Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas sprirt in Wheeling, WV

It's that time of the year again. I'm often accused of seeing things differently than my fellow Wheelingites. So here's an interpretive glance at common things you might see during the holiday season. Basically, it's a... here's what you see, here's what I see.

You see a matronly woman at a restaurant. She's wearing a lovely Christmas sweater that says "Grandma's my name and Spoiling's my game.
I see this same woman. She is a corpulent woman who's having lunch at Eat'n'Park. While 30 people are waiting to be seated, she argues with the waitress about the quality of a buffet item. Apparently, there wasn't enough ground beef in the massive pot of chili. Flabbergasted, she exclaims, "It was all beans!" She demands some face time with the manager who's busy cleaning up some kids puke near table 16. She is adamant and finally gets her 10% off (before tax & tip). The total cost of her buffet and water with extra lemons was $4.99. Come hell or high water, she will get that 49 cents back. Sensing victory, she struggles to her feet. Totally out of breath, she looks at the people in line and mutters, "Usually, the service and food here is pretty good." Then, she goes next door to the Cold Stone Creamery and buys a double decker banana split & hot fudgalicious sundae to go. The total bill comes to $13.73. This fiscal discrepancy doesn't seem to phase her.

You see a line of young children getting their picture taken with Santa in the middle of the mall.
I see an elderly male on the sexual offenders list. He is wanted for multiple felony parole violations in WV and PA. But here at the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville, he's off the radar. His breath wreaks of Jim Beam. Surely remnants from closing out a dive bar the night before. He's about ready to go on his Camel smoke break which will significantly add to the atrocious stench. As he massages the inner thigh region of children ages 3-7, he mentally salivates when the children tell him what toys they want for Christmas. Each child is a unique experience and Santa's erection goes undetected underneath all that fanciful attire. Santa's real name is "Bill." Bill likes to hear what the kids want. Bill knows what he wants. Later this afternoon, the state of Ohio will add him to the registry. But it will be worth it.

You see a father and children on I-70 heading up to The Highlands to do some much-needed shopping.
I see the redneck father who has everybody crammed in his pick-up. He purchased a top-of-the-line Durango with all the bells and whistles. With no money down, he pays $399 per month and will own it outright in 8 years. He chain smokes with the windows up while his three children sit in the back. Nobody gets to sit up front. That seat's for his spittoon. A glorious brass relic from World War I. This priceless family heirloom/tobacco receptacle has been passed down from 3 generations. You would think that either cigarettes or smokeless tobacco would be sufficient. You would think wrong. Both are necessary to simultaneously achieve that heralded nicotine buzz. His over sized, ill-fitting, trapezoid-shaped ball cap reads, "USA - LOVE IT or LEAVE IT." Not to let the ball cap entirely steal the spotlight, his t-shirt reads "WORLD'S GREATEST DAD."

You see a car heading up to Oglebay for the Festival of Lights.
I see a four hour line of traffic in every conceivable direction. Somebody runs out of gas half way up the hill. The grandma thinks the car broke down and frantically dials 911 as the kids in the back seat weep uncontrollably. "But Gran-Gran, I want to see the Kwissmas Twee!" She barely makes it into Stratford Springs. The car is towed to the nearest parking garage. Alas, all it needed was a gallon of gas. The gauge on her 1989 Cutlass Cierra had been broken since 2004, but she forgot all about that. Her lapse in judgment is understandable. Just too preoccupied with the spirit of the season. Me too, I suppose.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Republican 2012 dilemma

There's one question that dominates the mind of every potential contestant in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries. Assuming "Sarah the Imbecile" runs, how do I get rid of her without alienating her base? For the record, history is replete with nicknames of political leaders. Ivan the Terrible, Alexander the Great... As of this moment, I'm starting an internet campaign to orchestrate a new means of identifying her - "Sarah the Imbecile." I think it has a nice ring to it. It could catch on - you just need someone with some clout to introduce it an opportune moment.

But the million dollar question remains, how do you dispose of this woman. Right now, the 3 other central competitors (Romney, Huckabee & Gingrich) are terrified of the self anointed mother gristle. Let's look down the road a bit. Most political hacks think she'll run. I tend to agree. But I think her popularity in Iowa, the initial primary, could be a tad inflated. Remember, the Iowa caucuses are unlike regular primaries. There's no secretive voting. They hold the caucuses out in the open. Whether it be in a church, a school or wherever. Basically, there's a large group of people. After everyone makes an impassioned plea for their respective candidate, you literally have to go and stand in a certain part of the room. Not a lot of people realize this. It's a very OPEN process and the Iowan voters take a great deal of pride in their traditional process. Palin never went through all this in 2008. She was simply handpicked by McCain for the VP slot. It's one thing for a registered dumbass to vote for her. It's entirely another matter for them to withstand the embarrassment and scrutiny of their friends and neighbors. When your peers are standing in judgment, and you're pressed with the question, "Do you really think she's qualified to be President of the United States," I strongly suspect many would fold under the pressure.

I don't doubt that Sarah the Imbecile has the "ovaries" to "woman up" and compete. I just don't think she'll compete effectively. No doubt her good 'ol fashioned common sense instincts will be seriously tested in town hall settings. Her impassioned tweets and sound bytes won't hold up so well. If somebody asked her what cities she planned on visiting... Well, other than Iowa City, I doubt she's familiar with Davenport and Des Moines. Well, she probably has visited some of those cities on her book tour but she probably refers to those municipalities as the one with the Sam's Club, Borders or Books a Million. Trust me, this dipshit thinks Barnes and Noble is a wine cooler.

The Republican party has demonstrated a tendency to go with the establishment pick. It's generally more of a closed process than the Democrats. Presidential candidates are usually the traditional pick. That's why I think it will eventually be Mitt Romney. Surprisingly, if you check the gambling odds, Palin's currently the front runner.

Sarah Palin +300
Mitt Romney +400
Bobby Jindal +500
Mike Huckabee +500
Tim Pawlenty +1000
Mark Sanford +1200
Charlie Crist +1200
David Petraeus +1500
Newt Gingrich +1500
Jeb Bush +2000
John McCain +2000
Rudolph Giuliani +1500
Ron Paul +2000

I'm a little surprised with these odds. Jindal is on record adamantly saying he will not run. Crist??? Isn't he an Independent who turned his back on the Republicans and then got crushed by Rubio in Florida. McCain again? Gimme a break. And where's John Thune from South Dakota? He'd have a respectable chance. Not sure if has the name recognition or cashflow though.

But still, the question persists - How do you get the Republican nomination without alienating the Palin's little trained minions? First off, as one of her opponents, you MUST have an appropriate answer for the main question - "Do you think Sarah Palin is qualified to be President of the United States?" You cannot dodge this question and sheepishly respond, "Well, that's a question for the American voters in the Republican primaries." That's a cop-out. Here's how I would answer the question everyone fears...

"Of course she is, she was our VP nominee at the 2008 Convention. She had a debate with Joe Biden? Didn't you watch it? They ran it on your network!" The point is, after the primary fades I think it's highly doubtful that the press will begrudgingly harp on the point that you said she was qualified. Other high priority issues will surface - they always do. You might get bashed on MSNBC, but hardly anyone who diligently watches that channel is going to give a damn. And it will eventually become a stale talking point.

Anyhoo, what's my point to all this incoherent blather. Well, here it is. I'm trying to figure out the inevitable Mitt Romney strategy for defeating Palin while simultaneously not alienating her legion of followers. I think it goes something like this...

Mitt - We need to put aside all the hot-button social and religious issues. These issues must take a temporary back seat as we struggle to save the country. Now is NOT the time to get mired in debates about gay marriage, abortion... We need to focus solely on jobs, the economy and the deficit.

This would play well because Romney has flip-flopped on abortion and has overtones as a social liberal because he's from the Northeast. And it also eliminates discussion of the Mormon tag which plays poorly in Georgia and the south and midwest. The move would be unprecedented since all the candidates have historically pandered to the extreme right wing.

He also is the only Republican candidate with REAL big business experience. I think he needs to come out swinging in this direction. It sets him apart from Huckabee the preacher, Sarah the Imbecile, and even Newt the cheater. Romney needs to make it look as though "it's me against the field." I think you come out forcefully with a statement that "I'm the ONLY solid candidate who's focused on the critical economic issues." All the others are only concerned with tv exposure and their social causes. If you want a celebrity, vote for one of them. If you want a Republican president on 2012, vote for me.

Sure enough, you'll take some hits form the anti-gay and pro-lifers, but I think drawing a distinction in the primaries is more crucial. It is of paramount importance. Plus, it's a great way to pivot into the general election, especially if the economy is still tanking (and yes, the overall economy is going to be the same or even worse for the vast majority of Americans). And when the dust finally settles, are any of these hard-line base Republicans going to vote for Obama? Fuck no. You'll easily get them back for the general election. Anyway, I suspect Romney will employ this kind of strategy. Watch for it - specifically, the tacit discouragement and rejection of traditional conservative social issues in 2012.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

facebook cartoon pics/egging of Hummers

I never quite understood the mentality of changing ones profile pic on facebook to a cartoon character. It was initially portrayed as a way to empathize with the plight of child abuse. I guess that would sense to some people. It's relatively easy to convince people to take benign action when faced with an evasive, emotional issue. Supporting the troops, cutting the size of government, railing against childhood obesity, keeping pedophiles away from playgrounds, improving K-12 education, expressing love for your country, prayers to trapped miners, etc. All these are no-brainer issues, very Palinesque.

But something happened along the way with the cartoon profile pic. Someone out there in cyberworld made an allegation...

The people that started posting this thread/status update were pedophiles. That's right! They were trying to entice young children into "friending" them. Personally, when I first read that, I thought that sounded like a bit of a stretch. Fascinating though how quickly the non-snoped anti-cartoon profile thread is making the rounds. Probably because child abuse is such an enormous, hot-button issue.

It got me to thinking though. Mostly about the awesome power one could potentially harness by starting one of these status updates. When faced with an emotional statement, so many people make knee-jerk reactions rather than ask questions. I'm also guilty of this.

But the million dollar question, could people be motivated to commit random acts of violence or vandalism (much easier) based on one of these simplistic updates? Could you tactically phrase one of these updates concerning gay marriage, abortion, terrorism and then literally "pull the rug out from people" with some kind of counter-update conclusion? Could people be encouraged to turn on their "friends." Let's be blunt, most people have a few friends who they really don't know that well. Personally, I use the following scenario to gauge friendship - "have they ever been in my home" or "do I enjoy your presence" is a fairly good barometer. My point - when people have over 400 or so friends, most of these facebook friendships could easily be thrown out the window. You simply don't know them so it might be incredibly easy to turn on one of these acquaintances.

I'd like to create a status update based on my revulsion toward those idiot Hummer vehicles driven by wannabe, rugged trophy wives. I think they speak volumes about a person. The trick would be to make people believe that based on their purchase of a "knock-off" military vehicle that they have some kind of predisposition to believe something about our aggressive war policy. Perhaps a specific aspect about torture or enhanced interrogation techniques. Then, in a follow up post, you encourage people to throw eggs at the monster SUVs. This is a softer form of vandalism; thus, not as objectionable as say slashing tires.

I'd love to witness the universal "egging of Hummers." Has a nice ring to it aside from the strange, pseudo-sexual overtones. Just something to think about - an emotional appeal/facebook status update that encourages people to egg Hummers. The best place would be in grocery store parking lots since the availability of eggs is so convenient. And the act itself, not exactly a hate crime. More of a weak, random political statement. Shouldn't have bought one of those obnoxious gas guzzlers in the first place.

Maybe something like...

To everyone who owns a Hummer... Did you know that the creators of the Hummer brand were a group of militant Muslims? Their purpose was to increase our dependency on foreign oil. They purposely designed it to resemble our military vehicles as an inside joke on stupid Americans. If you see a Hummer in a grocery store parking lot, throw an egg at it. Copy and paste this to show your support for our troops and veterans!

Alright, now granted, that is a bit of a stretch. But you see where I'm heading. If anyone can come up with a better call to action, lemme know. By the time I leave this planet (I don't believe in silly notions of heaven or hell, and in all likelihood, I'll most likely be buried... so conventional wisdom says that I'll never "leave" the planet earth, unless NASA or the Virgin Atlantic dude offers assistance - proud distinction of the first atheist jew in orbit), I need to witness the egging of Hummers. It would be a source of tremendous pride to know that I was the one who got the ball (or for that matter, egg) rolling.