Friday, October 31, 2008

Really, my daughter didn't mean to dress up as Don King

She is actually supposed to be a mad scientist. But when we went to get a crazy white Albert Einstein type wig for her up at the Party Depot, she fell in the love with the crazy black* Don King special.

The funny glasses and bow tie were
also her idea, as were the rubber gloves (which, as my brother-in-law noted, he does not remember Don King wearing).

Anyway, here's the damning evidence. You make the call: Don King, boxing promoter, or Mad Scientist?

*as in hair color, people. Jeez.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or treat: Which candidate or politician scares you the most?

Is it Barack Obama? John McCain? Sarah Palin? Nancy Pelosi*? Or someone else? Let me know which candidate or politician scares you the most -- and why.

Is it the exotic-looking black dude, who practically confessed to being a kindergarten communist?

Or the scary old white dude, my friends?

Is it the one from Wasilla who speaks in tongues?

Or the wench from Wellesley who the very idea of tonguing gives you nightmares?
The silver-tongued (and haired) devil whose tongue you really don't want to think about anymore?

Or the decider, whose decisions have resulted in a severe tongue lashing from his fellow Republicans?

I admit, they are a pretty scary lot, at least in Halloween mask form.

Which one scares you the most? Leave me a comment -- and tell me who scares you and why. Btw, feel free to write in your own candidate.

Have a safe and happy Halloween -- and remember to vote on November 4.

*I searched the Internet for a Nancy Pelosi mask but was unable to find one. Some might say her real face is scary enough.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So, can John McCain, like NY Jet Brett Favre this past Sunday, recover to the win the game, or...

is he more like QB Jim Kelly and the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII, when the Bills were blown out, 52 - 17, by Troy Aikman and the Dallas Cowboys (aka "America's Team")?

Or will John McCain -- or perhaps Sarah Palin -- turn out to be like Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood, whose missed kick in Super Bowl XXV many say cost the Bills the game, to the New York Giants?

Or put another way, if John McCain were an NFL quarterback, who would he be? Thoughts?

And if Barack Obama were an NFL quarterback, who would he be?

Leave me a comment...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Week 8 Jets, Giants recap (with thongs!)

Yeah, the New York Jets eked this one out to beat the now 1 - 6 Kansas City Chiefs 28 - 24 at home. But the now 6 -1 New York Giants looked a heckuva lot better in their 21 - 14 defeat of the now 5 - 2 Pittsburgh Steelers, at Heinz Field, no less.

You would have thought after throwing three interceptions, THREE, Brett Favre would have committed the Jets to another loss, but no. And you know who the Jets and Favre have to thank for that? Laveranues Coles, who caught a not terribly well thrown 15-yard touchdown pass from Favre with one minute left in regulation. Favre, who will probably get most of the glory for yesterday's narrow win over the Kansas City Chiefs (though shouldn't), should get down on his knees and thank Coles (who probably still misses Chad Pennington) for that catch.

Meanwhile in Pittsburgh... Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger threw not one, not two, not three but FOUR interceptions in yesterday's game against the New York Giants, pretty much dooming the throwback-uniform wearing Steelers to another one in the loss column.

But unlike the Jets, the Giants defense really got the job done yesterday afternoon -- and the offense (despite needing the help of the field goal team) didn't look too shabby either.

For the record, I will take Eli Manning over (the 39-year-old) Brett Favre AND Ben Roethlisberger any day. Bring it on!

Next week, the Jets take on the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo, which should be an interesting matchup (especially as I will be among Buffalo fans, albeit in Washington, D.C.), and the Giants "welcome" the now 5 - 3 Dallas Cowboys to Giants Stadium. Should be two good games, though I will probably be unable to watch.

(Btw, using thongs, instead of helmets, was the spouse's idea, and I am not so secretly hoping that he will get me one or both New York teams for my birthday next week, so I can properly support our teams.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What's new, pussycats?

Football updates to come later*, sports fans, but figured, who could resist a little pussy?

Felix undercover...

Good advice...

Flora's good side...

*Personally, I am very disappointed the New York Jets went with the green-and-white uniforms today as I had a fabulous (albeit scathing) post queued up in case they went with the teal-and-gold instead.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thongs for the memory, a brief history

So what I want to know is when did thongs go from this...

to this?
Fortunately, there is Wikipedia. You can tell some enterprising (no doubt male) writer/researcher spent many long, hard hours coming up with this entry for "Thong (clothing)."

(Who knew that thongs, the clothing, were directly descended from loincloths and jock straps? Or that the word thong is from the Old English thwong, a flexible leather cord? Learn something new everyday. Though I think I will pass on the leather thongs, thank you very much. Oh, and for my two female readers who might actually care about the history of thong sandals, and remember when we used to call them that, you can read more here. Not to ruin the excitement but they were derived from traditional Japanese sandals.)

So why do I care about thongs of any kind? Well, I don't really, except that I read this post on my friend Dave S.'s blog yesterday, about the Republican National Committee's outfitting of its "Caribou Barbie" (aka Sarah Palin) with $150,000 in new duds -- and thongs happened to come up (or down) in the comments, which got me thinking.

I admit, I have at times been a bit curious as to who or what kind of person (besides strippers, call girls, prostitutes, and unselfconscious Brazilians) wears thongs and why. Why bother wearing anything? And why would you want a piece of (often itchy) fabric wedged between your buttocks like a piece of dental floss (hence the term butt floss), which, btw, would probably be more comfortable. (Note: the answer "so Bill Clinton will nail me" is no longer valid.)

First, a confession: Around my birthday about five years ago, after losing many pounds and wanting to spice things up a bit/show off my svelter figure, I told my mother, who had asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and happens to live in Paris, the lingerie and sexy undergarment capital of the world, to get me some thongs. Clearly a sign of a mid-life crisis. However, my mother was happy to oblige and purchased several lovely pairs for me, which, I should note, would have barely fit Malibu Barbie let alone me (and I am pretty petite).

After trying on two of the pretty strips of fabric, and experiencing immense discomfort, I believed my thong-wearing career was over. Or so I thought, until a couple weeks ago, when I noticed (gasp!) unsightly panty lines after donning my new workout/yoga-style pants. Not wanting to go all Britney, and after trying on several more modest options, I reached far, far back into my underwear drawer and retrieved... the thong. Enough said. (And no, Tommy, I WILL not be posting any pictures of myself in any type of thong. EVER.)

Though the experience did raise the question: aside from Victoria's Secret models, does anyone (let's stick to females, please) actually look good in a thong? 'Cause most of the women I've seen sporting thongs on the beach or at some pool or in the locker room at my gym should definitely not be. While I applaud their self confidence (or are they just delusional?), I could not and will not be doing the same any time soon.

And with that, I thong you for your attention and will be getting back to work.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just say "no" to designer dogs

Just like some hybrid vehicles, some hybrid dogs make sense. Others beg the question, why bother? (Or, What were they thinking?!) In many cases, the non-hybrid version was just fine or even better (and often cuter, in the case of dogs). I mean, whose brilliant idea was a chorkie? Does the world really need a yippier dog?

And, please, someone explain the point of combining a Bichon Frise and a poodle? Isn't that kind of redundant? (Though I will admit this particular "Poochon" or "Bichpoo" is pretty adorable.)

I know cockapoos have been around for a while...

And puggles are kind of cute...

Okay, really cute.

But airedoodles? Augies? Baskimos? A Bowzer (Hey, wasn't that the guy from Sha-Na-Na?) Chimation? (Is that some new form of digital animation out of Chicago?) A chiweenie? (That is just wrong on so many levels.) Cojack? (I think someone's been watching a little too much late-night TV.) Dorkie? (No comment.) Pekepoo? (Yeah, I see you.) The list goes on and on (literally).

This kind of canine engineering is almost as bewildering (and troubling) as those asinine Brooke Shields commercials for the new Volkswagen Routan promoting German engineering. (Btw, anyone else out there freaked or creeped out by the words "German engineering" in regard to bearing children?)

So, please, dog fanciers, I beg you, let dogs be dogs. If your poodle wants to get it on with that long-haired chihuahua down the block, fine. But let us not encourage or profit from such unnatural (and perhaps dangerous) liaisons.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Giants win. Jets blow it.

I love my New York football teams, yes, BOTH of them (even though they both play in New Jersey), but yesterday's outings were not exactly awe inspiring -- or inspiring a whole lot of confidence that the Giants or Jets will go all the way to Tampa (as in the Super Bowl) this year.

Maybe the Jets should have stuck with those "Titans" uniforms (even if they do look like something designed by the runner-up on "Project Runway"), cause wearing them last week, the Jets looked way more like winners (or more like the real Titans, in Tennessee, who are now 6 - 0) than they did this week. And while I prefer the more masculine/traditional green-and-white Jets uniforms, this week's narrow loss to the Oakland Raiders (the Oakland Raiders!?) in Oakland, 16 - 13 in overtime, just should not have happened.

The Oakland Raiders?! The team sucks, man (though their logo is kinda cool). And this Sunday's matchup was one of the ugliest football games the spouse and I have seen in recent memory, with more penalties than a hockey game. Pathetic. Though kudos to Jets kicker and former NY Giant Jay Feely for kicking the game-tying field goal at the end of the fourth quarter. You rock, man.

Thankfully, well, for us Giants fans, the G-Men, while not looking all that super (despite winning the Super Bowl last season) got the job done, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 29 - 17 at the Meadowlands. And while QB Eli Manning didn't have his best day or game this season, he is currently the Manning with the better record (shocking as that may be, as Peyton Manning and the Colts lost to Green Bay 34 - 14 and dropped to 3 - 3 in the AFC South).

But thanks to the efforts of Brandon Jacobs, Plaxico "Bad Ass" Burress, and Michael Johnson, who twice intercepted the ball for the Giants, the Giants now go to 5 - 1, and remain in first place in the NFC East.

Now us fans will have to wait and see if the Giants can defeat a real team as next week they take on the 5 - 1 Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh.

As for the Jets, if they can't beat Kansas City (1 - 5) at home next week, coach Eric Mangini should start looking for a new gig.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Financial crisis? What financial crisis? And two new major endorsements for Barack Obama

If a recent stroll through the designer shoe department at Saks Fifth Avenue is any indication, New Yorkers -- and many others -- have yet to grasp or fully realize that there is a financial crisis/recession afoot. Or maybe this whole "financial crisis" and market and real estate meltdown is just a figment of my overactive imagination.

Allow me to explain.

As many (if not most of you) recall, the market has (supposedly -- again, it could just be my imagination) lost, oh, well over 1,000 points the last month, investment and retail banks have been going under, and, if your neck of the woods is anything like mine, there have been far more "for sale" signs dotting the landscape than usual this time of year, which, according to the "experts" I've been watching, listening to, and/or reading translates into bad news for the economy -- and for us shareholders, taxpayers, and working stiffs (even for Joe the Plumber, who it turns out is not a plumber).

But you sure couldn't tell there was anything wrong with the economy a couple of Saturdays ago lunching on the Upper West Side of New York or strolling through Saks Fifth Avenue -- or even judging by the crowd at a local watering hole near me this weekend.

There I was, earlier this month, enjoying a wonderful lunch at a chic Upper West Side restaurant in New York, as a guest. The restaurant, just across the street from Lincoln Center, was packed, and the wine was flowing. In fact, despite the not-inexpensive prices (the average bill for a party of two, including alcohol, tax, and tip, had to be $150, if not more) there was not a table to be had. But no one in the place, whether families with small children, elegantly dressed couples, or the "Sex in the City" crowd, seemed to notice or care about or notice the cost, except perhaps for me (and I, for once, wasn't even paying). It was just business as usual, despite the fact the market had just lost around 1,000 points and a number of big name name banks, the lifeblood of the New York economy, were about to or had gone under.

After lunch, my lunch companion and I strolled down Fifth Avenue over to Rockefeller Center and Saks Fifth Avenue. Inside Saks, there was barely a foot of free space, the main floor was so crowded -- though not so much that I missed seeing the Rev. Al Sharpton and his "date" making the rounds. (Btw, the Reverend Al looks much better and nicer in the flesh, so to speak, than on TV.) And everywhere the cash registers were ringing.

Next we went up to the designer shoe department, where the average price of a pair of shoes was around $500 (and that's probably a conservative estimate). Stepping off the escalator, you would think they were giving pairs away. And I swear those two women were this close to fighting over a pair of $700 Christian Laboutins.

Making the rounds of the different designers, I was unimpressed by the offerings and a bit shocked by the number of people willing to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on these confections, whose sole purpose seemed to be keeping chiropractors and/or massage therapists in business, and I left the store a bit depressed.

On the train back home, after admiring and taking pictures of the two Maseratis on display at Grand Central Terminal, I thought about what I had seen -- and discounted it as just an anomaly, until yesterday.

As a special treat, yesterday (another Saturday)I took my daughter out for lunch to a little French cafe we like. We haven't gone out to dinner in a while (though we do occasionally do take out), and she had been itching to go out, and I thought lunch would be reasonable. Ha!

When we got to the restaurant, the place was mostly empty. However, within 15 minutes, there was not a table to be had. There were two parties of eight, a very nattily dressed woman with two three- or four-year-olds, who she noted had already eaten, and other families with small children as well as many couples probably out for some leaf peeping.

While going out for lunch on a Saturday is not that unusual, this was not exactly McDonald's or even Chili's -- with the average bill for two, without wine or beer, coming to at least $50. (I had forgotten the restaurant did not have a separate lunch menu.) Yet that clearly did not stop anyone from ordering multi-course meals or expensive bottles of wine.

So, am I imagining this whole financial crisis? Are those "for sale" signs and bank failures just figments of my imagination?

What do you all think?

BREAKING NEWS [10:10 AM]: Colin Powell just endorsed Barack Obama on "Meet the Press" with Tom Brokaw. It was a great speech/explanation, well considered and thoughtful -- and mesmerizing. What a shame Powell didn't run for President in 2000 or 2004.

Also, the Chicago Tribune, for the first time in history, endorsed the Democratic candidate for President, Barack Obama, this Friday, in another stunning bit of news.

Coming up next on J-TWO-O: Will the real Eli Manning please stand up -- and throw a touchdown (instead of a pick). And, which uniforms will the Jets wear today?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Is Barack Obama really Superman?

Rose faster in politics than a speeding Bush! More powerful than two Clintons! Able to leap John McCain in a single bound! "Look! Who's up in the polls?!" "It's not a Republican!" "It's Obama, man!"

Yes, it's Obama, man... strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men! Obama, man ... who can change the course of mighty primaries, bend back attacks from Republicans with bare facts, and who, disguised as Barack Obama, mild-mannered State Senator for a great metropolitan city and later Senator, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way!

Super, man.

Yes, now we all know the truth about Barack "Kal-El" Obama's mysterious beginnings, as Obama finally revealed to one and all during last night's annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

"Contrary to the rumors you have heard," stated the mild-mannered senator from Illinois, "I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-el, to save the planet Earth."

And here I thought he came from Vulcan.

To hear what else our future President had to say, most of which is quite funny, watch this:

John McCain was pretty funny, too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Live blogging about the third and final presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain

My first impression: Schieffer has on a red-and-blue striped tie. How politically correct! (Brings out his baby blues.) Does this mean he's going to bipartisan? Non-partisan?

Hey, what's the deal with McCain wearing a BLUE tie and Obama wearing a RED tie? Is this "Wacky Wednesday" or something? Was there some metaphysical body-swapping going on a la Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis?

OMG NANCY REAGAN?! Does anyone really care?!

Wow, does anyone else think McCain's face seems particularly swollen, at least on the left side? [Insert Left/Liberal reference here.] His eyes also look pretty bloodshot.

The mortgage question... hmm... Like the idea of keeping people in their homes but...

Obama's looking more than a little tired too. Nice lapel pin.

Okay, so far, I'm hearing same old, same old. Yadda yadda yadda. Not to belittle helping homeowners and middle class Americans and "Main Street" and we the taxpayers, but I'm not hearing anything NEW.

Ah, ENERGY POLICY. That took less than five minutes.

9:07: Let the attacks and campaign stories begin! Joe, Joe, Joe. Joe the Plumber. Joe shmoe.

Note to McCain: Obama has stated and written he is NOT going to tax small businesses!

Ooo, nice comeback, Barry, with the "watching Senator McCain's ads" line.

Why must Obama always have to explain himself? I would be effing testy if I constantly had to repeat myself and explain. What are you, stupid, John? Can't you read? Didn't you listen?

9:10 McCain has got to stop smirking while Obama speaks. It reminds me of Gore rolling his eyes during his debates with W.

OK. ENOUGH ABOUT JOE THE PLUMBER [who, it turns out, is not a licensed plumber and is behind on his taxes]. I don't give an ounce of Drano about Joe the Plumber.

There he goes again, having to explain to McCain that he is going to CUT 95 PERCENT OF AMERICANS TAXES.

(Love the fact Obama refers to Warren Buffett as "Warren.")

9:13: HOW CAN WE CUT TAXES WITH ALL THIS SPENDING?! Hey, I don't want to pay a dime more in taxes, but I'm not naive. You want to spend more, the money has to come from somewhere. Wasn't spending money you didn't have what got us into this mortgage/housing/financial/economic mess?

9:14 Obama mentions "living beyond our means." Says he's a strong proponent of "pay as you go." I'm all for that. Who can argue with that?

Waiting for "scalpel" reference... Waiting...

I like the idea of "investing in our young people." The seeds you plant today...

9:16: McCain like a dog with a home ownership bone. Oooh, McCain just mentioned Senator Clinton. Take THAT, Senator Obama!

9:17: Schieffer takes McCain to task, not that it does a lick of good.

And McCain gets out the hatchet -- and the scalpel! But at least he sort of answered Schieffer's question about what he would cut. Actually, he didn't.

Wow, Schieffer just called McCain on something. Are those specifics we are hearing? Oh man, the aircraft manufacturer deal, again.

9:18: OK, enough about effing pork barrel spending and the $3 million projector for the planetarium in Chicago. Didn't we clarify that after the last debate? [We did. To read the real story about that "earmark," click on the link.]

SCALPEL! Finally. Took a few minutes, but Obama did use that "scalpel."

Memo to John McCain: Stop smirking.

Ooh, McCain smacks down Obama on the Bush issue. But you know what? Cute in the moment but Obama IS running against the Republicans, the party which McCain belongs to and has supported -- a majority of times.

[Should have chosen "scalpel" and "hatchet" for the drinking game.]

Excuse me, but what's wrong with voting with and/or supporting your party? Isn't that the point of belonging to a party? If you think your party/colleagues are in the right, what's wrong with supporting them? Reaching across the aisle can be a bad thing [see "Joe Lieberman"].

You go, Obama, showing the old man some respect. Torture, cool.

"Scars to prove it." Bottoms up!

Does McCain think he's winning?

Oooh, the "high road" question... Is anyone else uncomfortable sitting here?

Oh, so the whole problem is that Obama didn't agree to do town hall-style meetings, that's why the McCain campaign went negative?

Ah, John Lewis hurt John McCain's feelings. Boohoohoo. And why did John Lewis say those things, John? Hmm? And why should Obama repudiate what someone else said? Has McCain?

OK. Point to McCain re the flip-flop on Obama and campaign spending. He did. But I'll say this, sometimes there is a good reason for changing your mind. In some cases it shows your thinking has evolved. (Of course, Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate, doesn't believe in evolution...)

Okay, I've been just listening to McCain and Obama. Just listening. And there is such a clear difference in their tones. McCain is clearly irritated and hostile while Obama is maintaining his cool, speaking calmly and slowly and clearly and thoughtfully -- and trying to set the record straight while McCain keeps interrupting.

9:33: "I'm proud of the people who come to our rallies." Seriously, John? Seriously? You are proud of those people who think Obama is "an Arab"? [Not that there is anything wrong or evil about being an Arab. See last night's "Daily Show."] Who shout "kill him" and "terrorist"?

9:35: Thank you, Barack Obama, for bringing the conversation back around to the real problems facing this country. And yes, I like the line about agreeing to disagree but not being disagreeable.

9:35: Ayers and ACORN. Go!

Obama responds to the Ayers and ACORN accusations... Brilliant job debunking the Ayers accusations. Sidebar: Can we just get away from this guilt by past associations, some of which, if not most, were brief and/or tenuous. Let's talk about who you are associating with NOW, who is advising you, whose opinion you seek out.

WHY IS MCCAIN CALLING OBAMA A LIAR WHEN OBAMA CAN BACK UP WHAT HE SAYS? Why does McCain say "taxes" like some Tourette tic?

9:40 The running mate question... God bless you, Bob Schieffer.

"Tax cuts"! "Energy independence"! Double shot!

Sarah Palin is... A ROLE MODEL TO WOMEN?! Not to this woman -- or any of the women I know. A REFORMER?! What are you smoking, Johnny Mac? A breath of fresh air? Oooh, the "special needs... autism" card. Nice one, Johnny. I mean, who could say anything bad about a woman with a "special needs" child who went back to work three days after he was born?

Un-effing-believable. Here is Obama being GRACIOUS about Sarah Palin and McCain takes the low road and insults Joe Biden about foreign policy -- and actually shoots down the three-state Iraq idea that actually seems like a damn fine idea -- and was popular with a lot of foreign policy/Middle East experts.

JSM: TAXES! [Salut!]

Re nuclear energy, three words: "The China Syndrome." Hey John, tell me truthfully, Would you want Sarah Palin commanding a nuclear sub? (Me, I don't even want her finger anywhere near a nuke button, though McCain's finger worries me more.)

Can we reduce our dependence on foreign oil? Obama gives a number! Ten years! A REAL ANSWER, to the question that was asked!

"$700 billion!" [Cheers mate!]

And did you know we can't drill our way out of the problem? Did you?

Wait for it... wait for it... Come on, Obama, say it! Say "clean coal." [9:50]

Does anyone really care or understand "NAFTA" and "free trade"? Does Joe the Plumber [as Brian Williams later noted, the now second most famous plummer, after Watergate]? I think not. Next.

OMG, is John McCain SIX?! Mommy, mommy, look at me! Don't listen to Barry's pretty words, Mommy. Listen to me, mommy, me, me, me. I'm the one who deserves your love, mommy! See, mommy, I'm smiling! It was MY idea.

STOP LOOKING SO EFFING SMUG, John. Voters don't like smug. Just ask Al Gore.

9:53: Hey, where did the split-screen go? Is McCain having a coronary? Did someone tell the camera guys to cut away from McCain? Why?

"Sit down at the table without precondition"! [Barkeep, pour me another round!]

"Herbert Hoover"! [A shot in every glass!]

And now, for healthcare...

Two women get laid off from their plant. Neither has health insurance... Hey, I think I know this one.

Really, does anyone NOT know the basics of Obama and McCain's plans at this point? Frankly, does anyone watching this debate really think they are going to learn something NEW? You want to know where the candidates stand? Go to their websites and read their platforms/position statements.

Um, don't we have physical fitness programs in school? We call it "gym."


"My friend"! [Weeeeee. Inhale.... Exhale.]

Take over the healthcare of America... like the U.S. government is taking over U.S. banks? So nationalizing or socializing the financial system and bailing out millionaires is OK but nationalizing or socializing healthcare and helping out children and people who make under $250,000/year (and much less) is BAD?

My friends, I say once more: ENOUGH WITH JOE THE PLUMBER. Cause ya know what? All the plumbers I know make way more than I do. Some of them ARE rich, John. So, please, can we move beyond Joe the Plumber? Let's talk about Jane the Teacher, Fred the Firefighter, Paul the Policeman, Nancy the Nurse, please.

And why has government grown in the past eight years? Which party has been in power? Yes, the Democrats achieved a very narrow majority in November 2006, which has basically been unable to accomplish anything because it needs Republicans. 'Nuff said.

10:06: Excellent question re the Supreme Court, Bob Schieffer -- and glad to hear you voted for Justices Breyer and Ginsburg, Senator McCain. But there is a difference between voting for someone and picking or nominating someone.

Picking the best person, John? Like Sarah Palin?

Right to privacy... Nice.

About Lilly Ledbetter...

Excuse me, but I don't want John McCain or any other elected official, male of female, legislating my body.

Yes, Barack Obama IS eloquent. Is that a bad thing? And he makes a good point about AVOIDING the need for abortion, by providing sex education.

10:16: Aw, last question?! I was just starting to have some fun.

And now, the education question...

Aw come on Obama, do I really have to turn off the TV?

So, choice when it comes to schools is good but choice when it comes to your body and your life is bad? Just checking.

No, John, throwing money at the problem IS the answer. It would be wonderful if teachers got paid what the guys who ran AIG and the SEC and Lehman Bros. got paid. But public school teachers are paid with tax dollars, and no one wants to pay more taxes. Just sayin'.

John McCain is a condescending (or is it patronizing?) prick. There, I said it. Btw, Obama's wife's name is "Michelle," Senator McCain (and apparently yours starts with the letter C... from what we've heard).

"Precious children with autism..." Hey, no one is denying that autism is a huge problem and a tragedy for families but I don't like it being used as a political card.

At last, the closing statements! And Senator McCain wins the coin toss! My friends [BURP], that may be the only thing McCain wins this year.

The spouse weighs in: "McCain's talking about change, and i have no doubt he's inherently an independent guy, but he doesn't look like he embodies change or that he instills confidence, or that he could truly deliver change." Well said, spouse!

And now for Obama... Is that a slight note of passion I hear in Obama's voice? A sense of urgency, perchance? And I believe he will work tirelessly on our behalf.

And we're out!


You know who won the debate? BOB SCHIEFFER. He has my vote.

And for those of you who did not pick "Joe the Plumber" as your cue to imbibe in this evening's debate drinking game, there's always 2012.

The lowdown on tonight's third and final presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama

Q: Really, J., really, you think we are such enormous masochists that we would subject ourselves to yet another sound byte-spouting snooze fest masquerading as a "debate"?

A: Yes.

Q: You're probably right. Okay, so what's this one about?

A: Which is worse, palling around with unrepentant (albeit unconvicted) terrorists (who were named "Citizen of the Year") or convicted felons, and who can whip out of his ass faster a new plan for the economy that will benefit the middle class (whoever that is), or, as the Commission on Presidential Debates put it, "the economy and domestic policy."

Q: And which whiny, impotent award-winning journalist is refereeing tonight's celebrity death match?

A: That would be award-winning journalist and CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent/ Katie Couric butt boy Bob Schieffer.

Q: Will this debate be any different from the other two debates?

A: Please to be reading award-winning journalist and CBS News Senior Political Correspondent Jeff Greenfield's article in Slate titled "Sit Down and Shut Up: How Bob Schieffer can make this year's final debate interesting." (I also enjoyed this local-boy-makes-good account from the Dallas

And for those too lazy to click on those links and read the articles right now, what makes this debate (in theory) different from the other two, besides the location and the moderator is... the furniture, my friends. Instead of standing behind podiums, the two presidential candidates, Senator John Sidney McCain III (R-AZ) and Senator Barack "That One" Obama (D-IL), will be seated at a roundish IKEA-style table across from the moderator, the aforementioned Bob Schieffer (kind of like after-school detention).

As for the format of the debate, there will be nine 10-minute segments, which will (in theory) focus on domestic issues, with Schieffer having carefully chosen the subjects for each segment beforehand. After Schieffer poses a question, each candidate will have two-minutes to answer (and we know how well that's been working out), followed by a five-minute discussion for each question (though not necessarily the question Schieffer asked), with a two-minute closing statement from each candidate at the end.

Q: So, where is tonight's debate taking place?

A: At Hofstra University on Long Island (or for you non-New Yorkers, that would be Hempstead, New York).

Q: What time is tonight's debate?

A: Same time as the other two, 9 p.m. Eastern.

Q: And where can I catch tonight's debate?

A: Pick a channel, any channel, except for the CW, which will be showing a repeat of 90210, and Fox, which will be airing Game 5 of the National League Championship Baseball Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is sure to be more exciting (at least for Phillies and Dodgers fans), with more trash talking and physical blows, than this debate.

For those of you without a TV, National Public Radio (NPR) will also be carrying the debate live.

Q: How long is tonight's debate?

A: 90 minutes. Ninety long, excruciating, pull out half your hair, leave the room seven times, minutes, followed by at least another 30 minutes (depending on which channel you are watching) of pundits rehashing and parsing the previous 90 minutes for what will seem like an eternity and will make you wonder why you stayed up so effing late the next morning.

Q: I'm still kicking myself for not going with my friends last debate. Do you think that's still a good bet if I want to get really wasted while watching tonight's presidential debate?

A: Actually, no, my friends. Since John McCain and Barack Obama will be pretty much addressing each other and/or Bob Schieffer, I don't think McCain will be saying my friends all that much, though I could be wrong. Since this is supposedly a debate about the economy and domestic issues, I'd go with middle class tax plan and/or domestic terrorist(s) and/or Main Street.

Q: If I miss the debate tonight, where can I catch a replay?

A: Besides tomorrow night's "Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update" primetime special airing at 9:30 p.m. ET and on CNN at 1 a.m. ET (or whenever our citizens in Europe and Asia are awake to watch it)? Go to, a collaboration between and the Commission on Presidential Debates. Segments will also, no doubt, be played over and over and over again on every major network and cable news channel for days, as well as on "The Daily Show" starting tomorrow (as the show actually tapes around 5 p.m. ET).

Q: Any last-minute predictions about tonight's debate?

A: John McCain, totally unhinged by Barack Obama's Vulcan-like calm and seeming lack of emotion, will reach across the table in a fit of rage and attempt to throttle him.


My friends, I saw this on and had to share:

Penguin for President?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Charting the financial market meltdown

The following chart is an attempt (albeit a tongue-in-cheek one) to illustrate what happened when a lot of people got mortgages they couldn't afford, which some "clever" bankers and brokers bundled up in pretty packages and passed along to eager investment banks and hedge funds, who then passed them along to so-called "sophisticated investors" (like state pension funds) -- and what happened when the housing/real estate bubble finally burst.

Note 1: If you would like more information about Collateralized Debt Obligations or CDOs, click here; for more on Collateralized Mortgage Obligations or CMOs, click here. Just don't expect to be enlightened. (Btw, If you have some brilliant idea where to insert AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federal government and the SEC, not that there is much room, leave me a Comment.)

Note 2: The spouse and I have many acquaintances, friends and family members who are lawyers and accountants and/or work in the financial and insurance industries. In fact, some of the nicest people we know work in those industries or are lawyers or accountants.

Note 3: If you cannot read this chart, simply click on it to get a larger view.

As many of you already know, over the weekend the White House was retooling the "Rescue" Plan -- and today the Treasury and Federal Reserve were meeting with “leading financial market participants” to finalize details on a market stabilization initiative, according to a Treasury spokeswoman. What this means for you and me, dear reader, is anyone's guess. However, I predict the market will either end up or down this week.

UPDATED 10/14/08: Well, the market closed up by over 900 points yesterday and looks to have another up day today. So I'm guessing there will be a collective case of economic amnesia -- and no one will give a s**t about my beautiful chart. Btw, for another take on where all the money that was "lost" in the market went, check out this article on MSNBC called "Where did all that 'lost' money go?"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Yo Jets, what's the deal with the "Titans" uniforms?

Excuse me, NY Jets management, but when I last checked there was already an NFL team called the Titans, and they play in Tennessee, not New Jersey (where, for those geographically challenged, Giants Stadium is located). Those Titans also happen to be 5-0 going into Week 6.

So what's the deal with calling yourselves the "Titans" and wearing those totally metrosexual-looking teale and gold uniforms? Is it an aspirational thing, guys? Are you hoping to be like your brethren in Tennessee?

As much as I and NY Jets fans everywhere would love to see you win five games (if not 15), YOU ARE GANG GREEN, for chrissakes, not Gang Teale. Man up, people!

Please, Mike Tannenbaum, bring back the green and white uniforms.

IMPORTANT NOTE/UPDATE: To read the latest about the Jets' throwback uniforms, click here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Your one-stop blog for the best current viral videos, from SNL on the last debate to a-ha to Hey Sarah Palin and Sarah Silverman

Didn't catch last night's special "Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update" take on Tuesday's presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain? Fear not!

Still haven't seen the "Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart" (which can also be found here)? Here you go:

Want to watch/listen to "Hey Sarah Palin" again? No problem.

How about that really cool "Literal Video Version" of a-ha!'s "Take on Me"? Yup, got that, too:

And that new Paris Hilton gets fake advice from fake President Josiah "Jed" Bartlett about being a fake president video? Of course!

And if you are one of the five people who hasn't yet received a link to Sarah Silverman's videotaped plea to young voters to get their grandparents in Florida to vote for Barack Obama, here is "The Great Schlep":

Btw, you're welcome.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Obama wins Belmont stakes by a length

My friends (swig), had you chosen the words my friends as your cue to imbibe the (alcoholic) beverage of your choice, you would be good and wasted and hungover now. It seemed like the more irritated or frustrated Senator McCain got, the more he used my friends (swig) as a verbal crutch, to help him connect or reconnect with the audience. But John, may I call you John?, those people were not your friends, nor should they have been. They and we, the home viewing audience, known collectively as voters, and the people who pay your salary, are not looking for a new friend, we are looking for a new president. And it was this whole stupid idea that we should elect the person we would most like to go out for a beer or play a round of golf with got us into this effing economic mess and the war of choice in Iraq.

And now my friends (swig), to my thoughts on last night's debate...

First, a procedural note: I am not going to comment on every question and/or every response. That would take forever, and I actually have some paid work to do today. So the following are my thoughts and impressions only. You can add your own thoughts and impressions via the Comments. Also, I have not had time to fact check every statement the candidates made. For that, go to, though in going there just now I happened to see that McCain's assertion that "Senator Obama has voted 94 times to either increase your taxes or against tax cuts" was rated FALSE -- "not even close," according to the non-partisan fact checkers.

1. Was Tom Brokaw in the tank for McCain? It sure looked that way, what with their matching outfits, down to the stripey red tie and red hankies. And the 68-year-old Brokaw was certainly just as if not more crotchety than the 72-year-old McCain -- and took Obama to task more often than he did McCain. I get that NBC is desperately trying to suck up to the McCain camp, though I don't know why at this point, but I found Brokaw's conduct less professional and more partisan than either Jim Lehrer's or Gwen Ifill's.

2. Let's just get this out of the way: McCain looks and sounds like a grumpy old not-too-healthy white guy and Obama looked and sounded like some cool-cat 1950s-era poet beatnik out of "Funny Face." All Obama needed was a bongo drum and a beret, and maybe a form-fitting black top and black pants. Of course then the Republicans would accuse him of being French, and we can't have that, can we? Zoot alors! (My mother, who lives in Paris, is cringing right now.) As for McCain, possibly the whitest white man I have ever seen (even without the hair transplant he joked about getting, as the rest of us worry about being able to afford much more serious and possibly life-threatening health-related procedures) -- and yes, I know he was a POW for YEARS and was TORTURED, but I want a healthy-looking, physically and mentally fit guy or gal to be my president, not a guy who looks like he's going to rupture an artery or keel over any minute.

3. I see black people! Woohoo! You could have probably counted them on one hand, but I saw at least four black people (or African Americans for you PC types) in that audience, and a couple of them were even allowed to speak! Is this a great country or what?!

4. My friends (swig). I think I covered this already, but for the record, McCain used this verbal crutch at least 14 times (then I stopped counting).

5. Points to Obama for turning the stupid Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac gotcha game back on McCain, whose campaign manager, Rick Davis, and Davis's firm, were paid millions by Freddie Mac -- and continued to receive payments through this August. As for Fannie and Freddie campaign contributions, just about everyone in Congress practically got a little sumthin' sumthin' from the mortgage buyers. Next.

6. Both candidates should have admitted things were probably going to get worse, probably a lot worse, before things got better. This was not the time to be coy or sugarcoat the truth. It's time to turn down the heat, put on that cardigan sweater, and make some sacrifices (more about that in a minute).

7. I am so effing tired of sound bytes and campaign ads masquerading as answers to questions. Enough already. And both candidates could not get out of their own or their campaign's way, most of the time, and directly and briefly answer the audience and Internet questions.

8. And speaking of those questions, who picked those questions?! I know: Tom Brokaw. But I kept wondering why out of millions of questions submitted he chose some of the ones that got asked last night. I kept waiting for, "If you were a tree, what kind would you be?" And frankly, Babwa Wawa would have been a far more entertaining moderator.

9. For the record (in regard to question three), in case any of you have been living on Mars the past eight years (I'd say a cave, but Osama bin Laden probably knows more about the United States politically than most voters here do), the party that has been in power the last eight years has been the Republicans. We have had a Republican president all eight years -- and a Republican majority in the Congress until the election of 2006. And since then the Democrats have had the slimmest of majorities, unable to pass legislation without the support of at least a handful of Republicans. So, please, folks, can we get past this BS blaming of the Democrats for our current economic woes? Moreover, it was not Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) or Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) who got us into this mess. It was the people making and betting on subprime loans and get-rich quick schemes all across America and particularly in the housing, financial, and insurance industries.

10. Points to McCain for sounding more passionate, trying to connect with the live audience. Obama just isn't that guy. He is not Bill Clinton. He does not give people the warm and fuzzies or sound like he feels their pain, at least in his tone. McCain is clearly the more emotional guy, though really, do you want a guy with more mood swings than a woman with acute PMS with his finger on the nuke button?

11. Obama remained calm and in control at all times, even when irritated or trying to correct something McCain said. That both spooked and impressed me. Wish I had that Zen-like control of my feelings and emotions. I'll have whatever he's having.

12. I get it about the whole energy independence thing and supposed need to drill offshore, John. OK? Next.

13. Similarly, I get it about the $300 billion in tax cuts to corporate America and the oil companies, Barack. You made your point, now move on and answer the effing question that was asked.

14. Do we really care about a $3 million projector when we're blowing billions, daily, overseas and now (or soon to be) billions more here at home? Is $3 million really going to change the tide and/or make a difference? Enough with the stupid, petty sniping.

15. Enough about effing earmarks. And for the record, not all earmarks are bad. Earmarks help people/communities/town/cities/companies... and chances are there is some project or school or something in your home town that wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for an earmark. So, enough about earmarks, OK? Some of them are bad or foolish or totally political, and those should get cut from bills. But some of them go to good projects and causes. While I am cringing as I type this, you don't need a hatchet but a paring knife (or okay, a scalpel).

16. Someone else besides Rudy Giuliani said 9/11! And it was Barack Obama! Whoa.

17. John McCain clearly misses Joe Lieberman. I swear he misted up talking about their roadtrip. Well John, he's all yours. Take him. Please.

18. Hey, John, you can't have it both ways. Just to remind everyone, McCain has been in Congress 26 years and has consistently been a proponent of deregulation. I am straining my ears (and I have dog ears), but I haven't heard a whole lot of fresh, new ideas from you lately. (That mortgage idea, about the government buying them up, not new, not yours. Good idea, though, but not original.) In fact, it seems like the few good, fresh ideas you've had in the Senate you've turned your back on since you entered this race.

19. Enough with the smirking. Notice that the camera didn't pan to McCain as much this debate but when it did he was smirking or grimacing? Were the cameramen given orders not to flash on McCain when Obama was speaking? Hmmm...

20. $5,000 doesn't go a long way when it comes to health insurance. I don't know about you, but my healthy, young(ish) family's plain old vanilla insurance policy costs over $12,000 a year -- and that's with a good-sized deductible. So a $5,000 credit is still going to leave us holding the bag for at least $7,000. If I were McCain, I would brush up on my math and stop yapping about what a good deal his healthcare plan is.

21. For the umpteenth time, OBAMA IS NOT GOING TO RAISE YOUR TAXES.

22. Did you hear McCain snipe at Obama about his "short career" and "no time for on-the-job training" when you are president during that foreign policy-related question?! OMG! So when can I expect to hear the announcement that McCain has dropped Sarah Palin from the ticket? Btw, If McCain really cared about the economy, he would ditch Palin and put Mitt Romney in the VP slot. But he'll never do it.

23. Quick reality check: We can no longer afford to keep our troops in Iraq when it is costing BILLIONS a month to do so. So let's come up with a smart, phased plan to get 'em out of there -- and not shout it to the whole world.

24. Stop talking about us not leaving Iraq until we have achieved victory. In the words of Bruce Springsteen and John Kerry, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Too many people, U.S. citizens and Iraqis, have died already, more than were lost in 9/11, which had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein and Iraqi people.

25. If I'm McCain, I wouldn't be talking about judgment. (See "deregulation," "Keating Five," "Iraq War.") Just sayin'.

26. I thought Dwight D. Eisenhower was McCain's hero? No wait, it's Ronald Reagan, that's it. No, my bad, it's Teddy Roosevelt.

27. Note to John McCain, I read Charlie Wilson's War, too, and saw the movie (starring Tom Hanks!). And I believe the word you were looking for when talking about those Afghani freedom fighters (as opposed to Sarah Palin's "Talibani") was Mujahadeen. Btw, John -- may I call you John? -- read Three Cups of Tea. Now. You could learn a lot.

28. Does Joe Six-Pack really care or know about what's going on in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Georgia? And does he even know where it is? Next Q&A.

29. On the Israel question, nice sucking up to the petty officer, guys. Extra points to McCain on this one.

30. I hereby move to strike the phrase "would meet without preconditions" from all future presidential discourse and the next debate.

31. Obama wins the closing statement round. I found Obama's closing statement to be much stronger and more thoughtful and forward-looking than McCain's, who seemed a bit petulant and worn down. (Okay, grammatically, not a great sentence. But I am really tired and out of steam. Fortunately, I am not running for president.)


* Conservative columnist David Brooks said the edge went to Obama and gave him points for calmness, fluidity, and reassurance -- and a better ability to adapt to a changing world.

* I didn't notice this but apparently McCain did not shake Obama's hand, nor would he look at him or call him by his name, just "that one." (Several pundits commented on it.)

* Re the candidates' wives, my mother, a former model -- and Harvard professor, wrote, from Paris at 3:40 a.m.: "On the topic of style: did you stay tuned for the aftermath of the debate, when Cindy Cain and Michelle Obama came onstage? I found the contrast striking, beyond the amusing fact that Cindy wore blue and Michelle red. Cindy’s suit was perfectly cut and the brooch on her jacket, whether genuine or ersatz, glittered in the camera light. Between them and her big hair, she looked like what she was: a millionairess who’d have fit right into Dynasty. Michelle, in contrast, had not had her hair done by a professional. Her dress was off-the-rack and did not fit her perfectly. Moreover, since she was frequently shown from behind, you could see the zipper running all the way up. Expensive clothing is sewn to conceal the zipper; not the case here." Good points, Mom! : ) One of the reasons I like Michelle. She's keepin' it real, dawg.

And so, sleep- and food-deprived, I end my presidential debate coverage... for now.

Good day, and good luck.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A brief guide to tonight's presidential smackdown between John McCain and Barack Obama (aka debate number two)

Q: You mean there's ANOTHER debate?

A: Yes.

Q: So what's this one about?

A: Per the Commission on Presidential Debates, "The second presidential (town meeting format) debate will include any issues raised by members of that audience and online."

Q: And who is moderating tonight's smackdown, I mean "debate"?

A: NBC News "Special Correspondent" Tom Brokaw (who really makes me miss Tim Russert).

Q: Will this debate be any different from the last/first presidential debate?

A: You better believe it, baby. Tonight's debate will be a Town Hall-style debate, meaning that there will a bunch of "Joe Six-Packs" and/or "Hockey Moms" and/or "regular folks," around 80 of them, all of whom have yet to make up their effing minds about who to vote for despite the longest presidential contest contest EVER, with more information available in more ways than ever before about each of the candidates, John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL), sitting right there on the stage near the candidates.

Twelve or so of these supposedly "uncommitted" or "undecided" voters will get to ask the candidates a question that will no doubt elicit some stunning new piece of information or sound byte that we haven't heard at least, oh, 100 times already. Not. Or else an answer that has nothing to do with the question (known as the Palin Maneuver). The rest of the questions will be chosen from a barrel that Tom Brokaw brought with him from his Montana ranch. I am only being slightly sarcastic. The remaining six or seven questions, which Brokaw will ask, will have been chosen, by Brokaw, from millions of entries submitted over the Internet.

And my friends (and you are my friends), I hope you are ready to rumble, because tonight things could get real nasty.

Q: So, where is tonight's debate taking place?

A: At Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, the state that didn't elect long-time now-former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. (who is whiter than some Caucasians I know) to the Senate.

Q: What time is tonight's debate?

A: Same bat time as the others, 9 p.m. Eastern.

Q: And where can I catch tonight's debate?

A: Same bat channels: CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, Fox, CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and a bunch of Spanish-language channels. National Public Radio (NPR) will also be carrying the debate live.

Q: How long is tonight's debate?

A: It will seem like an eternity but technically it will be only 90 minutes.

Q: If I am playing a drinking game while watching, which word or words do you think I should choose?

A: Good question! While maverick has been reliable in the past, tonight I would go with terrorist, Keating, savings and loan, the economy, Ayers, and/or taxes. Two or three of those should get you good and wasted.

Q: If I miss the debate tonight, where can I catch a replay?

A: Besides this Thursday's "Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update" primetime special airing at 9:30 p.m. ET and on CNN in the middle of the night? Go to, a collaboration between and the Commission on Presidential Debates. Segments will also, no doubt, be played over and over and over again on every major network and cable news channel for days, as well as on "The Daily Show" starting tomorrow (as the show actually tapes around 5 p.m. ET).

Q: Any inside information you can share about tonight's debate?

A: Yes. Per a leaked McCain Campaign press release, John McCain won.

A cheeky idea whose time has come

Finally, a publication that asks the really important, hard-hitting (or spanking) questions, like, "May I squeeze your butt?"

Allow me to explain.

As part of my ongoing effort to find legitimate, decent-paying contract work, I subscribe to several email and online job listings for freelance writers, editors, and creative types. Most of the time I wind up deleting the email or navigating away from the site without applying for anything. But every once in a while I find a listing like this one, which gives me pause:

Are You Funny? Are You Cultured? We Want You! (Anywhere)

Reply to: see below
Date: 2008-10-02, 11:24AM CDT

This posting is on behalf of a magazine start-up that is hoping to have its premiere issue unveiled in May of 2009, then every May thereafter.

Spearheaded by The Cultured Being, this Bay Area-based magazine will be titled May I Squeeze Your Butt?

Now, before you ask, no, this is not an adult magazine to be sold in brown wrappers in neon-lit liquor stores. Instead, the title is meant to have two meanings. First, it suggests that, although society has come a long way in several areas, it has fallen back in others. Specifically, the lack of social grace and etiquette that people no longer consider relevant or necessary. Second, it is a question a very cultured woman might ask a very attractive man whom she is ogling.

Through humorous articles and personal accounts, May I Squeeze Your Butt? will attempt to turn a mirror on American culture, take a few light-hearted jabs at it and hopefully leave the reader with a smile and maybe a chance to consider their own behavior.

This is where you come in, writers. We are looking to collect a small pool of writers who possess a great sense of wit, of observation, writers who feel that it is their duty to call someone on their obnoxious behavior, to not be afraid to write something along the lines of, “Here are things that suck and why you suck if you are the one doing them” (although more clever.) Articles will cover a wide range of topics that showcase America’s (often times, lack of) culture.

The flipside of this magazine will be geared more towards women and gay men, anyone who can appreciate a well-toned butt, caboose, aft, booty, stern, tush, trunk, etc. Articles will cover topics surrounding the appreciation of the male posterior.

If interested, please send us samples of your work, your essays, even blog links. What we are most interested in is your voice, your ability to convey both humor and insight. Once our pool is chosen, we will then be handing out topics to be written up.

And, yes, this will be a paid gig (per word).

Send samples to:

Show us what you've got!

Acquisitions Editor
The Cultured Being, May I Squeeze Your Butt?
Bay Area, CA


So, should I bump booties with the editor? Lay my ass on the line and apply? Am I enough of a buttinsky? Do you think I have the cheek to do it? Let me know...

Oh and guys, the next time you catch me perusing your posterior, it's for professional purposes, okay?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Live from New York: It's Joe Biden and Sarah Palin

For those of you who missed or did not watch Thursday's vice-presidential debate between Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) and Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK), here's a recap, courtesy of the nice folks over at "Saturday Night Live":

Friday, October 3, 2008

Gidget Goes to Washington (University)

Bottom line: Sarah Palin did FINE in last night's first and only vice-presidential debate, held at Washington University in St. Louis. Although clearly nervous (and who wouldn't be?), she stayed on message, didn't make any major gaffes, looked good (more about that in a minute), and even sounded good (though what is the deal with Republicans being unable to pronounce the word "nuclear"?).

Similarly, Joe Biden, who had me totally tearing up when he talked about the death of his first wife and daughter (at Christmastime no less!), being a single parent, and nearly losing his sons, did FINE. Actually, I thought he did better than fine. But Palin's proverbial bar was set much lower for this debate and let's face it, everyone was watching and focusing on her and what she would say or wouldn't. So no matter how erudite or knowledgeable or thoughtful Biden was or sounded, pretty much no one cared.

So what are my takeaways from last night's debate?

* Coaching and practicing goes a long way -- possibly all the way to the White House. And clearly both of the VP candidates were coached and practiced their lines, many times, before going on stage last night. Perhaps a little too much. As my friend and neighbor, G., said this morning at the bus stop (in exasperation), their performances bordered on the robotic. You could ask these two pretty much anything and they would just spit out some piece of party rhetoric, no matter what answer the question called for (though Biden actually did answer most, if not all, of the questions before veering off; something Palin did less often).

* Palin looked NERVOUS and was actually shaking at the beginning, which made me feel sorry for her -- and really angry at the people who shoved her into this role, including John McCain. I do NOT want to feel sorry for the person who is running for VP and could very well be president in a year or five. That scares me. And Palin, in the beginning, and at other points, looked SCARED, though she did fine. She also seemed awestruck by the whole thing and in meeting Joe Biden (who, when I last checked, was not a rock star or celebrity, though he is kinda cute with those twinkly blue eyes and big ole toothy smile).

So, is Palin Dan Quayle in a skirt? I'm not willing to go that far. But I like my vice presidents to look confident and secure and, dare I say, vice presidential, not like a starry-eyed teen on her first trip to the big city. (Speaking of which, in "Gidget Grows Up," which starred a very Sarah Palinesque-looking Karen Valentine, shown at right, Gidget goes to the United Nations, where she meets all sorts of foreign dignitaries, just like Sarah Palin!)

* Sarah has lost weight. Could it be the stress of the campaign has gotten to her? Hey, women notice these things! Not saying whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. Just a woman thing. Clearly, the last few weeks have been stressful for her, and she probably hasn't had a lot of time to eat or eat much. That or she was wearing Spanx.

* And did you check out the shoes Governor Palin was wearing?! Those babies must have had four-inch high stiletto heels on them! Amazing she could think straight in those things. And my were they shiny! Back in the day, my friends and I used to call those type of shoes "kiss-me f**k-me's." And I am sure there were plenty of Republicans in the audience, both at Wash U and at home, who would like to have (and probably some Dems, too).

* I genuinely think (from watching last night's debate) that Palin truly believes her ticket is going to really help working class families -- and that she, personally, really cares about education (which may be why she spent time at not one but six different colleges). OK, but SERIOUSLY, I felt she was genuine and sincere when she spoke about helping working class families (though I didn't hear a lot or any specifics, except for drilling more in the U.S., including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) and education, though I literally fell off the bed when she did the shout out to her brother's third-grade class. I am sure thousands of viewers found that endearing, but it was far more appropriate for a game show than a debate show, though these debates have plenty of gamesman-or womans-ship.

I was just sent this article from The International Herald Tribune, titled "Estimates show Palin assets top $1 million." To me (and probably a lot of you) that doesn't exactly sound middle class (or that the Palins are really struggling), though both Palin and her husband work (so could be considered "working" class, if you stretched the definition). But with an income of at least $230,000 and valuable property and a plane and the government paying her to stay in her own home, I think Palin's definition of "working class" and mine are different. Thanks to Lietzy for pointing this out.

* While at times looking and sounding a bit robotic or wonkish, Joe Biden looked and sounded knowledgeable, thoughtful, and yes, vice presidential. And, OK, there's just something about the guy that makes me like and trust him -- just as there are those of you out there who really like Sarah Palin and trust her, no matter what she says or said, did or does.

* I may be going soft but I found the scene after the debate ended with the families all going up on stage and chatting and shaking hands with each other very touching -- and sweet.

So, was this debate, as the pundits like and continue to say, a "game changer"? I don't think so. I think Republicans are breathing a HUGE sigh of relief today (except maybe those in the House who are going to have to vote on the "Rescue Plan," again, today) and many Democrats and pundits are disappointed Palin did OK (or worse, better than OK).

As Chris Matthews said the other day, "Que Sarah Sarah," whatever will be, will be.

Will Gidget and Moondoggie make it to the White House with the Big Kahuna? Or will it be that tall skinny black guy with the exotic name from Hawaii and Fightin' Joe who will go?

Stay tuned for the next debate, scheduled for October 7 (unless, of course, McCain decides to suspend his campaign again and refuses to debate Obama).

Btw, for those of you interested in knowing which slings or statements were true, mostly true, barely true, or false, got to, which is a non-partisan fact-checking service of the St. Petersburg Times and features the "Truth-o-Meter."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What you really need to know about tonight's VP debate: another brief Q and A

Q: So who again is debating tonight?

A: Where have you been living, in a cave?! Even Osama Bin Laden (who has been living in a cave, in Afghanistan or Pakistan) knows the names of the two United States vice presidential candidates. In this corner, wearing the blue trunks is Fightin' Joe Biden, the Democratic senator from Delaware; and in that corner, wearing the red trunks (or that lovely tailored red suit she is so fond of), is Sarah "Barracuda" Palin, the Republican Governor of Alaska.

What time is tonight's vice presidential debate?

A: Tonight's debate takes place at 9 p.m. ET.

Q: Who is moderating tonight's debate?

A: Gwen Ifill, the moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week," senior correspondent for "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," and, yes, author of the upcoming (January 2009) book Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, which despite some reports from people who have not even seen the galleys (heck, the book's not even completed yet), is not a sop to Obama -- nor was it a secret.

Q: And where can I catch tonight's debate?

A: Pick a channel, any channel. Okay, if you want to get specific, the debate will be broadcast live on CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, Fox, CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and a bunch of Spanish-language channels. National Public Radio (NPR) will also be carrying the debate live.

Q: What if I miss the debate. Where can I catch a replay?

A: Besides "Saturday Night Live" this Saturday? Try, a collaboration between and the Commission on Presidential Debates. Segments will also, no doubt, be played over and over and over again on every major network and cable news channel for days, as well as on "The Daily Show."

Q: What do you think the two VP candidates need to do to "win" tonight's debate?

A: Both of the candidates suffer from the same problem, though for different reasons: They don't know when to shut up. More specifically...

For Biden (whom Ms. Palin has supposedly been listening to since she was in second grade, back in 1972 or thereabouts), he needs to demonstrate his experience while maintaining his focus -- and be as concise as possible without seeming like he is giving a pat answer. He also needs to seem as though he is not picking on Ms. Palin. (Though really, should this matter? Did we worry about Lloyd Bentsen hurting Dan Quayle's feelings or being too tough on him?)

For Palin (who reads "a vast variety of sources," which are too hush-hush to be named out loud), she needs to sound coherent as well as passionate -- and demonstrate at least a basic understanding of the major issues currently facing this country.

Though I personally do not connect with Ms. Palin, I know there are a LOT of folks out there who do and who really like her -- and think she's pretty and spunky and quick with the quip and will stick by her no matter what she says (or doesn't), which is not the case with Biden. So he has his work cut out for him. For Palin, the bar is so low, she could trip over it and come out fine.

As a total aside: I would personal LOVE to hear an exchange similar to this one between Jane Curtin and Dan Ackroyd on SNL's Weekend Update, albeit with the roles reversed and the language slightly modified (as I have done here):

Dan Aykroyd/Sarah Palin: Tonight on "Point/Counterpoint", Jane/Joe and I will argue Federal Aid for Abortions. Jane/Joe will take the Point for Federal Aid, and I will take the Counterpoint against. Jane/Joe?

Jane Curtin/Joe Biden: Safe abortions have always been available to the rich, Dan/Sarah. You simply want to deny them to the poor, and if you succeed, poor woman will be forced to get them anyway. They'll be forced into the alleys with hangers, plungers and vacuum cleaners, risking death or mutilation. But you'd like that, wouldn't you, Dan/Sarah, you stupid, ill-informed, lipstick-wearing anti-feminist pit bull!

Dan Aykroyd/Sarah Palin: Jane/Joe, you elitist, misguided scum bag! Once again, you missed the point entirely. [Enraged] Why should I pay hard-earned dollars so welfare tarts can have sex anytime they want, without regards to consequences? Haven't these bimbos heard of abstinence? I, myself, haven't had sex for a year -- and I'm the Governor of Alaska! Why should I foot the bill for killing unborn infants, anyway? I'll pay for something practical like abstinence education -- but abortions? Never!

Jane Curtin/Joe Biden: Thank you, Dan/Sarah.

So how much does the vice-presidential debate matter?

A: If history is any arbiter (again, think Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle), not much. But hey, it could be way more entertaining than any World Wrestling Smackdown.

Got a question? Send me it in the form of a comment and I will do my best to answer it before tonight's debate.