The top ten news stories
eliciting humor in the Year of our Lord 2004
2004 was to news stories what haggis is to debutante balls. What Quakers are to internet hacking. What Paris Hilton is to mule skinning. That is, unless one was a humorist, which I was and, barring an intensification of the stomach ailment that followed multiple servings of ill-preserved oyster stuffing still will be. So I have compiled a list of the top ten news stories eliciting humor in 2004. Because it's your right to know.
10. Tommy Thompson. Retiring Secretary of Health and Human Services said he can't understand why terrorists haven't attacked our nation's food supply. You know what? SHUT UP! Fortunately someone stopped him just before he specified at which point in the chicken killing process the botulism should be introduced.
9. Howard Dean's scream. People falsely blame the scream for Dean's demise, but it was a response to coming in third in Iowa, not the cause. Democrats, don't ask for whom the scream peals, it peals for thee.
8. Stolen election. The same Democrats whining That Republicans stole their election. Duh. Of course they did. They stole it last time in plain sight. This time they got rid of paper trails. What did you expect? You dummies should have stolen it first.
7. Reaganpalooza. Poor Gerald Ford. Must have been watching the seven day long celebration of Conservative rapture following Reagan's death in June with unalloyed dread. No way does his funeral last a whole week. Lucky if Fox News films his ashes being dumped into the Potomac out of a coffee can.
6. Bill Clinton. Does whatever it takes to stay in the news. First a book tour, then a quadruple bypass: finally rolls off a gurney in attempt to inject 20ccs of magnetism into a Kerry operation so moribund, it made us long for the halcyon days of the charismatic Gore-Lieberman campaign. Then the new Clinton Library Opens, replacing his old library which if rumors be true, resided between his mattress and box spring.
5. Iraq-Iran. It wasn't Iraq with the ties to Al Qaeda. It wasn't Iraq with the nuclear program. It was Iran. Man, we were so close. Probably just a clerical error. Abu Ghraib would have made the list, but for some reason the naked human pyramids on Bush's watch just aren't as funny as those on Clinton's.
4. The Gropenfuhrer. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sparked a Republican Convention with the theme "Vote for Bush if you want to live." Or was that Cheney? In September, Arnold signed a bill making it illegal to have sex with a corpse. Do we really need a law? Wouldn't true friends take responsibility for that? "C'mon Bob, I think you've had enough. Give me the condoms." Friends don't let friends have sex with corpses.
3. Gay marriages. A clever end around on San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome's part. Trying to anger the Bush Administration so much that an actual air strike would be called in, because then we'd be eligible for new schools and roads and universal health care. I don't understand Bush's anger, really, because I thought his whole plan was to keep gays from having sex. What better way than marriage do you know?
2. Bush vs. Not Bush. That's who John Kerry was, although he never figured it out. "Hi, my name's John Kerry." "Yeah, whatever. Here's a knife, will you attack already? No, the other end, you idiot." And wind surfing? Are you kidding me? Nobody wants to see a future President wearing spandex. Should have just put the tank helmet on and gotten it over with.
1. Bush wins second term. Security moms in Nebraska worrying about terrorism. You're in Nebraska for crum's sake! Republicans not even bothering to spin Bush as winner of the debates. "So he's not a great debater, we think that works for us." Apparently their target demographic prefers dim, inarticulate but determined candidates. "We don't trust that Kerry fella, using big words, walking around all erect and stuff. Bush is resolute." Yeah, so is butt cancer.
Political comic Will Durst is assured that next year's list will be just as funny.
Tis The Season
Theyre kicking Santa below the belt. Throwing the high heat right at Frostys head. And flying reindeer are this close to being placed on the endangered species list. But dont sweat too much blood fretting, because it happens every year. Right in the middle of the very season were supposed to be honoring the birth of the Prince of Peace, people start fussing and fighting so loudly you can barely hear those dogs barking out "Jingle Bells."
A lighted fir in a town square accidentally gets called a Christmas Tree instead of the Community Tree and people start flipping out like Chinese acrobats in zero gravity on trampolines. A school cancels a production of "A Christmas Carol" worrying Tiny Tims line: "God bless us everyone" will offend, when lets face it, every production of "A Christmas Carol" should be canceled. Especially the Kelsey Grammar one. Then you got malls banning bell ringing charity Santas. Man, thats lower than t
Where will it end people? How long before a restraining order is slapped on Rudolph claiming the dazzling brightness of his nose constitutes a public safety hazard? Or trapezoidal plants hire a high priced team of lawyers demanding equal representation with the tyrannical pyramidical branch of firs? When will the FDA declare every fruitcake in the country be confiscated and dumped at sea? Actually, thats not such a bad idea.
Cmon guys, lighten up. Its Christmas. And Kwanza. And Hanukkah. And Saturnalia. And Festivus. And Sol Invictus. And a bunch of other holidays all having their roots in the fact that were celebrating the sun not being eaten by the giant dragon in the sky and the days are getting longer again.
All sides have valid points. Christians, you cant go around calling folks "pagans" just because they ran out of cloves for the mulled wine. And Non- Christians, Im sorry, but youre beating your head against 85% of the country, and more importantly, the corporate merchandizing steamroller. Settle down. Besides, itll all be over before you can say, "Oh my God, theres tinsel coming out of the dogs butt."
So, no matter how you celebrate the holiday; filing non discrimination suits for the ACLU, hiding the egg nog from Uncle Bud, or dancing naked round a blazing bonfire in the snow, may the fat man in the red suit smile upon your festive shrubbery. See, doesnt matter how you say it: still sounds nice. Remember, the real magic of the season lies in our hearts. Got that from a Hallmark card.
As a practicing Druid, political comic Will Durst is going to be busy setting up and probably being sole participant in that bonfire thing.
The Five Stages Of Democratic Grief
Sometimes I look at the Democratic Party and dont know whether to laugh or to cry. These guys are as useless as ice skates on an escalator. The one thing you do have to give them is their rank as Grandmaster Hall of Fame residents in the competitive sport of world class whining. Oh, woe is we. Those Republican no-goodnicks stole our precious election. What will happen to the children?
Shocked, theyre SHOCKED by the corruption going on in this country. You lame weenie butts. Of course the Republicans stole the election. They got clean away with stealing it last time: what did you expect would happen this time? That theyd just sit back and let the big money chips fall where they may? Oh, we big time corporate hustlers dont care to mess with the system with trillions of dollars in profits on the line. Well just abide by the will of the people. Thats the honorable thing to do. Hah. I say. I say it again. Hah. And then repeat: hah hah.
Either the Dems knew this was going to happen or theyre stupider than I give them credit for, and I give them an immense credit for being stupid. So, giving them benefit of the doubt, I blame them for not stealing the election first. Theyll probably think of trying it next time, (and dismiss it out of hand) but right now, theyre much too busy progressing through:
The Five Stages of Democratic grief.
DENIAL: Wait! Wait! Wait! Its not over. Were going to recount Ohio. And then you watch what happens. Conyers is on the case. Hell break through the blockade of deceit.
ANGER: Screw Florida, screw all old people, screw the Christian Right and screw the damn kids. I hope Bush re- instates the draft. Does the term the Ukraine have any meaning here?
BARGAINING: Wheres Al Gore when we need him? Cant we go back to the halcyon days of the Gore Leiberman campaign and our cherished social security lockbox? Dear God, you can have Kerry, just let us have Hillary at full strength.
DEPRESSION: 3 Supreme Court Justices. Did you hear what I said? 3 Supreme Court Justices. Oh, and lets not forget Patriot Act II: this time its personal. I dont know if anyone has been paying attention, but we just got our butts kicked. Game over man.
ACCEPTANCE: Well, I hope youre happy, because you know what? The economy is going to tank so deep Lou Dobbs is going to need a deep water submersible just to report on it, and to call Iraq a quagmire is like saying Scott Peterson might not receive a slew of Christmas party invites and someones going to have to take the blame for all the crap coming down and hmmm, you know what? This could work out for us.
Will Durst definitely thinks this could work out for him, but hes a political comic.
Top Ten List of Political Actions Posing Public Safety Hazards as Compiled by National Political Logic Commissioner Will Durst
In my unofficial, under-appreciated self-appointed capacity as National Political Logic Commissioner , I bear the grave responsibility of compiling the annual top 10 list of political actions posing safety hazards to the general public. This release coincides with he start of the traditionally busy post-election finger-pointing season, and sad to say, the news is not good.
This week's release of the 30th annual survey is highlighted by some of the greatest gaps in reason and rationality in the history of the study. One member of the nominating committee (me) called the rampant hypocrisy "breathtaking." Apparently logic no longer plays a role in our leadership process, going the same way facts and hard numbers did a few campaign cycles ago.
Although political consultants on both sides of the aisle are snug in their beds dreaming the sweet dreams of cheap infallible focus groups, even they, with their hands twisted through the reins turning the great head of political discourse in this country,have exhibited a certain bewilderment at this climate of "all hell breaking loose" especially minus the requisite polling data to back it up.
So, here they are. 2004's most hazardous political actions compiled by the National Political Logic Commission, yours truly being head honcho. The entire Commission actually.
1. Ukranian Election Fraud. Discovered through major discrepancies between exit polling and actual voting. But in Ohio and Florida, discrepancies dismissed as anomalies. Later, suspect exit polls altered to reflect vote count totals. Poses risk of accusations of geographical bias.
2. Janet Jackson's Boob. One breast. Seen for a half second. From across a football field. Lubatic indignance poses risk of innocent heads to spin right off of neck.
3. Bush Presidential Campaign. Denounces Kerry campaign for exploiting Mary Cheney's homosexuality for political purposes. Gagging risk.
4. Bush Presidential Campaign. Borderline deserter accuses decorated veteran of war crimes. Sanity hazard.
5. Dick Cheney. Instructs Senator Patrick Leahy in fine art of self actuating yoga. Risk of moral high ground erosion.
6. John Kerry. Voted for war, then against it. Wind surfing in August? Reports of motivation and incentive handles falling off of base.
7. Halliburton. Government auditors recommend Army withhold $90 million payment to Dick Cheney's favorite 501(C)3 due to fact not only did they lie and cheat and steal, they didn't even bother to be sneaky about it. Choking hazard.
8. Congressional Republicans. Change ethics rules so Tom Delay won't be forced to relinquish leadership when indicted for felony. Geeble explanations prove hard to swallow.
9. America's Clergy. Advocated Bush's re-election from pulpit due to his superior moral nature ignoring morality of killing upwards of 100,000 Iraqis under intentionally false pretenses. Potential eternal fire and burn hazard.
10. 66 ABC Officials. For not airing 3rd annual Veterans' Day showing of "Saving Private Ryan" due to stated fear of flaunting decency standards. Sever risk of genital shrinkage.
Political comic Will Durst often finds just reading the newspaper every morning holds the potential risk of gagging up his orange juice
Not Climbing a Tower
Okay, so, it's been a whole week. A whole bad week, may I add. And I finally don't feel like climbing a tower somewhere in Ohio and spraying everything that moves with a high- powered rifle anymore. Standing on a stump, maybe. I do still feel like I've been kicked in the gut, but I've kind of gotten used to that. I've also kind of gotten used to the fact that people voted in favor of corporations and against their own better interests because you know what, they always have and they always will.
I've almost even gotten used to the fact that the side who told the scarier lies won. Cuz when it came down to Cheney or Edwards, who would you hire as to keep the kids up at night? You can't use a smurf as a scarecrow. I'll tell you what I haven't quite reconciled: that guy in Iowa who was quoted as saying "I know Iraq is a mess and everything, but I like President Bush because he's a God- fearing man." As well he should be.
I really can't figure out why residents of Fingerbutt, Nebraska are so flipped out about terrorism. Here in San Francisco, you see huge container ships gliding through the Golden Gate every day and you wonder if that's the one that's going to go kablooey under the Bridge and these people live in Fingerbutt for crum's sake? Here's a note: "Hey Fingerbutt, they don't want you or your damn silos." Besides, exactly how do you propose fundamentalist Muslim suicide bombers blend in there? "Hey Jim- Bob, look at that guy over there. He's got a tan on both his arms. That's weird, get a rope."
And let me tell you, I just flat totally fail to understand why folks are so darn upset about the dating habits of men and women twenty states away. You don't like gay marriages? Fine. Refuse to send presents. You want to piss them off? RSVP and then don't show up. It's got nothing, I repeat, nothing to do with you. And you like that part, right? It's not like a mass migration is planned, unless one of your civic leaders foolishly decides to inaugurate some sort of annual Pierce Brosnan film festival.
Finally, could someone please have the simple common human decency to tell me how this President received the moral authority stamp considering his culpability for the death of over 1000 Americans, not to mention thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens whom we invaded under false and trumped up pretenses? Hunh? Can anybody help me out here? I thought not.
And yes, I also believe the bad guys stole it. Why? Because I know they did, that's why. They're willing to do whatever it takes, and pilferage is obviously what it took. And we will never ever be able to prove it and not only that, we are prohibited from whining about it as well, since we made such a big deal when they stole the last election. Its time to move on and work hard, because it's hard work being the loyal opposition, but I tell you, it's a hell of lot easier to pull off with these guys in charge.
Will Durst is working hard but not for the next two weeks. Hello Kona.
Notes On A Bad Night
- Two words everyone in America will learn to despise: provisional ballot.
- Anybody who went to bed before 4 am Eastern Standard Time on November 3rd is not allowed to call themselves a political junkie.
- So, what have we learned? Apparently Republicans have cell phones too.
- If you liked the last four years, you're going to LOVE the next four. If you didn't, time to either learn Spanish or Canadian.
- Fun new anagram: TCTC. Too close to call.
- The exit polls were mostly wrong in states with electronic voting machines. But the exit polls were wrong. Hmmmm.
- Best campaign joke: "Every time you vote Republican, God kills a kitten."
- In the 2000 election, only 17% of Americans aged 18- 25 turned out to vote. But in this election with all the attendant hype about mobilization and energizing the youth vote, it's estimated a whole 17% of ages 18- 25 voted. Fuck the kids. I hope Bush brings back the draft.
- Bush lost Pennsylvania after 44 trips. And he was leading there when he started. Has anybody ever considered that a politician can visit a state too many times?
- Aaah, to be young and practicing law in Ohio.
- I ended up switching between ABC, CBS and CNN because they were the only ones to refuse to call Ohio for Bush.
- Best Dan Rather lines of election night: "Beat him like a rented mule." "Hotter than a Times Square Rolex." "Don't whether wind our watch or bark at the moon."
- I was hoping Bush was going to win the popular vote but lose the electoral vote, and how'd you like to be the one having to explain it to him.
- I still have no idea why Bush does so well in the middle of the country. I think it's got something to do with why Trojan doesn't make petite sized condoms.
- It was reported Iowa quit counting ballots because some of the counters got tired. They got tired? They should have tried watching CNN until dawn.
- It was weird to see the Kerry campaign dismantle party headquarters in Boston's Copley Square before any clear winner was called. The hell was that? Were they that worried about getting the deposit on their folding chairs back?
- Four more years. Don't ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.
- The good news is: Air America still has a raison d'etre.
- The bad news is: so does Michael Moore.
- More good news: Senators John Kerry and John Edwards won't have Republican Governors appoint their successors.
- More bad news: 3 Supreme Court Justices.
- The final bit of good news: Hillary Clinton in 2008.
- The final bit of bad news: Hillary Clinton in 2008.
- Anybody up for 2 out of 3?
Hey political comic Will Durst, you've just received a shitload of incredibly bad news. What do you plan to do?
"I'm going to Disney World."
The Comeback Kid is Back
Move over John Edwards because John Kerry has a new running mate and he's even smilier than you. The Man from Hope is back. And hope is an emotion Democrats are in critical need of right now. Yes, my friends, Elvis is back in the building and though he may be a bit pale and thin, but he's here to inject the John Kerry campaign with a quart of charisma as only the Comeback Kid can.
7 short weeks after quadruple bypass, Bill Clinton crawled out of his sickbed for a Philadelphia rally in front of 80,000 in the shadow of Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture, attempting to physically shove Kerry over this battle ground state's finish line. He pulled a Curt Shilling for crum's sake: there's blood leaking onto his sock. Okay, maybe not literally, but you get the picture.
The Kerry people are frankly delighted that Slick Willy isn't at full strength, allaying some fears he'll overshadow the Massachusetts Senator's campaign, but to be perfectly honest, a well executed Girl Scout bake sale runs the risk of overshadowing the Massachusetts Senator's campaign.
The gamble here is that Clinton's positive ratings, which are higher than either of the Presidential nominees, will outweigh his negatives, which are to remind people of, well, you know... Does the term "Have a cigar" have any meaning here? The expectation is Clinton will be more of a walking billboard for peace and prosperity and not the healing powers of fellatio. And we will be able to tell how serious the Kerry people are by how far they keep Bill's motorcade out of sight of any Golden Arches.
On Wednesday in Boca Raton, the 42nd President spoke in front of a Jewish rally wearing a yarmulke and didn't look like an idiot, which both John Kerry and George Bush would have severe problems accomplishing. And that's where Clinton's magnetism is going to be primarily utilized: with minorities. Jews, Blacks and Arkansans.
Rumors have it that the 42nd President's reward for messing with Hillary's chances in 2008 (which hinge on a Kerry defeat) will be a large incumbent executive push for Clinton to assume for the UN's Secretary General position after Kofi Annan's term ends in 2006. A normal aspiration for a man who always thought his leadership qualities were stymied by the geographical boundaries of the United States of America.
But this secondary sortie in the celebrity wars following in the musical wake of Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Dave Mathews is not destined to go unchallenged in the last week of the most important campaign of our life. The Republicans are also trotting out their star performers to stump the purple states: Rudy Guiliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wayne Newton. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
After watching the recent spate of Presidential commercials, Will Durst is also is in a purple state.
Catch Durst at Cobb's Comedy Club in San Francisco Thursday through Saturday. Also don't forget Comedy Celebration Day in Golden Gate Park on Sunday, Halloween. 30 comics. Noon to five. Bring a blanket.
The Tiniest Inner Voice Ever
"All right, this one will be different. This time we're going offensive. And don't forget, no scowling. Remember what Karl said: 'When you want to scowl, pretend to take notes.' So here I go, taking notes. Note to self: 'this guy makes me want to scowl.' He does. All the time. Look at him. Walking around all erect and stuff. I jes can't help it. I get what Laura calls my mean monkey mouth on. Maybe I'll pretend to take notes and just draw a picture of Flip Flop Boy with one of the legs of this stool through his freakin' head. Although, I could never penetrate that hair helmet of his. Okay, okay, okay, more notes. Notes. Notes. Notes. Oh for crum's sake, this has got to look stupid. No normal human takes this many notes. Here I'll just look at him with absolutely no expression on my face. Now, I'll cross my eyes. Look at me. Look at me! Damn you smarty pants. He's still not looking at me. Like I'm not good enough for him. Can't believe you're losing to me, can you surfing dude? Chewing my lip isn't scowling is it? Oops, don't look at the camera; keep watching him. I'm watching you Brainiac. Yeah, you. He walks like he's got a bumpy stick up his butt. Ooops, I just said internets. That's right, isn't it? Yeah, everybody talks about being on the internet these days; there's got to be more than one. Rats, did I call him Senator Kennedy? Wait, no, that's good. I'll pretend I meant to do it. Kennedy- Kerry. Can't tell the difference, get it? Timber? The hell is he talking about? 'Anybody want some wood?' That should have gone over better. Isn't my time up yet? Mean monkey mouth go away. More notes. Karl is right, this is hard work. Oops, can't say 'hard work' or 'working hard' anymore either. Supreme Court? Should I do another wood joke here? No, wait, I know: 'don't want to mention any names, because I want them all voting for me.' Of course, last time it only took five of the nine to do the trick. Heh heh heh. NOW what the hell is he talking about? Orwell? Or well what? There he goes flip flopping again. Ooh, I got a good one. 'You can run but you can't hide.' Yeah, that was a hit. Wait, isn't that the same line I used on Osama bin Laden? There's a guy who can hide. Hey, wait a minute, he can't use Nancy Reagan. All the Reagans are ours. Except that fruity kid. Getting near the end here. Got to keep it straight. No scowl. Who slipped that mistake question in there? Nope, never made any mistakes. Except for agreeing to do this. Aren't we done yet? I feel a scowl coming on. Okay, that's it. We're out of here. Oh good, Dick talked to me this time. I must have done better. Boy, I sure could use a beer right about now."
Political comic Will Durst agrees with Bush, and could use a beer right about now.
What They Say/What They Mean: Interim Debate Edition
WTS: "The Democrats are re-energized by Kerry's performance."
WTM: "Okay, maybe he's not a taller, richer, less ethnic Dukakis clone. For a while there, we were worried."
WTS: "George Bush's strengths aren't easily articulated. But his message still resonates with the American people."
WTM: "Our butts got kicked so hard, we just hope the bruises fade by the next debate."
WTS: "We're thankful America finally got to see the real John Kerry."
WTM: "We're also thankful the Senator's responses were limited by a two minute clock."
WTS: "The foreign policy debate was Bush's issue."
WTM: "Oh dear."
WTS:"I don't care who has the better debating skills. I still think George Bush is the more decisive candidate."
WTM: "I would vote for a foot stool before a Democrat."
WTS: "I thought the debate was a tie."
WTM: "I was really watching Extreme Makeover."
WTS: "John Kerry definitely appeared more statesman-like."
WTM: "He's taller."
WTS: "Sending mixed messages isn't good for our troops or our allies or for the Iraqi people."
WTM: "Logic complicates things."
WTS:"George Bush has waged the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time."
WTM: "This would be a hell of a lot easier if I knew when I said what in front of whom."
WTS: "I was provided with faulty intelligence."
WTM: "DNA is a bitch."
WTS: "Every one of the President's reasons to go to war have been proven to be fabricated."
WTM: "I can't believe I'm losing to this twit."
WTS: "It's hard work. We're working hard."
WTM: "Are my two minutes up yet?"
WTS: "Our only chance to succeed in Iraq is to build a new coalition."
WTM: "I speak French."
WTS: "The administration at this time has no plans to re- institute the draft."
WTM: "This is a permanent policy that will last right up until after the election."
WTS: "I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it."
WTM: "And I would do it again in a heartbeat. And not do it again as well."
WTS: "The economy's turned the corner."
WTM: "Then it rolled twelve times, hit a tree and burst into flames."
WTS: "I know what it's like to follow hollow orders for empty aspirations."
WTM: "Bronze Star, Silver Star and three Purple Hearts."
WTS: "Freedom is on the march."
WTM: "Not necessarily marching forward."
WTS: "I made a mistake talking about the war. He made a mistake going to war. Which is worst?"
WTM: "Don't answer that question."
WTS: "The Iraqi people hunger for democracy."
WTM: "As long as it doesn't include heretical covenants like women driving and stuff like that."
WTS: "Bilateral talks are better than multilateral talks."
WTM: "I'm going to blind him with fancy negotiation speak."
WTS: "I know Saddam had nothing to do with 911. I know that."
WTM: "All those swarthy sand jockeys look the same to Americans." Thomas Jefferson said Americans get the leaders it deserves.
Will Durst thinks we must have been a very naughty nation recently.
A couple years ago, Northern California was hit by a big earthquake, not the BIG ONE, but large enough so we were visited by death, destruction, and the devastation of major television network satellite trucks. Instead of displaying empathy for the victims of these natural disasters, one of those fundamentalist Christian types, I forget which one; Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell or John Ashcroft, you know, one of those holy liquid squeezebags, laughed himself silly at our distress, claiming we had brought it upon ourselves by flagrant heathen behavior. That's right, God took time from His/ Her busy schedule of tempting potential sinners and answering the prayers of body painted football fans to throw down a 7.1 temblor because we buy a higher percentage of the buttless chaps sold in this country. And all across the land you heard muffled harrumphs of agreement from the faithful.
But all during the rains of Hurricanes Charley, Florence, Ivan and Jeanne, have you heard one word about this string of storms being God's retribution on Florida for the wholesale hijacking of the 2000 election? Nothing, right? Why? Because so far no one's been stupid, ignorant or backward enough to link the two: ludicrously suggesting that God has enough free time on His/ Her hands to give a real rat's ass about our petty squabbles.
Until now. Cuz that's my job.
Did you ever hear of cheater's proof? 4 Hurricanes in one season. People, how much more evidence do you need? Would 8 do it? 17? Well, it doesn't matter, because you're going to get all the evidence you want and more. That's right, I talked to God and just like Al Gore, He/ She is still pissed about Bush's ballot pilferage. He/ She knows what Katherine Harris did and He/ She plans to keep flinging these storms the length of America's dangling appendage right up till the election unless Florida turns the dastardly miscreant along with the incriminating evidence over to the proper authorities.
That's right. A human sacrifice is all that can keep a veritable gaggle of Category 3s and 4s and 5s from spinning up and down the length and breath of the Sunshine State till meteorologists run out of names shooting past Zed having to double back alphabet- wise starting over again with the AA's: Angry Alan, Beastly Bob, etc. I'm sorry folks, but that's the story. Don't shoot the messenger.
Apparently God will not be satisfied until Katherine Harris is where she belongs: in prison for her crimes of stealing an election and the excessive use of hair products. And if not: repeat after me: Hurricane, Hurricane, Hurricane. Not to mention an endless series of shots of reporters in raincoats yelling at unseen cameramen tethered to concrete posts.
Of course if Florida refuses to do the right thing, mayhaps one of her neighbors exhausted from all this residual moisture due to Florida's transgressions might take matters into their own hands and pre- emptively abduct Ms Harris for the sake of their own deductibles. And if you consider this is all too crazy for anybody to take seriously, you don't understand the way major insurance companies work. If I were her, I'd avoid dark alleys.
Just to add a little icing on the cake, political comic Will Durst understands God wants Congressman Harris perp-walked directly into the custody of Dan Rather.
"Stupid People Love Bush" New Study Proves
According to the prestigious Southern California think tank, The Gluton Group, stupid people prefer President George W Bush over Senator John Kerry by a 4 to 1 margin. As Chief Resident Dr. Louis Friend characterized the results of the research, "the less intelligent you are, the more you like Bush." This landmark study, conducted over a 5 month period, involved 2400 likely voters bridging all economic stratas in the 17 states generally considered up for grabs on November 2nd. Participants were tested for intelligence then asked to fill out a 12 page series of questions involving the Presidential candidates with results released earlier this week.
The consensus: the higher the IQ, the less people trust Bush and respect the job his administration has done. The lower the IQ, the more people admire his steadfastness. "It was pretty much a slam dunk. There's no nice way to say this. Dumb people like him. They think his unwavering nature is a positive personality trait. They even venerate him for never admitting mistakes, even when he's wrong. On the other hand, smart people think he's a lying bully. I mean, c'mon, you have a deserter accusing a decorated veteran of treason. Who's going to buy that besides stupid people?"
|IQ Above 140
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 25%
Apparently Bush's good-evil, black-white philosophy resonates on an inverse relationship with higher education, whereas it became evident over the period of analysis that John Kerry's nuanced arguments are only understood by people who paid attention in any class above the 5th grade.
Doctor Friend elaborated: "It has to do with intellectual curiosity. Folks see Bush in front of a stream talking about the environment and they assume he's in favor of it, even though if you read his legislation, I'd be surprised to hear him endorse shade. This also explains why Bush gets away with pretending he doesn't know how the Senate works allowing him to call Kerry a flip- flopper."
Friend released evidence this type of disconnect exists across the board: education, foreign policy, the economy, post 9-11 security response and State Dinner entertainment choices. Also discovered was a direct correlation between the number of preset Country Western stations on car radios and Bush's approval rating. Dr. Friend attributes this phenomena to the simplicity inherent in the messages indigenous to both. Classical music listeners were preponderantly Kerry supporters, but surprisingly, on heavy metal, the two split down the middle.
Spotting a trend, Friend cautioned, "Because of the deterioration in public education, larger and larger segments of the population are creeping downward IQ-wise, cementing the hold Republicans have on the electorate." However, if the election were held today, Bush would hold a lead of 52- 48 in the popular vote, but would be virtually tied in the Electoral College, which Bush supporters argue against because the word College angers them. When contacted, a Kerry spokesman just chuckled. No Bush spokesperson was made available for comment. It was also found that Ralph Nader supporters were the brightest of all political proponents tested, but Dr Friend dismissed them as "too smart for their own good." In a related study, smart people prefer baseball because the pace is such there is time to read.
Will Durst has two country western stations preset on his car radio. Okay, no he doesn't.
Economic Girlie Men
Got to be perfectly honest here: no idea why everyone is going gaa-gaa over California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's little talk at the Republican Convention the other day. First off, it wasn't really an address; more like a string of cute one liners. I will grant you, he does look impressive with his chin thrust forward. (Pointing towards the future I'm guessing.) Just not sure a guy whose father was a Nazi should be striking that particular pose, much less giving inspiring speeches about escaping as a youth from under the thumb of a totalitarian regime, but there you go. Father being a nazi and all.
I must admit also being a bit taken aback by the "economic girlie men" line. Isn't this supposed to be the kinder gentler Republican Party Convention? And now this blatant discrimination of economic girlie men coming straight from the podium? What next; a proposed Constitutional Amendment outlawing marriage between economic girlie men? Taunting the unemployed with "God Hates Economic Girlie Men" placards? New this season on Bravo: "Economic Girlie Men Eye for the Straight Guy."
Countering Ronald Reagan Jr's appearance last month, cranky Georgia Democrat Zell Miller crossed party lines to give the Keynote Address. Asked why he doesn't just switch parties, Zig Zag Zell railed "I was born a Democrat, and I'll die a Democrat." Nice logic Zell, one question: why the hell don't you act like a Democrat then? And in another balancing act, the spoiled trust fund baby Hilton Sisters Act put on the night before by the Bush twins was evened out when Vice Principal Dick Cheney scolded the nation for even considering not voting for him and Bush.
He also mocked John Kerry for expressing a desire to take a sensitive approach to the war, even though the last time he scraped the barrel for this charge, the Democrats found footage of Bush saying the exact same thing. But if logic were a requirement here, we'd all be in deep doo doo. We certainly wouldn't countenance vicious attacks on a veteran who served honorably in Vietnam by a guy who evaded service. Instead of laughed at for being ludicrous, it's effective.
Of course, in America, its not what you do, but what you say, and more importantly what you can get other people to say, that really matters. Actions are always open to interpretation and ancillary to the continual restating of what you want people to believe happened. If you doubt me, just consider George W Bush continuing to refer to himself as an environmentalist. The man whose Healthy Forests Initiative calls for increased logging and whose Clear Skies Bill removed penalties for polluters. If Orwell were alive today, he'd bow down to this administration in awe. Or dick slap 'em. One of the two.
From now on, Will Durst wants all of you to refer to him as: "The Greatest Living Political Comic on the Planet Earth." If enough of you say it, it will eventually become true.
The Pink Republicans
New York City. Republicans. About as suitable a combination as milk shakes and uranium tailings. Like a tricked out 78 Buick Deuce and a Quarter and a Papal motorcade. Like banana slugs and oatmeal. Okay, you get the idea. But the natural antipathy of the two could explain why the Republicans who showed up here in the Big Apple this week are making so nice. These aren't actual conservatives: these are the stunt Republicans. Not the fierce ideological warriors determined to energize and reward their base in the red states, this fabulously moderate group of blow dried teeth they're trotting out on our TVs are the watered down pastel version of the GOP. The Pink Republicans.
You remember them. These are the ones who showed up in Philadelphia four years ago. The inclusive, big tent, we're- all- in- this- together, can't- we- just- get- along, and aren't- those- minorities- talented Republicans. Always wondered what happened to them. Seem to have disappeared for awhile. Must be cousins to those cicadas that burrow in the ground and emerge to feed on a set cycle years later. Like quadrennial insects, the masked Republicans have crawled out of their holes to infest the American airwaves again.
Those of you who have read the party platform could be forgiven your confusion. This is a different land. Welcome to: Home on the Strange, where not a discouraging word will be heard. No mention of discrimination to gays or decimations to Head Start programs or Constitutional amendments outlawing abortion. You will hear happy smiley red white and blue pap. But the sheep's clothing strategy worked last time and smart campaign managers don't abandon good things. But if you expect to see the crazed zealots who have been running the country for the last four years, forget about it. You got a better chance of seeing New York City impose a midnight curfew so it's citizens are guaranteed a good night's sleep.
Does anybody besides me wonder where the red Republicans are this week? The strutting Enrons, arrogant Lotts, environment raping, screw the poor, Constitution stripping, war mongering rich white guy Republicans. Where the hell are they spending their convention? Holed up in a Cayman Islands corporate condo planning more pre- emptive strikes on countries with nothing to do with 9-11 and without ties to Al- Qaeda or possessing any Weapons of Mass Destruction?
The Pink Republicans are a lot like the menu at Denny's. Smack dab in the middle of the mainstream and sometimes all a family can afford. And the tight focus glossy pictures of the food do look delicious, and you think to yourself, "How can they screw up bacon and eggs?" But when a soggy skimpy wilted mess arrives at your table, you discover how. And you don't even bother complaining, only blaming yourself, "Hey, it's Denny's for crum's sake. What was I thinking?"
Will Durst is in the belly of the beast and he's packing cod liver oil.
THE SMURF HAS CLAWS
"He even looks dashing in a Santa suit." Pretty sure that's not going to be Senator and Vice Presidential wannabee John Edwards' legacy, but as a choreographed slice of Americana it played straight out of the Pollyanna playbook: like a scene set in the doorway of Floyd's Barbershop on the corner of Main and Elm in Mayberry, the capital of the great state of Norman Rockwell land. Then the Missus, Elizabeth, revealed the destination of the Edwardses upcoming anniversary dinner as Wendy's, and you could hear the "awws" reverberate around living rooms all over the country. Especially those with doilies on the couch. "Aren't they just the sweetest down- home, make- you- want- to- gag- your- peas- and- pot- roast- dinner- into- the- kitchen- sink couple you ever did see?" Yes, they are, and I'm sure power grids endured red- lining surges as garbage disposals clean up the treacly detritus en masse.
I know he's the new darling of the left, all four Beatles rolled into one and each of them is Paul, but there's something a little creepy about the Primary Wonder Boy. Maybe it's his, "just plain folks" electric lawyer smile. A little too bright and with a tendency to turn on a mite too soon, like 1000 watts in a hallway that spookily lights up before before your finger flips the switch. His closing statement, I mean speech, was delivered well enough, although forced since he tried to fit a 40 minute harangue into a 30 minute slot to make up for Al Sharpton going over his time.
Bringing red meat to the table in front of a crowd that had been force fed a vegetarian diet for three days, the hall devoured every last bloody sinew. "Let Sharpton be Sharpton" must have been the man behind the curtain's call. The Rev proved the formal investiture of Barack Obama as present and future unofficial African- American spokesperson might be what you call your premature. Over the past year Sharpton banked an impressive largesse in the credibility department mainly for his candor which flourished unencumbered by the anchor that ambitions of receiving mail at 1600 Pennsylvania seems to encase other candidates in.
But the night belonged to Edwards who proved that although he looks 12, and has been called too happy and cuddly to be a single chicken bone away from the Presidency, this Smurf comes equipped with claws. After his "2 Americas" standard stump sated the heartland pitch, he jumped right into Bushville with his threat to terrorists "we will destroy you." Now it's the Big Kahuna's turn at bat and his assignment is simple. How to turn "I, Robot" into "We the People."
Will Durst doesn't envy JFK's task. As WC Fields said, "never follow a kid or an animal."
BOUNCITY BOUNCY BOUNCE
That thunderous breeze you just felt was Democratic staffers all over Boston letting out a deep collective sigh of relief as Teresa Heinz Kerry didn't screw the pooch on Tuesday night going a long way in burying "Shove It- Gate", although I'm sure many Americans remain confused as to why the woman refuses to comb her hair. "You're a pretty woman, why don't you do something with your hair?" It takes a lot of old money to pull off that whole windswept look on national television. Fittingly, the heiress appeared very ketchupy in a zippered red Members Only two piece suit speaking eloquently of her upbringing in Africa pulling yeoman- like spousal duty, although at times she appeared to be chomping at the bit and if you think Democratic insiders can throw their hand wringing towels away, you got another think coming.
Earlier, the Fleet Center was treated to Ronald Reagan Jr. speaking on stem cell research and the effect was as eerie as a writhing smiley face fashioned out of live leeches. Even though it wasn't the Great Communicator himself, just hearing that name announced at a Democratic Convention followed by applause must have had the old man spinning in his grave so rapidly, an electro magnetic hookup could have produced enough energy to light up all the emergency lights littering the streets of Boston for the rest of the week. The mere fact that lightning did not strike and level the place into pea gravel went a long way to diminish the god like stature ascribed old Lizard Neck during this summer's Reagan- Palooza and the attendant attempted canonization.
But the kind of speech with a strong chance to be remembered years later was given by "the skinny kid with a funny name," Barack Obama. Can we say "rising star?" If Republicans thought they had a problem finding someone to run against him for this year's open Illinois US Senate seat before ha. I said "ha" and I meant "ha." After this verbal standing triple its going to be harder than three- week- old bread studded with concrete nails encased in Plexiglas. Treated to their first taste of Obama- rama, the hall went wild and I'm already putting down a double sawbuck that the 2020 presidential election pits Obama against Bush III: George P.
Crouched inside the belly of the beast, its hard to see how this whole four day extravaganza is playing out in the heartland or even if its playing out, but it doesn't really matter: everything is judged by the bounce. The bounce being the post- convention jump in the polls that hopefully occurs after your ordinary average four day red white and blue infomercial. The incumbents are considered the home team, which is why the challenger gets first-ups. And usually after all is said and done and both conventions have drop kicked their last balloon, an equilibrius balance is struck.
Of course, right now, the Dems are trying to lower the bounce expectation so if its not so big, they DON'T look like total losers, while the GOP is trying to overstate the expected bounce so if its not so big, they DO look like total losers. But its all okay because at the end of the August in New York, the two will just rotate their bouncy arguments. Turns out, politics is a lot like volleyball. Who knew?
Will Durst likes nude beach volleyball best, but not with these guys.
FOLLOW THAT MOFO
It's a good thing John Kerry doesn't have to grace the Convention stage until Thursday because that will give the party faithful 72 whole hours to recover from Monday's rousing speeches by the holy triumvirate of the Democrats Hall of Fame: Bill, Hillary and Al. And oh yeah, Jimmy Carter spoke too. Transported back to the good old days of stock market tech bubbles and Dan Rather getting used to stumbling over the word "penis" in his national newscast, this lefty gathering of political groupies wept openly at the soaring rhetoric of familiar comets flashing by for what may be the last time. There was nary a dry greying pony tail in the bunch, but there were multiple scuffed blue jean knees from repeated genuflection.
Not that anybody outside the Fleet Center without cable saw it, since our big three major networks plan less coverage of the conventions than Al Jeezera. No, really. The Arab news network has its own skybox in the hall (and will most likely be more temperate in their criticism than Fox News) plans on covering the event for an hour and a half a day, airing 50% more of the proceedings than NBC, CBS and ABC. I'm not totally sure about this, but I think I read where the Home Shopping Network plans more coverage than the big three. Or was it Animal Planet?
Of course with the Vice Presidential choice already choosed, and the party platform hammered out back in 03, there ain't what you call a whole lot of news to cover. Then throw into the mix credentialed media types outnumbering the delegates by about 4 to 1, and how surprising is it to find most of the stories coming out of Boston are interviews with other journalists? I saw a camera crew filming a radio guy being interviewed by a newspaper columnist. It's so incestuous, I'm convinced half of us are going to fly out of Boston with an advanced case of hemophilia.
Exacerbating the lack of news is the rumored semi- gag order placed on all podium speakers. Whoopi Goldberg wannabees are not welcome here. And yes, I imagine that edict will also be dropped into Teresa Heinz Kerry's mailbox as well, based on her "shove it" admonition to a combative Pittsburgh reporter. Although one school of thought holds her outburst might not be such a bad thing, as it humanizes the family by demonstrating an actual emotion. Besides, it was a reporter and who hasn't secretly wanted to snarl "shove it" to the media?
Come to think of it, that should be John Kerry's response when his Cape Canaveral spacesuit photo invites the inevitable comparison to Michael Dukakis' unfortunate tank helmet shot. "Shove it." Or turn the lemon into lemonade by running with it and replacing the Convention Theme with: "Hey Bush: Shove It." Much more succinct a slogan than "Stronger At Home and Playing Nicer with Others in Foreign Lands Where the Women Don't Shave Their Legs and the Men Wear Way Too Much Perfume" or whatever it is now.
Will Durst thinks Teresa Heinz Kerry should challenge Dick Cheney to a winner take all cage match on pay per view.
Fusing Four Days
of Prodigious Hemming to Maximum Hawing
The Democrats have descended on Boston for their 44th National Convention and the city of Boston is so excited about the prospect of witnessing history firsthand most of them have left town. And who can blame them? After enduring weeks of official cautions to "don't even bother trying to come downtown, it's going to be wicked ugly," followed by dire warnings of terminal gridlock and shrill threats of massive imminent terrorism, not to mention the widespread shutting down of freeways and mass transit, all the locals who haven't loaded up the Minivan and taken to the hills are hunkering down in boarded up homes like hurricane path residents with no more ambitious plans than to spend the next four days alternating between watching the Red Sox on the tube and Dr. Phil.
And speaking of the Scarlet Hose, John Kerry surprised everyone by detouring from a campaign stop in Florida back to the 617 area code to throw out the first pitch at Sunday Night's nationally televised Boston- New York game in prime time on ESPN. All too appropriately the presumptive nominee threw a knuckleball. Literally and figuratively. Either this guy is a great fan, awfully brave or is unfamiliar with the long standing tradition of baseball fans booing politicians. Especially politicians they might blame for closing down Interstate 93 and the Green Line for 9 hours during each of the next 4 days. But give the guy credit for staying till the end of the game as the Sox beat the Yanks, 9- 6. Boston, site of the Democrat Convention beat New York, ground zero of this year's Republican assembly. A little symbolism never hurts. Of course the Yankees still lead the Sox by 7 1/2 games.
Questions continually arise as to why they bother to hold these over- staged inflato pseudo events when the bulk of the proceedings could be conducted in a corner booth at Denny's over a Grand Slam Breakfast. "All in favor say 'more sausage please.' Okay, another round of coffee and give George Soros the check." But you know what, political conventions are a lot like Professional Wrestling Match. Sure you already know what's going to happen, but once every four years, they're fun to watch.
Besides, the Democrats are eminently more watchable than the Republicans because no matter which high priced Hollywood producer is hired to shrink wrap the choreography, getting Democrats to follow a party line script is like trying to barbecue squid. No matter how thin the grates, major slippage is bound to occur. A lot like a highway wreck. Of course no one wants to see actual blood, but its still impossible not to slow down and yell at that stupid SUV for blocking your view just when you had a clear angle.
Even with the unifying presence of measureless Bush- loathing bonding them, the self destruction possibilities are endless. Will Al Gore channel Sam Kinison again? How will Howard Dean react when he discovers his credentials are bogus? Will Bill Clinton hit on Campbell Brown within camera range? Can Ted Kennedy remain erect for all four days? Be sure to tune in this week for your quadrennial dose of The Democrats: Danger, Intrigue, Disorder.
While in Boston, Will Durst plans to wear very comfortable shoes.
Defending his invasion of Iraq, even though less weapons of mass destruction have been found than can be discovered under your average sink, and that glaring link between Al Qaeda and Iraq remains as invisible as a David Caruso change in expression, George Bush said on a campaign trip to Wisconsin: "I had a choice. Trust the word of a madman, or defend America. That is one choice I will always make." And I say, thank God. Not, thank God he made the choice he did, but thank God those were the only two alternatives available to him. Who's ever in charge of vetting his choices should be given a medal. Madman or America. You ask me, that's a slam dunk from a step ladder. But I'll tell you what keeps me up late at night: questions that rattle the brain and contort the soul. What if our President's choices had been a mite more complex? Less black and white and more of a grayish hue?
What I'm getting at here is, if his options were different would his decision to defend America have been as well? What if perhaps he had to choose to either trust the word of a madman or wear shoes made out of fudge? At State dinners? For the rest of his term? Fortunately for all of us, we may never have to find out the answer to that conundrum. But perhaps its time we make a pre- emptive determination and ask the President to elucidate his position on other alternatives before this nation is treated to further footage of him spending seven minutes reading "My Pet Goat" with an expression similar to that which a deer greets oncoming headlights before getting off his big fat white furry butt.
For instance, it might be in the best interests of all Americans to discern:
- How would you choose between protecting American lives or poking marine iguanas in the eye with soldering guns? What would your choice be then?
- What about defending International peace or cracking walnut shells on TNT with your forehead? What about Brazil nuts? Seamless pistachios?
- Imagine this: your mom, Barbara Bush, goes totally bald or you unknowingly blow snot bubbles during the whole of a State of the Union Address. Either you're in or you're out, right now.
- Explain your position on not exploiting the world's tenuous truce for cheap oil or being forced to decorate your daughter's wedding cake with anchovy stuffed olives? What if it meant both your daughters' wedding cakes? Okay, now replace the olives with dried aardvark snouts.
- Where would you come down on the question of American boys killed by friendly fire during the execution of an unnecessary war or throwing bottles of Chanel brand Noir Nuit nail polish at polar bears in safe zoo diorama type environments? How bout in the wild?
- Lady or the tiger? We all know Clinton's position on this one.
- Sleeping with garlic cream cheese mashed potato earmuffs or no bid Halliburton contracts?
- Trimming the rough edges off the Constitution or breathing through snorkels made out of raw meat? How bout swimming in a pool full of pot roast gravy? What if you could proxy the swimming through the judicious use of dwarves?
- Lose an election or cheat? These and other tough decisions are on the mind of voters and I challenge the President to express out loud his hard choices. Will Durst would definitely opt for the raw meat snorkle. Breathe and chew. The only thing missing is beer.
Catch Durst at Jimmy Tingle's Theater in Sommerville on Thursday.
Going To The Johns
Well, the Democrats finally punched their ticket and surprise, surprise, its the Johns: Kerry and Edwards. Personally, I'm shocked. Who would have thought Kerry would turn out to be such a pragmatist? He actually put aside his personal feelings and picked a guy to help the ticket. Are we sure this guy is actually a Democrat? Someone check his credentials.
In some years, the VP choice is used to enhance the candidate's Presidential appearance, but that was never John Kerry's problem. As a matter of fact, his biggest problem is he looks too Presidential. Every time I see him, I worry the Lincoln animatron has escaped from Disney's Hall of Presidents. He even has a voice that should be coming from a wax cylinder, "And I say, to the people of the Confederacy..."
In that way Edwards was an odd choice, because all by himself, the junior Senator from Massachusetts seems, what's the polite word: "glum," or "dour," or "bleak" or "dreary" or "mororse." But the junior Senator from North Carolina is smilier than a beauty queen prancing down a sequined runway past the judges table. Standing next to him, Kerry exudes something closer to "despair." Together, the two look like "The Undertaker and the Cheerleader," new, this fall, from FOX.
When the inevitable Republican attacks on Edwards started 4 nanoseconds into his announced run, they trotted out the timeworn crowd pleasing favorites like, "unexperienced," "out of the mainstream" and "pessimistic" as opposed to the Bush administration's unadorned "optimism." But because of the unique nature of Edwards' style they had to alter this last charge to "pessimism with a smile." Doesn't have the same bite if you ask me.
It is said big time Democrats desperately wanted Dourman to pick Happy Face since he has captured the imagination of the Party like nothing else since James Carville started polishing his head and Hillary Clinton wore a headband. He's a Kentucky Fried Kennedy. Clinton without the cigar. A young Lloyd Bentsen. Okay, I went too far, but you get my drift.
You also have to understand if Kerry HAD picked Richard Gephardt, we media types would have been waxing nostalgic about the charismatic Gore- Lieberman campaign. And they say Governor Tom Valsick of Iowa, the other guy rumored to be a front runner is inordinately shy and doesn't like campaigning. You know what, Washington DC is not a good place for a shy politician. Iowa is a good place for a shy politician.
Of course in the end, it's all moot anyhow. The Veep is as useful as a screen door on a submarine. Maybe 3 senate votes a year, a couple of foreign funerals and a giant pair of scissors to officiate at freeway ribbon cuttings. Think about it, who do you know who grows in America up chanting "We're no. 2. We're no. 2." Especially in November?
Will Durst doesn't chant well.
The Day After The Third Of July
Ah, the 4th. Best holiday of the year. Let's drink a lot of beer and handle explosives. I love it. Parades and bottle rockets and squirt guns and barbecues and ballgames, all done up in a patriotic panorama of red, white and blue. Dead solid summer and the next items on the agenda are the innocent jangle of the ice cream truck bell, the eye watering tang of over chlorinated pools and the frenzied kidney bursting cries of "Are we there yet?"
Understandably lost in the festive shuffle is the very reason we hold the holiday. To observe the birth of the greatest country in the world. A country that above all else honors freedom, opportunity and scantily clad super models. A land that guarantees its citizens justice, equality and the right to the pursuit of happiness, a right Jennifer Lopez seems intent on pushing way past any arbitrary limits.
And while we sweat away the day together running three legged races past card- table lemonade stands, it'll take 24 hours tops before we're back at each other's throats like feverish cave weasels during the predawn hours of the first day of mating season. But hey, you know what, we'll endure. This is a pretty darn resilient country. We made it through two terms of Reagan, survived 8 years of Clinton, a Carter, 2 Bushes, and a partridge in a pear tree.
America is more than just a nation. Its a notion. Its an idea. The American Dream. You never heard of the Afghanistani Dream have you? Except by bearded hermetic recluses with a fetish for uneducated women dressed as giant shuttlecocks. And that's such a tiny demographic sliver.
So no matter your political persuasion, when you look up at those fireworks shot into the sky to honor our independence, think of them as the individual bursts of the light that when wielded correctly, democracy can shine. The light that allows us to say whatever we want, as long as it isn't on AM radio.
Also think of those explosions as harbingers of the chaos we can expect in the upcoming days before November 2nd. Let's practice, shall we? Oooh, aaah. And oh yeah, save a Sheboygan Brat, an ear of roasted corn and a cold frosty one for me, would ya? Oooh. Aaah.
Don't worry, Will Durst will find a way to consume many brats and ears of corn on his own.
Don't forget. Will Durst at the Purple Onion on Wednesday the 30th and Cobbs Comedy Club for the big political summit July 1- 3.
Frequently Asked Questions about Reagan's Funeral
Q. Isn't there some sort of time limit on these things?
A.You're right, it seemed like about a year but Reagan- Palooza has wound down and they finally put the old man in the ground. Reluctantly. I mean, c'mon, JFK only got 4 days.
Q.Is it really over- over or is this just an intermission?
A. Well, if Karl Rove had his way, they'd still be dragging the body back and forth across the country in the bed of a Ford F- 150 pickup stopping at county fairs right up till the election. He probably approached the widow with a contingency plan to dig up the carcass of conservatism in case Bush's prospects head South later this summer.
Q. Why did the networks go so crazy with non- stop footage?
A. This is going to sound silly, but they went crazy because they could. 8 years as President piled on top of a 8 years as governor added to 20 years in film and tv: they had footage up the wazoo.
Q. Still, don't you think it was kind of overdone?
A. You think so? I switched on the national news on Thursday and they cut from another unctuous paean to Reagan to a story on the Laci Peterson trial and I actually heard myself mutter out loud, "Thank God."
Q. Does Reagan get frequent flyer miles for all those cross country coffin trips?
A. Probably not, but then the chances of him cashing them in are pretty slim anyway.
Q. Is this going to help Bush?
A. What a repugnant suggestion. To sully the death and mourning of a national legend by raising the ugly specter of partisan politics.
Q. Does that mean yes?
A. A 168 hour commercial on the ideals of conservatism? Yeah, you could say this is going to help Bush. You could also say wolverines make lousy crib toys.
Q. What long term repercussions are expected?
A. Well, if this unfortunate demise and subsequent memorial buoys Bush, and Kerry falls behind in the polls, you know his people are going to have to consider taking out Clinton in October. If they don't need that big of a bounce, Carter.
Q. Any advice for the former Presidents?
A. I've heard Gstaad is nice in the fall.
Q. Do you really think they'll put Ronnie's face on the 10 dollar bill?
A. I'm thinking the ten thousand dollar bill would be much more appropriate.
Q. Wasn't it a mite cruel to honor a man who suffered through the throes of Alzheimer's for more than ten years with logos entitled "Remembering Ronald Reagan."
A. I refuse to dignify that question with an answer.
Q. Okay, moving on. What was that whole "they've been planning this whole deal for over 10 years" crap?
A. Settle down, after you've fossilized into a beloved institution for a couple decades, you get the same free pass to arrange your burial for maximum press coverage.
Q. Does Nancy Reagan get to take a nap now?
A. Hopefully. As the week wore on, the poor lady looked more and more like a Pez Dispenser every day.
Q. What do you think of Kerry's decision to suspend his campaign during Reagan Death Week?
A. It might help in that the people who are aware he suspended his campaign are also now aware that he at one time had one and might again someday.
Will Durst is planning his burial already. It involves a drinking game and empty bottles.
Funny Business in Los Angeles, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at the Coronet Theater, 366 N La Cienega. 310-657-7377. Funnybusiness.biz
Requiem for a Ray Gun
Okay. Okay. I get it already. He was the Mother Teresa of the right. And now he's dead and it's time to canonize him, although I got to say, seeing big time Democrats do it makes me want to throw up in a bubble wrap envelope and overnight it to Kerry campaign Headquarters. My guess is our whole country has fallen victim to the same convenient "Can't Recall Disease" the 40th President made so popular near the end of his second term.
And yeah, yeah, I understand it must have been hard on his family seeing him deteriorate during the last ten years of his life, falling to the gauzy clutches of Alzheimer's, but where's this same sympathy for the thousands of disabled he was responsible for throwing out into the streets? What about the retirees with stolen pensions who couldn't afford teams of attendants wiping their butt at the end? Where's the compassion for the legions of agendaless gays he sentenced to early deaths with his policy of withholding federal dollars for AIDS research? And now they're talking about putting his face on everything from the ten dollar bill to Mr Rushmore. Excuse me? Shouldn't we start out with something simple like a stamp so each of us can apply saliva to it in whatever manner we deem appropriate? Lick or spit. However, feverish with the same giddy amnesiatic malady of revisionist history sweeping the nation, allow me to weigh in with my
"Saint Ronnie Died For Our Sins Exoneration Collection."
Accusation: Once spoke of being on the bow of a ship in WWII. Was never on a ship during WWII, but he did play a part in a movie where he was on the bow of a ship.
Exoneration: Gave the country a belief and confidence in itself that transcends reality.
Accusation: Napped during Cabinet meetings.
Exoneration: Well rested for State Dinners.
Accusation: Most Presidents are figureheads: Reagan was a hood ornament.
Exoneration: Hood ornaments need role models too.
Accusation: Said trees cause pollution.
Exoneration: He didn't actually mean trees cause pollution, he was only using it as a metaphor for for, unh, something else.
Accusation: Turned down Bogart's part in the movie "Casablanca."
Exoneration: History would have changed if he had taken the part. Bogart might have been President. Of course, "Casablanca" would have been a crappy movie. I mean, c'mon, you got to have priorities.
Accusation: Didn't know he had been shot by Hinckley.
Exoneration: Maybe that whole President- with- a- central- nervous- system thing is overrated. Did you ever think of that?
Accusation: Consulted astrological charts to determine which were the most propitious times for foreign trips.
Exoneration: He was ahead of his time, grasshopper.
Accusation: Had the intellectual depth of an ashtray.
Exoneration: Possessing more than the intellectual depth of an ashtray was always an arbitrary barrier thrown in the way of potentially great leaders like Ronald Reagan, J Danforth Quayle and George W Bush.
Accusation: Called ketchup a vegetable.
Exoneration: He didn't really mean ketchup was a vegetable, he was only using it as a metaphor for unh, for trees not causing pollution.
Will Durst thinks selective memories are fine, as long as they're not too selective.
Oh yeah, "Funny Business" in Los Angeles, Thursday the 10th and Friday the 11th at the Coronet Theater. 310-657-7377 and ask for the 2 for 1 deal. Funnybusiness.biz
WE'VE RUN OUT OF BULLETS
With our troops engaged in two separate but unequal foreign wars, President George W Bush observed Memorial Day by laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown service record. The Stealth Soldier then spoke eloquently of the courage and sacrifice exhibited by our country's brave steadfast youth, highlighted by the subliminal text, "when the going gets tough the tough send other people's kids to fight for sub $2 a gallon gasoline."
This last Monday in May tribute climaxed a two week campaign blitzkrieg jump- started by a speech to the nation originating from the War College and included the dedication of the WW II Memorial this past weekend. By the way, who knew there was a War College and what do you think those entrance exams are like? And is Donald Rumsfeld convinced it could be run with fewer teachers?
In the midst of his grueling tour, the self described War President intoned many stentorian aphorisms, including "the enemies of peace must be isolated," which probably doesn't mean he's sending Cheney and Wolfowitz to their rooms without dinner, but should. He also vowed Iraq will not be Vietnam. Well good, Dubya, that means you won't need another note from your daddy to slide into the National Guard. Critics carped this rhetoric siege was a mite disingenuous considering the President's military service, but say what you will, on his watch, not a single Viet Cong ever set foot in Alabama.
The new news is we've run out of bullets. No, I'm not making this up. Even though Alliant Techsystems, the Independence, Missouri company responsible for making bullets for the US Government, has production lines running around the clock, sending 1.2 billion rounds to the front lines in the past year, they estimate that number will be at least 800 million rounds short, but what's four fifths of a billion bullets amongst friends?
We've run out of bullets. You know what, that's not good. No, really, I looked it up. That's not good. Winning a war without bullets is like trying to educate kids without any books. Oh, right, I guess we're doing that too. Can't you just imagine Rumsfeld strutting into a gun shop demanding 10 million M 16 clips only to be told he needs two forms of ID and will have to wait two weeks for the cooling off period.
And it's not just bullets we're running out of: we're also short on money, batteries, money, tank treads, money, allies, money, body armor and money. Did I mention money? But that's what happens when you throw 2 wars into the same economic blender as 2 tax cuts. Now you'd think if I can figure this out, one of our big time money crunchers could too, wouldn't you? Maybe we can recalibrate our mine sweepers to look for spare change. And hey, as long as you're doing house to house sweeps, spend a couple minutes digging under the couch cushions. Who knows, you might find some bullets there.
On his last couch cushion check, Will Durst found 2 buttons, a buck thirty- seven and an extremely linty tootsie roll pop. Don't ask.
Oh yeah, "Funny Business" in Los Angeles Thursday the 3rd through Saturday the 5th at the Coronet Theater. 310-657-7377 and ask for the 2 for 1 deal. Funnybusiness.biz
MASSACHUSETTS MARRIAGE MANIA
Well, it started. The city of Cambridge became the first municipality to legally marry a gay couple in the State of Massachusetts and the obnoxious cacophony emanating from the various sanctified orifices of the Religious Right is enough to make one wonder who's running tape backwards through speakers the size of Rush Limbaugh's ego. To say the vitriolic clamor is out of control is like suggesting a rotating sprinkler head makes for a lousy drinking fountain. Here's what I don't get: how does two men or women holding civil rights hurt the right wingers? Maybe they're bemoaning severe sleep loss whilst imagining their greatest nightmare? Hey guys, subscribe to different magazines.
One protester to the ceremony held up a sign reading: "God hates fags." Yeah, well, okay, but if you ascribe to that darling little slogan, you must also hold the opinion that God loves bigoted intolerant idiots. Of course conservatives are seizing this opportunity to distract attention from the quagmire that is not a quagmire by swiftly convening prayer meetings to hasten the shuffling off of Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court mortal coils responsible for this revolting turn of events.
They have predictably trotted out their standard litany of godless commie pinko yellow rat bastard charges and aimed them at the usual suspects like the ACLU and Teletubbies, but since this is an election year, John Kerry is understandably having his tail pilloried as well for the audacity of being elected torepresent a state full of evildoers. And it is only with the greatest of restraint that I refrain from making a Texas joke here.
One argument is "if this crime against nature persists and becomes accepted by society, you know what's next: bestiality." Let me think. NO! There's still an age limit, isn't there? You ever seen an 18-year-old sheep? It's not a pretty sight my friend. Besides, no one marries mutton. Listen to them and you'd think the opponents to gay marriage have never met anyone even the slightest bit festive much less gay. They sound like they're describing alien demons with cloven hooves and scaly talons. For crum's sake, don't you get it, gays are people. They're you and me.
The only difference between gay and straight is which way your head faces during sex. That's it. And the quality of appetizers at the reception. C'mon, smoky cheddar salmon puffs on foccacia bread with a puddle of caviar, that is not a straight wedding. Anyway, I thought the whole idea was to keep gays from having sex. What better way than marriage do you know to accomplish that?
Political comic Will Durst thinks some folks should just get a grip. And exactly what it is they grip is a purely personal choice.
Don't forget: see Durst sing and dance (kinda) with Ruta Lee and a bunch of other really funny people in the musical comedy Funny Business Thursday through Sunday through most of June at the Coronet Theater, a block north of the Beverly Center on La Cienega.
Memo from Don
EYES ONLY and NO, that DOESN'T include those weasels Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill and Bob Woodward.
MEMO from the desk of the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to President George W Bush
Title: DAMAGE CONTROL
CC: Dick Cheney
Hey buddy. Thought I better give you a heads up on this whole Abu Ghraib prison deal. I'm telling you we had it nailed down. It's Rather and those damn CBS punks again, and of course, ordinary grunts looking for souvenirs. Dammit, if we only had stemmed some of that up front looting, our boys and girls would have had some classic art to take home and wouldn't have to resort to snapshots. But hindsight is always 20/ 20 isn't it? This is just a case of bad timing, especially so soon after the Dover casket photos. I compiled a list of possible damage control measures I intend on using in the hearings that I hope will be useful in extricating ourselves from this tar baby. With a skillful blend of message and media we could turn this into a win- win situation. And I'm just the guy to get it rolling.
- Create an independent panel to investigate the abuses. Don't worry, we'll be in charge of who gets on the panel, if you know what I mean.
- Blame the prison. See if we can get that Stephen King guy to agree it might be haunted.
- Trot out that whole "we'll have our good-days, and less good-days" thing again.
- Doctored. The photos were altered. Not all of them. Planting seeds of doubt is all.
- You got to apologize to the Arab peoples. But just to the Arabs.
- Emphasize the difference between what happens when democracy tortures prisoners and when dictators do. Nobody ever heard Saddam apologize for his torturing, right?
- Talk to Ashcroft, re: outlawing American ownership of cameras. Commission a study group to see if we can spin it as a safeguard against terrorism for citizens. Use whatever leverage we got left to get Kodak on board.
- Explain how in a free market, everything is subject to fringe elements including moral authority.
- Continue to portray anybody who criticizes me as giving comfort to the enemy. Remember, we're in this together.
- Keep calling it just an example of high spirits, that's all. Battle weary soldiers blowing off steam. Nothing you can't see in a Madonna video. A college fraternity prank. Call Rush.
- Kick me. Hard and loud. No, I mean it. Kick me. In public. Use really sharp-toed shoes.
- What do you think, any chance we can cover Clinton with the blame blanket again? Just thinking out loud.
- The old stand by: I don't remember. Can't recall.
- Money. Can't recall a sticky situation that money didn't grease at least a little bit. There's got to be some body we can bribe. Maybe the prisoners themselves?
Political Comic Will Durst didn't belong to a fraternity, and pranks like this are probably a major reason why.
APOLOGIES 'R US
Richard Clarke's mea culpa to the nation and the families of 9/11 confused many people. "Your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. I failed you." The hell was that? Encyclopedias were consulted. The Capitol was all a-dither. Nobody could pinpoint exactly what happened. Residents of DC haven't witnessed anybody apologize for anything since OG, original George, of the Washington variety, with that whole cherry tree deal and even then, rumor has it, Dad had to pry it out of him with the business end of a blunderbuss.
Nowadays, an apology is seen as a sign of weakness. The French apologize. In America, we find it much better to forge forward ignoring all obvious mistakes, while trying to create enough noise and dust to cover your trail, which isn't all that hard here in the Twenty-First century where the average attention span is close to that of a gnat blink. But now apologies are the rage and the fabric of our nation is at stake.
This disastrous turn of events must be averted. Testifying in front of the 9/11 Commission, Condoleeza Rice may be forced by to reverse her "60 Minutes" appearance in which she gamely resisted any urge to make amends. But little can be done to erase the image of Clarke as a folk hero and don't think the word isn't getting out. Listen real close, you can almost hear the reluctant focus groups plomping down in their rented folding chairs. And I predict, unless this ghastly trend is nipped in the bud, big time political consultants will be forced to report that when stuff goes bad, tax payers actually prefer someone to take responsibility and request forgiveness.
If this gets out, it could lead to a veritable Rampage of Repentance. Folks will be knocking each other down running around the Capital apologizing willy nilly into open microphones tying up conference rooms where important legislation could be stalled. Imagine the ugliness that could ensue.
- Former President Bill Clinton, for, well, you know.
- NY Senator, Hillary Clinton for not slapping Bill around when he was little.
- Senator Trent Lott just for his hair.
- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for smiling all the damn time. The hell is wrong with him?
- Vice President Dick Cheney for running the country, not telling us and not doing a better job.
- Commerce Secretary Donald Evans for criticizing John Kerry for "looking French." Yeah, right, and he smells like a tax cut too.
- Senator Edward Kennedy for his behavior during the Seventies.
- Condoleeza Rice just for her hair.
- Talk show host Larry King for those darn suspenders.
- Senator Edward Kennedy for his behavior during the Eighties.
- Former President Jimmy Carter for his brother Billy.
- Governor Jeb Bush for his brothers Neil and George.
- Former First Lady Barbara Bush for not slapping George around when he was little.
- Presumptive Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry for sharing the same planet with Jane Fonda.
And political comic Will Durst for whatever happened during those inconvenient oil-slicks in his memory.
THE LITTLE BOYS WHO CRIED, "THE OTHER SIDE IS NOTHING
BUT A BUNCH OF BIG FAT LIARS."
One thing you got to say about the Bushies. They sure are consistent. Al Gore? Lying liar. Campaigned with his pants afire. Riddled with standard falsifying disease endemic to the Democratic Party most prominently exemplified by his mentors, Slick Willie and Hillary "the Human Serpent" Clinton.
Department of Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill who had the audacity to criticize the administration in these tenuous times? Obviously lying. A dastardly turncoat Democratic mole who betrayed the good people of this country for purely political reasons. Which purely political reasons, we're not sure. Probably purely political reasons being dictated to him from secret Clinton agenda-bunker originating deep in the Harlem underground.
Richard S Foster, the accountant who claimed he was threatened with firing or worse if he ever breathed a word of the true cost of the Medicare Bill ($100 million more than the bill sent to Congress?) Lying dupe or lying traitor? We may never know. What we do know is he's just making stuff up. Brainwashed, hypnotized, or just a venal little weasel with a Napoleonic complex feebly trying to take down the most compassionate administration in the nation's history with a tapestry of falsehoods, prevarications and perjurious distortions.
Former anti-terrorism czar Richard Clarke? The lyingest of all the lying liars. An evildoer whose testimony before the 911 Commission is nothing but a grandstanding load of transparent lies in a pitiable attempt to hype sales of his libelous collection of untruths published by a subsidiary of Viacom which also owns CBS (wink-wink.) Can't seem to keep his whoppers straight; changes stories like a hyperactive chameleon on a plaid kilt. In league with liberal media, the Clintons, Osama bin Laden and Al Franken. Not to mention, beady little eyes.
Our brave, stalwart President and his loyal band of altruistic acolytes, who ignored the weak, doddering and senile protestations of the entire Commie Pinko Yellow Rat Bastard World by taking this country into a pre-emptive war based on charges of weapons of mass destruction which mysteriously never materialized: pure innocents. Misled newborn duckies who's only mistake was to trust the mean old info wizards at the CIA, most of whom are treacherous flunkies of Al Qaeda sympathizers, i.e.: contributors to John Kerry's campaign, like Jane Fonda.
It sure is easy when you live in a world of good and bad, black and white, and as we all pretty much know but are loathe to admit, it's even easier when you're the white.
Political comic Will Durst is more of an off-white, beige, tawny, ecru.
REFUSE TO RECUSE
The Sierra Club filed suit against Dick Cheney in an attempt to wrench Energy Task Force files out of his rigor mortis like clutches. Their insinuation is the Vice President met with Enron officials a gazilliondy times and with environmentalists not once (0 or 1 less than 1 times,) which made these hearings more suspicious than month old sushi, and demands further analysis. And who better to instigate this investigation than they, a disinterested neutral party? Yeah, right, calling the Sierra Club unbiased to the Administration's Energy policy is like calling sulfuric acid impartial to control top panty hose. Nonetheless, their case was upheld by a Federal Court, and on appeal from the Justice Department, the DC Supremes agreed to review it. But what with the Court involved in so many other pressing matters, like spring cleaning, the approach of baseball season and a boat load of Valentine's Day thank you cards to catch up on, in their infinite wisdom, they didn't consider the arguments requiring the gracing attention of all nine of their eminences, so they eenie meenied Justice Antonin Scalia to take point on the case for them.
Then, and this is where the plot thickening music should be cued to swell, Scalia hitched a ride on Air Force 2 to go duck hunting with a bunch of big time fancy folks including Cheney, the very man who's fate he is to decide. This has the Sierra Club jumping up and down like beads of glycerin on a pancake griddle and they're shrieking foul, demanding Scalia recuse himself from judgment with regard to his Elmer Fuddlike buddy. In a 21 page "nyah- nyah, nyah- nyah- nyah" memorandum responding to his critics, Justice Scalia refused to recuse, citing many spurious precedents. But all the fancy legal language mainly boils down to: he doesn't want to, he doesn't have to, so he won't, and if we don't like it, we can all just go poop in our pockets. One has to admire his spunk, but I must confess a certain alarm over one of his quotes: "If it is reasonable to think that a Supreme Court justice can be bought so cheap, the nation is in deeper trouble than I had imagined." Yes, we are all afraid the nation is in deeper trouble than he imagines, but even more distressing is exactly how deep does he imagine the trouble the nation is in? Knee deep? Hip deep? Or tilting our heads up to the sky trying to keep our lips above water deep?
Political comic Will Durst is keeping snorkel gear handy, just in case.
AMERICA'S FAVORITE FELON
If you ever needed proof of the extent of the culture gap between your New York television network news and your ordinary middle class mortgage paying mall walker, check out the reaction to the verdict in the Martha Stewart trial. For reasons as different as chocolate banana daiquiris are to Amish checkerboard quilts, normal ordinary civilians and big time network reporters were both whacked into bewilderment upon hearing the Queen Cream Dream was found guilty by a jury on four felony counts. The media was astounded because Ms. Stewart had been a minor deity as long as they've been in the game, and a top five "get" on their career goal list has been an invitation to one of her parties. And they consider her actions less criminal than attempting to crash a velvet rope encumbered with uninvited guests from the Midwest wearing creased jeans. Insider information? Its the way of the world. Don't be naive.
On the other hand, the mall walkers are incredulous a bona fide celebrity actually got nailed for anything. Folks on the street find the suburban superstar guilty not of insider trading, not of lying to a federal agent, but of being smug. Of being overly blonde. Of betraying the holy gospel of household perfection by cutting ethical corners. Of risking a $450 million fortune in a vain attempt to save a measly 50 grand.
She earned her chops as the domestic goddess for women from Connecticut. "Today we'll learn how to hacksaw walnuts into decorative napkin rings." Oh for crum's sake, bite me lady. You are the malignant knot on the arts and crafts knob. Your compass points due daft. We got families who need two incomes just to put food on the table and this socialite twit got famous for making housewives feel guilty because they can't find the time to carve a two- fifths cream cheese replica likeness of Mount Rushmore to honor President's Day. And at the end of every show, the reveal: "Look what I made." Oh get real, you didn't make squat Martha, everybody knows you got 20 Vietnamese women backstage begging to back to work for Nike. "She beats us when the cameras go away."
But you know she'll be back: you can't keep a good girl down. And America loves redemption stories. I guarantee the domestic diva will be back. So she gets 18 months: 3 months before her release, K- Mart will start promoting Martha Stewart's newest line of co- ordinates. Assorted shades of gray in muslim and burlap. Lots of vertical stripes. "Discover the confining beauty of slate and granite with the new Martha Stewart Solitary Collection: Busting Out for Spring."
Will Durst thinks vertical stripes are slimming.
THE WILL DURST THANK GOD FOR THESE LIQUID SQUEEZEBAGS BECAUSE I'M A COMIC AWARDS
Hey guys, time to rummage through the clutter on the floor of the shed and dig out those hard hats because we're in the middle of awards' season and mold cast golden plated statuettes are being flung around like frisbees in Central Park on a Sunday in May. Oh sure, you may have whiled away some free time with your lesser awards like the Oscars and Golden Globes et al, but now its time to settle in for the most serious and portentous of all awards ceremonies: the Will Durst Thank God For These Liquid Squeezebags Because I'm a Comic Awards. (Black tie- optional) An elegant gift bag awaits anyone who chooses to be one of our prestigious presenters. Go wait backstage and feel free to help yourself from the deli tray.
· BEST MAKE-OVER: John Kerry, Billionaire Boston Brahman Blueblood becomes ordinary friend of the mill worker type guy in pre Iowa blink of an eye.
· THE "OH MY GOD, NOT YOU AGAIN" AWARD: Ralph Nader. Scarier than Jason vs Freddy.
· THE MOST IMPORTANT MAN IN AMERICA AWARD: For 4th year in a row, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Steven's doctor.
· THE SKANKY HO BEFORE MY FIRST LEGAL DRINK AWARD: Its a three way tie! Paris and Nicky Hilton and Nicole Ritchie.
· THE AREN'T YOUR 15 MINUTES OVER YET? AWARD: It's a three way tie! Paris and Nicky Hilton and Nicole Ritchie.
· MISDIRECTION AWARD: Donald Rumsfeld. "Weapons of Mass Destruction? What weapons of mass destruction? We never said he had weapons of mass destruction. What we said was, he was a bad guy."
· BEST ANIMATION: Howard Dean in his Iowa non- concession speech.
· WHY WON'T ANYONE RETURN MY CALLS? AWARD: Al Gore.
· UNSOUND DESIGN AWARD: George W Bush and his privatization of social security plan.
· THE NOT AS DUMB AS HIS HAIR LOOKS AWARD: Reverend Al Sharpton.
· BEST SCORE: $12 million for Bill Clinton's memoirs and $8 million for Hillary's. That's $20 million for the recollections of 2 people who for 8 years continually testified under oath they couldn't remember a single thing.
· THE HE KNOWS MORE THAN HE'S LETTING ON AND I DON'T THINK ITS GOOD NEWS AWARD: Alan Greenspan.
· BEST CHOREOGRAPHER: Karl Rove for managing to bury discussion of Bush's missing years in Texas National Guard under drumbeat of necessity for a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriages.
· BEST IMPRESSION OF A SLEEPY LIZARD IN SEARCH OF A WARM ROCK AWARD: Once again, Dick Cheney narrowly edges out Robert Novack and Sam Donaldson.
· THE LET'S SETTLE ALL GLOBAL DISPUTES BY HOLDING HANDS AND SINGING KUMBAYA AWARD: Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
· MOST DESERVING DISAPPEARING ACT AWARD: Joementum.
· UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT AWARD: The Bush Administration's Environmental PROTECTION Agency.
· THE TAKE OFF THE BLINDERS AND HE'LL STILL RUN RIGHT INTO AN 18TH CENTURY WALL AWARD: John Ashcroft.
Will Durst won an award once but he thinks it had something to do with beer consumption.
FAQ/ Democratic Primary
Q. What's happening with the Democrats?
A. Well, as you may have guessed, it's boiled down to essentially a two man race in their attempt to pick which rich white guy they think has the best shot against Bush in November.
Q. Which must be good. More time for the top dogs to stand out, right?
A. Well, its certainly good for Edwards.
Q. Meaning its bad for Kerry?
A. Not necessarily. As long as he's winning, he gets to pretty much dictate the terms of the race. Like his decision to participate in only two debate before Super Tuesday instead of the three hundred and forty eight Edwards wanted, and Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton get to keep their shovels and buckets and play in the sand as well.
Q. So, that's good?
A. Some good, because the Opposition Party now has fewer voices on the nightly news attacking the President's policies on a regular basis, and it needs Sharpton and Kucinich to keep the attacks strident. Which Edwards and Kerry can't do because they're too busy sounding Presidential.
Q. That's bad?
A. Could be good too, because most recent polls show both Senator Johns, Edwards and Kerry, leading Bush.
Q. Sounds excellent, but then again, probably not, right?
A. See, it's not all that good, since at this very time 8 years ago, the living sarcophagus, Bob Dole, was ahead of Bill Clinton.
Q. I see your point, but still, it can't be bad?
A. You're right, its not, since it puts Bush on the defensive.
Q. Which is good?
A. Well, could be good. Could be bad too. Just like Dean made Kerry and Edwards better candidates, the Democrats have to worry about awakening the sleeping beast inside Bush, and yes, I do mean Dick Cheney.
Q. Ooh, that's bad, right?
Q. Wait, wait, let me its good in a way but in other ways, its bad, right?
A. You know, I think you're getting the hang of it here. Yes, its a little of both. As long as Edwards keeps his "Happy Face" campaign going strong and avoids the temptation to attack Kerry, its a good thing. But something happens to people who get this close to resident's entrance of the White House. Their minds start to go. They begin to explore all their options, and if one of them includes the slinging of mud, well, keep those barrels of dirt and the water hose handy.
Q. Which would be bad, right?
A. Well, for those of you who think we need a barometric reading on how Kerry reacts under pressure, now might be a better time than later, if you know what I mean.
Q. So, its good that Edwards continues to imitate the Energizer Bunny?
A. Well, you do want to allow the eventual winner enough time to prepare for the general election.
Q. Right. Everyone has been so polite lately, are you sure these are Democrats?
A. After seeing Dean and Gephardt both eat big beige banana slugs due to their Murder- Suicide pact in Iowa, its obvious what the Democratic party faithful want, and that's electability, which is hard to get from a bleeding stump of a candidate on life support.
Q. Are you calling Kerry the most electable Democrat?
A. No, Kerry is calling Kerry the most electable Democrat.
Q. Is the general impression that Edwards should drop out or stay in?
A. Well, Super Tuesday is coming up and it would be nice to have California involved for once, if for nothing else than letting the media see the sun, which might prove to put them in a better mood.
Comedian Will Durst hasn't even talked about Nader which is frightening but not all that confusing.
Friday, February 13, 2004 12:17 AM
WMDS, OR NO WMDS? THAT AIN'T THE QUESTION.
"Ooops, my bad." Is that too much to ask? That's all I want the President to say. I know the chances of prying an apology from a politician are about the same as extracting infected molars from a wolverine with a pair of chopsticks but still, I have this burning desire to hear him to say it out loud. "Sorry, my mistake." Now that it's clear no weapons of mass destruction will be found, he claims never to have said the threat was imminent. To which I can only say, "yeah, right, and formica is edible."
The new party line is that Saddam COULD have had weapons of mass destruction. WMDs have suddenly turned into WMD "program related activities." Which is a mite different than being able to "launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes." Of course you got to remember this "could have" information comes from the very same people who a year ago relished branding anybody with the temerity to disagree with their assessment as being nothing but substandard tools of the Dark Prince himself, and no, I'm not talking about Dick Cheney.
Back then, Saddam possessed voluminous amounts of Weapons of Mass Destruction and was aiming them at us with his shaky crazy finger hovering over the button. Pretty soon we'll find out our evidence comes from a waitress who found the words "weapons," "mass" and "destruction" doodled on the back of a Hooters menu in what one some guy who went to Baghdad once thinks looks a little something like Saddam's handwriting.
Bush had "no doubt" his intelligence was correct. Well, there's your problem right there. He never has any doubt. Grew up without doubt. He had no doubt his tax cuts for the wealthy were going to stimulate the economy. No doubt the deficit was going to magically morph into a surplus. No doubt we can take policemen off the streets and use the money to send a man to Mars. If you ask me, the man needs to cultivate a little doubt. Unless he's the man going to Mars that is. Hell, I'd hold a series of bake sales to fund that project myself.
You can tell almost smell the desperation when the administration trumpets the fact the Bill Clinton also thought Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Bush citing Clinton as a credible source. There you go. Like Pat Robertson buying a fringed leather skirt because it looked good on Christine Aguilera. Bush has even been forced to call for an investigation into his own intelligence, and you know what's going to happen: they're not going to find anything.
Will Durst wonders if letting Bush pick the panel that investigates him will lead to allowing Martha Stewart stock her jury with women from Connecticut
Friday, February 6, 2004 12:15 AM
Frequently Asked Questions
About the Super Bowl Halftime Show
Q. Do you seriously mean to tell me this country's entire radio, television and print media worlds went on a three-day saturation bender of self-righteousness simply because we got to see Janet Jackson's boob for a split second in a long shot during the Super Bowl halftime show?
A. Well, to be fair to the press, not much else was happening this week; just a couple or seven primaries in not so important states and an admission by the President's chief arms uncoverer that there are no arms to uncover and the reasons we were forced to preemptively kill, I'm sorry: liberate, thousands of Iraqis never really existed. Oh yeah, and some suicide bombers. But we've gotten used to them by now.
Q. All this outrage was directed at the baring of one right breast, right?
A. Yeah. What's your point? Boobies are evil. Ask John Ashcroft. Imagine the outcry if her left breast had been exposed.
Q. What did happen to her left breast?
A. Reportedly, it signed a development deal with Fox.
Q. Well, the whole halftime show was kind of raunchy, wasn't it?
A. Compared to "Touched by an Angel," yeah. But actually, what America saw was an 8-minute truncated version of MTV, with indoor helicopter shots.
Q. What would you say to your kid after watching that?
A. I don't know. I'd probably be happy for the diversion so I didn't have to explain the side effect warning on the impotence drug commercial that advised anybody experiencing 4 hour erections to seek medical attention.
Q. What does FCC chairman Michael Powell mean by a swift and thorough investigation?
A. Just what he said. And you can bet it will be a lot swifter and thorougher than the Enron investigation or the Robert Novak leak investigation or the 911 investigation or the CIA lack of intelligence investigation. This is about politics, not morality. I mean... the other way around.
Q. Who will ultimately bear the responsibility?
A. Right now, the blame wheel is spinning. Currently, the FCC's crosshairs are rotating between MTV, CBS, AOL, the PLO, IRA, KGB and NPR. Especially NPR.
Q. Not IBM or UPS?
A. No, and not AT & T or the IRS either. They're not totally stupid, you know.
Q. Don't you think Powell's being a little disingenuous, especially considering what sound you make when attempting to pronounce the name of his commission?
A. That's not funny.
Q. My god, hasn't anybody ever seen a breast before?
A. That isn't the point.
Q. What is the point?
A. The point is, a lot of people were eating guacamole at the time and dip flew off the chip when the "wardrobe malfunction" went down and you know how avocado stains upholstery. You can never get those grease spots out.
Q. Out greased spot.
Q. Nothing. Have you tried soda water?
A. You mean like Coke?
Q. No, tonic water, anything clear and carbonated.
A. No, that's a good idea, thanks, I'll give it a try.
Q. Dab at it, don't rub it.
A. Not a question.
Q. What was CBS's biggest regret?
A. This was not a reviewable call.
Q. What was MTV's official statement?
A. "Our goal with the Super Bowl halftime show was to produce an entertaining stage experience with a positive message about empowerment and mÈ u're not empowered by seeing a mammary gland with a Christmas ornament hanging from it?
Q. Is Michael Powell going to have Janet Jackson spanked for this and if so, will it be televised on MTV TRL?
A. Actually, with a new CD coming out in 8 weeks, she might ride this puppy to the top of the charts, even if they ban her from the Grammies. The real losers are we, the American people, since CBS is bound to rebook their next turn of the Super Bowl Wheel with three- time veteran halftime performers, "Up With People."
Q. By the way, who won this year's Super Bowl?
A. Can't remember. I think the crotch biting dog beat the flatulent horse, but I'm not sure.
Will Durst is a flatulent dawg.
Thursday, January 29, 2004 10:19 AM
The Grannie Awards
The Academy Award nominations for Motion Picture Excellence were announced on the same day as the New Hampshire Primary. For those of you confused by this bizarre confluence, I have grafted the realms together to hand out a series of awards named after the performances recently seen here in the Granite State. So, grab your socks and drop your cocktails, here they come, this year's
- The I Can Spin the World Award: Joe Lieberman. Called his fifth place single digit New Hampshire finish a victory. Referred to it as a "split decision for third place." This guy is good. Or spooky.
- The Pained Grimace Award: The poor folks standing on the podium behind Senator Lieberman. Forced to smile interminably while he mouthed this incredible drivel.
- Most Creative Nickname Award: a tie. John Edwards- Kentucky Fried Kennedy. And for the real JFK, John Forbes Kerry- Kaptain Ketchup.
- The Shoot Yourself in the Foot Award: General Wesley Clark. Speaking of John Kerry, "He was only a Captain, I was a General." Fine win in a very competitive category.
- The Your Sense of Humor is All You Got When You Look at Yourself in the Mirror in the Dark Award: Dennis Kucinich. Speaking of his 1% vote in the Granite State on Fox News- "the battle for sixth place continues." 1%. That's only 1% more than you and I got in New Hampshire and you weren't even there.
- The In Your Face, You Liberal Weenies Award: Former Treasury Secretary and confessed gambling addict William Bennett. Disparaged Kucinich's optimism with an obscure reference to Poker Tournament odds.
- The Unclear on the Meaning of the Word "Irony" Award: Chris Mathews. Spent entire week mocking Howard Dean's red faced Iowa rant.
- The Awww Award: John Edwards. Called his run for the Presidency, "the little campaign that could." Kentucky Fried Smurf is more like it.
- Tortured Campaign Speak Award: Joe Lieberman. Talked up his Joememtum. Supposedly a clever twist on momentum. As graceful an idiom as tumbling backhoes.
- The Emperor's Clothes Award: John Kerry. For label of most electable Democrat. Like calling Posh, the smart Spice Girl.
- Best Chill Pill Award: Howard Dean. After channeling Joe Cocker in speech following third place Iowa finish, managed to dial it down. I for one was afraid if he won this one, there would be nothing left on stage but bits of chum.
- The Loosey Goosey Award: John Kerry. Temporarily ditched suspicions he was Lincoln animatron escaped from Disneyland's Hall of Presidents.
- The Pull Out All the Stops Award: Joe Lieberman. Trotted out his 89 year old mother to campaign for him in sub zero weather. Back where I come from, that's called elder abuse.
- The Mashed Potatoes on Paper Plate Award: New Hampshire. Whiter than the Osmond Family Christmas in Norway Special. If this state were any more Caucasian it would be translucent.
- Best Achievement in Special Effects: John Kerry's hair. Unanimous decision.
Will Durst is winging his way west, home to warmth and none too soon.
Thursday, January 15, 2004 11:17 PM
The George W Bush
State Of The Union Address Drinking Game
What You Need:
- A group of four taxpayers: including 1 white guy wearing a suit, 2 wearing normal clothes and 1 in semi- shabby clothes.
- A shot glass per person (all bought in a second hand store)
- 100 tiny toothpicks with American flags wrapped around them.
- A slab of soft French cheese, ie: brie.
- A large stash of beer. The one in the ragged clothing gets the cheapest crap you can find, like Milwaukee's Best; the white guy in the suit gets to drink whatever import he wants; and the other two pick between Bud and Miller Lite.
Rules of the Game:
- Whenever George W mentions the liberation of the freedom loving Iraqi people, the last person to grab his throat in a choking motion has to drink four shots of beer.
- Whenever George W uses the words: "God," "America" or "jobs," drink a shot of beer.
- Whenever George W mispronounces the word "terrorism" the last person to knock on wood drinks two shots of beer.
- Whenever George W mentions the phrase "sanctity of marriage," take a shot of beer. The first time this happens, the last person to finish has to drink two more shots of beer and do the dishes during the Democratic Response.
- Whenever the speech is interrupted by applause, the last person to stick one of the American flag toothpicks into the soft French cheese from a distance of two feet drinks two shots of beer. The white guy in the suit gets an extra chance each round.
- Whenever George W smirks during a standing ovation, take turns drinking shots of beer until the audience sits down. Do it double time if his shoulders shake with silent laughter.
- If the Vice President Dick Cheney or First Lady Laura Bush are caught on camera not paying attention and talking to somebody else while Puppet- Boy is still speaking, drink a whole beer.
- If George W Bush mentions Halliburton, his inability to find the Weapons of Mass Destruction or Osama bin Laden, the white guy in the suit has to drink a shot of everybody else's beer out of their shot glass, and they get to wipe their glass clean on his jacket.
- If George W Bush attempts to make a joke, anybody who laughs drinks three shots of beer.
- Whenever George W Bush quotes the Bible or uses the word "evildoers" in a sentence, the last person to fall to their knees drinks two shots of beer. If he pulls a quote from the Bible about "evildoers," the last person to get prostrate, drinks an entire beer.
- The white guy in the suit gets to kick the person wearing the shabby clothes if George W uses a heartfelt story of an individual's grace and or courage under pressure to illustrate a point. He gets 15 seconds to kick everybody if that person is in the audience sitting next to an astronaut.
- Everybody gets to kick the crap out of the guy in the suit for 15 seconds, only if Bush's teleprompter goes out and he begins to flail about mumbling nonsense about his days with the Texas Rangers.
Will Durst will be playing this game with his friends, although he is still looking for a volunteer to wear the suit.
Tuesday, January 6, 2004 11:50 PM
The Ten Best Burgers
That Come In A Bag Through Your Car Window
Maybe you guys don't hear this crap all the time, but I do. Living in San Francisco, I am party to all kinds of crazy talk. Like you're talking to a 40 year old techie still living with his parents and you ask what he's been up to these days and he says, "I'm taking up the zither." To which the only proper response is "Really. Want a beer?" The craziest talk of all comes at you from snooty fops drinking double decaf soy milk lattes who are afraid civilization would end if you weren't aware they never watch TV. "I don't even own a television set."
Now, I'm a reasonable guy; some might say your normal average American Schmoe. And even I might buy this egregiously toxic swamp gas from a Nobel Prize winning scientist- type who's gone blind peering into atomic microscopes while doing molecular research on spineless toads, but usually this mucous BS emanates from people whose major life work involves accumulating exotic collections of hand painted Etruscan toilet roll holders. Telling me you don't own a television is the same as saying "I don't even know how to work the refrigerator."
I feel the exact same way about people who maintain they don't eat fast food. "Never been in a McDonald's in my life." Well, ain't that just loverly. You, you're so lucky, you. With all the time in the world on your pristine unsullied little hands. "Oh, looky here, according to my Rolex Oyster Perpetual, its appears to be approaching what passes for the customary time the peasants eat lunch. What say we grab Philippe and Sasha and mosey on down to Lapin Precious and order up some delicious spinach squab souffle tapas." Yeah, nice, if you got three hours and a couple dozen sawbucks.
But you know what, I don't and I don't. We are aware of why they call it fast food, aren't we? Because that's what it's for. Food to eat when you're in a hurry for christ's sake. Let's say you got things to do and you you haven't eaten all day and aren't especially eager for a lack of blood sugar to make you fall over half dead in the middle of meeting. Again. And you're not the kind to carry a piece of fruit around in your man- purse. Now that's exactly where your fast food comes in. Besides, fruit is weird. Keeps changing colors. Food shouldn't bruise. Unless you're poking it in the head at 300 pounds per square inch with a three foot electric hammer. And speaking of beef
I'm a cheeseburger man living in a tofu land. Greasy meat slabs inside of wheat foam covered in congealed bovine juice. Mmmmm. That's good eating. And to tell the god's honest truth, I know a bunch of excellent burgers available here in the Bay Area. But you got to go in and sit down to eat them, and that is another column altogether. Today, we're talking about burgers you can eat while steering with your knees.
The Ten Best Burgers That Come In A Bag Through Your Car Window
10. Jack in the Box: Ultimate Cheeseburger. Just two burger patties and three pieces of cheese. Simplicity itself. Perhaps too simple. A bit mealy.
9. White Castle. White Castle Singles. 4 or 5 at a time. The secret is they're fried in 80 year old grease. For some reason, they taste better after 2 am.
8. Carl's Jr. Six Dollar Restaurant Burger. A tad overdone but still pretty good for a burger in a bag through a window. Hate the ad campaign though. The guy doesn't like restaurants because he's too stupid to work a ketchup bottle? No sir, I don't like it.
7. Burger King. Whopper with Cheese. They tried to replicate this thing 100 times at Mickey D's. Still can't do it. Remember that "one side hot, one side cool" piece of crap? Nothing like a Whopper. Stay away from Double Whopper. Throws off meat/ other stuff mix.
6. McDonald's. Big Mac. Two all beef patties, special sauce yeah, you know the drill. Still works though. A great sandwich.
5. McDonald's. Double Cheeseburger. My fall back burger. DC/ KPO. Double cheese with ketchup, pickles and onions only. When made fresh; a slice of heaven. And available within any 4 square block area in the world.
4. Big Boy's. Original Big Boy sandwich. The original. Larger patties than the Big Mac and they don't microwave the cheese on. Lose the red sauce.
3. Culver's. (Midwest) Jumbo Butter Burger. Great tasting hunk of meat. Butter grilled bun.
2. Steak and Shake. (Midwest) Double Cheeseburger. Always hot and fresh. Great tasting meat. Grilled bun.
1. In- N- Out. (Pacific Time Zone) Double Double. The gold standard. Hot and fresh, right there, in front of your face. Great meat. Juicy and tasty. And that all important grilled bun.
A lifelong burger seeker, Will Durst, knows he missed some regional favorites and wants to know what they are. firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, January 5, 2004 11:43 PM
Mad Politician Disease
Federal authorities said on Friday that it could take weeks or months to trace where a Congressman in Washington DC with the nation's first case of Mad Politician Disease was contaminated with bad advice and that the task may prove too tough and investigators may not succeed at all.
Uncovering the partisan committee who counseled the diseased member of Congress, who was humanely slaughtered on December 9, is thought to be crucial to determine how many other civil servants may have also contracted Mad Politician Disease and how far it has spread. The disease, a degenerative debilitating ailment known as consciencious spongiform encephalopathy, causes politicians to accept any money thrown their way, forgoing any and all ethical considerations. It is believed to take at least two entire two year terms to incubate and can usually be traced back to a single unwholesome contribution.
Since the questionable legislator was found to be diseased late in his second term, investigators believe it was probably infected by accepting tainted contributions at an early state in his career-contributions that could have also been accepted by other unsuspecting bureaucrats or facilitated by aides who may have moved on to other staffs.
A delay or failure to find the source of the poisoned contribution would probably intensify the already growing number of calls for a national system to track political funding. But as a practical matter, regardless of whether the dubious money's source is ever found, federal officials are destined to come under heavy pressure to increase further regulations and testing, possibly including ear tagging, as early as at the initial announcement of the formation of exploratory committees.
Regulators already face calls to eliminate all oil and tobacco moneys from the political food supply and insurance and pharmaceuticals are sure to be next. Other demands might include mandatory testing of brain cells from slaughtered representatives that show any signs of nervous condition when questioned at citizen forums or, as was the case with the "Downer" politician in Washington, an inability to stand for anything other than the National Anthem.
If we're lucky, we could know something within a matter of a day or two," said Dr. Depak Phillips, Dean of the University of Virginia's School of Politics in a conference call with reporters on Friday. "Hopefully, this will speed the momentum for a national identification system, enabling us to isolate the corrupted campaign consultants responsible so we can eliminate them without further contamination to the various components of our government."
This optimistic view of the Mad Politician scare was not shared by all. Bradley Ogden, chair of the Ethics in Government Panel of Bethesda, Maryland, cautioned: "If not stemmed immediately, this epidemic could reach all the way to the top," repeatedly winking and nodding towards a television set showing a Presidential Press Conference. He went on to say "Even if the dirty dollars of Consultant One can be found, it is not necessarily going to be possible to figure out who bought the lunch that led to its infection. Imagine yourself a politician and trying to remember what money you accepted 4 years ago. That's not really the kind of thing these people keep accurate records on."
Asked to comment, the White House claimed the Mad Politician Scare is an isolated incident inflated for political purposes by the enemies of freedom and the source will eventually be traced to a batch of bad PAC money originating from an non-profit animal rights group based in Canada.
Will Durst thinks the term non-profit animal rights group is redundant.