Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Good Advice

"Good advice costs nothing and it's worth the price" ~ Allan Sherman

As luck would have it, I finished reading Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Aime Parnes a couple of days before Jon Ossoff's quest to be the only politician in America that didn't vote for himself crashed and burned.

I enjoyed reading it. It had a happy ending. Ha. Ha.

Seriously, the book documents the reason why Clinton lost: Clinton.

Hillary Clinton has been around for a long time and the reason for her wanting to be President basically boiled down to "I Want To Be The First Woman President and You Owe Me".

Plus, one of her campaign honchos was a "numbers guy". We all work with a "numbers guy". The guy that looks at the numbers and tells you "what they mean".  Most of the time, the interpretation of the numbers are "wrong".

I thought of that during the Handel-Ossoff race. The numbers guys were telling the Democrats the 6th District was ripe for the picking because Trump only won it by one percentage point. They didn't add this:  Tom Price won 65 per-cert of the vote, which means there was plenty of people that didn't vote for Trump voted for Price.

This meant a Democrat would have an uphill battle to win The 6th District.

However, the national Democratic party took it to mean you could run a very young political cipher who didn't even live in the district and win as long as you pour buckets of money (30 million dollars) into the district.

Oops. It didn't work out. Give me 30 million dollars and I could get my cat, Gracie Manis, elected to Congress.

It reminded me of what Dave Barry said about Democrats: "They're the kind of  people who'd stop to help you change a flat, but would somehow manage to set your car on fire."

Unlike most of the people on my side of the river, I am not gloating over the Democrats' problem. Okay, maybe a little. I mean, they sort of deserve it. They always act like they're on the "right side of history" and they are genetically cooler than everyone else.

However, it is important for the country to have a strong two-party system. It is important for the Democrats to learn the lessons of the past couple of election cycles. The lessons are not: A) Yell louder and B) Cuss More.

I am here to give my friends in the Democratic Party some advice.

1)  Cut Nancy Pelosi loose.  Like it or not the face of your party is this San Francisco dingbat. She always looks like to me that she's lost her keys in her purse.

2)  Stop "The Resistance" mess. Trump is not an existential threat to anything except maybe himself. Trump has proven, time and time again, that he's his own worst enemy. Get out of the way and let him mess up. Plus, it is just silly to walk around dressed up as genitalia.

3)  Cool it with The Apocolypse.  This is the Democratic response to anything President Trump says:  "People will, literally, die".  Steve Goodman had a song about his dad that said, "He'd get all mad and start to shout, I knew what was coming and I tuned him out".   The Democrats are like that. They get mad and they shout people will die.  And people that do not live in Democratic strongholds tune them out.

4)  Come up with your own proposals.  A fair criticism of The Republicans is they had eight years to come up with a replacement for Obamacare and they didn't have one.  Well, Democrats don't have anything except the status quo on a whole list of items ranging from healthcare (keep Obamacare) to immigration (there's no problem).

5) Celebrities.  Democrats have always paraded their whoop-de-do show business friends around. From Lauren Bacall presenting her gams to Harry Truman to The Rat Pack and JFK to Jimmy Buffett wasting away again with Hillary Clinton, the Democrats have always had the cool celebrities. It just doesn't matter much to regular people.

 6)  People.  For a party that claims to be a party of "the people", they sure spend a lot of time throwing shade on folks.  They seem to only like a certain type of people. You know, usually, people from the East or West Coast who have gone to all of the right colleges and universities. They really need to get into contact with their inner Bubba.

7)  Speaking of Bubba, one of the things Democrats really need to do study Bill Clinton. He showed you how to win. Okay, sure he had (has) problems with his zipper, but the man knew how to win votes and get things done. Even if it meant working with icky Republicans.

Of course, The Democrats will come back. About eight years ago, magazines had cover stories proclaiming the end of The Republican party. The Republicans changed. Or they at least tried to. The Democrats should at least try.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Millennial Gettysburg Address

If  The Gettysburg Address was given by a Millennial Abraham Lincoln.

Like, um, it was about 87 years ago (isn't, like, a score 20 years, so it was 4 or 5 scores plus 7 years)  some old white dudes created this lit country they stole from the Native Americans conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. As if.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, which is almost as shook as the one Captain America had with Iron Man, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. Personally, I'm actually for Captain America. My bro was for Iron Man probably because I was for Cap. I was like, chill. You know Captain America is twice the superhero Iron Man was. I mean, Captain America partied with Harry Truman and Samuel L. Jackson. You can't  party harder than that!

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. This Civil War-not the one in the Marvel Comic Universe.  You know, I really dig Wolverine from "The X-Men". I would totally be on whatever team Wolverine joined.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place. I mean, like whoa. Men came up here and like, died, for the country.  And I shouldn't just mention men. I should give a big shout out to the women that were here along with all of the Transgendered soldiers.

I'm going to tweet #Itisaltogetherfittingandproperthatweshoulddothis. Make sure you do it as well and maybe we can get this trending on Twitter.

But I guess, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground and we won't allow a Starbucks to be built around here, although I could go for a vanilla bean frappuccino right now.  My bro doesn't like Starbucks. He's a Dunkin Donuts man and that is so lame. My old man told me that they used to make the donuts at the actual Dunkin Donuts and how good the Dunkin Donuts smelled.  TBH, He's always going on and on about how something smelled in 1978. He's got a real historical nose. It is very annoying.

The brave dudes, gals, and people of other various genders, living and dead, who struggled here have apparently consecrated it far above our awesome power to add or detract. So that's pretty hundo p if you ask me.

The world will always note and long remember what I say here because I'm Abraham Lincoln and I have this great beard. I decided not to do the mustache part because I think it looks pretty woke already. You would not believe the grief I got for not doing the mustache. I can't even. I just can't even. I mean, it is my face, you know.

It is for us, you know, the living to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here. So let's all go and throw shade on those super sus people. They probably still use Blackberrys or even worse, flip phones like my grandparents  One time, my grandmother sent me a text. She said it took her three days to write it.  I just texted back "K" and then I got another text, three days later, asking me what "K" meant.  I told her it meant "okay". Three days later I got another text back saying we have a lot of weird words and phrases.  I told her it was like "23 Skidoo" or whatever they said back before they invented electricity.  At Christmas, she said something about "her will"  and how I won't be a part of it.   Sorry, not sorry.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the goals remaining before us--that from these BAE we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly, like promise, for real,that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God  shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.  Whoa, that is so on fleek!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Sames and Opposites

A squirrel is the same as a can
when there's a BB gun in my hand  ~ Demetri Martin

There has been a big brouhaha regarding President Trump.  You might have seen it, it has been in all of the papers.

The President fired FBI Director James Comey. The reasons vary from job performance to the "guy was just a big doody head - SAD!!!" (Presidential tweet)

Washington reporters and pundits have been comparing the Comey firing to "Watergate".  That's really nothing unusual. Washingon reports and pundits compare everything to "Watergate" because "Watergate" was the Big Kahuna. It was the one time they were actually right.

The question is: How does this compare to "Watergate"?  Lucky for you, I have a degree in history plus, as an added bonus, I have lived through this history. If you think coverage of Trump and Comey have gone overboard now, you haven't seen nothing.

But first, a little history lesson about "Watergate" from my Pulitzer Prize Award winning book, Surviving The Smokehole.
"(In the seventies) the President was Richard Nixon, who had been around forever and was almost as odd looking as Lyndon Johnson.  Nixon was involved in a political scandal called “Watergate” which was about something that did not involve sex like the President Bill Clinton scandals and therefore was fairly boring. Somehow, in the midst of this scandal, Vice President Spiro Agnew had his own little scandal and had to resign from office. Nixon selected House Minority Leader Gerald Ford to replace Agnew. Then, on August 9, 1974, my 15th birthday, Nixon resigned and Ford became President.   If you lived through this time, you know this is a very condensed version of what happened"

Here you learn some very important things. One, President Nixon was odd looking.  Two, "Watergate" had nothing to do with sex. President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton twenty years later had a scandal that involved sex but people forgave him because we all just got the internet and the girl he was catting around with was maybe a six with thick beer goggles on.

You see, what had happened was President Nixon was running against George McGovern. McGovern was sort of like the Bernie Sanders of his day except McGovern had some sense.  While Nixon was no day at the beach, McGovern had the charisma of a pair of socks. Instead of thanking his lucky stars in drawing such a dud of an opponent, Nixon orders the break-in of The National Headquarters of The Democratic Party.

Nixon won by a landslide victory. But, he "covered up" his role in the break-in (like ordering it).  The Washington Post got involved with their reporters, Redford and Hoffman.  Soon it was revealed that Nixon had taped all of his conversations in The White House.

Americans were shocked in 1974 when the written transcripts of The White House Tapes were released.

Nixon:  "I don't give a <expletive deleted> about the lira"

Americans were shocked because we weren't quite sure what the lira was, but the President of The United States better care about it!

Soon, "The Smoking Gun" was found in one of the tapes.

Aide:  "What should we do today?"
Nixon: "Break into the headquarters of The Democratic Party and then lie about it for two years".

Shortly after that, President Nixon became ex-President Nixon.

There are people that think this is what will happen to President Trump.  I must admit, there are some days I wonder if he's going to finish the week much less his term. However, there are some big differences.

One, we are not sure there is even a crime. Maybe obstruction of justice, sort of, kind of.  It is simply not enough to have Trump impeached.

Two, the Democrats held both houses of Congress in 1974. If you haven't noticed, Republicans hold both houses of Congress now. Trying to shame them into impeaching Trump won't work.

Sure some of the things are the same. Odd looking Republican. He causes more problems for himself than his opposition. He is a carbon-based life form like Nixon. The Washington Post is all over it.

Other than that, it is like the difference between a squirrel and a can.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


I imagine the meeting went something like this:

Kathy: " I need to do something that will draw attention to me and lead to more bookings at casinos."

P.R. Guy:  "Okay..."

Kathy:  "I know! Two words. SEX TAPE!"

P.R.Guy:  "Ew......."

Kathy:  "Wait, I got another one....."

The rest, as they say, is history. Comedian Kathy Griffin committed the most public act of career immolation since, gee, I don't know, John Rocker, with her infamous picture of her holding the severed head of the President.

I'm not sure who thought this was a good idea. I'm not sure if even The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) would show this picture and I went to a Yoko Ono exhibit there one time.

The picture, which is protected First Amendment speech, wasn't really as clear as it was graphic. Was she saying she opposes Trump so much that she wishes she could cut off his head?  Or was it something more benign: " Hey, look at me"?

I couldn't guarantee it, but I think somebody in the Secret Service thought, "You know, an actor killed Lincoln"  But I doubt this little red headed woman would pose any real physical threat to our big orange President.

I think it was an immature, not well thought out, publicity stunt.  Griffin followed it up with an apology that was as sincere as a lap dance. Then she followed that up with a press conference which was as whiny as it was pathetic.

Griffin should have heeded the example of another entertainer:  Jayne Mansfield.

Mansfield was an "actress" in the late fifties and early sixties.  The nearest present day comparison I can think of is Pamela Sue Anderson.  Mansfield was an early Playmate for Playboy magazine, which meant she was, um, comfortable showing her body in an era in which body showing was not as celebrated as it is today.

She was famous for her publicity stunts. Here is a picture of the most famous one.

Yes, I Chickened Out

Mansfield was at a dinner in the honor of Sophia Loren, probably the second most beautiful Italian woman ever (just slightly behind my wife but ahead of Valerie Bertinelli and Marisa Tomei). Mansfield's decolletage was very exposed and one of her nipples made a cameo appearance for the photographers present. This explains Sophia Loren's stink eye in the above picture.

Of course, this made Mansfield very famous. It even helped launch the career of Dick Cavett. Cavett was a writer for Jack Paar's Tonight Show and wrote this introduction for Mansfield when she was on the show:  "And here they are, Jayne Mansfield".

Did you know Jayne Mansfield won a Golden Globe? Did you know that she made a couple of records with Jimi Hendrix (Yes, that Jimi Hendrix)?  Did you know that one of her kids is an actress on Law and Order: Special Victims Units?

Probably not. We mainly remember her for bending down and showing the world the puppies. Just like we won't remember Griffin for surviving one of the most difficult jobs in the world-walking into a room and making strangers laugh.

Mansfield's life was pretty troubled. Towards the end of her life, she made "personal appearances". One was at a store opening here in Marietta, Georgia in 1966. We went.  My mom said Mansfield showed up drunk.

Mansfield died in an auto accident in Mississippi. The urban legend had that she was decapitated. For the record, she wasn't.

The whole point of a publicity stunt is to attract attention. Griffin got it in buckets.  It turned out to be the attention she didn't want.  But she did perform a valuable public service.

It is not a good idea to make a political statement with a severed head.