Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Random Thoughts for a Wednesday

...because we can't always be serious and angry.

Here's all you need to know about December presidential polls: exactly four years ago today, John Kerry trailed Al Sharpton in the CBS News poll by two points. Kerry was tied with Carol Moseley-Braun and led Dennis Kucinich by just one percent. The Massachusetts senator was neither a first nor a second tier candidate. Less than a year later, Kerry, having captured the Democratic nomination, came within one Buckeye State of being elected President of the United States. Lesson: Don't start taking bids on the Huckabee Presidential Library just yet.

That guy who dressed as a robot and heckled Bill Clinton yesterday is a tenured professor of communication studies at the University of Iowa. University Diaries points us to a puff piece produced by the Iowa PR department. This Q&A profile indicates that Professor Kembrew McLeod is quite the prankster, having once campaigned as an undergrad to change his institution's mascot to a "three-eyed pig with antlers". But the most astounding revelation in the article is the report that McLeod, among other feats, has "penned books about freedom of expression (a phrase he successfully trademarked in 1998 [emphasis added])." Evidently, the ACLU, FIRE, and a number of other First Amendment watchdogs owe some serious royalties. I know that I will henceforth refer to it as freedom of exp***sion. I wonder if I can file a trademark on the term "public embarrassment".

The CNN website remains a bountiful source of amusement. The "Most Trusted Name in News" continues to feature the video entitled, "Naked Men Shop for Skittles" (I always thought naked men either had to be born with skittles or they were just out of luck; chalk another one up to cosmetic science, I guess). Today, the site juxtaposes two headlines under "Health", one of which informs us that "Young Women Drink, Party, Post", while the other announces, "Study: Teen Drug Use Declining". Alcohol, evidently, no longer qualifies as a drug. But cocaine presumably still does, leading CNN to reveal that "Crack Inmates Want Sentences Cut". That's a shock. Apparently, murderers and armed robbers are, by contrast, content to serve out their terms in full.

From ESPN, the "Worldwide Leader in Sports", comes word that "Southern Miss Making Fedora New Coach". Any true sports fan is well aware of the prominent role played by hats in the history of college and pro football. Alabama's Bear Bryant, for example, wore his checkered houndstooth chapeau as he prowled the sideline during the 60s and 70s. Tom Landry, longtime Dallas Cowboys boss, donned his own fedora as he engineered the rise of "America's Team" from lowly expansion franchise to reviled NFL powerhouse. Until now, however, no team has considered the possibility of actually handing over the reins to a single article of headgear. Hats off to the University of Southern Mississippi!

Dana Perino, the latest press secretary for the crumbling Bush Administration, told an NPR audience on Saturday that she was unaware of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, apparently confusing it with the Bay of Pigs invasion. She did add that she surmised the incident "had to do with Cuba and missiles". (Did she similarly conclude that the Bay of Pigs involved a bay and pigs? And if so, did the pigs have three eyes and antlers?). Questioning ended at that point, depriving listeners of the opportunity to learn whether Ms. Perino understood Pearl Harbor to be a seafood restaurant in Georgetown or "Remember the Maine!" to be a helpful reminder that there are more than 49 states. Meanwhile, perhaps out of humiliation, the University of Southern Colorado, Perino's alma mater, has changed its name since the Press Secretary's graduation. It is now the University of Colorado at Duh! (no, seriously, it's Colorado State University-Pueblo, which does, for what it's worth, offer courses in U.S. History).

Today is the 83rd birthday of Ed Koch. Who would have believed even twenty years ago that Koch would someday be only the second most obnoxious and annoying former mayor of New York City?

According to Google, there are 270,000 references to the "War on Christmas" on the web as of this morning. While this falls well short of the listings for the "War on Terror", it exceeds, by a count of 112,000, citations to the "War on Drugs". Does this mean that the War on Christmas is being lost? If so, I propose a surge strategy, calling up an additional 150,000 Santas and deploying them in malls throughout the countryside. Get them out of the Red and Green Zone and put them on the front lines. Mercenaries—I mean, civilian contract workers—should be hired to protect the reindeer convoys shipping toys throughout the theater of combat. Congress must capitulate once more as the President asks for authority to "see you when you're sleeping" without a search warrant. And Geraldo Rivera can secretly visit one of the battlefield malls and accidentally reveal its location to the enemy. Let "Operation Rudolph" commence!

Happy Holidays! (No, wait, I meant Merry Christmas! Help! Don't Tase Me, Bro!)

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