Tag Archives: Satire

“Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” by Lucinda Williams

These ol’ woods are kinda quiet, there’s never too much hoppin’ here
I think I know the guy that owns ‘em, but he won’t see me stoppin’ here
He lives a few miles down the road over in the next town
The snowflakes are lost angels, they look kinda pretty comin’ down
Oh the woods are fillin’ up,
Branches brimmin’ like an overfilled cup,
Miles to go before I sleep.
Hey hey, miles to go before I sleep
Miles to go before I sleep.
Miles to go before I sleep.
Hey hey, miles to go before I sleep.

I got a horse that thinks I’m crazy, he shivers and he snorts
He don’t know why I made him stop here, he’s not the contemplatin’ sort
He shakes his sleighbells like some old time Christmas kinda thing
Aside from that and the snortin’ it’s quiet, can’t hear anything
Except the wind out on the lake,
He thinks there must be some mistake.
Miles to go before I sleep.
Hey hey, miles to go before I sleep
Miles to go before I sleep.
Miles to go before I sleep.
Hey hey, miles to go before I sleep.

Miles to go before I sleep,
Miles to go before I sleep.
Miles to go before I sleep,
Miles to go before I sleep.
Miles to go before I sleep,
Miles to go before I sleep.

You know the lake is frozen over, the ice is gettin’ thick
It doesn’t snow much where I come from, when it does it doesn’t stick.
Sun goes down early here, it gets dark by four o’clock
And I got promises I gotta keep, we’d better walk
Oh I’ve been feelin’ dark and deep,
I won’t be gettin’ off so cheap,
Miles to go before I sleep.
Hey hey, miles to go before I sleep
Miles to go before I sleep.
Miles to go before I sleep.
Hey hey, miles to go before I sleep.

The Tempest: A one-act play in hyperbole

Dramatis Personae:

Snarkos, a leading blogger
The Minions, Snarkos’ ragtag army of defenders
The Rabble, consisting of everyone else.

Snarkos: We need socialized medicine in this country. I think the half-baked Compromise Health Care Bill is a joke. It’s a joke because the corporations will profit and we won’t get health care. The current system is being overrun by hordes of Freckled Albanian babies, who have no right to be here. Freckled Albanian babies are smelly, they have bad table manners, and they tip rarely if at all. Freckled Albanian babies are also, statistics prove, far more likely to commit crimes while still in diapers. I would not let my baby daughter marry a Freckled Albanian baby, and if I found out a Freckled Albanian baby was moving to my neighborhood I would sell my house. Freckled Albanian babies are a blot on society and should be exterminated and then billed for the costs involved. Maybe then we can have socialized medicine in this country.

The Rabble: [Outraged] What in the name of all that is good and holy are you talking about? There is nothing wrong with Freckled Albanian babies, and you are an ogre for saying what you did.

The Minions: Snarkos is no ogre, and why are you against socialized medicine? You have a grudge against Snarkos and you hate him and we will not listen la la la la la.

Snarkos: I don’t disagree with anything The Rabble said. I disagreed with the Compromise Health Care Bill.

That’s what I was saying. 1) Corporations will profit and 2) we won’t get health care. That’s all.

[Fin.]

The truth about fetuses

So today, being the anniversary of the decision in Roe v. Wade, is “Blog For Choice Day,” and a whole lot of feminist-oriented bloggers are writing eloquent posts about why they’re pro-choice. They’re talking political rights to bodily autonomy, respect for the full human status of women, resistance to the nascent kleptotheocracy the US seems set to become, and a whole bunch of other good reasons. They’re writing political tracts, personal stories, and thoughtful essays, and you should take a look at this roundup of posts at Feministing or the, um, mother lode at Bush v. Choice to get a sense of the range of writing.

And in fact the people who’ve written so far have covered all the usual valid reasons why a guarantee of full reproductive rights for women is the bedrock of a truly free society, so I don’t have to talk about any of that. Which is great, because it frees me to reveal the real reason I’m an avid supporter of legal, accessible, and affordable abortion services.

Fetuses are goddamn punks.

I mean, just look at ‘em. Sitting there all floaty and unconcerned, not taking any responsibility for the world around ‘em, content to just sit there and leech off of someone they don’t even know yet.

Meanwhile, we’re out here every single day using our own lungs and kidneys, and using our own skeletons and muscles to hold ourselves up against the pull of the earth’s gravity, and we do it 24/7, even when we’re asleep! Not only do fetuses not pull their own weight, they don’t even support it. They just sit there in their hot tub with their precious little bulbous heads, their immaculate little eyespots, sucking the oxygen out of women’s blood and replacing it with toxins, then kicking them if they get bored.

And for this they want full legal status as human beings?

And get this: they can’t even be arsed to argue for constitutional protection. No, they have very important naps to take and thumb-buds to suck. They hire that work out to sleazy legislators and sanctimonious zealots.

But the worst of it? They’re cowards, hiding out in Club Uterus until they’re “ready to be born.” “Ready” my ass. More than a third of them off themselves rather than face the cold hard world, most of them before they even become fetuses! “But it’s too haaard to grow a central nervous system!” “I don’t wanna differentiate my genitalia!” “I miss being a blastula!” “That placenta is itchy!” “I wanna stay stuck here in the Fallopian tube where it’s snuggly!”

Goddamn whiners.

I have an idea for you, little Mr. “but I can’t breathe on my own,” little Ms. “Don’t drink a beer, Mommy.” You want full rights as a human citizen of the world? We got this little hazing ritual you have to go through. It’s called “birth.” If you want to be taken seriously, you crawl on out through that birth canal, mister. We’ll even go so far as to give you a little help with a Caesarian section if you need it. We’re nothing if not fair. Your blubbering about how you’re not ready for it doesn’t impress anybody. Even the weakest human out here has done it, Bucko. Even the babies.

Because seriously. Right now we’ve got enough problems keeping our own civil rights, and we really don’t have time to worry about granting them to some little glorified embryo who’s not willing to commit. You get yourself born and we’ll talk. I don’t work with anyone who’s too good to use her own lungs like the rest of us.

The Pagina Monologues

David Brooks, in his column today (behind the New York Times’ Iron Subscription Curtain), compares and contrasts what he imagines are the liberal reactions to two very bad people:

This is a tale of two predators. The first is a congressman who befriended teenage pages. He sent them cajoling instant messages asking them to describe their sexual habits, so he could get his jollies.
The second is a secretary, who invited a 13-year-old girl from her neighborhood into her car and kissed her. Then she invited the girl up to her apartment, gave her some vodka, took off her underwear and gave her a satin teddy to wear.
Then she had sex with the girl, which was interrupted when the girl’s mother called. Then she made the girl masturbate in front of her and taught her some new techniques.
The first predator, of course, is Mark Foley, the Florida congressman. The second predator is a character in Eve Ensler’s play, “The Vagina Monologues.”
Foley is now universally reviled. But the Ensler play, which depicts the secretary’s affair with the 13-year-old as a glorious awakening, is revered.

Brooks thus decides that as every single person who has been repelled by Foley must therefore have attended, raved about, and mistaken for non-fiction Ensler’s play, that the liberal project is once again doomed as it refuses to heed the self evident wisdom of Brooks.

One might object that Brooks is confusing enthusiasm for a play with uncritical support for every character depicted in that play, and a few commenters have already. As Ann Althouse points out, they are wrong wrong wrong:

But “The Vagina Monologues” is presented as propaganda, isn’t it? Brooks made a point of the audience’s approval. And consider the extreme enthusiasm for producing this play, which is out of all proportion to its artistic value.

The third letter notes Brooks’s omission of the “simple point” that what Mark Foley did was “real” and “The Vagina Monologues” is “make-believe.” But, again, the enthusiasm for “The Vagina Monologues” is very real.

This is such an obvious point I cannot believe Professor Althouse needs to spell it out. I mean, the Terminator series of films was released to critical and popular acclaim both, and I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t agree that this indicates a widespread and fervent desire that the world be wiped out in a giant nuclear fireball and then taken over by malevolent, intelligent, amoral machines. It’s just common sense.

But there’s a more disturbing connection between the play and the current Congressional sex scandal that both Brooks and Althouse have missed. The connection: The Vagina Monologues is in fact a coded playbook for young pages by which they have planned the seduction and humiliation of innocent Republican Members of Congress.

How do I know this? Because a few years back I was sent a very limited print run of the galleys for the first edition of the play in book form, and while I no longer have the full document,  I do have the first pages the publisher asked me to tear off before discarding the book. When the current scandal broke, something about it seemed familiar. It took me a few days of digging through my files to find it. I have transcribed the relevant material here:

I come from the “up there on the Hill” generation. That is, those were the words — spoken rarely and in a hushed voice — that the women in my family used to refer to all members of Congress, Republican or Democrat. It wasn’t that they were ignorant of terms like Senator, Representative, Speaker, or Pederast. On the contrary, they were trained to be teachers and probably had more access to information than most.

It wasn’t even that they were unliberated, or “straitlaced,” as they would have put it. One grandmother earned money by ghostwriting Goldwater speeches — of which she didn’t believe a word — and then earned more by betting against him in the election. As for my own mother, she had been a pioneer newspaper reporter years before I was born, and continued to take pride in bringing up her children in a more enlightened way than she had been raised. I don’t remember her using any of the slang words that made professional politicians seem dirty or shameful, and I’m grateful for that. As you’ll see, many pages grew up with a greater burden.

Nonetheless, I didn’t hear words that were accurate, much less prideful. For example, I never once heard the word statesman. It would be years before I learned that politicians were the only organ in the body politic with no function other than to spread influence. Thus, whether I was learning to talk, to spell, about our society I was told the name of each of its amazing parts — except in one unmentionable area. This left me unprotected against the shaming words and dirty jokes of the blog world and, later, against the popular belief that rich men, whether as secret lovers or employers, knew more about public service than we public servants did.

I first glimpsed the spirit of self-knowledge and freedom that you will find in these pages when I lived in India for a couple of years after college. In Hindu government offices I saw the state emblem; four lions, standing back to back, mounted on an abacus with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening wheels over a bell-shaped lotus. I was told that dozens of years ago, this image was created as a symbol of diverse people coming together to run their lives through cooperation and education.

Here I snip an extensive and not-work-safe discussion of the Kama Sutra and its use as a training manual for assistants to members of the Lok Sabha. It goes on for some time. The chilling sentence is the last one legible above the tear:

Still, India and democracy seemed a long way from American attitudes about Members of Congress when I came home. But the sexual revolution of the 1960s made more of Congress sexually available to more beastly pages. The “no” of the 1950s was replaced with a constant, eager “yes.”

I find this obvious plan to disempower Congress an abhorrent repudiation of all things American, and an arrogation of the privileges normally accorded to the President. I exhort Professor Althouse and Mr. Brooks to condemn this vile conspiracy. And to say something about the shocking degree of support in the US for people who wear goalie masks and cut up innocent teenagers with chainsaws. They have been silent for too long.

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What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

It’s been a couple weeks since I finished Michael Bérubé‘s new book, What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts? I didn’t find anything in the last hundred pages or so to make me change my mind about the praise I bestowed in my premature, sidelong review. It’s a very good book, and you should read it.

But I was looking through the recent Scientific American today, and found a disturbing study that indicated literacy in the US may be much lower, for all practical purposes, than any of us had imagined. When researchers tallied not only the people who were profoundly illiterate — able to read stop signs and such, but not much else — with people who were what you might call socially illiterate — able to extract the information they need from, say, an owners’ manual, but incapable of acquiring and retaining moderately complex concepts in written material — it turns out that as many as a third of Americans can be considered illiterate.

Of course, my first thought in reading this disturbing news was concern for Michael’s book. It’s a complex book, what with its references to literature and politics and academia and such, and likely to be intimidating at first glance to conservative readers or to others who are at all insecure about their literacy.

This cannot, obviously, be allowed to stand. Something must be done, I thought, to promote Michael’s wonderful book to a new audience.

And so, in the spirit of bridge-building, I present to you What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts? The Graphic Novel. (4MB PDF.)

(Updated again: I’ve moved the file. The internet just ate twice my monthly allotted bandwidth in six hours. Let Apple take the hit.)

The Top 25 Most Dangerous Fictional Unhinged Characters Who Are Dangerously Hurting America

Looks like the conservative list machine is cranking up again. Back a few months ago, we had David Horowitz’s hurriedly cobbled together book, The Professors: The 101 99 Roughly Eight Dozen Most Dangerous Academics hit the shelves, and a few people actually bought it. The book came out on the heels of Horowitz’s assembling such treacherous anti-Americans as Noam Chomsky, Katie Couric, and the guy who played Screech on Saved By The Bell into a network, which he termed “The Network,” of liberal traitors. Michelle Malkin wrote “Unhinged,” which despite the title is neither a work of autobiography nor a treatise on the condition of her jawbone but rather a compendium of dangerous liberals. Right Wing News publishes an annual list of the “Top twenty most annoying liberals,” among whose selections are such noted American liberals as Andrew Sullivan, “The Wellstone Memorial,” “The Mainstream Media’s Katrina Coverage,” and “MTV’s Rock The Vote.” Attempts to reach The Wellstone Memorial and The Mainstream Media’s Katrina Coverage for comment were unsuccessful.

And now, Lance Mannion reports that not even movies can escape scrutiny as to their liberality. Celebrity Politics has released a list of the top 100 liberal movies for right-minded conservatives to avoid seeing, which includes Throw Momma From The Train (a gross mischaracterization of the Bush administration’s attempted Social Security reforms) and Fried Green Tomatoes, which was deemed unfair to the racist and cannibal communities. A companion list, the top 100 Conservative movies, is headed by Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, no doubt for its evocative portrayal of the illusory libertarian utopia of Potterville.

This is a fine development. For too long, our nation’s worry-makers have been unduly fixated on dangerous people who actually exist, and this recent move to extend our wariness to subversive fiction is long overdue. But it doesn’t go far enough. A film, or a novel or poem for that matter, is only as dangerous as its politically weakest character. And so, after several months of research involving consultation with a jury of distinguished academics, renowned journalistsm experts and customer service workers, some of whose suggestions may have inadvertently been misplaced by our small staff, we here at Creek Running North are proud to present:

The Top 25 Most Dangerous Fictional Unhinged Characters Who Are Dangerously Hurting America
(note: Any appearance that the number of characters may not actually total twenty-five is merely a quirk in the format of the list.)

Ellen James
Ellen James, the mutilated rape victim in John Irving’s The World According to Garp, inspired in that book a radical fringe group of feminists who cut out their tongues to symbolize both their commitment to the cause and the silencing of women by men. This caricature of a strawfeminist splinter, written by a misogynistic old straight man, has taken root on the net as radical feminists of various kinds are increasingly referred to as “Ellen Jamesians.” Thus James’ inclusion here.

We at Creek Running North recognize the unfairness in blaming a rape victim for the misrepresentations in real life of fictional groups acting in her name.

Of course, this sensitivity to the need for fairness to rape victims makes us Ellen Jamesians.

Vodka-Drinking Welfare Queen
Also known as Cadillac-driving Welfare Queen, occasionally seen in presence of her consort Stagger Lee. Best known, especially in the early 1980s, for her ability to generate the appearance of great wealth out of a $400 per month AFDC check. Singlehandedly ensured success of both David Stockman’s Reaganomics and Bill Clinton’s “Welfare Reform” movement a decade later.

The Gipper
The only fictional character ever to win a majority of votes in the Electoral College. After taking up residence in the feeble brain of the B-movie actor that played him in a conservative movie, this dead football player ran up what were at that point the largest federal deficits in history, cut and ran from a Middle Eastern country after the terrorists brought it on, facilitated the murders of thousands of Central American farmers, and sold weapons to Iran and Iraq simultaneously, some of which would later be used against US troops. Widely regarded as both the best and worst president in US history, and mainly for the same reasons. (The Gipper’s rank as “worst president ever” suffered setbacks in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004.)

Holden Caulfield
Single-handedly influenced millions of American teenagers to hate their parents, fart in church, and curse. Introduced the word “phony” into American domestic discourse. Spawned legions of tedious fictional imitators from Dobie Gillis to Meg Griffin. Introduced the nation to angst as a teen pastime.

Tonto
Also known as “Chief Bromden,” “Uncas,” or “Ed from Northern Exposure.” A character whose primary role is to provide reassurance that Americans have not inherited their ancestors’ responsibility for inhabiting stolen land, even if — as in the example of Tonto’s avatar “Chakotay” — that land is on another planet. Notable for never being portrayed by Wes Studi. Occasionally offers one-dimensional rebukes to our admitted cultural flaws in his avatar “Weeps at Litter.”

The Stepford Wife
Once a useful and constructive fictional character who served as a warning to a generation of feminists, the Stepford Wife has mutated into a virulent form on exposure to widespread cultural cynicism. Legions of identical women pushing identical strollers into identical SUVs to drive to identical houses use the Stepford Wife as a reassuring talisman to affirm their individuality: they, unlike her, leave the house each morning to go to their identical jobs.

Eco-Terrorist
So named because cutting fence or setting an insured Humvee on fire is exactly the same as piloting a plane into a building and killing thousands of people, and much worse than deliberately promoting fossil fuel use while blocking climate negotiations so that a major American city is utterly destroyed by storms. An invention of the PR industry, the Eco-Terrorist has sadly spawned clueless real-life imitators. Not to be confused with superficially similar fictional characters George Hayduke of The Monkey Wrench Gang or the kid Billy Mumy played in Bless the Beasts and Children.

McGruff the Crime Dog
He wants you to bite crime! A friendly, tongue-lolling face on a body politic that strongly resembles the White Citizens’ Councils. Who’s that suspicious bearded man running through your neighborhood late at night? Certainly not CRN’s editor getting some exercise: must be a terrorist. Call the police immediately if you see anything out of the ordinary! Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Icepick-Wielding Lesbian
Also goes by the names “Girl Gone Wild”; “Dear Penthouse Forum I never thought this would happen to me”; “Black Widow”; “Sandra Bernhardt.” At her most benign, this fictional character shades imperceptibly into the utterly wholesome Sex-Positive Bisexual Feminist. At her most destructive, though, she promotes the notion that women’s sexuality is rooted (so to speak) in the pleasure of men, whether it’s in making love to women for a male audience or deriving pleasure from enticing hapless men into predatory situations.

President Josiah Bartlet
The Clintonistas’ pale flickering night light during the dark years of the Bush Empire, Jed Bartlet makes massive, Beltway-broker-sucking compromise look like speaking truth to power. Travels with retinue of allegedly idealistic, allegedly young alleged liberal activists who make up White House Staff and write liberal-sounding justifications for Nixonian policies. See “Cruise Missile Leftist.”

Paul Bunyan
Another turncoat. Originally a symbol of resistance to English colonization by French North Americans (see Cruise Missile Leftist), Bunyan soon took a job with the US timber industry portraying clearcutting as a noble, heroic tradition. Promotes an image of idealized American masculinity as gigantic, strong, musclebound and silently oafish: see also John Henry, Pecos Bill, Mike Fink, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Compassionate Conservative
Included in list for historical perspective. Few still believe this character exists. Origins shrouded in mystery: is said to have sprung full-grown from a point of light. Once spotted throwing dimes to street urchins. This character was traditionally associated with a feast day held on December 25, until Congress declared flying reindeer exempt from provisions of the Migratory Bird Protection Act and the last nine were shot in error by a vice-presidential hunting party.

Smokey The Bear
Another character whose influence is ebbing, mainly due to the development of a greater understanding of forest fire ecology and the passage of laws banning cigarettes from San Francisco taverns. Taught generations of children that before leaving their campsite with its lean-tos made of five-hundred-year-old whitebark pine branches to shelter their all-terrain dirt bikes, they should carefully drown their campfires. Died of starvation in unburned forest with drastically reduced habitat value.

The Self-Made Man
The Horatio Alger hero, who pulled himself up by his own bootstraps (made by non-union cobblers) and strode the road to success (paved at government expense.) The Self-Made Man is often invoked by those whose blog ad revenue briefly peaks to a level just above the month’s rent and Dorito expenditures. Can neither cook a meal nor unclog a shower drain without help.

Stagger Lee
Like Smokey The Bear, Stagger Lee was once a non-fictional character, Lee Sheldon, a St. Louis resident who killed one William Lyon in a bar fight in 1895. Rapidly becoming a folkloric anti-hero to an oppressed African-American underclass, Sheldon’s name was altered into several regional variants as time passed (Stagger Lee, Stack O Lee, Stagolee, Huey Newton). A defiant symbol of violent manhood to African Americans of the time, Stagger Lee eventually mutated on contact with the white community into the present-day fictional character Bling-Wearing Scary Black Man, to whom frequent references on television punditry shows paved the way for increasingly draconian laws and an increase in prison construction.

Jesus
This fictional character came on the North American scene early, as Cortez viewed with horror Aztec religious practices involving sacrifice of symbolic gods of love that manifest in human form — and the subsequent consumption of their flesh — and resolved to supplant that religion with with Roman Catholicism. Patron saint of orgasms and stubbed toes. Destructive influence on American society is widespread and massive. Often seen on television, lurking in front of churches, in moldy tortillas and sonograms. Do not approach. Extremely dangerous.

Pitch

Editor, Marie Claire Magazine

Dear Madam or Sir;

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Fit and Foxy At Fifty
But less than fifty percent of the electorate! After Katherine Harris’ “high-profile” interview with Alan Colmes fore-eyeshadowed a big electoral letdown, can the Florida GOP Rodeo Queen lasso a lucrative Lancome endorsement?

Ethnic Pore Cleansing
In this modern age when Condoleezza Rice and Michelle Malkin command as much attention as Jackie O did forty years ago, are normal facials enough? Fifteen tips for making your ethnic skin as close to beautiful as possible.

Seven Ways To Gitmo Slender
Intern those problem areas indefinitely! You can banish that ugly cellulite and those love handles to undisclosed locations, never to be seen again!
Side Material: Your Summer At Camp X-Ray: Director of hot new spa says “ribs are back in for Bikini Season 2006!”

Is Your Manicurist Here Legally?
Or is she taking a job an American could be doing for $6.85 an hour? Top ten warning signs.
Side material: How I got free manicures for life! One reader’s story.

Kicky New Camo Designs for Summer
Support our troops by looking vaguely like you’re in the military, without all the mess and hassle of actually signing up.
Side material: Hello, Kitty! Five cute ways to accessorize your gun.

Lose Weight the Objectivist Way With the Ayn Rand Diet
What, you want to be told what the Ayn Rand Diet is? Get off your butt and find out for yourself, you nanny-state culture-of-dependency slacker! Enough hand-holding!

I Had A Dream Date With Dennis Miller!
That could be what you tell your friends if you enter our Dream Date With Dennis Miller Contest. Come on, won’t someone enter? Three issues we’ve been asking. Really, you’re almost guaranteed to win if you send your name in. Doesn’t anyone want the thousand bucks?

Spice Up Your Covenant Marriage
Five exciting ways to give head… of household the authority he craves!
Side material: How To Suggest A Threesome… With Jesus.

Ten Ways To Get Your Man To Strip You With His Eyes — Of Your Rights

Bush’s border plan draws criticism

WASHINGTON — The capital buzzed today in the wake of President Bush’s announcement that the National Guard would be deployed to keep undesirable elements from entering the United States.

The deployment is part of a major initiative to militarize one of the US’s most vulnerable points of entry, with increases in Border Patrol funding and the aggressive use of security technologies.

“We are launching the most technologically advanced border security initiative in American history,” said the president in a speech Monday night. “We will construct high-tech fences in urban corridors, and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas. We will employ motion sensors, … infrared cameras… and unmanned aerial vehicles to prevent illegal crossings. America has the best technology in the world and we will ensure that the Border Patrol has the technology they need to do their job and secure our border.”

Under Bush’s plan, up to 6,000 National Guard soldiers would be deployed along the “counterclockwise” shoulder of the Beltway to help over-extended Border Patrol agents as they monitor the vulnerable Maryland and Virginia borders. By 2008, high-technology video surveillance systems would be installed around the Beltway, with concentrations along the traditional corporate lobbyist migration routes such as Chevy Chase and Crystal City.

President Bush claimed in his speech that these extreme measures were necessary to stem the uncontrolled flow of corporate influence into the United States. “We must begin by recognizing the problems with our immigration system,” said Bush in his speech. “For decades, the United States has not been in complete control of its borders…  Once here, corporate lobbyists live in the shadows of our society. Many use forged documents to eliminate jobs. Corporate lobbying puts pressure on public schools and hospitals, … it strains state and local budgets … and brings crime to our communities.”

The announcement is widely seen as a move to mollify critics of the administration as the President’s approval ratings plummet. But some pundits are skeptical.

“This is the same old same old, said ultra conservative columnist Michelle Malkin. “He has chosen to offer a too little, too late, and all-too-expedient gesture of immigration enforcement as a phony bargaining chip to bribe his base into supporting a historically doomed, dangerous, and utterly unmanageable amnesty proposal.”

Malkin pointed out that the plan left significant gaps around the National Capital area through which persistent lobbyists might gain illegal entrance to the country. “The Potomac just sits there unprotected under this plan,” she told CRN. Nothing is planned to keep these lobbyists from just wading upstream past Cabin John. How would you like it if you lived in a nice house in Vienna, Virginia, and all of a sudden you had a parade of wetbucks walking through your yard?”

The plan drew criticism from the left, as well. “I’m all for keeping those people on K Street, where they belong,” said one commenter on the popular liberal blog DailyKos, who identified himself as being from Fairfax, Virginia. “But what about the many African-American residents of DC who come here legally to mow our lawns and clean our swimming pools? Won’t this penalize them unduly?”

In his speech, the President warned against such overzealousness in enforcement of the newly-fortified border. “We must always remember that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions,” he said, “and that every human being has dignity and value no matter what law school they went to.”

Clarke gets nod as possible Cohen replacement

San Francisco, California — In the wake of embattled pundit Richard Cohen’s “scaling back” of his Washington Post column to once a week, rumors swirled as to whom the Post would tap to fill the space left as a result.  So far, the mainstream media has been content to repeat the official line from an unnamed Post spokesman, whom the New York Times quoted as saying “hell, I dunno. Nordstroms, probably. Or the Gap. Though no one under the age of fifty ever looked at that page.”

But earlier today, an unofficial and unconfirmed “short list” of replacement candidates started circulating on a few prominent left-wing blogs. And several people were surprised to learn that Creek Running North editor-in-chief Chris Clarke had been named on that short list.

Reached at Creek Running North’s offices at the magazine rack outside the TransAmerica Pyramid, Clarke claimed no knowledge of the list. “I haven’t read the Washington Post since Iran-Contra,” Clarke said. “Hey, is Bob Levey still writing those columns every week about people who drive the speed limit in the Beltway’s fast lane? Those were really kind of lame.” 

Amanda Marcotte, another writer on the short list, was more voluble about Clarke’s qualifications. “Chris’s voluminous past examinations of the variegated horticulture of the American West is ample preparation for this post, but some of us worry his reputation as the caustic wit of the internet might interfere with his ability to kiss the derrieres of power firmly or wetly enough.”

Richard Cohen was unavailable for comment. Email from leftwing bloggers decrying his unavailability for comment in the most vile and insulting manner possible may be sent to

Happy Birthday, Dr. Myers!

PZ Birthday Squid

[painting by Carl Dennis Buell]

Little Billy Dembski jetted breathless across the campus of the Minne-toba Tropical and Marine Biology Institute. He was late for his tutoring session, and to keep Dr. Myers waiting on his birthday! Billy was mortified. The whole city of Morris was buzzing with preparations for the party. Intellibrooms were sweeping the streets and orchestrobots tuning up. Holobillboards throughout Morris were blinking “Happy 349th!” It was quite an occasion. Dr. Myers wasn’t the oldest person in the world. That honor belonged to some gentleman named Buell who lived in New Yellowknife. But Dr. Myers was certainly the oldest, and most revered, person Billy knew. The thought of keeping history’s only simultaneous winner of the Chemistry, Medicine and Peace Nobels waiting! He glided up the steps of the Benthic Studies department, and down the hall into Dr. Myers’ teaching theater.

Billy flung open the door. “Happy birthday, Dr. Myers!” But Dr. Myers was busy, vivisecting a golden retriever as a group of rapt third-graders took notes. “Well hello, Billy!” boomed Dr. Myers. “My canine neurobiology seminar is running a little late. I’ll be right with you!”

From its mat on the operating table, the dog looked up. It saw Billy and wagged its tail. “Hi, Billy!”

Billy was dumbfounded. “That’s… that’s unbelievable! Your hyperdog work has been more successful than anyone ever imagined!” Dr. Myers turned color just a bit. “Well,” he said, pleased, “I do have to admit it’s quite a triumph, designing a hyperdog so impervious to pain that he can experience unanaesthetized surgery, and still hold a normal conversation! It’s certain to be a breakthrough in humane vivisection.”

Dr. Myers turned to the third-graders. “Well, that about covers it for now, kids. Don’t forget, your up quark tunneling microscopy projects are due tomorrow, and remember what I said: no Power Point.” The children groaned good-naturedly and filed out of the room. Dr. Myers moved the surgical control console up to the dog’s face. “Mind finishing up here, Rusty?” “Sure thing, PZ!” said the dog, setting the autodoc to reimplant his sciatic nerve.

“You know, Billy, you really don’t have to make a big deal about my birthday,” said Dr. Myers as they left the theater. “I hardly pay attention to them myself.” Billy and Dr. Myers walked down the long, brightly lit hallway, and Billy marveled once more at the scientific opulence of his surroundings. “My parents and I really appreciate your helping me with my studying, Dr. Myers.” Myers chuckled as they entered the lobby. “Oh, that’s no trouble at all, Billy. It helps me pass the time. And besides, if it wasn’t for your great-to-the-fifth grandfather’s generous endowment, none of this would be here.”

Dr. Myers gestured as he spoke at a burnished plaque in the main lobby. Billy had read the holoinscription a thousand times. He could recite it by heart. “This building is dedicated in gratitude to PZ Myers by a grateful William Dembski. Thank you for showing me the error of my ways. For your patience and kindness this gift is but paltry restitution.” Next to the words was a small figure of a man on his knees, weeping, hands folded in supplication.

“Your ancestor was a very gracious and generous man,” said Dr. Myers. “Without his belated enthusiasm for evolutionary studies, we never would have been able to launch the Pharyngula.

“The unmanned submersible?” Billy said, knowing full well the answer to his question.

“The very same,” said Dr. Myers, as they entered his private laboratory. “And without that innovative, quintuple-reinforced submersible, we never would have been able to plumb the mysterious depths of the Java trench. And without that expedition…”

“You wouldn’t have discovered Megaloteuthis myersi,” finished Billy.

“Exactly,” said Dr. Myers, grinning broadly. “And it’s hard to imagine what our world would be like today if we hadn’t. Isn’t it?”

“Jeepers,” exclaimed Billy. “It sure is!”

“That’s my boy,” said Dr. Myers, one of his arms draped familiarly over Billy’s shoulder.

One whole long wall of Dr. Myers’ gleaming lab was taken up with a large marine tank, its thick composiglass walls so transparent as to seem invisible, yet permitting light to travel through it only one way: from the tank out into the lab, thus simulating the darkness of the depths of the Java Trench. The tank was a hundred feet high and a thousand long, and yet still seemed diminutive next to Dr. Myers’ gargantuan laboratory bustling with hundreds of graduate students. As always, Billy was entranced by the tank’s contents. A few luminescent anglerfish flitted by, along with what were once quaintly, long ago in the 21st century, called “giant squid.” A mere forty feet from nose to tips of tentacles, they were as children’s bath toys next to the truly large Megaloteuthis.

Billy shook himself from his reverie. What was he thinking? Twenty-fourth century children’s bath toys were nothing to sneeze at. Billy still remembered fondly the fusion-powered submarine his father had given him in kindergarten, which worked just like the real historic model.

Dr. Myers looked at the paperwork on his desk and sighed. “More nuisance lawsuits! Fools. It’s the twenty-fourth century, and people are still swayed by the ravings of hucksters! It’s almost as bad as the old days, back when people were religious.”

Billy was puzzled. “What are the lawsuits about, Dr. Myers?”

Dr. Myers cut off his rant in mid-sentence, then chuckled. “Well, as you know, Billy, when we brought the first Megaloteuthis back to the laboratory we found that it had a remarkable metabolism, especially including…”

Billy cut him off eagerly. “Including a cocktail of modified cytotoxins in its bloodstream that played a role in the squid’s immune and nervous systems, and which proved to have a marked beneficial effect on human health. Golly, Dr. Myers! I’m not in kindergarten anymore!”

“Ah, yes, I remember,” said the kindly old biologist. “Fourth grade, is it? Did you know I wrote this into the Minne-toba third grade curriculum myself? Never mind. As you’re so learned, young man, why don’t you just tell me the rest of the story then.”

Billy took a deep breath. “The cytotoxins were involved in Megaloteuthis’ ability to glow in the dark, uh, bioluniniescence?”

“Bioluminescence,” Dr. Myers corrected him.

“Bioluminescence. They also protected the squid from bacterial and viral pathogens, and from… um… uncontrolled tissue growth, by killing invasive, or infected or damaged cells.”

“That’s right! We used to call that last one cancer, incidentally.”

Billy was pleased that Dr. Myers approved of his recitation. He so looked up to his tutor. “And when a method was found to make the cytotoxins safe for human consumption, a massive worldwide distribution program was set up, and that brings us to today!”

“Not so fast, my bright young friend!” Dr. Myers waved a chiding arm at his student. “What was the conversion process we found to make the cytotoxins safe?”

“Oh, wait, I know this: administering them in a high pH medium with a high concentration of the crosslinked amino acids ornithinoalanine and lysinoalanine.”

“You’re among friends, here, Billy. You can speak plain Hyperenglish.”

“You put it in lutefisk.”

Myers beamed. “A happy accident that was, I have to say. And then what happened?”

Billy thought for a moment. “A lot of things happened. The cytotoxins prevented all communicable diseases and that… cancer? And that’s how we discovered aging was actually a disease caused by a cryptopathogen. And they had some beneficial effects on the nervous system too, they cured depression and we all… well, we all got smarter.”

Dr. Myers grinned. “That’s right! You’ve been studying, my boy! Keep talking, Billy. I’ll just sign these affidavits while I listen.”

Billy continued. “So we got smarter and we learned more about the physical universe, and in 2157 those physicists at New Berkeley disproved the existence of… what did they call it? God?”

“That was one name for it,” said Myers. “I still remember the hangover I had the next day. But Billy, aren’t you leaving out the social impacts? You know biology shapes society, and the other way around.”

“Well,” ventured Billy, “people were happier, and so they wanted fewer possessions, which meant less industry and less work to make money to buy things, which in turn made people even happier, and so we were able to migi… migi…”

“Mitigate.”

“…mitigate the ecological damage of previous centuries.”

“And what else?”

“The cytotoxins sharply reduced fertility,” remembered Billy.

“Which was a good thing because…”

“Because we hardly ever die anymore.”

“Exactly! Well done! And don’t forget: freed from the burden of contraception, unwanted pregnancy, and child-rearing, women the world around made remarkable gains in political and personal autonomy.” Dr. Myers gesticulated happily. At that precise moment a pale purple light shone from a fifth of the giant tank. It was Megaloteuthis, seeming to agree with Myers in his accolades. “But Billy, you left out my favorite part of the whole thing, remember?”

“Well, we bioloo…bioluminesce! now. Which means we don’t need artificial lights at night, which means most power generating plants shut down the year after your discovery…”

“…because much of the 21st century electrical grid was devoted to lighting. You pass the quiz, Billy! Bravo.” Dr. Myers kept signing sheet after sheet of legal document. “You know, Billy, I’m sure glad I can write with two hands at once now,” said the revered biologist. “With this many legal documents to sign, the old one-handed way would take me forever.”

“But why do people sue you?” asked Billy.

“Oh, it’s nothing, really. There’s a small group of people who’ve stopped taking the drugs, and as the intelligence-enhancing effects decline they’ve reinvented the old pseudoscience of homeopathy. They claim to have an alternative to the cytotoxin serum that has fewer effects.”

“But all those effects are good things!” exclaimed Billy.

Dr. Myers was down to his last dozen affidavits. “Well, they’re talking about what we used to call ‘side effects,’ negative effects of the drug.”

“There are negative effects?”

Dr. Myers’ left pen made sudden scratching noises on the paper. “Damn this legal mumbo-jumbo!” said Myers. “My pens seem to run out of ink twice a day lately!” He opened the pen barrel, brought it down to an opening low in his lab coat, grunted once and brought the pen back up full of ink. Signing the last of the affidavits he wiped his brow with his third arm and picked up a cup of coffee with the fourth. He took a long sip. Setting the cup back down, his long, tapering arm made little popping sounds as its suckers let go of the ceramic. He turned, focusing one eye on Billy and the other the giant tank across the lab.

“Negative effects?” Dr. Myers thought for a moment. “I never found any negative effects.”

Blog against sexism day, post number two.

Mama don’t let your cowboys grow up to be babies
Don’t let ‘em sit home all day on their butts
Make ‘em do dishes and laundry and such
Mama don’t let your cowboys grow up to be babies
Yain’t doin’ em no favor if free time they savor
While you follow ‘round with a mop.

Babies are critters who cannot take care of themselves
And they think the vacuuming’s done by invisible elves
Empty beer bottles and old faded Levis dumped on the floor with the towels
And if you don’t wash them he’ll wear them again
Pizza sauce dried on his jowls.

Mama don’t let your cowboys grow up to be babies
Don’t let ‘em sit home all day on their butts
Make ‘em do dishes and laundry and such
Mama don’t let your cowboys grow up to be babies
Yain’t doin’ em no favor if free time they savor
While you follow ‘round with a mop.

Mary she worked in the city for minimum wage
Tex he drank beer on the porch and watched TV all day
She came home each evenin’ so tired
Just wantin’ to sit down and to get off her feet
He called from the couch could she get ‘im a beer
and by the way when do we eat?

Mama don’t let your cowboys grow up to be babies
Don’t let ‘em sit home all day on their butts
Make ‘em do dishes and laundry and such
Mama don’t let your cowboys grow up to be babies
Yain’t doin’ em no favor if free time they savor
While you follow ‘round with a mop.