Friday, December 22, 2006

Instrument Of Surrender

Instrument of Surrender in the War Against Christmas

We, acting by command of and in behalf of all non-Christians, secularlists and Wal-Mart greeters, hereby accept the provisions set forth in the Nativity Declaration issued by the heads of the several Christian denominations and subsequently adhered to by the various hosts of cable network news shows hereafter referred to as the Yuletide Powers.

We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Yuletide Powers of the humanist-secularlist-liberal axis and of all non-believing armed forces and all non-believing armed forces under the Anti-Xmas Axis wherever situtated.

We hereby command all non-Christian forces and their non-believing followers to cease hostilities forthwith, to preserve and save from damage all Christmas trees, Christmas lights and public nativity displays and to comply with all festive requirements which may be imposed by the Supreme Commander of the Yuletide Powers or by hosts of cable network news shows at his direction.

We hereby command all civil, military and government officials to obey and enforce all proclamations, orders and drections issued by the Supreme Commander for the Yuletide Powers and to henceforth refrain from wishing any and all citizens "Happy Holidays", "Season’s Greetings" or "Best of the Season."

We hereby undertake for the Anti-Xmas Axis to carry out the provisions of the Nativity Declaration in good faith including the restoration of any public Christmas displays and the removal of all non-Christian seasonal symbols and banners including but not limited to menorahs, Kwanzaa kinaras and Festivus poles.

We also undertake to encourage all citizens to acknowledge Christian seasonal greetings in kind, to enthusiastically participate in Christmas caroling and to employ, where practicable, outdoor displays of wreaths, trees and lights.

The authority of the Anti-Xmas Axis shall be subject to the Supreme Commander for the Yuletide Powers who will take such seasonal steps as he deems proper to effectuate these terms of surrender.

SIGNED at Bethlehem, Pennsylvannia this 24th day of December, 2006.

Al Franken, Barbra Streisand and Alan Colmes, By Command and in behalf of the Anti-Xmas Axis

ACCEPTED for the Yuletide Powers by Bill O’Reilly, Lou Dobbs and Ann Coulter

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Honor Thy Father

Did Mr. Bush ask his father for any advice? "I asked the president about this. And President Bush said, ‘Well, no,’ and then he got defensive about it," says Woodward. "Then he said something that really struck me. He said of his father, ‘He is the wrong father to appeal to for advice. The wrong father to go to, to appeal to in terms of strength.’ And then he said, ‘There's a higher Father that I appeal to.’"- 60 Minutes interview with Bob Woodward

George W. Bush: Dear God, help me out of this mess in the Middle East.
God: Look, George, I never gave you any advice on Iraq. This was your own doing.
George W. Bush: But Lord, I specifically remember standing in front of the barbecue at my Crawford ranch and asking you for a sign if I should invade Iraq. And then flames shot up from the grill.
God: If you check, I think you’ll find that barbecue has an automatic starter.
George W. Bush: Boy, I wish I’d known that at the time.
Allah: It’s too bad you didn’t ask me. I would have told you to take a pass on Iraq.
George W. Bush: Who is that?
Allah: I’m God, George. Just a slightly different incarnation.
George W. Bush: This is confusing. What am I supposed to do now?
Buddha: Try to stay in the moment, George. Be mindful of the world around you and try not to get caught up in desire and material goals.
George W. Bush: Jumping Jehosaphat! You scared me. Who am I talking to now?
Buddha: I, too, am your Father, George. Listen to all of the spiritual voices and they will bring you wisdom.
George W. Bush: Holy cow! One at a time, please!
Vishnu: Easy on the sacred cow references, George. Can you hear me?
George W. Bush: Yes I can hear you but how many of you are there?
Vishnu: That’s not important, George. What is important is an awareness of birth, life and death. You seem to be concentrating too much on the last one.
George W. Bush: Help!
Dick Cheney: Wake up, George. You’re having a nightmare.
George W. Bush: Boy, that was really scary. There were all these gods and they were telling me different things and I didn’t know what to do about Iraq and.....
Dick Cheney: Relax, son. Just leave everything to me.
George W. Bush: Thanks, Dad.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Whistling In The Dark

The Federal Accountability Act that was recently given royal assent includes the implementation of what Treasury Board President John Baird calls the Mount Everest of whistleblower protection. Now comes the job of designing forms to implement the new legislation, including this rumored "Whistleblower Application":


Form No. TB-666

NAME: _________________________ (no pseudonyms or aliases, please)
ADDRESS: ______________________ (remember, we know where you live)
DEPT.: __________________________
CLASSIFICATION: ________________ (current level only - future classification not guaranteed)

Briefly describe in the space provided below the nature of the offense or wrongdoing you were witness to including the names and addresses of the employees involved:

Please note that you are required to provide proof that you have already brought this matter to the attention of your supervisor and your department’s deputy head. You must also provide proof that you have alerted these individuals that you will be filing this application.
Are you sure you want to do this? ____ Yes ____ No

Were you aware that the Public Service Integrity Commissioner is a former deputy minister?
____ Yes ____ No

Are you really, really sure you want to do this? ____ Yes ____ No

Did you know that the Federal Court is a federal government court? ____ Yes ____ No

Are you crazy? ____ Yes ____ No

Do you know any whistleblowers? ____ Yes ____ No (If "Yes", briefly explain why you still wish to proceed.)

Are you OK with never being promoted again? ____ Yes ____ No

How often are you willing to be demoted before resigning? _____ times

Do you believe that the wrongdoers will ultimately be punished? ____ Yes ____ No

If "Yes" to the above, please indicate which of the following you also believe in (1) truth (2) justice (3) Santa Claus.

What punishment are you seeking for the alleged wrongdoers? _________

Which of the following punishments would you be satisfied with? (1) letter of commendation (2) promotion (3) diplomatic appointment to Denmark

How upset will you be if the wrongdoers are rewarded instead of punished? (1) very upset (2) somewhat upset (3) not that upset unless one or more gets the Order of Canada

Number of years you are willing to put your life on hold. _____ (5 years minimum)

Amount of compensation requested. ______ (N.B. - if greater than $0, please note that there is no provision to sue the federal government for compensation.)

Once the application has been signed and dated, please mail it to the Public Service Integrity Commissioner and kiss your career goodbye.

DATED AT: _____________


Friday, December 15, 2006

Presidential Exit Strategy

President Bush is now officially a lame duck. With the midterm elections over and two years left in his final term, it’s all downhill from here.

But that doesn’t mean he can’t keep busy. As a twenty-five year veteran of the Canadian public service, I’ve been planning my imminent retirement for years. Here are a few handy hints I’ve picked up along the way that might come in handy for Mr. Bush:

* Cut back on your workload. Chances are you don’t feel like taking on as much and, since you’re nearing the end, you may find it difficult to get any new projects approved anyway. Enquire about such options as a four-day work week, compressed hours or even working part time.

* Do some mentoring. Teach your potential successors how to avoid your mistakes. Whether it was misfiling, misreporting or just plain missing, you can help them get it right next time.

* Find out who your pay advisor is in the human resources branch and ask about your retirement pension. You may be pleased to see how much you’ll actually be getting. Make sure you’ll have adequate health care coverage and don’t forget to ask if there’s a severance package, too.

* Now’s a good time to sort through all those briefings and memos you never had time to review. You might be surprised what you’ll find there that might have influenced past decisions. And dollars to doughnuts, there’ll be a few embarrassing things you’ll want to discard or shred.

* Check out your local library. When you retire, you’ll have lots of time to read up on all kinds of interesting topics like, for example, international diplomacy, basic finance and the history of the Middle East.

* To help fill up the extra time, consider volunteer work or a part time job. Volunteering at a food bank, an inner city school or a veterans’ hospital can make you feel like you’re really making a difference.

* Consider buying a vacation property - a cottage, a chalet or a 1600-acre ranch in the middle of nowhere. It will make a great retreat where you can reflect in private on your career successes.

* Spend time reconnecting with your family. Now is the time to take care of aging parents and wayward children. Try also to mend fences with your father and siblings if there have been any longstanding differences of opinion.

* Apologize for past wrongs. If you’re like me, you didn’t get to a mid-level position in the government without stepping on a few toes. Saying "I’m sorry" to anyone you unfairly beat out for a promotion or those you had to dismiss will go a long way to salve your conscience.

* Do a bit of legacy planning. Think about how you want to be remembered after you’re gone. Now’s the time to fix any problems you’ve caused and to implement your original plans. If it’s too late for that, you can always blame your predecessor or just pray and hope for the best.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Restating the Obvious

After eight months of investigation and deliberation, the Iraq Study Group has concluded that things are not going well in Iraq. Subject to available funding, the same ten-member panel is reportedly also being asked to reconstitute itself under different names and consider some other pressing issues of national concern:

The Oxymoron Investigation Committee
Can someone be both compassionate and conservative? Is "compassionate conservative" a meaningful political descriptor or just an empty opportunistic campaign slogan? If there was ever any doubt, the Oxymoron Investigation Committee will put this issue to rest once and for all.

The Tax Cut Commission
Do tax cuts for the wealthy have a trickle down effect? Certain Bush administration officials have an instinctive belief that they do. An in-depth look at this issue by the Tax Cut Commission should provide the final and obvious answer.

The Arithmetic Commission of Enquiry
Does two plus two equal four? The Arithmetic Commission of Enquiry will spend the time and money necessary to finally solve this once contentious debate.

The Sundown Result Panel
What follows day? Some say it’s night. Are they right? The Sundown Result Panel will tackle this knotty question in short order. Look for a definite answer on this one in a matter of weeks rather than months.

The Facial Features Investigation Unit
How obvious is the nose on your face? What appears to be a relatively straightforward question may, in fact, have several different answers depending on one’s perspective. But if there’s an obvious answer, the Facial Features Investigation Unit will definitely uncover it.

The Moon Constitution Task Force
Is the moon made of green cheese? There are those who remain convinced that Earth’s sole satellite is fabricated entirely of a solid, edible milk product. Hopefully the Moon Constitution Task Force can provide support for a definite answer to this longstanding question.

The Ursine Excretory Commission
Does a bear defecate in the woods? Although some may have their doubts, the Ursine Excretory Commission won’t shy away from this one. They may, however, choose to pass on the more ideologically difficult questions: "If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?", "Have you stopped beating your spouse?" and "Why do Democrats hate America?"

The Invisible Raiment Team
Is the emperor wearing no clothes? Many in the emperor’s camp will swear that he’s wearing brand new clothes and that he looks great. Even the emperor believes he’s fully clothed. The Invisible Raiment Team will get to the bottom of the matter without insulting the emperor’s ongoing beliefs.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Operation Extreme Makeover



TO: Liberal Party Executive
FROM: Grits ‘R Us Consulting Inc.
RE: Operation Extreme Makeover

Congrats on choosing Stéphane Dion as your new leader. What a pleasant surprise. He wasn’t our first, second or even third choice but, now that we think of it, his selection means lots more work for us.

First off, everyone’s saying this guy is dull and boring. No worries because that’s an easy fix.
We recommend a few photo-ops to show Stéphane as a regular guy. How about having him attend a rodeo wearing a vest and a cowboy hat? Or maybe you could get him to arrive at his next press conference in a snowsuit riding a snowmobile? Just a thought.

Now some folks claim that Stéphane is not that popular in Québec. Frankly, we don’t see that as a problem. After all, he’s French Canadian, right? All he has to do is hum a few bars of "Mon Pays" and use the phrase "Québec nationalism" half a dozen times and he’s home free.

There’s been a lot of criticism about M. Dion’s fractured English. The traditional view is that he should spend a few months improving it. We say: "Don’t bother." It just wastes valuable time and it seldom works (e.g. - Bob Stanfield, Preston Manning and Brian Tobin).

Instead, we’re recommending a crash course to reduce Stéphane’s second language capability. Right now, he sounds like an intellectual with passable English. That’s two strikes against him right there. But teach him how to speak like Jean Chretien and he both loses the intellectual stigma and picks up a folksy, rural charm. Trust us; "le petit gars" plays a whole lot better than "that Ph.D. guy with glasses."

Speaking of glasses, ditch ‘em. If he can’t wear contacts, he’s still better off without glasses even if he’s as blind as a bat. Remember that transformation of David Peterson thirty years ago from spectacled geek to specs-free trendsetter? That was us. (As for his premature election call in 1990, that was his choice.)

Given the mammoth nature of this makeover project, we suggest starting as soon as humanly possible. Make no mistake; it’s going to be a tough job but far from impossible. Kind of like making a silk purse from a sow’s ear. But don’t forget, we’re the guys who helped Jean Chretien win three majorities so we’re used to achieving the impossible.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Family Computer

Your kids have been clamoring for one for months. And your wife says it would be great fun for the whole family. Maybe it’s time to finally get a computer.

But before rushing off to purchase a family PC, there are a few things to remember. A computer is not a toy. It’s going to become a member of your family and will need lots of care and attention.

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is where to put your new PC. Best to let it have its own room or possibly a corner in the basement. Whatever you do, don’t let it stay in the bedroom. The midnight clattering of keys and the glow from the screen can be very disruptive.

Your next choice will be what operating system to give your new friend. Try loading Windows. But be patient. It may not "take" the first few times but eventually it should work reasonably well.

As for software, the sky’s the limit. But take it slowly. It’s best to let your computer take some time to get used to each new piece of software. Start with a nice gentle word processing program and work up from there.

Once you have your PC on a regular schedule and Windows-trained, it’s time to consider Internet training. Take the time to hook your computer up properly to the World Wide Web and be sure to follow all the protocols consistently. If you don’t discipline your computer when it’s new, it will end up running you instead of you running it. One handy training tip is to always give your PC a cookie to reward it for good Internet behavior.

At this stage, don’t forget to cover all the health concerns for your new family member. That means taking it to a veteran computer technician for regular checkups and those (hopefully) occasional emergency visits.

It also means ensuring your PC has adequate warranty coverage. The last thing you want is to be hit with a devastating illness that could cost you hundreds of dollars in unexpected technical bills.

And speaking of illness, don’t forget to innoculate your new friend. Don’t worry when you first get your PC but after you start Internet training, make sure it gets proper anti-virus treatment. Some viruses are fairly mild but others can make you and your PC miserable.

If you’ve managed to see your PC successfully through its first year, it’s time to teach it some tricks. With a little patience, you can get your computer to fetch your mail, do your banking and even file your taxes. But be careful not to have it do too much. Computers are notoriously temperamental and you could end up with infected mail, an overdrawn bank account or a visit from a government auditor.

Sure, it’s a lot of work. But if you invest the time now, your computer can be a faithful family friend for months to come. Whether it’s helping you with your chores, playing games with the kids or just being a lovable companion, your PC will be one of the family.

And don’t forget that your family PC won’t become an unnecessary burden come vacation time. No need to pack it off to a computer kennel for two weeks. Just turn off the switch and your PC will never know you left. Of course, you might want to take the opportunity to send your family friend to obedience school while you’re away. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much better it behaves when you return.

Be prepared, however, for the inevitable. A computer year is equal to 25 human years. So after about three years, your new pal will probably reach the end of its useful life. Its hard drive may keep crashing or it may just start losing its memory. But you’ll know when it’s time to pull the plug.

And when you do, don’t forget; you can always buy another one, maybe even a laptop. It’ll never replace that first PC but chances are everything will be a lot faster and easier the second time around. Who knows? You may even want to start your own network.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Seven Dwarfs

Once upon a time there was a kingdom called Canada and it was naturally governed for years by the Liberals. The leader of the Liberals was called the Prime Minister and he ruled over the land as a philosopher king or a petit gars de Shawinigan.

But then one day the philosopher king died and the petit gars was betrayed by the usurpers within his ranks. And the usurpers chose a weakling to lead them, a Liberal named Mr. Dithers.

As sure as day turns into night, the one called Mr. Dithers led the Liberals to defeat. And the land was ruled by the evil Conservatives and their joyless leader from the land of Alberta.

Because Mr. Dithers was defeated, he was banished from the Liberals. And that meant it was time for all the members of the party to meet in a cottage in the forest called Montreal to choose a new leader.

There were eight candidates for the leadership. The fairest of them all was a princess named Martha. But she ate the poison called honesty, fell into a truth-telling trance and thus could not deceive the members of the party into voting for her.

The remaining candidates were the seven dwarfs. The leading one was Iggy, a pseudo-Canadian intellectual dwarf who spent most of his life in the faraway kingdom of America. Iggy liked to write long articles and pretend that he had the answers to big questions. But unfortunately he always seemed to have more answers than there were questions.

Another leading candidate was the dwarf named Dippy. He was called Dippy because he used to be the leader of another party called the NDP. In fact, Dippy still gave money to his old party which made many Liberals wonder if he was really leadership material.

That’s why some Liberals looked to the dwarf called Gerry to lead them. Like all the other dwarfs, Gerry had his shortcomings but he had one big thing in his favor - a limited record. Thus, no one could pin anything on Gerry and he could become whatever the Liberals needed him to be.

Some party members hoped that the francophone dwarf named Frenchy would lead them. After all, the Liberals could never regain power unless they had lots of support in the dependent nation of Québec. But Frenchy had once cast his lot with the petit gars and was no longer loved by Québecers.

The remaining three dwarfs had little chance to win. The one called Kenny was so boring that his speeches could put even caffeine addicts to sleep. No one completely trusted the dwarf named Scotty because he used to live with the hated Conservatives. And the one called Volpy was accused of recruiting underage and overage members.

If this were a real fairy tale, at this point in the story a handsome prince named Justin would kiss the princess Martha and give her the power to mesmerize the party faithful. Or he might leave Martha sleeping and just do it himself.

But this is a fairy tale without a happy ending. For whoever the Liberals chose, whether it was Iggy or Dippy or Gerry or Frenchy, he would still be a dwarf. And the one called Stephen of Harper would crush that dwarf with his pliers, laugh the laugh of the victor and continue to rule over the kingdom of Canada..

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Letter of Resignation

Recently retrieved from a wastebasket in the Oval Office of The White House:

Dear Mr. President:

It is with great regret that I offer my resignation. It has truly been an honor and a pleasure working under you these last six years.

No matter what people say, I think we can both be proud of the things we accomplished. I know I will always cherish the many near misses and our occasional brush with success.

Some observers will undoubtedly criticize me for rushing into projects unprepared. That is their right.

But if fools rush in where wise men fear to tread, then I’m proud to be labelled a fool. And I’m doubly proud that you, sir, were right there at my side.

I will always admire your abundance (some would say overabundance) of that quintessential American quality called sticktoitiveness. You were never afraid to declare "mission accomplished" even before the job was completed.

I am saddened that you have faced public criticism for some of my decisions. Just because the ultimate authority always rested with you should never detract from the fact that I and others were actually calling the shots.

Frankly, sir, it comes as somewhat of a relief to be done with my job. It is very frustrating to be criticized day after day by people who have no patience and measure success in completely different ways from you and me.

We know that any job worth doing is worth doing over the course of decades, not just years. Those who believe in the quick fix or the so-called slam dunk will never understand what real work means.

Let’s face it, sir, small minds cannot achieve greatness. They would have us explore all options and plan for every contingency before taking even the smallest of baby steps.

But to achieve true greatness, risks must be taken and rules must be broken. Not only did we think outside the box, we even questioned the box’s very existence.

We in our business know that it’s a dog eat dog, take no prisoners world out there and that our seat of the pants, anything goes attitude will, in the end, always come out on top. And if we were to take prisoners, we’d make them sorry they ever surrendered. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Someone once said "A man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for?" I don’t know what the heck that means but somehow I feel that that is just what we were doing.

I know that some of our competitors will take joy in my departure. But if they think my leaving will deplete our team’s ranks of single-minded, unilateral risk takers, they are sadly mistaken.

Some will no doubt speculate that you asked me to resign and will read all kinds of things into my decision. But you and I both know that you didn’t ask for my resignation, at least not directly.

Finally, let me just say how proud I am to have contributed to the success of your administration in whatever small, insignificant way that I could. Thank you for your almost unwavering support and good luck in pursuing whatever goals you have in mind. May freedom and democracy flourish wherever you go.

Please carry on your mission without me knowing that, whatever else happens in my life, I will always have a special place in my heart for the Iraq that might have been.



Tuesday, November 28, 2006

W's Blog - Summer 2005

1600 PA. AVE. - An occasional anonymous summertime weblog by "No. 43"

August 31

Had to cut my vacation short. Lots of folks flooded out in the Big Easy. Just as well since that Sheehan woman was wanting to see me again. Pretty hard to have a quiet rest clearing brush with all that shouting and cursing going on. (Note to self: Next year consider imposing a five-mile, liberal-free zone around the ranch.)

August 30
I was honored to help in the celebration of VJ Day. Apparently today was the 60th anniversary of this event. Frankly, I was surprised to find that out. I always thought that MTV didn’t have their first music video broadcast with a veejay until about 1981. It just goes to show you that you can learn something every day.

August 20
Whooeee! Got to go biking with Lance Armstrong. Boy, that guy is fit and he didn’t even fall off once. Lance told me not to worry about any charges of electoral wrongdoing. He says that by the time anyone finds out, I’ll be out of office and untouchable. Lance says that unless they follow proper protocol, you’re home safe.

August 2
Well it’s time to head to the ranch again. I can’t tell you where it’s located since that might blow my cover. Let’s just say it’s not in Washington. I sure am glad to get out of that town. After a year of fighting terrorism and cutting taxes, I’m dead tired and really need a rest. Five weeks should recharge the old batteries and help me get back to spreading freedom around the world.

August 1
That John Bolton’s one crazy guy. Did you hear what he said he’d do to the UN Building in New York? Hilarious. He cracks me up; he really does. But those wimps in the Senate didn’t want to let him work at the UN. I fooled them, though. Did you know you can appoint someone all on your own after Congress recesses? Me neither but apparently you can. Who knew? Hats off to Al Gonzales for spotting that one.

July 28
Phoned my pal Raphael Palmeiro to congratulate him on his 3,000th hit - of a baseball, that is. Boy that guy is fit and he sure has nice muscle tone. I asked him how he got to be so ripped and he laughed and said "Don’t ask; don’t tell." All he would say is that if I wanted to enhance my performance, give Barry Bonds a call.

July 19
That Alberto G. is a genius. I had to nominate someone for the Supreme Court and it was what we call a Goldilocks appointment - you know, just right but not too right. I don’t know where he came up with this guy John R. but he’s perfect. He’s about as pure as the driven snow and Al says he’ll do whatever Tony and Clarence tell him to do. Kind of like the relationship I have with Dick, Karl and Paul.

July 14
My buddy Karl seems to have gotten a woman into trouble. It’s not what you think, though. Cause if it was, I’m sure Karl would do the right thing and marry her. In the meantime, Karl says best to say nothing about all this if anyone asks. That’s fine by me. I’m as good at saying nothing as anybody. Except maybe for Scott McClellan.

July 4
Can you believe all the whining and complaining about Iraq from those Democratic wusses? Just because a few thousand National Guard troops get re-upped, they think this war is a disaster. Believe me, I was in the National Guard and I know those fellows don’t mind doing their part. I know I was ready to do my share back in 1972 or 73 or whenever it was that I served. If there had been a big war on then, you wouldn’t have seen me complaining about two or three tours of duty overseas.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Daily Market Analysis

Subscribers to "Dave’s Daily Market Analysis" received the recent daily in-depth stock market reports:

Monday: Dow @ 12,105 up 156 points; NASDAQ @ 2,316 up 28 points

Today’s uptick in the markets is not surprising given recent economic developments. The employment numbers came out showing a rise in the number of unemployed workers. This, of course, dampens inflationary trends thereby ensuring the Fed will not be raising interest rates any time soon. The markets took all this good news in stride with gains across the board.

Tuesday: Dow @ 11,910 down 195; NASDAQ @ 2,325 up 9

Entirely predictable action on the Dow given the international trade figures released today. The U. S. balance of payments deficit hit an all-time high for the year which negatively impacted both the manufacturing and industrial sectors. Rapid growth in the Asian economies of course increased demand for high tech support which easily explains the modest increase in the NASDAQ.

Wednesday: Dow @ 12,250 up 340; NASDAQ @ 2,230 down 90

No surprises here as market watchers were long expecting institutional fund managers sitting on unduly large cash holdings to jump back in to U. S. equities. Today’s "bandwagon" effect was initiated at the opening bell and predictably drove trading throughout the day. If anything, the increase was not quite as big as expected. Cash-to-equities transactions of course spelled trouble for the NASDAQ which not surprisingly dropped significantly.

Thursday: Dow @ 12,005 down 245; NASDAQ @ 2,300 up 70

Savvy investors saw this development coming a mile away. Profit taking combined with a full moon and the first appearance of Venus in the northern sky made today’s market moves obvious. That and the start of the new school year meant no one versed in market analysis was caught off guard by today’s drop. And where did all that profit taking money go? Why to the NASDAQ, of course! Hence, up 3% on a record volume.

Friday: Dow @ 12,105 up 100; NASDAQ @ 2,316 up 16

Always take the long view with the markets. Day-to-day fluctuations can always be explained. But the important thing is long term performance over an extended period of time like, say, a week. The markets for this week were flat which was easily foreseen by the uncertainty in the housing market and the fact that the current astrological sign is Libra. A balanced approach to a balanced portfolio always spells slow, steady growth.

Monday: Dow @ 11,805 down 300; NASDAQ @ 2,166 down 150

Stellar economic indicators and strong third quarter corporate profits may have fooled many investors. Those not alert to underlying market realities would have missed today’s drop. But those who realized that today is October 24th knew that Libra gives say to Scorpio and a market sting is invariably the result of late October trading.

Tuesday: Dow @ 12,005 up 200; NASDAQ @ 2,266 up 100

Of course those economic numbers from Monday weren’t meaningless. Often, analysts take a day or two to fully assess their impact and then make their move. Entirely predictable and completely foreseeable.

Wednesday: Dow @ 12,205 up 200; NASDAQ @ 2,366 up 100

As I said, analysts often take one or two days to analyse the latest economic stats. The real shocker would have been if the markets had not gone up today.

Thursday: Dow @ 11,805 down 400; NASDAQ @ 2,166 down 200

Those not expecting profit taking after two straight days of sizable gains are not being realistic. And those in the know long ago spotted that today was a triple-witching day on Wall Street namely, a high tide, a lunar eclipse and the giant end-of-season sales at Brooks Brothers and Marc Jacobs.

Friday: Dow @ 12,000 up 195; NASDAQ @ 2,300 up 134

If you took yesterday’s 10% increase in the price of oil as a sign to cut your losses, you haven’t been paying attention. Oil’s up and that means the resource sector will drive the market for the next 24 hours. After that, it’s anybody’s guess.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Good Times, Bad Times

This piece is returning to my blog after an appearance on the humor site Yankee Pot Roast:

New to me but apparently familiar to many local readers is a daily newspaper called "The New York Times."

Although I am generally not a fan of the so-called broadsheet format, I was willing to give this publication a try. Sadly, it failed to meet my basic journalistic standards on almost every count.

First, the front page is, in a word, boring. From its baroque masthead to its six-column overindulgence in the printed word, the Times (as it apparently is colloquially known) simply appears not to be trying.

Some might excuse the rather tedious layout due to the broadsheet format. But I don’t buy it. If "USA Today" can manage to pack a rainbow of color on its front page, there’s no reason "The New York Times" can’t do so as well.

If it were only its front page that was deficient, perhaps I could give this paper a passing grade. Unfortunately, the front page sets the tone for what’s inside.

A quick perusal of the sports section, for example, leaves one wondering why they bothered at all. Where there should be a plethora of exciting color pictures of the games of the day, there is instead an ongoing parade of needlessly lengthy reports interspersed with something called analysis.

Alas, photographs are few and far between. The only good thing I can say about this sad section is that if you’re a fan of cricket, rugby or international soccer, there’s something in there for you. But, in my view, the extra space devoted to such arcane exotica could be put to better use with more photos.

Believe it or not, "The N. Y. Times" does not carry an editorial cartoon. At least the edition I reviewed didn’t have one. Unless you count the inclusion of a caption-less line drawing bearing no relation to the events of the day. Which I don’t.

I’ve never been sure why newspapers devote space to political columnists, op-eds and editorials. But if a paper insists on foisting such features on its readers, the least it can do is make them interesting.

A grave oversight is the lack of a point-counterpoint opinion feature. Although "The Times" doesn’t stint on the number of columnists (another failing, I submit), how is the reader to know the columnists’ political leanings unless they are arrayed against one another in the traditional pro-con format?

It may be that such featured scriveners as Dowd, Friedman, Krugman and Brooks actually have something of note to say. But to expect the reader to forage through two or three columns, several editorials and an equal number of op-ed pieces is pure arrogant fantasy.

A review of the rest of the paper suggests that its pretentious masthead slogan might better read "All the news that fits we print." Report after endless report about all manner of inconsequential happenings sadly evidences the lack of a practised editorial hand. Far fewer so-called news reports and more snappy lifestyle features and color graphics would greatly enhance this stodgy daily.

Another shortcoming of this colorless journal is its relentless New York-centered coverage of the news. Yes, it’s "The New York Times" but it’s not necessary to hammer the reader over the head with that fact. From a Broadway-dominated Arts section to a Wall Street-centric Business section to a New York-jammed section called "New York/Region", it’s as if the world beyond Manhattan Island doesn’t exist. Such a provincial approach to the news is certain to doom this paper to a regional audience at best.

To ensure a fair and balanced approach to my review, I decided not to base it solely on one daily edition. In the spirit of good journalism, I reserved judgment until I had viewed a sample Sunday edition.

In retrospect, I wish I had not vowed to be so thorough. My faithful readers will know that I am not a big fan of Sunday editions. If you can’t say what needs to be said in six days, you’re not going to make up for that deficiency with an extra paper.

Although Sunday editions tend to be bigger than their weekday counterparts, "The New York Times" far exceeds any reasonable limit. The issue I purchased was over two inches thick and weighed in at a wrist-spraining three pounds. It made most magazines look anorexic by comparison and, in fact, even contained within its endless folds its own magazine.

Not only did the Sunday paper feature all the excesses of its weekday cousin, it also contained entire bloated sections devoted to everything from books to cars to fashion. Each of those sections kept to the paper’s apparent formula of "more is less" in what is surely the world’s most egregious misuse of newsprint.
All I can say is that if you need a functional doorstop, your four dollars would be better spent on a decorative brick than this poor excuse for arboricide.

I am sad to report that, as a daily newspaper, "The New York Times" is an outright failure. I suspect its owners will find it difficult to achieve six-figure circulation numbers even in a city as big as New York. Don’t be surprised if they pull the plug on this stillborn gazette sooner rather than later.

Next week, I’ll review what appears to be a more promising paper from the Big Apple - a terrific, tightly-edited tabloid called "The New York Post."

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Name's Bush, George W. Bush

"With ‘Casino Royale’, we’ve not only got a new Bond, we’ve also got a new approach to the genre. It’s revisionist. It’s going back to the roots of Bond’s character."
- James Chapman, author of "License to Thrill"

All of Washington, D. C. is abuzz with excitement. This January marks the opening of a new political season with a new George Bush. And once again that signature phrase will echo across the nation’s capital: "The name’s Bush, George W. Bush."

Bush watchers have long been waiting to see which role the man would adopt in light of the recent midterm election results. Some, of course, are fans of his early work, such pre-9/11 performances as the compassionate conservative Bush and the "I’m a uniter, not a divider" Bush.

Many more, however, are partial to the post-9/11 actor. These are the folks who cherish those great Bush roles like the fighter pilot in "Mission Accomplished", the ardent unilateralist in "Weapons of Mass Destruction" or the lone gunslinger in "Bring It On" and again in "Wanted Dead or Alive."

Some of these post-9/11 fans have been disappointed by more recent works. A number of critics would likewise agree that such productions as "Democracy in Iraq", "Katrina" and "I’m the Decider" are not the strongest entries in the Bush canon.

Most fans also have their favorite Bush villain. Longtime Bush followers point to the pompous Gore in 2000 while others are partial to Saddam and Kerry. But most will agree that the nastiest of the lot is the yet-to-be-defeated Osama.

It appears that Mr. Bush may finally have met his match against the criminal organization DNC, the Democratic National Committee. Despite years of success against this band of terrorists, dozens of Bush compatriots recently fell to an onslaught of Democratic bad guys. But Bush has been counted out before and survived to live another day. Guided by the masterful K and the all-powerful Dick, he always seems to be able to grab victory from the jaws of defeat.

Although we won’t know for sure until January which Bush we’ll see this time, there have been some hints. At a recent sneak preview, some fans heard a new Bush sounding much like the original Bush with a liberal use of words like "cooperation", "compromise" and "bipartisanship."
But all that may be just the latest Washington teaser designed simply to put bums in the seats. When it comes to George W. Bush, the only sure thing is that he will be shaken, not stirred.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Washington Weather

And now here’s tonight’s weather forecast for Washington and surrounding areas:

After six years of a generally overheated conservative weather pattern, look for some dramatic changes as liberal cold fronts from the northeast and mid-west move rapidly into the D. C. area.

If you look at our Doppler radar screen, you can see a dramatic cooling trend. The demarcation line between the existing high pressure area and the new low pressure system appears to bisect Pennsylvania Avenue. Houses to the east of that line will experience a dramatic temperature change while at least one white house to the west is strongly advised to prepare for strong winds and rapid reversals.

Over the next 100 hours, we can expect a number of significant weather events of a type not seen in Washington since the last century. First among those will likely be a new record high minimum in the wage sector. Look, too, for the new unstable weather pattern in the D. C. region to have dramatic effects as far east as Maryland, Delaware and Iraq.

Viewers are advised to be on the alert for false signs of impending calm weather. Intermittent calls for "common ground" and "bipartisanship" will be short-lived and will likely give way to more turbulence and a marked increase in retribution and presidential vetoes.

The instability of our local weather may also be affected by unsettled conditions to our immediate south in Virginia. Preliminary indications are that prevailing southerly winds will dramatically alter the makeup of at least one Capitol chamber in the city. However, a recount of primary meteorological statistics might forestall such an event. Our best estimate, at present, is a 51-49 chance of significant change.

Stormy weather is definitely on the horizon. At least one local defense barrier has already fallen and more may be at risk. Expect to see tax cuts rolled back and an increased likelihood of rain, wind and possibly even impeachment. Not great conditions for smooth sailing but perfect weather for lame ducks.

Given the upcoming meteorological uncertainties, it will no longer be possible for certain D. C. residents to stay the course. However, don’t look for those folks to cut and run any time soon. As was the case with Katrina, they may take a thumpin’ from this latest storm, but expect them to ride out the conditions for at least another two years.

Depending on which Washington house you reside in, tomorrow’s short term forecast is either sunny and optimistic or gloomy and overcast with occasional frost.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dear Dick

Dear Dick,

OK, enough is enough. You and Karl wanted me to run in 2000 and I said "Yes." But I didn’t figure six years later I’d still be stuck in The White House. Heck, I was as surprised as anyone that I won.

All I wanted to do was serve out the four years and then get back to my ranch. But then 9/11 happened and you guys were all "Let’s get Saddam! Let’s get Saddam!"

I never knew what the heck Saddam had to do with 9/11. But Rummy kept saying we had to invade Iraq and you were all cheering him on.

Everyone was telling me it was a slam dunk and the next thing I know I’m on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit in front of a "Mission Accomplished" sign. You can tell Karl again, "Thanks for nothing."

Well, surprise, surprise; Iraq’s a big mess. Thanks to that, I was sure I’d be done in 2004 but, I’ve gotta admit, that Swift Boat stuff was amazing. Trouble is, instead of getting back to Crawford, I end up winning a second term.

Look, Dick, this is just not working out. Everything we touch turns to crap. You guys told me to cut taxes, so I cut taxes. You told me to go to war, so I went to war. You told me not to worry about Katrina, so I didn’t worry about Katrina. Now even those nice folks in New Orleans hate me.

You know, I’m getting a bit gun shy here. It’s not like I think you guys don’t know what you’re doing. But maybe it’s time you took the heat for all these decisions yourselves.

Now I’m not going to walk away on you tomorrow. But I’m sure as shoot not going to serve two more whole years. This is one lame duck who ain’t gonna fly, if you know what I mean.

As I recall, the deal was that I run for President. Nobody said anything about winning or serving two terms. I’ve already put in six years and I gotta tell you, Dick, I’m tired. And now that we lost the House and maybe even the Senate, I’m really losing my enthusiasm. After all, how long can I keep using the same lines?

So here’s the deal. I’m going to step aside and let you take over. Heck, you’re doing most of the work as it is. You might as well get the credit for it, too.

Now I know it wouldn’t look good if I resigned. But I’ve gotta do something. I can’t take any more of those daily briefings and, if I have to try and stay awake through one more Cabinet meeting, I’m going to scream or maybe even launch a missile or two.

So hows about I step down and say it’s for personal reasons? You know, I want to spend more time with my family or some nonsense like that. I’ve heard other guys say that kind of stuff all the time and get away with it. How come I can’t do it, too?

Or maybe I could just go missing. You know, like Amelia Erhardt or D. B. Cooper. I could just sneak back to the ranch and no one would even have to know.

But I’m telling you, Dick, if you don’t come up with a plan real soon I’m going to think of one all by myself. And you know what happened the last time I did that. From what they tell me, folks are still trying to sort out that prescription drug benefit for seniors.

So let me resign or step down or just go home. I don’t care what you call it or how you do it. So long as I’m gone.

Because if you don’t figure out a way for me to leave, I swear I’ll do something crazy like get impeached. Or maybe I’ll get really wild and start making all my own decisions. Like maybe I’ll invade France or I’ll tax all the oil companies. How’d you like them apples?

Last chance, Dick. This time I’m not kidding. Two more years of this nonsense? No way. I’m outta hear.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Oops! My Bad

It’s funny how failure softens the heart and focuses the mind. First we have a gallows-bound Saddam Hussein urging Iraqis to "forgive, reconcile and make up." Then we have a contrite George W. Bush urging cooperation and bipartisanship for the first time in six years. What’s next? Rush Limbaugh mournfully asking "Why can’t we all just get along?"

Despite President Bush’s about face on the issue of political civility, he still remains a bully. And bullies must be dealt with in a systematic way. Here are some handy tips that the newly-empowered Democrats might want to review:

1. Bullies often call people names or use unkind words like "evil" or "traitors." Respond by telling the bully that he doesn’t have to be friends with the person but there’s no need to use cruel, hurtful language.

2. Often bullies will form exclusionary cliques or clubs to shut others out and make them feel unwanted. They will form alliances and try to coerce others to join. Alternately, they will isolate others as unpatriotic or cut-and-runners. Be forceful and explain to the bully that he doesn’t have to play with everyone or even like everyone but he can’t be cruel about excluding others.

3. One tactic commonly used by bullies is to make false accusations against those weaker than them. A bully might accuse a playmate of having hidden weapons or of conspiring with others. Be firm and insist that the bully provide credible evidence to back up his allegations.

4. A common underlying cause of bullying is that the other child has something the bully wants. A baseball glove, say, or a highly productive oilfield. Stress to the bully that the concept of private property applies to everyone and help him learn how to share.

5. Sometimes it’s necessary to encourage others to speak up on behalf of the one being bullied as in: "Stop picking on him!", "That’s not nice!" or "Stop carpet bombing his homeland!" Encourage them to stress to the bully that they should find a parent or teacher or large multinational organization to help solve the problem.

6. Specify concretely the consequences if the aggression or bullying continues. Point out how past bullying behavior led to lost friends, withdrawn privileges and Vietnam.

7. Remember, bullies generally pick on the weak and defenseless. If you stand up to them (for example, by threatening nuclear annihilation), they will usually back down and opt for negotiation instead of confrontation.

8. Even if the bully is behaving aggressively, remember that this behavior is probably coming from his feelings of vulnerability. It may be a fear of rejection, a lack of love or a series of international misadventures. Get the bully to talk about his feelings at home or in an international forum.

9. If all else fails, remember just to walk away. In some cases, run.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Why I Wear the Eye Mask

I’ve been asked: "Why do I wear the eye mask?"

For me, it was an easy decision. My faith teaches me that God made man in his own image and that there is nothing shameful about the uncovered body. By living my life unclothed, I am providing a daily testament to His glorious creation.

But why the eye mask? If I am otherwise naked, why shouldn’t I leave my eyes uncovered, too?

Again, the answer is easy and straightforward. Although God has created me in his unadorned image, there are many people who have broken His laws. They adorn themselves with all manner of garish coverings and, by forgetting God’s directions, they have created ugliness everywhere. Until the time comes when all people have seen the light and shed their raiment, it is my duty to shield my eyes from such abominations.

Living my life of faith is not easy. When I am in public with my pure innocent unclothed body and black eye mask, I hear the comments people make.

"That’s disgusting; put some clothes on!"

"You pervert! Go live in the woods with the other wild animals."

"Someone call the police!"

Even with the mask on, I can almost see the anger in their faces. And I can feel the fingers pointing and hear the insults and laughter.

Their words are hurtful. They are spoken in anger by people who do not understand. If they, too, would shed their clothing and adopt the mask, they would feel empowered and free.

"But why don’t you at least cover your private parts?" some people say.

For some of my faith, that is acceptable. I know men who choose to not use the mask and wear a simple pair of shorts or sometimes only a codpiece.

For them, it is not necessary to fully comply with God’s laws. But I cannot debase my faith in that manner. When I am in the privacy of my own home, I may wear the codpiece for practical reasons of safety. But in public, I feel shameful if anything but my eyes is covered.

I am tired of the humiliations I face on almost a daily basis. It is not as if I am asking you to shed your clothing and join me in celebrating the Lord (although that would be the right thing to do). All I ask is a little tolerance and understanding. Especially in the middle of winter.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Stay the Course


FROM: K. Rove
RE: New slogan

Mr. President, we have a linguistic crisis. I’m not sure who’s to blame but I think we’ve lost "stay the course." And if "stay the course" is gone then "cut and run" is not long for this world.

I’m really sad to see "stay the course" go. It was probably our strongest and most ambiguous slogan. But there’s no time to "cry over spilled milk" so to speak. We need a new phrase and fast. Please consider these potential candidates:

We did it our way
By drawing on the legacy of that great American hero Frank Sinatra, this one connotes strength and single-minded determination. At the same time, it is suitably vague so that no one can pin you down as to what it actually means. Good for bashing Democrats, too, as in "We did it our way, not the Democrats’ way."

Peace with honor
Apparently this slogan has been used before although my staff couldn’t find out when and where. But I like it. It’s kind of like "As the Iraqis stand up, we’ll stand down" but with a nobler sentiment. Of course "peace with honor" is not in the cards. But by the time folks discover that, your term is over and we’re outta here.

Let them eat cake
I found this one on the Internet but I think it has possibilities. At first blush, I figured it might come across as too haughty and elitist. But if used properly against the Democrats, it may just have enough panache to keep them off balance. We’re still researching the phrase’s origins to make sure it has no negative connotations.

Are you or have you ever been a member of the Baathist Party?
As they say in football, the best defense is a good offense. Quick and repeated use of this one will knock the Democrats back on their heels. Of course they haven’t been members of the Baathist Party but their denials will make them sound like Saddam’s fellow travellers.

Après moi, le deluge
I don’t know what this one means but it’s foreign and that gives it a certain sophisticated "je ne sais quoi." I think it’s the French equivalent of "stay the course" which means that we can get our old favorite back without anyone even knowing.

We’re between Iraq and a hard place
It’s always good to inject a touch of humor into a desperate situation and this might be just the ticket. A little self-deprecation and a couple of laughs can go a long way. You could even combine it with "beat around the Bush" or "It’s all over but the shooting" for some really big yuks. Just remember not to overdo this one.

Mission accomplished
I know, I know. You’re probably saying to yourself: "Been there, done that." But there’s nothing wrong with a little recycling. Declare our mission in Iraq accomplished, fold up the tent and get the hell out.

Yours truly,

Boy Genius

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dog House of Commons

Ruff-ruff. Woof, woof, woof.

Hi, I’m Oreo. I’m a Portuguese Water Dog and my so-called master has agreed to translate my remarks for this piece.

I’ve never written an op-ed essay before. Heck, I’ve never even written a letter to the editor. But this latest kerfuffle about what somebody named Peter MacKay apparently said has really got me steamed.

The other day I was lying in front of the TV licking myself while watching Question Period on CPAC. I heard some guy say to this Peter fellow: "What about your dog?" Peter replied: "You already have her" and then pointed to an empty seat where his ex-girlfriend usually sits.

Well, everyone’s in an uproar saying how it’s so cruel and demeaning that this guy should compare his ex-girlfriend to a dog. The ex-girlfriend is named Belinda and she’s all upset and demanding an apology. Peter denies saying what he said and refuses to apologize.

Frankly, if anyone deserves an apology, it’s me. I am really, really ticked off. What is wrong with being compared to a dog, I ask you?

Personally, I can attest to the fact that some of the nicest animals on earth are dogs. Now I’m not saying humans are ugly but without their clothes on, they look pretty funny.

And while some of my best friends are human, their race as a whole is not a model for good behavior. I’m not going to start pointing paws but I don’t recall dogs starting any wars. And when it comes to pollution, the odd poop in the park is nothing compared to what humans have done to this planet.

This Peter guy should own up to what he said. Heck, he should take pride in what he said. In my view, there is no greater compliment than being compared to a dog. As you know, we are loyal and friendly and, if I do say so myself, some of us are very attractive.

And where does this human Belinda get off being offended? Peter pays her one of the highest compliments there is and she’s all "He’s rude, boorish and sexist."

You’d think that somebody called her ugly or something. Instead she was compared to the best looking animal around.

Now I’m not a big fan of most humans but I have to admit this Belinda woman is not bad looking. In fact, she kind of reminds me of a certain Afghan Hound named Misty who I’ve been checking out lately at the local dog run.

I think both Peter and Belinda are acting like real dog haters, caninists if you will. Peter should openly and honestly say that he genuinely thinks Belinda is a dog, a real bitch if you will. And for her part, Belinda should graciously accept the compliment and tell Peter that she thinks he would look great naked on all fours with his tongue hanging out. Then they could sniff each other’s butt and put this nasty episode behind them. After all, it’s not like anyone hurled a real insult and compared someone to a cat.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The G.O.P. Daily Gleaner

If the following ads from the classifieds section of "The G.O.P. Daily Gleaner" are any indication, some Congressional incumbents may soon be out of a job:

Employment Wanted
Professional legislator looking to make a lateral move into the field of government lobbying. Specializes in serving single terms as House Representative, Governor and Senator. Will consider White House positions. Only serious offers. No macacas, please. Contact: G. Allen, Box KKK.

House for Sale
White, two-storey colonial in Georgetown available immediately. Features include two-car garage, completely drug-free environment and full heterosexual master bedroom. Vendor motivated. Must sell soon in view of pending move back to Pennsylvania. No queers, perverts or Democrats, please. Contact: R. Santorum, Box 666.

TV Doctor
Longtime Senate MD looking to put his special medical skills to work in a new field. Extensive experience in propping up ailing Republican presidents and conducting video diagnoses of severely brain-damaged, comatose patients. Hoping to start own medical cable network for miracle video cures and political resurrections. Contact: B. Frist, Box 041.

Will Run, Will Travel
Political veteran looking for new opportunities in any branch of government. Not restricted by ideology or party affiliation. Well-versed in singing from any political songbook. Willing to run in any jurisdiction even when not chosen. Independent type open to all kinds of races including three-ways. No bondage, please. Wire: Lieberman, Connecticut.

‘99 Lincoln for Sale
Low-mileage, well-maintained Republican-owned automobile with liberal extras. Capable of driving on either side of the road. $8,000 or best offer. Will drive vehicle home to Rhode Island if buyer wishes. Contact: L. Chafee Box 321.

Will Work for Room and Board
Longtime Washington, D. C. resident looking to return to his native Montana. Will work as farmhand or ranch hand. No forest firefighting please. For references, write J. Abramoff c/o the federal correctional facility in Cumberland, Maryland. Contact: C. Burns Box ZZZ.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sweat the Small Stuff

Occasionally I'll post a non-politcal humor piece like this one:

A recent visit to my local bookstore revealed a little volume entitled "Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff." Filled with enough homilies, platitudes and meditations to choke a horse, the basic message of this perennial bestseller is that obsessing about everyday problems is counterproductive.

Nice as that sentiment is, I simply can’t let it stand unchallenged. As a lifetime member of the anal-retentive school of neurotic skeptics, I thrive on the small stuff. And with good reason. If you don’t sweat the small stuff, you often end up getting killed by the ensuing big stuff.

I could write a book on this topic but that would take a lot of work and that truly would be counterproductive. So, for now, here are a few of my "prescriptions for living" that require you to, indeed, sweat the small stuff:

1. Go outside, turn around and look at your roof. See those shingles curling at the ends? That’s small stuff but if you don’t get your roof replaced in short order, you’ll soon have more problems than George W. Bush nation building in Baghdad.

2. All things being equal, place the toilet roll with the paper hanging over, not under. Common sense dictates that this provides a shorter distance to reach the paper. No sense in risking undue injury while on the john.

3. Obsess about the nighttime placement of your keys, watch and wallet. The older you get, the less you remember. Put essential things in the same place every night and chances are they’ll be there in the morning.

4. Brush and floss your teeth regularly and religiously. It’s a small thing but it beats root canal hands down. If it’s too late for you, place your teeth in the same spot as your keys, watch and wallet (see item # 3).

5. Always take the same route to work. It gets you there on time and you don’t have to think about it. Risking the "adventure" of change can only lead to disorientation, tardiness and possible multiple traffic violations.

6. Don’t stop and smell the roses. Rose bushes have thorns and you’re probably allergic to roses anyway.

7. Buy your car new and have regular maintenance performed. Overlooking the small stuff can lead to never ending automotive frustration and the unintended financing of the orthodontic work of your auto mechanic’s daughter.

8. Read the expiry dates on food products. Together with mold growth and unusual odors, they are handy reminders as to when to throw out items hiding in the back of your fridge. N.B. - Canned goods with a "19" anywhere in the year are iffy, at best.

9. Avoid computer use. Between computer viruses, e-mail worms and software bugs, every additional minute you spend on-line exponentially increases your chances of being reduced to an incoherent, babbling idiot vainly trying to fix some insoluble computer snafu.

10. Don’t buy more gizmos than you can plug into a standard, two-socket outlet. Each item purchased beyond two doubles your chances of not being able to hook everything up and triples your chances of frying the circuits on at least one device.

11. And finally, resist the urge to buy quick-fix, self-help books filled with aphorisms and daily prescriptions for living. Sure, you can sometimes turn lemons into lemonade. But remember; when someone hands you gators, it’s darn near impossible to make Gatorade.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween Movies

Traditionally, Hollywood likes to roll out its latest horror films just before Halloween. This year is no exception except that they all seem to have a decidedly political twist. Take a look at these upcoming scary offerings:

A Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue
When her best friend Tina loses her job, Nancy suspects that there is someone evil behind the deed. The trouble is that whenever she has a chance to democratically change her country and render the unknown creature impotent, she falls asleep at the switch and votes over and over again for a monster named Freddy W. Krueger. Every four years, W returns to cut taxes, social spending and military effectiveness in one of the scariest slasher films of all time.

Tuesday the 7th
This latest installment in the "Friday the 13th" series takes a novel twist on the triskaidekaphobia theme. Jason’s back and this time he plans to do his killing on the 7th, November the 7th that is. Jason plays a Republican operative sent to make sure the Democrats never get back in the House. With help from his creepy pals Rove and Cheney, Jason scares enough Democratic voters away to ensure a truly frightening Republican Congress for years to come.

The Kondo of Dr. K
Loosely based on the classic thriller "The Island of Dr. Moreau", this remake features an aging diplomat cum gunslinger named Dr. K who has created a menagerie of bizarre foreign policy creatures on a remote island in the middle of the Potomac River. Presidents and Secretaries of State alike can’t resist visiting Dr. K’s condo and feasting on such deadly diplomatic delights as "spreading democracy in the Middle East", "send more troops", "stay the main course" and "axis of evil."

Rummy’s Baby
Born in a secret Defense Department coven, Rummy’s baby is thought by some to be the reincarnation of the devil. However, the creature turns out to be something even worse: a misguided misfit of a war called Iraq. Conceived by a secret cabal of warlocks called neo-conservatives, Iraq becomes the baby that no one will admit fathering. As it grows in size and terror, Rummy’s baby engulfs not only the entire American budget but most incumbent Republican Congressmen as well.

The Grudge 3
"The Grudge 2" is out now for this Halloween season but "The Grudge 3" is already in production for a fall 2008 release. The cursed house that was featured in the first two movies is back except this time it’s a big white house in the middle of Washington. The tortured sounds coming from the building only hint at the unspeakable acts that have occurred there over the last six years. A trio of ghostbusters named Al, John and Hillary use every trick in the book to try to take back the house and cleanse it of its evil spirits.

Psycho Korea
In the tradition of the great Hitchcock thriller, "Psycho Korea" features an odd loner with a scary, scary secret to hide. Kim is an aging, leisure-suited male living out his days in a fortress-like institution somewhere near Pyongyang. When outsiders try to track Kim down, he threatens them with old communist slogans and new nuclear bombs. The R-rated version of the movie shown in American theaters is missing Kim’s shower scene which those who have seen it say is the scariest five minutes on film.

Campaign of the Living Dead
They once controlled the world but now they only haunt the night. Reanimated corpses called Republicans seek to control Washington by using everything from soft money to supersized lies. A small, brave band of Democrats tries to fight off the living dead but are eventually defeated by attack ads and their own missing platform. They try to take refuge in a nearby place called the Senate only to be driven back to anonymity.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Redux
When their car breaks down outside a desolate ranch near Crawford, Texas, a group of young Americans goes looking for help. Instead of a friendly face, however, they run into a chainsaw-wielding madman who’s bent on destruction. Not only does he clear brush, he also savagely cuts everything from education to social services to taxes for the rich thereby ensuring a bleak future for his victims.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Trick or Treat

With every passing year, Halloween is becoming more and more of a holiday not just for kids but for grownups as well. Look for these adult "trick or treaters" out and about on Tuesday night:

Stephen Harper
As with every aspect of his government, Stephen Harper has decided to do all the trick or treating himself. The Prime Minister has ordered his entire Cabinet to stay home while he gathers the goodies. Insiders report that Mr. Harper has not yet decided whether he’ll dress up this Halloween as Peter MacKay, Jim Flaherty or Rona Ambrose.

Michael Ignatieff
By now, the frontrunner in the Liberal leadership race had hoped to be trick or treating all by himself. But thanks, in part, to his surprising ability to continue speaking even with both feet in his mouth, it appears that he will have lots of company this coming Tuesday night. As things now stand, it looks like Mr. Ignatieff will still be making the rounds with his fellow candidates dressed as Iggy and the Seven Dwarfs.

Ralph Klein
For the first time in years, Ralph Klein will not be going door to door on Halloween. The Alberta premier apparently wanted to go trick or treating but the contenders for his job asked him to keep a low profile until the leadership race is over. Rumor has it that Mr. Klein will simply stay home this year and hand out more $400 treats to every Albertan who comes to his door.

Jean Charest
In keeping with his past history, Jean Charest will once again be sporting a multi-purpose costume for Halloween. As always, the Quebec premier will be wearing a red shirt with blue pants and will be carrying both a Canadian and a Quebec flag. Mr. Charest reportedly will be dressed this year as that scariest of creatures: a Canadian federalist who’s a Quebec nationalist.

Dalton McGuinty
Once again, Dalton McGuinty has been asked by Ontario parents to refrain from trick or treating. Apparently the premier’s uncanny resemblance to Anthony Perkins’s character Norman Bates from the movie "Psycho" has scared too many of the province’s children. Instead, Mr. McGuinty will stay home, turn out the lights and practise his very scary threat to correct the federal fiscal imbalance.

Danny Williams
As on past Halloweens, Danny Williams will be looking for handouts from everyone. Among other things, the Newfoundland premier will be seeking more hydro revenue from Quebec and more oil and gas money from Ottawa. Mr. Williams’s trick will be to gather all those treats while still keeping his equalization payments.

George W. Bush
In advance of next week’s mid-term elections, George W. Bush will be out on the hustings looking to scare up some votes for his fellow Republicans. However, given Mr. Bush’s current approval ratings, instead of Halloween treats, he may instead find a lot of darkened doors. In fact, given his six-year record, the trick may be to find anyone who’ll even admit that they voted for him.

Kimi Jong-il
The North Korean leader jumped the gun on this year’s Halloween celebrations. He has already identified the treats he wants in the form of oil, trade and financial assistance. Apparently his "trick" involves leaving a flaming bag of fissionable material on a certain southern neighbor’s doorstep.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

George Passes His Midterms

With the mid-term elections only days away, President George W. Bush has wasted no time in using his new powers under the recently signed detainee legislation.

"As I’ve noted all along," said the President. "These new powers will be used to protect the American people from the terrorist threat."

When asked to elaborate on what he considered the terrorist threat, Mr. Bush indicated that anyone who stood in the way of his Administration carrying out its mandate could be considered an enemy combatant.

"The American people trust me to use these new powers for good and not for evil," said President Bush. "They know that I would not abuse these powers for partisan aims."

President Bush declined to indicate who qualifies as an enemy combatant. He also reiterated his position that the U. S. government does not engage in torture so long as torture remains undefined.

"I’m not going to give anything away to our enemies," said Mr. Bush. "Unlike some of those cut-and-run Democrats, I intend to do whatever it takes to protect America."

Protecting America seems to have taken on a broader scope in light of the President’s new powers. Asked to comment on rumors about recent interrogations of select Democratic Congressional candidates, Mr. Bush was not entirely forthcoming.

"That’s classified information," said the President. "But let me just say that if certain naysaying Democratic candidates are polling above 50% in their states or Congressional districts, that’s definitely cause for concern."

The President denied that Senator John Kerry had been called in for questioning.

"As far as I know, his term isn’t up until 2008," said Mr. Bush. "I see no reason to detain Mr. Kerry at this time."

Mr. Bush, however, refused to comment on the recent disappearances of Senators Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton.

"Even if I did know where they are, for national security reasons, I couldn’t tell you," said Mr. Bush. "Let’s just say that if they were to drop out of their respective Senate races, the population of Guantanamo Bay might drop by two, if you know what I mean."

When asked how far he was prepared to go in applying the new detainee provisions, Mr. Bush smiled and said: "As far as I need to go in order to protect each American citizen’s inalienable right to be governed by the Republican of his choice."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thanks George

Thanks, George Steinbrenner. Thank you for deciding to keep Alex Rodriguez and to not fire Joe Torre.

It’s not that I’m a grateful Yankee fan. Far from it. In fact, I hate the Yankees.

From as early as I can remember, I detested the Bronx Bombers. As a young kid growing up in northern New York almost fifty years ago, I preferred to strain to hear a weak radio signal from Baltimore with Chuck Thompson reporting the exploits of my favored Orioles than to dial into any one of a dozen nearby stations carrying the hated Yanks.

It seemed then, as now, that the world was divided into two camps: those who loved the Yankees and those who loathed them. I was a card-carrying member of that latter camp.

Like most Yankee haters, I suffered year after year with the only relief being the occasional season that the pinstriped crew failed to make it to the World Series. So it came as a surprise to me when I felt a sense of relief when Mr. Steinbrenner didn’t lower the ax on Messrs. Rodriguez and Torre. Strange as it seemed, I was glad to see the Yankee team left intact.

‘What’s happening here’ I thought. ‘Why would I wish good things on the evilest franchise in the universe?’

Then it struck me. How could I hate the Yankees if they stunk? What good would it do me to watch them become a second-rate team? I needed the Yankees to be successful almost as much as I needed to hate them. Just not too successful.

Don’t get me wrong. It was great fun to watch the underdog Tigers whip the Yankees in four games. Watching the modern Murderer’s Row flailing away at Detroit pitchers was a delicious treat.

But somehow it lacked the satisfaction of a Yankees loss in the League Championship Series or, better yet, a defeat in the World Series. The higher they soared before being shot down, the greater my pleasure.

That’s why I want to see this year’s Yankee lineup retained. No doubt, they’re great. But so far, thankfully, they’re not great enough to win it all.

When I look back, the last five years has been one of the most satisfying periods in baseball for me. The hated Yankees have made it into the World Series twice and both times they lost. And even when they didn’t make it into the Series, they provided exquisite delights such as their complete collapse against the Red Sox two years ago.

What would appear to be incredible success to any other franchise is currently viewed as a crisis by Yankee fans. Any other team with 26 championships, four in the last ten years and perennial division winners would rejoice in such accomplishments.

But for the followers of the pin-striped ones, those achievements are nothing. There has been no World Series victory since 2000. In Yankeeland, that’s not just a drought, it’s a true catastrophe.

I suspect that Yankee fans would sooner suffer another ten-year period of mediocrity than to go on like this. Coming close every year and then losing must be pure agony for these folks. At least that’s what I dearly hope.

So when George Steinbrenner says "Let’s stay the course", I couldn’t be happier. Here’s hoping he continues to achieve that fine balance that leads the Yankees on to another divisional title, dare I say it, another League Championship. For my sweetest dream is to see the hated ones make it into the World Series next year. I wouldn’t even mind that much if they won a game or two or even three. So long as they lose it all on a wild pitch in the bottom of the thirteenth inning in Game seven. Or am I asking for too much?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Improved Democracy Spread

"And the second way to defeat the terrorists is to spread freedom. You see, the best way to defeat a society that is -- doesn't have hope, a society where people become so angry they're willing to become suiciders, is to spread freedom, is to spread democracy."
--George W. Bush, June 8, 2005

Some critics have suggested that the Bush Administration has no plan for implementing democracy in the Middle East. However, the following secret White House memo from 2003 outlining a clear time line suggests otherwise:

- Invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein
- Support the Iraqi people in their immediate attempts to form a coalition government
- Plan for future free elections

- Help to thwart the inevitable intrusions in the nascent democratic process
- Facilitate interrogation of captured prisoners by transporting them to perfectly legal, extrajudicial sites like Guantanamo Bay
- Re-visit and rethink the Geneva Conventions
- Celebrate first tentative steps toward Iraqi democracy

- Assist the people of Iraq in their rebuilding efforts
- Neutralize the handful of troublemakers by sending them to CIA prisons in various secret locations
- Commemorate first partially successful democratic elections in most Iraqi provinces

- Discourage American citizens from using incautious criticism to undermine the war effort
- Suspend habeas corpus for non-citizens to ensure the possibility of full, fruitful interrogations
- Re-define "Iraqi democracy"

- Restrict all uses of the term "civil war" as an inaccurate and unpatriotic description of the rapidly evolving democracy in Iraq
- Extend the suspension of habeas corpus to also cover American citizens, particularly journalists
- Limit democratic Iraqi governmental options to non-theocratic forms regardless of popular will

- Suspend trial by jury for non-Republicans
- Repeal 22nd Amendment to allow our great leader George W. Bush to seek a third term
- Temporarily detain individuals with surname Clinton, Gore or Kerry for national security reasons
- As a temporary measure, suspend free elections in Iraq until civil order can be restored
- As a temporary measure, suspend free elections in the United States until the War on Terror completed
- Presidential election deferred until 2009 and electorate restricted to Republican campaign donors

- Our great leader George W. Bush is sworn in for a third term after winning the election with a 99% margin of the 150,000 votes cast
- Iraq renamed Democratic Peoples Republic of Iraq
- Victory declared
- American troop strength in Iraq doubled

- The Democratic Peoples Republic of the United States declares Richard Cheney its first Dear Leader
- FOX becomes the official government televison network
- Plans initiated to spread democracy to Canada

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dear Joe Heartland

Dear Joe Heartland,

As a concerned Canadian, I’ve got an important message for you. It’s something your own politicians won’t tell you because they want your vote and are afraid to insult you with the truth.

In a few weeks, by casting your vote for a Democrat, you’ll have a chance to make a real difference in your country. Please, please, please don’t screw it up this time.

For six years, we’ve heard political commentators whine about how George W. Bush and his cronies stole the 2000 Presidential election from Al Gore. We’ve had to endure endless analyses of how the Republicans rigged the vote in Florida and stickhandled the issue through the Supreme Court.

But none of this would even have mattered if dummies like you hadn’t voted for Bush in the first place. The most surprising thing about the 2000 election is not that Bush stole Florida or that the Supreme Court highjacked the result. The most surprising thing is that it was close at all.

The country was on an economic roll. Inflation had been brought under control, unemployment was at record lows and the country’s books were in surplus for the first time in decades.

Al Gore was part of that success story and George W. Bush was a former part-time Governor of Texas with a mediocre track record and no plan for America beyond meaningless platitudes like "compassionate conservative." Yet you and your kind voted for him.

When asked "why?", you tended to say that you liked Bush. You thought he was a regular guy, someone you could sit down and have a beer with.

How stupid is that? I don’t know about you but when I’m charged with choosing a new leader, I’m not looking for some friendly, gum-chewing, back-slapping good ole boy to vote for. I want a candidate with an intellect and lots of political experience. Please try to remember that for this year’s election.

I’m not asking you to do this as some noble, selfless act. If you had thought about the issues for more than two seconds back in 2000, you would have realized that a vote for Al Gore was a vote for your own self-interest.

By voting for Bush, you helped hand out the largest tax cut in history to the rich while you received next to nothing. You also voted to start dismantling the nation’s social safety net that ensures not-so-bright people like you don’t fall through the cracks. And you also voted for the most ill-advised, least diplomatic, most egregious misuse of American military power in decades.

All this might have been forgivable if you hadn’t pulled the same ignorant stunt in 2004. As your hero George W. Bush has so eloquently put it: "Fool me once, shame on.....shame on you. It fool me, can’t get fooled again."

You had already experienced four years of some of the worst presidential governance your country has ever seen. And you had a bright, articulate, experienced Democratic candidate to vote for. Better yet, you even had a decorated war hero you could choose instead of a silver-spooned service evader.

And what did you do? You voted for Bush a second time! Unbelievable! Are you really that stupid that you would fall for the same old lines all over again?

"But he’s just like me," you said. "He’s one of us, a regular guy, not like that Kerry fellow."
Stop for one minute and think about it. Do you really want someone like you running the country? How do you think someone like you would do at such an important, complicated job? That’s right; you’d screw it up big time.

And that’s exactly what your pal "W" has done. Maybe this time you should think about letting the smart guy have a chance. You don’t have to like him; you just have to vote for him.

You can’t undo the damage you’ve done by repeatedly exercising your right to be ignorant and voting for George W. Bush. But you can start helping to clean up the mess by voting for Democrats in 2006. You can help give control of Congress (that’s the body made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives) back to a party that might be able to start turning things around.

For once in your life, Joe, think before you vote. Who knows? You might even like it.

Yours truly,

A concerned Canadian

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Value Investment

Dave Martin rebounded today after learning that his annual earnings will increase next year by 2.5%. Mired in a five-year decline, the value of the long term government employee may be seeing an unexpected turnaround.

Not surprisingly, Dave Martin did not realize the explosive growth experienced by many of his contemporaries during the boom years of the 1990s. Given his employment inertia, Mr. Martin remained in the same position throughout that bullish decade.

Once touted as a long term "value" investment, Mr. Martin even failed to meet that limited expectation. Due to government salary freezes throughout part of the nineties and Mr. Martin’s insistence on owning a house and driving a vehicle, annualized returns were well below the rate of inflation.

Those looking to Mr. Martin as a safe, secure investment were disappointed. Chief among those investors were his wife and daughter who were forced to suffer through the last ten years with used cars, discount Barbies and an outdated, avocado-green stove.

But all that may now be changing. Trading at an historically low P/E multiple, analysts see nothing but upside in Martin futures.

The recent salary increase of 2.5% sparkles in comparison to many other issues. And Mr. Martin’s limited lifestyle expenditures ensure that he will experience real growth in the near term.

Despite Mr. Martin’s propensity for investing excess cash in underperforming mutual funds, analysts claim there is real value underlying his position. Although they discount Mr. Martin’s core competencies, they do give full marks for his longevity. Apparently if Mr. Martin can maintain his current minimal performance level for another ten years, he will realize significant indexed pension earnings.

Thus, while the market is not yet bullish on Dave Martin, it is clear that there is money to be made there. If Mr. Martin were wound up today, insurance, pension and severance payments would yield a tidy return to anyone who had hung tough over the last twenty years. In the words of Mr. Martin’s wife, "I’ve always said that he was worth more liquidated than as a going concern."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Who Voted For Bush?

"Research Project for Ms. Anne Thrope’s Grade 9 American History Class" by Diana "Di" Ogenes

This is my research project for my American History class. It is a project which required research about history. It was assigned by Ms. Thorpe and she said it had to be 500 words long! That’s a lot of words but I counted them all and I think I even have a few extra.

I chose for my research project "Who voted for George W. Bush and why?" In a democracy like the one that we have, I think it is important for people to vote. And I thought it would be interesting to find out why people voted for Mr. Bush.

My dad says that anyone who voted for Bush is an idiot. But I don’t think that’s fair. After all, almost half of the voters voted for him and they can’t all be dummies, can they?

For my research project, I chose the personal interview method. Since Mr. Bush won in our Congressional district, I figured it would be easy to choose some names from the phone book and ask them if they voted for Mr. Bush and how come. I’m not sure why, but that method didn’t seem to work very well.

First I spoke to our mayor, Mr. Blo Harde. Since he’s a registered Republican, I was pretty sure that he voted for Mr. Bush. But Mr. Harde said he couldn’t remember who he voted for. He said that 2004 was a long time ago and he was pretty busy on election day and he’s just not sure which lever he pulled. In fact, the more he thought about it, the more he said he was pretty sure he didn’t vote for Mr. Bush.

Next up, I tried Mr. Manny Baggs who runs the local bank. My dad told me that Mr. Baggs definitely would have voted for Bush just to get a tax cut. But when I called Mr. Baggs, he said that he thinks he voted for John Kerry in 2004. When I asked him about the 2000 election, he said he might have voted for Bush but that was six years ago and he couldn’t really remember.

I also called Mr. Baggs’s wife, Sadd L. Baggs. She’s the president of the local Women’s League of Republican Voters so I’m almost positive that she voted for the President. I asked her if she voted for Mr. Bush and, not surprisingly, she said yes. But when I asked if she voted for him in 2000, too, she said: "Oh, you mean George W. Bush. I meant that I voted for George H. W. Bush in 1988 and in 1992. I don’t think I ever voted for his son."

I must have called a dozen different people who are registered Republicans but not one of them said that they voted for our President. The sports editor of our local paper said he voted for a Bush recently but it turns out he voted for Reggie Bush for the Heisman Trophy last year. But after the scandal broke about Reggie Bush taking money from marketing agents while in college, the editor called me back and denied even voting for that Bush.

Like I said, I hoped to find out why people voted for George W. Bush but I haven’t had much luck. On the other hand, I think I may have discovered something even more interesting. From my research, it might be possible that nobody voted for Mr. Bush. Isn’t that funny?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

United Statesians

Unbeknownst to most Americans, the rest of the Western Hemisphere is not happy with their appropriation of the term "American." After all, aren’t all residents of this half of the globe Americans?

It matters little to Americans, of course, since they’re not confused by the word. But other Western Hemispherians find this unilateral name-claiming symptomatic of the arrogance and ignorance of the U. S.

In these fractious times, it might be a good idea for the United States to amend this longstanding practise. Giving back the term "American" would be a nice gesture of reconciliation to the rest of the world. It would show that the world’s most powerful nation is at least sometimes willing to compromise and change.

The decision to forego the name "American" is the easy part. The tough part, of course, is coming up with a suitable alternative.

At one time, it was suggested that U. S. residents go by the name "United Statesian." This seemed to make sense. It follows the form of other nationalities and is the literal translation of the term used by Spanish Americans namely, "estadounidense" or resident of los Estados Unidos.

But United Statesian just doesn’t seem right. It’s clunky and awkward and doesn’t fit the one-word template used by other nationalities (except maybe for New Zealanders, South Africans and Sierra Leoneans).

Other attempts have been made in the past. For example, "USAnian" and "Usian" have both been offered up as synonyms for "American." Again, neither of these candidates really fits the bill. In addition to being difficult to pronounce, they could easily get confused with "Asian" or "Eurasian."

The on-line encyclopedia Wikpedia lists more than two dozen alternatives but none has caught on. With choices like Fredonian, Colonican, Pindosian and Appalacian, that’s hardly surprising.

Some Spanish Americans use the term "norteamericano" to refer to gringos. Although an improvement on American, it still lacks the required specificity and risks offending the continent’s other inhabitants, primarily the Mexicans and Canadians.

So what’s left? Unlike other nationalities, it seems impossible to derive something suitable from the country’s name.

The term "yankee" seems to have almost universal recognition. But for those living south of the Mason-Dixon line, it likely won’t pass muster.

The American flag is the ultimate national symbol. So how about calling its country’s residents "Oldglorians" or "Starsnstripesians?" Well, maybe not.

Some have suggested that U. S. history and current foreign policy could inspire names like "Imperials" or Unilats" or "USers." But that seems churlish and a tad unfair.

When it comes right down to it, there just doesn’t seem to be a suitable alternative. So maybe the rest of the world will just have to accept Americans as Americans and leave it at that. Either that or you’re always welcome to start calling yourself Canadians, eh?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Laura Bush's Xmas Letter

Here's another excerpt from my book "My Friend W" published by Arriviste Press and available at selected Chapters stores and on-line at Amazon:

The White House
December 19, 2003

Dear Friends,

Well it’s that time of year again. The frost is on the windowpane, a chill is in the air and the Democrats are in disarray. That means, of course, that it’s almost Christmas.

George, Jenna, Barbara and I want to wish you and yours the best of the holiday season. For most of you, that means a Merry, Merry Christmas. For Colin and Condi, I believe the appropriate greeting is Happy Kwanzaa. And for our dear patient friend Paul Wolfowitz, Happy, Happy Hanaka (pardon my spelling).

Once again, it’s been a very good year for the Bush family. Ever since that "surprise" victory in Florida three years ago, everything’s just been coming up roses for us. Who would have thought that coming in second would pay such dividends?

Living here in The White House is indeed an honor for George and me. As George says, it’s the ultimate work at home location. I just hope we can stay a few more years. Since Al Gore’s not running again, let’s just all cross our fingers and hope the Democrats choose Howard Dean.

We’ve all been very busy this year. George, as you probably know, landed on an aircraft carrier, won the war in Iraq and nabbed that nasty Saddam Hussein. I, on the other hand, have been working hard at being a good role model for stay at home moms everywhere. As for the twins, well, girls will be girls.

As you probably know, we summered again at our ranch near Crawford, Texas. It’s not my first choice for a summer vacation or even my third choice if the truth be known. But as George says, it drives the media crazy covering him in 110º heat and that alone makes the whole trip worthwhile.

This year, we also spent Thanksgiving at the ranch with the girls. Well, at least I did. I’m sure you all heard about George’s brave trip to be with our troops. Unfortunately, that meant I had to share turkey with George’s folks. Poppy kept muttering something about how he would never have invaded Iraq but once we got his medication adjusted things were OK.

The only fly in the ointment this year was some uncalled for criticism of George about all those nasty corporate scandals. Some people said George was just as guilty when he was a businessman back in the 1980's. I think that’s really unfair because the last time I looked we here in America still have something called the statute of limitations.

I hope all of you enjoyed this year’s installment on George’s ten-year tax cut. Just consider it our little Christmas present to you. And if you didn’t see much difference in your net income, maybe you’re just not trying hard enough.

Well, I must sign off for now. I think I hear John Ashcroft at the door asking us to join him in prayer again. Boy are my knees getting sore! Just kidding. John always let’s us sit down.
Merry Christmas to all and have a happy and prosperous new year. If George’s repeal of the estate tax stands up, I’m sure all of us can look forward to many, many more.

Yours truly,

Laura Bush