Saturday, April 24, 2010

April Fools Day

Since I haven't written on this thing in so long, thought I'd include some contributions I've been making elsewhere. Specifically Comics Corner in the Chicago Tribune. From April 1, 2010

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Best Country in the World. Drive One.

Now that the excitement from the election is leveling off and we are focusing on real issues that face the new administration, it’s time for a bit of a reality check. Yes, we have shown the world that we are tolerant and open-minded, and that we care about things other than war. I’m sure there is some PR value in that somewhere, but it could come at a serious price if we aren’t careful. With a thoughtful, pragmatic and even level-headed new President about to take office, we are in danger of losing the most important element of our status in the world, that being our K.A.R. That’s right, our Kick-Ass Rating. That uniquely intangible quality that supersedes fickle and unpredictable things like a strong economy, educational standings and foreign relations, and keeps the USA in the position of "most enviable country ever" just by always being the most unapologetically awesome nation God ever put on this earth.

The Kumbaya moments and brotherly love nonsense are all well and good as long as they are meant to serve our historic interest in showing the world that we are superior to everyone else in every single way, but it appears that we are forgetting about what ultimately drives that point home; that the message of goodwill and understanding is best delivered in an excessively big, excessively loud and excessively American voice.

It’s up to all of us to recognize when our K.A.R. is being diminished, and more importantly, when attempts are being made to preserve it. Now is one of those times. The force that has not only represented our toughness and united national belligerence, but has actually existed to define it for decades, is in need of our support, and our government seems positioned to deny them that help. I am of course talking about the American Automobile Industry. Specifically, the “Big 3”: GM, Ford and that other one I can never think of.

We may have forgotten how important large American vehicles are to our freedom and way of life, but the companies that make them sure haven’t, thank God. And despite the fact that we have all apparently been too distracted or too lazy to do our part by going out and buying them, the Big 3 are committed to continue building them. And as the direct beneficiaries of the superiority these trucks provide, we need to pay for them one way or another. The proposal couldn’t be more simple: If consumers are not buying the Hummers and Escalades and F1Million pickup trucks that sit on showroom floors all across the country, they just need to make more. A lot more. Before long, car lots will be jam-packed with shiny new commuter-tanks and there won’t be any more room for the hatchbacks and coupes and hybrid shoeboxes we have been irresponsibly buying instead. In fact most of those tiny foreign cars will likely be crushed under the new shipments of Detroit Liberty machines.

This past week, the heads of the Big 3 took matters into their own hands and went before Congress expecting what they had every reason to expect. Our money. I thought it was characteristically big of them to forgive us for neglecting to physically purchase their vehicles and make the transaction easier on us by accepting our payment in the form of a check supported by our tax dollars.

And what did Congress do? They had the nerve to ask for a plan detailing how it would be repaid. What an insult to the people who have, for years, worked so closely with in-house creditors to ensure that any American could own a $75,000.00 SUV regardless of their income, regardless of good credit, bad credit or no credit at all!

Wisely, the CEO’s of these huge, failing companies did not show up with a plan of any kind, just a figure. Freedom doesn’t need a plan other than how to get the cash it needs to endure. Approximately 25 Billion Dollars. You’ve heard it before, Freedom isn’t free. It generally comes at about a 50% manufacturer markup and retails on average for 8% above sticker. But not to worry, Freedom also has attractive financing for customers who qualify. And the American Dream of every man, woman and child to be the biggest badass on the block qualifies.

If you are still not convinced that our K.A.R. is worth the support of your tax dollars, you are seriously missing the point, and you need to stop Tivo-ing past the commercials during football games that tell you everything you need to know about the importance of owning ferociously huge and powerful hunks of steel with V12 engines and 22” wheels.

Take this typical Ford Truck ad for example. This demonstration says it all.

While the VW Hitler mobiles and Korean made tin cans on wheels talk about gas mileage and reliability, Ford tells us what we really need to rely on. They aren’t needlessly worrying about things like environment and economy when they appropriately brag:

“You may never need to tow a 30,000 pound airplane, but it’s good to know you can stop one.”

You’re Goddamned right it’s good to know that. Because you know who loves airplanes? Terrorists! And the next time a group of Freedom-hating foreigners tries to destroy our way of life, I’d rather not count on some pantywaist elitist Fauxmerican trying to outwit them in his clever “Smart Car”. I’ll take four disc brakes and 300 hp of towing power please.

If you don’t want to stick around and help our automobile manufacturers preserve everything that continues to confuse and scare the hell out of the rest of the world, you can drive your hybrid sissy-transporter all the way to Canada on one gallon of gas if you like. I’ll stay here and save my country from killer planes, with Toby Keith blaring through my 5.1 Cabin Surround Sound with 10 speakers. Or Kelly Clarkson. Whatever. When I jump in my ridiculously large, unaffordable, environment-killing behemoth, I will remind our enemies just how crazy we are even if it takes an entire tankful to drive the length of the runway and defeat them.

So let’s open up the wallets, America, and save our well-earned reputation. Freedom and Supremacy look good on you. Don’t say you can’t afford it, there’s always a way. Maybe we can stretch the payments out a couple extra years, and take that anti-American “conscience” of yours that convinced you to buy a Prius as a trade in? I think I speak for the entire American Automobile Industry when I say: What do I have to do to put you all back behind the wheel of the most Kick-Ass country in the world today?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Hey Sarah Palin

I know this is bordering on obsession, but one last post about Sarah. This is a song parody I wrote, performed by my friend Matt Geiler. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The GOP: Finally giving women the right to choose…

For all of you women out there who have been fighting for a right to choose, you’re about to get it. Oh, it may not be the choice you had in mind, but don’t worry, it’s the choice the GOP knows you deserve.

And you can thank John McCain for it. Go ahead, take a minute. Finish doing your hair up pretty, putting on your pretty face or feeding all your babies with your pretty breasts, whatever it is you do on a Sunday afternoon after you thank God for the men in your lives who look out for you and protect you, and then say thank you to John McCain.

The GOP isn’t responsible for the mess females have created this election season. They have consistently done everything they can to save you from yourselves, but that wasn’t enough. You wanted to pretend that your gender has a place in our government and in our nation’s decision making positions, and you couldn’t just be satisfied with the appropriate roles the conservative party has allowed you to occupy. I’m talking about the silent, stoic, pretty face behind the president, the Procreator to the commander in chief, white house decorator. Cool girly stuff.

But lately I guess your soap operas and coupon clubs aren’t keeping your attention as well as they should, because suddenly you found the need to muck up a perfectly well-run system of elections by trying to prove some point. And suddenly we men had to stop doing all of our manwork and deal with the fact that Hillary Clinton was running for President. And that effort was pretty impressive, the way she got so close. It was downright cute the way you all came together and tried to play with the men, but that was never going to succeed. Hillary is not like a regular woman. The GOP knew that and they tried to point it out to you in subtle ways that they thought you could understand, but sometimes there’s no getting through to you gals. Hillary does things a woman shouldn’t ought to do, like argue with men on TV, send her husband to do what she says, and wear pants. So it’s no surprise that she is no longer in this race, and no surprise that the men of the GOP had to take their attention away from the important manstuff they do and fix things for you.

That’s the thankless job the GOP does for you babes time and again, as they do for all areas of the population who make the mistake of trying to think for themselves when they should have better man-serving things to do; they take misguided issues and improve upon them to make them more appropriate to what people really need. Issues you didn’t initially understand, like John McCain = change, and Obama = elitist. It’s embarrassing that you have to be corrected on such things, and really, don’t make them tell you again.

And now you have forced them to redefine the issue of a woman’s role in our society, and they have done so brilliantly. They have even simplified it for you chicks by making it about your favorite complaint: CHOICE.

Now you have a choice, and let’s hope this will keep you quiet from now until November so that the men in charge can do what they need to do to keep this country on the right track.

Ladies, here are your choices:

1. Vote for Obama/Biden. In doing so you will send and confirm the message that has been shouted at you your whole lives, but doesn’t seem to get through those ponytailed heads of yours: That women are not fit to hold an important office, because they aren’t qualified or they are too busy with their babies and their babies’ babies, washing their husband’s snowmobiling suits, or hunting and killing their families’ dinners from a helicopter.

2. Vote for McCain/Palin. To put a pretty, uninformed woman in the position of Vice President, where you can be sure she will be stuck in the farthest corner of the White House and never asked to contribute a thing, you will finally have validated the GOP’s opinions about the role of women in our society: To look good, to always be seen as a fertile baby-machine who isn’t expected to understand important issues and needs to hide behind their stronger male counterparts when anyone points out their faults. And never, NEVER, questions the opinions or policies of the men in her life.

So there you go, ladies, make your “choice”. You can stop thinking about glass ceilings and sexism and what to do with your bodies (other than dressing them up nice for us) and thank John McCain and the GOP for making this a simple choice for you.

Because let’s face it sweethearts, making our broads happy is all that this election is about. All that other nonsense about wars and economies and healthcare…You really needn’t worry your pretty little heads about that.

Monday, September 01, 2008

John McCain's Vetting Process

First, I think it's very sad that Sarah Palin's daughter has to go through the experience of a teenage pregnancy in public. I really feel bad for her and her boyfriend. It's not fair.

I am, however, once again astounded by the McCain campaign's lack of research and understanding throughout this process, and this news just shows how little they did to investigate Sarah Palin's situation before plucking her out of obscurity to play their little game.

I did some research of my own, and found a copy of the actual vetting document McCain sent to all potential running mates, and clearly they left themselves open for some surprises.

Question 11 should never be optional...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Beauty Queen from Alaska walks into a Presidential Election...

Hey everybody, so get this! John McCain, the semi-senile, confused, out of touch Republican Presidential candidate just picked his running mate. Check this out: She’s from Wasilla Alaska, she’s a former beauty queen, she’s got like no experience and she hunts moose with her bare hands. And McCain chose her to be his Vice President! Isn’t that funny?

Hello? Did you hear what I said?

Oh, you already heard this one.

Ok, fine, but listen to my hilarious take on it: She’s like this hockey mom with 5 kids and she makes McCain look even older than he already does, and they think she’s going to win over women voters even though her views are completely opposite of what most women want or need!

Get it?


Alright then, I’ll do my dead-on impression of her, which happens to be the same voice I do when I recite lines from any character in the movie Fargo, except instead of “So is that your friend in the wood-chipper then?” I say things like “What does a Vice President do every day?”
Ha! Get it? See because she’s so inexperienced and lives in a state that is practically another country, I’m portraying her as someone so unqualified that she would say she doesn’t even know what a VP does!

Zing! Nailed that one…Ha ha!...what?

She actually did say that? Holy shit.

Wait, come back! I can make this funnier, give me another chance!

What is happening to me? I used to be someone who could get a few laughs by ranting about real issues and putting my own unique comic spin on them. Why can’t I do that anymore? Today I feel like the guy who just repeats lines from a Seinfeld episode that everyone has already seen and laughed at, and expects credit for remembering the bits and reciting them verbatim.

I got nothing. Yesterday I heard the news about some unknown Governor named Sarah Palin being picked as the Republican Vice President nominee and I actually started to drool a little bit. This is just the kind of stuff I like to make fun of!

So why doesn’t my skewed view of this surprising news seem funny to anybody? Not even to me?

Oh, no. I know what this is. The McCain campaign has somehow stumbled upon the perfect defense plan for the ridicule they previously seemed so vulnerable to. They have turned the country’s sense of humor back in on itself! It’s like the whole two negative charges make a positive thing, or something like that. It’s a goddamned self-awareness double-reverse! When reality becomes so ridiculous that to flip it on its head actually makes the comedian seem like the one who isn’t joking, that is Satire Kryptonite in its purest form!

You can’t satirize a group of people who are capable of creating real-life scenarios so far beyond that of human imagination that the mere facts generate a daily supply of comic genius without any interpretation.

And it isn’t just me. I noticed this disturbing trend appearing elsewhere as soon as the news broke. As much as I love my daily doses of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s twists on political events, as well as most of the MSNBC comedians’ straight-faced “analysis”, I did find most of their jokes on the Palin story a little…predictable. It was as if I’d heard them before. In the news reports. One of the most important elements of a good joke involves a certain level of surprise. It’s hard to be clever about something everyone can see coming. That comic edge doesn’t come from pointing out what everybody already realizes, it comes from doing the unexpected. Like, I don’t know, for example… CHOOSING SARAH PALIN AS YOUR RUNNING MATE!

Look out funny Americans, John McCain is defeating us at our own game.

I thought for a while that it might actually be good for our national humorists to see John McCain win the Presidency. Sure it could completely destroy our civilization in a hurry, but we’d go out laughing. I realize now that we must work even harder to keep him out of office, as clearly he even intends to take away our basic right to feel superior to him through mockery. We can’t laugh at someone who beats us to the punch line.

Stay focused, America, at least we now really know what we’re up against.

And say, did you hear the one about the guy who wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade and once called his own wife the C-word in public, then went on to pick a female running mate just to convince women that they should vote for him because he cares about their rights?

What’s that? Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Are You Ready For Some...SWIMMING!!!

Can we get back to normal now? I love the Olympics, probably as much as anyone else in the world. I just don’t watch any of the coverage. I’m kinda busy at 2:00 am when all the good events are on, and to be honest, I like to think of myself as a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to America’s most beloved sports, like swimming relays. Sure it’s cool to see Michael Phelps become the most bejeweled athlete in Olympic history, but the hype and the settings take away some of the purist appeal that has made competitive waterplay one of our country’s greatest pastimes.

The state of the art facilities, the hyper-specific scoring methods and, well, the foreigners, tend to sterilize the typical memories we hold dear: Fathers in the backyard inflatable pool, teaching their sons the backstroke and the perfect kick turn. It’s enough to peel some paint off of our visions of the famous Norman Rockwell painting we all associate with youth, family, and a young athlete’s first competitive swim lesson with Dad. I believe it is entitled “Touch Out Boy”.

I’m all for giving these American treasures a spot on the world stage from time to time, but also truly look forward to the end of this “demonstration” and a return to weekends spent at home once the American Swimming League season officially starts. Nothing signifies the welcome change in season like a brisk autumn day, a pot of chili on the stove, neighbors stopping by for some nachos and domestic beer, as we all assemble in front of the big screen to root for our hometown swimming team. I must say it’s been a long summer, because I have actually forgotten the name of Chicago’s aquatic franchise. (the Fins? The Water-Rhinos? What is it?) I’m even a little fuzzy about its members. So what else is new? Every year there are trades, and fights for position, and the typical “Anchor controversy”. But there is nothing like Chicago sports, and as hard as it is to keep track of the off-season rebuilding maneuvers, there is still no doubt that Chicago is and always will be a Competitive Swimming town. (dammit, what is our team name? cows, something to do with cows I think. Lamp-kickers? Yeah, Lamp-Kickers sounds right…maybe. Dammit!)

As the hot summer draws to a close, and the Beijing Olympics end, I will begin dusting off my foam swimmers cap (oh, I bet the name is on there… Splashing Gangsters? No…The Al Carpones? Dammit!), and my foam goggles, and my foam pruny swimmer’s finger, and get ready for draft night of my Fantasy Competitive Swimming League. I can already hear the guys ribbing me for my Mark Gangloff pick, but we’ll see who’s laughing come playoff time! (Crap, I need to remember when the playoffs start.) And soon enough it will be time to start making grids for my much-anticipated Swimming pool at work. (“Swimming Pool”, I love that more every year.) I’m even one of those geeks that likes to read about all of the ground-breaking commercials shown at our biggest American spectacle, The Swimming Bowl! The…Stroke Bowl… Splash Bowl? Why am I having so much trouble remembering this stuff. Guess my age is catching up with me…

So hurry home swimmers, it’s time to bring our most cherished and frequently-televised American sport back where it belongs. I know I say this every year, but this year I might just spring for season tickets to see the Chicago…The Chicago…Dammit!