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December 31, 2006

“the year in review” (for those with anterograde amnesia)

As a service for those who suffer from anterograde amnesia, or the inability to form long-term memories, Planet Moron presents this special “Year In Review” specifically tailored for these too-often neglected members of our community:

Who can forget the great lengths the nation went through to honor former president Gerald Ford as numerous dignitaries gathered to highlight his many accomplishments. Exactly why the nation chose this particular moment in time to demonstrate this affection remains somewhat unclear but there is no question that such recognition was long overdue.

In international news, the biggest story of the year was the  continuing violence in Iraq possibly exacerbated by the sudden appearance this morning of 130,000 American troops.

In the sporting world, the highlight of 2006 was surely Georgia's come-from-behind victory over Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl although a close second would no doubt be the Sacramento Kings 119-96 defeat of the Golden State Warriors in regulation time at a regularly scheduled game.

In entertainment news 2006 will long be remembered for the repeat broadcast of a Saturday Night Live episode last night following the local news.

Finally, in the world of business who could possibly forget that poignant moment when Microsoft’s stock closed at $29.86 per share, a decline of 0.40% from the day before.

Happy New Year everyone! 

J.

Poolside_key_west

December 31, 2006 at 03:05 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 23, 2006

last minute holiday shopping

In what has become an annual tradition here at Planet Moron (by which we mean we’re doing it two years in a row because we long ago ran out of original ideas) we offer our readers some last-minute gift-giving suggestions.

Last year we highlighted the often overlooked gift giving opportunities that abound at your average 24-hour convenience store.

But what about the true procrastinators, the folks who find themselves heading over to see the family early Christmas morning desperately seeking a place to get a last-minute present or two? No problem, for there are still plenty of places to pick up the kind of gift that says, “Christmas? Today? Really? Wow, I thought that was more of a December thing.”

"It's December?"

Real_estate_boxes Complimentary Brochure Boxes Near Bus Stops and Train Stations: So, your family members love to read but the bookstores are all closed? No problem! These brightly colored plastic boxes are always open and offer a wide variety of real estate, employment, and auto sales literature for even the most discriminating person on your list. And best of all, they’re free! Your loved ones will find hours of reading enjoyment flipping through the literally hundreds of different descriptions of used Camrys and exploring the many nuances of such phrases as “eng nds wrk.” What did the author mean? Is it an ironic self-reference to the universal degradations of age? A plaintive call for spiritual redemption in a world all too caught up in material comfort? Or does it merely suggest the need for a valve job?”

Look out Michael Crichton, there’s a new word slinger in town, and he’ll take “obo!”

Construction Sites: Often lightly guarded over the holidays, construction sites offer a wonderland of opportunities. Think how much your little boy will love that 100% genuine “field tested” construction helmet! Or imagine how his eyes will light up as he unwraps that grade 50 rebar and left-handed welding glove that you picked out just for him (while running for your life from a German Shepard-Doberman Pinscher mix).

Roadside Farmer’s Market: Sure, the produce has long since been packed away, but the tables are still there and are easily tossed into the back of an SUV in just seconds! And the rough-hewn wood and heavily oxidized fasteners will provide a kind of rustic charm all too often missing from the furniture you typically find in “higher end” retail establishments completely devoid as they are of warmth, character, and insect infestations. (Don’t worry, the fireplace probably won’t rouse them from hibernation until long after dinner is over).

Econo Lodge lobby: What does a gift of pamphlets highlighting local sightseeing opportunities and early-bird dinner coupons say? It says, “hey, you’re my sister, I know you’re an outgoing young woman always looking for that next guided underground cavern tour and all-you-can-eat breaded seafood buffet!”

Municipal Recycling Bins: You would not believe some of the things people throw away. Cardboard, empty bottles, newspapers, you name it. Gather a few of these items together and what do you have? An Arts & Crafts kit! Tell the lucky recipient that the only thing it needs is a big old dose of “imagination.” (And maybe some antibacterial cleanser.)

Side of Road: Orange warning cones have hundreds of uses, from marking off lane closures to festive party decorations, and are almost never bolted down or otherwise secured. Why, you don’t even have to stop, just slow down a little.

Hopefully these ideas will save you the embarrassment of showing up empty-handed, with the same old lame excuses about how you’ve been busy at work, your car broke down, or you ended up getting drunk, going home with a stripper, and waking up five miles outside of town on a municipal softball field with a missing kidney.

Merry Christmas everybody!

J.

December 23, 2006 at 09:32 PM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 20, 2006

Flamingo-on-Santa Violence

Flamingos_attack_santa_2

When will the madness end?

How many blow-molded plastic figurines must be sacrificed? How many polymer inflatables must be put down before this vicious cycle of violence is over? Surely Santa will retaliate.  And where does that end? When there are finally no more left to kill? 

How long must it be before the pink flamingo and air-driven Santa realize that maybe they aren’t so different after all. Yes, one is hard-sided and staked to the ground while the other is lightly tethered and powered by a hairdryer. 

But that is nothing compared to what they have in common, such as bringing joy to the face of a child, dressing up an otherwise drab yard, and being the repeated target of neighborhood vandals. 

And really, shouldn't that be enough?

J.

Cross posted at The Coalition of the War on the War on Christmas.

December 20, 2006 at 03:06 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 19, 2006

No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus

26953452 With his obvious love of food and thick white beard, veteran Commack School District bus driver Ken Mott already looks the part, but apparently took things a bit too far for one parent who complained that the Santa hat that he wears on his route this time of year was upsetting his child who does not believe in Santa Claus.

So his supervisors told him to take it off.

Naturally, you are outraged at this latest action in the “War on Christmas.” How on earth can these supervisors possibly think that telling Mr. Mott to take off his Santa hat will be nearly enough? Not when a single child might still find offense.

That is why, rather than give in on the issue and let him wear his hat, we instead call on the Commack School District to make the following demands of Mr. Mott:

  1. Shave.
  2. Absolutely no “being jolly” while on duty.
  3. If laughter does prove necessary, ensure that your belly in no way shakes “like a bowl full of jelly.”
  4. If said shaking persists, begin Atkins immediately.
  5. Saying “ho ho ho” is absolutely prohibited (unless quoting Jay-Z). 

Finally, Mr Mott should re required to write an editorial for the school newspaper:

No, Virginia, there is no Santa Clause

Your little friends are right. They have been informed by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think rightly that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their minds. All minds are grand. In this small  universe of ours man is a giant, in his intellect, as compared to the puny world around him, as measured by his ability to fully grasp the whole truth and knowledge.

No, Virginia, there is no Santa Clause. He’s a myth as certainly as love and generosity and devotion are myths, and know that they are absent and provide you no beauty and joy. Alas! How joyful would be the world if there were a Santa Claus! There would be childlike faith then, poetry, romance to make tolerable this existence. We would have enjoyment beyond sense and sight. The eternal light of childhood that once filled the world would be relit.

Believe in Santa Claus! You might as well believe in fairies! You can get your papa to hire men to watch all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, and when they do not see him what does that prove? That he does not exist! The only real things in the world are those that children and men can see. 

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, and that tells you all you need to know. Only clear visual evidence and material understanding can readily tell us about the world. Is it all real? In this world, yes, as long as you can measure and test it. No Santa Claus! Of course not! He’s dead, and has been dead forever. A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to be dead. 

J.

Cross posted at The Coalition of The War on The War on Christmas.

December 19, 2006 at 08:39 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 15, 2006

we all wish him a speedy recovery

While everyone wishes him a speedy recovery, the burdens of leadership require that careful consideration be given to the potential consequences that Senator Tim Johnson’s illness could have on the Senate’s precarious balance of power.

The scene: The hospital room of Senator Johnson

Democratic Senator Harry Reid: Hey there old buddy, how are you?
Republican Senator Bill Frist: Come on, he can’t hear you, he just had brain surgery.
Senator Harry Reid: Sure he can, you’re fine, aren’t you pal? Lookin’ good, sport!
Senator Bill Frist: Look, I’m telling you, he can’t understand a word you’re saying. I used to be a surgeon you know.
Senator Harry Reid: And you’ll be one again soon.
Senator Bill Frist: All right, you dirty son-of-a-…

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin: Easy guys, easy. We all wish Senator Johnson a speedy recovery.
Senator Bill Frist: Of course we do. But what if he doesn’t recover? I mean, look at him. Is it really fair to him to just keep him hooked up to these machines? Is it fair to his family?
Senator Dick Durbin: He just got out of surgery!
Senator Bill Frist: No, no, I don’t think it’s right to prolong his agony.  He’s gone, ok?   We should just let nature take its course. Where are those plugs?
Senator Harry Reid: Hold it! Senator Johnson is just fine and ready to take up his duties representing the good people of South Dakota.
Republican Senator Mitch McConnell: How can you say that?
Senator Harry Reid: Look, see? He just blinked his eyes. Clearly he’s trying to indicate support for a more comprehensive approach to immigration reform as envisioned under S.2611.
Senator Mitch McConnell: How can you possibly tell that?
Senator Harry Reid: I was his Minority Leader. I was there to wipe away the tears when he didn’t get on the Judiciary Committee and I was there to share the joy when I named him Vice Chair of Senate Ethics. A Minority Leader.. he knows.. he just knows.

Senator Bill Frist: Look we’re all hoping for the same thing.
Senator Mitch McConnell: Senator Johnson’s speedy recovery.
Senator Bill Frist: Yes, exactly. Surely we can set aside partisan bickering and get on with attending to the business of serving the people.
Senator Harry Reid: Such as moving forward with plans to form a Democratic majority in the Senate.
Senator Mitch McConnell: Yeah, but first you need a majority.
Senator Dick Durbin: Well, while you guys were arguing, Tim here just asked for the latest copy of Roll Call.
Senator Mitch McConnell: What? He hasn’t said a word.
Senator Harry Reid: That’s it, I’m going to issue a statement. “Democratic Majority Preserved.”
Senator Dick Durbin: And we wish Senator Johnson a speedy recovery.
All: We wish Senator Johnson a speedy recovery.

J.

December 15, 2006 at 11:43 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 14, 2006

WWLRHD?

Sacred A new ad campaign sponsored by “WakeUpWalMart.com,” an anti-WalMart organization backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union asks “Would Jesus shop at Wal-Mart?”

If you are like us, you are outraged that a mainstream labor organization purporting to represent 1.3 million hard-working Americans would use a sacred religious figure to peddle a partisan political message.  

Not when there are dozens of other religions out there with their own revered figures being denied their fair share of public defilement.

People in this country must stop behaving as if Christianity is the only faith practiced by Americans and start broadening their exploitation to include messiahs of other religions whose specific views on modern secular topics can’t possibly be known all for the sole purpose of furthering personal agendas.

For instance, why not run an ad campaign that asks what the Prophet Muhammed would think of trimming producer costs through the outsourcing of production to China given scripture that clearly denounces current Export-Import Bank policies? Or how about using Joseph Smith to promote more attractive flex-time wellness programs and lower prescription drug co-payments?

Yes, before we can consider ourselves to be a truly inclusive society welcoming of all cultures and beliefs, we must be willing to open our hearts as well as our minds to those who have been traditionally marginalized by the broader culture.

And hijack a wide range of theological teachings in a craven attempt to manipulate those of faith purely for personal gain.

For too long have we ignored the possible contributions L. Ron Hubbard could make if only we would be willing to use his name in support of accelerated depreciation schedules for capital investments in ethanol production or the Buddhist principles that clearly underly support for indexing the Alternative Minimum Tax to the CPI.

Surely in this season of brotherly love we can find it in ourselves to reach out and look to other cultures for new and innovative ways to serve our own self interest.

J.

Cross posted at The Coalition of the War on the War on Christmas.

December 14, 2006 at 12:22 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 12, 2006

They’re baaa-aaack. (The trees, that is.)

Buttonmen1 In an act as insensitive as it was non-inclusive, workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport began yesterday to defy management’s edict that all offense-causing Christmas trees be removed from the facility and started setting up their own Christmas-centric displays. 

These wholly unsanctioned artificial evergreens, displaying no respect whatsoever for the fact that they do not directly aid in the celebration of holidays that are not Christmas, started appearing in places such as ticket counters which are leased by private companies and so beyond the reach of airport management.

As one writer pointed out, this is an international airport and so we must remove these “jingoistic billboards or anything that may offend someone from another culture.” After all, the last thing we want visitors to America seeing when passing through an American airport is anything having to do with America. 

Except maybe for Starbucks.

As reported on WOWOC over the weekend, the original decision to remove the trees came about after local Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky questioned the fairness of using public space solely for a display that would appeal to, at best, 90% of the American public. He did this in that grandest and most universally acknowledged of American traditions: By threatening a lawsuit. However, many local Jewish leaders were not happy with Rabbi Bogomilsky’s actions and the potential backlash with one noting, “This we do not need. Carter was bad enough. Now we have this too?”

As a result, Rabbi Bogomilsky dropped his threat to sue. Airport management then brazenly ignored the 0.1% of email strongly endorsing their position to remove the trees and once again reversed their decision, ordering last night that the peripatetic plastic plants be restored to the airport.

In addition to the renewed possibility that countless handfuls of airport patrons might take offense at these overt symbols of Christmas (assuming they have time between taking off their shoes, stuffing their shampoo into clear Ziplock bags and bidding a tearful goodbye to their checked baggage), there is the fear that this rebellion might spread beyond the Seattle-Tacoma area. What if people in Portland started running around setting up Christmas trees at local airports? Already there have been tannenbaum sightings as far east as Denver International where a panic nearly broke out over an early report that an actual nativity scene had been spotted next to an Au Bon Pain (but that just turned out to be an Amish family with a basket of croissants).

Burnxmastree What can you personally do to help put an end to this growing conifer crisis? Remove anything on your own property that could possibly be mistaken for a Christmas tree. Do you have evergreens of any kind? Burn them down just to be safe and replace them with Japanese maples or maybe a nice secular azalea. Under no circumstance should you leave any errant branches lying around lest a passing international visitor or other non-Christmas-celebrating individual mistake them for a festive garland and feel assaulted by your offensive display of tenuously-associated religiosity. As a further precaution, red bows are also to be avoided as are sleighs, wrapped presents and anything starting with “Yule,” including “tide” and “log.”

And for God’s sake, remember, it’s “Happy Holidays,” NOT “Merry Christmas.”

Because the only way we can possibly begin to learn to treasure the rich tradition of other cultures is to do our very best to pretend that we don’t have any.

J.

Cross posted at The Coalition of the War on the War on Christmas.

December 12, 2006 at 08:49 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 11, 2006

it looks like the honeymoon is over for barack obama

1101061023_400 Since appearing on the cover of Time Magazine, Barack Obama has come under a torrent of increasingly critical media scrutiny. Just this past weekend, the first-term Senator from Illinois had a speaking engagement in the key presidential primary state of New Hampshire where the press was waiting for him like a pack of hungry wolves.

While the local Concord Monitor was mostly generous in its coverage, noting that the senator received a “rapturous reception,” Texas television station KTRE was far more critical of the outing noting that the crowds were merely “adoring.”

Larger media markets were even less charitable, with the Chicago Sun-Times reporting that New Hampshire “seems” to love Obama. Seems? That’s just the kind of poisonous cynicism that is turning good people away from a life in public service. Why bother when the media is going to take pot shots at you like that?

You could hardly expect better from the likes of the Washington Post, with its hard-bitten roster of nationally acclaimed political reporters. Were the crowds “rapturous” or even “adoring?” No, according to the Washington Post, the crowds were merely “enthusiastic.” 

It’s like they attended a different event or something.

Naturally things get no better at the national level, with CBS News completely ignoring how adoring or rapturous or even enthusiastic the crowds were and merely likening the senator’s reception to that of a “rock star.”  Well, that could mean anything.  Rolling Stones? Aerosmith?  Whitesnake?

And USA Today? They get their licks in too, suggesting the Senator merely drew a “pop star” response from the crowd. 

Pop star. They might as well just come out and endorse Hillary right now with that kind of mean-spirited coverage.

How this will affect Senator Obama’s decision to run for president is unclear. Does he have the kind of likeability of a John Kerry? Does he bring to the race the star power of a Tom Vilsack?

Only if he can answer “yes” to those questions, can he be sure it will be worth suffering the continuing torment of a critical press.

J.

December 11, 2006 at 02:15 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 09, 2006

Winter Season Carols For Everyone

No doubt you feel a little uneasy breaking out the old holiday classics in these multi-cultural times, what with their offending religiosity and culture-centric exclusionary references.

Well, now you can gather everyone around for a good old sing-a-long without fear of alienation as we have cleansed the lyrics of all potentially offensive content while still preserving the inherent charm of these festive tunes: 

Bob Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Bob rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Carl, our friend next door
Went off without delay
To replace the beer we drank so far
When we got carried away
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy


Silent Night

Silent night, snowy night.
The trash can lids are all on tight
Round yon cul-de-sac, some neighbors riled
Wind had gotten the trash blowing wild
Thursdays are pick up day 

Silent night, snowy night.
Yield to those, on the right
Hang your parking pass, on the rearview
It’s under the HOA’s purview
Just don’t block the driveways
Just don’t block the driveways


The Chestnuts Song


Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Using grates purchased from Lowe’s
It’s right next to Best Buy which had flyers
So I picked up a set of Bose. 

Everybody knows a turkey
And some mistletoe
Is cheaper down at the Sam’s Club
Tater tots are best found at Costco
Where you can get a decent sub


The Night Before Last
 

‘Twas the night before last, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The dryer was running, set on permanent press.
In the hopes that once done, we could easily get dressed 

The children were all nestled, it being so late,
I made sure to set the thermostat around 68;
So mamma with her remote, and I with a big yawn
Settled right in, for Spike’s Clint Eastwood marathon.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
Turned out the wind had blown down my old ladder
So I went back to bed knowing all was all right
And watched Dirty Harry get into a firefight


Deck The Halls With Old Nurse Holly

Deck the halls with old nurse Holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Now there’s a reason to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la. 

We can stop our medication,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
To heck with hospital administration,
Fa la la la la, la la la la. 

Hurry, the orderlies are coming,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
If we get caught we’ll all be bumming,
Fa la la la la, la la la la. 

Voices in my head are saying,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Sing some words that have no meaning,
Fa la la la la, la la la la. 

Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Fa la la hahahahahahahhahaaaaa

J.

Cross posted at The Coalition of the War on The War on Christmas.

December 9, 2006 at 05:17 PM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 07, 2006

looks like they’re going to have to make some room on mt. rushmore

In words that will no doubt ring throughout the ages, taking their proper place next to “Four score and seven years ago,” “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and “We hold these truths to be self evident,” the Iraq Study Group has, with similarly breathtaking clarity, put forth their solution for the Iraqi conflict:

The unconditional calling and holding of meetings.” 

You can’t tell us you didn’t just feel a shiver run up your spine. 

But now that the Iraqi situation is all but solved, it would be a shame not to make use of the Iraq Study Group’s hard work (the product of months of intensive brainstorming by such intellectual giants as Alan Kooi Simpson and Charles Spittal Robb) to address other pressing needs.
 
But now you can! Watch how easy it is to apply the same sure-fire problem-solving methods developed by the Iraq Study Group to your own daily difficulties. 

For instance, have you tried for years to lose weight without success? No problem: 

RECOMMENDATION 1: Establish a renewed and sustained commitment to losing weight.

RECOMMENDATION 2: Form a committee to look into the possible ramifications of eating less.

RECOMMENDATION 3: Commit additional resources to the maintenance of your exercycle and Pilates mat. 
 
RECOMMENDATION 4: Set a series of milestones for weight loss.

And you thought losing weight was hard.

In fact, there’s almost no problem that can’t be similarly addressed with a good dose of Iraq Study Group realism.  

Having difficulties maintaining a healthy lawn? 

RECOMMENDATION 1: Initiate a diplomatic offensive with all neighboring yards. Persuade the clover, thistle, dandelion, and chickweed that it is in their best interest to not spread to your lawn. 

RECOMMENDATION 2: Keep in close and frequent contact with your grass with the goal of getting the zoysia, Bermuda and St. Augustine working together to form one unified turf. 

RECOMMENDATION 3: If the lawn fails to meet set milestones, threaten to reduce your commitment of fertilizer, herbicides and water.

Don’t be surprised if the Chemlawn guy finds this approach to be “objective.”

J.

December 7, 2006 at 03:34 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack