Life Needs A Laughtrack

A long time ago I was in therapy.  My shrink bore an uncanny resemblance to Frank Sinatra, the singer. (Disco is dead, Frank!)  I asked him his advice about whether or not I should stick it out with my girlfriend.  I still cared deeply about her, and I knew she loved me, but our sex life was on the fritz, proving that history does indeed repeat itself.

He looked at me over his clipboard of notes and said–no, sang:

“It’s up to you, you dork, you dork!” 

_

Have you ever seen that movie Alive!, about the Peruvian soccer team whose plane crashed in the Andes and they had to resort to eating their dead comrades?  According to one of the survivors, during one day of their desperate struggle to hang on, they were approached by a leprechaun.  He danced a merry jig and led them to a burst compartment near the rear of the plane’s fuselage, pointing out a bunch of severed arms among the scattered suitcases and duffel bags.

“What the hell do you expect us to do with those?”  one of the starving men asked.

“Why don’t you eat ’em, you silly bugger?”

They set about doing so, at first recoiling from the frozen meat before them.  But after awhile they found the morsels of human flesh downright savory.

“What can we do to repay you, sir?”

“Nothing a’tall!”  The leprechaun then sang a familiar tune from an old childhood TV commercial:

“Frosted luggage arms–they’re tragically nutritious!”

_

Jesus came to me in a dream.

I said, “Jesus?  Is that you?  You look just like Robert DeNiro.””

“Of course it’s me.  And if you don’t pay your monthly tithe when you get up, I’ll break your fucking legs.  Understand?”

_

When I was in college, I had a roommate who avoided cursing out of politeness.  It would have been endearing if he’d been five years old, but I decided to make the most of the situation.

“Gosh, man,” he said, “I had an exam this afternoon and had to miss lunch!”

“How dare you use the Lord’s nickname in vain!”

_

You can’t believe everything you read in the papers, can you?  For example, this morning I read the first line of a news story that read:  “Yesterday in the United States a black man was not shot by the police.”

_

U.S. Ambassador to Korea Mark Lippert, recovering from his knife wounds at Seoul’s Severance Hospital (actual name–no pun intended), was visited by a Korean man who wanted to aid in his healing with a gift of dog meat.  Lippert, a dog-lover who intrepidly walks his beagle up and down the anarchic streets of Seoul, was magnanimous enough to accept the offer and reciprocated with a roll of Psy toilet paper, along with a Kim Yuna voodoo doll.

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Is There A Doctor In The Madhouse?

Feisty firebrand and defender of the defenseless Chris Hedges wrote in his column on Truthdig.com last week that ISIS now controls an area the size of Texas.  I’ve read that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, one of the Eight Wonders of the World, is also as big as Texas.  So why don’t we just give ISIS sovereignty over the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?  Maybe they’ll take all the plastic and use it to erect a gigantic statue of Osama bin Laden.  Then non-Islamic terrorists could hijack jets and fly them into the monument, suicide-wise, melting the plastic and returning it to its original aquatic home.

Solving all the problems in the world, one crisis at a time.

My condolences to the loved ones of those two cops shot in Brooklyn the other day.  While I can understand to some extent (even though I’m a white guy who’s never been choked or shot to death by a white cop–hey, my life’s not over yet, and a man can always dream) the rage a lot of Americans feel towards the police these days, murdering them is not a solution.  Besides, the shooter murdered a Latino and a Chinese guy, not a Klansman in blue.  Duh, Shmuckarino.

According to one story I read yesterday on Alternet.org, the New York police department has decided to get tough in response, proving that nobody ever learns anything from whatever happens these days (myself included:  my wife and I still waste precious energy arguing about trifles even though we’ve been together for either ten years or four thousand centuries–I forget which).

Why don’t we get the NYPD, who’s now “declaring war” on peaceful protesters, to don military garb, fly to Iraq and Syria, and face off against ISIS?  Let the worst man lose.

I also read an article on Alternet with the provocative title “Put the Bastards on Trial,” referring to the mindless masterminds behind the Bush-Cheney torture program.  I’ve read a lot about the torture scandal over the years, including Jane Mayer’s excellent expose, The Dark Side.  Since I’ve gotten into the bad habit of bookmarking articles to read later, then failing to get around to them before my wife deletes the record, I’ve yet to peruse the one about how America has always tortured people.  And I still haven’t read the book I bought years ago by William Blum on the CIA entitled Killing Hope (although I did read his Rogue State, and it’s a doozy).

Call me Mr. Mutilated Attention Span.

One thing I was appalled by in the torture piece I read yesterday was that the interrogated suspects who were kept awake for 180 hours at a stretch, subjected to blaring heavy metal music, force-fed liquefied hummus up their assholes or through their nostrils, greeted by snarling German shepherds, made to shit in a bucket or stay in a brightly-lit room for days on end, thrown in a bath of freezing water, and much, much more at the glorious Guantanamo theme park, were often forced to give answers to questions the interrogators’ bosses knew were lies.

For example, “Is there a link between bin Laden and Saddam?”  “Does Saddam have weapons of mass destruction?”

This was all part of the propaganda campaign to sell the ever-so-constructive Iraq War to the American public, a majority of whom apparently now considers torture a legitimate practice in certain circumstances.  (Even Hitler’s rolling over in his grave.  Awful as they were to their Jewish captives, at least the Nazis never tortured their prisoners of war.)

To me, that’s the height of absolutely cynical evil, which means it must have sprung from the tightly coiled serpentine brain of Sir Dicholas Cheney.  (Did you catch Jon Stewart’s recent Cheney slam?  Priceless.)  Thanks, Dick!  I know we can always count on you to lower the bar in the limbo dance of depravity.

On the entertainment front, sad to see Stephen Colbert’s idiot-savant alter ego go, but I guess he couldn’t turn down the money he’ll be getting for replacing David Letterman, whom I’ll also miss (even though I don’t even know either of these guys personally).  Who’ll go head to head with the dislikable likes of Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbergher, or Sean Hannity now?  I guess Jon Stewart, John Oliver, and Bill Maher are on their own.

Did you see the closing number on The Colbert Report, with the all-star gathering singing “We’ll Meet Again”?  It was funny to see Randy Newman, George Lucas, Tom Friedman, Matt Taibbi (He’s an outspoken critic of Friedman’s prose and impenetrably obtuse “thought” processes), James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Vince Gilligan, and. . .

Henry Kissinger?. . .

all sharing the same stage.

Just one question.  Where were all the women?

They certainly weren’t with me.

Nothing new there.

If you see them, tell them I said hi.

Thanks.

Still Human After All These Years

You may have noticed that our species is the most neato bunch of creatures of all time.  In case you doubt this is true, consider scientists’ recent discovery that in the past forty years, good ol’ homo ignoramus–er, sapiens–has wiped out fifty-two percent of all invertebrates on earth.  Asteroids destroyed the dinosaurs.  This time, we’re the asteroid.

The funny thing about this story is that it’s already passed by like a blip on the radar screen.  We’re all too busy driving in our sleep to notice that we’ve got the rapacious tenacity of Captain Ahab when it comes to our PacMan-like relationship to the food chain.

“Oh, so in the course of making ourselves more comfortable and making the world safe for the mass-consumption of processed food and plastic shoes, we’ve managed to extinguish over half of all the backboned critters on earth in just forty years.  No biggie–carry on.”

It’s astonishing, our capacity to continue on our happily destructive course despite the interdependence and interconnectedness of all living creatures.  Granted, most of us aren’t deliberately going out of our way to slaughter the rest of our fellow mortal animals, but the way a lot of us live is so obnoxiously disconnected from nature and indifferent to our impact upon it–whether individual or collective–that we might as well be.

The problem is that if you start yelling and screaming in public about how stupid and suicidal it is for us to be vigorously sawing away at the branch we’re all sitting on as the tree it belongs to teeters over the edge of a cliff high above a valley of miscellaneous scattered bones, people will think you’re nuts.  In some places, you might even get locked up, shot, or at least teased by a bully who robs you of your lunch money.

So what do you do?  Carry on blindly going about your business day by day with the rest of the lemmings, wondering how much more time we’ve got before the hurricane of shit hits the mushroom cloud-sized fan.

What makes life even more absurd these days is that those of us who are shielded–at least for the time being–from the horrible consequences of our blithely oblivious actions–have the luxury of being able to follow it all in real time on our hand-held gadgets or while parked on our butts in front of our computers at home.  The great thing about being a mouse potato or a sofa spud is you can kick back, relax, and enjoy the downfall of nature along with civilization, or an amazing facsimile thereof provided by your creative friends in the Pentagon-approved branch of Hollywood.

Last night I went out and ate way too much dead cow with a few friends, one of whom defended our decision to eat meat, saying that’s what we have incisors for.  But, he pointed out, whereas most animals are slaughtered in a humane fashion (not that I’m sure that that’s always true), he’s opposed to eating dog meat not in principle–he said he tried it before and it was good, as God and Hemingway would say–but because the people who prepare this particular delicacy do it by beating the dog to death.  The reason for this barbaric approach to canine-based cuisine is that the agony the dogs suffer apparently raises their adrenaline levels and makes the meat taste better.

Ah, but of course.

And tiger-penis tea can give you a hard-on.  (Correction:  Drink tiger-penis tea and you are a hard-on.)

I got weepy when I watched the video on the New York Times website a few weeks ago about the Congolese park ranger who works to protect endangered mountain gorillas (there are only 800 left in the wild).  These majestic yet gentle creatures, orphaned by poachers and the crossfire of the ongoing civil war, soon will have no place left to go.  The narrator of the film said something like 150 park rangers have been killed in the course of trying to protect the gorillas.  The hero of the story talks about how his father taught him to love animals, and says how his dad would be happy to know of his son’s work if he were alive today.  (He, too, was killed in the crossfire of the wonderful war.)

A more recent story from the same website describes how vultures are able to eat decaying corpses and fecal matter without getting sick (hey, I’ve never been to a Taylor Swift concert, but I’ve heard that’s carrion worth consuming), which suggests that their immune systems must be out of this world.

Of course, poachers are helping matters by making sure to poison the vultures, since the scavengers’ presence alerts park rangers to the poachers’ shenanigans and interferes with these fine men’s altruistic attempts to eradicate all the rhinos and elephants before it’s too late.

Thanks, fellas!  You’re awful swell.  (Then again, I’m sure a lot of them resort to poaching out of desperation.  I confess that I myself have poached an egg before.  God, if you’re up there, please forgive me.  If not, I forgive you for not existing.)

Anyway, I’ve probably already depressed you enough.  I hope I didn’t interfere with your digestion.  I’ve still got a bit of a stomachache from last night, unless it’s just my guilty conscience trying to change my course of action.

Give That Planet a Valium

Finding inspiration in a worn-out world when you suspect you have a mediocre mind isn’t always easy.  That may be why I devote so much time to griping and navel-gazing, instead of paying greater attention to all the subtle miracles and accidental sight gags going on all around me.  (Did I tell you about the sign I saw on the revolving door of a bank that read “Please enter only one person at a time?”  Or the one on the subway that read:  “Seat reserved for the weak old sick pregnant woman.”  “Oh, there she is!”  This is one of the perks of living in such a weird country.)

So many crazy things are happening in the news these days that it’s all I can do to ignore them all.  William Pfaff writes on truthdig.com that US Secretary of State (and along with George W. Bush secretive Yale Skull and Bones Society member) John Kerry told Russia’s foreign secretary (notice how I can’t recall his name?  Ethnocentrism has its charms) that Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea could lead to nuclear war.  Thanks, John.  That’s all we need is a bunch of mushroom clouds sprouting all over the place.  That’ll calm everyone down and solve the problem of global warming in the process by turning it into global burning.

A few weeks ago I read that President Obama’s accusation of Syrian President Assad for using chemical weapons against his own people turned out to be false, and the culprit was someone else (presumably Al Qaeda-esque rebels).  I always find it funny that the leader of the only country ever to use nuclear weapons in order to annihilate two Japanese cities (although, to his credit, Obama did acknowledge that at one point in his coruscating career) is always touchy about other leaders’ putative plans to develop such omnicidal goodies, regardless of whether that leader is a Republican (George W. Hussein) or a Democrat (Bill Milosevic–granted, that invasion was about something else, a little euphemism known as “ethnic cleansing”–at least that’s the official story).

Yesterday one of my students told me there’s a rumor (trumor?  tumor?) circulating that the captain and crew members of the Korean ferry Sewol who abandoned ship, leaving three hundred passengers to drown, did it because they believe they’ve already been saved by God and, since the passengers were not, the ship’s staff had no obligation to save them.  Seems mighty presumptuous of them, don’t you think?  I mean, how did they know that none of the passengers belonged to their sect?  Did they go around and ask each one what his or her religion was before the boat tipped over?  I doubt it.

If there is a god, I suspect he’ll whoop their asses but good.

Bernie Glassman, Zen Buddhist teacher and writer and literary sidekick of Jeff Bridges in The Dude and the Zen Master, speaks of the Buddhist concept of the bodhisattva, a monk or nun who postpones enlightenment until everyone else on earth is enlightened first.  Awfully decent of them, don’t you think?

The Sewol captain and crew are the opposite of bodhisattvas, akin to the Wall Street hoodlums who cleaned up big time after forcing innumerable Americans to live in tents instead of their foreclosed homes, or company presidents who give themselves fat bonuses after laying off thousands of their employees to rescue their firms from bankruptcy, instead of doing the noble thing and slitting their guts open with a samurai sword in shame the way they used to do in Japan, Yukio Mishima-style.

Speaking of Japan, that country’s kooky prime minister Abe Shinzo, back for an encore performance, appears eager to militarize their constitution, bowdlerize their history books, and shun responsibility for war crimes against China and Korea in order to burnish the nation’s self-image.  The good news is a lot of Japanese citizens aren’t buying it.  The bad news is that the skirmish between Japan and China over a disputed group of islands could erupt into something more unpleasant.

Keep your fingers crossed.

You can’t say it’s not a nutty world.  (It would be nicer if it were naughtier.)

 

 

 

Giving Up the Ghost

“Angels and ministers of grace defend us!

Be thou a spirit of health or a goblin damned,

Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,

Be thy intents wicked or charitable,

Thou com’st in such a questionable shape

That I will speak to thee. . .

Let me not burst in ignorance, but tell 

Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death,

Have burst their cerements, why the sepulchre

Wherein we saw thee quietly interred 

Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws

To cast thee up again.”

That’s how I greeted my wife when we met outside the department store after not having seen each other for a week and before taking the elevator up to the roof to have dinner at the food court there (though not outside, as it was a tad too chilly for that).

Actually, it was a speech I was reading in a copy of Hamlet when she broke my reverie to interrupt the Muse with her less than amusing presence.  She accuses me of worshiping Shakespeare, which may be true, but at least I’m not a Christian fascist like her.  She also says I shouldn’t worship the Beatles (devil music, you understand), equally bad advice as far as I’m concerned.  Then again, it might be time for Paul McCartney to hang up his singing shoes, as his voice has become a little too hoarse to entertain the crowds he doubtfully commands.  He’s also having trouble remembering all of the lyrics of songs he wrote nearly fifty years ago:

“Hey, Jude, don’t break it bad. . .”

He and Mick Jagger appear to be competing for the title, The Frank Sinatra of Rock.  (If you ever want to see something almost preternaturally cringeworthy, feast your ears on Sinatra’s version of the George Harrison classic “Something” on You Tube:  “You ask me if my love will grow, when I don’t know, no I don’t know.  You stick around, Jack, it may show.  But I don’t know, etc.”  At that point in his career, the mob must have been using him to torture anyone who refused to cough up the dough they sought.  I’d have gotten another job washing dishes right away just to avoid any more of that particular musical punishment.)

Jina and my last reunion hadn’t gone so well either–not at first, anyway.  When I told her about the teaching job I’d picked up, which starts next week, she had a hissy fit as soon as I said I’d have to commute every day instead of staying overnight at the workplace all week, which is what I’ve been doing all month so far at a different gig that’s just expired (absence does make the heart grow fonder, as long as you can continue remaining absent).  The reason she so suddenly went into a brown study, as Melville would say, was not that she wouldn’t want to greet me every night after work, but because now I’d have to pay for transportation every day, and would therefore be making less money.  More accurately, she’d be making less money, due to her parasitic relationship to my bank account.

When I got home from the gig yesterday, I took off my suit and took a shower, then unpacked my suitcase.  Jina called me and asked if I wanted to go and meet her for dinner.  I was drained and would have preferred to vedge out at home, but she insisted and I relented.  So I got more completely dressed and shlepped down to the bus stop.  Both of our phone batteries were running down, but she kept calling me anyway to check up on my progress.  The plan was to meet up on the roof, then on the first floor, then I’m not sure where.  She always goes out of her way to keep me guessing.  It’s part of her responsibility as a certifiably insane person.

In fact, by the time I reached what I thought was my destination in front of the department store, she wasn’t even there.  She said she was down in the food market in the basement.  “Shall I come and meet you there?” I asked.  No, she said.  Wait for me there.  So I broke out the Shakespeare and started to worship the dead bard, trying not to be too obvious about it so as not to freak out the ever-flowing river of pedestrians.

The first thing Jina does when she sees me is not hug or kiss me hello, smile, or even say hi.  No, she criticizes what I’m wearing–baggy pants and–as she notices later–a frayed shirt.  Not to sound too politically incorrect, but I’m married to a Jewish mother–but that couldn’t be, since she’s an over-the-top Jesus freak.

When you’re in love your heart beats faster because it’s so excited to be getting laid by the right person again.  (The idea of a heart literally getting laid is a little disgusting though; it conjures visions of necrophiliacs who failed medical school working the night shift at the morgue–I’ll let you fill in the details yourself.)  But when you’re in hate, your heart also beats faster, mainly because it’s trying to get the hell out of there.

And yet, of course it can’t, trapped as it is in its humble cage.  Or so it thinks, at any rate.  (As Hamlet would say, “Conscience does make cowards of us all,” not that he was thinking of “conscience” in the way we’d understand it today; in the current context, conscience–or fear of hurting the woman who’s been hurting me for the past thirteen lucky years–is part of what makes me a coward–although were I more highly evolved I’d realize that my conscience needs to be stronger in order for me to do the right thing and get the hell out before the Grim Reaper comes along spinning his scythe overhead like a cheerleader dressed up for Halloween.)

Upstairs, I flip-flopped over whether to order a pasta-and cheese tortilla fusion dish, or else a spaghetti platter slathered with cheap cheese, gazing lovingly at the plastic simulacra of these mass-produced creations.  I finally opted for the former, since it came with a small salad.  Jina, meanwhile, ordered seafood risotto, which she promptly returned shortly after I delivered her tray to her as she waited at the table, replacing it with seafood spaghetti.  She told me the cooks had bowed to her in shame when she brought back the rejected risotto, but she smiled and told them it was okay.  Of course, she immediately contradicted herself right afterwards by telling me that they were right to be ashamed, as they hadn’t regaled her dish with enough broccoli florets.

“I’m so sleepy,” she said, her eyes starting to close, as I took the opportunity to admire another woman passing by, although she paid me about as much heed as an anorexic supermodel marching down the runway of a fashion showroom would have.  I also waxed paranoid about the surveillance camera overhead, wondering if it was recording my lascivious facial expression, dissecting the evidence of some run-of-the-mill fantasy from the dime-a-dozen batch that comes with your garden-variety male libido.  (Pardon the mixed metaphor and cavalcade of cliches.)

After dinner we went to a cafe and she ordered coffee to aid her insomnia, complaining that it was too strong (she likes what she describes as “brown water,” weak enough to serve a newborn baby).  I had mint tea, since I wanted to obey my circadian rhythm and actually sleep through the night instead of sitting at the computer till the wee hours looking at pictures of shoes.

Outside as we waited for the bus, she said that now that the U. S. government shutdown had finally come to an end, Obama could enact his dastardly plan and instigate health care for all, which entailed subcutaneous computer chips for all of us American sheep.  Then she instantly contradicted herself by saying that this would only happen the next time Congressional gridlock ensued.  Talk about a deep thinker.  I pretended to listen patiently while contemplating stepping in front of the approaching bus and getting it over with once and for all.

Finally, when we got home, she broke out the new suit she’d bought me and asked me to try it on.  I said the pants were a little tight around the ass (it brought back a childhood trauma from the time my older brother gave me a wedgie), and she told me I should wear tighty-whiteys instead of boxer shorts.  I said I can’t wear briefs because of my sciatica, which is a literal pain in the ass.  When I tried on the jacket, she said it looked too small, but asked me if I wanted to keep it anyway, saying I could lose weight.  I shrugged, removed the garments, and trudged off to take another shower.

After that short-lived parenthetical period of privacy, as I was drying my flabby carcass off (oh, I forgot to mention, when she saw my newly-beer-enriched belly before I entered the private bathing chamber, Jina said in her most vehement accusatory tone, “Do you want to be Homer?”), her phone rang.

I assumed it must have been her father calling, as a moment later she said to me, “Why didn’t you visit my grandmother when we were in America?  She’s probably going to die soon.”

I apologized for not visiting her, as she’s a very nice old lady, saying I didn’t have time.

“You wanted me to spend time with your relatives.  You could have made time to see her.”

Between you and me, I never said anything about wanting her to spend time with my family; I was hoping she’d decide not to come and bug me while I was there!  As soon as she arrived, it stopped being a vacation.

Jina’s grandmother, as I said, is a sweet, kindly old woman, but she’s also batshit crazy.  She’s the one who started the whole Jesus-is-everything bullshit, and the rest of the family went ahead and drank from the same rusty vat of Kool-Aid.  They believe her account of having licked breast cancer through the power of prayer, literally vomiting up the tumor in a black mass (no pun intended).  Then again, my family believes that my great- grandfather domesticated the Loch Ness monster and rode her around Scotland, wowing tourists at circuses and carnivals, but that’s another story for a different time.

Besides, if Jina and her church-chugging ilk are right, Grandma gets to go to heaven, and I have to go to hell.

No one ever said life (or death) isn’t redundant. 

Twisted Times We Live In

Could you please let me know if there’s any justice left in the world?  Do you know what a brain worm is?  That’s when you get a catchy tune stuck in your head that takes forever to go away.  I hope this isn’t contagious, but right now my brain is being assailed by that monstrosity sung by Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore several years ago in a romantic comedy I was privileged not to see.  But they still got me with the fucking song, harpooning my amygdala.  Bastards.

The reason this particular noisome ditty has colonized the colon of my noggin (ever notice how similar the human brain looks to your intestinal tract?  Fractal geometry–in the privacy of your own bod!) is that the other day I heard a Muzak version of said atrocity (for those of you who are exceptionally masochistic, I’m sorry I can’t intensify your suffering with the name of the song; it’s something like “All I Want to Do Is Make an Ass of Myself by Proving I’m a Shameless Dilettante Who’d Better Stick to Acting Instead of Singing”) in a bookstore of all places.  I silently wondered whether the proprietors of the bookstore were bent on some kind of self-destructive mission to drive their customers away.

Or maybe I’m the only one who couldn’t dig how awesome the jingle was.

Speaking of injustice, I was sorry to read that Bradley Manning–whose new name is Chelsea (Womanning?)–is being sent up the river for thirty-five years, after already serving three.  

“Hey, at least he doesn’t have to go to prison for 125 years!”

By the time they let him out, he’ll already be a middle-aged woman.  I can’t pretend to understand his decision to want to change his sex, although as a metaphor it makes sense.  If you had to boil things down to the main cause of the world’s problems, you could do worse than point the finger at a number of testosterone-addled men and the sinister systems that enslave them.  (For fear of being unduly persecuted, I won’t mention any names–yet.)  Manning, like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald (whose boyfriend has supposedly been imprisoned in England, apparently as an indirect way of punishing Greenwald for breaking the Snowden story to the Guardian), is being made an example of for trying to enlighten Americans about the hidden atrocities our military has been committing abroad.  He’s another prisoner of conscience, just like Daniel Ellsberg, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, or Hank Thoreau.

Amnesty International has their work cut out for them.

Do you ever read the Huffington Post?  Although it’s not my favorite website, I do enjoy scanning it sometimes, apart from (or is it because of?) all the schlocky nonsense its peppered with.  For example, was it breaking news to show their readers/viewers pictures of Mel Gibson in a wife-beater with his new hard-earned biceps?  It turns out he’s going for the early Arnold Schwarzenegger look.

As I was saying, eruptions of testosterone (or should that be ejaculations?) are all the rage these days.  And for the men’s men who make the big decisions in corporate boardrooms and in soundproof military chambers, nothing could be less manly than caring about what happens to the poor, the downtrodden, the animals.  That’s women’s stuff.  Let the little girls cry over the squirrel squashed by the Hummer on its way to run over a couple of fags holding hands in the road.  

Speaking of homophobia, which seems to be a big hit in Russia these days, did you ever see the video that Vladimir Putin released of himself, buff and shirtless on a horse, a few years ago?  (He boasts the kind of pectoral muscles that could easily degenerate into man boobs if he’s not careful; then what will people say?  “Oh, my God!  He’s turning into a woman!  We can’t have that.  Execute him!”)  

It’s funny, because for someone who hates gays as much as he claims to, he’s awfully enamored of his own body.  When Narcissus saw his reflection in the pool in the forest, did he want to get it on with himself?  And if so, wouldn’t that have made him a shirt-lifter?  Besides, is it safe for Putin to post such arousing images of himself on-line in a world teeming with gay perverts who may publicly molest him in a naked, hooting mob?

When I told my wife Jina that homosexuals are being murdered these days in Russia (although that might be a slight exaggeration), she said, “Good.”  According to her, God and Jesus, his bearded wonder of a son, hate gays as much as Putin does.  I thought you were supposed to “hate the sin, but love the sinner.”  (Not that I’m agreeing that gay sex is a sin; I wouldn’t know, and I don’t care, as it has nothing to do with me.  In other words, to quote Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind:  “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”  In fact, I’m grateful to gays for at least two things:  1) they reduce the competition for available women, which may become relevant to my own life again before long; and 2) their sexual practices do nothing to increase the birth-rate in this already heavily human-infested planet.  Not that I don’t love people, but once you’ve lived in a megacity for several years, your cynicism has a lot more fodder than it otherwise would.  Too much of a good thing turns out to be a bad thing, unless you’re the only guy matriculating at an all-women’s college.)

As Bill Maher says, all of the frou-frou silliness that happens in your average church is pretty fucking gay anyway when you think about it, as is a religion (Protestantism) that has no major female protagonists in the godhead.  I prefer the ancient Greek pantheon, which at least was co-ed.  And their gods were just as fucked-up, incompetent, and degenerate as we humans.

God love ’em!

P. S.  If my wife thinks gays are going to hell, what about the people ordering Reaper and Predator drone attacks that incinerate dozens of innocent people all over the Middle East?

Drone warfare–coming to a theater near you.

Let’s hope most of us can make it through all of these deadly orgasms of machismo with our skeletons and innards intact, if not the dregs of our souls.

Jokes Only a Mother Could Love

Q) What did Mohammed Atta announce to the passengers as he prepared to fly into the World Trade Center?

A)  “You may be feeling a little turbulence for a moment.”

B)  “We’ll be using the drive-thru at Windows on the World for breakfast.”

C)  “Does anyone know how to get to JFK from here?”

D)  “That Statue of Liberty broad sure gives lousy directions.”

E)  “I’m sorry you’re all going to miss the War on Terror.”

F)  “I hope Mayor Giuliani has equipped the Manhattan fire department with decent radios.”

G)  “I can almost see myself reflected in the window of the building ahead!  I appear to be screaming!”

H)  “Please make sure that your seat belts are securely fastened and your belongings in the overhead compartments are safely stowed.”

Q)  Why did Mr. Spock’s girlfriend finally decide to dump him?

A)  He had too much unemotional baggage.

Q)  What thought did the dog try to express through his eyes when his human companion kept heckling him to fetch the stick?

A)  “I’m sorry, but it’s not my response ability.”

Q)  What did Hitler say to Goebbels as they sat having their nails done by Goering?

A)  “That Eva can be such a fascist sometimes.”

Q)  What did Mark the Shark say on the night the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank?

A)  “Woo-hoo!  Thank Poseidon the famine is finally over!”

Q)  What did Jane say when Tarzan introduced himself to her (“Me Tarzan, you Jane!”)?

A)  “No–‘I’m Tarzan, you’re Jane.’  Try not to sound like such a troglodyte, okay?  And here’s a book on etiquette you might want to read while you’re at it.”

Q)  What did Hank Aaron’s father say when his son cried out, “Hey, Dad!  I caught a fish”?

A)  “Nice work, son.  Now try catching a baseball for a change.”

Q)  What did former Nike CEO Phil Knight say when Tiger Woods expressed reservations about promoting a shoe manufacturer that made unabashed use of Asian sweatshop labor?

A)  “Just do it.”

Q)  What did Buddha do when an apple from the tree he was sitting under fell on his head?

A)  He looked up and said, “My name’s Siddhartha Gautama, not Isaac Newton.”

Q)  What did Benjamin Netanyahu suggest when Stephen Hawking announced his plan to boycott Israel?

A)  “Put him in the electric chair.”

Q)  What did Charles Manson say in his defense when prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi asked him why he’d brainwashed a bunch of acid-addled hippies and incited them to commit murder?

A)  “I wanted to get back at the establishment, man!”

Q)  What did John Major say when Joe Strummer of the Clash asked him for his autograph?

A)  “Certainly.  By the way, what’s my name?”

Q)  What did former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling say when he received word he’d be getting out of prison ten years early?

A)  “It’s only right.  The economy needs my help.”

Q)  What did Winston Churchill say to Margaret Thatcher when she asked him a question in heaven?

A)  “I’m sorry I can’t oblige you, madame, but this is my last cigar.”

Q)  What did Moby-Dick say when Jesus stepped on his back while walking on the water?

A)  “Don’t tread on me, bro!”

Q)  What did O. J. Simpson and Monica Lewinsky say to each other when they met by chance at L.A.X.?

A)  “I am so sick of hearing about you!”

Q)  What did Clint Eastwood say when he met Barack Obama on a golf course in Bethesda?

A)  “Well, if it isn’t the invisible man!”

Q)  What did George W. Bush say to his buddy Barack Obama when they visited Arlington National Cemetery together to pay their respects to the American war dead?

A)  “This is the greatest miniature golf course in the world, ain’t it, Rocky?”

Q) What did Bush ask while having dinner with the Obama family at the White House?

A)  “Y’all got ranch dressing?”

Q) What did Obama reply to Dr. Martin Luther King’s ghost when asked why he’d been the first president in the history of the United States to cut Social Security?

A)  “Get a job, preacher!”