The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Christmas Star Protocol

The Dreamship moved along the outer band of  the Mobius curve of the universe at one hundred times the speed of light. Reaching the point at which the outside became the inside, the ship slipped into time.

The Pilot was of necessity asleep and would remain so until the end of the mission when he brought the Dreamship back out of the universe and into eternity. His mission was simple: transport the Judges to the developing world in question and bring them out again. The Judges' mission was the difficult one; amongst themselves they frequently called these missions "End Times" missions.

As always, there were three of them. In current binary terms, they were 101, 111, and 000. In ancient nomenclature, they were two men and a woman. We'll call them Sam, John, and Ruby.

Most often their missions took them to the fourth planet from the local sun, but in this instance, it was the third planet out, a waterworld class planet which meant that at least 65% of the surface was covered with water.

The beings on this planet had reached a stage of development where it was necessary that the Judges make a determination regarding the beings' future existence. If the Judges judged wrong and allowed these beings or those on any "developmental" world who were following the wrong path to continue to live, the entire harmony of the universe would be destroyed and chaos and eventually total destruction would ensue.

The Boss would not be happy because that would mean starting the whole "universe" experiment over again from scratch, beginning at the point of the initial creative explosion. And that took an enormous amount of planning and engineering.

Only about one in ten worlds met the Judges' strict criteria for survival. The other nine were eliminated, swiftly and efficiently. The Dreamship was outfitted with a simple sonic device designed by the Boss which allowed the Judges to eliminate the world instantly if that was their decision.

A highly sophisticated and hidden monitoring system was in place and had been recording data since the beings on the planet had evolved to a certain level. That level included a strong and positive value system and organization into a cohesive society which permitted the maximum amount of individual freedom. There were several thousand other points of measure that the Judges considered too.

When the invisible Dreamship achieved an orbit around the world in question, the Judges moved to the observation room to examine the records available. It was clear that many of the societies on the planet were moving in the wrong direction, but there were a few which seemed promising.

On the first vote, John and Ruby were split. Ruby voted for elimination. John voted for continuation. Sam wavered. It was a most unusual situation. After a spirited discussion, Sam proposed that they use the rare and infrequently used "Star" stimulation to push the world's beings along the right path. This was in effect a spectacular event plus an extension which allowed the world in question a fixed amount of time to reach a level of satisfactory development.

Because they were split (which rarely happened), John and Ruby saw the logic of providing the extension. They were fully aware that they would have to fully explain and justify their decision to the Boss but felt confident in their reasoning.

All three immediately  touched their screens to implement the "Star" protocol.

An artificial "star" was instantly created outside the orbit of the planet's moon; the star would move along a pre ordained path for three years and would be visible to all beings on the planet. At the end of that time the "star" would disappear. Judging from these beings' spiritual development (primitive, but with some movement toward monotheism), the appearance of such a star could possibly stimulate development along a positive path.

The Judges telepathically interacted with the Pilot; the invisible Dreamship quickly left orbit around the waterworld and almost instantaneously reached the outer band of the Mobius curve. It slipped seamlessly back into eternity.

Once they were outside time, John and Ruby maintained their objectivity about the world in question. But Sam was pulling for the little planet and its people. He liked their grit. And they made really good beer.

The Judges would return 2200 solar years later to make the final decision about the planet's survival.

Merry Christmas

We've been in TX since Saturday, December 15, with our son's family. We'll be here until after Christmas.

For the first few days we enjoyed balmy weather, but today is much different: low 40s with a 35-40 mph NNW wind. That wind cuts like an icy knife, especially if you're wearing a toga.

Hope everyone out there in blogland is doing well and enjoying the season.

The huge and diverse staff here at the Cumberland Post wishes all of you a very merry Christmas. I'll see you again soon unless the alarmists are right about the 21st being the end of the world. For more on that see my next post.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Drifting Outskirts Blues

We've had four days of rain now. The creek in the park is up and the ground is saturated. I'm going out in the drizzle after I write this to buy licenses and pay wheel tax fees on both our vehicles (yeah, that $150 hit comes right at Christmas too). And my old computer is still killing me with blue screens, and I can't make up my mind about which new computer to buy.

I know there are people with a lot worse problems, and I'm not saying this is in any way as bad as that, but, it is my problem right now. I'm at a fork in the road.

One road leads to Mac-ville. It's a very, very expensive road to travel on, but according to reports is a clear, simple journey that can be made without difficulty. If you want to pay the high toll upfront.

Another road leads down Windows lane. I've been on this road all along, so I am familiar with it. It's relatively cheap to travel on (especially in comparison to the Mac-ville road) but sometimes there are breakdowns. It's a soft enough road, micro-soft some say, but the twists and turns and mapping problems can give you headaches.

Right now I can't make up my mind. Undecided, washing this wishy and wishing that washy if you get my drift, and I am drifting. Floundering. I'm on the outskirts, so to speak. Can't seem to make it into town.

Which reminded me of this song I heard last night in a great "little" movie (practically unwatched, according to IMDB) called "Around the Bend," starring Josh Lucas, Michael Caine, and Christopher Walken. It's an emotional drama about fathers and sons. Right now it's on Starz On Demand on our Comcast cable setup; check it out sometime if you get the chance.

Anyway, this song "Carmelita" played in the movie. It's by Warren Zevon and the singer I heard in the movie was male, but I don't think it was Zevon.
Linda Rondstadt sang it back in the 70s and Dwight Yoakum has a version too. He wasn't singing it in the movie but I'm using his version here.

I'm not on heroin like the speaker and never have been, but I do think I'm hearing Mariachi music on my computer.

(On a side note: I'm not much liking the new youtube format. You can't seem to escape the ads.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Computer Gods Toy with Us

After all those blue screens for several days, the computer mysteriously gave me a whole day yesterday of clear and clean surfing. This morning, five minutes in, the screen went blue again. I'm pretty sure my hard drive's gone soft. (Insert age appropriate smart ass remark here.)

I can imagine the scene on Computer Olympus. The king of the computer gods, Microsoftus says to his wife Googleus, "Why don't we mess with his mind a little. Give him one more day and he'll think everything is cleared up.Then we kill everything the next day. That'll be fun. Especially since it's Christmas."

Guess I'll have to spring for a new one tomorrow. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Blue Screen Blues

For the past few days I've been getting quite a few blue screens on my 5 year old Gateway desktop each day. They started a couple of months ago, but only once every few days or so. But lately they've increased almost geometrically. Now, they're coming after about 5-10 minutes. They happen now even when I'm not online when the computer is idle with only my startup icons showing.

I'm writing this post from Joyce's Gateway laptop because I was afraid to start a post on the desktop.

My son has given me a couple of sound remedies (a C-Cleaner scan, and a Lavasoft scan) which did improve the computers speed, but the blue screens are still coming.

I could buy a new hard drive, but I'll probably just opt for a new desktop.

Why is it that unexpected expenses always come at the worst time? Is this just another manifestation of Murphy's Law: what can go wrong will go wrong?

Or maybe we need a new Law: the Christmas Wallet Corollary. You naturally have extra anticipated hits on your wallet at have those plus the CWC, those inevitable unexpected expenses which always occur when you need them the least..

Monday, December 3, 2012

1957 Ford Country Sedan: Our First Dependable Car

I've already written about my first car as a teenager, that 1948 Chevy as well as the Fiat Bianchina Joyce and I bought when we were first married and still in undergraduate school.

When I finished the course work for my M. A. in English at Peabody in Nashville in early January of 1963, I accepted a position to fill a mid academic year teaching vacancy at Southeastern Louisiana College in Hammond, Louisiana. I was due to report for work at the beginning of the spring semester, about the second week of January.

Using what were called federal "defense" loans in those days (paid back in full in the '70s) and some part time work by Joyce and myself, I had made it through college and the first year of graduate school by the skin of my financial teeth. Our funds were depleted and we were in debt. But we didn't care. Before I only had prospects, but now I had a real job in my chosen profession. The salary I would receive at Southeastern for one semester of full time teaching ($2400) sounds paltry by today's terms but to us it was a fortune.

Joyce and I knew we had to have a newer car to even get to the job. As a student, the bank wouldn't talk to me about a car loan, but as a graduate with a job they were more than happy to help me.

There were three of us by then--Barry was 1 year and five months old. We didn't have much in the way of material possessions but we had accumulated some "stuff" over our 2 1/2 years of marriage.

We were driving (sometimes pushing) a nine year old '54 Dodge Royal (formerly my parents') that by that time was smoking heavily and looked pretty beatup as a result of a rear end side swipe my Mom had experienced several years earlier. It frequently wouldn't start or would fail to complete the three mile trip from our apartment to Peabody; setting out to Louisiana in it was out of the question.

We needed a car that was big enough to load up our meager belongings and dependable enough to make the trip to Louisiana without difficulty. We found the perfect vehicle at Hippodrome Ford on Broad Street one gray, cold day in January. It was a yellow and cream four door, 1957 Ford Country Sedan. The picture below is not the actual car; I have pictures of it somewhere in our attic storage space which I've been promising to dig out for a couple of years now. but this one looked just like it.

The big wagon was already six years old but in really good shape. As for the engine, it was an OHV Ford V8. Wiki says,

The [1957] V8 lineup included a 272 CID (4.5 L) Y-block making 190 hp (142 kW), [and] a 292 CID (4.8 L) Thunderbird version making 212 hp (158 kW).

I'm not sure now after all these years, but I'm pretty sure ours was the base 6 passenger  model which had the 190 hp, two barrel carb version of the engine. Whatever it was, it would go pretty good for such a docile and practical looking vehicle.

We laid down the back seat and filled up all that storage space with pots, pans, Barry's baby bed, clothes, our small 17 inch white Motorola TV, more clothes, and linen; in short, everything we owned we carried in the back of that Ford wagon. The picture below shows a green interior, ours was brown. The picture shows the rear seat up, while we had it down flat to provide more space for our "stuff" when we made the trip. The picture also shows the space empty; when we made the trip to Louisiana, our wagon's space was completely full from top to bottom. I could only see the rear through my side mirrors.

Barry rode up front with us on the front seat. He had a little flimsy traveling bed that would change into a sitting position which he slept or sat in some, but most of the time he sat in Joyce's lap or stood (horrors) on the big bench seat between us.

The Ford did great on the trip which was pretty uneventful. About the only thing I remember is that we had our first Po Boy barbeque beef sandwich at some drive in restaurant in McComb, Mississippi. It was pretty danged good.

Our time in Louisiana was short and for awhile we had a rough time. It was my first teaching assignment and I was trying to learn the ropes. But much worse than that, Joyce had a miscarriage. She became anemic and took several weeks to recover. But we nade some good memories too. We learned the real meaning of Southern Hospitality. Colleagues, friends, even our landlord, went out of their way to help us during our troubles.

I was offered a full time job at Southeastern for the coming academic year at an annual salary of $4800, but I had been looking around for other possibilities. Eastern Kentucky offered me $5600 (an $800 raise) and after our difficulties, Kentucky sounded a little bit better to us than Louisiana.

During this time, the Ford served us well. It started every time and required nothing other than normal maintenance. It continued to serve us for another year in Kentucky until we traded it in on our first new car, a 1964 Dodge Coronet. But that's another story.

Here's one last look at that great old Country Sedan. Ford's slogan used to be, "There's a Ford in your future." There may be. But there is definitely one in our past. No wait. There are two in our past. This one and that 1971 Pinto. But that's another story too.

UPDATE: With his comment about a trip he remembers from his childhood, reader Buck reminded me of another part of our journey to Louisiana. Here's my response to his comment, complete with a Wiki link if you want to read a little more about the Natchez Trace Parkway (a most interesting roadway):

Buck, Thanks for helping fill out my memory of that trip a bit. As you point out, the roads 50 years ago were different, very different. I remember we drove to Columbia, TN and then made it over to the Natchez Trace Parkway. This is a two lane limited access road first begun under FDR that follows and commemorates the original trail used by early settlers in the South. The trail itself still remains visible at some points on the parkway; you can see the deep ruts of wagons from long ago. We took the Trace down to Jackson, MS, and then went further south toward Hammond on a blue highway, the number of which I can't remember now. But I do know it passed through McComb.  

Friday, November 30, 2012

The F-80 Shooting Star: an Adolescent Romance

In 1952, when I was about twelve, I began drawing things. I say "things" because that's what I soon discovered I could do best. People, animals, vegetation, etc. gave me problems and since there were no art teachers in my school (or in most others at that time I suppose) to help me overcome these difficulties, I stayed with what I could do pretty well. Things like buildings, houses, cars, and airplanes.

The drawing process was fun to me and I spent countless hours drawing at home and sometimes during class with my work hidden by an upright book. I especially enjoyed drawing the aircraft of WWII and the Korean War. One plane I drew many times was the Lockheed P or F-80 Shooting Star, the first operational jet fighter of the USAF. I liked the way the plane looked and I loved that name...Shooting Star.

Unfortunately, none of my drawings from that time, survive.

Although initial issues kept it out of WWII, the plane was designed, developed, and built by Lockheed in 1943 in just 143 days. The plane, though slower and less maneuverable than the Russian MIGs, did see lots of action in Korea.

I'm sure I saw pictures of the F-80 in magazines and newspapers at the time and those served as my inspiration.

The aircraft had a beautiful curving kind of fuselage with scoops on both sides for the Allison J33-A-35 engines. I always drew the plane with those wing tip fuel tanks which to my adolescent imagination gave it a more menacing look.

In the Korean conflict, the slower Shooting Star was eventually replaced by the faster swept wing F-86 Sabre. The website (a great source of aircraft data) says that a little over 1700 of the F-80s were produced. In the late '50s and all through the '60s the F-80 continued to serve in the air forces of several South American countries.

The plane was also modified as the T33 trainer aircraft and was used extensively to train American fighter pilots from the late '40s on through the '60s but other countries used it as late as the '80s. Wiki says the T33 was even employed by the Cuban Air Force in combat during the Bay of Pigs and scored several kills.

The Shooting Star is out of production today but it still lives on in my memory and imagination.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'll Be the S.O.B.

Most of the time during my teaching career, I found it to be more effective in terms of getting students to participate or do the work at hand to be the "nice" guy. Later, when I became an administrator, I found it necessary at times to be the S. O. B.

Sometimes you are the role. Sometimes you play it. Regarding the S. O. B. role in my experience, I hope it was the latter.

Earlier this year, one of my favorite country stars released a new single, "You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore," penned by songwriters Jay Knowles and Adam Wright. IMO, it's one of Alan Jackson's best songs in quite some time.

The Knowles/Wright lyric is simple and unadorned, but emotionally, very powerful. Take this verse, for example:
I'll be the bad guy, I'll take the black eye, When I walk out, You can slam the door, I'll be the S.O.B, If that's what you need from me, So you don't have to love me anymore. 
I like Jackson's video of the song too.

Breakups, sacrifice, bitterness...the very life blood of country music.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Crawlin' Kingsnake" and the Tennessee Drizzle

Yesterday was a travel day for us. The trip was pleasant until we reached that dreadful section of I-40 between Little Rock and Memphis. Somewhere around Carlisle, Arkansas, our progress came to a complete stop. The sun set behind us as we waited in darkness in an ever growing line of vehicles for over 30 minutes. 

Finally, the Arkansas Department of Transportation decided to let us move on and we made it to Memphis, which according to some, is the birthplace of the Blues. We tuned our Sirius to the appropriate channel and found the show "B. B. King's Bluesville" in progress.  

Besides the Blues, we encountered something else in Memphis--the famous Tennessee drizzle, which stayed with us all the way home. This drizzle or at least the Nashville variation of it was described early in the last century by the short story writer and embezzler O. Henry (William Sydney Porter):

Take a London fog 30 parts; malaria 10 parts; gas leaks 20 parts; dewdrops gathered in a brick yard at sunrise, 25 parts; odor of honeysuckle 15 parts. Mix.The mixture will give you an approximate conception of a Nashville drizzle. It is not so fragrant as a moth-ball nor as thick as pea-soup; but 'tis enough - 'twill serve.

I would leave out the honeysuckle part of O. Henry's description, and add this: The Tennessee drizzle is a type of concentrated, slanting rain consisting of tiny, needle like droplets of water. The "concentrated" idea is most important. If you were of a scientific mind and employed some sort of sophisticated electronic device attached to your windshield, I'm convinced after our experience last night that you would get a measure of no less than 7,000,000 droplets per square foot. 

Our Enclave's wipers were at times over-matched, but somehow we managed to get home around 11:30 PM. 

But even though the last third of our trip was bad from the weather perspective, it was a blast otherwise. 

A cold rain was falling outside, but Joyce and I enjoyed a hot rockin' Blues concert all the way to Nashville. We heard some great new stuff and lots of good old stuff like Etta James' "Crawlin' Kingsnake."
"Crawlin' Kingsnake" reminded me of something we used to talk about in Literature class, a figure of speech called a synecdoche. Here's an example: Gesturing to the shiny new Porsche Boxster, Bruce says, "Hey I like your cool new wheels, Dude." In the example, a part, "wheels," is used to signify the whole car. 

I'm going to be discreet here (I'm not sure why) and let you read some more about this figure of speech and then apply it to the song yourself. Or not. Your choice. Either way, you can enjoy the great blues voice of Etta James in a most memorable performance. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Roger That

A short list of things before we head to TX tomorrow for Thanksgiving.

1. On Saturday, Vanderbilt beat the University of Tennessee for the first time at home since 1982. Joyce and I were a young 42 then. almost half a lifetime ago, but it seems like only yesterday. I've been following their sports teams since the '50s when I was in elementary school. My friend's father had the concession contract at football games at Dudley Field, and so one of my first jobs was selling hot dogs in the football stadium when I was in the 7th or eighth grade. And later, I got a couple of degrees from Peabody College which is now part of Vanderbilt. Vandy has always had a solid basketball program and the baseball program has really come on strong in the past few years. In the '50s they had some very good teams. But after that there hasn't been much to cheer about. It's the SEC and well, you know how tough the conference is. Vandy was almost always undermanned and overmatched. Until last year and this year. We're on the move baby.

2. The election is over, and my candidate lost, but I'm thankful for many things this Thanksgiving. Too many to list here at this hour since I have a long drive ahead of me tomorrow. But that sunset I looked at as I walked in the park this evening is one of them. The sky was blue with scattered white clouds except for a huge slab of silver gray clouds in the West that went about a fourth of the way up the dome, and right along the bottom of the slab, at the horizon, were a couple of big gashes of gold, tinged with a rose red. The light streaking out of those slits was absolutely brilliant. I'm thankful I got to see that.

3. I normally get between 100 and 150 hits per day on this old blog, most of them looking for how Lady Gaga could be related to the five most beautiful cars of the '50s. A couple of days ago, Saturday, however, I noticed I had received 597 hits. As I looked into it, they were all checking out a post I'd written two years ago about Ernest Tubb and the Nashville shooting incident. I'm not quite sure how to explain this. I got 25 more hits on that post today. What's going on?

4. Finally, I hope all of my regular readers and any other visitors who stumble by have a most happy Thanksgiving.

Seeya next week.

P.S. I'll be reading all my usual blogs but probably won't be commenting until I return.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Welfare Squirrels

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had started walking regularly again at the local park. Back in the late '70s and early '80s Joyce and I did a lot of running and walking there. In those days, the park had a walking trail that was covered with cinders which made a run very easy on the feet but not so good on your car's carpets afterward.

The trail was a 1.5 mile loop and the first .75 mile ran long through the trees beside a creek. There were wild squirrels everywhere. Most of the time they would scamper away as you ran by.

Nowdays, the park is even nicer. The walking trail is now a smooth asphalt band about 4-5 feet wide and although the old loop remains, a new part has been added that extends the loop to 2.25 miles.

We've noticed another significant change. The squirrels. They no longer scamper away in fear as you approach. They come toward you and stand upright with paws out in a begging position.

Over the years, more and more people used the walking trail to feed the squirrels. They would bring bags of peanuts to throw to the little bushy tailed critters. The squirrels soon learned not to be afraid. They also learned as the generations of squirrels came and went that they didn't have to work anymore to find food. Even in winter, people will walk along the trail and throw them nuts.

Yesterday, in the middle of my three mile walk, I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks. Beside the path a large tree had fallen into the creek and a squirrel stood up on top of the splintered stump, arms akimbo, looking down. He must have sensed me looking at him, so he raised his head and spoke to me.

"Hey you. Yeah, yeah, I'm mean you. Come over here and help me."

I stood there stupified. A talking squirrel?

"Hey, I'm talking to you, numbnuts. Get your ass over here and help me."

I walked over to the stump. The squirrel pointed down inside. "Look, he said. "When the tree broke apart this morning, I lost my roof. Everything's gonna be ruined if I don't get it moved to that other big tree over there."

I couldn't believe my eyes as I gazed down into the hollowed out stump. The squirrel's den resembled a plushly furnished man cave, complete with miniature hardwood floors, black leather recliners and sofas, two tiny refrigerators, and an expensive looking mini flatscreen TV.

"You live like a king," I said. "This is pretty danged cool."

"Thanks," he said. "I've got this squirrel chick I know who's an interior designer."

"But how do you afford it?"

He laughed and gave me a big toothy smile. "I'm cute. And the other squirrels say I have the midas touch when it comes to getting welfare nuts."

"Welfare nuts?"

"Yeah, that's what we all call them now. We're victims of urbanization. When the park came along it changed and damaged our way of life. We needed help and we got it. Help we can depend on, year after year. We can still work, but we don't have to now. The humans feel guilty and so they give us food if we're cute enough, or if we...Hey, I can look sad too."

He demonstrated by putting this "poor me" pouting expression on his face, spinning around, and then falling on his back with his little legs extended. He looked like he was dying or would die soon. I don't much like squirrels, or tree rats as some call them, but if I'd had a nut I would have given it to him. He was that good.

I turned and started to walk away.

"Hey, where you going? I need help here," he said.

"Sorry," I said. "You won't get any handouts or help from me. My advice is to get back to work again. Your real nature is too work hard and save up food for the winter, not lounge around and depend on human kindness."

"Look, I got a lotta friends here," he said. "Sometimes we get real hungry and band together in a group to attack an old slow walker like you. A little shin meat can be mighty tasty."

"Are you threatening me" I asked.

"Just stating a fact," he said.

"Ok, here's another fact for you. I got plenty of your kind around my house. They're not freeloaders like you; they make it on their own. But sometimes when they get too frisky and start running all over my roof and eating at my dormers or deck rails, I have to get out my Mossberg."

His eyes opened wide and he jumped off the stump and disappeared into the brush.

As I continued my walk, I noticed the squirrels up ahead scampering out of my way just like they did in the good old days.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

When Things Fall to Pieces

Recent events in the news almost sound like one of those old country music songs. There's the David, Paula, Jill, and Holly "square" (as opposed to triangle). And now the possible John and Jill connection with the shirtless FBI agent caveat. Here's a little blogdrama about the mess with some musical help from Carl Smith and George Jones. 

The place was a dive near an army base and was called the All In. The neon beer signs provided most of the light and the floor was littered with peanut shells. It was late, and the place was almost empty. One guy was shirtless and sat alone in a booth at the back, drinking beer and taking photos of himself with his phone.

Another lone man sat at the bar drinking shots.

The man at the bar was an ex Army General who recently had also become an ex-big time government official, and he felt his life was falling apart around him. He'd been forced to resign his high position because of an affair. He put some coins in the juke box and ordered another shot.

As the song ended, another Army General entered. He looked like he'd been sleeping in his wrinkled uniform and his eyes were wild with worry. His command position was in jeopardy and he didn't know what to do. He too sat down at the bar.

The first general looked at him. "You too, John?" he said.

"Shit," said the general who'd just come in. "It's all your damn fault. You and that hussie you hooked up with." He put some coins in the jukebox and sat down.

The shirtless man at the booth in the back wiped a tear from his eye. He looked at a photo of the woman on his phone. He'd been removed from his assignment because of her and he just couldn't get her off his mind. He ordered a beer and put some coins in the jukebox.

When an affair (main street, back street or under the desk) crumbles, when somebody falls on hard times, or when a guy gets stuck on the unattainable, you can always find an old country song to echo the misery. Country music has already "been there, done that, and bought the tee shirt."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thank You for Your Service

Today is Veterans Day, the day the nation has set aside to honor those who served in the military, the countless men and women who have protected our way of life and our freedom since Revolutionary war times.

I picked out a few of the great Veterans Day posters that I like in order to honor our veterans and to thank them for their service. And a special "thanks for your service" to those I know personally who served: my son (Air Force), my brother (Army), my grandson (Navy), my classmates, my colleagues, my students, my friends over the years, and my friends in the blogosphere. I salute you all.

I like all of these posters, but, counting down from the top, I think I like #4 below the best. What's your favorite?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Two Reasons Why Republicans Lost

As expected, the pundits are out, slicing and dicing and pointing fingers.

Some say Romney's loss was because conservatives don't appeal to blacks and Hispanics. Some say we don't appeal to the young. Some say we should moderate and move the party more to the center. Others say we shouldn't moderate at all, just go full bore conservative. Some say it was all Romney's fault.

And there are many others. All on the first day after the election.

They probably all have a little bit of the truth.

Here's my take. I think were two reasons why we lost, the long running Progressive Pop Culture Complex, and Romney's "niceness."

First, I say we lost and will continue to lose because of the popular culture. Let's face it. The Progressives OWN the popular culture. What they've created is a dangerous monstrosity I've started calling the Progressive Pop Culture Complex (the PPCC). In his 1961 farewell address, Eisenhower warned against the unchecked powers of the "Military Industrial Complex." Today, we have to fear the PPCC, a dangerous mix of politicians, entertainers/artists, producers, and media people.

Sure, there are some conservative actors around. But the huge majority of movies, performers, producers, cinematographers, agents, agencies, studios, TV people, TV shows, artists, musicians, you name it, are "progressive" or liberal.

When I say "own," I mean that literally. They own the movie studios, the TV studios, the networks, the newspapers, the newsrooms. They pay the directors, the producers, the actors. They own the art and thus control/influence the artists and media people. They've used their money and the influence it creates for the past three or four decades to slowly change the country, change its values, change its direction, change its politics.

And how have Conservatives been portrayed? All of us are heartless and rich fat cats, ignorant unsophisticated rednecks, war mongers, and bigoted zombie racists. Progressives, who are responsible for developing the concept of "hate speech," feel free to use it against conservatives.

And don't look to journalists or the news media to investigate the PPCC or to defend conservatives or their ideas. The "news" media, once a proud bastion of free speech and journalistic integrity, is now a full voting member of the PPCC.

Secondly, Romney took the high road. He accepted the idea that Obama is a good guy. He refused to use any kind of attack that would label Obama as a socialist, he never made any use of the fact that Obama's administration was filled with questionable people (Van Jones, et al), and in the end, didn't really pursue the Benghazi issue after Obama's indignant response in the debate.

Romney ran an above board campaign that centered on Obama's performance on the economy. Obama and his team, in this race and in all the others he's run, have been willing to do what was necessary to win.  And say what you will, David Axelrod, Obama's campaign guy, can do the down and dirty. Remember Obama's campaign for senate? Remember those ads that implied Romney caused a woman to get cancer? Remember.... Well, you get the picture.

What the Republicans need is a new Lee Atwater type, Bush I's campaign guy and later head of the RNC. Atwater was a guy who did the down and dirty as well as anybody. He could be nasty as hell, just ask Michael Dukakis.

That's Atwater on the right with his pal Bush I. Looks like he's got his game face on, no? What about Karl Rove, you're probably gonna say? Sorry, but IMHO Rove has lost his mojo. He was wrong about a lot of stuff this year, plus he's a bit tainted by his association with Bush. We need a new guy, someone who knows how to expertly use that big tar brush. Someone who knows how to wield an axe. A pole axe at that. Someone to match the Dem's own Axe...lrod.

So, my remedy for the GOP is one of those two layer prescription tablets the doc gives you for some ailment. The first layer, the red "Atwater" layer, is quick acting and will provide short term relief. The second white layer with red and blue speckles, is a time release compound and involves wealthy GOP people buying into and/or creating their own popular culture propaganda factories and attracting more and more artists/entertainers to GOP ideas.

I'll end by reminding you that Lee Atwater combined both approaches--a professional ability to do the dirty, plus he was himself an entertainer. In case you've forgotten, Atwater was an accomplished blues guitarist and actually was a member of several successful bands. And these weren't just amateur wannabe groups. He played for Percy Sledge and B.B. King among others. 

What follows is a video from an album, Red, Hot, and Blue that features his guitar work along with the work of many other rhythm and blues artists of the '80s. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's a Blues Day

Well, it's all over now.

This election seems to mark the end of the old America, the one from way back in the 20th century, the one whose citizens had those quaint ideas of personal responsibility and limited government, as well as the patriotic notion of one doing what one could for one's country.

Now, we're mostly victims, or noble "helpers" of victims, or activists (God how I've come to hate that word, "activist" means somebody who is working hard to get the government to intervene or regulate even more). And most of us are takers, not givers. Our government is a gargantuan monstrosity. And we want the government to do more and more for us. Gimme, gimme, gimme.

We're blind to the consequences of these foolish ideas. Our debt is as large as the iceberg that sank the Titanic. Our China Express card and all the others in our expensive wallet are maxed out. The mortgage on our country is under water. And we just reelected the guy who put over a third of that bill on our cards in the last four years. But we don't seem to care. Apparently the money doesn't matter. And it doesn't seem to matter that our children will have to pay the price. One way or another.

It's over and I'm blue. So I'm playing some blues. It seems fitting.

Here's R. L. Burnside's "Death Bell Blues." This title says it all.

I saw this next guy, John Jackson, in '72 or '73 in Chattanooga when I attended a meeting of college English teachers. He played in a small room with only about 30 people in attendance. He was unbelievable. I bought his LP vinyl which I treasure to this day. He sings what I suppose is best labeled country blues. Whatever. It's blues. And it's good. The first one has an interesting and perhaps appropriate title, "That will Never Happen No More." The last one is "Red River Blues."

Goin' to bed now. Hope tomorrow is a better day.

UPDATE, November 7, 2012:

I'm feeling a little better this morning. Hope you are too. I'm adding one more song to this post to reflect my mood change. Hank Snow was a great picker. And he could do blues. Yeah, I know. He was a white guy. And country. But we get the blues too.

"I Don't Hurt Anymore" is one of his biggest hits. You still may be hurting, but you'll eventually get to the place Hank sings about.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Electoral College Map Prediction

The polls have been so danged screwy this year, almost as if they were being used to prop up the incumbent. You've got a virtual tie at the national level and Obama winning most of the "swing" states.

Speaking of which, did you hear the one about the uninformed playboy who moved to a "swing" state thinking he might find some action?...

Sorry about that. Anywhooo, it's time to place your bets.

If the election were a poker game and in order to bet on your candidate you had to put a $100 in the pot, would you bet on Romney?

I would. And here's how I think the electoral college will play out.

Romney... 295
Obama ....243

I used the map on the Town Hall site. I hope I'm being conservative in my picks. Check out the Romney states I picked, and tell me what you think.

Click on this link to see my prediction for the final electoral college map.

UPDATE: My prediction was wrong. Tonight, in my opinion, America made a big mistake.

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Earliest Memory: Shadows of Fear

The earliest event I can recall in my long term memory is one that was associated with fear.

I was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1940. Since we moved out of the city when I was about four, I only have one memory from that first time my family lived in Nashville. Both of my parents have passed on now, Dad in 2007 and Mom in 2009. But earlier, when I mentioned this memory to them, neither could remember the night in question. It stuck with me all these years I suppose because it was so frightening to a three and a half year old kid.

In 1943-44, we lived in an apartment house across the street from the Nashville Auto Diesel College (That school is still going after all these years; it's now known as the Nashville campus of the Lincoln Technical College group. The big old main building of the campus is still there and shows up on their website.)

My father drove a Nashville city bus in those days and his schedule sometimes meant that Mom and I were alone at night.

On the night in question, Mother and I had been out somewhere in the city for a purpose now long since forgotten. We rode the bus down Gallatin Road and got off at our street. I remember that it was cold and I could see my frosty breath coming out. There were always several outside lights on at the Diesel College and the front porch of our apartment house received some of the light. As we walked down the street and came to our place, Mother thought she saw a shadow move across the front of our house.

She grabbed my arm and quickly pulled me down behind a bush that was growing in the front yard. She whispered and told me that she had seen a shadow of a man on our porch. Her voice was shaking and she gripped my arm tighter. She put her other hand over my mouth. "Be very quiet now. Don't talk. He may be trying to get us," she said.

We stayed crouched down that way for several minutes. As I looked at the front of the house trying to see what she had seen, I could feel my heart beating in my chest and felt a great urge to run away.

After what seemed like an eternity, we finally got up and went inside. Other than my feeling of fear as we crouched behind the bush and the image of shadows on the front of the porch, I don't remember anything else. We never saw a man.

What my Mom saw, I don't know. Maybe it was someone walking across the campus behind us and we saw his shadow on our porch. Maybe it was just some tree branches moving in the wind. It could have been anything.

Looking back now after all these years, Mom was always very fearful, very skitterish about anything out of the ordinary, afraid of this and terrified of that. I think she may have been scared and scarred by something in her childhood, something that made her fearful for most of her life. Her own mom had died when she was eight and soon thereafter a fearsome stepmother entered the picture. I suspect Mom's personality was partially molded by those events.

Her personality had other facets as well though. She wasn't a fearful and cowering individual. She conquered her fear of being in front of people in high school, for example, and developed a "Minnie Pearl" type comedy act with another young girl. They were quite a hit and appeared at civic meetings, etc. in all the surrounding counties in the early '30s. And as I grew up, I remember several instances of her standing her ground or standing up to someone who needed to be put in their place. She was strong. But fearful.

I don't think I grew up to be quite as cautious and worrisome as Mom, but it is a part of my makeup too. I sometimes experience night terrors and wake up in a sweat. Most of the time I'm trying to run away from some threat or trying to call out to warn someone about an imminent danger.

Maybe I'm still seeing those shadows on the porch.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Old Crow and "Wagon Wheel" Keep on Rolling

It seems to me I'm always the last to hear about these things. I'm sad to say that one of my favorite groups is "evolving."

Old Crow Medicine Show is the group and the changes occurred in January and February of this year. Original band member Chris "Critter" Fuqua rejoined the group in January after a few years off (first to rehab from alcohol and second to pursue a college degree) while Willie Watson left the group shortly after that to pursue a solo career in LA.

That's "Critter" sitting down with the banjo.

I'm glad to see Fuqua back but I hate to see Willie leave. This is Willie (in the red flannel shirt) singing lead on one of my favorite "Crow" tunes, "The Next Go 'Round."

Another of my favorite "Crow" tunes is "Wagon Wheel," which has an interesting history. Ketch Secor, fiddler and original founder of the group along with "Critter," explains some of that history on Wiki...
"I heard a Dylan song that was unfinished back in high school and I finished it . . As a serious Bob Dylan fan, I was listening to anything he had put on tape, and this was an outtake of something he had mumbled out on one of those tapes. I sang it all around the country from about 17 to 26, before I ever even thought, 'oh I better look into this."
Secor eventually resolved the issue.
Secor and Dylan signed a co-writing agreement, and share copyright on the song; agreeing to a "50-50 split in authorship."[
Here's "Wagon Wheel," now officially a Secor/Dylan composition.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Night Moods

Here's a couple of "night" songs I've been listening to lately. First, Merle, with "Listening to the Wind."

I think I probably like the old Jim Reeves version of the next song best, but there's something haunting about Isaak's version. Take a look at the lyrics while this one is playing. It's a bit jarring to see the words there, how simple they are.

If there's a writing aesthetic I aspire to, it's this one: simple is best. (Alas, aspiration doesn't always lead to achievement.) Still, it's true--simple words can convey complexity, probably better than the complex (polysyllabic, etc.) ones.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pissed Matthews

Sometimes Chris Matthews really gets me stoked. After Monday night's debate he went off on a rant about how Romney's supporters, especially those in the South, are racists plain and simple. They're out to get the President because of the color of his skin. From Hot Air,

I think they hate Obama...And we can go into that about the white working class in the South and looking at these numbers were getting the last couple of days about racial hatred in many cases...they want to get rid of this president.
I'm from the South, I'm white, and even though I worked as a "professional," my average annual earnings would put me solidly in the category of the "working class" he derides.

There's a history in the old South about insults like this leading to duels. I oppose Obama for numerous reasons that have nothing to do with his race; therefore, I consider Matthews' remarks insulting, but I'm not going to challenge him to a duel. I am, however, going to dip him into some extra hot, Southern satire barbeque sauce.


His name is now Pissed Matthews, not Chris, to protect the guilty, and he works for MSNBS (Maximum Socialist National Broadcasting Service). These are the same names I used in my satire, Ken Tool, or Obamaism.

And the scene is this. Pissed Matthews is bummed out after his recent TV appearance where he labeled supporters of Romney racists. His confused feelings of anger and remorse are choking him. He has just parked his car in his Psychiatrist's parking lot. As he gets out he's accosted by two men who demand his wallet.

Mugger 1: Gimme you wallet.

Pissed: Hey, relax, no problem. Everything's cool. I voted for Obama. (Hands over his wallet.) You're probably from a poverty stricken background and you've both got kids to...

Mugger 1: Shut up honkie, you so white you look like you dipped in flour.

Pissed: So you wanna play hardball then? Okay, let me tell you what I've done to help people like you. All my life I've been trying...

Mugger 1 (slapping him): I done tole you to shut your mouth, Mr. Doughnut.

Mugger 2: I think I see you before. You a big TV star, huh? I see you once flippin' channels.

Mugger 1: Where's all your cash? You ain't got no cash? Driving a fine Mercedes like that? Come on Mother Trucker, where you money?

Pissed: I don't carry cash, Man. But...

Mugger 2: Gimme dem keys den, you racist dougboy.

Pissed: What? I love black people. I'm not a racist! My Nannie was a black woman. You can't call me that name. I love black people. I'm a liberal journalist and I'm immune. I'm not a racist. I love black people. I've spent my life...

Mugger 2: Shut you pie hole. You white. You racist. That what I heard said on TV. All whites racist. Blacks can't be racist. Just whites. Gimme you keys to dat Mercedes.

Pissed: No Man, I can't give you my car. It's my Mercedes. I worked hard for that car.

Mugger 1: I workin' hard too, right now. I earning this car. It mine now.

Pissed: Hey man. Put me down. Look, don't do this. I can hook you up with Rachel or Tazereen. I can...

Mugger 1 grabs Pissed's arms and holds him while Mugger 2 removes the keys from Pissed's pocket. Muggers 1 and 2 lift Pissed up high and throw him into the dumpster. When Pissed crawls out they are gone and so is his car. He brushes some debris off his jacket and walks dejectedly into the building where his psychiatrist has an office.

Dr. Gallop (as Pissed enters): What's that smell?

Pissed (removing a piece of lettuce from his head): You're wasting my time and money Gallop. And I suspect you're an in the closet, Romney loving racist.

Dr. Gallop: I diagnosed your issues the first day. But you just ignore me.

Pissed: I think you watch Fox news too. Probably O'Reilly, Mannity, Greta. You're full of that conservative propaganda and it's keeping you from diagnosing my problems. I need some caffeine. You got coffee in this two bit office?

Dr. Gallop: Coffee is the last thing you need. And I don't need to be a psychiatrist to diagnose your problem. It's clear to everyone. You're projecting. You have these racist feelings and you direct them outwards to conservatives.

Pissed: Look, I don't work at no movie theater. I'm a TV News star. A freaking journalist.

Dr. Gallop (punches his intercom): Shirley, get security down here. I want Mr. Matthews removed from the office. What's that? Good. (to Pissed) She already called them; they're in the outer office.

The two muggers, now wearing security uniforms, burst into the doctor's office. They grab Pissed and escort him towards the door.

Pissed (yelling maniacally): I love black people. I'm not racist. My favorite actors are Haille Berry and Denzell Washington. I like rap music. I love all black people. Obama is a god.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Read Chapters 1-4 of "Ken Tool or Obamaism"

Take a look at the first four chapters of Ken Tool or Obamaism. Only $0.99 on Kindle or Nook.
2008: How Ken Tool Learned Obamaism

Once there was a handsome but somewhat naïve young man named Ken Tool who lived in the opulent mansion of liberal and incomprehensibly wealthy US Senator Uboros Tool. The Tools resided in the village of Beverly Hills, in the marvelously liberal state of California, which, thanks to powerful state unions, environmental fanatics, and free spending Progressive policies, was almost bankrupt.

Ken’s tutor, renowned Berkeley political scholar Marx Pan-gas, instructed him thoroughly in all of the complex, irrefutable, and frequently paradoxical theories of Progressivism, and its new champion, Barack Obama. Professor Pan-gas, 45, was an excitable man with big ears, Lennon spectacles, a happy grin, and a graying pony tail.

As a clinching argument for accepting Obama’s brand of Progressivism, Dr. Pan-gas told Ken that almost all the big movie and TV stars loved super cool Obama and believed in his redistributionist ideas. “Become a Progressive Technocrat,” said Pan-gas, “and you’ll lead a glamorous life like mine. One day you might even get to meet Sean Peen and Stupi Goldburger at a party as I once did.”

The Professor also told Ken that there was a SECRET TRUTH at the heart of Obama’s Progressivism that he would reveal to Ken in due time. On the day Ken completed his Ph. D., he asked his tutor if he could at last learn the secret truth. “Patience, young Grasshopper,” said Pan-gas. “You are not yet ready.”

For the first ten months of 2008, Ken Tool worked tirelessly in the Obama campaign. Ken did everything from heckling Hillary Clinton at her rallies in the primaries to putting up posters in useless flyover red states to making fundraising speeches to hundreds of wealthy elitist donors in important blue states. When it came to Obama devotion, his coworkers said Ken was the Main Tool.

How Ken Tried to Impress the Girl Next Door, Vaginia King

The sunset was beautiful on the Pacific ocean on election day in 2008, and the warm California breeze tousled his thick black hair. Ken Tool was happy. Very happy. He was riding beside the “girl next door,” sexy and fantastically tanned Vaginia King, who was driving her purple Bentley convertible with its custom 24K gold trimmed top tucked away neatly under the white leather tonneau.

In spite of the fact that the Tools had been well established for four generations and the Kings were new money Progressives (her father owned all the Zombieburger fast food restaurants in the USA), the gorgeously blonde Vaginia had always treated Ken scornfully and rejected his advances.

Ken Tool’s private tutor and confidant, Professor Pan-gas lounged in the back seat of the Bentley. “Ken, you’re in a very good mood,” said the Professor. “Could that be because the early returns from the East coast indicate that Obama will win?”

Senator Uborus Tool, Ken’s grandfather and guardian, had planned a huge party that night to celebrate Obama’s victory and to announce Ken’s candidacy for congress in 2010. “Obama’s victory will ensure our celebration’s success. I’m very happy for Obama and ready to begin my own campaign, but that’s only part of my joy,” said Ken.

“Perhaps your Mother called and told you she will be at the celebration?” said Pan-gas.

“No, I suppose she’s busy with the magazine.” Ken’s mother, Moonbat Tool, 48, now a lesbian, was the Senator’s daughter. Moonbat was editor of Only Women, the radical feminist magazine that advocated complete female domination in all spheres. One key philosophical position Moonbat advocated was not speaking to any male, which logically included forgoing any kind of communication with her son. Ken hadn’t heard his mother’s voice since he was twelve, eighteen years ago.

As for who his father was, no one supposedly knew; his mother never spoke to Ken about anything at all and the Senator professed ignorance and told him some things were best left alone.

“Could your exuberance,” said Pan-gas smiling, “be because getting your Ph. D. from Berkeley in political science is finally sinking in?”

Ken laughed. “No, I think I understood the importance of that in August when I received the degree. And thanks to your help, I also won all of those prestigious Berkeley awards.” Ken glanced hopefully at the stunning Vaginia.

“Ken won the ‘Jimmy Carter Anti-terrorism Ribbon,’” said Pan-gas to Vaginia, picking up on Ken’s hint, “the ‘Gore Vidal Composition Crest,’ the ‘Michael Dukakis Tank License Certificate,’ the ‘Ted Kennedy Water Rescue Medal,’ the ‘Reverend Jeremiah Wright Goddamn America Cup,’ the ‘Bill Ayers Weatherman Bomb Making Plaque,’ and the coveted ‘Saul Alinsky Community Disintegration Trophy.’ We’re all very proud of him.”

Vaginia yawned and rolled her blue eyes.

“Hmmm,” said Pan-gas, deciding to try another strategy. “My dear young lady, you should be aware that Ken is a high ranking member of WALNUT, the World Alliance of National Union Transformers, a Progressive political group that is slowly changing the country. Besides Ken, myself, many other academics, and various minorities, President Obama and everyone in his administration are WALNUT members.”

“Whatever,” said Vaginia.

“Ken,” whispered the Professor, “tell her about the WALNUT agenda.

“Our organization is all about organized stealth,” said Ken, trying to make the group sound as dramatic and dangerous as possible. “We WALNUTS in the educated elite are like political Ninjas; we provide logistical support to local Progressives on issues like Political Correctness, Multi-culturalism, Affordable Health Care, Racial and Sexual Identity, and Protecting the Environment.”

“These ideas are helping to move us to a humongous socialist state,” said the Professor, “which will be controlled by educated elite technocrats such as ourselves.” 

Vaginia ignored their comments and focused on the road ahead.

The Professor decided to return to his original speculation, this time stroking Vaginia’s ego in the process. “Ahhh, Ken, does your bliss derive from the fact that you’re riding in the only purple Bentley in L. A. beside the most beautiful blonde in Beverly Hills who just happens to be the ‘girl next door?’”

Ken blushed.

Vaginia looked at them sharply. “I tole bof of you honkies I was already 2Killer’s ho,” she said. “Keep messin’ wid me and 2Killer put a cap up yore asses.”

Hearing Vaginia talk in that hip African American Rapperspeak always pained Ken, but he understood how her strong feelings for society’s victims could turn to love or sexual attraction for one of them. Vaginia had met the wannabe rapper 2Killer Jones at Tupac Shakur Memorial Community College in Long Beach. They were in their sixth year at the school now, majoring in Political Rap Eubonics, and hoped to graduate next year.

“Vaginia is spectacular and I idolize her,” Ken said to Pan-gas, “but, as you can see, she’s always scorned me. So, I need something to make her sit up and take notice of me. Something that will prove to her that I am somebody. Am I right Vaginia?” She smirked at him. “Well,” he continued, “tonight my grandfather will announce my candidacy for congress and I will reveal something else, something personal that will make me a star in everybody’s eyes, including Vaginia.”

“Yeah, like any shit a white boy like you be peddlin’ gonna hep you get me,” said Vaginia venomously. “Ima only drivin’ you to this party ‘cause Daddy make me.”

“Vaginia,” said Ken, “have you forgotten that you’re white like me?” She rolled her eyes at him and shook her head like he just didn’t get it. He didn’t.

The professor suddenly leaned forward in his seat. “Ken, does your unparalleled joy have anything to do with that well dressed but dangerous looking black man I’ve seen you talking to in your office lately,” he asked, “that investigator fellow named Martin Bobo?”

“I’ll plead the 5th amendment on that one,” said Ken, feeling his mood lift again.

“What’s he doing for you, what’s he found out?” said the Professor.

“You’ll see,” said Ken confidently. “I’m announcing it at the victory celebration.

Why Ken Revealed the Name of His Father, Ted Nugget

Since Senator Tool, Ken’s grandfather, was a true Progressive and hated any overt displays of patriotism, he eschewed silly provincial displays of the flag or other American symbols.

Senator Tool felt the United States was far too powerful and that its wealth--except for all those funds controlled by Progressives--should be redistributed to the rest of the world; to that end he had sponsored several bills designed to relinquish the sovereignty of the United States to the United Nations and to hugely expand foreign aid to poorer nations, especially those who were Islamist or in other ways indicated their animosity to the US. And, old allies be damned, he also sponsored bills meant to force Israel to cede all its territory to the Palestinians.

It was fitting then that the one hundred huge columns that surrounded the grand ballroom of the hotel were draped with alternating banners and posters of Obama, Senator Tool himself, and pro Palestinian Hamas/Fatah leaders and their anti-Semitic slogans. The floor of the ballroom was littered with pale blue balloons with United Nations logos on them and blue and white confetti, all dropped earlier from the gilded ceiling when Obama made his televised victory speech.

The crowd, well over a thousand elitist politicos and Progressive movie stars, was still excited after Obama’s speech which was shown on the giant screen behind the podium. Senator Tool, a polished and distinguished looking man in his late sixties, concluded his own rousing follow-up speech by introducing his grandson.

“And now, after this great Obama victory, I have an important announcement to make. As most of you know, my beloved daughter’s son, Ken, just finished his Ph. D. in political science at Berkeley.” The crowd applauded and cheered. “I’m happy to announce that Ken will continue the Tool tradition of public service; he is forming an exploratory committee to consider a run for congress in Arkansas.”

The crowd stood and cheered again. “Now I know how most of us laid back California Progressives feel about the hog state, Arkansas. But as champions of diversity and tolerance, we can rise above that natural sense of distaste for hillbillies and rednecks as we did with the remarkable Bill Clinton.” The crowd’s cheer this time was somewhat muted, probably because of Hillary’s dogged fight against Obama.

“Ken has spent many summers there in Buttface, Arkansas, at our lake cottage,” the senator continued, “and he has many friends in the district. I’m sure that when the mid term elections roll around in 2010, Ken will join President Obama in Washington, and we can proceed to redefine and remake America more along the lines of those European nations we so admire!” The crowd roared. “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ken Tool.”

As more blue and white confetti fell, Ken stood at the podium looking out at the cheering crowd. He saw the much admired documentarian, Michael S’Mores standing beside action star Mutt Damon. And over there to Damon’s left, by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was Jeanne Garofoolo, the rather plain looking but politically astute actress who’d helped Ken lose his virginity when he was only fourteen. But that was before Vaginia King had moved in next door. Since then he’d vowed to remain chaste until he could marry Vaginia.

Both Garofoolo and Pelosi were talking to comedienne Sarah Silvermensch who wore a Vera Bong designer bridle and bit in her mouth to emphasize her often self-referenced horselike facial features.

Because a real celebrity was involved, and a rock ‘n roller at that, Ken was sure that what he was about to reveal would certainly impress Vaginia. And, since his grandfather was a tolerant Progressive and always open to the truth, it would impress him too. It would impress all his friends and help lay a foundation for his Arkansas campaign. Ken also hoped that it could help him reestablish communication with his radical lesbian mother Moonbat Tool.

“Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Democrats, Socialist comrades, our partners in the Media, and friends,” said Ken, who took great pride in his ability to utilize the well known “crescendo” oratorical device effectively. “Thank you for your enthusiasm and support. I’m so very happy to be here on this night to celebrate with you the victory of our great and magnificent new champion, the embodiment of all our collective dreams and desires, the final glorious result of the Progressive fight for tolerance and racial equality, the apex of American diversity and multiculturalism, the hope of America, the first really cool president, the One who will lead us into the new Progressive era…Barack Obama!”

Ken was pleased as the crowd went wild and the applause and cheering continued for almost five minutes. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his grandfather, Senator Tool, smiling proudly. As he scanned the audience, he saw Michael S’Mores embrace and kiss Mutt Damon, bending him backward like the famous Times Square sailor kiss after World War II ended. Garofoolo, Silvermensch, and Pelosi were so excited they dropped to the floor and attempted the rare and blatantly lesbian, triple scissoring move.

“I also want to share something important with you tonight,” said Ken when the applause and cheering finally stopped. “Just as our new champion Barack Obama wants us to discover the true identity of America as a socialist, statist, government controlled paradise, we often must find our own personal identity before we’re able to make our mark on the world. Tonight, my friends, for the first time in my life, I know who I am. Of course, I’m a generous liberal, a tolerant Progressive, a life long Democrat, a committed socialist, an academic Marxist, and of course, most important of all, I’m a Tool.” Ken paused and took a deep breath. “But part of my identity has been incomplete since I never knew who my father was.”

The crowd grew hushed, silent. Professor Pan-gas was staring at him. Vaginia was actually paying attention. But Senator Tool’s mouth was open and he was shaking his head slowly in disbelief.

Ken pushed on. “After a long and painful search, and with the assistance of my friend, special investigator Martin Bobo, I’ve finally discovered who my biological father is.”The crowd gasped. Senator Tool collapsed to his knees but was pulled back upright by his aides. “My father is a celebrity,” Ken continued, “like many of you. He’s a rock star, quite well known as I understand it.”

Ken chuckled. “My life has been spent mainly in academia so I don’t know much about him, but I finally know his name. Before I say his name, I want to say this to my mother, Moonbat Tool. Wherever you are tonight, I love you Mom. I know you’re a lesbian now, and I respect that. But I’m glad that when you were young you were hetero for awhile. And I’m glad that you went to that concert. And that you really did, as that song by the Goldfinger group says, F-T-N!” The crowd gasped in unison. “Yes, my father is a rock musician. His name is TED NUGGET!”

A groan of revulsion arose from the audience and turned into a raucous chorus of boos.

Ken didn’t understand. Why were they not happy for him? Why were they shouting angrily at him—“F*** you Tool. And f*** Nugget too!”

Damon and S’Mores simultaneously gave him the finger and the Bronx cheer. As he watched, Garofoolo threw up on Pelosi’s white gown and Silvermensch neighed loudly, pulled her pants down, bared her butt and gave him a full moon.

Senator Tool finally recovered sufficiently to make his way to the podium. He pushed Ken Tool aside and spoke into the microphone

“I apologize to all of you for this disgusting display of ignorance and naiveté.” He turned to Ken. “To make this vile statement tonight of all nights, to sully the purity of Obama’s ascension is sickening to me and to all those present.”

“But grandfather,” protested Ken, “what about Progressive tolerance and openness to diversity and differences of opinion?”

“Shut up you sniveling ingrate. To show you and everyone here the depth of my anger at your revelation, let me publicly say this. You are no longer my grandson, Ken Tool. You are banished forever from the family.” The crowd gasped and then began to applaud.

“Your mother will never speak to you again,” said the senator sternly. “nor will I or anyone I’m associated with.”

“But Mother Moonbat hasn’t spoken to me since I was twelve,” said Ken.

“Shut up, I’m just getting started here. Your membership in the WALNUT organization is hereby cancelled. And forget about the congressional run in Arkansas. I won’t support you. I’m also closing all your bank accounts and taking your Lamborghini too.”

The senator paused and looked daggers at Professor Pan-gas. “I’m not sure, but I suspect your tutor, that bumbling idiot academic Marx Pan-gas standing there had something to do with your abominable and unforgivable behavior. Professor, you’re fired.”

Senator Tool then turned his heated gaze on Vaginia. “Or maybe it was the influence of our crude trailer trash neighbors the Kings and their whorey daughter, Vaginia. Vaginia, you and your family of fast food Zombieburger nouveau riche yokels are banished from Tool society. You won’t be welcome anymore at any Tool events. Now, all of you get off this stage, and get out of my sight. Take them away!” Senator Tool gestured to his security team who sprang into action.

As one of the burly security guards dragged Ken and Vaginia offstage, she hissed through her teeth at Ken and snarled, “Ken Tool, you stupid asshole. You’ve ruined everything for me and my family. 2Killer may even drop me. I hope you rot in Hell.”
Ken didn’t like what she said, but at least she didn’t say it in Rapperspeak.

How Ken Was Kidnapped by the California Green Militia

Senator Tool’s security guards threw Ken, the Professor and Vaginia out on the sidewalk at the side entrance of the Hotel. Ken brushed some of the confetti off his sleeve. “What just happened?” he said. “Why did the senator kick me out of the family? I thought Progressives were tolerant and appreciated diversity. I thought he would want to know the truth about my father.”

“I think I was falsely accused of corrupting you,” said the Professor. “But that investigator Martin Bobo is the guilty party. I warned you about trusting conservatives like him.”

“I’m sorry, Dr. Pan-gas. But I just don’t understand my grandfather. What he’s done to me contradicts everything Progressives believe in.”

“No, no. You have to understand that contradiction is a basic part of our liberal mindset,” said Pan-gas. “We often hold contradictory views at the same time. For example, we say we’re for economic progress and more jobs but we necessarily have to kill that impulse with environmental regulations on oil exploration and a complete shutdown of energy derived from coal.”

“But I….” 

“And Ken, you have to realize, this news about your father will not benefit your grandfather, Senator Tool. Remember, he has another election in two years. Being in any way connected to the gun and hunting fanatic Ted Nugget would be bad for him. This is California, after all.”

“I gotta say, I always been thinkin’ Ted was kinda hot,” said Vaginia. “But I still mad.”

“It’s good that you think my father is sexy, Vaginia,” said Ken. “I think I look like his pictures and maybe…Wait a minute, Professor, you mean besides being a rock star, my biological father is an animal killer?” said Ken.

“I’m afraid so,” said the Professor. “And he’s a rabid conservative!”

“Oh, no,” said Ken, “how depressing. I’m beginning to understand the Senator’s anger. 
But still, he’s my grandfather; I should be able to count on his support. This kind of thing can be very destructive to an individual’s self esteem.”

“Remember, to a true Progressive, politics always trumps family loyalty. Don’t despair. As for your destructive complaint, remember, ‘no pain, no gain.'”

“You’re right. I will not give in to despair. I am still a Tool no matter what my grandfather says. And I will continue to work for President Obama and try to further the cause of Progressivism.” He pushed himself up off of the hard concrete and brushed the confetti off his slacks and sport coat. “Professor, don’t you think that after all this I’m ready for the SECRET at the heart of Obama’s Progressivism?”

“Be patient, Ken,” said Pan-gas. “I will tell you when the time is right.”

Just then, Ken felt a tremendous pounding on his chest as a customized, low slung, metallic blue, pimp ride Gigantic Motors Cascade SUV pulled up to the curb.

“Oh it’s 2Killer,” said Vaginia standing up, “I know dem loud speakers anywhere. I’s so happy he be here. He’s gonna punch yo face, white boy.”

2Killer emerged from the car slowly. As he walked toward them, Ken noticed that the large fat black man was weighted down by gold bling. 2Killer had on a shiny silver jumpsuit and wore thick gold bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings, every kind of jewelry imaginable.

“Hey Vaginia, my main ho, whazzup? These honkies botherin’ you?”

“I want you to whip Ken Tool’s ass,” said Vaginia, “and his friend, Professor Pan-gas too.”

“Wait a minute,” said the Professor as he eyed the enormous black man, “I had nothing to do with this. It was all Ken’s fault.”

“Professor,” said Ken, “I can’t believe you said that.”

But before 2Killer could act on Vaginia’s command, twenty masked figures emerged from the shadows beside the hotel. As they came into view, Ken saw that they were both male and female and wore skin tight green leotards, and green and purple billowy silk blouses with the letters CGM in glowing chartreuse. They also wore glittering red masks dotted with rhinestones and similarly ornamented red combat boots. Eleven of the figures were very muscular, well built men, the rest were shapely women.

“What’s going on? Who are you,” asked Ken.

“Never mind who we are,” said one of the men stepping forward. “You’re guilty of rape.”

“What?” said Ken.

“You just raped Gaia, Mother Earth. You soiled Her beauty with those polluting fragments of confetti. And all of your accomplices are guilty too for not stopping you.”

“I just brushed myself off,” said Ken. “I’m not a rapist. Your accusations are quite extreme.”

“Hold on just a minute Mr. Fancy Pants,” said 2Killer to the man. “I ain’t guilty of nothin’ either, ‘cept pickin’ up my bitch here. Mess wid me I put a cap in you ass.”

“What is your organization,” said the Professor, “what do you stand for?”

“We’re the California Green Militia, a unit of the California Environmental Protection Agency, union employees of the great Golden State. And I’m Admiral Begley Watson. By the way, we designed and made our own uniforms. Aren’t they just fantastic?”

“They’re very attractive,” said Ken.

“Beautiful colors and fabrics,” said Pan-gas.

“I gotta get me some dem red boots,” said 2Killer.

“Excuse us momentarily while I confer with my staff officers,” said Admiral Watson.

“Let’s take ‘em all to one of our state funded community college re-education centers,” said one of the women, grabbing 2Killer’s sleeve.

“Take you hands offen me,” said 2Killer pulling a big .45 out of his pants. “I ain’t shot a bitch since this morning, so I’m feelin’ a little gun horny.”

“Patience brother,” said the Admiral. “You’re not in danger. Our Progressive diversity rules point out that blacks and Muslims are protected victims, and cannot be culpable for any actions they take, and may not be compelled to do anything. Besides, that’s a chrome plated .45 you’re holding.”

“Damn straight,” said 2Killer.

“Okay,” said the woman. “We’ll let him go. But the others must be educated.”

“He clearly indicated that the woman was his ho,” said another woman, “what about her rights as a woman? Shouldn’t we intervene?”

“Black always trumps feminism on the victim scale,” said one of the men. “That’s why we supported Obama over Hillary even though he trashed and abused her. Besides, that’s a very BIG gun he’s holding. Ergo, she’s his woman.”

“Okay, we’ll just take Ken Tool and the Professor,” said Admiral Watson. “You’re free to go, my black brother. And you too,” he said to Vaginia.

“We be lookin’ for you fool,” said Vaginia to Ken. “I can’t believe you announced to everybody that you Daddy is Ted Nugget, even if he is hot. You ruined everything for my Daddy and Mama.”

“We find you ass later,” said 2Killer. He picked up Vagina and threw her over his shoulder like a sack of feed. He moved off slowly towards his ride.

“Where are you taking us?” said Ken to Admiral Watson.

“We know who you are, Ken Tool. We were watching from the back of the crowd as your grandfather exiled you. But you will be very useful to us. We know you are a brilliant Berkeley graduate who won the coveted Bill Ayers Bomb Making Certificate and you’re going on a mission with us.”

“A mission?”

“First you must sign this document.”

“Be careful about what you sign,” said Pan-gas. “You could be committing to Big Oil or some evil corporation.

“Big Oil! Sir, how dare you! This document is simply a loyalty oath to Gaia, Mother Earth. It also states that you will support any all actions taken by the California Green Militia as we resist the enemies of Gaia. Since you live in California, aren’t you both good contemporary Democrats who understand the Progressive cause?”

“Of course,” said Ken and the Professor.

“Do you support our great newly elected chief Progressive and Main Environmentalist Dude, the President of Cool, Barack Obama?”

“Yes, yes!” they said.

“Then sign the document now!”

Ken and the Professor eagerly signed the document. They were immediately handcuffed and separated. The Professor was given an injection in his buttocks and then taken away into the darkness. Ken was thrown headfirst into a large green van.

Read the rest of Ken Tool or Obamaism--click a link below.