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This, That, and the Other
(Jan. 12, 2004)
        THIS: Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who through astounding manipulation of empty-headed jackasses has been elected governor of California, said recently that he is a "big believer in roads."
        THAT: This would explain why his budget includes zero---that's no, nada, nothing, and otherwise hastalavistababy---money for new highways or mass transit.
        THE OTHER: Word is that he will soon reveal his belief in sidewalks and curbs.
        THIS: So now "The Bachelor" features a bachelorette. A perky, petite blonde with perky, protruding bazooms picking and choosing from a stable of hulking white galoots. The galoots all look like country boys who just "got dressed up" for the first time. All contestants are excellent Aryan stock, and reproduction prospects look good.
        THAT: Hitler would have liked this show.
        THIS: Speaking of galoots, the "just woke up" look in male "haircuts" of recent years is certainly the most asinine style in history. You cut your hair so it isn't quite long enough to comb, rub some slimy goop in it, and mess it all up. Women swoon over this mussy little boy look.
        THAT: Imagine what a pair of short pants and a lollipop might do.
        THIS: I don't care for NBA basketball owners in general, and boy billionaire Mark Cuban in particular, but my hat's off---wait a second, okay, now it's off---to Cuban for suggesting that Bush forego his crowning and send the $40 million party money to help tsunami victims.
        THAT: Or send it to any number of places in the world where people can use a good party. I understand that a grain of rice a day in some parts of Africa is cause for a festival.
        THE OTHER: When a billionaire basketball team owner has to think of such logical and charitable ideas, what does this say about the man who chanted "I'm a leader" over and over to get elected?
        THIS: Said Cuban on the prospect of denying Bush his big party: "Since when is the level of celebration defined by the amount spent?"
        THAT: Oh, since um. . .Christmas?
        THIS: Dodger General Manager Paul "Paulie" DePodesta, who is actually 16-years-old, essentially dumped the entire team, including such undeniably superb players as Paul LoDuca, Dave Roberts, Adrian Beltre, Alex Cora, Guillermo Mota, and Shawn Green.
        THAT: Put this man in charge of the Republican Party.
        THE OTHER: They should eliminate the term "home team" from the scoreboard and just have "Visitors" for both sides.
        THIS: Please, someone pass a law prohibiting all professional athletes from using the sentence, "It's a business," every time they are traded.
        THAT: Just once I'd like to hear an athlete say, "It's an insane pursuit of profit at the expense of the fun of the fans and the joy of the game."
        THAT: Turnabout is fair play.
        THIS: News item: Janis Joplin to get lifetime achievement Grammy.
        THAT: Would have been nice if she had achieved a lifetime.
        THIS: Bush's crowning will require 6,000 cops, 2,500 military personnel, and dozens of federal security agencies. Mobile command vehicles will be set up along with round-the-clock surveillance of key facilities and a record number of canine bomb teams. Blackhawk helicopters and fighters will patrol the skies, and the Coast Guard plans to step up security on the Potomac River. The FAA announced a 23-mile radius no-fly zone
around Reagan National, Dulles and Baltimore- Washington International airports.
        THAT: "Al Qaeda is on the run. Right now, about half of all the top Al Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they're not a problem anymore."
 ---George W. Bush, May 5, 2003.
        THIS: I know very little about the late Susan Sontag, but enough to have admired her thinking. One very important observation she made in an interview with Bill Moyers was about the death of idealism. Ruthlessness and avarice, she suggested, have largely supplanted the impulse to do good.
        THAT: "Do-gooder," in fact, is a term that has been villified by the mad-dog Limbaugh/Bush crowd.
        THIS: Sontag explained that American idealism has been destroyed systematically---purged, really---in many aspects of society.
        THAT: Test scores instead of learning disguised as "No Child Left Behind". . . corporations that claim to be environment-friendly producing items that will not biodegrade. . .publishers who seek only marketing- friendly books to the exclusion of good writing. . .pro sports teams that flagrantly try to purchase championships. . .politicians who now call FDR and his social programs "commie". . .soulless popular music that is nothing more than demographically designed product. . .television devoted to infomercials, drinking slime for money. . .fascistic imposition of so-called "Christian" morality. . .
        THE OTHER: That Sontag held on to her own idealism was heroic. R.I.P.
        THIS: Rupert Murdoch (think: eat babies), whose Fox Entertainment and News Corp. control most of the world's official information, is trying to spend $5.9 billion to buy the remaining shares it does not own of Fox Entertainment.
        THAT: Huh? News Corp. bids for Fox?
        THE OTHER: The snake eats itself.
        THIS: Europeans now refer to American free enterprise as "savage capitalism."
        THAT: Damn do-gooders.
        THIS: Britain has voted for the top twenty comedy catchphrases of all time. A recent Guardian article noted that Laurel and Hardy made the list once (#11) with "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into."
        THAT: Actually, the boys made the list twice, in a way. "D'oh!", which came in at number-three, is credited to Homer Simpson, but Homer was copying Laurel and Hardy co-star James Finlayson, the moustachioed nemesis of Stan and Ollie.
        THE OTHER: Schwarzenegger should have been nominated for "I'm a big believer in roads" and Bush's "bring it on" merited at least honorable mention.
        THIS: Marines arriving in Indonesia to help tsunami victions were relieved and delighted to be greeted warmly. Said one, it's "not like Iraq."
        THAT: Er, um, gee. . . do ya spose there might be a lesson in there somewhere?
        THE OTHER: "Commissars and pin-stripe bosses roll the dice/ Any way they fall, guess who gets to pay the price/ Money green or proletarian gray/ Selling guns instead of food today. . ."
---Grateful Dead.
        THIS: Meta Rosenberg died the other day, in her sleep, at 89. She was an Emmy-winning executive producer of lots of TV shows, including "The Rockford Files."
        THAT: She was also one of the nicest, most dignified human beings I ever had the pleasure of interviewing.
        THIS: A three-hour documentary recently aired by the BBC, "The Power of Nightmares:The Rise of the Politics of Fear," asserts that the threat of international terrorism has been massively exaggerated in order that politicans can ramrod through various polices. Read: The Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq, tightening up on civil liberties, etc.
        THAT: Duh.
        THE OTHER: D'oh!
        THIS: Suggestion for Shaquille O'Neal: get a dog. Say, the tiniest female chihuahua you can find.
        THAT: Carry it with you to press conferences.
        THE OTHER: Introduce it as "my bitch, Kobe."
        THIS: Paul McCartney has for the second year in a row cancelled his "Love Songs" compilation album---apparently because Yoko Ono will not allow him to use The Beatles' recording of "Yesterday" on it.
        THAT: Put "Yesterday" on album with "Silly Love Songs" and "Pipes of Peace?" McCartney should hire Yoko as his producer.
        THE OTHER: I'm not half the man I used to be. . .
        THIS: So Tom Delay joined in expressing sympathy for the tsumani victims the other day at the 109th Congressional Prayer Service from a church on Capitol Hill.
        THAT: Delay read the passage from the Bible about how only smart guys build their houses on rock, while "fools" build them on sand. Then he sat down.
        THE OTHER: Er, um, pssst---Tom. I think the passage was metaphorical. You fine Christian man, you.
        THIS: The Iraq Survey Group, the CIA-led team of weapons inspectors seeking the purported cache of Saddam's biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, quietly finished its inspection last month. Official finding: no WMD.
        THAT: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us."---Dick Cheney.
        THE OTHER: "There clearly was a relationship (between Saddam and Al-Qaeda.) It's been testified to. The evidence is overwhelming." ---Dick Cheney.
        THIS: Last November, Bush rebuffed Neocon pressure to cut $46 million for helping Russia secure its nuclear arsenal. (Read: keep the weapons away from terrorists.) Neocons wanted that dough for the carnival of death in Iraq.
        THAT: At this rate, it will take 13 years to secure the former USSR's nukes---that's with Putin's full cooperation, which is hardly a given. Iraq, where Bush has so far spent an estimated $150 billion, had no nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons.
        THE OTHER: Boom. D'oh!

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