Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Dinner with Bill

I sit down at the bar and am immediately greeted by a gritty blond and a Rolling Rock draft. God, it's been so long. I used to be a regular here at Clagaire's, my favorite Irish pub, the place I always used to go when I wanted to get back in touch with my roots. But that was a lifetime ago. I live in the suburbs now--DC but a faint memory.

My guest slumps into the bar. His designer suit is wrinkled and tan and is hanging awkwardly off his bulky frame. His goatee is graying and spreading haggardly across his face. I wave him over, and he sits down next to me, wreaking of pathos.

"Wanna beer?" I offer.

"Yeah. Bud. And a shot of Jack."

"Not tequila?"

He looks offended. "No. Why?"

"Oh, no reason," I quickly say.

I don't want to cause my boy any more heart ache. He's had a rough year. Chock full of disappointment. Who needs to add insult to his innumerable injuries?

"So, how you doing, Bill?" I ask.

"Fine, Bill," he says, stonily. Suddenly, his lower lip starts quivering. "Just fine," he blubbers.

"You should try the corn beef and potatoes," I quickly offer. "They use cilantro."

"Cilantro, Bill?"

"Yeah. Cilantro, Bill. The cook's Mexican."

"Ahh," he says, mistily, "mi gente."

"Yeah. Your gente."

See, my boy and I have a lot in common. We both inexplicably call ourselves "Bill." We could both stand to lose a few pounds; we're both Third Culture Kids; both products of immigration. He's half-Mexican, half-white. I'm half-Jamaican, half-African-American. He's bilingual ... I could stand to lose a few pounds. We both have an utterly magical way with the ladies. And no matter how hard we try, no matter how immensely qualified we are, we both tend to end up screwed in the end quarters.

"Commerce?" he squeaks, as our corn beef comes. "Secretary of Commerce, Bill?!"

"I know, Bill," I say, heavily. "Another round, please?!"

Too late.

"I served 14 years in Congress," Richardson starts, heatedly. "I was deputy majority whip. I was chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. I've negotiated with Saddam Hussein, met with Slobadan Milosevic, the Sudanese, and those wacky North Koreans."

"They are wacky."

"I've been Secretary of Energy and the US ambassador to the United Nations. I've brokered peace--no matter how temporary--between the Palestinians and Israelis. I strengthened the UN's Environmental Programme, promoting 'ecologically sustainable development'--whatever the hell that means. I'm actually the governor of a state, worked for Kissinger's State Department, and I've still got a mean, fucking curveball."

"I know, Bill. You're preaching to the converted."

"Did I mention I have a way with the ladies?"

"Well, Bill, that goes without saying." I pat him on his beefcakey shoulder. "If life were a meritocracy, you'd be President-Elect. You were the only candidate who was truly qualified for that office."

"But Hillary stole my Experience argument, and now she's stolen my State Department."

"The brother screwed you, what can I say?"

"Commerce," he weeps. "It's like being rejected by Blair, rebuffed by Jo, Tootie and Natalie don't want anything to do with you, and, next thing you know, you're screwing Mrs. Garrett, wondering where it all went wrong."

"Ah, yes," I sigh, heavily. "The Facts of Life."

"What the hell am I supposed to do with Commerce, Bill?"

"I don't know, Bill," I confess. "I guess you could tour the country, test out all those weigh stations on the highways."

He groans.

"Human trafficking?"

He sniffles.

"Ooh. I got it!" I pipe up. "You could 'investigate' the dangers of internet porn. Hold hearings. 'Interview' some of the stars. You'll be swimming in silicon for months, my brother!"

That seems to do the job.

"Hm," he ruminates. "I wonder what Vanessa del Rio's doing these days."

"Hell, the way you have with the ladies, Bill," I smile, "you come March."

"You're a good man, Bill Campbell."

"And you're a great one, Bill Richardson."

We raise our shot glasses and down more Jack, my patriotic duty done for the day.


My Favorite White Guys!!!

After Señor Senior emailed everyone with this Colbert video

DC's Finest declared, "This guy is running for my favorite white guy." I thought we'd stopped running that contest back in '97, but it got me to thinking, "Who are my favorite white guys?" Well, here you go. Music please.

Bill's Favorite White Guys!!!

1. Jesus

2. That jackhole who signs my checks every first and fifteenth

3. George W. Bush [see A Big Kiss on the Mouth for details]

4. Ann Coulter (though s/he does give me Adam's apple envy)

5. Ayman Zawahiri (I know he only thinks he's white, but who other than white men use Negroid terminology--even "house negro"--thinkin' they down?)


Friday, November 28, 2008

Funky Black Friday


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Music I've Been Listening to Lately II

Immortal Technique
The 3rd World
Confession: Immortal Technique is my fourth favorite, currently-operating MC today (MF Doom, Mos Def, Aesop Rock). Beatmeiser hates his production value, but I love the man. He's rough and rugged and (like his first two albums proclaim) revolutionary. When was the last time we've heard lyrics like this?

I'm from where the gold and diamonds are ripped from the earth
right next to the slave castles where the water is cursed
from where police brutality's not half as nice
and makes the hood in America look like paradise
compared to the AIDS-infested Caribbean slum
African streets where the passport's an American gun

Revolutionary Vol. 1
and 2 barely have a radio-friendly track on them. I actually admired Technique for that--forcing us to appreciate him on his own terms. The 3rd World has a bit more bounce to it, and DJ Green Lantern has mixed each track to bleed together like a bootleg mixed tape. But the abovequoted lyrics aren't an anomaly. Technique's as leftist and angry as usual. No surprise, I'm down.

Black Kids
Partie Traumatic

I don't know, a bunch of folks callin' themselves "black kids" come into my old neighborhood, sounding like this? They woulda got they asses kicked.

OK, seriously, I grew up in some really white suburbs. The kids in my neighborhood would've been like, "You guys are, like, sooooo awesome," and would've danced like Molly Ringwold the whole night. The irony is, I would've hated the Black Kids back in the '80s. But I find this '80s throwback band pretty fun now.

Yeah, I know. There are way too many '80s throwback bands going right now. And, like the rest of them, Black Kids are a confused hodgepodge of the Reagan era. Their lead singer reminds me a bit of Robert Smith, but the group itself mixes a bit of post-punk pop, post-punk disco, and post-punk funk. A little ESG, a little Scritti Politti, and a little (oddly enough) OMD. But most of all, they're just fun.

Cold Fact

This disc is your classic "Big in Belgium" success stories. Talented singer/songwriter is produced by the legendary Dennis Coffey and backed by the incredibly gifted studio musicians who produced the Motown hit factory. They come out with their debut in 1970, it's horribly marketed, they don't know what to do with their idiosyncratic artist who refuses to look at his audience while performing, they come out with an even less successful follow-up album, and the singer/songwriter disappears off the face of the North American map. But wait! There's more! Over the next 30-plus years, the artist is a cult hit in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. He even performs there every blue moon. In fact, he's so popular, Light in the Attic decides to re-release his first album and (what?!) promote it.

I fell for the okey-doke. I bought it. I actually like it. Really like it. Cold Fact is psychedelic and fuzzy and (with "Inner City Blues") a tad funky. Rodriguez's 1960's Detroit wasn't our usual vision of folksy protest and flower children. His world is infected with pimps and whores, johns and junkies. You know, I'm a hip-hop kid. I love it when folks tell it like it T-I-is.


After one of my many rants (I can go on), Queenie at work informed me that I just don't like R&B. I had to think about it and ultimately conceded that she may be right. After all, I often contend that R&B still hasn't recovered from disco, and my music collection really doesn't have many post-funk R&B artists in it. Besides, my favorite R&B artist is Steve Spacek, and how many people know who he is?

So, I bought Estelle to see if Queenie were indeed right. Also, I heard that this woman was griping because she felt she was getting short shrift as the only black soldier in this new British invasion (I guess Corinne Bailey Rae is Malaysian). I thought, Wow, this woman has collabos with Cee-Lo, John Legend, and Kanye West, and feels like she's being oppressed?! I love the balls on her!

My reaction to Shine hasn't really proven Queenie wrong. Estelle's definitely no Badu or Goapele. She's pleasant--like Lina was a few years ago--definitely talented, and a good listen. In other words, she has some good beats and you can nod to her.

Return to Forever
Romantic Warrior

OK, there's absolutely no debate here: I've always hated fusion. Headhunters and Black Byrd aside, I just can't stand the stuff. For years, when I think fusion, I think Kenny G., "smooth jazz flavors," middle-age milquetoast mediocrity that makes me wanna machete Michael McDonald. I mean, what is the point of the stuff? To make me fall asleep? to drone painlessly through the rest of my years with Courvoisier, Addidas track suits, and console myself with the fact that no musician today can compare to Joe Sample? What the fuck?!

Anyway, I'm trying to be fairer to some of these fusion musicians--the earlier ones, before "fusion" jumped from Quiet Storm to owning their own radio stations. I figured why not try Return to Forever. They were apparently very influential, and they've got Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Al DiMeola. The problem is (and I have this problem when listening to Bob James and Weather Report) that so much of what these guys pioneered became so pat in much less talented hands. So, what was revolutionary sound in 1976 sounds a little cheesy in 2008. It's one of those cases where I wish I'd been there. Despite my complaints, there's still a lot on this album I do like, but I have a feeling I would've liked a lot more of it then. The irony is there are probably a lot of current fusion listeners who can't stand this album for its being too experimental.

Van Morrison
Astral Weeks

All right, in my recent campaign of "Give Rock a Chance," I decided to pick up a little Van. I had no clue what I was getting into. I don't know much about rock and know even less about him, but the man sang "Gloria." So, I figured he was all right in my book. After listening to this disc, Morrison's first solo joint, I still don't know what I've gotten myself into. I just know that I like it--especially "The Way Young Lovers Do." I have no clue how in the world to describe Astral Weeks other than by saying that it's some weird, brilliant shit--like taking a long, twisty ride with a drunken bard on mushrooms--so I figure I'll just let you read this Rolling Stone review.

DJ Spooky
Creation Rebel

Well, as advertised, this disc is Spooky's bringing us the legendary reggae label, Trojan Records' archive "re-mixed, re-visioned, re-versioned." Basically, the man's conducting a shotgun wedding between hip-hop and its Jamaican roots. I love Spooky, I love everything the man does, I love this disc, and I really love his remix of Dawn Penn's "No, No, No."

Speaking of love, I can't stop listening to Santogold. A lot of people have compared her to M.I.A. It makes a sort of sense since she's used M.I.A. producers Diplo and Switch and they do share a musical sense that's hard to categorize. Santogold dabbles with pop, punk, and dub with some '80s splashes. She's just a lot of fun to listen to.

Various Artists
Cult Cargo: Grand Bahama Goombay

Hater at work told me about the Numero Group label awhile ago and their reissuing obscure funk. I've been meaning to get this funky gospel disc they released, but I decided to get this because I a)found it in a CD store and b) found a CD store. This is pure, rough funk from the 1970s. If you're expecting something like the Soul Power Jamaica re-issues, a more syncretic mixture of American and Caribbean rhythms, you've come to the wrong place. Apparently, these Bahamanian artists were heavily influenced by Florida radio, and this compilation sounds a lot like the old Miami Sound compilation SoulJazz came out with a few years back. It's not a knock. That disc was a lot of fun, and so is Cult Cargo. If you like rough, obscure funk, this is a disc you'll like. Check out Sylvia Hall's "Don't Touch That Thing."


Bookmark These Words

The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to the Super Bowl!!!

I know you'll think I'm crazy, but you heard it here first.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Definitions of a Terrorist

You heard the words so much they penetrated your dreams, turning them to nightmares, jarring you awake, screaming, trembling, praying that it would all soon be over. “Palling around with terrorists … palling around with terrorists … palling around with terrorists…” Of course, Gov. John McCain’s Biggest Mistake was referring to Barack Obama’s supposedly intimate relationship with former student radical, SDS member, and founder of the Weather Underground, William Ayers.

Though countless news outlets repeatedly reported that there was just no there there, Palin and McCain continued the Ayers attacks, which started (along with most of the GOP’s attacks this fall) with the Clinton campaign. And throughout it all, Bill Ayers remained disquietingly silent. But now, with the campaign over and the republication of his memoir, Fugitive Days, the former radical has finally found his tongue and is wagging it over the airwaves.

I’m sure for Ayers (like so many during that vicious campaign) it was more than a bit disconcerting to be thrown into the middle of Presidential politics. And no one else had to deal with people chanting “Kill him!” when their names were uttered. Aside from wanting to continue their tried, tired, and true culture war against the ‘60s, the GOP just loved linking Obama (who many believe is a closet Muslim and, therefore, a jihadi) with terrorism. Ayers was just a convenient vehicle (as was Rashid Khalidi in the campaign’s final weeks), after all, Bill was a member of a group that had bombed the Pentagon. Though the Weathermen never killed anyone but themselves, the Republicans knew the very word “terrorist” would link them in folks’ minds with al-Qaeda—another “Obama bin Laden” marketing coup.

This attempted conflation of the Weathermen with al Qaeda was totally disingenuous, but Bush started it when he declared war on terror seven years ago. Suddenly, any group that had ever used terror was supposed to be on the same footing with al Qaeda. Therefore, at least rhetorically, the US would consider the IRA, ETA, the PLO, etc., as though they’d blown up the World Trade Center. Of course, it didn’t work out that way. Ultimately, that tactic just seemed to ring a false note (everybody knew they weren’t bombing Belfast any time soon). But what also sounds a bit off is Ayers’s response to the attacks on him.

To his credit, he refuses to join what he calls “the Culture of Apology” by saying “I apologize if I offended anyone” or “Mistakes were made,” but at the same time, he refuses to label himself a terrorist and instead says he carried out “acts of extreme vandalism.”

I can understand why Ayers refuses to be painted with the same brush as bin Laden; but terrorism has had many faces, and his is one. The French Revolution kicked it off with Robespierre’s Terror, killing every “enemy of the Revolution” in sight. There have been countless incidents of state terror ever since—including too many of our Latin American allies during the Cold War. On the other end, we have religious terrorists like Timothy McVeigh, Hamas’s suicide bombers, and al Qaeda, where it’s all about the body count—guilt or innocence mattering for nothing. The Weather Underground along with the early PLO, Jewish Defense League, Baader-Meinhof, etc., lie in different places in the middle. These groups used bombings, kidnappings, vandalism, and killings to terrify the general populace and further their political goals.

The Weather Underground itself was formed as a rebuke against non-violent protest, calling for “militancy” and a “white fighting force” to achieve “the destruction of US imperialism and achieve a classless world: world communism.” They were perfectly willing to embrace violent means. It wasn’t until three of their own died while making a bomb in Greenwich village in 1970 that they decided that human casualties were no longer acceptable. The fact that they didn’t kill anybody beforehand was a happy accident. Afterwards, they took measures—bombing only after-hours and calling ahead of time—to avoid death, but the fact that they continued bombing shows that they were still willing to accept them.

Despite the lengths they went to to avoid death, their aims still stayed the same, “the destruction of US imperialism.” Now, I know they were idealistic flower children, but even they knew this could only be achieved through violent means. They accepted this. And they accepted the use of violence to achieve their political ends. In other words, they were perfectly willing to use terrorism. The Weathermen were definitely no sansculottes, Ton Ton Macoute, “freedom-fighting” Contras who attacked hospitals and schools, and definitely no al Qaeda, but they were definitely terrorists and not extreme vandals.

So, while Ayers says he refuses to apologize, in a strange way he has by trying to cloud what it was he truly was. Being seven years into the “War on Terror,” it is probably too late for us to have an honest dialogue on terrorism: its different forms and tactics; whether it’s an effective tactic or simply “cowardly” and “evil”; how we can effectively combat it. If we can’t expect such honesty from our political leaders, I definitely shouldn’t have expected it from “an old washed-up terrorist.” It’s just a shame that Ayers himself is more than willing to continue muddying the waters. After all, bombing a hopefully empty Pentagon (whether one agrees with it or not) is still terrorism; “bombing” an empty subway train with spray pain like early graffiti artists TAKI 183, Lady Pink, and Fab 5 Freddy is “extreme vandalism.”


Thursday, November 20, 2008

To My Wife ...


Kickin' My Butt down the Home Stretch

I need a vacation. Not Aruba, not Jamaica, nor Fiji. Nothing fancy like that. I'm so desperate I'd be cool with some militia man's basement in North Dakota for a week. Just give me an internet connection, a remote, cable, and maybe Netflix Instant Watch, and I'd be happy. Any little vacation will do.

As many of you know, I've been watching Poohbutt solo 24/7 for the past three weeks now. My wife's been off globetrotting for work. Well, not exactly. She's been in Belgium, and now she's in Ethiopia. I think it's been pretty tough on her, being away from our daughter for so long. I get it. I've been bummed the few, short instances of my being away from Poohbutt. But the depths of it, being a man, I'll never again. Aside from rage and despair, I've never really had anything growing inside me. I've never had a little organism growing within me, depending on me for its very existence. I've never spent yet another year giving a baby life through my own body. There's a connection between mother and child that we men sadly miss out on. Then again, that labor was something like 22 hours. There are just some experiences I'm cool with missing.

But, I'll tell you what, I don't see how single parents do it. I'm exhausted and wondering why I didn't want her in day care too soon. Keeping a toddler entertained all day is pretty rough stuff. Really, I'll drink PBR and talk about the UN black helicopters priming to take away our Second Amendment rights, I'll brave the North Dakota cold, I'll even watch Nascar--just give me a break.

The Adventures of Poohbutt and Pop (which only has two more days to go) started out fun enough, going down to East Bumble and electioneering, then capping it all off with the Barack-O-Rama in Baltimore. We only had one mishap: The French Fry Incident. We were just on our way, rolling through rural Virginia when someone had decided that she didn't want to be in a car. Desperately, a starving father stopped off at a Burger King to buy us both some solace. Cheerios is baby crack, but french fries are baby heroin. I decided to drug the little bugger. Unfortunately, in a hurry to silence a crying baby, I accidentally gave the little tyke some piping hot fries. She screamed, something like: "Jesus Christ, you idiot! These things fucking burn!!!" She spasmed and screamed and refused to let the taters go. I had to karate chop them out of her hand.

Still, everything was copacetic until we both got sick. I blame Obama. All that pent-up frustration and anxiety, all that anticipation, and then the victory, the elation. We all relaxed, let our defenses down, and whatever's going around hit us. There's not a single Dem I know that hasn't been sick these past few weeks. I bet you it's a Republican conspiracy, a different version of the Palin Plague we all feared.

She emerged (much quicker than me, of course) a brand new toddler. She's all over the place. When she's not puttering around on her little walker jeep, she's getting into the kitchen cabinets (are kids automatically drawn to Pine-Sol?) or trying to pry the guards off the electrical sockets or trying to dismantle the DVD player or changing the channel when Daddy's watching his Steelers or trying to play in the toilet water or trying to smash Daddy's CD collection or flinging his books off the book shelf or pulling out my facial hair or trying to procure WMD from a former Soviet republic. In other words, my baby girl's curiosity has far outgrown the limits of our humble abode. I now need to record "Poohbutt! No!" and put it on continuous loop.

I've gotten a few breaks. The Baers took her for a Saturday night. Their little Boogie Boy is six weeks older than Pooh and is walking. Pooh came back taking her first steps. It's very cute. She was taking three left steps and was scooting around in a semi-circle before she dropped to her butt and went tearing into my copy of The Young Lenin. The grandparents came by for a few days. And Pooh was entertained by the Puppeteers for a day. They kept her so entertained she cried when they left. And now Mrs. Baer is spent last night and tonight taking care of Pooh.

Unfortunately for yours truly, these breaks translate into my going to work. And having been sick for much of it, I've only been more miserable, dreaming of Bismarck snowstorms.

Don't get me wrong, it's been fun, too. I love Poohbutt. She's most definitely the best thing that's ever happened to me. I think I'm doing a pretty good job. OK, I can't seem to get rid of her diaper rash, and I can't get her to get anything green aside from broccoli (the green bean experiment's touch-and-go, but I thought she was going to slit my throat when I introduced cucumber); but I've taught her how to clap during the "Here we go Steelers" chant, been drowning her in whole milk, convinced her to drink water out of her sippy cup, persuaded her to sometimes shake her head "Yes" instead of breaking her neck saying "No!" all the time, and got her to finally grasp the Pythagorean theory (you'd think it was hard, or something). We've had tons of laughs and great conversations (you know, "Blablablablabah," "Really, babe, I didn't know that"). We've had Johnny Hartman and Immortal Technique sing-alongs. And there's no greater feeling in the world than having your kid nestling on your chest and falling asleep.

My biggest failing is endurance. Babies can just wear you out. Not having the wife (happy anniversary, babe!) coming in to spell me has just left me ragged. No, seriously. How do single parents do it?

My second biggest failing is stopping Poohbutt from headbutting everything. Seriously, my little princess has turned into a soccer hooligan. It's like she goes all Cockney on me, screws up her face, goes, "You spill me bottle?" and rears back her noggin, ready to strike.

She's headbutted my chest, chin, and belly. Most disturbingly, she's even tried to take out the walls. No matter what I do or say, I can't convince the crazy kid to stop hurting herself. Yesterday, in a fit of frustration, sleepy yet refusing to sleep (what's that all about, anyway?), Poohbutt reared back and gave the most vicious head crack to the hardwood floor. OK, that was kinda funny, but, boy, did she erupt? She flew into my arms and promptly fell asleep. "But, baby," I whispered, "if it hurts so much, why do you keep doing it?" before I quickly joined her in Slumberville. But before I did, I couldn't help wondering if this is what having a teenager's like.

(Photo courtesy of Byron Johnson, Sr.)


Monday, November 17, 2008

Me? A Superior Scribbler?!

Well, according to Gine at Not at ALL What You Thought, I am. She says my "shameless novel title and shameless writing about his daughter and his life is always refreshing." Thanks, Gine. I'm honored.

Apparently, there are responsibilities involved with the Superior Scribbler Award. Here they are:

*Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.

*Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.

* Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to this award, which explains The Award.

* Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit This Post(same as above or IBID) and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

*Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

Well, as you all know, I'm pretty new to this brave, new world, and most of my blog interests were concentrated on politics because of the season. I'm sure if I were to do this later, my list would be a bit more diverse, but here's my list:

The Field Negro is one of the funniest takes on politics, race, and culture I've come across so far. I absolutely love the man. He has me cracking up almost daily. Field makes me proud to be Jamerican.

Devis with Babies has a great strip called Brown Girls. It's very funny. I like what they have to say otherwise as well.

The Cool Justice Report, run by Andy Thibault, is more like a left-wing news portal. Andy picks some very interesting stuff.

I don't know if Margaret and Helen are actually the two, old broads they claim to be, but they have me laughing constantly. And that's the important thing, right?

I am totally in love with the "clean and articulate" sisters over at PostBourgie. They're incredibly insightful, their analysis is spot-on, and, as a black, working-class, intellectual, I find myself coming from, if not the same place, definitely a similar one.

Wow, at first I thought I wouldn't be able to come up with five. Now, I realize I could come up with more. But I guess you could look at my blog roll for that. Anyway, thanks again, Gine. I'll try to keep it up. Right now, Poohbutt's into the garbage bags. I guess I need to stop her before she figures out how to open the Pine-Sol bottle.




Sunday, November 16, 2008

All Hail P.O.P. aka Queen Victorious!!!

While her mother’s off in Belgium hobnobbing with Princess Astrid (really, I can’t make this up—my wife’s life’s so much more interesting than mine), Political Operative Poohbutt is receiving a retinue of her own, offering her gifts, gratitude, and praise.

My little pol went to East Bumble with a mission. Through the blood and grit, grime and corruption, our girl has emerged bloodied, scarred, and, most importantly, victorious. Her terrible, swift sword and doe-like eyes won the voters of that little ville over. They just couldn’t resist the little bugger.

Now, our Queen Victorious has those greedy developers and their Repugnantcan cronies on the run. They have melted into the shadows of the Shenandoah, vowing to return again. But for now, they are defeated. Grandpooh has won his city council seat, and reforms can now be implemented. For the next four years, at least, these developers’ pockets will not be lined with taxpayers’ dollars (if we could all be so lucky!).

And now, thankful Democrats line up before Poohbutt’s crib—I mean, throne—bearing gifts. Binkies, onesies, every toy that flashes lights and/or sings a tune (and every child’s toy does that) crowd the room. It’s all lost on her, though. She only likes the boxes.

Everybody asks her advice.

“Any advice?” asks David Axelrod.

“Baabaabaabaah,” she advises.

They look at me for translation.

“Uh,” I screw up my face, “she says avoid nuts and always keep your diaper clean.”

“Out of the mouths of babes,” gasps Donna Brazile.

“Balderdash!” screams Karl Rove, storming out of the great hall.

“Where did he come from?” I ask.

“The diaper pail,” Steve Schmidt announces—from the diaper pail.


“All right, people,” I announce, clapping my hands. “Audience over. Thanks for everything. And see you all in ’12—when we can finally end this Palin mess for good.”

“Damn you all to hell!!!” Schmidt screams, and rushes out, leaving a trail of stained diapers in his wake.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Big Kiss on the Mouth

It's hard to believe it's already been a week, and still it seems like the election was a lifetime ago. While the honeymoon is still on and folks are still dancing on the street, I wanted to thank the people who made the election of Barack Obama possible with a wet, sloppy, big kiss on the mouth:

W.: I've hated you for almost a decade now. I still think you are perhaps the most dangerous president in U.S. history. Thank God for term limits! However, you have left this country so depressed, so devastated that folks were desperate enough to vote a black man into the presidency. None of this would've happened without you. Though I hate you and wish you were never president, I want you to pucker up and get ready for some lovin'.

Howard Dean: They thought you were crazy back in '04, and the press had a field day torpedoing your campaign. When you started talking about a 50-state strategy while Rove was talking about a permanent Republican majority, the powers that be were ready to throw you into the loony bin. Howard, you is crazy. Crazy like a fox! You got the Dems a majority in the House and Senate, and Obama took some pretty alabaster/red states. You're a mad genius, my man.

John McCain: Look, man, history was against you. The only wild card was race, and America, for the moment, has proven that green is a hell of a lot more important than black. But you really didn't help yourself out at all. You were so inconsistent, so mercurial, so "erratic," you started making Maverick look like Mad Cow. I love you, man.

Joe the Plumber oops, sorry, this is Steve Schmidt: Dude, you have got to be one of the worst campaign managers ever to stain our sheets. Convincing your candidate to run towards the base when your base's numbers are at historic lows was pretty brilliant. Oh, and that suspension of the campaign. While I don't think Joe Lieberman would've been a good VP candidate for McCain ... Sarah Palin?! Dude, you're a fucking joke. And looking at you, I can see why there was all that hateful "other" speak coming out of the GOP this campaign season.

Bill Kristol: While you're no Billy Crystal, you're becoming a bigger fucking joke every day. You were a part of that neocon cabal that gave us this latest Iraq war. Way to go, buddy. And some have it that you were the driving force behind Sarah Palin's candidacy. It always seemed to me that your Saddam bluster was just to prove who had the bigger dick, and now it seems you let that same organ point you towards Palin. Your "ideas" and "thoughts" are so intellectually bankrupt, it's amazing you still have a job. But I doubt that the conservatives are going to let you go. So, I have a feeling that you're going to remain a gift that keeps on giving. All right, Mr. Yukmouth, how's about a little kiss?

Brother Jesse: I know you've been getting slammed this year. Even your own son told you to "keep hope alive and shut the fuck up." (OK, he didn't say that exactly, but wouldn't that have been funny?) But I'm giving you mega props for the political genius you truly are. You know a lot of conservatives, etc., hate your black ass. So, while you've been an Obama supporter since he ran against Bobby Rush back in 2000, you stayed quiet during the primaries, knowing your support would hurt the man. Then, to give Barack an extra little push during the general election, you go on national TV threatening to castrate the young buck. A brilliant utilization of "the enemy of my enemy..." Machiavelli would be proud. I love you so much ... well, if you don't know what I'd do, just look at the title of this post.

David Axelrod: With Barack and Deval Patrick under your belt, I guess I need to start calling you Branch Rickey. But I doubt the Dodgers' GM ever looked so sexy in leather.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Yes, I'm also surprised I now feel this way for you. I know I've thought and said some pretty mean things about you during the primaries. I wanted you to quit, I wanted you to shut the fuck up. But I was wrong. Your "kitchen sink" strategy (throwing everything at the brother from the madrassa email, the Izod jihadi photo, Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, to Bill Ayres) sounded as hollow as a tin cup by the time the Republicans tried using it. And your 50-state primary running all the way to June though you were really out of it by March established Obama offices all over the country. Without the infrastructure you forced on him, making him campaign heavily almost everywhere, I doubt Obama would've won Ohio and Indiana. So, please forgive me.

Sarah Palin: You had folks scared (not me, though). You were supposed to appeal to Hillary supporters, moderates, independents, women of all shapes and sizes. Instead, you became a shrill joke who was imminently unqualified, a virtual hate monger whose rallies started looking like Nuremberg '39, and a $150,000 embarrassment. I don't think I've loved a complete stranger more than I have loved you.

Oh wait a second. Yes, I have.

Jennifer Lopez: Despite it all--all the bad relationships, the bad publicity, the bad movies, and the singularly atrocious music--I still think it would be nice to besa this Boricua boca.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Secret's Out

How did those bastards find out?


Election Day Part 4: Mea Culpa

All right, I meant to live blog from the Barack-O-Rama in Baltimore on Election Night, but obviously that didn't happen. There were so many people that Poohbutt was a little shell-shocked. My poor baby was pretty much clued to Daddy's lap for most of the evening. It took forever to get my girl to sleep, and, soon thereafter, Barack was proclaimed President-Elect. It was pretty much over at that point.

Then, harried Dad forgot the power cord to his laptop at the Rama and has been laptop-less the rest of the week. I know the millions out there were really and truly dependent upon my ever-so poignant observations during the election, and for that I apologize. I should be back on track this week. Of course, after all that, what does one talk about?

Right now, I have to go put on these cabinet guards (do babies automatically go for the cleaning products?) and then go pick Poohbutt up from her first sleep-over.

It was one helluva night, though, wasn't it?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Part 3: Yo Voté

Well, that was easy enough. I was worried we wouldn't beat the rush. I'm a little salty they wouldn't let me take a picture of my baby girl voting, but what can you do? We're a Democrat-controlled state--they took away our cameras!

Election Day Part 2: Mixed Nuts

Let me just say, days like this remind me why I hate driving. The last 20 minutes of the trip took me some 40 minutes. I stood in traffic so long outside of NIH, I think they used me for some sort of medical experiment. I think I blacked out for a minute and woke up with electrodes attached to my scrotum. Now I have some sort of nervous tick and am experiencing road rage, though I'm sitting here at the computer.

Anyway, working the polling site in East Bumble was a bit of fun. I pretty much entertained myself by joking with the college students of EBU, instructing them to turn over the ballot in order to vote for local candidates they couldn't give two shits about. Grandpooh wanted me to relate to the youngsters. I kept reminding him that my 20th high school reunion's coming up later this month. But I did what I could. I figured if I could make them laugh, they might go, "WTF," and vote for their BFF, Grandpooh. We'll see.

Even though we were in Patriotic America, there were very few Republicans in evidence. One, red-sweatshirt-wearing, "Pro-Life for Gilmore" powder puff walked up to Grandpooh and boldly stated, "I'm not voting for you." It was supposed to be a joke because she lived in the county and couldn't vote in the city, but it went over like a lead zeppelin.

One proper and prim McCainite apologized for cutting in front of me to address the voters. I said, "Hey, politics is a dirty business, and it's election day. Throw an elbow if you have to. We'll understand." Her teenaged boy cracked up. She apparently was not amused and refused to talk to me the rest of the morning.

The only other one I talked to was the mayor (like I knew who he was), who I tried to convince to vote for the Dem, Grandpooh. A bit of a wasted effort. But he was a pretty funny guy.

I gotta say, I was really impressed with the Obama Machine. Even in East Bumble, they were on their game. I think they've stepped on some local Dems's feet, but they were on it doggone it. They ran a shuttle from EBU to the polling station, college kids were pouring out of vans every 20 minutes or so. They offered water, pretzels, and trail mix for folks in the hour-and-a-half-long line (pictured below) as well as medical aid for those who may need it. And they had quite impressive signage to boot!

Well, now it's on to finally vote myself. Poohbutt's champing at the bit to finally cast her symbolic vote for M. Obama.


Election Day Part I

Yesterday, Poohbutt and I worked hard trawling for Dem votes in a Republican neighborhood here in East Bumble. We talked to John the Construction Worker. He'd voted early snd already voted for Grandpooh for City Council. He wanted to bend our ear. Pretty cool guy. He works for VADOT and hasn't worked in awhile. The state coffers are mighty low, and no roads are being built. He was pretty much hatin' on the GOP and sounded like an Obama ad (so much for those Joe Six-Pack stereotypes). I don't know if he voted for the O-Man, though.

Last night we went around putting up campaign signs all over the different polling places. Grandpooh gave me a pass so I could watch the Steeler game. It was pretty tempting. I did want to know what the fate of the Free World was going to be, but I passed. I mean, P.O.P. and I have put in some hours on this campaign. I wanted to see it through. So, I said, "I'm in this bitch for the long haul" (which, oddly enough, I hear was Jay-Z's wedding vow).

It was an interesting taste of local, small-town politics, and I was treated to a taste of PBR at the local Ethiopian restaurant afterwards (the new face of small-town America).

This morning, Poohbutt's wakened fairly cranky and clingy. I think she's finally missing her momma (who's off working in Ghent for the next two weeks and then goes off to Addis). I'm currently trying to get us ready for a very long day.

It's been pretty difficult. I had to have her in the bathroom while I took a shower. She did her best "Attica! Attica!" imitation against the sliding glass door. She ate her Cheerios (aka, "Baby Crack"), her biscuit, and her plums, but refused the lamb. She usually likes it, which creeps me out. I find the whole idea of pureed meat morally suspect.

I felt like keeping you updated on our exciting day. She's cooperating at the moment, playing with all the toys the Grands have supplied her, but that can change at any minute. Thank God, I type 100 words per minute.

Anyway, it's off to work a polling station. Then we're back to DC this afternoon so Daddy can go vote. And we end the night in Balmer for the Barack-O-Rama. Fun will be had by all.

This morning, East Bumble is cold and dreary, and the town reeks of chicken feed. Wish us luck.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Correction: Thank You, Byron Leftwich, You Saved Our Asses!

129 Yds
1 TD
145.8 QB Rating

Steelers 23
Redskins 6

Yo, B, I thank you, Steelerland thanks you, Barack Obama thanks you, the Democratic Party thanks you, hell, the entire free world thanks you!!!

Help Us, Ben Roethlisberger. You're Our Only Hope

Forget the polls, the pundits, and their spin. If you really want to know who will win tomorrow's presidential election, just watch tonight's Redskins-Steelers game. Apparently, since 1937, when the Redskins win the game before the election, the party that holds the White House keeps the White House. When the 'Skins lose, the party in power loses. 2004 was the lone exception--even Joe Gibbs's incompetence could help Kerry win.

So, Obama voters, if only for tonight, you must root for the Black 'n' Gold! The fate of the entire free world depends on their victory. And now, you, too, will have to suffer the agony of watching the crappiest line in NFL history protecting a faltering economy, our nuclear arsenal, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Take some of that hope that Obama's been instilling in you these past two years and direct it to Chris K, Justin Hartwig, Max Starks, Trai Essex (to believe you went to Northwestern--oh wait, you suck--I believe it), or whatever 300-pound pansy they put in pads tonight, pray that they can hold a block long enough for Big Ben to actually complete a pass for once, prostrate yourself before the ghost of Art Rooney, I don't know, sacrifice your first-born. Do what you have to do to ensure a Steeler victory tonight, and let's take back this fucking country!!!

Go Hines Ward!!!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bill on the Bradley Effect

"You know, when I did it, I thought it just made sense," said former New York Knick, senator, and presidential hopeful, Bill Bradley. "I was desperate. I had to do something. So, I did it. I had no idea what I was doing would become so controversial, so ground-breaking, let alone be named an 'Effect' that pundits and politicians still talk about to this day. My goodness, people, that was 1963."

Indeed, with the historic Obama campaign for the U.S. presidency, all the media is awash with cautionary tales about the "Bradley Effect" and how it could possibly change this election. Little did the highly-touted Princeton small forward know that his actions would still be talked about some 45 years later.

"No," Bradley told Tome in a recent interview, "as I said, I was desperate. Harvard had this monster center at the time, Lucious Washington. Any time I'd go to the lane and pull up to take a shot, Washing would just swat it away. It was infuriating. I just couldn't score on the big guy."

Those were still the days of the set shot. A player would drive with the ball, pull up, and, with feet firmly planted on the parquee, take a shot. While Bill Russell and Walt Chamberlain were slam dunking in the NBA, players still could not fathom the 30-foot jumper.

"You had a lot of convoluted racial theories at the time," Bradley continued. "Asians were shifty and lazy and no good at math; blacks were lazy and shifty and couldn't ice skate, swim, or vote; and white men couldn't jump."

The last was an unwritten law in basketball enforce ruthlessly by the Ku Klux Klan. Joshua "Shooter" Schwartz of the Rochester Royals was lynched after a game in Minneapolis in 1946 for attempting a jump shot (or "the Hottentot hop," as it was called). The message was sent, and white men in neither college nor the pros no longer attempted to leave their feet as they took a shot.

That ban lasted for almost 20 years. As legend has it, on February 27, 1963, during the Princeton-Harvard game, the Bradley Effect changed the course of human history. Princeton was down by a single point with four seconds left in the game. Bradley got the ball at the top of the key, only to be met by the center, Washington, who'd already rejected 12 of his shots that evening.

"I don't know what came over me," Bradley confessed. "I just didn't want to lose, and, before I knew it, my feet left the ground and the ball, my hands. You could hear the whole auditorium gasp. We all thought I was a dead man."

The ball, of course, sailed over the seven-foot Washington, and Princeton won the game 32-31. While no one killed or beat the young Bradley, there were death threats. And the shot caused hysteria among sports journalists. Bradley became a (very high-scoring) pariah. "That boy couldn't even run for dog catcher in this town," famously quipped legendary sportswriter, Blackie Sherrod. Notorious white supremacist George Lincoln Rockwell called Bradley "a closet nigra."

"Any time you challenge people's pre-conceived notions, there will be resistance, sometimes even violence," Bradley stated, "but there was no way I was giving up that jump shot. Because of the Klan, none of the white guys would jump up to defend it. Racism really does victimize all races."

Bill Bradley went on to average 27.3 points and 12.2 rebounds per game at Princeton (once scoring 58 points against Wichita St. in the 1965 NCAA tournament). He was a three-time All-American and the 1965 National Player of the Year. He went on to help Olimpia Milano win the European Champions Cup in '66, the Knicks win the NBA championship in '73, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983.

Other white players went on to adopt the jump shot, and scoring increased some 300 percent. Despite this, it was not until 2002 when whites cleared the final racial hurdle in basketball, the slam dunk (German transplant Dirk Nowitzki in a game against Detroit). However, the Bradley Effect has had far-reaching effects felt far outside the realm of basketball.

"Well, Willie O'Ree desegregated teh NHL up in Boston," Bradley boasted. "But what makes me proudest of the Bradley Effect is how it precipitated social change: the independence movements in Africa and Asia; all the Civil Rights legislation of the '60s and '70s; America finally opening up our borders to Latinos, Africans, and Asians. None of that would've been possible without my jumper. You know, MLK himself once thanked me for taking that shot. He said it opened up so many opportunities for blacks and whites alike."

Bradley teared up.

"I'm so glad I took that jumper. The Bradley Effect has been such a force for positive change in the world--they reportedly threw basketballs at the Berlin Wall to help tear it down--and now it may just elect the first African-American president. And to believe all I wanted to do was score on that bastard, Lucious Washington."