has sprung here in Northern California with the sunshine returning to its old constant routine of shining all over the place with temperatures running into the low 80’s. With the warmer weather it's time to get out and tend to the garden and start mowing the lawns, planting the flowers, doing the spring cleaning, various landscaping projects, etc. It’s exhausting work, but afterwards we can go kick back at the beach with a cooler of cold beer and good friends and just have fun. Still, I’m kind of jealous of those of you that got snow this winter, or are still dealing with snow even now. Not only are you not having to mow your lawns and stuff, but you can build snowmen and have snowball fights. You lucky bastards.
z
My daughter is in film school and sometimes she will call me because she needs some help on screenplays she is working on. It could be a romance or a comedy or maybe a historical piece but I can always be counted on to supply just the right element (usually a giant radioactive turtle that shoots lasers out of its eyes) to give the piece the proper balance. I’m a firm believer than most any film could have been made that much better but for the addition of a giant radioactive laser shooting turtle. Movies that could have used one include “On Golden Pond”, “Apollo 13”, “A Chorus Line” and “Brian’s Song.” For some reason her professors don’t share this opinion. Idiots!
z
I've written about my dog Rufus a few times but one thing I haven't told you about this little terrier mix is that he is a savage beast. It could be that he is channeling his ancestral wild dog instincts, but he goes berserk when it comes to stuffed animals. When we bring them home he is so happy because he can't wait to begin viciously tearing them limb from limb, particularly relishing in the satisfaction of ripping the cottony entrails out of their poor shreaded body parts. While he grabs a big red stuffed bear, for instance, and begins ripping open the throat like a ravenous wolf, his buddy Ringo (aka “The Nibbler”) grabs any available appendage – especially ears – and gently chews on it. The wife and I keep him amply supplied with all manner of fuzzy critters from the local thrift stores and dollar stores. Yeah, I know it makes a terrible mess and maybe I’m encouraging violent behavior, but it makes him happy and I’m all about making my little buddy happy. I fear for anyone who tries to break into our house disguised as a teddy bear.
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For years I’ve thought about getting a tattoo, but I’ve never been able to decide what to put on my skin, let alone where. Plus I’ve seen so many really lousy tattoos that it makes me fearful that someone is going to scar me with something that just looks stupid. My 19-year old daughter already has two tattoos and she told me the other day that the first time she saw the second one she freaked out because she thought the artist misspelled a word on it. It was a drawing that John Lennon had done and it turns out it was spelled correctly but he just had a strange handwriting style. I know I’m not that lucky. I have a sneaky suspicion that whatever I choose, and it could be something as benign as a kitten sleeping on a blanket, it will get screwed up and make me look like a satanic, blood-drinking, axe-wielding mutant pedophile. That can’t spell! That’s just how my luck works.

The old saying that “laughter is the best medicine” is a curious expression, especially if you get bitten by a cobra. Maybe it’s me, but I think I’d rather have the antivenin than have someone tell me a joke. Similarly, I would imagine if you were going into diabetic shock you would probably want some insulin nearby rather than a Dane Cook CD. And people who suffer from urinary incontinence will tell you that laughter is no medicine at all, best or otherwise. I'm thinking, though laughter isn't bad for you, it definitely isn't the best medicine. Oxycotin is. (Rush can't be wrong about EVERYTHING, can he?)

And speaking of expressions, the first time you heard the expression, "Battered Woman" did you picture some poor lady dipped in tempura batter and deep fried to a golden brown? No? Okay. Me neither.

My mom is so weird and funny, sort of like Lucille Ball except short and Puerto Rican. Our conversations are always full of laughter and I am blessed to get my sense of humor from her. Her “Other Birthday” is next week. Yes, she has two birthdays. It seems that for the first 65 years of her life she celebrated her birthday on March 24th, the date her mother had always told her was her birthday and when we all celebrated it. When she went on Social Security she discovered that her actual birthday was really July 15th. Apparently her mom wasn’t particularly good with dates. When my mom found out the truth about her birthday she again asked her mom what her real birthday was. Her mother looked at her with disbelief and said “You don’t know your own birthday? It’s November 7th!” Some people become weird over time while others are simply born that way. Thanks Mom!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Black Barbie Doll Price Drop Stirs Unrest


Finally there’s a new ruckus in the news to fill the void left there by other boring controversies involving amorous golfers, politicians, athletes, entertainers and Hollywood types. What is the subject of this chatter? It is a Barbie doll. Specifically, it is a black Barbie doll by the name of Ballerina Teresa.

A recent news story reveals that Wal-Mart has incurred the wrath of activists because the retail giant reduced the price of this doll by $2 while keeping the prices of the white dolls the same. Clearly they are sending a message here, right? They are, according to Thelma Dye, the executive director of the Northside Center for Child Development. She was quoted as saying that the "implication of lowering the price is that it's devaluing the black doll."

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman countered this racist allegation by emphasizing that “both are great dolls, but the price was cut $2 for a black Ballerina Teresa Barbie from the $5.93 for the white version because the black Barbies weren’t selling. Pricing like items differently is part of inventory management in retailing,” she added. Despite this logical explanation, Dye warns that engaging in this type of pricing strategy “can have collateral damage.”

Uh oh, Wal-Mart! Sounds like someone is on to your segregationist plans! Are you scared, Wal-Mart? Do you dare risk the wrath of Thelma or will you continue to court “collateral damage” by persisting in this highly suspicious principle of economics known as supply and demand? Just how many of your executive officers are affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan? Is there a KKK discount? And how much is it? Inquiring minds demand to know the truth.

Everyone knows that Wal-Mart is headquartered in Arkansas, which arguably is one of the most progressive states (next to Mississippi) and is at the heart of racial diversity in this country. (Hee hee! I knew I couldn’t say that with a straight typeface!) Nonetheless, it would be ridiculous to think that someone in their marketing department would be racially motivated to lower the price on a black doll while leaving the price alone for a white doll. After all, the guiding premise of the company is greed and more greed and lowering prices for any reason other than to improve profits would be against their core principles.

A Los Angeles sociology professor, Lisa Wade, was quoted in the article saying that Wal-Mart could have determined “that it’s important we don’t send a message that we value blackness less than whiteness,” but noted that the black dolls might not be as popular because white parents are less likely than black parents to purchase dolls of a different race for their children.

But what about light-skinned black dolls versus dark-skinned black dolls? Has anyone done the research into the sales trends of these dolls? (Sounds like a great masters thesis, doesn’t it?) How would an X-Men “Storm” doll do against a Wesley Snipes “Blade” doll? Does the buying public value lighter skin moreso than darker skin? And how confusing then is it to buy a Michael Jackson doll?

As a former child myself, I think that kids have much more influence over what toys they receive than their parents. Kids are very picky these days and if they want a black Barbie or a black G.I. Joe doll or even a Spiderman with his black costume, then that’s what they usually get. Otherwise they throw a hissy fit and lock themselves in the bathroom and keep flushing the toilet until they get what they want. (Oh, like you didn’t do that too.) And for the record, I would say that kids today are far more colorblind with regard to their toys than their parents ever were.

As an example of this, black rapper dolls outsell white rapper dolls one million to one. Yeah, the K-Fed rapper doll sold a total of 12 units. And they were all bought by K-Fed and given to his 10 family members and friends. The other two were given to his fans…Vanilla Ice and Gerardo. Similarly the action figures of black athletes sell equally well or better than their white counterparts in every sport with the possible exception of hockey and NASCAR.

Seriously, I have to laugh at these weirdos and their race-mongering rants appealing to our collective white guilt like they were Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. The whole idea of lowering the price of a particular doll being a veiled attempt to demean black people is ludicrous. While there’s no doubt that all dolls are manufactured equal, there’s no question that people who give a rat’s ass what skin color a child’s doll has are just born stupid.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Don't You Just Hate Children?


Okay, maybe hate is a bit too severe here.

How about massively irritated and ready to stare daggers of evil at the parents of the little monsters as they blithely let them create one awkward situation after another in public places? Is that fair?

In the next few days I will be handed a new title to go with my already lengthy list of titles (i.e. son, father, husband, brother, uncle, sugar daddy, defendant, etc.), the title of grandfather. Yes, there is a baby, little David, who is right now pointing his head down and getting ready to see the world for the first time, with plans to spit up on as much of it as he can.

I know many of you are probably shocked by this announcement. You are thinking “But Tom, how is it you are even old enough to be a grandfather? You are so young and boyish-looking in your photo. How can someone who is so unbelievably sexy and an obvious pillar of male virility and youthful exuberance be old enough to have grandkids?” Well, I understand your confusion. The truth is that my first child was born when I was still in 5th grade. You could say I matured early on. But that's a topic for another time.

As we prepare to welcome this little miracle of life into our midst, I have done a lot of reflection on the children that have come and gone throughout my adult life and it occurred to me that for the most part I didn’t like them. In fact, call it the early onset of “grumpy old man syndrome” or something, but kids, especially little kids, well…they just piss me off. Yep, I don’t like them, don’t want them around me and wish that we could dedicate a state or two where they could all go and be raised by the Amish or people like that for the first 10 years or so before being returned to live with us (and maybe build us some furniture if they find the time.)

I know this is probably a very unpopular idea, especially with you mommies out there that cherish your little (insert cute baby nickname here) and have those mad maternal instincts that turn you into a cross between a werewolf and the bionic woman whenever your baby is threatened with danger. But try to look at it from a man’s perspective (yeah, that never fails, right guys?). What may look like a sweet precious angel to you, might look like, oh I don’t know…a drooling, screaming, shit-beast to someone else. Just sayin’.

I am a guy who prides himself on being very patient with people and in fact worked many, many years in customer service. However, there are still a few things that push my buttons when it comes to children and their handlers parents and maybe you can relate and maybe not.

Children, and Especially Infants, on an Airplane

Do I need say more? Having little Jeremy alternate between raging tantrums and kicking the seatback from Chicago to San Francisco has got to be one memory I could live without. Running up and down the aisle aimlessly whacking the arms of fellow passengers while singing some song he learned watching Barney the purple dinosaur from hell? That’s another one. And as usual, the parents either just let it happen or are helpless to control the situation, often indifferent to the disturbance it is causing others. Could the airline make a special section in stowage for kids? Or administer knockout drops? Just curious.

Children in the Movie Theater

Okay, you’ve plunked down half your car payment for two tickets and refreshments to see a late screening of the latest 3-D blockbuster on an IMAX screen. And just before the movie begins you hear the faint, at first, warbling of some 9 month old baby just getting warmed up for all the exciting and visually stunning action sequences with large explosions, flashing lights and high-pitched agonizing screams. Yeah, babies just love that stuff, now don’t they?

Then you shrink down in your seat furiously cursing under your breath at the questionable intellect of people who would bring a child outside late at night to watch a movie, any movie, but especially one like this where you knew the kid was going to invariably have a full-on freak out. Then the realization takes shape in your mind that the next 90 minutes, which you had hoped would be a lot of fun entertainment, has now morphed into a new expensive and self-induced torture technique using a screaming baby instead of a waterboard. Do we, as paying customers of the theater, really care if the parents were too cheap or too broke to pop for a babysitter and would rather ruin the viewing experience of a few hundred people instead? Not so much. Do we want to key their car on the way out? Oh definitely.

Children in a Restaurant

You make reservations weeks in advance at a really posh and trendy restaurant. As the anticipation of a marvelous evening of culinary finesse looms before you and your date, the very last thing you expect to see is a couple with their out-of-control three year old son seated in the booth adjacent to yours. The whole evening has little Jeffy crying, screaming, running about the restaurant shouting and crawling under tables as waiters attempt to dodge the little hellion before they inadvertently drop a bowl of Vichyssoise on some unsuspecting patron’s head. And where are the parents while all this is going on? Engrossed in their own conversation about what color they should paint the dining room and why they don’t want to invite the Martins to go with them on their cruise to the Bahamas because they have that annoying baby. Meanwhile little Jeffy is using the foie gras as finger paint on the back of your new tan suede sport coat.

We've all been there people! We all harbor the secret desire to stick our feet out and watch little Jeffy go ass over tea kettle into a wall or something. Of course, here in California, that would lead to a lawsuit against the restaurant by the parents for not supplying adequate wall cushioning and a bean bag-type floor to cushion little Jeffy’s fall. (No doubt the restaurant would settle out of court for no less than $800,000 and the recipe for their Bolognese sauce.)

Honestly it doesn't matter where we are, in the grocery checkout, at the mall, at the post office or posting bond at the courthouse, children are just annoying sometimes. Screams of "I want that" at Walmart or "MINE!" at the drug store (along with the accompanied ear-splitting melt-downs) are a common occurrence. Who hasn't nodded in sympathy for the poor mom who's 2-year old daughter decided to pick a crowded doctor's office to roll around the floor screaming and kicking her feet until her face was a rosy red palette of drool, tears and snot?

We are all rankled on some level by the behaviors of young children and babies, whether they are ours or not. But do we do anything about it? Of course not. Children are like a pea-brained untrained squirrel that acts instinctively of its environment and can’t be blamed for their actions. But what about the parents? Well, some of them could probably use a good flogging, it’s true. Yet we are typically silent in this area as well.

Complaining about other people’s unruly kids is just avoided because it’s just not politically correct. There, I said it. It’s like a parent cussing out their own child in front of everyone else because he lost the 50 meter dash in the Special Olympics. Yeah, no one wants to see that. That doesn’t mean that we have to sit idly by as someone else’s kid pours bleach on our antique dining table or feeds liverwurst into our computer’s CD drive does it? It does? Damn! I better stock up on Scotch, then.

I guess if I survived fatherhood then grand fatherhood should be a snap, right? Just the same I am going to keep my eye out for you little Jeffy. You can't stay little forever. (demonic laugh)

"Hey! Stay the hell off my lawn! (mutters to self) Damn whipper-snappers."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

And The Award Goes To....ME!




I am very pleased and honored to have received this award from RA from Sagittiferously Yours. Those of you unfamiliar with this person may be asking, what does RA stand for? Though I can't be absolutely certain about this, and I know other bloggers have proffered other explanations for this, I think I'm correct in stating that the RA must stand for "Really Amazing."

I haven't been a follower of hers for very long, but I've been more than impressed with the fascinating stories and videos she posts. Her blog boasts an eclectic style encompassing essays on music, the arts, science, pop culture, history, humor, her own personal stories and ruminations and everything else in between!

Following her blog reminds me of tearing open a box of Cracker Jack as a kid to get to the prize inside. You never knew what you were going to get, but you could always be sure that it was well worth the time and trouble. I believe that blogs like hers, which have such a broad-based appeal, are very unique and a wonderful addition to the blogosphere.

If for some crazy reason you haven't been exposed to RA and her talented and imaginative mind, then by all means expose yourself to her here! She would love to see you! Please visit her blog and follow her because she too is well worth the time and trouble!

Here are the rules of the award:

(Oh yes, there's a catch. There's always a catch isn't there!)

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog. CHECK!

2. List who you received the award from and include a link to their site. CHECK!

3. List 10 things that make you happy. CHECK!

In no particular order, they are:

My family

My friends and followers

My Dogs

Music

Writing

Hot tubbing

Starbucks gift cards

The sounds and smells of the ocean

Travelling the world

Making people laugh

4. Pass this onto other bloggers whose efforts brighten your day, stir your imagination or make you laugh out loud. CHECK!


These are some great blogs here people! Go check them out and see for yourself if you haven't already!

And thank you again, RA, for recognizing me with this award. A toast to you! *clink*


Blogs I Am In Awe Of