Tuesday, December 31, 2013

And Very Crappy New Years!


Before everyone gets too drunk, I just wanted to take a moment and thank you all for continuing to make World O' Crap one of the Billboard Hot 100 Blogs With The Word "Crap" In The Title.  It's a great honor, and one that I take seriously enough that I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't look it up to see if I'm lying or not.
It's been kind of a tough year, and you guys really helped us through it, from reading the nonsense posted here, to looking at cat pictures, donating to our Beg-A-Thon, contributing comments, and sending us pet pictures.  I know 2013 wasn't an easy year for many of you either, and I hope you got a few laughs out of this joint; if not from us, then from the many smart, funny people who comprise the Crapper commentariat.

Or these two, who comprise our catentariat:
Here's wishing everyone a safe and sane New Years Eve, and a great 2014.  And with that, we officially end the year with a photo of a Christmas Tree made from wine bottles, because.

O Tannenbombed, O Tannenbombed...♬

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jacquie! I Got You a Scam!

Wo'C Lurker Jacqueline recently let on that she's had a bit of a trying year, and since she's an extremely nice person, a Friend O' the Blog, and it's her birthday today, I scoured the Internet to find an appropriate gift.  By which I mean, I put on latex gloves, welding goggles, and a respirator, and dipped into my spam folder.

Fortunately, I've been getting an unusual volume of emails recently from a variety of Republican Party luminaries, alternately pleading or demanding that I turn over my Christmas Club money to prevent a multitude of apocalyptic scenarios.

From Molly Donlin, RNC Deputy Political Director:
Scott, let's finish strong.
Country Strong.
The RNC is a grassroots party, a bottom-up party
...a wide-stance party
led by committed conservatives like you.
Calling me a "committed conservative" may be overstating the matter, since in reality I was only kept overnight for observation.
As we gear up for 2014, we need all hands on deck.
So everyone needs to put their hands on our bottom-up party?  I'm a little confused, Molly...Are you organizing a fund-raising drive or a spanking machine?

But it wasn't just anal sex-obsessed RNC functionaries; I also received a personal, if virtual, letter from Senator John McCain!
Thanks for standing with our Republican team and fighting for our conservative principles.
Don't mention it, John, it was nothing.  Really.
As we prepare the battleground for 2014, we need patriots like you by our side now more than ever. 
2014 will be an uphill battle
Then why'd we pick a hill for our battleground in the first place?  At the very least, shouldn't we have opted to fight downhill?  I don't know who we outsourced our battleground preparations to, but I think they're totally ripping us off, and I'm not giving you another penny until I've seen an itemized bill.
as we're going up against the well-stocked Obama Machine that's determined to take total control of Washington and continue to fundamentally transform America.
You know, John, it's been a good five years and I haven't seen much, if any, sign of a fundamental transformation.  Okay, not until recently, when -- I have to admit -- the country I grew up in, the country I thought I knew, did indeed begin to look very different to me.  Almost unrecognizable, in fact, and I remember thinking to myself, "Am I, at last, seeing the fundamentally transformative effect of the Obama Machine?!"  Then I realized America was just decorated for Christmas.
We must protect our principles and defend our basic liberties by defeating these liberal bureaucrats.
Originally, we were going to defend our basic liberties by defeating terrorists, but it turns out they have guns, so now the plan is to loiter outside the Department of Education late on a Friday afternoon and hogpile a GS-12.
You and I know what makes America an exceptional nation. It's not just a matter of who we are. It's the record of what we've done.
And the fact that pretty much every civilized nation on earth takes exception to it.
We have stood and fought for freedom, opportunity and free enterprise. But sadly, under the reign of President Obama and Washington Liberals, these founding, fundamental American principles are under attack.
I'm with you, John, but remember, President Obama cleaned your clock pretty badly in 2008, and he did the same to Romney in the last election, so let's not take on the Washington Liberals until we can first beat, say, the Washington Generals.

After Senator McCain, I heard from Molly's boss, RNC Political Director Chris McNulty, who ordered me to mark my calendar, because:
The Obama Machine is using every tool in their arsenal to make their radical vision for America a reality.
 As an outpatient conservative, I'm relieved that the Obama Machine keeps tools rather than, say, weapons in its arsenal.  But ain't that just like a machine -- brings a vise-grip to a gunfight.

Finally, with my commitment in ever-growing doubt, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was forced to deploy a little tough love:
2014 is a critical year for the Republican Party. 
I'm disappointed to see that you haven't renewed your RNC membership for 2014.
Name: Scott
Status: Pending
"Renewed"?  Wait...Am I now, or have I ever been, a member of the Republican Party?  It seems unlikely, since even back in high school I thought Atlas Shrugged was unreadable bullshit.  Hm...I think Reince is pulling one of those boiler room scams, where some apprentice con artist cold-calls the elderly and says, "Ma'm, do you realize you haven't renewed your smoke alarm insurance?  As you were informed when you first bought your policy, you're required by law to insure your smoke alarm against theft, fire, and collision..."
You are an important part of our GOP grassroots army. And you are our strongest asset to building a prosperous and secure future for our nation and our families.
And that's another thing, I don't ever remember joining the GOP grassroots army.  Hell, I barely remember joining the KISS Army, although that's mainly due to all the tequila and skunk weed.

Anyway, Jacquie has never once sent us a dunning letter, so the least I can do is make her wish for a Sexy Birthday Lizard...

...and a cheesecake photo of Eliza Dushku come true:

Happy birthday, Jacquie!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Blogging Bee

Batocchio of Vagabond Scholar has done the blogosphere a solid by once again hosting the Jon Swift Memorial Roundup, featuring notable posts drawn from a crazy quilt of blogs, and chosen by the bloggers themselves (as usual I didn't know what to pick, and wound up just closing my eyes and throwing a dart at the Internet).
Judging by the entires (other than than mine), 2013 was a particularly fine year for the art of online authorin', so check it out when you have a chance.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe

And now we present our annual World O' Crap Christmas Movie Review.

Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe (2009)
Director: Ron Underwood
Writers: Garrett Frawley, Brian Turne

Former Playboy Playmate and current vacuum-skulled anti-vaccination crusader Jenny McCarthy is “Mary Class,” who I assume is a successful businesswoman, because she has all the earmarks of a Made For TV career: a perky gay assistant who shows up in her kitchen at dawn to make her pick typefaces for fake products, sudden bouts of business-savvy inspiration (“Helvetica!”) and an obvious need to learn the true meaning of Christmas sometime in the next 95 minutes.  She also has a scruffy but handsome boyfriend, Luke, who she’s too busy to kiss goodbye, because one of her competitors might steal a march on her by getting to the office first and suggesting Bordeaux Roman Bold, or even Gloucester MT Extra Condensed.

But Luke has his own problems.  One, he’s a mailman who loves the holidays, which suggests he’s struggling with mental illness, and two, the residents of Manhattan constantly fail to meet his exacting standards of festivity.  When he pushes his little U.S. Postal stroller into a crowd of New Yorkers waiting for the light to change and chirps, “Merry Christmas!”, he is baffled and crestfallen when they ignore him and just cross the damn street; then a short time later, a young woman whose mail he apparently steams open isn’t nearly as excited about her Christmas cards as he is, suggesting that one day soon, he’s going to snap and make them all pay. But it’s an ABC Family movie, so I’m probably getting my hopes up for nothing.

Jenny is hosting a Christmas party for her clients, and scheming to merge with a firm owned by a man we’re supposed to believe is British, because his name is “Colin Nottingham,” he’s played by an actor who sounds like he was Kevin Costner’s dialect coach on Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, and he shoehorns the word “London” into the conversation whenever he can.  (“London! Nice wide chimneys,” Jenny says in a weirdly sexual tone that makes me think this is how the Dick Van Dyke character from Mary Poppins would have talked if he'd been played by Sir Mix-A-Lot.)

Luke shows up and embarrasses Jenny by telling Colin of Nottingham that he’s a mailman, and the owner of a small dogsledding business (which sounds like a moronic venture for someone based in New York City, but after the Blizzard of ’87, I would have happily paid the Iditarod a hefty tip to deliver my damn Chinese take out).

Jenny’s party goes fake tits-up when she discovers her dad, Santa, wearing Ray-Bans and slapping a stand-up bass in the band.  She asks why he’s not at the North Pole getting ready for Christmas, while he demands to know why she's not at the North Pole, since he turned over the family business to her so he could at last be free to pursue his dream of playing jazzy versions of “Jingle Bells” and smoking a post-gig doob while getting a hummer from a chubby-chasing groupie.  And just to make Jenny seem less grating by comparison, we get to meet Santa’s band manager, Skip the Elf, who sounds like a Bee Gee being strangled to death in a helium-filled zeppelin.

Luke takes Kris Kringle to the Paramus Mall, where he gets in a fistfight with a department store Santa, and winds up in jail, teaching shiv-wielding cholos to sing a close harmony version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”  Santa is on the verge of being recruited into the Aryan Nation and getting his first teardrop tattoo when Jenny shows up to bail him out and haul his ass up to the North Pole, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S.

Luke, who is originally from the North Pole, and has known Jenny since they were kids, just wants to get her into his cabin and make the roast beast with two backs.  But Jenny is afraid that the elves have been unsupervised too long while Santa was banging hippie chicks with back stage passes, and she needs to focus on crushing their urge to unionize.

The pert young Teri, who replaced Luke as North Pole mailman, is pulling an Eve Harrington, flirting with Jenny's boyfriend and undermining her authority with all the elves.  Meanwhile, Santa has bought a black leather jacket and a snowmobile and is riding around pretending he’s in Sons of Anarchy.  So if you’re a kid, I’d advise you to spend less time hoping for that toy you requested and more time trying to figure out your Dad’s computer password, since online porn is mostly free, and largely unaffected by Santa’s midlife crisis.

Jenny tries to hold a staff meeting with the toy-making department heads, but they all get distracted by Teri’s cookies and can’t concentrate on Jenny’s PowerPoint presentation.  Since the attendees were all inoculated against diphtheria in 1907, this meeting only confirms Jenny’s belief that vaccinations cause retardation in elves.

Teri puts on one of those Peruvian knitted Alpaca caps in an effort to impersonate the lead singer of the Spin Doctors, then seduces Skip with peanut butter cookies and implied poontang.  She acts as an agent provocateur, fomenting labor unrest; under her influence, the elves issue a scroll full of demands, then picket the toy shop, demanding Jenny’s ouster (borrowing the hippies’ “Hey hey, ho ho, LBJ has got to go!” chant).  Responding in kind, Jenny calls out the National Guard and suddenly there’s four dead in O-Ho-Ho.

Meanwhile, Teri seductively makes baked goods with Luke, which leads to a rather raunchy climax when he uses a syringe to inject her profiterole with his warm creamy filling.

Jenny takes the hint and goes back to New York, before the North Pole police find the mass graves full of elves with their skulls caved in by axe handle-wielding Pinkertons.  Teri declares the general strike over, and appoints herself the supreme executive of the elves’ anarcho-syndicalist collective, so Christmas is back on!  Great!  Movie’s over right?

No, we cut to Jenny’s apartment in New York, where she’s trying to cheer herself up by listening to a generic version of “Santa Baby” and sipping a mug full of the piping hot tears of her abused employees.  Colin of Nottingham arrives with a bottle of champagne and a seductive gleam in his eye, but before they can boink he makes her sign some "merger papers," which really makes me glad I left the dating scene behind in the 90s, because fucking has gotten way too complicated.

Back at the North Pole, Santa resumes control of Christmas, which causes Teri to wig out and creepily sing under her breath, “We wish you a Teri Christmas...!”  Okay, so it’s her who’s going to snap and go on a killing spree.  That’s fine, I’m not picky, as long as someone starts killing these people.

Jenny watches some old home movies from when she was a child, and notices Teri in the background.  She immediately rushes home, where Teri, now strutting around in jackboots, a form-fitting red suit, and a riding crop, has turned into Ilsa, She-Wolf of Santa’s Village.  Jenny yanks off Teri’s wig, revealing her to be...an elf!  Everyone gasps, so apparently it’s supposed to be a huge shock, like that Jewish kid who pretended to be a Nazi in Europa Europa.

Teri steals Santa’s sleigh and holds the toys hostage, and I guess we’re supposed to care that rich kids named Persimmon or Anaphylactic won’t get their useless battery-operated crap this year.  But it turns out Skip, the helium-voiced Bee Gee is hot for her, so she’s redeemed.  But it’s too late for Santa alone to deliver all the toys, so Jenny steps up and offers to split the world.  Santa delivers toys to all the Christian children, while Jenny delivers smallpox and polio to everyone else, just to prove that vaccines are bullshit.

The End.

From me, Mary, Moondoggie, and Riley...
Merry Christmas...or else!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Post-Friday Pre-Holiday Beast Blogging

RILEY:  So what're you up to?

MOONDOGGIE:  I'm trying to lie here and sleep all day long so I can't get into any trouble, so Santa will bring me what I want.

RILEY:  Yeah?  What'd you ask him for?


RILEY:  You know, Moondoggie...Santa eats cats...


RILEY:  Oh yeah.  He feasts on good cats and bad children every Christmas Eve.  It's part of the dark ritual he must perform to maintain his unnatural powers--

MOONDOGGIE:  I don't believe it.

RILEY:  Fine. Don't.  Just food for thought.

MOONDOGGIE:  That can't true...

RILEY:  Didn't say it was tasty food...

MOONDOGGIE:  You do this to me every year...!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Lords of COBOL

I just received this extremely urgent communique from Sara Armstrong, RNC Chief Operating Officer, informing me -- with a foot-tapping, arms-crossed, barely controlled impatience -- that the Affordable Care Act would have been repealed already if I'd just been a little more diligent about checking my spam folder!
We’re waiting on your signature
We are minutes away from sending our Freedom of Information Act letter to the Obama Administration demanding answers as to why the ObamaCare website still doesn't work. 
But we're waiting on your signature to send it. 
I'm sorry, Sara.  I've been clicking on your link to GOP.com, but it keeps timing out and crashing.
We just found out that the enrollment records of about 15,000 people, who thought they'd signed up for insurance on the ObamaCare website, did not get transmitted to the insurance companies.
Thank goodness you're on the job, Sara.  To paraphrase conservative hero Tom Joad, "Wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there, accusing them of playing the Knockout Game. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up on a guy, I'll be there, stealing pictures from the victim's Facebook page to prove he's a hoodie-wearning thug.  And wherever there's a laid off guy or a kid with a pre-existing condition who might get health insurance, I'll be there, blasting out alarmist fundraising demands so we can stop that shit cold."
The Obama Administration failed to fix the critical feature on the ObamaCare website that makes this transfer. And as a result, thousands of Americans still aren't enrolled.
Yeah, but...that's what you want, isn't it?  I mean, the Koch Brothers alone are spending millions of dollars to persuade people not to sign up for healthcare, therefore you ought to be in favor of anything which hampers the application process.  So I guess my question is: just what the hell am I signing?  Is it a petition demanding improved website performance (and if so, I'm probably the wrong person to spearhead this project, since I know less than nothing about computer languages.  To take one illustrative example, a friend mentioned that Grace Hopper was honored on the Google homepage the other day, and started talking about COBOL, and I couldn't figure out if he meant that planet in Mormonism where God lives [which Google tells me is actually Kolob], or that planet in Battlestar Galactica where all the gods live [here I was a little warmer, since that one turned out to be Kobol]), or is it just a proclamation that says "nyah-nyah-nyah," or perhaps, "neener-neener-neener," like we're all gathering in the conference room to sign a birthday card for a coworker, but being huge dicks about it?
This is just the tip of the iceberg. We must demand the Obama Administration release the real ObamaCare figures -- not just the ones that sound or look good for the Democrats.
Well why didn't you say so?  I've got those figures right here...they're 36-23-26.  Exactly the same as Marilyn Monroe, which is why Democrats find the Affordable Care Act so fuckable.
Barack Obama needs to stop lying to the American people. Clearly the ObamaCare website still is not "fixed" or functional.
All evidence to the contrary (California alone is signing people up at a rate of 15,000 a day, so the 15,000 whose information didn't make it to the insurance companies should be cancelled out, oh, about...now).  Not that the high bullshit content of your panhandling appeal excuses my holding up the whole thing with my tardy signature.
Join us in demanding the truth today -- sign our "Freedom of Information Act" letter.
I gotta say, Sara, you've been brutally honest about my lazy autographing, and I appreciate the tough love, so I'm going to be equally frank with you, and say that like Georgia Congressman Jack Kingston, who doesn't believe in a free lunch, I don't believe in free information.  If you want these enrollment figures, you should earn them by sweeping up an elementary school cafeteria, just to guarantee that you learn the kind of work ethic that'll keep you out of jail and off the dole.
Sara Armstrong
RNC Chief Operating Officer
Contribute Now
You're welcome.  Unfortunately, I can't offer you any money (things are tight, and it's the holidays), so please consider this post my humble contribution.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Darkness at Noonan*

Lesser Accepted Modalities of Incoherence, by Keith.

Previously, on Peggy Noonan's Lost Weekend...

Readers, I hope there is mutual understanding for not dropping the entire Noonan blog in one post. As difficult as it was to parse “High Noonan” there are still more paragraphs to cover. I believe there are twelve. But I'm counting anything with a double space as a paragraph. 
The president is interested in Ronald Reagan, and in the past has seemed mildly preoccupied with him, but he misunderstands him. Mr. Obama shows every sign of thinking Reagan led only through words.
From what is understood, he led through horoscopes provided by Nancy's astrologer.  Mercury was in perpetual retrograde.
But Reagan led through actions, as every leader must. The words explained, argued for and advanced those actions; they gave people a sense of who it was who was acting.
He was, after all, president of the Screen Actors Guild! 
Although, judging by the wistful, expressive eyes, I get a sense it was the chimp who was acting.
But Obama’s generation of the left could never see or come to terms with the fact that it was, say, the decision to fire the air traffic controllers, or the decision to take the hit and bleed out inflation, that made Reagan’s presidency successful and meaningful.
Not to mention dicier odds for air travelers. Plus lay-offs right and left ... 
With an effective presidency, everything is in the doing.
For instance, looking at the way wage stagnation and income inequality spiked after 1981, you might say that Reagan was "doing" the Middle Class (sans lube), in a kind of conjugal conjugation.

But wait -- Reagan was the Great Communicator, and it seems counterintuitive to claim that everything is in the doing, when his whole claim to fame rested on the assumption that lots of things were in the saying.
 The words are part of the doing and at some points can be crucial to it; at some interesting points they even are the doing...
For our readers who may be too young to remember mid-90s AOL chatrooms, "doing with words" is also known as "cybersex."
...such as looking at the Soviets and declaring that we knew what their system was and wouldn’t accept any but an honest interpretation of it, and yes, that constituted a change of attitude and approach.
“Ivan, we know what your doing, and it's just–like–really grody. Uck! Disgusting! Oh my gaaaawddddd.....”

I'm not sure what an “honest” interpretation of the Soviet Union might entail. How does one paranoid superpower, based on a consumer-oriented, free-market economy interpret another paranoid superpower with a state-controlled planned economy, particularly if they're not interested in speaking to one another and whose security interests are conducted through proxy wars in the developing world. 
That took words. But it’s never all words, it can’t be. It’s making the right decision and carrying it through—executing it.
If words could kill, we could really streamline this whole process.
Mr. Obama learned only half of Reagan’s lesson.
That's the half of not accepting counsel from Psychic Friends Network.
And here’s something odd.
An untouched bottle of Tanqueray in my liquor cabinet!
 The first President Bush, George H.W., learned half the lesson too, but the other half. Bush managed, executed and decided his way through the peaceful fall of the Soviet Empire and the reunification of Germany. But he couldn’t, for reasons characterological [sic] and having to do with his own highly refined sense of the demands of diplomacy, explain to people exactly what he was doing, why he was doing it and how. And so a feat of great historical weight and magnitude, deserving of a Nobel Prize for peace and utterly ignored by that silly committee, is half forgotten.
No Peggy, it is completely forgotten. The collapse of the USSR was decided long before G.H.W. Bush even paid notice. It was accomplished by reformists within the Communist Party. By the way, former President Mikhail Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize for this particular achievement. He was there, after all.
Whereas Mr. Obama won that prize—for words.
He won it because the Nobel committee wanted to flip the bird to “W”. War criminals rarely achieve the Peace Prize. 
But let’s go back to the first paragraph, and the original point of this piece.
Do we really have to? 
Mr. Obama’s problem now is that people think he is smart.
We haven't forgotten, although by now it's becoming annoying.
They think, as they look at his health-care vows, that either he didn’t know how bad his program was, what dislocations it would cause, what a disturbance it would be to the vast middle class of America . . .
Peggy, to be honest, the entire piece of legislation is flawed. It is, as one wag put it, akin to applying duct-tape to a manifold when it's obvious a rod is going to blow. 

I'm surprised you are so negative on PPACA since the legislation was written entirely by lobbyists from the health insurance and pharma industries, building on bullet-points provided by the American Enterprise Institute.

The entire notion of health insurance as a commodity exists only in the USA, where hacks like yourself eke out a living justifying the entire commoditization of society from top to bottom, including the poorest amongst us. 
Or he knew, and deliberately misled everyone.
Well, you could have just said “Liar, liar … pants on fire” in the first place and let it go at that. But no.
If they thought he wasn’t very bright, they might give him some leeway on that question. But they think he’s really smart.
So you're saying that ignorance of the law is an excuse? Well, that explains why George W. Bush isn't currently occupying the Slobodan Milošević Suite at The Hague.  But as long as we're on the topic of Presidential intelligence, Peggy, perhaps you can clear something up.  Nixon thought Reagan was an amiable nitwit, a man whose brains were "negligible," and whose sole skill lay in persuasively delivering the words someone else wrote for him. Now, you spent years putting those words in Reagan's mouth, and you -- judging by your column -- have actual contempt for words, so I guess the real question is: were you the cynical one and he the stupid one, or was it the other way around?  (I know Paul was the cute one and Ringo the funny one, but I'm fuzzy on the rest.)
So they think he knew. 
And deliberately misled.
They think he knowingly quelled people’s fears when he knew they had every reason to be afraid. 
Which makes him just another dishonest pol, just another guy hiding in the deliberately obscure paragraph on page 1,037 of the omnibus comprehensive reform bill.
My copy of the legislation comes in at a mere 906 pages. Where is page 1,037? 
He has taken himself down, lowered his own stature. 
Commentators like to decry low-information voters—the stupid are picking our leaders. I think the real problem is low-information leaders. They have so little experience of life and have so much faith in magic—in media, in words—that they don’t understand people will get angry at you when you mislead them, and never see you the same way again.
We here at WO'C like to decry low-information pundits and you, Ms. Noonan, are the perfect example of Dictaphone on auto-pilot. Your thoughts are transcribed by unpaid interns and published by editors who have no patience to review your work. 

I took on this assignment as a challenge from the editor of this blog, since neither Scott nor Sheri were ever able to wrap their heads around the Swiss-cheese you parlay as serious political commentary. Now that I have, I'll join you at the bar. But only if it's on your tab. I need something completely nauseating to erase the memory of this exercise.

*Thanks to Fearguth for the title.

Sundays With SZ: Family Circus Facts of Life

A day late, but this post includes a look into the dark psychosexual dynamics which informed, if not defined, the work of Bil Keane's heartwarming classic, and explains why his cartoon was shaped like a peephole.

Originally published June 24, 2004:

Today's Cartoon 

A smartly dressed Mommy is standing on a city sidewalk with Jeffy.  Jeffy points at a car that is being towed and asks, "Why is that car up on its hind legs?"


Jeffy, when a car and a truck love each other very much ...

This strip is obviously a call to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment (because if gay marriage is made legal, then trucks will marry cars, and even have sex with their "spouses" on public streets, right in front of your impressionable toddlers).


Mommy (looking very stylish and sexy in her Jackie Kennedy-esque designer suit) represents America's female voters.  Jeffy is, as usual, a stand-in for Dubya.  Notice how Mommy seems to be distancing herself from Jeffy, and isn't paying any attention to his childish prattle? 

Keane is predicting that the 2004 Presidential Election will have the largest "gender gap" of any election since 1980, and the lack of support from female votesrs will be a key factor in Bush's defeat. 

Oh, and just like Mommy is planning to leave Jeffy on the street and race home before he notices she's gone, Laura will leave George shortly after his electoral defeat.

But I imagine there are other ways to interpret this comic strip -- maybe even, in a world of non-situational ethics, a RIGHT way.  Let's see what you've got.


Pete M. has alerted us to the prophetic cartoons of Hal Lindsey; Pete suggests we use them for our Sunday prognostications, which sounds like an excellent idea.  So, to make up for yesterday, check out this one depicting The Rapture Investigation Committee.

Also, if you value your soul, you should carefully ponder the meaning of Pete's new batch of Christian T-shirt designs over at The Dark Window.  I think my favorite is the one with Satan reading the Bible -- it makes every day Halloween!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The "Baby It's Too Cold Outside for Snark" Edition

Christmas truce:
RILEY:  When you speak of this, and you will...shut up.

With Special Guest Stars, Wally and Z!
From heydave:  Just wanted to share this pic of two of the newest residents at my zoo.

Dave explained that the boys are in day care, where Wally has appointed himself the official greeter (and makes $2.95 more per hour than his counterpart at Wal-Mart), although both he and Z enjoy hogging the receptionist's chair.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

High Noonan

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to figure out exactly how drunk Peggy Noonan was when she barfed up this blog post.
"Uh, no sir, I don't believe you are 'cutting me off.' In fact, I seriously doubt the rules of English grammar even permit one to string those particular words together in that peculiar order.  Produces nothing but gibberish.  Now keep pouring -- and this time leave the fruit out of my Old Fashioned.  That maraschino cherry displaces far too much liquid."

By Keith, World O' Crap's Senior Sozzled Shoe Fetishist Correspondent.
The Accepted Modalities of Incoherence
Here's our gal Peggy, from her blog at WSJ on December 3. Subject: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare.” Peg's been late to the party when it comes to trashing this particular legislation. Let's see what possible wisdom she brings to the contentious and polarizing debate.
The president’s problem right now is that people think he’s smart. They think he’s in command, aware of pitfalls and complexities. That’s his reputation: He’s risen far on his brains. They think he is sophisticated.
Heavens to Betsy, if only this correspondent shared a similar “problem.”
That is his problem in the health insurance debacle.
Really Peg? How so?
People have seen their prices go up, their choices narrow. They have lost coverage. They have lost the comfort of keeping the doctor who knows them and knows they tend to downplay problems and not complain of pain, and so doing more tests might be in order, or tend to be hypochondriacal and probably don’t need an echocardiogram, or at least not a third one this year.
Other people never have the opportunity to see a physician in the first place outside of an ER. But then again this does cut down on unnecessary testing and diagnosis. And that keeps costs down, I suppose.

But how does the perception of President Obama's intelligence qualify as a factor in the debate over the legislation at issue? Concerned Americans demand to know, dear.
At the very least people have been inconvenienced; at the most they’ve been made more anxious in an already anxious world. In a month, at the worst they may be on a gurney in an ER not knowing the answer to the question “Do you have insurance?” and hoping they can get into an exam room before somebody runs the number on the little green plastic card they keep in the back of their wallet.
Why does the card have to be green? Do you have a preference for green or did you mistake your American Express for your insurance card the last time you presented for an unnecessary electrocardiogram, feeling as you were more anxious in an already anxious world?

Still, we're waiting for the answer re: Barry's real or perceived intelligence.
Everyone understands in their own rough way that ObamaCare is a big mess. And that it’s not the website, it’s the law itself. They have seen systems crash. In the past 20 years they’ve seen their own computers crash. They know systems and computers get fixed.
Not my last computer. It caught fire! It melted! How do you fix that?
But they understand a conceptual botch when they see one. They understand this new program was so big and complex and had so many moving parts and was built on so many assumptions that may or may not hold true, and that deals with so many people with so many policies—and they know they themselves have not read their own policies, for who would when the policies, like the law that now controls the policies, are written in a way that is deliberately obscure so as to give maximum flexibility to administrators in offices far away. And that’s just your policy. What about 200 million other policies? The government can’t handle that. The government can barely put up road signs.
I'm beginning to understand a “conceptual botch” and I'm only half-way through.

Please walk us past the road signs. If you're not too dizzy from imagining all those complex bells and whistles achieving steady-state, that is.
The new law seems like just another part of the ongoing shakedown operation that is the relationship of the individual and the federal government, circa 2013.
Now I'm getting a bit worried. When will you arrive to something slightly significant?
But back to the president, and his problem with being known as intelligent—Columbia, Harvard Law, lecturer on constitutional issues at the University of Chicago Law School.
Not such shabby credentials, to be certain. Peggy, darling, in researching your degree from Fairleigh Dickenson I've noticed there is scant information in Noonan biographies on degree earned,  nor any information that provides validation of your qualification as pundit. We're still investigating. (Honest postcript).
The program he created in 2009-10, ran on in 2012, and whose implantation [sic] he delayed until one year after that election—in retrospect, that delay seems meaningful, doesn’t it?—has turned out to be wildly misleading as to its basic facts.
[“Implantation” is just too rich for comment. I'll pass. Scott?]

[From Scott:  All I've got is an entry from Peggy's dream journal -- most of it illegible -- about the lilting sound of Negro spirituals emanating from an In Vitro Fertilization clinic.]
Millions are finding you can’t keep your plan, your premium, your deductible, your doctor. And millions more will discover this when the business mandate kicks in. 
All of this—the fraudulent nature of the program—came as a rolling shock to people the past two months.
[Now I realize why no one else will touch this column. I'm pulling on my hair.] Peggy, this is your last chance to explain why the complexities of expanded health insurance has any connection with the intelligence, real or imagined, of the POTUS. And make it SNAPPY! Make us absolutely roll with shock!
It’s a shock for most people that it’s a shambles. A fellow very friendly to the administration, a longtime supporter, cornered me at a holiday party recently to ask, with true perplexity: “How could any president put his entire reputation on the line with a program and not be on the phone every day pushing people and making sure it will work?
It's not like it was something trivial, like a war, or preparations for a natural disaster.  If those go south, what's the worst that's going to happen?  American casualties would be five figures -- tops!  But if Amazon.com experienced connectivity issues, hundreds of thousands of people would be affected.  There'd be rioting and looting!  And thanks to slow load times, potential rioters might have to sit around for up to 8 minutes waiting to click on the stuff they wanted to loot!  Not to mention the fact that any online retailer with a crappy website can't be trusted to deliver the stuff you've stolen from them in less than 10 to 14 business days.
Do you know of any president who wouldn’t do that?” I couldn’t think of one, and it’s the same question I’d been asking myself. The questioner had been the manager of a great institution, a high stakes 24/7 operation with a lot of moving parts. He knew Murphy’s law—if it can go wrong, it will. Managers—presidents—have to obsess, have to put the fear of God, as Mr. Obama says, into those below them in the line of authority. They don’t have to get down in the weeds every day but they have to know there are weeds, and that things get caught in them.
Finally!  We've found the first evidence of Obama's low intelligence -- he doesn't understand how lawns work.
It’s a leader’s job to be skeptical of grand schemes. Sorry, that’s a conservative leader’s job. It is a liberal leader’s job to be skeptical that grand schemes will work as intended. You have to guide and goad and be careful.
Emphasis added, because when your high-priced Wall Street Journal pundits start to sound like a Nina Hartley tutorial video on anal sex, it is truly the Twilight of the Gods, and you might want to get to Costco and stock up on Ragnarök supplies, like those fifty-roll packs of toilet paper, or a 5-gallon jerry can of Thousand Island Dressing.
And this president wasn’t. I think part of the reason he wasn’t careful is because he sort of lives in words. 
Although what really galls you is that he actually lives in the White House.
That’s been his whole professional life—books, speeches. Say something and it magically exists as something said, and if it’s been said and publicized it must be real. 
Such as magical dolphins!  "It was a miracle a six-year-old boy survived the storm at sea and floated safely in an inner tube for two days and nights toward shore; a miracle that when he tired and began to slip, the dolphins who surrounded him like a contingent of angels pushed him upward..."

This is the same column that included the now classic Internet Tradition, "Is it irresponsible to speculate? It is irresponsible not to. A great and searing tragedy has occurred [a six year old boy was reunited with his father], and none of us knows what drove it, or why the president did what he did. Maybe Congress will investigate. Maybe a few years from now we'll find out what really happened."

In the meantime, hit me again bartender, and make it a double.
He never had to push a lever, see the machine not respond, puzzle it out and fix it.
Peggy, just buy another one.  Or put it on your Amazon Wish List if you're cheap (but I'd recommend springing for overnight delivery -- you're clearly getting crankier by the minute...)
 It’s all been pretty abstract for him, not concrete. He never had to stock a store, run a sale and see lots of people come but the expenses turn out to be larger than you’d expected and the profits smaller, and you have to figure out what went wrong and do better next time.
I don't want to practice psycho-babble, but isn't the above teetering on  projection? What has the author of this essay accomplished in professional tenure? Books? Speeches? This her gin & tonic?
People say Mr. Obama never had to run anything, but it may be more important that he never worked for the guy who had to run something, and things got fouled up along the way and he had to turn it around. He never had to meet a payroll, never knew that stress. He probably never had to buy insurance! 
Apparently Obama never owned a car or a house, and is the only man in North America who can purchase a major appliance without being pressured to buy the extended warranty.
And you know, his policies were probably gold-plated—at the law firm, through his wife’s considerable hospital job, in the Illinois Legislature, in the U.S. Senate. Those guys know how to take care of themselves! Maybe he felt guilty. Maybe that’s to his credit, knowing he was lucky. Too bad he didn’t know what he didn’t know, like how every part has to work for a complicated machine to work.
So there you go: Providing modest reforms for uninsured Americans comes down, eventually and thankfully, to guilt – the guilt of the POTUS for enjoying continuous insurance coverage. I'm beginning to feel like a real sucker, Madame Peggy Barnum! Your readers salute you! Twice!
Here I will say something harsh
Thanks for the spoiler alert.
and it’s connected to the thing about words but also images. 
From what I have seen the administration is full of young people who’ve seen the movie but not read the book. They act bright, they know the reference, they’re credentialed. But they’ve only seen the movie about, say, the Cuban missile crisis, and then they get into a foreign-policy question and they’re seeing movies in their heads. 
Ah yes, that blockbuster about the Cuban Missile Crisis all the kids were raving about back in the summer of 2000.  It was like Titanic, except with even crappier accents!

But hey, at least these Democratic whippersnappers saw it.  Dana Perino was apparently in the multiplex theater next door, watching Chicken Run for the third time:
During a White House briefing, a reporter referred to the Cuban Missile Crisis -- and she didn't know what it was.  
"I was panicked a bit because I really don't know about . . . the Cuban Missile Crisis," said Perino, who at 35 was born about a decade after the 1962 U.S.-Soviet nuclear showdown. "It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I'm pretty sure."

So she consulted her best source. "I came home and I asked my husband," she recalled. "I said, 'Wasn't that like the Bay of Pigs thing?' And he said, 'Oh, Dana.' "
Anyway, we'd better get back to Peggy before the DTs completely take over the column...
They haven’t read the histories, the texts, which carry more information, more texture, data and subtlety, and different points of view. They’ve only seen the movie—the Cubans had the missiles and Jack said “Not another war” and Bobby said “Pearl Harbor in reverse” and dreadful old Curtis LeMay chomped his cigar and said “We can fry a million of ‘em by this afternoon, Mr. President.” Grrr, grrr, good guys beat bad guys.
I dunno. I read James M. Cain's novel “Mildred Pierce” and thought it was terrific. But liked the Michael Curtiz movie better plus it was Joan's Oscar! The film ending is more satisfying. OTOH “GWTW” cut out a lotta sub-plots and the movie, despite its flaws, has most likely been seen by more folk than have actually read the novel. It's really all a hodgepodge of information, texture and data. Subtlety is disqualified now that we know your main john is Rupert Murdoch.
It’s as if history isn’t real to them. They run around tweeting, all of them, even those in substantial positions.
What is a substantial position? Is it gainful … or just more chicken wings and pedicures? Deep-fried on a stick?
“Darfur government inadequate. Genocide unacceptable.” They share their feelings – that happens to be one of the things they seem to think is real, what they feel. “Unjust treatment of women—scourge that hurts my heart.” This is the dialogue to the movies in their heads.
You know Peggy --- you need an outline to proceed with an essay of this scope. An outline format is available to you in MS word. You just type some critical points and subpoints, then think about them before you or your interns (most likely unpaid) do the typing. Lots of teenagers writing first-time essays have tremendous success with this method.

Let us pause, and review:

1) Murderous, trecherous corrupt govermnent inadequate;

2) Genocide unacceptable;

3) Unjust treatment of women;

4) They share their feelings.

Peggy is moving quickly to somewhere's dark and fearful.
There’s a sense that they’re all freelancing, not really part of anything coherent.
Here! Here! I'm a card-carrying member of the Freelancer's Incoherence Union! (Don't laugh, one day we shall RULE).
For four years I have been told, by those who’ve worked in the administration and those who’ve visited it as volunteers or contractors, that the Obama White House isn’t organized. It’s just full of chatter. Meetings don’t begin on time, there’s no agenda, the list of those invited seems to expand and contract at somebody’s whim.
Well, sometimes you have to go to a meeting with the bullet points you have, and not the bullet points you wish you had.
 There is a tendency to speak of how a problem will look and how its appearance should be handled, as opposed to what the problem is and should be done about it. People speak airily, without point. They scroll down, see a call that has to be returned, pop out and then in again.
They show a basic awareness of how politics works!  They use air to speak, rather than one of those electronic voice boxes like laryngectomy patients!  They return calls!  All classic symptoms of Cuban Missile Crisis movie viewing!
It does not sound like a professional operation. And this is both typical of White Houses and yet on some level extreme. People have always had meetings to arrange meetings, but the lack of focus, the lack of point, the sense that they are operating within accepted levels of incoherence—this all sounds, actually, peculiar.
Got that, kids? Accepted levels of incoherence.

It's almost time for another session for repose and bullet-points, but I'm anxious for the next shoe. In my newly-acquired “airily” fashion.
And when you apply this to the ObamaCare debacle, suddenly it seems to make sense. The White House is so unformed and chaotic that they probably didn’t ignore the problem, they probably held a million meetings on it. People probably said things like, “We’re experiencing some technological challenges but we’re sure we’ll be up by October,”
Just like...The Missiles of October!
and other people said, “Yes, it’s important we launch strong,” and others said, “The Republicans will have a field day if we’re not.” And then everyone went to their next meeting. And no one did anything. 
Simply because Obama could present as a sentient being capable of a comma,  all freak and leave early for lunch.
And the president went off and made speeches. Because the doing isn’t that important, the talking is.
“The doing isn't that important”

to be continued …

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sundays With S.Z.: Family Circus Tautology

As old-timers will recall, s.z. used to do a weekly exegesis of the comic strip Family Circus, in which she applied the same analytical tools that warbloggers brought to the science of kerning.

Originally published August 20, 2004.

Today's Cartoon:

Jeffy and Dolly, whom we last saw looking for angels, are apparently still lost in the woods.  But it's daytime now, and there isn't a cloud in the sky.  Just an airplane.  Dolly says: "I know where that plane is going.  To an airport."


Yes, Mommy left the two tikes in the forest for the dingoes to eat.  Dolly tells Jeffy that she knows where the plane is going, making him think that they can use it to find their way home.  But then she reveals that all she knows is that it's going to an airport.  Ha ha.  Jeffy has had about all he can stand (it's not bad enough that he hasn't been given a speaking part in weeks, but now the only person he gets to interact with is his bossy sister who keeps making these inane remarks).  So, he secretly sells her out to the dingoes.


This plane isn't going to an airport.  It's being flown by George W. Bush, who wants to prove something about his manliness in response to the attacks on Dick Cheney's lack of a war record.  Unfortunately, Dubya doesn't know how to fly jets, and the plane is going to crash into a shopping mall in Columbus.  Ohio will no longer be a swing state.

Fortunately, Alison has a better handle on this one than I do
New toon! Analysis :
I know where that plane is going. To an airport.
I know who is flying that plane. The pilot.
I know who is on that plane. Passengers.
I know what they are eating. Peanuts.
See how the terrible suspense just builds and builds to unbelievable intensity here, to the point where a future movie deal seems inevitable? Yes, it's the All-Terror-All-the-Time-All-About-Me Flight of Doom. Annie Jacobsen is played by Dolly, who no longer has any forehead at all, and Jeffy takes the role of Annie's new best friend Billy Jo McAllister, last seen throwing a McDonalds bag off the Tallahassee Bridge. Keane has seen fit to draw Jeffy with a prosthetic left arm here in a nod to Billy Jo being so sensitive about one of the passengers having a limp : "It was more than a limp. It was the dragging of the foot." One can only hope that Kevin Spacey will be available for the role.
As Annie says herself, "This is Part 5 of an ongoing series." So remember, if you can't completely disgrace yourself in five WSJ columns and several TV appearances and still get a movie deal out of it, then the terrorists have won.
Prediction : Coming soon to a theater near you.
Alison •
Obviously, Alison and Bil Keane are collaborating to make the rest of us look bad.  It's up to you to win one for the little guy!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Happy Birthday, Carl! I Got You Some Santorum!

Today is the natal anniversary of our good friend and longstanding crapper Carl, alias Actor212 of Simply Left Behind fame.  To honor the occasion, I snuck around backstage at the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade (née the Santa Claus Lane Parade) as they were setting up, and caught several inflatable celebrities in flagrante delicto.  I don't know who the Grand Marshal was, but apparently this year's theme was "A Salute to Buggery!"
Note the Tyrannosaur lifting its tail and "presenting" to a rampant My Little Pony, while a marching band looks on, appalled yet aroused.
Here we see the Lorax engaged in consensual sodomy with Horton the Elephant.  Sometimes, after a long day of speaking for the trees, you just want to relax and let your own lodgepole pine do the talking.

You know what?  I may be reading too much into this photo -- maybe it's just an awkward composition.  Let's try another angle.
Nope.  Judging by the look on Horton's face, I'd say Mustache Daddy is totes packin' that pachyderm.

But on to more serious matters.  Ever since we abandoned the tradition of posting Ann Coulter pictures on birthdays, we've been spicing up most natal day greetings with glamor and cheesecake shots, in an effort to make up for all the Ann Coulter.  Ideally, the model is individually tailored to the celebrant's tastes (some people are kind enough to email me ahead of time with a roster of acceptable eye candy).  Carl was mum, however, so I've had to extrapolate from what I know about it; to wit: he's a strapping Norseman, a scion of a proud Viking lineage.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find any sexy pictures in the Kalavala, so once again I'm defaulting to 70s-era Swedish exploitation star, Christina Lindberg.
 I actually had to spend a good ten minutes with Google Image Search trying to find a picture in which you couldn't see all her naughty bits, so -- you're welcome.  Honestly, the things I do for you people...

Anyway, please join me in wishing Carl a very joyous day.  And if he chooses to blow off work and celebrate in the time-honored custom of his people, by squatting nude in a meadow, here's hoping he doesn't get Lyme ticks on his Lorax.

And just to seal the deal...
Sexy Birthday Lizard!

Happy birthday, Carl.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Look On My Works Ye Mighty And Despair

I just saw that televangelist Paul Crouch of Trinity Broadcast Network (seen here with wife Jan and a wig she made by skinning and dyeing the pelt of Cousin Itt*) has died at the age of 79.
As readers of Better Living Through Bad Movies know, my life has been deeply touched by Paul Couch, or at least by the crappy thriller he made in an attempt to turn TBN into a movie studio, and so, as a lame excuse to recycle material in loving tribute to Mr. Couch, here's our review of his most celebrated film:

The Omega Code (1999)
Directed by: Robert Marcarelli
Written by: Stephan Blinn and Hollis Barton

Tagline: “Not just a movie…It’s a miracle!”

According to the opening title card of this miracle, “Scholars seek ‘The Bible Code,’ a mathematical phenomenon whose hidden messages are said to contain the whole of human history.” Give or take the last two thousand years, that is. A few other title cards follow, but basically, the movie’s premise is this: Like Playstation 2 games, the bible contains Easter eggs. Such as the “Key to Jerusalem,” which brings ultimate power, for whosoever controls Jerusalem in the end days shall control the world, and get power-ups and extra ammo.

Our miracle opens in Jerusalem, where an elderly rabbi is doing some sort of Hebrew Junior Jumble. Suddenly, Michael Ironside shows up with the most unconvincing beard since Lisa Marie Presley, and shoots the old man. He swipes a CD-ROM, but his escape is hampered by Siegfried and Roy, who keep bi-locating around corners until it makes everybody nauseous.

Cut to an infomercial set, where Casper the Friendly van Dien (the poor man’s Troy Donohue) has arrived to discuss the Bible Code. After introducing the spellbound audience to a revolutionary hair care regimen, he announces that the bible contains a secret crossword puzzle that foretells the future. Using advanced pink highlighter technology, Casper proves that the Torah predicted Hitler, the Kennedy assassinations, and Isaac Hayes’ Oscar for Shaft. Then he explains that the murdered rabbi believed the Bible was actually a holographic computer program! And that his shoelaces were actually mind-reading earthworms that could control his feet!

Anyway, it seems we’ve been reading the Bible wrong all these years, since it’s actually intended to be studied in three dimensions; which explains why the rabbi was wearing those paper glasses with the red and blue lenses.

Cut to Rome, where Michael York (the poor man’s Simon McCorkindale) has just been appointed “Chairman of the European Union.” Since the EU doesn’t have a chairman, it’s probably just something the Europeans told Michael so he’d go away. Meanwhile, the UN presents him with its highest humanitarian award, for single-handedly wiping out world hunger by inventing Pop-Tarts.

Back in LA, Casper’s marriage is in trouble, because he’s having “visions,” bouts of ecstatic imagery that some might call “hallucinations,” but others would call “lousy special effects.”

Meanwhile, some Russians are using computer technology to decode the Bible, distilling it into a series of cryptic phrases, such as “Ten Horns Unite World Peace,” “Houses of Isaac and Ishmael Torn in Terror,” and “April: Best Time to Buy a Great Pants Suit.”

The Russians blow up a papier-mâché model of the Dome of the Rock mosque, and Casper immediately rushes to Rome to help Michael revive the Roman empire, and to introduce Michael’s new line of formal housecoats for men.
Meanwhile, one of the Russians wimps out and tries to warn Casper about…something, but he’s gunned down by a unicycle-riding clown. Michael takes over the world (but in a nice way) and rebuilds the Solomonic Temple. Casper’s visions become clearer, and we begin to see that they’re actually home videos of the Sacramento Jaycees Haunted House.

Tired of playing second banana, Ironside shoots and kills Michael, but Michael really needs the work, so he comes back to life. Meanwhile, afraid that the audience won’t sufficiently recoil from Ironside just because he murdered a man in cold blood, the filmmakers suddenly decide that he’s a homosexual, too!
It doesn’t turn out to have anything to do with the story, but they felt better saying it.

Michael calls the leaders of the world to his bedside, where Sam from “Quincy” wants to know what it was like to be dead. Apparently, Michael’s answer goes over big, and the leaders appoint him King of the World, on the condition that he bring about a new Pax Romana, and doesn’t make a crappy movie about the Titanic.

The angels Siegfried and Roy reappear, and present Casper with the Final Code. Meanwhile, Michael’s coronation takes place inside the new Temple, which has been meticulously reconstructed, based on Old Testament accounts and archeological data, to resemble the ballroom of the Airport Holiday Inn in Burbank.

Michael is crowned King of the World, but when he declares himself god as well, there is a mighty uproar, and Siegfried and Roy must save all humanity by challenging Michael to a contest of overacting. They seem to have the upper hand, when they are suddenly shot dead by Ironside, who prefers a more understated performance style.

Casper is visited by some bad digital effects, which restore his faith, but nobody really cares. Meanwhile, Siegfried and Roy are raised from the dead, and promptly kill Ironside by giving him a bad case of hairballs.  Casper surrenders the Final Code to Michael in order to prevent further bloodshed, and another dull action sequence, and Michael enters it into the computer, thereby unlocking “the DNA of the Universe.” This act produces a violent lightstorm, which causes Satan to trip, and fall out of Michael’s body. The end.

*Spelling corrected via ifthethunderdontgetya