Saturday, December 10, 2005

Random Thoughts

What if Amber -- you know, on the Amber Alert -- what if she had been name Gaye?

What if Lewis and Clark had been named Cozkafanoski and Beeblemeister?

What if the inventor of the flush toilet, Thomas Crapper, had been named Thomas Bush? (Oh, who am I kidding? He would've gotten elected anyway. After all, we elected Richard Nixon.)

Why is the Trail of Tears marked as a scenic guide?

And finally, this reminder: Don't make fun of Arkansas; after all, it makes Missouri look good.

Bob's Cat

I knew this guy Bob
whose life really sucked.
He got laid off from his job
pressing out plastic shampoo bottles
that looked like poodles.

Mindy Sue, this incredibly ugly chick
that Bob used to say he dated
only because he felt sorry for her,
left him for this other dude
who was even uglier and scrawnier than Bob.

Bob's car broke down on the expressway
and before he ever had a chance
to figure out just what was wrong with it,
it got towed away
to some lot behind an old gas station
where they actually expected Bob to pay
before he could get it back out.

Like he really had anything to pay with.
Even if he did
he'd have to give it to his landlord first,
who didn't have much patience to begin with
and no sense of humor at all.

I'm not kidding.
Bob's life totally sucked.
And since he could see no hope
that it would ever get better,
Bob decided to chuck it all
and drown himself in the toilet.

And he would've, too,
had not this really incredible thing happened.

Just when he was returning from the alley
with a couple of old cement blocks
and a piece of clothesline
that he'd found tangled in the fence
this really mangy cat showed up
with a winning lottery ticket in its mouth.
We're not talkin' just a whole lot of money here,
but five bucks was enough
for Bob to think twice.

So instead of ending it all,
Bob went out and got a hamburger
that he shared with the cat.

And after the cat
had licked all the grease
from its paws and face
it went back out,
and when it came back it had another lottery ticket.
Only this time
we are talkin' a lot of money --
fifteen thousand dollars.

Bob may have been suicidal,
but he wasn't stupid.
He saw a gold mine in that cat.
Every day the cat brought him something:
Cash, stocks, bonds, gem stones;
and all he had to do was feed it.

Needless to say,
Bob's life got better.
He got a new car,
a new house,
new clothes,
and this really hot lookin' babe named Bambi
who rarely wore
any appropriate undergarments.

One day while Bambi was at the house
checkin' out all the channels
that Bob got on his satellite dish
with the remote control by the hot tub,
she happened to ask
just how it was that Bob could afford all the stuff,
stuff like a solid gold potato peeler
and a fur-lined pool table.

And Bob felt really stupid
telling her about the cat,
so he made up this really involved story
about a rich uncle from Akron
who'd been run over by a bus.
When he got done
Bambi told him how sorry she was,
well--about his uncle and all.
And the cat,
the cat got up and left.
And he never came back.

Well, Bob may not have been too stupid
when it came to keeping the cat,
but he couldn't manage money worth a hoot,
and within two months
the collection company had collected everything --
the brass goldfish,
the marble toothbrush,
even Bambi --
and loaded it onto their truck.
They let Bambi ride up front.
Bob didn't even have a toilet
that he could drown himself in.

But everything worked out all right,
I guess,
'cause it was just about then
that the plastic factory called Bob back.
Well, it was the third shift,
but that was better than nothin'.

You know,
just thinkin' about it all,
I suppose there's a morel here somewhere,
but I'll be darned if I can figure out
just what it might be.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Editor's Note

It's all trivia,
you know,
places and numbers
you keep in your head
and refer to from time to time.

I've beaten Marris;
I got him by one.
I got Emily by two,
with eight hundred more to go.
I'll get that,
barring such things
as brain damage
or sudden death.
But then it won't really matter,
at least not to me.

And I've managed
to keep my following,
the faithful few
who swim silly circles,
asking only to be fed
and have their water changed
once a month.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


What has gone wrong? When did America become such a hateful, divided country? When did people become so certain that they were right that they no longer find it necessary to listen to anybody with a differing point of view? There’s people on the left and people on the right, red states and blue states, Christians and Muslims, Evolutionists and Creationists, Pro-life and Pro-choice. The list is seemingly endless. And all of them are absolutely certain they are right. They believe, fundamentally, that they can’t be wrong.

It is not just that they can’t be wrong; it’s that they won’t even consider the possibility. It is not what they believe in, then, that is so right or wrong, it is how they believe it; it is their fundamentalism.

The true evil, then, is fundamentalism.

Fundamentalism is the belief that you are absolutely right. Your sense of right can be based on god, history, common sense (whatever that might be), a cerial box, or whatever. It doesn't matter. No matter what you believe is ultimately right, then any compromise is ultimately wrong. Diversity is wrong. Differing points of view, differing opinions are all wrong. Any divergence from obtaining the ultimate goal, the ultimate right, cannot be tolerated. It doesn’t even matter how you came to believe in your rightness. Ultimately, if you are absolutely right, then any means is justified by the ends. Death, torture, lying, cheating are all acceptable if, in the end, it leads to the total establishment of whatever you fundamentally believe to be right, to be true. The good of the many outweighs the suffering of the few. Or worse, the good of the righteous few outweighs the suffering of the many.

Virtually all atrocities, almost every horrible thing one group of people has done to another, can be very quickly traced to fundamentalism. You can defend yourself with uncertainty; you can enter a conflict that already exists with trepidation (and, in fact, you should), but to start a war almost always involves the belief that you are absolutely right.

It is wrong, therefore, to believe fundamentally about anything, whether it is religious, political, philosophical, or whatever. Anybody who claims to be absolutely right should be feared, should be shunned. Anybody who claims to know the will of god should be laughed at for having such unmitigated hubris. For the only thing any of us can know for certain is that we can never be absolutely certain.

It is unlikely that you will ever change anyone who is truly enveloped in fundamentalist thought. By a weird twist of logic, if you are absolutely right, then you cannot even conceive of the possibility that you are wrong. Truly, to accept the possibility that you might be wrong means that you are.

Therefore, it becomes necessary that we recognize it in ourselves. We must resist the thought, the belief, that we are ultimately right.

The Fundamentalist Self-Check List

Don’t trust any religious belief that doesn’t encourage you to question, to doubt, or any religious belief that imbues its followers to know that they are absolutely right.

Don’t trust any religious belief that thinks vengeance is defensible.

Don’t trust any religious belief that thinks greed can be justified.

It is wrong to judge in the name of god.

It is wrong to kill the defenseless, regardless of what they may have done, or may do.

It is wrong to believe you can’t be wrong (Yes, I realize that this is a contradiction, but then, I realize I might be wrong).

Don’t trust anybody who’s ever participated in a genocide, or believes a genocide can be justified, including god.

Question any religion that justifies hatred of anything, even evil.

It is unwise to take anything literally.

Nothing written by humans should ever be taken as the unquestionable word of god, even if god helped them write it.

And above all, don’t trust anybody who is willing to think for you.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Senator Leonard K. Bullfinch Newsletter #6


My Fellow Americans,

Illegal immigration has become a major problem in the United States. Everywhere you look there seems to be somebody who is clearly not a natural born citizen. Sitting at traffic lights in low-riders with their hip hop music turned up way too loud while they mentally undress your wife from behind tinted windows. This has got to stop!

These people who cross our boarders take jobs away from hard working Americans. Just try to get a job picking lettuce for minimum wage. Good luck. They use our social services, such as schools and hospitals, yet do not pay into the system. They’re giving social a bad name. And they are annoying to talk to. Even if they speak good English, they have a goofy accent, and you have to listen really hard to understand them.

There have been many attempts to stop this illicit flow from polluting our land; however, none seems to work. Increased boarder patrols, nasty dogs, taller fences, and dying in the back of trucks abandoned in the desert seem not to deter these people in the least.

To stop illegal immigration, we must first understand the problem. We need to know why these people of questionable origin are sneaking into the United States in the first place. And the answer to that question is because our country is better than theirs.

After all, when was the last time you heard of someone trying to immigrate illegally to Rwanda? Or North Korea?

And once you truly understand the problem, the solution becomes simple. We need to make the United States into a country that no one will want to come to. We need to turn America into a real shit hole, so to speak. And it wouldn’t be hard to do.

First of all, we need to eliminate minimum wage. Unions, too. Let’s go back to the way things used to be. You work for what you can get, and you’re happy that you get it. OSHA can be scrapped. If you’re afraid to work somewhere, there’s someone else who’s not. And if he or she gets hurt or killed, that’s just one more job opening. Maybe even a job for you.

We need to eliminate all environmental controls. Who needs the bleeding-heart tree huggers anyway? Worrying about pollution just hurts a company’s bottom line. And there is no law in America that says you have to live down wind.

Eliminate free health care, not just for immigrants, but for everybody. Why should health care be any different than any other business? If you can’t pay for your steak, don’t go in the restaurant.

And while we’re at, there’s nothing in the Constitution that says we must educate anybody. And let’s face it, once you get out of high school, you’re on your own anyway. And if you can’t afford a college education, what difference is it going to make if you graduated from even the 8th grade? Those who have money to begin with have always had an advantage. Get over it.

We can reinstate the draft. After all, the military is just as good as college. Anybody living in America should have to fight for America. And you don’t need to speak English when the enemy doesn’t either. In fact, if you can’t speak English you should be drafted first. Now there’s some incentive to learn.

And finally, we need to concentrate wealth to a few privileged individuals. I’m really not certain what this has to do with immigration. I just want to be one of those privileged individuals.

With these simple changes, you’ll no longer have to worry about the boarder. In fact, you can open it up completely. If they still want to come here, let them. God knows we can use the cheap labor. And the really brilliant thing about this plan, is that we’re doing it already.

A Man Without A Country

Even hardcore Vonnegut fans were disappointed with his more recent offerings (God Bless You Dr. Kervokian and Timequake), and when Kurt promised not to write again, there were more than a few of us who (at least quietly) agreed that he might be on to a pretty good idea. Vonnegut, however, could not keep that promise, and I for one am happy. In A Man Without A Country, Vonnegut has regained his old fire.

Like classic Vonnegut, A Man Without A Country is a short, poignant read, including guest appearances by Bokonon and Kilgore Trout. This time, however, Vonnegut comes right to the point. For instance, he threatens to sue the makers of Pall Mall cigarettes because he hasn’t died yet, even though the packs clearly warn that smoking should’ve killed him long ago. Says Vonnegut, “The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick, and Colon.”

If you’re looking for words of hope in a depressing world, this is probably not the book for you. However, that hope is still there. Writes Vonnegut, “All I really wanted to do was give people the relief of laughing.” And you did. And you did. Or, to once again quote from Vonnegut, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

Thank you, Kurt, for allowing me to laugh at the absurdity that masquerades as life.

Next up on my night stand is Jimmy Carter’s new book. Both Vonnegut and Carter were presents from my daughter and son-in-law. What a nice thing to give to somebody. Books.

Fun With Your Bible

Actually, it’s fun with somebody else’s bible. Copy the notice below, and anywhere you find a bible, stick it inside the front cover. Hotel bibles will never be the same. And while we’re on the subject, wouldn’t it be great if religious schools had to teach evolution?

This bible contains material on creationism.
Creationism is a theory, not a fact,
regarding the origin of living things.
This material should be approached with an open mind,
studied carefully, and critically considered.

The State Game

Here’s a fun game. No, it’s not the alphabet with licenses plates, but it could certainly fill up the hours on a long road trip, or a boring dinner party. We’ve all heard such phrases as “a state of decay” or “a psychotic state.” For grins, try coming up with an actual state that goes with those phrases.

A state of confusion – Florida

A state of despair – Missouri

A state of decay – Michigan

A state of denial – New Jersey, or maybe Texas

A psychotic state – California

You get the idea. There are 45 to go…

And here’s the fun part. Now that I’ve put the idea in your head, try not doing it…

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Why is it that, in the name of democracy, the United States insists that Iraq's government be secular, but in the name of democracy, our government at home wants to be anything but secular? Maybe, just maybe, assuming that the United States' invasion of Iraq was solely for oil is just a bit simplistic. My conspiracy antennae is tweeking...

The Ballad of Mordaci Bloode

Screaming Death was the most sought after band.
They played the biggest houses throughout the land.
With his platform shoes
and his bellbottom pants,
his leather fringed shirt
and his funky little dance,
Mordaci Bloode would strut across the stage,
bustin’ guitars with the crowd in a rage.
And when Mordaci ventured out for a beer,
people would stop and people would stare.
But Mordaci, Mordaci,
Mordaci Bloode just didn’t care.

And when rock turned to disco
and disco turned to punk,
Mordaci said,
“Who needs this junk?”
And he still kicked his amps
and busted guitars,
and he and his roadies
would trash out the bars.
But the towns grew thinner
and the crowds grew lean,
and then the band members said,
“We’re splittin’ this scene.”
And Mordaci shouted
that he didn’t care,
but you just can’t have a concert
when there’s nobody there.

Now Mordaci sits at the bar
drinking alone.
The fans have all left him,
the roadies gone home.
And nobody bothers
to stop and stare
at his outrageous clothing
or his wild, bushy hair,
and none of his songs
are played over the air,
because nobody, but nobody,
nobody cares.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Positive Journalism

We can find positive things to write about in Iraq, if we would only look. Just like we can find positive things about Godzilla’s attacking Tokyo. Godzilla poop makes wonderful fertilizer, and there are now a lot of beautiful lawns. But overall, it would be good if he would just go away, and even better if he had never come at all.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Little Town of Bethlehem, PA

Oh little town of Bethelehem,
how still we see thee lie.
No workers' feet
fill empty streets;
no smoke stacks cloud the sky.

Through foreign competition
and greedy corporate gains,
a few jobs lost,
well that's the cost.
We'll lock the gates with chains.

Oh little town of Bethelehem,
no presents under trees.
No Christmas feast,
you've lost your lease.
You're left outside to freeze.

Please think us not uncaring
when of your plight we hear.
We just get annoyed
with the unemployed;
it ruins our holiday cheer.

Just a little something to help get you in the holiday mood.

Atomic Cafe

She stood at the end of the pier,
glistening in her bikini
like the Great American Dream,
a wonderful sight to behold.

And I would be the fortunate one,
to take her far away
from the Manhattan skyline
to where the trees give way to sand.

And there, blessed
by the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
we would run from the church in white,
to duck, to cover,
as they throw the rice
that falls invisible to the ground.

Something I wrote back in the summer of '84. I revive it especially for Mike and Ron and Dan, and anybody else who remembers.