History Repeats, Again!

History Repeats, Again!
History Repeats, Again!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stamp Out Intolerance!

I’ve had the honor of providing a virgin encounter to over seventy people without ever having to die or visit anyone’s odd notion of paradise.

I regret to clarify that none of these cases involved any physical intimacy with the exception of the kid on the playground who punched me in the nose for having killed Christ. Or the time a questionable friend’s older brother pushed me into a closet with a lit candle and ordered me to beg forgiveness from Jesus.

I continue to be the first Jew many people have met. I don’t wear it on my sleeve, but it does tend to come out in conversation when people are trying to convert me. This is a shame because I’m a terrible ambassador for my tribe.

My faith lapsed shortly after cashing in my Bar Mitzvah winnings. I grew increasingly frustrated with not being invited to join secret Jewish conspiracies like Wall Street, Hollywood, or the tenured staff of Brandeis University. (If any member of the International Cartel of Jewish Bankers or the Elders of Zion is reading this, please contact me before my next car payment is due.)

I later passed my skepticism on to my sons by answering life’s big questions – “where do we go when we die” and “will there be hamburgers” – by explaining that Star Trek was the documentary story of our exiled people. I then told them to go outside and watch for the mothership.

“Looks like we’re on our own,” I said when no mothership arrived.

American kids nowadays are lucky that differences are celebrated and bloodied noses are fewer. They are blessed to live in the most religiously tolerant and diverse country in the world where church parking lots are full, temples have security guards, and mosques are routinely denied building permits.

The USA even had a Mormon run for president! He gave a big speech to profess his tolerance of other Christians. His opponent, our current president, caught flack for being a member of a radical church. Once elected, he took heat for being a radical Muslim – clear testimony to our open mindedness.

There may not be a mothership, but as the holiday season descends and yuletide Muzak fills our cinnamon-scented shopping malls, we can still raise our eggnog lattes in common worship of the Gods of Commerce.

May your season be joyful and the after-Christmas sales heavenly.

Looking for an innapropriate gift? Steal this book!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Electile Dysfunction Disorder

No sooner had the US elections ended than the backlash started.
Right after two states legalized marijuana the company that made Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Hoho’s went out of business. In spite of a swelling wave of new customers with munchies, 18,000 people who made the snack food beloved to pot smokers everywhere lost their jobs. 

Too many Twinkies might explain why tens of thousands of citizens across the country filed petitions to have their states secede from The Union immediately after Obama's reelection.

Ding Dong Mitt Romney lobbed some Hohos of his own by announcing that he lost the presidency because Obama gave financial gifts to women and minorities. Mittens was stunned that the financial gifts he had promised to the super rich somehow failed to sway the popular vote.

Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan blamed “urban voters” for his defeat even though a majority of voters in his rural hometown voted against him. Fact checkers got busy looking into what percentage of the nation is now urban.
Those poor fact checkers! How empty their lives must feel now that the country has recovered from Electile Dysfunction Disorder.

The son of mega-evangelist Billy Graham announced that Romney lost because Christians failed to vote.   While it’s true that Obama carried the Jewish vote, it was surprising to learn that the Electoral College is full of pagans.
Confirming that the End of Days is upon us, the Israelis and Palestinians began fighting, Europe slipped back into recession, and the CIA Director was brought down by a sex scandal that spread like a virus.

It seems the nation’s top spy didn’t realize that e-mail exchanges could be hacked by shirtless FBI agents.
After seeing his party lose decisively by insulting women and minorities, Obama’s former foe, John McCain thought it might be a good idea to loudly impugn the reputation, achievements and intelligence of a prominent black woman. He missed a confidential hearing on the Benghazi attacks to attack UN Ambassador Susan Rice for being misinformed about the Benghazi attacks.

Clearly, McCain has put the 2008 election behind him and, like the rest of the nation, is now ready to move forward.
The decline and fall is sure taking a long time! It all started in "No Roads Lead to Rome!"

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Audition for a Presidential Speech Writing Job

This election is a choice between two Americas.  My opponent’s America is a classic rock band who’s tired, droning songs are honey-coated with falsetto harmonies but ultimately make no sense. 

My America is the star of “Ugly Betty.”  

This is a nation of immigrants many of whom got stuck here when United Airlines went bankrupt. Others ran out gas on the way to Canada. Either way, if a child was born and raised here, and they’re willing to serve in the military, go to college and work cheap, let’s not deport them until they’ve fixed our crumbling bridges and roads.

On every issue, my rival was for it, against it, and for it again so many times that he doesn’t even remember what “it” was. He  flip-flops more often than our Olympic gymnastic team and he looks like hell in a sparkly pink leotard.

My opponent is in the upper 1% of the upper 1% of the upper 1%. If he were anymore 1% he would round to zero.

He's out of touch. His plan for the underwater housing market is to issue snorkels. He wants to let Wall Street run your daughter’s lemonade stand. He intends to trade Louisiana back to the French in exchange for Martinique.

At least we agree on that last one.

I know this is a close election. That’s why I’ve proposed to settle it by having our wives arm wrestle.  

Let me make this clear: I will not replace our seniors with a voucher system. I will not sacrifice our students to greedy bankers. I will, however, voucher our students if they don't call their greedy grandparents and ask them to send money.

After years of nation building abroad, we need to bring our troops home.  If they can’t find employment within, say, one year, I’ll start another war. This time, let's fight for a place with better vacation opportunities.

So vote with your heart. Vote with your head. Or vote with your feet.

God bless The United Swing States of America.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Endless Election

   The only thing propping up our weak economy is the roughly $2B being spent on the presidential election. The biblical flood of anonymous, unregulated campaign spending has proven to be a terrific stimulus package for advertisers, caterers, and hair stylists.

   Prices and profits are up ever since demand for red, white, and blue balloons caused a global shortage of helium. Our bottomless appetite for imported American flags even prevented a recession in China.

   The USA may not have invented Reality TV, but we were quick to turn it into a governing principal.

   Season One is full of exciting, scandal-prone novelty candidates with sweater vests, cowboy boots, and quirky ideas about science and geography. Most of these early candidates get booted off the island during the final episode known as “The Primary Election.”

   If your favorites don't survive the primaries, there's no need for despair. Many will be back for Season Two cameo appearances in the gala extravaganza called “The Party Convention.”

  The party convention is like “Lollapalooza” for people with golf carts.

   In deference to Mr. Romney, hurricane-proof hairdos will be on display at the Republican event conveniently scheduled during the peak of tropical storm season in Tampa, FLA.

   The Democratic convention will be wrapped in mystery and tension over whether Vice President Biden will be allowed near a microphone.

   The main outcome of either convention is the “party platform.” The platform serves the same purpose in politics as in Olympic diving: the competitor must jump off the platform, twist and turn in mid-air, and land in the great bathtub of public approval without splashing anyone. Any candidate who “flip-flops” loses points.

   The conventions are largely ignored by real Americans who are either on vacation or getting their feral kids ready to go back to school.  The real purpose of the convention is to encourage the party faithful to litter neighborhoods and highways with non-recyclable plasticized yard signs.

  Once the conventions are over, the final leg of the campaign marathon begins.  Because most voters are loyal to their party, the candidates now engage in symbolic struggle to convert a small percentage of critical swing voters to their side. Appealing to the swing voter forces the tongue-twisting candidates to escape Houdini-like from a variety of contorted positions. 

   By the end of summer, most voters would rather be water boarded than hear another campaign promise. With the nation’s attention span spent, the short but exciting Season Three offers thrilling twists and a surprise ending in November when everyone texts in their vote and Ryan Seacrest announces the winner.
Can't decide? Vote for Pedro?

Friday, May 18, 2012

One Star Review

One of the most intriguing reviews I’ve received for “No Roads Lead to Rome” is a one star lament stating, “Read the cornflakes box, it's better.” 

This hurt, but I put on my big boy pants and bought a box of Cornflakes to see if I could improve my writing. I'm always willing to learn and I really want the sequel, “Aqueduct to Nowhere” to snap, crackle, and pop.

I fixed myself a nice bowl of cereal and settled in for a good read. The excitement started immediately when I learned that Cornflakes are over 100 years old. Cornflakes are old as Norway? I was captivated and ready to be transported by the magic of words on paper.

Let’s face it. A 100 year old character sets high expectations for the rest of the box, but I’m glad to say our friends at Kelloggs delivered on the initial promise. The segment on the food pyramid was as compelling as any I remember from elementary school. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen when my 100 old cereal encountered fresh milk.

But the conceit simply didn’t support the weight of the narrative. Why did the writer veer off into a longwinded, completely tangential recipe for “Cheddar Broccoli Double-Coated Chicken?”  At first I thought this was a metaphor for a 100 year old cereal’s struggle to make peace with the modern ethos, but it felt rushed and could have used better editing.

Speaking of modern constructions, I must cry foul on the constant references to external links. Contemporary devices like this jerk the reader out of the historical context. If the cereal box had been an e-book, I might have been willing to click over to the kelloggs.com link for more insights, but when I sit down to read a work printed on paper, I expect it to be complete.

In spite of occasional brilliance, the initial promise falls flat. Midway through breakfast, the box was beginning to feel like it was written by a committee—especially the “Nutrition Facts” section which read like a chemistry teacher’s shopping list. In a word, dire.

Finally, I know a good breakfast is the cornerstone of a productive day, but wasting an entire side of the box—even a narrow side—on this topic suggests to me that the author ran out of fresh ideas and fell back on dull clichés and haggard moralizing. Show me, Cornflakes, don’t tell me.

In short, I would give this box a one star review. The meandering narrative is saved by the excellent graphic design and that wonderful rooster that woke me up without a lot of shrill crowing. (Did you know his name is Cornelius? I didn't. Why did they wait until well past the denouement to reveal this?)

As breakfast goes, I would rate Cornflakes slightly worse than Green Eggs and Ham and nowhere close to what they serve at Tiffany’s.
1-star Rooster

Sunday, February 12, 2012

An Independent Menu for Struggling Candidates

In the past few US elections, perfect hair and radiant teeth have swayed the electorate more than policy statements and campaign promises. This is because the only group who truly cares about issues is the independent voters and they don’t decide until the very last minute.

Party loyalists will always vote the ticket, but that’s not enough to win a majority. A Republican candidate can always count on the faithful, and a Democrat can never count on anything.  Since the electorate is equally split between the two major parties in most key states and regions, the independents can swing the election.

For candidates struggling with how to win these critical swing voters in November, I offer an easy approach. Assuming you’ve got a good hair and a bright set of teeth, here’s a simple policy menu that will fit all budgets and appetites.

DIY Candidate Menu
Chose one item from each section and start campaigning!

  • Legalize Marijuana: this helps conservative candidates because stoners will forget to vote anyway
  • Gay Marriage: Help our weak economy with lavish weddings and expensive divorces.

  • Abortion: Re-define life to start at graduation
  • Foreign Policy: Give Louisiana back to the French
  • Gun rights: all citizens issued a hand gun at birth

Side Dish
  • Technology: Defend our right to carry concealed iPhones
  • Housing Crisis: federally subsided spear guns to all underwater homeowners

  • Immigration: Declare a one day, worldwide amnesty where people can change countries.
  • Budget Deficit: Sell advertising space on national monuments and aircraft carriers

  • Energy Policy: Red Bull
  • Austerity Measures:  English Breakfast Tea Party

 Still hungry? Vote for political humor by reading "No Roads Lead to Rome"

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What’s good for GM is good for America

As I prepare my surprise bid for the Republican Party candidate for president, I’ve burned my platform down to just one plank: absolute support for gay marriage in all 50 states and Alaska.

That’s right. In order to jump start the economy, it’s time to nationalize GM.

Anyone who follows American election politics knows that certain unions are a hotter topic than climate change. Some will say I’m taking this position out of opportunism. Others may think me altruistic, but since when has altruism helped anyone?

I believe that if two people are in love and determined to screw things up, they should be allowed to form a union. It’s only fair. Everyone should be free to wed, start a family, and mess up the next generation the same way our parents did with us.

Like us, the kids will be all right.   There’s no evidence that children of GMs will turn out any worse than the others.  Thanks to Nintendo, most kids barely interact with their parents anyway.   

But love and fairness are not the reasons I’ll legalize GM as president. Sure, I’m for all that squishy stuff, but my GM position is based on cold-hearted economics.

If traditional marriage is good for the economy, GM will be even better.

Just imagine how much those wedding parties will cost and how much champagne the guests will drink.

Modernizing the definition of marriage is our fastest ticket out of the Great Recession. This can't be a state by state affair. Nationalizing GM will provide an instant boon to businesses. The sudden cash infusion to wedding planners and florists, hotels and caterers will be so lucrative the Democrats might propose a GM windfall tax.

GM ceremonies, bridal registries and honeymoons will create a multi-billion dollar industry overnight. The miracle of P-town will be duplicated so quickly that I’m shocked that Mitt Romney, the business-minded former Governor of the P-town State, hasn’t scooped me on this issue.

GM is a gift that keeps on giving. Assuming these new unions will be no more successful than their traditional brethren, the economy will benefit twofold: once from the celebrations, and later from the orgy of spending on divorce lawyers.

Since most divorced people eventually remarry, GM will be one of the most virtuous cycles in economics.

This is a great issue for business minded Republican Party leadership. Embracing GM is both fiscally responsible and consistent with the Republican principle of getting big government out of people’s lives.

GM is so logical, that I anticipate the other candidates will quickly adopt my wide stance on the topic and that’s fine with me. A good idea has many fathers and what’s good for GM is good for America.