Monday, December 31, 2012

Greetings From the Grand Canyon (below the cliff) State

Here’s to the
Fiscal Cliff

             

A Happier New Year
to you and yours!

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Holiday Disposition

Remember "Joe, The Plumber?"  He was the guy in 2008 who claimed to be on the verge of purchasing the plumbing company he worked for, but was afraid that Obama was going to go Don Quixote on small businesses and tax them all into bankruptcy.  It turns out, Joe wasn't a plumber at all and was no closer to buying the company than Lindsay Lohan. But Sarah Palin and John McCain dismissed those misrepresentations as inconvenient immaterial and crowned him the Average-American Icon of their campaign.  We all know how that went.   Joe unsuccessfully ran for the Ohio state legislature last month.  Apparently he has milked the last of his fifteen minutes.

www.bigjplumbing.com
Which brings me to Jay, the Plumber.  Big Jay of Big J Plumbing to be precise (he is an actual plumber).  Before he could get to work on our leaky kitchen sink, I waylaid him with the story of a well-known neurosurgeon who had a dripping faucet in his home which was driving him crazy (bad for his image).  Mrs. Neuro called a plumber who showed up early the next morning, replaced a rubber washer in seconds, and presented the brain-doc with a bill for $150. 

The doc looked at it and said, "I am one of the highest paid neurosurgeons in the world and I can't charge that kind of money for my services."

The plumber responded, "I couldn't charge that kind of money when I was a neurosurgeon, either."

Big Jay smiled knowingly, which made me wonder whether I should have kept that little anecdote to myself.  Like a neurosurgeon, he examined my cracked plastic garbage disposal and determined a transplant was in order.  He excised the broken disposal and replaced it with a steel model which is guaranteed for 8 years and will act as a wood chipper in a pinch.  Unlike a neurosurgeon (or an IRS agent, or a Chase Field concession stand worker), Big Jay presented me with a perfectly reasonable bill.  I'll be able to afford groceries to put down my new disposal. 

Being the friend-of-earth that I am, I asked Big Jay how to dispose of a disposal.  He suggested turning it into a piece of art.  I pondered that, thinking of a possible Christmas gift for my fellow Scottsdale resident, Sarah Palin.  Not sure she would appreciate my asthetics.

I Googled "how to dispose of a disposal" and came across helpful advice like, turn it on and drop it into itself. 

Big Jay solved my dilemma by offering to deliver it to Broken-Plastic-Garbage-Disposal Heaven. 

A plumber and a hero. 



 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pressure and PSAs

LOW TIRE PRESSURE, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
 
I survived 12-12-12, although the date holds no particular significance to me.  I suppose those born on this date will read something special into it.  I was actually more focused on 12-13-12 aka Thursday, the thirteenth (glad it wasn’t Friday).  I had my quarterly PSA check to find out if I would live long enough to swan dive over the fiscal cliff or to be wiped out by whatever the Mayans have planned.   In this case, PSA is not Pacific Southwest Airlines or a Public Service Announcement.   My PSA is the level of Prostate-Specific Antigens in my system I take to identify any recurrence of prostate cancer.  I’m relieved to say, my PSA level is currently undetectable.  Now I can concentrate on worrying about Boehner and those Mayans.  Not sure who’s scarier.
On my way home from the doctor’s office, a little tire-icon light came on the dash of my car.  I stopped by my nearest Discount Tire, where there were more vehicles backed up than on the 101 at rush hour  (apparently everybody’s tire light was on).  As I maneuvered into the waiting line, I recalled being told by a tire guy that when the temperature makes a drastic change, tires lose pressure.  It turned out that all four of my relatively new tires were about 13lbs under the 35lbs recommended. 
I tell you all this to remind you to;
·         Get Your Tire Pressure Checked
·         Get Your Blood Pressure Checked
·         Get A PSA Test
Hug somebody you love
- and remember to count your blessings
 
 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Lot of "F"s (and I'm not even ranting about AZ sports teams OR politricks)

Flo's Fresh, Filling, Fabulous Food with Friend Felix (plus Freakish Fortunes)

I have read an awful lot of bad restaurant reviews lately ... or maybe there are a lot of bad restaurants reviewed lately.  Whatever ... I've decided to lay off the Cardinals and the Suns (briefly) and give all you faithful FLOG-olites the skinny on the best restaurant in Scottsdale. 

12-12-12.  Only happens once a century and is worth a celebratory meal.  Although I don't need much of a reason to go to Flo's Asian Kitchen - any occurance that has a title ending in day, i.e., Thursday, Monday, Groundhog Day, etc. 

I met my amigo-extraordinaire, Sid Felix, at Flo's for another stellar lunch (shu mai dumplings and beef with snow peas).  A feast worthy of 12-12-12.   As always, at the end of the meal we were presented with fortune cookies, which I had previously thought were custom scripted for each customer.  On this day though, mine read, discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation.  Hmmm.  I nervously wondered if this was a warning that an angry FLOG subject or subjects is/are going to descend on me.  Sid, who is navigating his   90th year, got a missive that, a thrilling time is in your immediate future.  Again, hmmm.  Hopefully, the thrilling time does not involve dodging a berserk mall Santa or a runaway dump truck.   We both prefer prophecies like, under the happiest of circumstances, you will dine again soon at an Asian restaurant you really like.

Many years ago, when I lived in Seattle where there are more Asian restaurants than Starbucks (and there are a lot of Starbucks), I once recommended to a forlorn non-Asian restaurant that they have an Unhappy Hour and give out un-fortune cookies.  Mean Eileen Editing Queen insisted they should be called misfortune cookies, but Miss Fortune Cookies sounds too much like a Chinese beauty pageant.  The restaurant did not take my advice but they did wish me fortune of the "un" and "mis" variety - only more colorfully stated.  But I digress.

When Margaret and I came to Scottsdale on reconnaissance in 1991, we flunked due-diligence in thoroughly scoping out the Asian restaurants.  The bordering-on-tragic options might have dissuaded us from choosing Arizona for a second home.  For the first three years we lived here, we were chow-mein deprived and then, mercifully, came Flo's Asian Kitchen

Our first time in, we had to wait an hour for a table.  While we bided our time, I told Margaret I was going to mingle with the other waiting patrons to try to convince them to dine at the Italian place a few doors down (in order to move our name to the top of the list faster).  I figured Margaret would admonish me, but she suggested I tell people the Italian restaurant was giving away free cocktails.

Hong Kong born Flo came to Scottsdale via Memphis, Tennessee where she had gone to school.  Coincidentally, Margaret was born and raised in Memphis, and we saw the connection as a good omen.    The food definitely worth wait - we made a point of introducing ourselves to Flo and have enjoyed many fantastic meals since.  I could detail the virtues of each dish, but you really just have to try it for yourself - you won't be disappointed.  In 1998, Flo told me she was going to open her second location in the Scottsdale Promenade and said it would simply be called, "Flo's."   

"Not good," I told her.  "It should be called Over-Flo's."

 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Have a Bad Ass Hannukah and An Explosively Merry Christmas

 
Last year before Hannukah, I found a stunning pair of brass knuckles, that look a little like these, and envisioned them with candles in the eight finger holes. Before putting them together for this years celebration of the candle that burnt for eight days, I received an email from my surrogate daughter, Lisa, taking me to 25 Hilariously Wrong Menorahs.
After looking at the 25 and sharing them with my associate, Mean Eileen Editing Queen, I decided to look at “weird Christmas ornaments and found this: The Swedish Army Museum in Stockholm is coming under fire for selling tree ornaments shaped like this.
Is this offensive or defensive?

Happy Holidays, however you celebrate

Monday, December 10, 2012

Instead of Taking A Knee, Take Two (and pray really hard while you're down there)

 
Cardinals Hire New Coach
Promise BIG Changes
 
PROPHETIC, PATHETIC OR POETIC?  Profthetic?

First, let’s bid farewell to Bill Bidwill and all the little Bidwills. Don’t blame the coach. Don’t blame the quarterback.  The buck stops with Bidwill (exactly where it started - Bill is still clutching tight).  
 
Maybe those mega-lottery winners will become philanthropists and charitably donate funds to buy an offense. 

Ken Whisenhunt was recruited from the Pittsburg Stealers by the Bidwells in 2007 and took Arizona to a Super Bowl in his second season. After following with a division title in 2009, he was rewarded with a raise and extension before this season. But a 58 to nothing loss to the Seattle Seahawks may have been the end of an era. KEN WHISENHUNT… HIRED, TIRED, FIRED!

Maybe Ken is sick and tired and praying to be fired. But don’t cry for him. He’ll probably be glad to take his $17-million-plus and go home. And he’ll most certainly get another job (he's a natural for the Bayer Aspirin commercials as the guy in obvious pain, clutching the bridge of his nose between his squeezed-shut eyes). 

His replacement?  Who could coach Cardinals better than a Pope?

We’ll have a new team name THE PHOENIX POPE and a new slogan

"THE PHOENIX POPE ... PRAY & HOPE"

Since this new team is non-denominational, we’ll rename the stadium …

University of Phoenix Synagogue.

Three hours before gametime we’ll have a Mass and then kick ass



New Cardinal Offensive Coordinator
 
Taking a modified page from the Suns' Fun Guarantee against the Dallas Mavericks …

IF YOU DON’T HAVE FUN AT THE POPE'S GAME, WE’LL GIVE YOU A
QUARTER-BACK.

(Maybe I’ll get sacked for being sack-religious, but since the Cardinals' offense hasn't grasped the concept, I might as well).

How About Those Cardinals!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Well, The Mavericks Had Fun


THE MOURNING AFTER

Robert Sarver Having Fun
 
I wasn't at the guaranteed fun-or-your-money-back game last night.  I watched on television.  And I think I should get my money back because I had to stay up until 11:30 to find out who won.  SPOILER ALERT!:  It wasn't the Suns.  They lost by three points.  I might have sobbed, but I lost interest around 10:45.

The earlier game on TNT - that was FUN.  The  New York Knicks clobbered the Miami Heat in Miami. Mi-oh-Mi.  Maybe Lebron and Company are weighted down by those gigantic salaries.  I wonder how I can volunteer to take some of that cash off their hands - you know - to improve their game?

This morning I am completing my 4-Step Funny-Back-Form (it's a download from a secret hidey-hole on the Sun's website) and praying I get my check before the world ends or I go over the Cliff, which ever comes first.

Despite the snooze-fest that was the Suns-Mavs game, I was still having fun (the picture-in-picture feature on my TV allowed me to simultaneously watch Sean Hannity convulsing on the floor and clutching his head while Ann Coulter ... Ann Coulter ... stood over him growling, "the Republicans lost the election") until the camera zoomed in on Sun's owner, Robert Sarver, apparently just before he dropped to the floor, clutching his head and convulsing. 

He has pretty good seats.  I wonder how big his refund will be.


 

 

Thursday, December 6, 2012


FAN FLOG Addendumb…
READ THE FINE PRINT, STERN (You idiot!)
 
 
Today’s FLOG was only eight hours old when I discovered I left out the fine print in the “Guarantee”. I apologize. So please read the fine print as you would with any guarantee or you may end up at the wrong court.
UNDER TERMS AND CONDITIONS on Suns.com, I discover the following (I must have been so overwhelmed by the offer). The terms read like the disclaimer on the almost Guaranteed to help you quit smoking drug called Chantix. Put on your glasses and read this:
“Requests must be postmarked by December 31, 2012. Sponsor tickets and Comp tickets do not qualify. Refund of purchase price not to exceed face value. *Tickets purchased with a (G) code at a group discount will be given purchase price (may differ from face value.) Void where taxed, restricted or prohibited (Probably in Phoenix. My-comment). PO boxes will not be paid. Allow six to eight weeks after mailing for delivery of your check.* (That’s almost two months after we plunge over the fiscal cliff and if you survive that, they Mayans have plans for your refund anyway).
Limit eight tickets (8) per name/household/address. Phoenix Suns reserve the right to confirm identification. Fraudulent submissions could result in federal prosecution under US Mail fraud statutes (18 USC** Sections 1341 and 1342). © 2012 Phoenix Suns
And this …
TO RECEIVE YOUR REFUND SIMPLY FOLLOW THE STEPS* BELOW:

Step 1. Complete this form including all required fields (Available postgame on 12/6/12)
Step 2. Attach your original, scanned-at-entry ticket stub from the 12/6/12 Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks home game. (Sponsor tickets and Comp tickets do not qualify)
Step 3. Mail your original ticket stub and completed form to:

Suns Money Back Guarantee
Dept # PX12-9162
PO Box 472
Scottsdale, AZ 85252-0472
Step 4. To check the status of your rebate please visit www.rapid-rebates.com or call 1-800-619-4703
*Three steps may cause you to turn over the ball. 4 is guaranteed. Not fun!
 

Gorilla My Dreams

I'll give you your money back

"Good Times Guaranteed or Your Money Back!  Come see the edge-of-your-seat action live Thursday, December 6 as your Phoenix Suns battle the Dallas Mavericks and if you're not completely satisfied with the experience, we'll give you your money back."

That's the official verbiage of the Phoenix Suns' innovative offer.  The first freebie in NBA history.  So free, I'm astounded that my namesake, the other David Stern, would give this promotion his blessing.

The average player salary in the NBA is more than $5 million per year.  The Suns pay out $64 million in total player compensation.  Who knows what other costs are involved Thursday night.  Every attendee may have fun, but will the team go bankrupt and be moved to Dubai?  Do they like basketball in Dubai?
 
Unless the players are reimbursing the owners (that would be an average of $83,000 per player) for the potential loss of ticket revenue for the Dallas game, there must be a plan behind this promotion.  Tonights' game will be aired on TNT - one of only a half-dozen games on national TV this season.  I'll be watching and eating the oatmeal raisin cookies I got at Subway with coupons acquired at Diamondbacks games this summer.  The Dbacks expired in October (ok, June) but the free cookie coupons are good until then end of December.

I suppose the team owners don't want a half-empty arena on national TV (they are assuming more than just the players' mothers will be watching).  Attendance this season (of which the Suns have 7 wins and 12 losses) averages about 15,000 per game - significantly lower than in previous seasons.  

Still, the money-back gimmick could be a good thing.  Folks who don't know Nash defected to LA will just see the new guy and think Nash has beefed up.  Given the Suns' awful performance this season, "fun" could mean anything.  Coupons for cookies?  Maybe.  Foam fingers to be exchanged for colonoscopies?  Some might find that more fun than watching the Suns blow another 16 point lead.

Before I fork over cash for a ticket (and a ticket printing fee, and an arena fee, and a conveniece fee, and don't get me started on parking...), I want to know if the Suns are offering a bonafide guarantee, or just a warranty?  The difference being the guarantee is a money-back promise with no time period set as opposed to a warranty which promises to replace or repair within a specific time period.  I'd rather have a warranty from the Suns - they need to be repaired or replaced within a specific time period (preferably before the All Star break).    If they honor that warranty, they might be able to restore the good-time aspect of attending the game without having to cough up cash back.

Birds with stones.  You paying attention Robert Sarver?

 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pastramageddon

I sat down to write a brief impression of my first visit to Abe's Deli, the Jewish delicatessen which recently opened a few minutes away from my home in Scottsdale.  While the little gerbils inside my computer jogged and chirped and wheezed the Flog to life, I opened an email from my dear friend Ron Solomon, notifying me of the sudden death at midnight, November 29th, of one my favorite delis in New York City.

So, instead of a critique of a new restaurant, this is a eulogy with sauerkraut, dill pickle and spicy brown mustard.

The Stage Deli was born the same year I was and died at age 75 (the same age I would be had Mean Eileen not gifted me my 50th birthday back this year).  If the Mayans are right (according to their calendar we're all burnt bagels in 2012) or if Obama and Boehner can't reach a fiscal plunge-avoiding agreement by the year's end, I suppose the closing of the Stage Deli could be seen as practical - the employees all have time off to copiously ingest chocolate, base jump, open suspicious emails and run with scissors before the world ceases to exist, however it happens. 

As for my thoughts on the end of the world, I'm glad to see the end of what NY Times writer, Glenn Collins, described as "the interminable hostilities" between the Stage Deli and the Carnegie Deli.  Both restaurants opened on 7th Avenue in 1937 along with what Collins describes as, "the pastrami war."   Of course, maybe the interminable hostilities and pastrami war he wrote of had more to do with digestive issues than competition.

In 1979, Carnegie's pastrami was judged the best of the two delis and its image was burnished in Woody Allen's 1984 movie, Broadway Danny Rose (which quoted a Carnegie owner as stating, "the Stage is living off our overflow").

For generations, like Gaza and Israel, the 7th Avenue neighbors hurled matzoh balls at each other until the war finally ended last month.  We'll know soon enough if it was the $25 Rudy Giuliani Hero (and/or the $24 Howard Stern Triple Decker and Tiger Woods Open sandwiches) that did in the Stage Deli. 

I suppose if we all go over the Cliff, bonk our heads on the Debt Ceiling, or hurtle into oblivion via whatever (hopefully merciful) end the Mayans have planned, the Stage Deli people will be denied the opportunity to issue a smug told-you-so.  But maybe having eaten all that chocolate, they won't care as much.


 

Monday, December 3, 2012

How Many Flogs Does it Take to Install a Car Seat?

This is Kaz modeling his new seat
The buckle should be high on the chest just below
the armpits, but the picture was too cute not to use

My adorable 6 and-a-half month old grandson, Kaz, weighs in at 23 ½ pounds.  He’s outgrown all of his original baby equipment, including his car seat.  We had been handed down a couple very nice looking larger car seats but they were expired.  Really.  I didn't see mold on them but have been assured the plastic breaks down over time (from heat, cold, and accidents) and can develop undiscernable cracks which can cause the seat to shatter if involved in another crash.  Also, new technologies are constantly being developed to help make little passengers safer.  Each seat has a label on the back, bottom or side which shows the country of manufacture, the manufacture date, and the expiration date - seats generally have an expected useful life of 5-7 years (although seats that have been in crashes should not be used again).
Being the doting grandfather that I am, I decided on a Hanukkah gift for Kaz and took it upon myself to select and purchase new car seats for each of our vehicles.  Simple, right?  I went to Buy Buy Baby and discovered a large array of seats with bewildering features (does an infant really need a cup holder and an iPhone jack?).  Fortunately, the salesman did not work on commission and recommended two reasonably priced, comfy looking seats (all new car seats sold in the US meet minimum safety standards).  I went home and Googled his recommendations and found they earned stellar reviews, so I returned to the store and purchased them.  New car seats, check.  Now all I had to do was take the old seats out and put in the new ones.
Car seat installation instructions are written by the same people who design torture techniques at Guantanamo. Thanks to a quick stop at a City of Scottsdale Fire Station, I lucked into a same-day appointment with Lori Schmidt, the SFD's Public Education Officer, a certified car seat inspector/installer.  She quickly installed the seats in two cars (with no audible swearing), while showing me the installation procedures (when Kaz get's big enough we'll have to turn them forward facing). 
I wish to emphasize that generally installations and inspections are done by appointment only (check out the SFD's online appointment form).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has toll-free number … 888-327-4236 and a website, nhtsa.gov/Safety/CPS, where you can find everything you ever wanted to know about child car seats, including a searchable database of installation/inspection stations by zip code.
I had to wait 70 years to have a grandchild and she couldn’t be more grand. My grandson arrived in time for my 75th birthday and now my pleasure is doubled.
Car seats are expensive, but in my opinion a better investment than a rear seat entertainment system if you have a little one riding in your car. 

WWII Veterans' Honor Flight

US Army Tech 5 Sid Felix, January 1945
Camp Lucky Strike, Le Havre, France
I recently wrote an article for the Grayhawk Flight magazine about my friend and former neighbor, Sid Felix, and his recent journey to the Washington DC war memorials.  Definitely a far too condensed version of Sid's military career, but it does outline the Honor Flight program.  It is open to all US WWII veterans at absolutely no cost.   Assistants are provided to those veterans who face physical or medical challenges.  Please check it out - if you, or anyone you know is a WWII veteran, don't pass up the opportunity.

Click HERE to view the article Avian Resident Takes Flight 

www.honorflightaz.org  (The Arizona chapter of Honor Flight)

www.honorflight.org (The national Honor Flight organization)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Caste Offs



 MIDDLE CLASS

All during the interminable 2012 Election, I kept hearing about “the middle class.” I could never figure out which Class I’m in. I’m pro-choice and I wasn’t satisfied with three choices; Lower, Middle and Upper.

Even in India they have four well-known caste system categories: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. Of course certain people are excluded altogether, ostracized by all other castes and treated as untouchables. Unfortunately we have some of those untouchables in America. And I’m not including Elliot Ness.

All of my research ended with the upper UPPER class Atlantic Monthly Magazine.

I became more familiar with The Atlantic in 1999 only because David G. Bradley, my daughter Ruth’s boss when she was at The Corporate Executive Board in Washington, DC, bought the magazine (not a copy, the entire Atlantic Monthly corporation). It was founded 155 years ago in 1857 as The Atlantic Monthly in Boston. The founders included Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., John Greenleaf Whittier and James Russell Lowell. In August 1963, The Atlantic published Martin Luther King, Jr.'s defense of civil disobedience in "Letter from Birmingham Jail." The magazine published many of the works of Mark Twain, including one that was lost until 2001. 

The Atlantic website introduced me to Derek Thompson, a senior editor who looks more like a junior high-school editor, but seems to agree with my concerns about the lack of classes to choose from.

“One plausible definition of ‘middle-class’ is those households in the middle quintile of the income distribution, or between the 40th and 60th percentiles,” Thompson writes. “Under this view, 0-20th percentile is lower class, 20th-40th is lower-middle class, 40th-60th is middle class, 60th-80th is upper middle class, and 80th to 99th is upper class. The lower classes make under $20,262, in this view, and the upper classes above $101,582, according to the latest Census data.” 

That's good. A major percentage gain in Classes, from three to five.

Get it? If you do, go to the head of the Class.

But if you're not from the correct Class be prepared to be caste out.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Geology and Fiscal Hysteria

THE LOTTERY IS OVER HALF A BILLION DOLLARS!

Cliffs are formed by the action of horizontal erosion on elevated banks. Like the Grand Canyon.

Then there are banks which elevated themselves by artificial inflation, which resulted in the charge to sign up to get on the Stimulus List. Now they’ve over-stimulated and are hurtling out-of-control straight toward that newly-legendary and ominous Fiscal Cliff. In a sudden spirit of sharing, they are generously taking us along for the trip over the edge.

Everybody’s talking today about what they’re going to do with the $500+ million if they win the absurdly gargantuan Powerball Lottery jackpot. Frankly I think this thing is rigged – the drawing is in Florida. Remember the Hanging Chads in 2000? And whatever the hell happened in 2012?  I think we should let the U.S. Supreme Court decide who wins. On second thought we’d probably want to know before the end of this century, so maybe we could let the Octomom decide (she needs a job and she is decisive, if stupid). 

I would like to win the Lottery, but my actuary said my chances of winning are about as good as my chances of surviving the plunge over the FISCAL CLIFF. He did suggest I go ahead and prepay several years’ worth of commissionable premiums (I guess he’s not worried about the Cliff).
But what would I do with all that money before BLACK TUESDAY, January 1, 2013, the day I expect I will die (along with everybody else who is going over the Cliff)? I suppose I could take some of the $550 million and prepay the Neptune Society for my cremation – but who’s going to be left around to come to my funeral?

The good news WAS this year (2012) you can (could) gift up to $5 million tax free instead of the traditional $13,000.  But it seems to me that leaving $545 million on the table, with maybe 35% (one hundred ninety-two million) going to the Federal Government (which is now a charitable organization, meaning I should be able to deduct the 35%) makes no sense. 

Another problem. I have a lot to do between now and January 1, 2013, so how am I going to enjoy my windfall? Maybe I can toy with Bernie Madoff (gee, Bernie, what should I do with all this cash?) or buy an offense for the Arizona Cardinals in time to see them win a game. Perhaps I will have time to secure a Golden Parachute from my own business enterprises so I can use it when we begin the plunge. The canyon at the bottom of the long drop is surely lined with Greeks who’ve already taken the journey, so maybe I’ll have something protectively squishy to land on.

I have a Powerball ticket, just in case.

Great News for the Republican Party

mmm...still chewy
Republicans can rejoice!   Well, they can at least stop clutching their heads and trying to think up new ways to disavow association, now that those whacky game-changers Todd Akin & Richard Mourdock have lost (gasp!) their respective campaigns. 

However, Akin (the legitimate rape guy) and Mourdock (God intended pregnancies from rape) seem almost like sweet, naive children when compared to Arkansas' Axis of Idiots;  Jon Hubbard, Charlie Fuqua and Loy Mauch.


My mother-in-law grew up in Turrell, Arkansas and I followed Arkansas politics.  I even penned a book about Bill Clinton in the 90s, but scuttled any thoughts of publishing it at the time because my daughter was working for the Clinton administration. 

Even so, I never heard of the Axis of Idiots until I read Max Brantley's One More Excerpt from the Republicans' Three Stooges in the Arkansas Times.  It is a brilliant term ... Axis of Idiots ... it certainly leaves room for more idiots of which there is sadly no shortage.  I am happy to report that Charlie Fuqua, who drafted legislation to allow executions of "rebellious children" and Loy Mauch who wrote letters to the Arkansas Times likening Abraham Lincoln (particularly his stance against slavery) to Nazis, war criminals, and communists and because, "Jesus and Paul never condemned it"  both successfully horrified voters into casting their votes for other candidates.  I imagine Jack The Ripper might have been a preferable choice.   Let's not forget Jon Hubbard, who wrote a self-published book which extolled the virtues of slavery - and how those enslaved were actually better off.   Seriously. 

Jon Hubbard, Charlie Fuqua & Loy Mauch
Arkansas' Axis of Idiots

It's good to know that there are sincere politicians like Hubbard, Mauch and Fuqua - I mean, who would pretend to believe that b.s. and still expect to be elected.  It's also reassuring that they did not get elected - perhaps the public is not as apathetic as the Axis of Idiots hoped.

 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Green Comedy (Recycling Works Folks!)

Last Sunday I went to see The Capitol Steps at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Since I have seen no reviews of this hysterical mimic-mock-knock-parody, I’m going to say a few words.
 
If you’re not familiar with The Capitol Steps, the concept was hatched (not by Warren) in December 1981 by some staffers for Senator Charles Percy (D, Illinois) who were planning entertainment for a Christmas party. They planned a nativity play, but as they say in the show, “in the whole Congress we couldn't find three wise men or a virgin."  So they decided to dig into the headlines of the day, and they wrote song parodies and skits which were big hits. The current members of the Steps are not all former Capitol Hill staffers, but taken together, the performers have worked in a total of eighteen Congressional offices and represent 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience. They don’t say how many are red and how many blue but they are a cohesive group.

The highlight of the show for me is a tradition called Lirty Dies; “what you get when you mix your basic national scandal with word-initialization-rejuxtaposition closely following the underlying precepts of harmony, alliteration and innuendo.
 
“Some might say they are merely spoonerisms taken to ludicrous heights.
 
 
  They Whip their Flurds..or.. Spew up their Screech....
Flo with the Go...with Mealthy Hinds and Lappy Hives...
People who....umm....
Follow their Hearts ……..
We'll let you do that one.”


I leave you with a story I was going to put in my FLOG during the campaign, but didn’t because I figured everybody knew it.  I was surprised this one got such a big laugh;
On electon day, Mitt gave Ann a magnificent sexy negligee. “What’s that for?” she asked with a smile. “That’s for tonight, when you sleep with the President of the United States,” Mitt responded. At eight P.M. Ann told Mitt to take a nap and she would wake him when it was time to go to the party. At 11 she woke him. Opening his tired eyes, he said “Is it time to go?” “Not quite yet,”Ann said.
I have to ask you a question. “Is Barack coming down here or am I going up there?”

Monday, November 26, 2012

An Un-Filtered Flog

Read between courses to cleanse the pallet and aid in digestion:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In 1966 a new law required the tobacco industry to caution Americans with this disclaimer: “Cigarette Smoking may be hazardous to your health.” In 1970 the words were changed to: “The SURGEON GENERAL has determined that cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health.”   The Surgeon General was William H. Steward. He lived to the age of 86, and no he didn’t die from lung cancer, but complications from kidney failure.  Which probably made him wish he hadn't bothered giving up smoking. 
 
I never smoked.  Not cigarettes.  Not marijuana. Not even salmon. Even if I were still living in the State of Washington, I would not try the newly legalized marijuana. I don’t want to set a bad example for my still impressionable children, now 50 and 47 years old.
I did spend my career in advertising and refused cigarette and liquor accounts because I didn’t want to encourage smoking or drinking.
As the years went by I was required to add more and lengthier disclaimers and disclosures on ads and commercials. Producing a 30-second TV spot or 60-second radio spot with 10 to 20 seconds of disclaimer was like writing this FLOG in 300 words. With no limit on the number of words I can write in this FlOG or an email, I am now making up for the restrictions put on me when I was an ad writer.
This FLOG was obviously inspired by the barrage of politricks commercials which ended (or sometimes started) with, “I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message,” which took the President five seconds to say and Mitt Romney about ten. I timed them.
For those of you who don’t smoke and are still living, I feel compelled to share this disclaimer on Pfizer’s relatively new prescription medicine Chantix, which the drug maker claims;  “along with support, helps adults 18 and over stop smoking.” 
 
IT’S IRONIC THAT THE MAKERS OF CIGARETTES CAN GET AWAY WITH "The Surgeon General has determined the cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health." Apparently, smoking has fewer hazards than the proposed Chantix cure;
 
Yeah, hmmm.  I think I found a better Surgeon General's warning to be required on cigarette packaging; 
 
"The Surgeon General has determined the prescription cures for cigarette smoking are potentially as lethal as cigarette smoking, so just don't."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rupert Murdoch Would Be So Proud

Judge:  Hobby Lobby must offer morning-after pill
Associated Press Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:47 PM


Craft Product Line for Non Procreators
"Whatever your drug of choice,
serve them with style"
Being a customer of Hobby Lobby for the last few years, I did a double-take when I saw this headline ... the image that initially sprang to mind was of Martha Stewart standing at the door offering a tray of pharmaceuticals in little fluted cups (from her new line of pharmaceutical serving ware).  Reading the article, I discovered the judge who issued this startling order was actually mandating an employee health insurance inclusion.

This FLOG is not about my opinions on the judge's order, Hobby Lobby's response to it, or even health care in general.  During the process of earning my degree in journalism from the University of Washington, I took a course in headline writing.  Headline writing requires skill and concentration in order to convey the essence of the story in a minimal number of words.  My experiences in journalism have taught me that many headlines are hysterical, misleading and weird as Glenn Beck's upbringing must have been. 


Police begin campaign to run down
jaywalkers
There is the occasional poorly thought out headline that escapes the editor's eye (i.e., Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers) and then there is the outraged (but hilariously delusional) rant headline (think Karl Rove), and lets not forget the National Enquirer style eye-catching but ridiculous variety (Three headed baby vocally channels Elvis, Bing Crosby, & Ethel Merman) - the three headed baby is of course located in a tiny jungle village in a land far far away.  There aren't as many of this type since the advent of Photoshop and Google Maps. 

Drunk gets 9 months in
violin case

We are now in the era of online news ... many article authors are paid per click, which makes an evocative headline a necessity.  It didn't take me long to find bevy of current attention-getters.

  • Prostitutes Appeal to Pope
  • Miners Refuse to Work After Death
  • Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
  • Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge
  • Old School Pillars Replaced By Alumni
  • Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
  • Lack of Brains Hinders Research
  • Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim
  • Hershey Bars Protest
 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sage Advice


Thanksgiving is almost upon us.

My California daughter, Debbie, is winging her way from Santa Monica and my unofficially adopted daughter Christina is braving the elements all the way from Washington DC to help my Arizona daughter Ruth, granddaughter Izzy and me celebrate grandson Kazuki's first Thanksgiving. Izzy has been industriously producing paper turkeys (even disguised one as a ballerina) in her kindergarten class. I bet she could craft a heckuva centerpiece out of dryer lint. 

Ruth is busier than Karl Rove's spin doctors. So busy, she initially planned to find a store or restaurant that would produce a Thanksgiving dinner ready to serve. However, Debbie is severely allergic to sage, which is often used in turkey seasonings and stuffing.  Ruth’s attempts to determine whether the ready-to-serve dinners contained sage resulted in answers that ranged from, “what’s sage?” to a very unconvincing, “um ….nooooooooo?” 

I put on my Super Dad cape and dashed to her rescue.   There was still plenty of time to buy and defrost a bird and I found a fabulous sounding stuffing recipe which involved no sage.  My recipe plans were dashed when I turned on the news and discovered the Hostess Bakery which produces Twinkies, and a variety of other ridiculously named empty-calorie vessels, had ceased operations and filed bankruptcy with the intention of liquidating.  Damn the bad luck – Twinkies, an integral part of my sage-free turkey stuffing, are now an extremely hot commodity and available only on eBay. 

Mean Eileen, who is not known to be a culinary adventurist, stopped gagging and heaved a sigh of relief at the news.  She pointed out that the local newspaper's website featured a list of more than thirty area restaurants were open and serving dinner - no shopping, cooking or dishwashing.  Then she downloaded a smart-phone app which reveals how long a wait to expect at various local emergency rooms (in case some sage sneaks into Debbie's dinner).  All I had to do was get Ruth to pick one of the restaurants on the list and make a reservation.

About then, Ruth reappeared and before I could even get Mean Eileen's idea fully articulated, she had reclaimed Thanksgiving dinner and shamed me for even thinking of denying her children the opportunity to etch in their little heads the memory of their mommy desperately examining the electrical switch box to figure out why the oven stopped working and wondering aloud for the umpteen-millionth time how her mother managed fabulous holiday dinners with such ease.  

I will sit very quietly like a mouse in a cage with a boa constrictor.
 

Monday, November 19, 2012

A FLOG-Gobble Feast

November, 1975.  The annual Thanksgiving feast (fiasco) at my mother's house (Mom was the militant hostess with the mostest) was scheduled to commence at 5pm (after two hours of noshing on hors d'oeuvres which typically left everyone too stuffed to eat dinner).  About 25 guests had been drafted and dared not go AWOL.  I had no official responsibility so I appointed myself surreptitious place-card switcher.

At o-nine hundred hours, General Mom called my wife to ask if she had electricity.  A wicked autumn storm had claimed hers a mere fifteen minutes after the Butterball went into the oven.  Margaret told her to bring it over, but before Mom could get the giant bird out of her oven and into her car, our power went out.

Frantic calls were made only to find the storm was spreading its wings like a fleeing turkey.  Mom's close friend, Helen Sommers, a Washington State Representitive and Legislative Budget Committee leader, apparently had clout and power to roast a turkey.  The formerly feathered entree made the journey to Ms. Sommers kitchen where it cooled its hallux for a few minutes having arrived shortly before the Budget Committee Chairwoman lost her electricity.  So much for clout.

More calls.  My sister-in-law, Susan, lived on Mercer Island east of Seattle.  No storm damage there - but no power either.  Mom called her sister, whom she had initially left off the disaster relief list because Dorothea had a two bedroom apartment with a five-foot by nine-foot kitchen.  But Auntie Dor had power, so the well traveled bird ended up in her oven for several hours.  Meanwhile, a quickly formed Communications Committee passed the word by means of antique social networking (landlines...ones with handsets attached with curly cords); dinner would be served at eighteen-hundred hours at Dorthea's.

Dinner in Dorthea's tiny abode brought the family closer together than ever before - literally (I still have impressions on the skin of my arms from being squeezed between two cousins).  Johnny Carson once said, "Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday.  People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year - and then discover once a year is way too often."

The traveling turkey was the best I ever ate.

Friday, November 16, 2012

So, who's he Dun lately?

General Joe Dunford is allegedly going to take the place of tarnished General John Allen (allegedly the possible paramour of Jill Kelley who allegedly tried to poach an already poached General Petraeus) as the leader of the International inSecurity Assistance Force in Afghanistan.   The word according to CNN is Dunford is the sole nominee appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning.

BIG MISTAKE.  First, with so many people out of work, why would the Senate talk to just one potential job seeker?  Second, what does this guy know about e-males.  And e-females (we've learned it's best to get this stuff out up front).  Third, should the Senate Armed Services Committee interview only the guy who wants to see a "robust US troop presence in Afghanistan after the end of 2014"?  Won't that bunch up Joe Biden's undies?  The VP professed in his debate with Paul Ryan that it was sink or swim time for the Afghan National Security Forces and that US troops would be o-u-t out by the end of 2014.  

I've heard rumors that Biden frequently sends amorous emails to a woman named Jill - maybe that's what he was doing when Obama signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghani President Karzai.  Or maybe he forgot.

I believe we are missing a rare opportunity to extract our soldiers and get them home for the upcoming holidays.  Simply round up Generals Petraeus, Allen, McChrystal and throw in Rod Blagojevich, Bernie Madoff, Elliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Anthony Weiner, Larry Craig and John Edwards, then exchange them for our troops.  Who better than those guys can explain to Afgani leaders the consequences of poorly thought out choices.  Except for Ahhnold who apparently is incapable of thought (but he's a five star a-hole and I'd just like to see him gone from the USA)?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lips Zipped; Pants, not so much

 
David and Paula and John and Jill (and Scott and the other Scott and an FBI guy and...)
 
Like a lot of people, I've been reading about the exploits of the top keepers of our Nation's secrets and safety and like a lot of people, I'm not feeling so safe.   These people are operating on taxpayer dollars and I want my money back.  Thirty thousand "flirtatious" emails?
 
I read Ms. Broadwell's resume and it is extraordinarily impressive which makes the idiocy of her "hands off, I stole him first" emails that much more bizarre.  And Petraeus?  The head of the CIA didn't know email can be traced?  I'm sensing a new ...For Dummies book in the works.
 
Bring our troops home from Afghanistan pronto ... I'm sure when Rupert Murdoch's regional tabloid (Al Ja-yowza!) gets out, the Afghani troops being trained by the US are going to have a tough time focusing on combat tactics anyway.
 
And no, I will NOT watch Paula and Jill's upcoming reality show, Call of Booty (probably sponsored by General Mills and General Motors).