Friday, October 28, 2011

Herman Centipede

Herman CainNo matter what you think of him, you have to give Herman Cain credit for maintaining a presence in the current conversation. I’ve been posting several news stories and getting into a few discussions about him on Facebook. Why, Beth (you might ask)? Do you really think he has a chance of getting the Republican nomination?

Not really...but after the popularity of Sarah Palin, I don’t take the gullibility of the American people for granted. Anything can happen in this strange state of the union in which we find ourselves.

A couple of my more conservative friends (yes, I really do have some, believe it or not) wrote that they like Cain. When pressed to explain why, they didn’t have much to say about that...just that they “like” him. When asked about whether they support Cain’s stance on abortion and gay rights, they seemed to be against Cain on those “issues.” But they never did articulate WHY they like him. One said that Cain would “mop the floor” with President Obama in a debate. (Whatever you’re smokin’, honey, feel free to send some of it my way!)

I was having an email discussion with Cousin Greg today (after wishing him a happy birthday!) and wrote something about the “inexplicable” popularity of Cain. I thought Greg had a pretty good take on it:

I think his popularity is easily explainable....People who like him or Ron Paul have the same mindset as many of those who voted for Obama in 2008. They believe that the key to turning the nation around is a strong, somewhat outsider personality rather than adherence to a handful of distinct policies.

That's why your friends can't talk in depth about the merits of his policies...Because they've attached themselves to Cain's problem solving methodology and personality rather than a specific policy or two.

I wrote that I mostly agree with what he was saying, but that while some people may have voted for Obama because of his charismatic personality, I cast my vote for him because I had read his books and liked his vision for our country, and because he had a lengthy and detailed plan of what he was going to do if he became President (I still have my copy of it). I do not see that with Cain, not one bit.

When he did put forth a policy, his 9-9-9 tax policy, it was roundly condemned by numerous, non-partisan analysts as being horribly regressive, placing increasing burden on the lowest income earners and giving the highest earners a huge tax break. When this was pointed out to him, his answer was, “Those analysts are wrong.” This week, he altered his policy to make one of the nines a zero for lower income people. I have to wonder why he didn’t think that out thoroughly before he took it public. One might think that he was just trying to come up with a catchy policy phrase instead of something that would really work.

He really wants to go head-to-head with President Obama on foreign policy? Cain constantly ducks questions about such issues by saying that he’s not privy to classified information, so he can’t offer his thoughts on it. Bish, if someone like me can read about these things and offer at least a casual opinion, so can you! You’re running for President! You need to know about these things! I would also recommend that you don’t ridicule the names of other countries because you think they sound funny. It’s Uzbekistan, not “Uz-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan.” When you’ve got the president of Afghanistan noticing and laughing about your comments, you can bet that he wasn’t really laughing. He was ridiculing your lack of knowledge about other countries, and dismissing you as a serious contender and as a world leader.

Then there are the bizarre ads his campaign put out this week. The strange “He Carried Yellow Flowers” ad, in which some actor I had to look up on IMDb says to a couple of whiskey-swilling, tobacky-chewing ne’er-do-wells who dare to question his yellow flowers, “Why has it always gotta be about color? What are you guys, liberals?” and then punches them both in the face. Then there is the über-strange “Now is the Time for Action” ad, in which his campaign manager, Mark Block, talks about how America has never seen a candidate like Herman Cain (all the while shaking his head...what?), and then takes a drag off a cigarette and blows the smoke towards the camera. What. The. Hell? It’s almost surreal in its bizarreness. (But apparently Herman is just giving a shout-out to his former buddies. As a lobbyist with a restaurant association, Cain worked hard to help Big Tobacco in their lobbying efforts, including fighting against smoking bans in restaurants.) Everyone from David Letterman to Stephen Colbert to Jon Huntsman’s three oldest daughters have made parody ads. (My personal favorite was the Colbert ad featuring a huffer, followed by his Slow Smile Contest challenge to Cain.)

As I clarified with Greg, Cain’s popularity is inexplicable to ME. If you spend any amount of time looking at this guy, his policies, his outlook (Don’t have a job? Blame yourself! Want to cross the border illegally? Fry on our electric fence!), and his lack of knowledge, I don’t know how anyone can support him for the highest office in the land. We are just starting to get our respect in the world back; do you really want our leader to be known as That Pizza Guy who can’t make heads nor tails of all the Stan countries? If he showed at least a glimmer of knowledge about such matters, I wouldn’t be as dismissive, but COME ON.

I don’t doubt that the Cain bubble will burst soon, just like the Bachmann and Perry bubbles burst. He just can’t sustain this kind of bizarre behavior and continue to get a pass. But sometimes I can be a little too optimistic about the ability of the American people to see what seems perfectly obvious, so I’ll keep posting things about Cain until he tanks just like the others. If by some strange chance he doesn’t tank and actually wins the nomination, there will be plenty of fodder for his run against President Obama.

Who’s next? Santorum? That should be fun, too!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It’s my birthday!

Thank you3Well, not mine. It’s Nutwood Junction’s birthday!

Well, it’s not the actual day; I’m two days late.

But we’ll just go with celebrating (or lamenting, as the case may be for some) today, okay?

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years. I’ve made a lot of friends along the way, and I’m happy to say that I think the enemies have been few. I remember a few memorable occasions when the friends clashed with the enemies, in a battle of epic proportions. I’ll never forget Dan’s line “I’ll cut him so bad he’ll wish I didn’t cut him so bad.” Classic!

Just like Led Zeppelin, good times, bad times, you know I’ve had my share. I’ll never forget the incredible support you all gave me when my Dad passed away. It helped more than you could ever know. I’ve made lasting friends here, and on the occasions that I’ve gotten to meet some of you in real life, it’s been a fun and positive experience (more to come...stay tuned!).

Readers have come and readers have gone; I don’t update as often as I used to; but I’m still standin’, and I plan on being around for many more years of rants, missives, and general long as some of you keep reading. Thank you for liking what I have to say enough to stick around.

I’ll keep writing if you keep reading. Deal? Deal!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Some things never change

Leopard changing spotsAfter no interaction for quite some time with a certain “actor” in our little play of life, it was decided to raise a concern via email. While the tone on our end wasn’t friendly (there’s really no point in it now), the response was laughably typical.

“I am responding in an overwrought way to YOUR email and would like to remind you that YOU are the one who sent it. I am telling a couple of lies here without realizing that YOU have documentation that they are lies. I am rewriting my OWN version of how things happened and it doesn’t matter what YOU think. I am placing upon you sole responsibility in a situation that I brought about through my OWN actions, anger, words, and inability to let go of a grudge or accept that there are some people that really don’t want to be friends with me because of the way I behaved towards them, but I will NEVER take any responsibility for that. I am going to blame you for being friends with someone who I think is a bad person because of what I say they did, even though you were never given any clue by anyone involved that it was happening, and because I’ve lied about so many things in the past, you don’t believe me now. That is on YOU, not me, and I take no responsibility in the matter. I don’t care if you think I should have mentioned something at the time because you say that you would have done whatever you could to make sure everyone was safe. It’s all YOUR fault. Now I am going to deliberately misinterpret something you wrote about having a party and I’m going to make sure that everyone involved thinks that you hate them and want nothing to do with them. And THAT is on you. NOT ME.”

I think that sums it up pretty well. I’ll eventually write more about this, but that will do for now. It’s a matter of basically all contact being cut off, being told explicitly that no contact is wanted, and then being bitched at because…there is no contact. If someone tells you, with no equivocation whatsoever, that no contact is wanted, and previous attempts have been unsuccessful or thwarted, I’m not sure what a person is supposed to do. I’m really not. But the “actor” in question seems quite happy with the situation, and that tells me plenty about their fucked-up state of mind.

Yes, I will definitely celebrate when all dealings are done, but it’s not because I am unhappy or pissed about meeting obligations. No problem there. The duty will be met. What I will be celebrating is finally being shut of this person and their chumbucket of nastiness, negativity, and Machiavellian scheming. THAT will be a cause for dancing in the streets of Nutwood, believe me!

In the meantime, in this world full of uncertainty and change, there is something oddly and pathetically humorous to me in seeing that there are people in this world who will never alter their approach to others and to life in general. They just keep on keepin’ on, and it doesn’t matter how much they fail in hanging onto relationships or in making lasting connections with others; no, they just continue their same modus operandi of trying to catch flies with vinegar. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a complete lack of self-awareness. You’d think that the trail of devastation left in their wake would make them take a long hard look at how they treat people. Apparently not. They forge ahead and continue to fuck people up—even those closest to them—with their actions.

What a legacy. Jesus jumped-up Christ on a sidecar.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fightin’ Irish forced to shut their pie holes

On the fieldIt was shaping up to be a pretty great International Pie Hole Day on Saturday (along with being Ken’s birthday weekend). Several silly like-minded friends participated, and it was a beautiful fall day: sunny and in the low 60s! A perfect day for a football game! It was the first night game at Notre Dame stadium in about twenty years, so it had a bit of a different feel to it.

We headed out to grab a bite to eat and a couple of beers at our go-to place when it starts getting cooler, Between the Buns. (Decent parking across the street, 32 ounce beers we can take along with us, and a pleasant, not-overly-far walk to the stadium. And TVs at the tables, so we can watch whatever game we want!) When we finished up there, we started making our way to where my sister and her husband were tailgating with some friends. Most of them were women with whom I was in a service sorority for a while, so it was really great to get to see them! They’d been at it for a while, so everyone was exceedingly happy, and we joined right in. They’d managed to leave a little Goldschlager in the bottle for me. Yay!

As we were all talking, Diana pointed out that she was pretty sure one of the guys tailgating next to us was Cheech Marin. (You might remember his movies with Tommy Chong in the ‘70s...although if you were a big fan, you might not!) He was having a bite to eat, so I didn’t bother him then, but when he finished, I had a shot of courage from the Goldschlager bottle and went over and said, “Welcome to Notre Dame!” He asked my name, we chatted a bit, and I said, “I’m guessing you won’t be cheering for Notre Dame, though, right?” He laughed and said, “Well, you know...!” I asked if he minded if I got a picture with him, and he said sure, so Ken got a picture of me and Diana with Cheech! What fun! Honestly, he couldn’t have been a nicer guy. Just super nice, and everyone was kind of chatting him up and being cool and welcoming. He mentioned that he’s working on a new show, so I’ll have to watch for that.
Ken got a couple of pictures when I first went up to Cheech, and I saw later that I was rather glad-handed, putting my hand on his shoulder. I wrote on Facebook that I pulled a Mitt Romney on the guy, but at least he didn’t go all Rick Perry death stare on me! He actually smiled, so I guess it was okay.

Of all people to run into, tailgating right next to you. So funny, and super cool! My goal is still to get a picture with Regis Philbin, but I don’t think we run in the same circles. Ha!
Then it was off to the stadium. We took a sort of roundabout way, so we could stand where the band comes by as they walk into the stadium. It’s one of the best college marching bands in the country, and it was fun to watch them go by. Then we parted ways with the gang and headed to our seats. Best seats we’ve had this season, about 15 or so rows up from the field, right by the student section. (We have even better ones for Boston College, the last home game of the season!) Guess who was sitting in front of us? The men’s basketball team. That’s right. There’s all five-foot-nothing of me, with this six-foot-plus guy in front of me. (Tim Abromaitis, the best player on the team this season, was a few seats down.) I don’t know who the kid was, but he was really sweet, and we all got a laugh out of the situation. He was often trying to duck down so I could see, and he didn’t seem to mind when I stood up on the seat to see over him, bracing myself with my hands on his back.

Alma materThe crowd was loud, the place was rockin’, and the players were sporting their new helmets with the extra-sparkly gold paint. They looked really neat, and yes, they really do put gold flakes in the paint. (Kind of like the Goldschlager, now that I think about it!) The Southern Cal band came along, and they’re also one of the best college marching bands in the nation, so it was a pretty cool night...for a while. I’m sorry to say that the team made some stupid mistakes, and the game ended up being a nasty loss for ND. Coach Kelly is not a happy man right now, and I actually feel sorry for the players this week! But we stuck around for the entire game, including when the team came over to stand by the student section as they all sang the alma mater, and I still raised my fist at the end and sang along: “Love thee, Notre Dame!”

Now, do better next week, guys!