Saturday, January 31, 2015


            An unflattering profile of potential Republican presidential nominee John Ellis "Jeb" Bush published in the Boston Globe confirms what most would have suspected: he was the son of a famous politician who flaunted the rules with apparent impunity.  Where have we heard this shit before?  Oh yeah! It was in the run-up to his older brother's appointment to the office of President of the United States by the Supreme Court.  Small world, eh?

             Yep.  Jeb was a pot smokin' slacker at Phillips Academy in Andover.  Fellow classmates remember him as being "apolitical", unwilling to discuss issues in the news of the day... such as our country's involvement in Vietnam.  His grades sucked, but not to the point where anyone at Phillips Academy would have had the balls to actually expel young Jeb (which would have required a set the size of melons, seeing as how Jeb's daddy was on the board of the school and was serving as a Congressman at the time).  So he basically cruised along in a daze, like a lot of us did during our formative years, oblivious to the future political implications of majoring in "slacker chic".  

               One classmate says Jeb sold him some hashish, which this article says is a "stronger form of marijuana" (you can't make up this shit, people wouldn't believe you!) and got him stoned listening to Steppenwolf.  I think Jeb would have fit in well at most of our parties, back in the day.

               But then, none of us is trying to sit in the Oval Office.  And I'm not saying anyone who smoked pot (or it's more powerful relative hashish) isn't suitable for the office... just saying political opponents tend to use that sort of shit against a person when they're trying to get elected.  Personally, I think anyone who grew up in the sixties and seventies who didn't smoke pot or hashish ought to be forbidden from serving in elected office.  That person would have to have been some sort of clueless goose-stepping fascist, which is the last thing we need running America. 

               It's far more damning in my eyes that "young" Jeb bullied a fellow student.  Having grown up shorter than anyone in my class all the way through high school, I can sympathize with a short kid getting picked on by larger, stronger, more wealthy kids in school.  The fact that "old" Jeb claims to have no memories of that event strikes me as disingenuous, at best.  If he's willing to admit he smoked pot and hash, he should own up to having bullied a short kid.

                Note to Jeb, here's how it's done:  the next time some nosy reporter asks you about fucking with the pajamas of a short guy back in prep school, tell 'em the truth.  Say "Yes, I was a young rich kid in a tony prep school my daddy helped run, and while there I sometimes took liberties with the school's rules, the law, and with some of my less privileged classmates.  If I hurt anyone's feelings, or humiliated anyone with my callous bullying, I apologize."

                I'd vote for a guy who had that kind of courage.  But only if he wasn't a Bush.  Or a Republican.  Or an asshole.


AND THE SURVEY SAYS: BIBLE MINDEDNESS IS BIG IN THE VOLUNTEER STATE! (and we suspect foul play with the final vote count...)

              As if anyone around here needs proof that the buckle of the Bible Belt is strapped firmly across the state of Tennessee, a new survey by the American Bible Society has listed four of our cities in their top 30 when it comes to "Bible Mindedness".   In fact, if not for Birmingham, Alabama, the city of Chattanooga would have finished in the number one slot.  I'd be surprised if someone in Choo-Choo Town doesn't file a motion for an official recount.

              According to this article in The Tennessean (motto: "Taylor Swift updates today, tomorrow, and forever!") Knoxville ended up at number eleven on the list, falling out of the top ten for the first time in survey history.  Nashville finished at number 14, and Memphis was listed at number 27.  

              The article wasn't very specific about how a city's "Bible Mindedness" was determined, other than a survey of respondents willing to talk honestly about how often they open the King James version of the Bible for a refresher chapter.  And of course, there's no way to know if a person responding to the survey actually reads his or her Bible as often as they might profess, since such a survey would pretty much have to rely on the honor system for its results.  I guess the real question they should ask is:  "Would you lie about your Bible reading habits in order to present yourself as a more devout Christian than you actually are?"  And maybe it would be helpful if the person responding to that question did so after swearing to tell the truth, preferably with one hand placed on the aforementioned holy book, which would be a good way to check to see if they actually own one.

               The survey concluded that cities in the Bible Belt (mostly southern towns in God Country) were far more Bible Minded than east coast cities, which fared the worst (or best, depending upon how you look at such things) in the rankings.

                I guess Murfreesboro didn't qualify as a city, but if they had included our fair village in the study, there's no way those heretic heathens in Birmingham would have beaten us.  No fucking way.

                We've got mega churches on every other corner (in between the Walmarts and Walgreens), and you can't run for office around here without some verifiable churchy bona fides on your campaign flyer.  Just try getting elected without listing yourself as a deacon, elder, or Bible Studies teacher at a local house or worship, and you'll find yourself apologizing to your supporters on election night as you give your concession speech.  

                Four cities out of thirty ain't bad, though... especially since we really only have four cities.

                We're so proud!

Friday, January 30, 2015


             The first sign that things might not go well today manifested itself at 6 AM when I heard the hallway floorboards creaking under someone's weight.  There was enough light coming through the bedroom window for me to look over to confirm that the person walking around the house wasn't my lovely (and dangerous, even when sleeping) wife.  She was still snoozing, oblivious to a potential intruder.

             Then I heard Casper the Cat make the first of his morning food dish alerts.  This animal has an uncanny knack for sounding his "feeeeeed meeeeee!" alarm fifteen or twenty minutes before the actual alarm on the clock goes off.  One of his many charms.

             So I got up to check on the original noise, and found Sarah (Cindy's nine year-old niece) climbing back into her bed.  She whispered that her throat was sore.  Again.  And "oh, while you're up, I think my potty is clogged up..."  

             And it was, indeed.  From the looks of the slurry, she had had a bout of  diarrhea, and things hadn't gone down exactly according to the plumbing textbooks when she had flushed.  I was still pondering the prospect of taking a plunger to the Black Lagoon when the cat dashed through the bathroom like a wild-eyed weasel on crack.  He gets a little manic when a human is awake, but hasn't made a move to put food in his dish.

             I tossed his hyper ass out on the back deck to commune with nature while I went to get the plunger.

             Mission accomplished (gag... cough, cough... gag...), I rinsed off the plunger and put it back into the utility closet, and washed my hands.  A quick check of the kid's forehead let me know she was running a slight fever, so I went back to the bathroom for the thermometer and a few Luden's Cherry cough drops.  Today's instant digital thermometers are inaccurate as hell, because ours indicated Sarah had been dead for at least six hours.  It barely registered any temp at all, much less an elevated one.  I rinsed off the useless thermometer and put it back into the medicine cabinet.

             My wife's alarm went off, which meant there would be no crawling back into a warm bed for Squatlo.  

              A few minutes later she had Sarah out of bed watching cartoons in the living room in front of a bowl of Froot Loops, the most disgusting breakfast cereal known to mankind.  The mere smell of that particular brand of cereal nauseates me, but then, so does anything other than coffee the first thing in the morning.  Coffee... I need coffee.  So I poured a cup and was about to take a sip when I heard the kid quickly leave the living room on a mad dash to the bathroom toilet.

              I'll say this much for Froot Loops: if you ever want to see someone throw up a rainbow, that's the perfect pre-launch diet for the show.

              So the child is staying home from school.  I called Petri Dish Elementary to let them know she wouldn't be attending classes, and when the doctor's office opens I'll make yet another appointment with Sarah's pediatrician... a woman who can probably take cruises on the money generated by flu season.

               The kid's back in her bed, queasy, but alive.  And I've finally gotten my first cup of coffee.  

               All's well... except for that odd whining noise coming from the back deck of the house.


Thursday, January 29, 2015


           You would think that a state which depends on federal handouts for its financial survival wouldn't be quick to bite the hand that feeds it.  You might also think a billionaire Republican governor wouldn't have much trouble herding the cats who make up the GOP super majorities in both the state House and Senate.  But you would be wrong on both counts.  A word of advice to those who might make assumptions about Tennessee's General Assembly: keep your expectations low, or risk being disappointed on a daily basis.

            For over two years, Governor Bill Haslam (recently named the wealthiest elected politician in America) has been promising to put forward his very own "Tennessee Plan" for Medicaid expansion in the Volunteer State.  He's dicked around while running the political equivalent of a four corner stall in (pre shot-clock) basketball, hoping the Affordable Care Act would somehow implode or be struck down by the courts, which would take his ass off the hook for making a decision on whether or not to provide medical coverage for hundreds of thousands of needy Tennesseans.  The state has been hemorrhaging out nearly $3 million a day during this delay, money that Tennessee's taxpayers are currently sending to Washington to fund the Medicaid expansions other states have already enacted.  In the meantime, hospitals all across the state have been closing due to financial insolvency, a fiscal nightmare caused primarily by unpaid emergency room care those hospitals are currently providing without compensation.  The money's there for the asking, but our state's Governor and legislature are so opposed to "Obamacare" that they can't admit we even need the cash.

              About a month ago the governor finally got off his ass and presented his long awaited Tennessee Plan.  Sort of.  He didn't provide many details on how the plan would be funded, but stressed that it was WAY different from the despised Obamacare everyone has heard so much about.  He promised that it would require needy folks to put "some skin in the game" in the form of insurance premiums, and that it would be financially sound for the state's future.  He even told the legislature they could vote to end the program if it turned out to be flawed.  The governor is currently on a statewide speaking tour, trying to ramp up support for the plan from Bristol to Memphis.  He's even warned opponents of the plan not to clutter up the discussion with "red herrings" designed to obfuscate the issues.

               In other words, he's trying to pitch the program without providing too many pesky ol' details about its funding or implementation, and would really like it if those whose knees keep jerking at the mere thought of accepting a part in Obamacare would be still while he's talking.

               Good luck with that, Governor Haslam.

               Men who campaigned for the state's legislature with promises to never, ever accept Obamacare aren't about to turn around and support a plan that smells a lot like Obamacare from where they're sitting in the Legislative Plaza.  They would rather the state continue to leak tax dollars like a pipeline spill than keep those federal dollars in Tennessee to benefit needy citizens here.  It's not that they're heartless assholes, it's... well...  Never mind.  They ARE heartless assholes, if we're going to be honest about it.  The lot of them.  They really couldn't care less about the poor, and the only reason for any of them to give a shit about rural hospitals would depend upon whether or not their campaigns received money from the state's hospital association in the last election.  

                Today's edition of The Tennessean (motto: "Lurid Vanderbilt rape case details updated daily!") has a front page article quoting legislative leaders who doubt the governor's "Tennessee Plan" will even make it out of the three committees slated to debate its merits.  The General Assembly passed a law in the last session making it necessary for the legislature to approve any measure to expand Medicaid in Tennessee, so the governor has to suck up to knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing troglodytes if he wants to get his plan enacted.  And those trolls have no intention of playing nice, even if the governor is of their own Party.

                Another article in today's McPaper concerns a certain legislator's attempts to cut off federal dollars designated to help the pre-kindergarten programs in Memphis and Nashville.  Rep. Glen Casada (a real piece of work from Williamson County) has filed a bill making it possible for elected representatives of any school district in the state to file a lawsuit if federal money isn't shared equally among all of the state's schools.  The current waiting list for a pre-kindergarten seat in Nashville is over 1000 applications annually.  Those are mainly lower income folks hoping to get their kids accepted into some sort of educational program for which the state currently has no funding.  Tennessee's Shelby County and Metro Nashville's public schools are slated to receive $70 million over four years to fund pre-kindergarten initiatives.  Those are federal dollars the state is about to receive after our Republican governor requested federal help.  Rep. Casada's bill would require the state to return the funds to the federal government if even one representative files suit protesting the unequal dispersal of money throughout the state.  His bill doesn't require the state to equally divide the money if anyone bitches about it, but to return it to Washington unspent.

                Again, it's important to remember that like most red states, states with Republican majorities in their legislatures, Tennessee takes in far more federal handouts than we send to Washington in the form of taxes.  In a way, you could say Tennessee is one of those welfare queen states, always asking for handouts that exceed our contributions to the rest of the country.

                Obviously, we're not too proud to beg for help.  But we might just be too stupid to take it when it's offered.



Tuesday, January 27, 2015


             One of the progressive news sites I like to check out is, a valuable source for stories and analysis of world events.  Usually, the content on that site concerns issues of national importance, with an eye toward the more curious events taking place around American politics.  But this morning an article caught my eye that was most definitely NOT about politics or global events.

             Apparently, the good folks at Adam & Eve, a company that specializes in sex toys and other adult products, has taken a survey of over 1000 American adults to determine what kind and how many sex toys they own.  The results weren't all that surprising.  54% of women and 64% of men said they didn't own even one sex toy, while 41% of women and 31% of men claimed to own at least one.  A small percentage of both men and women admitted that they own six or more sex toys.

              Nothing all that unusual in those survey results, really.  What WAS surprising, at least to me, was the list of new products people are ordering from various companies to spice up their sex lives.  I'm not making any of this up... you can check out the story yourself here.

              Okay, the first thing I found unusual was that two of the ten items listed in this article involved the sense of smell... an erogenous zone I hadn't given much thought.  Who would have guessed that a product designed to mimic the "aroma" of a woman having a period would be popular?  According to the story, menstuation aroma spray (red, of course) sells quite well.  Another product is simply called "Japanese schoolgirl armpit smell".  I have no idea how they were able to determine exactly what the armpits of sweaty Japanese schoolgirls was supposed to smell like, or why that might somehow be a turn-on for someone, but there you go.

              Some of the products were standard fare dildos in the shape of the male erection, but there were others that had "bizarre" written all over them.  For example, a bloody, self-dissolving "artificial hymen" is available, if anyone wants to go to the trouble of inserting a product that mimics vaginal virginity, complete with a bloody red dye for the full effect.  Or you might want to consider a full body Spandex sack with restraints... perfect for those who like to toss their victims into the trunk of a car?  Maybe you're into anime porn?  You can purchase an anime face mask for your partner, just to acquire the look of those huge, soulless eyes everyone craves when they're horny?  (heavy sigh...)

                There's an anal plug with a long cat tail (complete with bell, in case you lose your partner behind the couch or something, or want to keep them from catching birds out in the yard?).  And those of you who know someone with a Hello Kitty fixation might be interested in a genuine Hello Kitty Massager.

                For those with money to blow, one company offers a 24-karat gold vibrator for a mere $15,000.  If you're a little more cost conscious, you can opt for silver one.  It only costs $7,900.  Practically giving that one away, aren't they?

                 Hey, I know a guy who's happy with a simple bar of Ivory Soap.  But then, soap's such a slut, right?