Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Bruce and I, over a wee dram the other night, were discussing the latest in bridge peccadilloes. The latest of course being that of the redundantly named NJ Governor Chris Christie, Fort Lee, and the George Washington Bridge. Where it will all go is anyone’s guess, but this being New Jersey, my old home state, we should be prepared for an entertaining slew of theories, accusations, denials, finger-pointing, more denials, and ultimately not being any closer to the truth than when this story first broke.

imgres

But in digging through the archaeological rooms of our library, we discovered that bridges have played more rolls in bringing politicians down, or at least to heel, than assisting them in reaching across chasm-like aisles.

Who can forget the lovely Sarah Palin’s Bridge to Nowhere? To where did it lead her? Yes, she is still on the national scene pandering to those old white men who feel they would like to get her in a voting booth for some “fact-finding” or at least go moose hunting with her? Even cable TV tossed her aside, not once, but twice. Maybe she can get a gig as a guest host on Duck Dynasty which despite its questionable politics is quite funny.

imgres-1

Don’t even mention Chappaquidick. Oops, sorry we did. That was a tidy little bit of bridgework from which Teddy never fully recovered. Of course as with all bridges too far, it was littered with denials before the truth was eventually outed. What is it about bridges that lead pols to folly if not ruination?

And what about Congressman Wilbur Mills (R-Arkansas) and the Tidal Basin Scandal featuring stripper Fanne Foxe. Stopped for a traffic violation, old Fanne bolted the car and jumped into the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC to escape. They didn’t even wait to cross the bridge! That finally gave Fanny an amount of exposure she had never dreamed of previously.

images

History is filled with bridges which rather than do what they were originally constructed to do have achieved just the opposite. Just ask the River Kwai.

imgres-2

But at least, it helped Sir Alec Guinness’s career immensely.

It’s true. I don’t always drink beer. I don’t care. I prefer wine. But what kind? I don’t much care about that. Your kids are sick? Too bad. No, that’s not right. I just don’t care.

6314300858_17c0be6411 Not me. Who cares?

As I said, it’s true. I could care less. There isn’t much of anything I do care about. My investments perhaps, but they are so many and so large, I just don’t care anymore. My trophy wife? Take her! She’s already my fourth one – they’re all the same anyway.

If I sneeze, no takes notice. Mosquitoes don’t fear me. I’m not on the Pope’s Rolodex either. And that’s all OK.  I’ve never excelled in sports, educational attainment, work, you name it. You see, I just don’t care. What I did care about at one time was that I’d been very good at making money. Don’t bother asking how, my attorney says it’s none of your business. Did I hurt your feelings by saying that? So what? I don’t care. Money can have that effect on one.

The funny thing is that at one point in my unbelievably fortunate life, I did care. Almost, but not quite bleeding heart liberal care. About everything. But after a while, a certain sameness crept in. I kept looking for greater thrills and stimulation. Oh, I found it and wallowed in it dirtily and happily. I had it all and I didn’t care any more. At this point if you’re still with me, and if you’re not, who cares?, I’ll tell you what happened.

Pure and simple, I ran for elected office and won. Would you expect anything else? I was able to convince the electorate that I cared. Isn’t that a joke? But I did. Deeply. And they believed it. And now I had to make good on all those bloated but hollow election promises. Do you know how impossible that is?  I’m surprised no one has been hung for some of the things we are forced to say in order to get elected. I guess it’s not perjury unless there’s a crime involved. Even then.

So, the first day in office, I was inundated by sycophants wanting something or to attach themselves to what they perceived as a newly minted seat of power. It was flattering at first but became tiresome rather quickly. I had my issues I wanted to advance. But, nooo, they had their issues too. They wanted snow removal; new pet pooper laws; real estate reassessments; zoning variances; that kind of crap. Before long, I started not to care any longer. It was that easy. And believe me, that quick.

So, while I know there’s a beer company advertising it’s “World’s Most Interesting Man”, the truth of the matter is that’s not me and I don’t care. He’s never been elected to office. He probably knows better than that. However, if he was, he wouldn’t care. And neither do I. And neither should you.

For the longest time. ever since we were in prep school… wait, that’s not entirely true. Bruce went to prep school, the Lucey Loughless School of International Affairs, which accounts for his taste in Ralph Lauren retro-prep style clothing complete with Fair Isle sweaters and club and knit ties, not to mention his xenophobia. All that stuff you hear about old school ties – it’s real. If I never see a button-down shirt again, it’ll be too soon.

Bruce’s inexplicable taste in clothes.

I, on the other hand, am a product, for better or worse, of the illustrious public school system of the great state of New Jersey, grades K through 12 to the third power. (OK, so I had to repeat Senior year a few times.) To say that I was a stellar academic performer is to also to state that Michael Chiklis has a great head of hair. It’s not true, any of it. But during my time in the state’s institution of enforced education, good old RSP, (Rahway State Prison – and it’s because I couldn’t afford a real mouthpiece and had to accept a Public Defender who couldn’t argue a case off of a shelf and had to do time as a result – I was innocent!), I availed myself of all the provided materials and became an expert in diplomacy. Little did I know at the time that Bruce was on a similar track, but while he was inside looking forward I was still inside looking out. I guess being born to the “right” parents do count. But I’m not bitter…much. I’ve really gotten much better and don’t have the need to strike out at someone as often. See, diplomacy works.

So after a dinner with our wives, Bruce and I did the cooking, (we are both quite good – another skill I learned inside) since the inestimable but damnable Mrs. Crosby had the night off again. We sat down with the ladies fair and shared a bottle of an old Port we picked up at our neighborhood purveyor of such fine spirits, Target. That place is amazing! But, as usual I digress. We were quite dismayed at the state of affairs on weary, old Mother Earth. It then dawned on us that we were letting our incredible skills go fallow. Why are we not lending ourselves to the world to make this a better place in which to live? Yes, indeed.

We set about to create a business plan which would provide our services to countries and governments  of every size, shape, and financial ability. We will not do this for free! Nossir. Peace does not come cheap. We also determined that there couldn’t be only one approach to winning the peace. Every nation, each despot, must be handled individually. Some may need a more nurturing approach – that would be Bruce. Others might need something a little more forceful and direct – that would be me. Others might need a hybrid approach with a little bit of both us. I will say this, the hybrid is the most effective but is not for the faint of heart.

Not exactly the UN, but it’s a start.

One of the hybrid approaches is something we like to call “Good Diplomat, Bad Diplomat” or GDBD. Popularized by bad police dramas, this has the advantage of letting the participants decide for themselves how they would like to proceed with our retaining the authority to over-ride it as we see fit. You want peace? Of course, we’d be happy to help. What’s that? You don’t like that country and you want to go nuclear on them? Wham! How’s that for nuclear? Capisce? That’s just one approach.

A singe-minded approach is also quite effective. Some people, attorneys and judges, might say it’s coercion. We like to say it’s just bringing persuasive pressure to bear until we achieve the desired outcome. It’s sort of like Esalen toilet training but for countries. This is called the Torquemada App.

Yet another way of achieving our/their goals is called the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Decision. (Bruce has such a dark sense of humor.) Simply put, we play the two parties off one another until they’re almost there and then introduce a third player. The third party intimates action along the lines of a scorched earth policy. This of course screws everything up with its Triangulation and threat. All of a sudden, each party is more amenable to meeting demands in hopes of shutting out the interloping third party. It’s brilliant, it works, and no one gets hurt…usually.

So, there it is. We naturally cannot go into more detail here, but should you or your country be in need of seasoned and/or ruthless Diplomats, we’re your guys. Look for our ads in Soldier of Fortune magazine. We’re in the back of the magazine right next to the Male Enhancement ads, you know the one, that’s it with “Why is Bob is smiling?”

Good Diplomat/Bad Diplomat. Not the Two Bruces, really.

Bruce and I were just coming back from our favorite charity fund-raiser: Save the Intellectuals. We both feel like this is an endangered group of people that is being overlooked by media, the populace, and of course the unintelligentsia also known as the great unwashed. Since we were dog-tired of the pseudo-concerned talk of the members involved, our conversation got around to, not unsurprisingly, to politics. The question we both spoke, out loud, simultaneously was ” Is the best we can do?”

Ahhh, democracy!

Passing one of those do-it-yourself, serve-yourself yogurt shops popping up so much like mushrooms after a rain, it dawned on me that the current offering of candidates is nothing different than pull-the-center lever for a blend of nothing resembling anything. We’ve got three white men and an African-American running for national office. Without a doubt, there is not really any difference in flavor of these guys. Like cola drinks, they all have different slogans, but still pretty much taste the same anyway. Bruce and I are going to stand up and do something about it.

Yes, yes, we know – third party candidacies never work. Until now. We have, thorough, extensive research and countless non-fat lattes, determined what other third party candidates have been lacking: money. That’s it. Stone-cold, hard and dirty, under the table if necessary, filthy lucre – CASH! With enough of that stuff, you can win. Without it, well, can you say Thomas Vanderweist? No, of course not. TV as his friends (both of them) called him was so underfunded as to be considered maybe a fourth or fifth tier candidate for president in 2000. TV’s candidacy wasn’t covered because absolutely no one knew of it. This is exactly the kind of underdog Bruce and I love and naturally gravitate towards. Everyone loves the lovable loser.

Barney, not old TV.

TV was that and more. Looking more Barney Fife than Barney’s Men Store, he was the type to be overlooked in a room of only him. But he had determination. In his eyes, his candidacy was not a flight of frivolity. He was dead serious. And this seriousness, this one-mindedness cost him dearly. In an attempt to crash and participate in the presidential debates in 2000, TV, while still carrying his campaign placard on his bicycle and not looking both ways before crossing the street, was run over by a drunk driver in Joe Lieberman’s motorcade. It was an event mostly over-looked by the media as they thought he was a meaningless pizza delivery guy.

But this is the gist of his life. He was willing to die for his beliefs. Or that’s what his widow said between scotch and sodas.

So in honor of TV, we are launching a new campaign in the spirit of his, sans the bike accident. (We always look both ways.) But like any other well-oiled (that would be Bruce by 2:00 PM each afternoon) campaign machine, we will need cash. Advertising ain’t cheap, even on small cable channels featuring the Sham Wow. Before that though, we will need a candidate for all of us to rally around. Neither Bruce or I are suitable. There are a few incidents in each of our pasts we would rather not revisit. We also don’t not want to go the typical route of a vetting candidates in primaries. What a waste of money. Let’s save that, in honor of old TV, for victory party pizzas.

Please consider this an open invitation to toss your hat into the ring. Your country needs you. Your country wants you. Your spouse probably wants you out of the house. What could be more perfect?

Yes, your country wants you! Insert your face here.

All parties interested please tell us a little about yourselves: hobbies, favorite color, first pet’s name, third grade PE teacher, and favorite ice cream flavor. Really, this is all we need to vet you as the next president. It’s that simple. Don’t delay because the election is just about 10 weeks away and your country does need you. Besides, just like the other two political parties, we don’t have anything to do before the holidays.

Forget wind power! Ditch solar! Thermal and wave – not gonna happen! These are all solutions whose time has come and gone or just won’t ever come. Don’t waste your time and money on these. They’re no different than Enron.

(underconsideration.com)

We, the two Bruces, have figured it out. This is the ultimate answer to the world’s energy problems. No more drilling for fossil fuels – biotic or abiotic. We will not need them any more. We will not need to build a costly infrastructure to make this happen. We will not need the oil companies either unless we need to develop new conjugal lubricants.

What’s truly amazing is that this answer has been there all along. As a matter of fact, it’s been there since the beginning of time or at least the Romans.

There is just so much good news about this, we don’t know where to start. It’s ultimately sustainable, renewable, recyclable, all natural, low-cost, no more reliance on foreign governments (stable or unstable), simply put – it’s perfect!

OK, we know you’re just drooling at the prospect of shooting Exxon the middle finger once and for all and we’re with you. Just think about it – no more chance of another Exxon Valdez. No more BP catastrophes in the Gulf. Over. Done. Gone. Sayonara!

So what is this wonderful idea? Personal Methane Farms or PMF’s! Think about it. With everyone in charge of their own PMF, one will be able to create as much energy as needed. Running short? Eat more fiber. And the more fiber we eat, the better it is for farmers. That’s an additional boon to farmers whose own PMF’s can fuel AND fertilize their product thus creating more raw material for all of these personal PMFs. This circle will never be broken.

Early version of a PMF. (ecokaren.com)

The opportunity for additional benefits is enormous. If you have a large family, good for you – you now qualify for a healthy tax break. Pets? Oh, yeah – another deduction for you. Employer with multiple toilet stalls – can you smell the profits? There will be significant tax credits for those businesses who can prove that all they make is crap, foreign countries excepted.

On the other hand, all elected members of government, the Supreme Court, and lawyers will not be eligible for these tax breaks  or deductions nor will they be permitted to invest in PMFs. We’ve been taking their crap for so long, it’s payback time and man, doesn’t that feel good?

Now you’re thinking that’s great for lighting up my house, but what about my car? This is where some new but inexpensive infrastructure will be necessary. All cars will have to be converted to running on our own flatulence. Each PMF will need to be equipped with a capture tank that stores your gas as you drive! Then as you need it, eat some fiber rich bars and you can refuel your car anytime. If you do run out, highly unlikely, then will be numerous new mom- and pop-owned fiber convenient stores located everywhere in the country. This will also create valuable jobs helping the economy further. Folks, it’s time we took our future in our own hands and started farting around!

We’re not gonna take it! Who’s with us? (theonreel.com)

For a country that was created with such promise and hope, the good old USA has been something of an underachiever of late. The boom years of adding states willy-nilly are over. We seem to have lost our mojo. The last time we added states, really annexed them, was in 1959 when we decided Alaska and Hawaii should start paying taxes too. That’s 53 years ago! Have we run out of white thread to add stars to the flag? Come on now. There is plenty of low-hanging fruit ripe for the picking and adding to the union. If we’re smart, we might get one with oil and solve the whole damn mess we’re in.

So, where do we start? The countries bordering us make the most sense in the short term. Currently we are still stronger than they are and can quickly over-run them and make them the 51st and 52nd states. Immediately our tax rolls increase and the deficit goes down. The immigration problem goes away. Does it really take the Two Bruces to figure this one out? No wonder we’re in the condition we’re in.

OK, so Canada and Mexico are in. What’s the next target? This will take some clear and cogent thought. Who has the best fast food restaurants we’d like to see here?

First off, with the growing Latino population, we must find a way to serve them as well since they will be voters too. That turns out to be an easy solution as well: Cuba and Puerto Rico.

         The 53rd and 54th states.

Puerto Rico is already part of the US but denied rights for too many years. They’ve wanted statehood for quite some time now, but who knows why, and we should grant it to them. Cuba is another no-brainer. First of all, we can finally get some good cigars here. Secondly, their mechanics take a back seat to no one at keeping cars running way past their buy-by-date. And their food is fantastic!

So, now that we’ve picked the tree bare of the easy stuff, who’s next? In the spirit of true expansionism and William Randolph Hearst, we propose making all of South America a state. Hell, it’s already an America! With all the drought going on, having our own rain forest will solve that problem! Think of how cheap coffee will be, that is until General Foods gets their hands on it. If you ask us, and you should have by now, they are taking that “General” name just a little too seriously. Wait. That’s it. That’s pure genius Bruce. Why didn’t I think if that? One small problem: does it become one big honking state or do we break it up into many? Oooh, more political races – what fun!

Going forward, the US government will now take applications and grant statehood to corporations. Of course, they will need to jump through all the hoops immigrants do in order to achieve this. Then, they’ll have to wait five years before getting their permanent work permits. In that time, the government will tax them unmercifully thus eliminating the deficit. This is so in keeping with the Citizens United decision that it gives us goosebumps.

But the benefits don’t stop there. They will have to have free elections, just like the rest of the country does. The voters, paid off as well as anyone, can decide who they want to run the state/corporation’s next administration. Damn the stock price, we want health care! We want child care! We want health clubs! We want better coffee in the employee lounge! ARE YOU LISTENING?

Do this and the USA will have its mojo back in spades. And nobody will screw with us either because they know if they do, we’ll grant them statehood.We’re back, baby! And better than ever!

While we are firmly in favor of free elections (if indeed such a thing exists any longer with the Citizens United vote ruling by the Supremely Incompetent Court), we can’t help believe they really are nothing but beauty contests. There is no swimsuit competition, thankfully, though the humiliation candidates will put themselves through defies description much less an understanding.

The Supremely Incompetent Court.

We, and this means you too, have our choice of “electable” boobs – no, not the kind teenagers and middle-aged men gawk at in the real beauty contests (we like them too), we’re talking about the vaporous kind enhanced by DuPont. Each one of these over-promising and incredibly under-delivering dolts has only thing in common with the rest of their brethren dolts – and that is a towering ego. Is it a compensation problem? Possibly. But the problem is, is that each one of these buffoons has a cast of well-heeled minions willing to lay down their dollars, if not their lives, on the lines to forward asinine agendas. Hey, that sounds like a punk rock group – “Ladies and Gentlemen, please give it up for the Asinine Agendas singing their newest hit song…” – blah, blah, blah.

Have you ever met a candidate running for office in full heat? It’s not’s a pretty thing. Also, if you shake their hand, quickly get an antibiotic injection,  and please, at the very least get some hand sanitizer and use the whole bottle. You don’t want to spread this crap around. These guys have been known to be harmful to pregnant and nursing mothers.

Know that if you vote, and we encourage voting as it perpetuates the concept of a free society, your vote will be counted. By whom?  Hell if we know. When? That’s another good question. These can easily be answered by determining how much you paid to your alderman. Remember, they want to be loved and they also want your vote. One though does not instantly confer the other.

All-purpose voting booth and urinal.

So all of these doofuses, (doofi?) want your vote. They’ll smile at you prettily and answer all your questions before the election. Try and reach them after a major snowfall closes your street. You’ll have a better chance finding them hiking the Appalachian trail.

Unlike the spam filter on our computers, some mail seems to keep getting through. Specifically those relentless mailings from AARP. There is no way the Post Office can be going broke based on just the number of these mailings. Consider what Lillian Vernon sends out! So, OK, we get it. We’re going to get old and die. Yeah, thanks for the constant reminders. But we ain’t there yet.

We are both still at that stage of life where we can, we think, be productive if not contentious contributors to society. Yes, we know this is how Rome’s downfall started but don’t lay that at our doorstep, we didn’t touch it! As long as these things don’t require heavy lifting or moving, we can do a fairly good imitation of 30-somethings. Well, maybe 40-somethings. And we do support “adults” (in the chronological sense) being involved in society, jury duty being excluded. Hey, you gotta draw the line somewhere.

While on lunch one day, still being productive (!), we noticed a Homeland Security person. Now after 9/11 and being “adults”, we are far more in touch with our mortality and security and what remains of it. It must be protected! Our concept of a Homeland Security agent is some over-muscled, steroid-induced rage-aholic just waiting to detain, question enthusiastically, and ultimately dispatch the “enemy.” That concept was totally and irretrievably smashed today.

Now this is what we’re talking about! (Courtesy MotiFakes)

This Homeland Security agent was an example of what we fear becoming: a post-Viagra/Cialis using, Depends-buying, golf shirt wearing, Clapper-user, shuffling old man. How do we know he was old? Aww, c.mon! How do we know he worked for the Homeland Security Agency?  Why his golf shirt had the Homeland Security logo on it! In the city, one can understand seeing pretty much anything on the streets and on clothing: music group logos, animals, fast-food slogans, snotty comments on one’s marital status, etc. But Homeland Security? Really? Is there a Homeland Security Tourist Shop where one can buy Homeland Security souvenirs? Are there signed photographs of John Ashcroft and George Bush? How about posters proclaiming any numbers of slogans supporting the effort as in World War II? “Loose tweets sink…” Needs work.

This man, this Homeland Security agent, while probably quite nice to his wife and grandchildren, was more likely wondering whether he could get to a Denny’s-like restaurant, where you point to the pictures of the food of your choice, in time for the early-bird special. And then to bed.

Yes, since 9/11, our fear level has not gone down. We’re more worried. Not that we’ll be attacked again, but that we’ll miss the early bird special.