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This, That, and the Other. . .
(Jan. 26, 2005)

: News item: "President" Bush now has his own private army of 13,000 commandos known as "Power Geyser," for use at his whim in fighting domestic terrorism.
        THAT: And people complained about Nixon's White House military honor guard dressing like something out of Buckingham Palace. . .
        THE OTHER: Feel safer?
        THIS: The "Power Geyser" commandos are the same type of Special Operations forces hunting "top insurgents" in Iraq, and Osama bin Laden in his comfy underground palace somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan or Pakistan.
        THAT: Er, um. . .what are they doing here?
        THE OTHER: Power Geyser? Wasn't that a movie starring Long Johnny Wadd?
        THIS: Dr. James Dobson, a "Christian right" leader (think: burn witches) who has the ear of "President" Bush, claims that cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants is secretly promoting a gay agenda.
        THAT: Dobson is worried that the cartoon is promoting "tolerance" of gays among young people.
        THE OTHER: God save us all from tolerance.
        THIS: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines a "dobson" as a "hell- grammite."
        THAT: Knew there was a connection between Dobson and hell.
        THIS: A "hellgrammite" is the large brownish aquatic larvae of the dobsonfly, often used as fishing bait. Also called "snake doctor."
        THE OTHER: Dr. Dobson. Snake. Knew there was a connection there, too.
        THIS: "The Aviator" gets 11 Academy Award nominations.
        THAT: Leonardo DiCaprio suggests Howard Hughes every bit as much as this column suggests Mike Royko.
        THE OTHER: But I have to admit that he did a good job for a little kid.
        THIS: Before Dobson, Jerry "Mashed Potato Cheeks" Falwell of the "Christian right" (think: burn books) bravely took on those fearsome Teletubbies, alleging that Tinky-Winky's purple color and purse were a secret plot to turn children into transvestites.
        THAT: Dunderheads. Bugs Bunny was cross-dressing back in the 1940's. Obviously the root-cause of all gender confusion.
        THE OTHER: They also missed "Mr. McFeely" on "Mister Rogers."
        THIS: The hideous Metrolink crash that killed ten and injured hundreds was apparently caused by a jackass who parked his SUV on the tracks.
        THAT: Jackass had allegedly intended to commit suicide, then changed his mind at the last minute and jumped free of his SUV.
        THE OTHER: Bad decision!
        THIS: Bush in his coronation speech: “Freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul.”
        THAT: The Bible, Psalm 107: “He satisfieth the longing soul and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness.”
        THE OTHER: It's one thing to quote the Bible; it's quite another to insert coded references to it in order to please religious fanatics.
        THIS: Bush in his coronation speech: “This untamed fire will burn those who fight its progress.”
        THAT: The Bible, Jeremiah: “I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem.” Or, “I will kindle a fire in her towns that will consume all who are around her.”
        THE OTHER: Extreme fire hazard.
        THIS: News item: the Supreme Court okays use of police dogs to sniff any car, and presumably its occupants, any time, for drugs.
        THAT: Seeing as traces of narcotics can reportedly be found on most printed money, better start expanding the prisons.
        THIS: Bill Gates donates $750 million for vaccination campaigns in developing countries, aimed at fighting whooping cough, measles, polio, yellow fever, rotavirus, and meningitis.
        THAT: The old Microsofty.
        THIS: Bush asks Congress for an additional $80 billion to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while Osama Bin-laden remains free.
        THAT: But at least some of the innocent men, women, children killed in these wars might be healthier, thanks to Gates.    
        THIS: Many TeeVee newsmannequins referred to Jay Leno as the late Johnny Carson's "chosen successor" at the "Tonight Show."
        THAT: Leno wasn't the late night host getting jokes fed to him by Carson.
        THE OTHER: That would have been Carson's chosen successor, David Letterman.
        THIS: Condoleezza Rice becomes the first African-American female to serve as Secretary of State.
        THAT: Key word: secretary.
        THIS: New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson objected to federal government plans to drill for oil and gas in the beautiful rare desert grassland of Otero Mesa.
        THAT: The Interior Department is going to drill, anyhow.
        THE OTHER: Yes, this administration is the enemy of "big government," all right.
        THIS: There is no more powerful message in any movie released this past year than in Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby."
        THAT: The chief message of "The Aviator" would, I guess, be "wash your hands a lot."
        THIS: Carson credited the great Oliver Hardy's silent "slow-burn" as one of his greatest inspirations.
        THAT: Perhaps he is now telling that directly to Ollie.
        THE OTHER: Hardy would have loved it. (Take it from me: I'm a proud honorary lifetime member of the Sons of the Desert, and I knew Hardy's wife.)   
        THIS: Arnold Schwarzenegger, a very aggressive weightlifter-turned-actor who buffaloed a lot of starstruck knuckleheads into electing him governor of California, awarded a no-bid $3.5 million contract to a Florida (think: Jeb Bush) firm to reopen a 244-bed prison in the Central Valley.
        THAT: Correctional Properties Trust, the company that owns the prison, just happens to have appointed Schwarzenegger's former finance director, Donna Arduin, to its board.
        THE OTHER: Arnie doesn't lift anymore---he just throws it around.
        THIS: Schwarzenegger campaigned on the basis of cleaning out "special interests" in Sacramento.
        THAT: His staff includes: a former lobbyist for TechNet, a group aimed at limiting consumer rights; a deputy with ties to big business; a former lumber company exec heading the environmental protection agency; another chief who was vice-president of HMO Health Net (think: Russian Roulette) and a lobbyist for Chevron.
        THE OTHER: Join Arnold!
        THIS: A Riverside couple was charged with animal cruelty after 58 dead tiger cubs were found at their "animal sanctuary."
        THAT: Throw them to the wolves.
        THE OTHER: Or better yet, there were a lot of starving tigers found at their "sanctuary."
        THIS: California legislature proposes a "fire-safe cigarette" in order to cut tens of thousands of fires each year started by smoldering tobacco product.
        THAT: A "fire-safe" cigarette. Is that like a "taped live?" "War games?"
        THE OTHER: Best "fire-safe" cigarettes are the kind you don't light.
        THIS: You can now rent a West Hollywood apartment once occupied by Jim Morrison for $200 a night, or $1000 a week.
        THAT: But you can O.D. in the bathtub for free, just like Jim did!
        THE OTHER: Strange days have found us/ strange days have tracked us down/ they've come to destroy/ our casual joy. . .
        THIS: A rapper called "Game" is suspected in assaulting a Washington D.C. disc jockey known as "Zxulu."
        THAT: The long-term impact of this incident on the human race has yet to be calculated.
        THIS: Newport Beach man buys Picasso sketch for $39, 999 from Costco.
        THAT: There's a blue-light special at K-Mart on Van Gogh.
        THIS: The cost of dismantling, or "privatizing," Social Security (think: let them eat cake) is in the trillions of dollars.
        THAT: Good thing "President" Bush opposes stem cell research. The cost of trying to wipe out a myriad of diseases is just astronomical.
        THE OTHER: How about privatizing "President" Bush?
        THIS: Paul Giamatti's un-nominated performance in "Sideways" is worth ten of Little Leo's nominated attempt to portray Howard Hughes.    
        THAT: Shlumpy Giamatti would have done a better job as Hughes.
        THE OTHER: But "Aviator" definitely deserves best make-up for the amazing feat of turning Leo's peach-fuzz into a moustache.
        THIS: Dodgers announcer Vin Scully to L.A. Times columnist T.J. Simers: "The only thing I want to do is follow the ball between the lines."
        THAT: Reading between them, Scully is actually explaining how he manages to still call games involving revolving-door teams in the tacky remains of Dodger Stadium, while the once-proud organization is crippled by one tawdry moneygrubber after another.
        THE OTHER: Next to Gagne, Scully is the only conceivable good reason to pay the least attention to the Dodgers anymore.
        THIS: Ringo Starr is working with legendary comic book artist Stan Lee to develop a multimedia franchise that will find the former Beatles drummer staring as an animated superhero.
        THAT: Ringo is already pretty animated, and as far as I'm concerned, has always been a superhero.
        THE OTHER: Ringo wears earrings. Dobson and Falwell, get on the case.

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