Monday, July 29, 2013

First Draft

This is the first draft of the speech President Obama gave at Knox College on July 24,2013.

Hello, Knox College! Home of the Fighting Prairie Fire! Hope you are looking forward to this year’s football season. Last year, your were 2-8. and you had to get a new coach. The last name of that old coach wasn't "Bush", was it?

Eight years ago, I came here to deliver the commencement address for the Class of 2005. Now, things were a little different back then. For example, I had no gray hair. I really didn’t know Joe Biden.Those were the good old days. I didn’t have a motorcade. I hadn’t even thrown a baseball.  On top of that, I didn't even have a teleprompter.  I’m not even really sure I gave a speech here. They tell me I did, but the past eight years have been a real blur for me.

As you might have heard, I kind of went from being a big deal in Illinois to being a really big deal, if you catch my drift.  I’m President of The United States now. Whoot! Whoot! I can focus on things like the economy. Usually, I don’t like to focus on the economy.  To be frank, the economy is a little boring. How many of you like Economics 101? Not many? I thought so.

In case you didn’t know, I came to office in the worst of all possible economic circumstances. Banks were closing. People were losing jobs. Houses were being foreclosed on. It was “Buddy Can You Spare $400 So I Can Upgrade My iPhone”. Times were really tough. So I decided to do a Stimulus Plan. The plan was to give money out to stimulate the economy.  I decided the best people to give the stimulus money to were Union leaders and Democratic Party cronies.

For some reason, that didn’t work out like we planned. It was all George Bush’s fault.

Now, today, five years after the start of that Great Recession, we've fought our way back. Together we saved the auto industry. Look at all of those Chevy Volts out there! We took on a broken health care system and broke it some more because you can’t have an omelet without breaking some eggs. We invested in new American technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil. Now, some of those companies that we invested in have gone belly up, but hey, I had nothing to do with it.

We put in place tough new rules on big banks. We said, “Big Banks, you quit being mean to the middle class”. We changed a tax code that gives all of the breaks to the rich people like George Bush, Mitt Romney and Fox News.  We’ve asked those at the top to pay a little more but they don’t want to because they are all Homophobic Racist meanies that want people to starve in the streets.

So you add it all up, and over the past 40 months our plan has created 7.2 million new jobs. And about 100 of those 7.2 million jobs are full time! You can’t say it is not working.

But with this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington's taken its eye off the ball. And I'm here to say this needs to stop.  I mean, every time I start focusing on the economy, I have people with the nerve-the gall- to disagree with me. Can you believe it?

They start to bring up Benghazi, like anybody gives a hill of beans about that. I mean, really?! Or they’ll talk about the IRS targeting only conservative groups, like it was a bad thing. Geez, some people.

My big time economic pivot is this: Have all of the rich people stop keeping their money and give it to people that don’t make as much money as they do. These other people will then go to the store and buy things. This will cause  stores to order more goods and the people that make the goods will hire more people. Then these people will become rich and give their money to other people that don’t make as much. I don’t how this cannot work. To put it simply, we advocate the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the country as a whole.

If The GOP will meet me half way-by that I mean give up everything they say they believe in-we can grow the economy and I won’t have to come to this forsaken part of Illinois again!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Bitter Pill of Low T

According to the commercials shown during most professional sporting events, the number one medical problem among men is hypogonadism. This is when the body produces little or no hormones. It is referred to as “Low T” or Low Testosterone.

I know what you are thinking: How do I know if I have Low Testosterone?  The symptoms of Low Testosterone are  a lack of energy, a decrease in strength, loss of height, grumpiness  and falling asleep after dinner.  With most men, these symptoms do not seem too serious. However, there are two other symptoms which are very serious: A decrease in libido and YOUR BEST FRIEND IS NOT ACTING RIGHT, IF YOU CATCH MY DRIFT.

This makes Low Testosterone a major male medical problem. I have been a man all of my life, I can say with certainty that most men think about sex 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds a day.  You’ll be reading an article in Commentary magazine about Madeleine Albright and suddenly you’re thinking about Madeleine Albright, the woman.  So, anything that causes a man not to think about sex for just a moment has to be a medical problem.


I’m happy to say that medical science has tackled that other problem aggressively and now we have pills that can, um, help. (Interesting footnote, one of the patients that tested Viagra before it hit the market was Bob Dole. Really. Can’t you see it now? “Liddy, Bob Dole is ready for sex.")

                            Somebody has been to the drug store.

I’m not going to describe the pre-Viagra world for you except to say that the treatment was a real mood killer.

How do I know? I worked for years in medical insurance for a very large insurance company that covered a very large company with many male employees. The day Viagra hit the market was an important date in history because it made my job even tougher (there were a lot of UNION members that worked for our customer) than it was ordinarily.

I think as soon as this company’s employees heard about Viagra, they RAN to the doctor to get a prescription.  I’m not sure how much the drug maker made from it, but I'm sure it was in the gazillions.

Here’s a transcript of a typical phone call.

Me: Thank you for calling United Jerk Insurance, my name is Alan, how may I help you?

Caller: Well [There are certain people, and I am one, that if you took “Well” out of their vocabulary, they could not carry on a conversation], my wife died a couple years back and before that I had prostate cancer. Before that, I had diabetes, cystic fibrosis, gout, and I stepped on a land mine in either Korea, Vietnam or Israel. (Caller proceeds with his entire medical history). I think I had the mumps, too, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I haven’t, you know, since my wife died. Anyhow, I’ve started dating this woman whose late husband Harve used to be on my bowling team. I wasn’t you know, checking her out while my wife was alive and her and Harve seemed like they got along fine. Well, seeing that both our spouses kicked the bucket, we decided to go out for lunch. Then we started to date. Well, one thing led to another and he-he-he (laughs). I thought it would be like riding a bicycle, but my tire was flat, if you know what I mean. Anyhoo, I went to the doctor that treated me for the prostate cancer and he wrote me out a prescription for Viagra. Well, I took it to the drug store and they only gave me 12 pills.  That’s not enough!  (Caller then proceeds to tell an apparently true graphic story regarding old people sex). I worked for General Jerks for 30 years and they owe me a (comical term for arousal).

Me: [During this time I’m checking the  phone queue and there are 200 calls in queue with a two hour wait time] The General Jerks Informed Choice Plan has several different insurance companies process portions of their employee’s benefits. United Jerk processes and pays only the medical insurance claims. We do not process the prescription drug claims which are processed by Medi-Jerk. Would you like their phone number to call?

Caller: Medi-Jerk told me to call you.

This exact same phone call happened at least four hundred times a day for several months. Finally, I explained to one caller that 12 pills divided by four weeks equals 3 times a week and that’s not too shabby. Granted, it wasn’t the most professional explanation to use, but it was all I can think of to get the caller off the phone so I could hear the next caller tell me about how the drugstore “gave” him only 12 pills.

All I can say is this: Men, if you have Low Testosterone, don’t tell me. As far as I'm concerned, ignorance is bliss.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Over 50 Movie Demographic

In case you missed it, the movie The Lone Ranger (other titles: The Masked Man; Tonto With A Bird On His Head; Hi-Ho Fella) took in only 47.9 million dollars during its five day debut during the Fourth of July weekend.  That sounds like a lot of money until you consider the fact that it cost 225 million to make the movie and that this was with the entire Southeast trapped inside due to a rain system that meteorologists called “a lot of rain”.

The Lone Ranger lost out to a movie called Despicable Me 2 which is a cartoon that seems just weird to me. I don’t know, maybe I’m not in the demographic that wants to hear Steve Carell do a bad Italian/Mafia imitation. 

Entertainment Weekly reports that the movie studio was “disappointed” in the return on investment with The Lone Ranger. Dave Hollis of Disney said, “The frustrating thing for us is that it felt like the ingredients were there. The most successful producer in history [Jerry Bruckheimer]; an award-winning, commercially successful director [Gore Verbinski]; and the biggest movie star in the world [Johnny Depp],”  Then Hollis gave the “Duh” statement of the year: “The heritage and legacy of the Lone Ranger story didn’t connect as well with the younger audience. It wasn’t something that was known, and it didn’t draw their interest as much as we’d hoped.”  (Twenty-five per cent of the paid audience was over the age of 50)

Honestly, do you know anybody under the age of 50 that had even heard of The Lone Ranger? If I went up to my son, a 22 year old college senior, and said “Hi-ho, Silver! Away!” he would give me the same blank look he gives when I tell him about the hardships of my youth  having to get up from the couch and actually turn the channels on the TV set.

Hollywood has a lot of problems with my demographic: Over 50 and has seen it all. Here are some suggestions I have that might make Hollywood some money and eliminate the need for Johnny Depp.

1)     Enough with the zombies already!

2)     Ditto on the teenage lovey-dovey vampires that live near Seattle

3)     Try to keep the length of a movie to some reasonable amount of time. If you can’t tell a story within 90 minutes to 2 hours, maybe you shouldn’t tell it.

4)     My biggest gripe with movies: It costs too much to go to the movies. You have an industry filled with people  constantly complaining about Mitt Romney and the evil one per cent  but yet will charge a family of four $20 for two cokes and a bag of popcorn. That is on top of the $22 you had to pay for a matinee. My solution: Base the price of the movie on the length of the movie. I’m not going to pay $10 a ticket for an 86 minute Will Ferrell comedy but would consider it for a movie like Lincoln.
                            The cost: $200.00 (Free Popcorn Refills)

5)     The previews last too long. The problem with most movies is that they show too much of the movie in the “trailers”. This is especially true with comedies. Let’s face it, most comedies now are as funny as a root canal and usually have one or two funny moments, which they show in the trailers.

6)     I know it takes a lot of money to make a movie, but does everything have to be a sequel? There’s a movie called  Grown Ups 2. Why? There shouldn’t even have been a Grown Ups.

7)     If you are going to have a movie like Les Miserables, there should be a sign outside that reads, “This movie is long and there is lots of singing in it, but give it a chance guys, you won’t turn homo for liking it. Plus, Borat is in it too.”

8)     Enough with Star Wars. I like the first one (which is now the fourth one). I thought the second one (which is now the fifth one) was even better than the first one (which is now the fourth one).  At the rest of them, I felt like a C & E Christian (a Christian that goes to church only on Christmas and Easter). I went and saw the movies out of obligation and was bored out of my skull. 

                  Triumph captures the way I feel about Star Wars

9)     Can they make a movie that’s not based on a comic book?

10) Please remember that there are other adjectives than the swear word that begins with the letter F.