Friday, December 23, 2005

International: Seasons Greetings To All Readers

Tomorrow I will be embarking on another one of my privately-funded endeavours to find and destroy Osama bin-Laden. Long time readers know that over the past three years I have regularly undertaken trips like this (at my own expense.) I just as regularly fail to find the bastard, but I still consider my manhunt superior to the Bush administration's, since my efforts cost the taxpayers nothing and have proven just as efficacious as those of the White House.

This time, my hunch concerning OBL's whereabouts takes me to the mountain fastnesses of north-western Mexico. If it turns out that bin Laden has eluded me again, I will go fishing and my wife can sketch dramatic desert scenes from the landscape or something.

In the meantime, I wish you and yours the best of the season. Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Kwanzaa, et cetera et cetera. Take care of yourselves and your friends and family over the holiday, and may you all enjoy a brighter and happier new year.

National: That’s This President’s Holiday Message to America?

From Reuters newswire, December 18, 2005:
Bush to Americans: 'Do not give in to despair'

Do you see now why practically everyone in the world knows that George W. Bush simply does not "get it?"

He's telling Americans "not to despair"? That's an insult! Americans never despair, jackass. We didn't even despair when the British burned Washington, D.C.! Not during the Civil War, not during the Depression, not during the decades of nuclear threat during the Cold War. America is not a country that despairs, America is the country that identifies problems, works to solve them, and never gives up.

Sometimes we lose, but even then we continue to fight until we win again. That's been the way of America for more than two hundred years, and that's how it will be in the future--once competent leadership returns to the White House.

The Americans who hate Bush's adventure in Iraq feel that way because the present leadership deceived them and continues to deceive them--about the need to go to war with Iraq, about the ease with which the war would be won, and about the real motives of the administration that led us into war.

There's never been any doubt (in my mind, at least) that America could subjugate and dominate Iraq and impose a government of its own choosing in that nation. The reason I oppose the war is that that goal is not worthy of the United States. That's not building freedom, it's imposing the charade of democracy at gunpoint. It doesn't make the world safer from terror, it increases the numbers of the terrorists worldwide.

But why would I despair? Why does Bush assume that any Americans are despairing? They know that the Constitution will drive Bush and his cretins from office at the end of his term, and at that point America will be given another chance to renounce his murderous, cynical, and counter-productive war. Competent leadership in the White House would bring the might and wrath of this nation down on its real enemy--Al Qaeda and its affiliates. Millions of Americans already see Bush's Iraq war for what it is--a bloody and useless sideshow that's already killed tens of thousands, even as Al Qaeda continues to recruit.

I've never despaired of America or its capacity for victory over terror. I know that this country, given intelligent,responsible and realistic leadership, can use its formidable military, political and diplomatic resources to destroy Al Qaeda; to destroy any terrorist network. It only took us four years to destroy Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire, for Christ's sakes.

I usually write political satire. What if, after watching the Bush-Gore debates of 2000, I'd published a column warning readers that if they voted for Bush, they'd end up listening to him five years into his Presidency asking them not to despair? How many of you would have believed me?

The only thing I've ever come close to despairing of is that hopeless, dim-witted cry-baby in the White House, who sits there wringing his blood-stained hands and has the nerve to tell us not to panic.

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  • Thursday, December 22, 2005

    Media: Get Over It And Grow Up, Will You?

    This was in today's "Most Viewed News Stories":

    More Rings Are Found Around Planet Uranus

    I think it’s about time everyone grew up and got over this. I did an internet news search of news stories about the other planets—Mars, Pluto, Saturn, etc. Look at these results:

    “Life on Saturn's Moon Titan Unlikely.” “NASA Prepares Mission To Pluto.” “Studies Cast Doubt on Idea of Life on Mars.”

    None of the other planets are identified in the news headlines as “Planet Mars”, “Planet Saturn”, “Planet Pluto”. They’re just called “Mars”, “Saturn”, “Pluto”. Only Uranus must be identified as “Planet Uranus”, and I think we all know why, don’t we?

    Because if it wasn’t especially identified in the headline as “Planet” Uranus, the headline would read as follows: “More Rings Are Found Around Uranus.”

    And a headline like that, ladies and gentleman, is apparently still so unacceptable, in this so-called enlightened, sophisticated, unshockable age of ours, that the press must take pains to avoid sending its worldly readership into gales of uncontrollable hilarity every time they see “Uranus” all by itself in a newspaper headline. Thus, every time “Uranus” appears, the press inserts a “Planet.”

    Yes, I know, I know, I recently wrote a play in which one of the leading characters is a talking anus. So obviously I must be obsessed with this kind of thing; I must be some kind of weirdo. But let me ask you—am I the one who’s obsessed, if you people have to have the news headlines edited for you so you don’t burst out into sophomoric snorts every time there’s a story about you-know-what?

    And there is no known cure for this. Regardless of your age, faith, or level of education, you will burst into contagious flames of laughter at the mere mention of Uranus in a headline, and collapse into a quaking jelly of giggles as you read on in the story and find out that the “faint, dusty rings orbit outside of Uranus' previously known rings, but within the orbits of its large moons.”

    Get over it. People have been making jokes about Uranus ever since it was discovered. The funniest routine was already done, long ago, by two British comedians back in the seventies. The two comics are standing by an open window at night, adjusting a telescope so that they can study the stars. Comic One: “I think I’ll take a peep at Uranus.” Comic Two: “I’d like to see Mars.” If you read the preceding with a British accent, you will go around snickering to yourself for the rest of the day. Because you are juvenile.

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  • Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    Stillwater: Hoffman on Junker Issue: No Comment

    Yesterday I received an email that is the first official response I have ever received to my question about School Board member "Choc" Junker. Below you may read the question I asked of School Board members George Thole, Chris Kunze and Nancy Hoffman; the response to the question sent to me by Ms. Hoffman, and my response to her.

    Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2005 11:57:59 -0800 (PST)
    From: "W Prendergast"
    Subject: Question about "Choc" Junker
    To: Nancy Hoffman

    Saturday, December 17, 2005

    Dear Ms. Hoffman:

    On a scale of one to ten, with “ten” representing “fully functional” and “one” representing “severely impaired,” how would you rate the current mental capabilities—including the ability to concentrate on and understand issues before the School Board—of School Board member “Choc” Junker?

    Please be sure to answer the question with a number—1 to 10. If you fail to do so, I must take it that you are evading the question and would rather not answer it.

    Please reply to this email address (my email) at your earliest convenience.

    William J. Prendergast

    Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2005 14:39:03 -0600
    From: "Nancy Hoffman"
    Subject: Re: Question about "Choc" Junker

    Dear Mr. Prendergast,

    I believe you sent this exact email or had a conversation with our
    current Board chair Mr. Thole it seems about a month or so ago.

    I invite you to call me on the phone if you would like to discuss
    pertinent school board issues. The question below is not about the
    condition of our school district but is a question about the integrity of one
    of my fellow board members. My comments could be considered slanderous
    in any way that I would respond and believe that our lawyer would ask
    us to refrain from answering such a question from any public citizen.

    You could perhaps contact administration if you have some knowledge or
    concerns that I am not aware of.


    Nancy Hoffman, School Board Treasurer

    Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2005 18:45:03 -0800 (PST)
    From: "W Prendergast"
    Subject: Re: Question about "Choc" Junker
    To: "Nancy Hoffman"

    Dear Ms. Hoffman,

    Thank you for addressing my question. You are the first and so far the only person to do so. Contrary to your understanding, I have never exchanged views with School Board Chair George Thole on this issue; he has yet to reply to any of my emails and we have never discussed the matter in person or over the phone.

    I disagree that comments by you on this matter "could be considered slanderous in any way that (you) would respond." For example, I believe that you could vouch for a school board colleague's health by answering my question with a "ten" and that this would not constitute slander or libel.

    Please note that my question is not about Mr. Junker's integrity (which I have never had reason to doubt); my question was about your opinion of Mr. Junker's current health and implicitly about his ability to fulfill his duties as a school board member. Please also note that the question I asked you is indeed a "pertinent school board issue" and does concern "the condition of the school district" because Mr. Junker regularly votes on important issues directly affecting the district.

    Thanks again for your response.


    Bill Prendergast

    Hoffman makes it clear that one reason she won't answer the question is because she doesn't wish to court legal trouble by expressing an opinion on the matter. Still no reply from Kunze or Thole, so we are left to speculate on why they won't answer.

    Monday, December 19, 2005

    Stillwater: Meeting of Two Minds

    Interesting comments the past couple of days concerning my question about School Board member "Choc" Junker's current health. Here are the quotes, in case you missed them.

    Anonymous said...
    Why not ask the entire school board that question? I am sure you can ask to speak at open forum! Better yet, why not ask Mr. Junker's family? I am equally sure that one of his kids would respond appropriately. Is it because you have no balls? You sure are a bad ass, hiding behind your computer and all. I will assume you have no balls and are spineless if you fail to follow my advice.

    6:06 PM

    Prendergast said...
    Assume away, "anonymous." Regardless of your assumptions, I currently have a spine. I also have two balls; both are pink and one of them hangs slightly lower than the other. I never wrote about that before because I didn't believe it was a matter of public interest. In any case, I fail to see what this has to do with issue of Mr. Junker's health, which IS a matter of public interest. You insinuate that I'm a coward, but actually I have no objection to asking "the entire school board" that question publicly, in an open forum. You forget that I've already tried to ask the same question publicly (on the letters pages of our two local newspapers.)

    The problem is not that I won't ask this question publicly; the problem is that the papers won't allow me to. Responses (or lack of same) to my latest attempts to get answers will determine where and to whom I ask the question next time. What I find disturbing is that no one (publicly or privately) will vouch for Mr. Junker's mental capabilities so far. You seem to have some familiarity with the situation, but I notice that you did not express an opinion on the matter; how would you rate Mr. Junker's mental state these days, on a scale of one to ten? But please include your real name with your answer; that "hiding behind the computer" crack is not appropriate if you keep signing yourself "anonymous."

    8:38 PM

    Anonymous said...
    Bill, Why not ask Choc or one of his family for the status of his health? Their phone numbers are readily available! Why bother with associates? You would just receive an unqualified opinion. You know about opinions. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. In your wifes case, she has two!

    12:56 PM

    Prendergast said...
    I suspect that the Junker family already knows that I have been asking this question for some time. The reason that I don't ask them directly--well, it's like this. Suppose, hypothetically, that there is something wrong with Choc's mental health and his family knows that. This would mean that they were the sort of people who were willing to allow a blood relative to occupy an important local elective office, despite the fact that they knew he wasn't up to it. The sort of people who would permit that are not likely to give me a candid answer, right? Suppose, on the other hand, that Choc's mental health is just fine--then I'm bothering them about nothing, right? And again, you forget that I did try to ask this question publicly, in the pages of the local newspapers. The Junkers would have read and been free to address the question. But the papers wouldn't run it! And I've been running the question publicly in this blog for more than month. I can't see how I'm going to get to the truth of the matter by asking them the question over the phone or getting an answer privately and off the record. If Junker's a public official, an elected official, it's a public matter.

    And there is more than one story here: his colleagues' refusal to vouch for his health. That's a separate story--if they have their doubts, is it fair to Choc to let him continue to serve on the board? Is it fair to the voters, to keep them in the dark about this issue? And the local papers' refusal to run my question publicly is another story--don't the papers have a duty to at least address the issue, if they have reason to believe it may be true? Do the Junkers have that much control over two local newspapers? If so, that's news.

    And there's yet another story. You are writing in to call me a coward and an asshole, etc. etc. (but you won't tell us who you are.) And you seem to be insinuating that if I ask my question of the Junkers, "something bad" will happen to me--could you spell out for the readers exactly what you mean by this? Are you saying that Junkers are going to sue me, or beat me up or have me beaten up, if I ask them this question in person? Is that why you're urging me to ask them in person, because you'd just love to see what the Junker family does to me? That would be a good story, if that is in fact what you are insinuating--can you tell me your basis for believing that they will do that to me? I mean, do they have a history of doing things like that? Anyway, please feel free to refer the Junkers to this blog, if you want to let them know that this question is now being asked publicly.
    And please, please, sign your real name next time. You obviously have valuable insights into this situation and into the dynamics of power in our small town; I value your opinion and would love to know who you really are.

    But it is not true, as you say, that everyone has an opinion--so far, the public officials that I have written to about Mr. Junker refuse to express any opinion on his mental capabilities. Neither did you, by the way.

    2:44 PM

    Saturday, December 17, 2005

    Stillwater: News Blackout On Junker Issue

    Well, back to work.

    I am still seeking an answer to my question about the current mental capabilities of District 834 School Board member “Choc” Junker. As regular readers of the Stillwater Tribune know, I have already sent copies of this question to School Board Chair George Thole and to both the local papers. The Stillwater Gazette and the Stillwater Courier apparently refuse to run the question on their letters page, and Mr. Thole apparently refuses to reply. (The same question was sent to both Thole’s public email addresses.) I find their refusal to address (or even mention) this question very troubling, since the answer matters a lot to voters and families in the district.

    This week I am resending the question to Thole and sending it to two other school board members—Christopher Kunze and Nancy Hoffman.

    Here is a copy of the email I am sending to Thole, Kunze and Hoffman today:

    Saturday, December 17, 2005

    On a scale of one to ten, with “ten” representing “fully functional” and “one” representing “severely impaired,” how would you rate the current mental capabilities—including the ability to concentrate on and understand issues before the School Board—of School Board member “Choc” Junker?

    Please be sure to answer the question with a number—1 to 10. If you fail to do so, I must take it that you are evading the question and would rather not answer it.

    Please reply to this email address (email) at your earliest convenience.

    William J. Prendergast

    I will let you know if I receive any replies this time.

    Friday, December 16, 2005

    International: Poll Says Saddam Judge Should Use Photon Torpedoes

    Fifty-six per cent of Americans surveyed believe that the judge presiding over the Saddam Hussein trial should respond to a possible rocket attack on the courtroom by threatening retaliation with photon torpedoes.

    More than eight people participated in the online poll conducted on this website last week, which has a margin of error of about—ugh! HEART ATTACK! MY PILLS! THEY’RE IN THE DRAWER! NO, THE TOP DRAWER—UGH! Oh… ahh… there, that’s better. Back to the poll…

    Thirty-three per cent of those surveyed wanted to know where these “rocket attack” guys were during the O.J. trial.

    An eleven per cent minority of those polled said a rocket attack on the trial of Saddam Hussein would be permissible if Saddam showed up with his karaoke machine again.

    To participate in this week’s poll, click on one of the responses to question that appears in the sidebar at right.

    Thursday, December 15, 2005

    National: Novak Says Bush Knows CIA Leaker

    WASHINGTON - Syndicated columnist Robert Novak on Thursday asserted that President George W. Bush knows who the source is who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. The White House immediately took issue with Novak's claim and has responded by using secret government technology to begin turning Novak into an old black man. (See photo, left.)

    "If Bob doesn't get back into line and support the President," said White House Spokesman Scott McClellan, "It won't be long before he loses his membership at every private golf course south of the Beltway. Mr. Novak is an old friend and the President doesn't want to have to do this. But if Mr. Novak is determined to oppose this administration, the penalty will be severe, and it will be swift."

    Mr. Novak declined to comment except to say "This is bullshit, too, and I hate that, too." He said he danced now at every chance down at honky tonks, throughout the South. But his dog up and died. He up and died.

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  • Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    Publisher of Stillwater Tribune Returns To Stillwater

    Yes, it's true, I am back. I see that people continued to visit this page during my absence, seeking enlightenment.

    The long flight has tired me and I'm not my usual sunny self. There is a lot in the news this week that is worthy of comment, but it will have to wait until my brain is firing on all three cylinders again.

    Until then, here are some clean jokes to tide you over.

    How many ears did Davy Crockett have?

    Three. A left ear, a right ear, and a "wild frontier."

    Now that one is kind of dated, I know. That song ("Davy Crockett--King of the Wild Frontier") goes back to the 1950s, before Elvis, even. The kids today aren't going to "get it", because this generation doesn't know that once popular T.V. theme song. But it's a good joke; a funny joke: it's worth saving. So I worked on that joke while I was on the plane (couldn't sleep) and I came up with the following update:

    Everyone knows that Mr. Spock had pointed ears. But how many ears did Captain Kirk have?
    Three. A left ear, a right ear, and a "final frontier."

    Pretty good. But it now occurs to me that the original Star Trek, with its "Space...the final frontier..." introduction, is more than forty years old.

    Is there any show currently on the air that all the kids would know, that mentions a "frontier" in its title or theme song? I'd like to get this thing settled before I return to regular work.

    Monday, December 12, 2005

    International: How To Get Bird Flu

    From the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research And Policy (CIDRAP) web site:

    Thailand, which had banned cockfighting to help prevent avian flu, is preparing to permit the popular sport again in 2006...

    ...An 18-year-old Thai man contracted a fatal H5N1 infection and died in September 2004 after using his mouth to clear mucous from the beak of one of his fighting birds.

    Boy, like we needed another reason not to suck cocks. And you can be sure that next week Falwell and Robertson will announce that this deadly disease is yet another of God's punishments visited on us because there's far too much cocksucking going on in the--oh, forget it.

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  • Saturday, December 10, 2005

    Publisher Of Stillwater Tribune Leaves Town

    I am going to San Francisco this weekend to attend the funeral of an old friend.

    I will be back by Tuesday morning. Please talk amongst yourselves until I return.

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    Minnesota: He Got Outta Town Pretty Fast, Though, Didn't He?

    Hey, GOP candidate Mark Kennedy finally made the national Associated Press wire:

    "Minn. Candidate Gets Money Boost From Bush"

    Here are some highlights:

    "...Bush spoke at a fundraiser expected to net $1 million for Rep. Mark Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), the presumptive Republican nominee for the state's open Senate seat, and the state GOP.

    The event was a delicate balancing act for Kennedy — who needs Bush's fundraising muscle to keep his war chest growing but also has been making some effort to distance himself from a president who has been down in the polls."

    "(Minnesota Democrats point to) a record that shows Kennedy has voted with the White House 97 percent of the time..."

    "...(The Democrats)welcomed Bush's arrival in Minnesota, hoping that his low approval ratings would be radioactive for any Republican aligned with a president they see as weakened by the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and GOP ethics investigations.

    "...White House officials scoffed at that, pointing to Bush's ability to pull in $1 million for Kennedy and the state GOP — a record for Minnesota — as proof that no one was running from the president."

    No, that's just proof that no one in the GOP runs from one million dollars.

    "But other top Republicans attending the $1,000-a-plate luncheon at the Minneapolis Hilton have also been separating themselves from Bush.

    Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., also voted against Arctic drilling and said "it's legitimate to criticize" the administration for "the lack of communication" in explaining what's happening in Iraq. (Note: This, coming from the guy who was Bush's Minnesota re-election campaign chairman.) Rep. Gil Gutknecht, R-Minn., has faulted the president for not doing enough to trim the deficit."

    Not doing enough to trim the deficit? Bit of an understatement there, Gil! Bush has been spending our tax money like a goddam madman for the last five years. Voters will be taxed to pay back the money he's borrowing now--for the next two presidencies. Not counting the billions he's borrowing in your name--from Red China!

    This is conservatism?

    For more on the delicate feelings the Minnesota GOP has for George W. Bush, see this.

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  • National: Chicago Airline Crash Design Flaw?

    Headline from today's Reuter's newswire:

    "Chicago Crash Plane Fairly New, No Known Problems"

    Oh come on, now. I'm no engineer, but even I can think of one known problem.

    International: Saddam Trial Update

    Headline from today's Reuter's newswire:

    "Saddam's trial witnesses faulty, says lawyer"

    "Yeah, don't pay any attention to what they say, your honor! They're punchy!"

    Thursday, December 08, 2005

    Theater: The Reviews Are In! Prendergast's "SPHINCTER" Gets Two Thumbs Up!

    Well--sort of. It was good, because for the most part I got the laughs where I wrote them. But I didn't realize (until I saw it performed) what a long-winded bastard I am. I am going back and cutting at least fifteen minutes out of it. Then it will truly be a masterpiece.

    An obscure masterpiece. Some audience members seemed confused by certain scenes--when the hero's lawyer was performing an obscene act on himself, when the heroine kept calling her psychiatrist a Jew, when the sea raccoons burst up out of the water into the Vietnamese gunboat and tried to rip the hero's throat open, when the presidential anus announced it was attacking Uruguay.

    A certain amount of confusion is inevitable, I suppose. It didn't help matters when the reading was interrupted halfway through the third act by fifteen to twenty minutes of nearly incessant stomping coming from the rehearsal space above. I don't know what they were rehearsing upstairs, but from where I sat it sounded like they were a troupe of one-legged Native American rain dancers in mountain boots who really resented the fact that a play reading was going on downstairs. It was very irritating, and it went on for quite awhile. I didn't want to be the "prima donna" so I didn't object at the time.

    Since these readings take months to set up, it's not really fair to the writer or to the actors (or to the audience) to allow that to go on above a rehearsal space. But that was the one disappointment in an otherwise very useful and helpful evening. So I will send thanks to the Playwright's Center.

    And a special thank you to everyone who came all the way in to attend and perform. All the best to you guys, you helped me immeasurably, I hope I can return the favor some time.

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  • Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    Theater: World Premiere of the Sphincter

    December 7th... A day that will live in infamy...

    Yes, the first reading of my latest play, the Sphincter, will take an unprepared world by storm Wednesday, December 7th at 6:30pm at the Playwrights' Center. (Admission is free and you can get directions by clicking in the sidebar at right.)

    I do not think I will sleep well tonight. I am already haunted by visions of the faces of the audience and the (unrehearsed) cast, contorted beyond recognition as they suddenly find themselves confronted with grotesqueries and obscenities that bespangle the narrative. This is not for the weak-hearted. Steel yourselves, audience, and screw your courage to the sticking place. Not only that, it's running about ten minutes too long. It's too bad I stopped drinking, that's all I can say.

    Did get one major break today. The facilitator for the play reading (i.e. the sucker they drafted to supervise, read the stage directions, and lead the post-performance discussion) will be none other than Mary Jo Pehl, one of the brightest stars in the Minnesota stage, radio and television firmament. Ms. Pehl writes and performs audio pieces for National Public Radio and is probably best known to America as the maniacal "Dr. Pearl Forrester" on the legendary television comedy series "Mystery Science Theater 3000"

    Ms. Pehl's presence will certainly lend a certain eclat to the proceedings, and we extend to her a warm welcome, which will be immediately withdrawn if she says she thinks the play stinks.

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  • Monday, December 05, 2005

    International/National: It's HAMMER Time in Iraq!

    Every so often I get one of these “inspirations” that I offer to the White House or the State Department or the Pentagon as a new policy initiative. I must have proposed about a hundred different policy initiatives over the past three years, and do you think the Bush people have ever implemented even one? Well, you guessed wrong. They don’t even bother to answer me anymore (I’ve tried everything: signing phony names so they won’t know its me writing in again, sending them a doctored photo of me having a beer with Rice and Rumsfeld, telling them there’s an ancient curse on officials who won’t implement this policy--nothing seems to work.)

    Well, now I’m on the Internet! I’ve got credibility! Ah-haaa! So they’ll have to listen to me when I propose--THIS:

    Put Tom DeLay in charge of democratizing Iraq.

    Isn’t that beautiful? DeLay’s facing criminal charges, right? He’s an embarrassment to the GOP, right? Yesterday he’s telling a bunch of soldiers about how we can’t just “cut and run” in Iraq, right? Fine. Send HIM to Iraq. Send DeLay to Iraq. Don’t even ask him to go, just have the President announce that he’s appointing DeLay and sending him to Iraq. (Be sure to have a camera standing by DeLay when the surprise announcement is made; another “classic” photo of Tom DeLay is sure to result. His smile at that moment is sure to be even wider than in his arrest photo.)

    The Americans get to write whatever they want into the Iraqi Constitution so long as the Army's there, so they can write in that "Anyone named "Tom DeLay" cannot be extradited." They can insert this amendment in between the provisions for "freedom of speech" and "freedom of religion." That way, even if DeLay's trial in the US goes badly, he can avoid prison and live like a king in newly democratized Iraq! Ha!

    Not only that: DeLay himself will democratize Iraq--because the President will make him Iraqi elections supervisor. Elections supervisor in the country that DeLay claims is “the central front on the war on terror.” Wow! That’ll sway the jury back home!

    And DeLay is a perfect fit for a job. Here in the US he’s charged with illegally funneling corporate donations to his puppet political candidates. Well, it just so happens that that’s exactly what we need someone to do in Iraq!

    True, DeLay denies the charges against him; but no one really believes him. Everyone on both sides of the aisle thinks he’s a lying, treacherous little creep. But what if he's sent to Iraq and starts laundering money to Iraqi politicians instead of Texas politicians? That would prove to the jury that he could have done something like that if he wanted to--but chose not to, until his country called. DeLay’s soundbytes would be something like: “You see? You see how easy it is to buy and sell politicians with illegal corporate donations? I bought politicians here in Iraq to implement American style democracy. I could have done that in Texas. But it didn’t ‘fit.’ And if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!” (Holds up a tiny golf glove.)

    And then DeLay is acquitted, returns to the GOP leadership a free man, and Iraq gets a government that is every bit as democratic and representative as Texas. Everybody in Iraq gets a gun, a six-pack, and a corporate prostitute representing them in Congress.

    You see how beautiful that is? How simple? You see what the Bush administration is missing by ignoring me? They got a problem? I got a solution. Issue? Answered. Lemons? Lemonade. Sow’s ear? Silk purse. Bullshit? That’s what I spin into gold, my friends. I can not only put lipstick on that pig, I can give that pig lip implants, a new dress, and a makeover so complete that by the time I’m done you’ll think that pig is Angelina Jolie. I’ve already done it myself, with a pig of my own. (See the photo below.) The government’s crazy not to hire me as a consultant. Come on, Angelina, let’s go get some slops. (Sound FX: “Oink, oink. Snort.”)

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  • Sunday, December 04, 2005

    Poll Results: Tiger Should Have Kofi and Pi For Dessert

    Results of a recent online survey about the novel “The Life of Pi” indicate most readers believe that a ravenous tiger trapped on a lifeboat with a boy named Pi and U.N. Secretary Kofi Annan should have Kofi and Pi for dessert—oh, who cares, who cares.

    More than ten people participated in the poll conducted by the Stillwater Tribune. The poll has a margin of error of two, maybe three per cent.

    To participate in this week’s poll, answer the question in the sidebar below at the right of this web page.

    Thanks a lot.

    Complete Poll Results:
    In the novel THE LIFE OF PI, a boy named Pi finds himself trapped alone on a lifeboat with a ravenous tiger. Suppose others were trapped on the same lifeboat with Pi, e.g. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, actor Jack Lemmon and author Salman Rushdie. What would the ravenous tiger have to eat?
    A slice of Salman with a bit of Lemmon (0) 0%
    A side of Rice (0) 0%
    For dessert, Kofi and a piece of Pi (6) 55%
    All of the above (5) 45%

    Total Votes: 11

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  • Friday, December 02, 2005

    Living: How To Do Well At A Job Interview

    Practically everyone has had the experience of going in for an interview for an important job and running straight into one of those “mind-blowing” questions posed by an interviewer. This kind of question (“Where do you see yourself in five years?” “What are your weaknesses?”) can stop the interview cold, if you’re not ready for it. The way to deal with these kinds of questions is to expect them and be ready for them in advance. Here are some of the questions interviewees dread and some ideas for how to prepare for them.

    “Are you a team player?”
    A question so boring that it actually throws interviewees; you are almost certain to be asked this one. The problem is that the only possible answer to this question is “Yes.” (You might try answering “No, I’m a backstabbing little bastard,” but that’s not going to get you the job unless you’re interviewing with Microsoft.) The problem with answering “Yes” is that all the other job candidates are also going to answer “Yes.” You want to come up with an answer that shows you are a team player, but makes you stand out from the other applicants. So you should answer (slowly) “Well… yes, I suppose you’d consider me a team player… for in reality… my true name is…(dramatic pause here) Brett Favre.” (It doesn't matter if you are a female and don't know who Brett Favre is. Just remember to also tell the interviewer that you are "post-op.")

    “What are your weaknesses?”
    Interviewees really dread being asked this one. An honest answer about your weaknesses will virtually guarantee that you come off worse than other job candidates. A dishonest answer (“I have no weaknesses”) will make you seem like a braggart or egomaniac. The question is really a kind of trap from which there is no escape. There is only one acceptable answer: “Kryptonite.”

    “What would your past managers say about you?”
    Another “trap” sort of question. The interviewer knows what your past managers say about you; he has your references in front of him. What the interviewer is trying to do here is gauge the sort of relationship you had with your previous bosses. You want your answer to show the interviewer that your relationship with previous employers was close, but not stand-offish or submissive. So your answer should be something like: “They would say that my private parts taste kind of funny.”

    “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
    You are right to resent this question; no company is going to guarantee you a career path, or even a job for five years. So when someone asks you “Where do you see yourself in five years,” you might be tempted to turn the question around on the interviewer, and answer (with a friendly smile) “In your chair.”

    For a long time this was long considered to be the “smart” answer to this question; but now interviewers are wise to that answer and when you say “In five years, I see myself sitting in your chair” they will simply smile back and say: “You’re already in my chair. I switched chairs just before you came into the office.”
    So then you say:“I switched them back again when you were taking that call.”
    If the interviewer falls for that, you have reached a critical moment in the interview. The interviewer may be caught off-guard by this answer—if so, he will stare at you for a second, then grasp the arms of the chair he’s sitting in and look around him wildly—the expression on his face will be something like: “How—how could she have done that? I was sitting in this chair the whole time, even when I was on the phone—there’s no way she could have switched—it’s imposs—it unbelieva—“

    If so, you know you’ve got the interviewer where you want him—and you’ve got the job, too! Just sit there, smile smugly, and say nothing. The interviewer will stammer out something about a starting salary, eventually. Don’t agree to the first figure offered. Ask for a lower figure, if you really want to throw him.

    “What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?”
    Most inexperienced interviewees start blabbing something about “shooting Class 5 whitewater rapids” or “the Marine Corps” or “dealing with the death of a loved one.” This is a big mistake. The interviewer doesn’t care about your personal life, he wants to know what you are capable of doing for the company. So when he asks you “What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?”—without hesitating, without batting an eye, you say: “An uncooked zucchini.” That will raise his eyebrows, and it will instantly separate you from the herd of job candidates (unless they, too, have read this article.)

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