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12.27.10
WILL DUR$T’$ 2010 XMA$ WI$H LI$T

Wishing you all a Very Happy Merry. And no, I’m not falling into that trap. You go out and dance to the beat of whichever winter festival you want to celebrate. Christmas. Hanukah, Kwanza, Saturnalia, Solstice, noon Tuesday, 420, a December date equal to the square root of the number 625. Whatever. And good on ya. As we say in politically correct San Francisco, “May the corpulent bearded one in the scarlet suit smile upon your chosen shrubbery.” Now, inevitably some people are going to find their stockings aren’t quite stuffed with the egregious booty they were expecting or most importantly, believe they deserve. So I’m here to help the under-gifted achieve a certain amount of cathartic closure. As the great philosopher Rodney King once almost said: “can’t we all wear a thong?” So, to insure that certain traditions don’t get washed right out into the ocean like a picnic table on a Malibu hillside, let me offer up my annual scathingly incisive yet curiously refreshing:
WILL DUR$T’$ 2010 XMA$ WI$H LI$T.
For Mel Gibson. A muzzle. Permanent. Steel. Welded with titanium rivets.
For the Economists who insist the recession ended in June of 09. An opportunity to collect 99 weeks of unemployment insurance.
For Charlie Sheen. A date with Lindsay Lohan. Matching ankle bracelets at Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab.
For WikiLeaks Founder Julian Asange. A slip of paper naming whoever leaked details of his sexual assault charges tucked into a dictionary in the fold of the page with the “irony” entry.
For Betty White. 30 more years.
For Ireland. Far fewer reasons to drown their troubles.
For Juan Williams. A prayer rug for his Fox News cubicle.
For the American public. A case of antacid to get through the next two years watching the heartless pummel the spineless cheered on by the clueless.
For Conan O’Brien. Half the on- air excitement he inspired off-air.
For Barack Obama. An electron telescope to focus on jobs. American jobs. Democratic jobs. Obama Administration jobs. His job.
For Mrs. Clarence Thomas. A six pack of Coke.
For Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. A used set of Spanish language cassette tapes.
For the Cast of Jersey Shore. Watches that only measure increments of 15 minutes.
For the Texas Board of Education. A railroad car stuffed full of historical blinders.
For Bill Clinton. A Presidential appointment to the position of Secretary of Secretaries.
For Toyota. A new corporate motto. Because after 4 recalls involving acceleration problems, “Moving Forward” might be a bit too apropos.
For Katy Perry. A bigger bra.
For the Tea Party. Kissable wallets. Because its time to put their money where their mouth is.
For Willie Nelson. A THC patch.
For the TSA. Extensive training to perfect the impromptu prostate exam.
For John Boehner. A deal with Fruit of the Loom to market a line of “Mister Speaker” monogrammed handkerchiefs. And hand towels.
For former BP CEO, Tony Hayward. Now that he has his life back, a reason to live it.
For Medical Science to Study. Dick Cheney’s heart, Joe Biden’s mouth and Rod Blagojevich’s brain.
For New Gingrich, Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican field taking sidelong glances at 2012. Something on Sarah.

San Francisco based political comic, Will Durst, writes sometimes, this being a conventional example.
Catch Durst in stand-up mode at The Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show XVIII. Dec. 26- Jan. 1. 6 comics. 7 cities. 8 shows. 2,437 laughs. willdurst.com or 415.820.9628. Facebook. Twitter. Blah-blah.
 
12.18.10
THE TOP TEN COMEDIC NEWS STORIES OF
THE FIRST DECADE OF THE 21st CENTURY

Believe it or not, an entire decade has passed since the turn of the Millennium. 120 months. One tenth of a century. More than 3600 days. How did that happen? Its harder to comprehend than a faded Kazakhstani street sign tagged by Mongolian graffiti. As we are painfully aware, much ugly stuff occurred during the decade, but what with all the mayhem and turmoil, you might think nothing worth laughing about went down. You’d be wrong. I know. I know. I know. “Not another Top Ten List. ” Yes. Another Top Ten List. Hey, how many ends of the decade does one get in a lifetime? Maybe seven, eight, fourteen if you’re lucky. So, deal with it, because thar she blows: a list of the Top Ten Comedic News Stories of the First Decade of the 21st Century. And not a Paris Hilton or Somali pirate sighting among them.

Kerry-Edwards- 04. Worst campaign ever. And that includes France in 39. Who would have thought Democrats would fondly reminisce about the charismatic Gore-Lieberman ticket?

The Clintons. He got 12 million for his memoirs. She got 8 for hers. Not bad for two people, who testified under oath for eight years- they couldn’t remember a single thing.

Economic Bubbles Bursting. Dot com. Energy. Housing. Summed up best by Enron Ethics manual on eBay whose seller described it as being in “mint condition- never used.” That could have been the problem. Sold- $250.

John McCain. Old warhorse finally gets his shot. Then couldn’t remember how many houses he owned. Turns out he had 8. Every time I get 4 houses I trade them in for a hotel.

Political sex scandals. Vitter. Foley. Edwards. Ensign. Sanford. And Spitzer, the NY Governor who flew a hooker from New York to DC, because God knows there aren’t enough hookers in DC. 535 that I can think of, offhand. Put her up at the Mayflower and gave her 4 grand. That’s a liberal. A conservative will try to get it for free in an airport men’s room stall. Demonstrating fiscal responsibility.

Barack Obama. Half-black President demonstrates America ready to be Afro- curious. People still freaking out. “Born in Kenya.” No, he wasn’t. He was born in Honolulu. In a manger.

Weapons of Mass Destruction. President Bush was  misled into thinking Iraq had WMDs because he was provided with faulty intelligence. Yeah, DNA is a bummer. Turns out it wasn’t Iraq with the WMD, it wasn’t Iraq with ties to Al Qaeda: it was Iran. We were so close. Probably just a clerical error.

Dick Cheney. Accidentally shot a guy in the face with a gun and got the victim to apologize. Then again, who among us hasn’t mistaken a 78 year-old lawyer wearing an orange vest for an immense quail?

Sarah Palin. For those of us going cold turkey on George Bush, the former governor of Alaska is like a double dose of methadone.

George W Bush. If Reagan and Quayle had a kid. A Wheel of Fortune President in a Jeopardy world. For 8 wonderful years, he was the Full Employment Act for political comedy. And we welcome him back.

San Francisco based political comic, Will Durst, who writes sometimes, (this being a creditable example) fully expects the next decade to be as fertile, material-wise.
Catch Durst in stand-up mode at The Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show XVIII. Dec. 26- Jan. 1. 6 comics. 7 cities. 8 shows. 2,437 laughs. willdurst.com or 415.820.9628. Facebook. Twitter. Blah- blah.
 
12.12.10
THE TOP TEN COMEDIC NEWS STORIES OF 2010

Please be advised: the Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2010 are not to be confused with the Top Ten Legitimate News Stories of 2010. They are as different as Lasagna and asphalt. Ear wax and linoleum. A lunch wagon sink trap and nuclear lab clean rooms. Toe shoes and track cleats. Christian Science Ministers and health insurance seminars. Sure, sure, there were more serious stories involving death and destruction and devastation o’plenty but we tend to concentrate more on those narratives that offer a break from the tension. That allow  us to view the desolation from the lighter side of the vast dark chasm. Like when Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Elena Kagan and the Chilean miners were disrupted by the Icelandic Volcano from attending the World Cup. A worthy account yes, but alas, not esteemed enough for our list. So here they are, the stories from 2010 that most lent themselves to joshing and kidding and ribbing.

10. Dick Cheney’s 6th heart attack. How does a guy without a heart have 6 heart attacks? It would be like Rod Blagojevich contracting a brain tumor. Cheney is so evil, Hell keeps spitting him back.

9. Barack Obama. True to his word, the 44th President managed to unite the country. Against him. Although, the two sides do view him through different prisms. The right sees him as Malcolm X. The left- Urkel.

8. Christine O’Donnell. Delaware Senatorial candidate claimed she’s not a witch. Then the local Wiccan community denied having anything to do with her. Which probably didn’t lead above the fold on her election eve mailer.

7. California Gubernatorial Candidate Meg Whitman. A Jerry Brown staffer called her a “ho” and she went ballistic. “Its an insult to all women.” Nooooo, we’re pretty sure it was specific to you. Spends more than a seventh of a billion dollars on her campaign and still cuts her hair with a salad shooter. Go figure.

6. Glenn Beck. Attempts to reclaim the civil rights movement by holding a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Because isn’t it about time angry middle aged pudgy white guys got a fair shake from society?

5. Health Care. 2700 pages long. Or 2900. They’re still not sure. Lot of stuff can happen in 200 pages. I’ve read Harry Potter.

4. The TSA’s new search policy. Just direct me to the agent who didn’t volunteer for the gig.

3. Sarah Palin. At Tea Party Convention she criticized Obama for over dependency on a Teleprompter while she had notes written on her hand. Which is a 5th grade teleprompter for people who can’t read fast. Every two weeks there’s something with her. Every two weeks, she erupts. She’s like Republican herpes. And I mean that in a good way.

2. George W Bush’s Autobiography. Decisions Decided by the Deciding Decider. Wherein he talks about how glad he is to be out of Washington. That makes about 310 million of us. Online campaign urges customers to transfer book from Non Fiction to True Crime.

1. BP Oil Spill. Largest pile of toxic sludge to hit American shores since Ann Coulter’s latest book. Brightside: Able to refuel jet ski midtrip.

San Francisco based political comic, Will Durst, writes sometimes, this being a laudable example, and expects 2011 to provide him with even richer grist.
Catch Durst in stand- up mode at the 18th Annual Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show. Dec. 26-  Jan. 1. 6 comics. 7 cities. 8 shows. 2,347 laughs. willdurst.com or 415.820.9628.
 
12.04.10
TOP TEN CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR WALL STREET FAT CATX

It’s the most… wonderful time… of the year. And the most frantic and anxious and mind numbing and expensive. The rewarding part is my on-going seasonal side job as a lumpy elfin holiday gift consultant, where it is an honor and a privilege to be able to pass along some hot tips for this year’s Christmas shopping lists. None of which involve surplus uranium tailings from sales to the Iranians.

There’s still more than a few of us struggling to climb out of financial holes so deep we’re being tickled by the tendrils of redwood roots, but we’re not that difficult to shop for. Dollar coins. Discount clothing. Used food. Lint covered gum and pennies. Roadkill wrapped in the Sunday Funnies. We are the re- giftable.

It’s the other end of the spectrum that concerns me. The least needy of us. Wall Street is shoveling out record bonuses. Again. What to get the person who can buy anything? Perhaps the gifts you’ve lined up for your investment banker friends won’t be considered up to snuff. Well, I’m here to convince you to let those worries go. After all, it’s the thought that counts. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

No, seriously. To ease your stress, we here at Durstco have come up with a catalog of prospective Christmas Gifts that any Wall Street Tycoon would be honored to find under their holiday shrubbery. And who knows, maybe in appreciation, he or she will slide you insider status on the newest IPOs. Probably not, but what the hell, here we go with the TOP TEN CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR YOUR WALL STREET BROKER BUDDIES.

10. A peacock. Provides the double benefit of being both the ultimate symbol of excessive extravagance and extremely difficult to care for.

9. A copy of George W Bush’s autobiography because, during the holidays, everyone can use a good laugh.

8. A kidney in an ice chest. Purchased from a poor person. Always good to have one lying around just in case.

7. A Lexus. According to TV, that’s what rich people give each other for the holidays. Don’t forget the big red bow.

6. A get out of jail free card. No, a real Get Out of Jail Free Card. You must know somebody who knows somebody.

5. A Faberge Egg. Only 42 are known to have survived. Go for it. Check out eBay. Or call Meg Whitman direct.

4. A pair of Bernie Madoff’s underwear. Or just frame any old pair of size 36s and say they’re his. Its what he would have done.

3. A signed first edition of Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities” because nothing else says, “Master of the Universe” quite like it.

2. A US Senator. Oh sure, they probably already have one socked away, but who’s ever thrown out a Senator because they went bad? Not Congress.

1. A soul. Odds are, they’ve sold, misplaced or ruined theirs. Just realize in advance they’ll probably sell, misplace or ruin this one as well.

Will Durst is a San Francisco based humor columnist who frequently tells jokes. Out loud. On purpose. In front of people. Who laugh. Ideally.

Catch an example at the Rancho Nicasio on Sunday, the 5.
And the Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show XVIII, December 26- January 1.
More at willdurst.com.
Twitter. Facebook. Blah blah.
 
DON’T TAZE MY JUNK, BRO

One thing you can say about this whole TSA enhanced pat down mess: nobody will ever board Virgin Airlines again without ruefully grimacing. Folks are flipping out like wolverines bouncing off of submarine trampolines over new regulations requiring a prospective flier to submit to having his or her naughty bits exposed for all the world to see, or else agree to a groinal groping that would have our ancestors’ fathers brandishing shotguns outside of rural chapels or contemporary school children showing Federal Marshalls on the doll where the nasty agent put his hands. “Bad touch. BAD TOUCH!” 

Most troublesome is not the compelling of passengers to slide into second base with complete strangers but rather the suspicion these decisions are being made on the fly with little forethought. Flight crews are subjected to the same sub rosa muggings. Face it, you and I, we don’t know nothing, but even we can figure out pilots don’t need explosives up their butt to bring down an aircraft when a second double bourbon at the airport bar will suffice.

Equal representation under the glove would also be nice. VIPs are exempt from screening, but nobody will divulge who qualifies as a VIP. That’s classified. Isn’t everything? We’re in the thick of classified creep. How long before it’s illegal for civilians to videotape pat downs due to “national security;” the federal equivalent of “Because I said so, that’s why.” Not to mention arresting so- called comedians for talking trash. “Don’t taze my junk, bro.”

The recent bleating from the front lines of the security wars is an indication the natives are restless. Business travelers have tired of securing our safety through their captive inconvenience. Then again, 50% of the people experiencing the procedure are in favor of it. Must be part of that large segment of society that enjoys having their inner thighs pawed and genitals, butts and breasts felt up. Me, not so much. I’ve had less intimate fifth dates.

The flying experience is in the throes of a death spiral, from the evaporation of our nuts and pillows and checked baggage to shedding shoes and surrendering fluids and providing peeks under our underwear to being frisked like common criminals. Where does it stop? What happens when some flippo- unit tries to blow something up with zipper shaped plastique? Will only the Amish fly? A single button bomb could result in us all wearing robes and then the terrorists do win.

How soon before we add body cavity searches to the casual molestations in our pre flight check- lists? Precipitating few outcries even when the airlines try to make some extra coin by piggy backing prostate exams. In the meantime, we fly the overly friendly skies and do whatever they want of us cattle and sheep: bend and cough and walk a little funny and act like nothing happened. More static and drool.

In the meantime, just direct me to whichever TSA screener didn't volunteer for the job. And no ex- priests if you please. I might even wriggle and giggle and blush and bloom and slip the man attached to the blue rubber glove a card. Hey, they’re intent on creeping us out, why not return the favor? One last question: are we supposed to tip, or only if there’s a happy ending? Least they could do is provide a well- ventilated room for a post encounter cigarette.

Will Durst is a San Francisco based humor columnist who frequently tells jokes. Out loud. On stage. In front of people. Ideally.
Catch an example at DC’s Funniest Celebrity at the DC Improv, December 2, and Rancho Nicasio on Sunday, the 5.
His new CD, “Raging Moderate,” now available from Stand Up! Records on iTunes and Amazon.
Early next year: “Where the Rogue Things Go!” From Ulysses Press.
 
THANKSGIVINGS OF YORE

The 4th Thursday of November is definitely the bestest holiday. Food, Family, Friends and Football. 4 of the 5 Fs. I most fondly remember the Thanksgivings of yesteryear. The big old family reunions, which I looked forward to, until about five seconds after I hit the driveway, then it all comes back… why I left home. And they always made me sit at that stupid fold- up cardboard kids table. Never got to graduate to the wooden table because none of them would die. Darn medical advances.

Thanksgiving was my mother’s designated holiday and she thought she was cooking for the Eighth Tank Battalion. Every year she’d seek out a mutant poultry farm and buy a turkey the size of a La-Z-Boy recliner, so it was turkey for weeks. Turkey till YOU trot. Turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, turkey ala king, turkey shakes, until finally, turkey carcass in hot water. Soup? No, Ma, it's skeleton juice. Gobble till you wobble.

These were potluck occasions, with every family responsible for schlepping their version of a vision of a side dish. Lime Jell-O with olive shreds in it. Because green food is nutritious food. Oyster raisin dressing. Lamb pudding. Creamed rutabaga. Beet pear slaw. Hollowed out pickles filled with ranch dressing and cheese curds. Herring balls.

Thirteen bean salad. No, I wish I were making this up. I had no idea there were 13 different types of edible beans. I had no desire to eat them all at one sitting. I certainly would not have chosen to be in a houseful of 23 other people who had eaten 13 types of edible beans. “Crack a window, Billy. Well, break it then.” Candle flames turning blue all over the house. “Methane is our friend."

Dinner is delayed because my mother’s sister is late and four assembled families who last ate at breakfast are taunted by the fowl perfume of a roasting turkey for six hours and as frenzied as coyotes suspended over a yard full of wounded bunnies. All of the nuts and chips and some of the throw pillows and smaller children have long since disappeared.

My aunt finally arrives accompanied by her bizarre mystery food. Seems innocent enough; a glass Pyrex dish with tinfoil on top. International symbol for normal food, I believe. But no, it’s a food ruse. A culinary ambush. Lift the foil and this stench shoots straight up. Ceiling tiles curling at the edges. Three rooms away watching football, grown men go “the hell was that?” Children crying uncontrollably, “Daddy, I’m scared.”

A greasy grey mass that appeared to be boiling, but is nowhere near any apparent heat source. Round misshapen objects floating to the surface. Nobody would go near it. Somebody made a feeble attempt and the spoon broke. Mom elbows me in the side: "Billy, try some of Aunt Hoogolah's Dupamouche." "Okay, Ma, let me get a separate plate." The old separate plate trick. We lost more animals that way.

The evening ends with two matriarchs locked in a mortal death clinch, bumping bellies on the back porch with 100 mm. menthols dangling from their mouths while their spouses trade wild drunken blows on the driveway and the kids pelt them with greasy poultry bones from behind raked piles of leaves. Aah, memories. And that was way back in 2009. Some traditions never die. This year, I’m bringing the Dupamouche.

Will Durst is a San Francisco based humor columnist who frequently tells jokes. Out loud. On stage. In front of people. Ideally.
Catch an example Thanksgiving Week all over the Milwaukee area.
The Safe House on November 23, 24 & 28, 414.271.2007, Paolo’s on the 26, 414.727.9332, and the Railroad Station in Saukville, 262.284.3990, on the 27.
Then DC’s Funniest Celebrity at the DC Improv, December 2, and Rancho Nicasio on Sunday, the 5.
His new CD, “Raging Moderate,” now available from Stand Up! Records on iTunes and Amazon.
Early next year: “Where the Rogue Things Go!” From Ulysses Press.
 
11.14.10
DECISIONS DECIDED BY THE DECIDING DECIDER

You have to marvel at George W Bush’s audacious return to the national stage not to mention his curious timing. After all, there wasn’t what you would call an overwhelming popular demand clamoring for his reappearance. Apparently even putative war criminals got to make a living. But it’s going to take more than one media blitzing book tour to scrub his image. For that he’ll either need another two or three decades of restorative exile or a wire- mesh scouring pad the size of Albania.

Here comes the New Bush, just like the Old Bush. The first volume of 43’s memoirs (oh, there will be more) has been released and though you know in your heart he wanted to call it “The Great Decider” or “Decisions Decided by the Deciding Decider,” cooler heads prevailed at Crown Publishing Group simply titling it, “Decision Points” as told to George Bush by Dick Cheney. No. I just made that last part up. And neither is Amazon bundling the autobiography with “My Pet Goat” but it’s a fiendishly good idea.

Not sure who edited this puppy, but odds are they burned through about 4 spell checks. Ironically, he’s got a long way to go to live up to the standards set in previous Bush Family tell- alls especially the one penned by his mother’s dog. Booksellers will surely decide which section to stock the volume geographically. In Dallas, it will go under Biography. DC, Current Events. San Francisco, Horror. And New Orleans, True Crime.

To be honest, it’s kind of creepy to see Laura’s husband plastered all over the tube again after a two year sabbatical. Like Hollywood rebooting a particularly gruesome series of “Nightmare on K Street” movies. Can’t be easy for him either, flacking 512 pages of redacted reminiscences with an approval rating hovering around the level of “go to snake belly and dig,” but that’s show biz. 

This collection of recollections or more precisely, lack thereof, is about as revealing as an aerial view of an underground bunker. Like a negligee on your grandma. You’re afraid of what you might see but can’t help looking. No problem. To say this print revival effort is not big on revelations is like implying moles don’t need sunblock. Then again, maybe it’s a continuation his own personal, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Then Lie, policy. George Bush and introspection: Not a match. The board goes back.

He does nail a colloquial tone in this tome leading off with a self- deprecating tour of his storied misspent youth. Then takes too much time whining about the churlish noise of politics, oblivious to the fact that his good buddy, Karl Rove is responsible for adding numerous decimal points to the decibel damage. Goes on to speak about how happy he is to be out of Washington, and with all due respect, may I say sir, that makes 310 million of us.

Throughout the book, Bush clings to the notion that waterboarding is legal and not torture (cuz a guy said so) which should hold a measure of solace to the segment of the book reading public who would rather be waterboarded than read this unapologetic self- serving hogwash. Although admittedly, compared to other presidential self chroniclings- not half bad. Definitely two steps above the expected “I Can Haz Prezidenzy?” Crayons sold separately.

Will Durst is a San Francisco based humor columnist who frequently tells jokes. Out loud. On stage. In front of people. Ideally.
Catch an example at The Bell Theater at Angelico’s Restaurant in Redwood City on November 13th. 
November 19th at Live Wire Radio, livewireradio.org, and Saturday November 20th at the Bagdad Cafe, 503.467.7521, both in Portland, Oregon.
& Thanksgiving week all over the Milwaukee area. Safe House, Paolo's & the Railroad Station.
His new CD, “Raging Moderate,” now available from Stand Up! Records on iTunes and Amazon.
Early next year: “Where the Rogue Things Go!” From Ulysses Press.
 
11.07.10
NOT A POST APOCALYPTIC WRAP UP

First things first. This is a post election wrap- up. Not a post- apocalyptic wrap- up. Yeah, the GOP did well. After a change in Administrations, the minority party won a bunch of House seats in the following midterm election. Ho hum. Whoop ti- do. BFD. In itself, this is about as unusual as a piquant odor emanating from the dumpster behind a fish market.

Happened to Reagan: 27 seats in 82. To George HW Bush: 31 seats in 1990. Clinton: 54 seats in 1994. Would have happened to George W Bush if Nine Eleven hadn’t gone down the year before. It’s a natural contraction. Democracy’s labor pains. Only the gestation period is a bit longer, the soreness more lingering and felt thousands of miles wider.

Like Newt Gingrich before him, John Boehner will discover that conducting the train is different than throwing bottles at the train. Fortunately for him, it’s a train, not a bicycle and he can run right over the broken glass. Because there’s about 2 billion dollars worth of it from untraceable sources lying on the tracks.

The GOP’s biggest problem might have been inviting the Tea Party into their house. Its one thing to chuckle at the antics of the red headed stepchildren acting up at the backyard barbecue, and another entirely after they move in and you attempt to carry on a conversation with other adults while they persist on waving pitchforks and torches, poking and scorching the ceiling. “Could you keep it down to a dull roar, please? We’re trying to watch ‘Lobbyist Idol’ here.”

Admittedly the number of seats changing hands this time around was a bit high. North of 60. About fifteen percent of the total lower body. Erasing Democratic gains of 06 and 08 combined. But look at the bright side. Ummm. Unh, no. Not that. Wait. Ummm. Okay. Got some. The Democrats can book a smaller banquet room for their Freshman Class Induction Party. No more need to stock up on those 50 pound bags of Blue Dog Chow. Franking costs go way down with shorter Christmas card lists.

You could make a good argument the Tea Party is responsible for throwing one House of Congress into the GOP’s column and another out of it. The wrestler’s wife lost. Christine O’Donnell may not be a witch but neither is she a US Senator. Same with Sharron Angle, except for the witch part. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was preordained to lose and to lose bad to any halfway decent opponent. But as luck would have it, he didn’t face one.

The red tide seemed to congeal after hitting the Rockies. California, Oregon and Washington avoided the brunt of the anti- incumbent wave. Most likely due to the fact that the weather is nicer, giving Hope and Change a longer shelf life.

Don’t be distracted by the parties incessantly trading bipartisan air kisses. Like the handshake before the first round of a prize- fight, it’s simply a ritual and nobody expects any true civility. When the Administration says they want to work with Boehner and McConnell, they do. The way a five year old with a magnifying glass wants to work with ants. Same goes for Republicans. Sure, they’re offering up an olive branch now, but be real careful; might just be a painted paralyzed asp with the anesthetic timed to wear off on January 8th.

Will Durst is a San Francisco based political humor columnist who frequently tells jokes. Out loud. On stage.
Catch an example at Rooster T Feather’s in Sunnyvale Nov 4- 7. roostertfeathers.com 408.732.7781.
The Lark Theater in Larkspur on November 12th. 415.924.5111
The Bell Theater at Angelico’s Restaurant in Redwood City on November 13th.
Coming up: Portland & Milwaukee.
His new CD, “Raging Moderate,” now available from Stand Up! Records on iTunes and Amazon.
Early next year: “Where the Rogue Things Go!” From Ulysses Press.
 
10.30.10
DON'T VOTE

First things first. This is a post election wrap- up. Not a post- apocalyptic wrap- up. Yeah, the GOP did well. After a change in Administrations, the minority party won a bunch of House seats in the following midterm election. Ho hum. Whoop ti- do. BFD. In itself, this is about as unusual as a piquant odor emanating from the dumpster behind a fish market.

Happened to Reagan: 27 seats in 82. To George HW Bush: 31 seats in 1990. Clinton: 54 seats in 1994. Would have happened to George W Bush if Nine Eleven hadn’t gone down the year before. It’s a natural contraction. Democracy’s labor pains. Only the gestation period is a bit longer, the soreness more lingering and felt thousands of miles wider.

Like Newt Gingrich before him, John Boehner will discover that conducting the train is different than throwing bottles at the train. Fortunately for him, it’s a train, not a bicycle and he can run right over the broken glass. Because there’s about 2 billion dollars worth of it from untraceable sources lying on the tracks.

The GOP’s biggest problem might have been inviting the Tea Party into their house. Its one thing to chuckle at the antics of the red headed stepchildren acting up at the backyard barbecue, and another entirely after they move in and you attempt to carry on a conversation with other adults while they persist on waving pitchforks and torches, poking and scorching the ceiling. “Could you keep it down to a dull roar, please? We’re trying to watch ‘Lobbyist Idol’ here.”

Admittedly the number of seats changing hands this time around was a bit high. North of 60. About fifteen percent of the total lower body. Erasing Democratic gains of 06 and 08 combined. But look at the bright side. Ummm. Unh, no. Not that. Wait. Ummm. Okay. Got some. The Democrats can book a smaller banquet room for their Freshman Class Induction Party. No more need to stock up on those 50 pound bags of Blue Dog Chow. Franking costs go way down with shorter Christmas card lists.

You could make a good argument the Tea Party is responsible for throwing one House of Congress into the GOP’s column and another out of it. The wrestler’s wife lost. Christine O’Donnell may not be a witch but neither is she a US Senator. Same with Sharron Angle, except for the witch part. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was preordained to lose and to lose bad to any halfway decent opponent. But as luck would have it, he didn’t face one.

The red tide seemed to congeal after hitting the Rockies. California, Oregon and Washington avoided the brunt of the anti- incumbent wave. Most likely due to the fact that the weather is nicer, giving Hope and Change a longer shelf life.

Don’t be distracted by the parties incessantly trading bipartisan air kisses. Like the handshake before the first round of a prize- fight, it’s simply a ritual and nobody expects any true civility. When the Administration says they want to work with Boehner and McConnell, they do. The way a five year old with a magnifying glass wants to work with ants. Same goes for Republicans. Sure, they’re offering up an olive branch now, but be real careful; might just be a painted paralyzed asp with the anesthetic timed to wear off on January 8th.

Will Durst is a San Francisco based political humor columnist who frequently tells jokes. Out loud. On stage. Catch an example at Rooster T Feather’s in Sunnyvale Nov 4-7. roostertfeathers.com 408.732.7781.
The Lark Theater in Larkspur on November 12th. 415.924.5111
The Bell Theater at Angelico’s Restaurant in Redwood City on November 13th.
Coming up: Portland & Milwaukee.
His new CD, “Raging Moderate,” now available from Stand Up! Records on iTunes and Amazon.
Early next year: “Where the Rogue Things Go!” From Ulysses Press.
 
10.23.10
HELEN KELLER'S MUSHROOMS

The precise word to explain this season’s big new trend in campaign financing is obliviousness. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that everybody is allowed to give as much money as they desire to anybody they choose and absolutely nobody needs to know about it. The upshot of which has all of America knee deep in the oxymoronic spectacle of a very expensive free- for- all.

In a flash, We, the People, have become Helen Keller. Blind. Deaf. And Dumb. With an emphasis on the latter. Because nobody cares. La di dah. Makes no difference where these surreptitious tsunamis of decoy dollars are originating from: religious nut jobs, public service unions, defense contractors or foreign benefactors trailing behind them leaky puddles of nuclear radiated waste. Off shore. Under shore. Paulie Shore. Sho nuff is fine.

This de- reform has rendered us totally incognizant of which profligate special interest group is spending how much money for what candidate or why or when or where it’s given. And our collective response is to care less than a whale about rain. Orwell was right: Unenlightenment is strength. And with it comes the understanding of what it’s like to be a mushroom. Kept in the dark and fed compost. We revel in the delicious bewilderment of knowing influence peddlers are scurrying around shadowy crevasses like cloaked cash cockroaches and the light switch is broke.

What happened was, way back in the bad old days, Nixon committed the cardinal political sin of getting caught abusing campaign funds, so post- Watergate, Congress was shamed into replacing hard money with soft money which slowly turned into liquid money but now the floodgates have opened and that marvelous misty money is morphing into magic money, soon to transform into virtual money until Steve Jobs figures out a way to beam commercials straight into our heads. And if that prospect doesn’t drive you right into downtown Crazy Ville, then you were hitchhiking in its suburbs to begin with.

There are plenty of reasons why patrons would want to remain covert. They’re shy. Afflicted with an unsightly rash. Currently enrolled in the Witness Protection Program. Breaking in a new toupee. Still haven’t recovered from that ghastly spill in Gstaad. Still haven’t recovered from that ghastly spill in the Gulf. But few of those excuses contribute to the public interest.

We are painfully aware that our politicians are, how do I put this delicately, beholden to certain large contributors. A polite way of saying “hookers with the appetites of hippopotamuses in heat.” But now the ante has been raised higher than a giraffe’s ear. More ghost money means larger favors rewarded with a wider roped off space at the public trough forcing the rest of us to crowd around the short rutted end. Knee- pads are destined to become standard issue behind every Congressional desk. If they aren’t already.

The scariest part is, we’re only seeing the tip of the secret donor iceberg and the Ship of State’s wheel has been splintered. If this flood of clouded currency proves successful, there aren’t enough lifeboats in the Pacific Fleet to rescue us from of these perilous waters. So you might want to whip out your shark resistant water wings. Only one thing puzzles me: if ignorance truly is bliss, why ain’t I happier?

Will Durst is a San Francisco based political humor columnist who frequently tells jokes. On stage.
Catch an example October 25, and November 1 at the Rrazz Room. 222 Mason St San Francisco 94102. therrazzroom.com 415.394.1189.
At the 142 Throckmorton on Oct 24.
And Rancho Nicasio on Oct 31.
Rooster T Feather’s in Sunnyvale Nov 4- 7.
The Lark Theater in Larkspur on November 12th.
His new CD, “Raging Moderate,” now available from Stand Up! Records on iTunes and Amazon.
Coming next year: “Where the Rogue Things Go!”


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