Tuesday, March 30, 2010


In an earlier entry on this blog, "What, and Get Out of Politics?", I proposed an amendment to the constitution, The Stay Home Amendment. Subtitling it “New Conditions For Congressional Officeholders,” I advocated we elect congressional candidates for terms to be served at home. Instead of sending them to Capitol Hill, we post them to their families—and their own beds.

I see now why I had no support from either side of the aisle, nary a Republican or Democrat. I was threatening to blight the glands that feed their libidos. Noblesse oblige will oblige itself freely, especially when free from obligations like tending the lawn, and children. Heroes at home, paragons of personal sacrifice and role models to the media, when the saints go marchin’ in to distant boudoirs, they’re not likely to stop until they get caught with their pants down.

It doesn’t begin and end inside the Beltway either. I was shortsighted, thinking Washington when I should have been casting my net all the way from the halls of governors’ mansions to the shores of icons’ estates. I’ve seen a video of Tiger’s wife and villa. There’s no place like home.

Reaching back a few years, there’s also no place like religion for infidelity and tears. Witness Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. There’s also no place like Hollywood, where actors who don’t “do” contrite act sincere, throwing in a few broad grins to convince you that you owe them an apology. Mel Gibson is not an anti-Semite—it was the firewater speaking. Alec Baldwin did not leave his daughter a frighteningly abusive telephone message—he was speaking to her as a father. There’s also no place like the music business, where rich and famous rappers publicly admit they abuse their rich and famous girlfriends because… they love them!

What do they all learn? Not much, it appears. The lesson is ours: power corrupts—those who have it and every one else in reach.

Notice, not a woman to impale on the Pickle poll! I pondered nailing a woman Supreme Court judge in flagrante delicto. The closest I was able to come to catching Sandra Day O’Connor swinging was to discover she and her husband hosted the Bushes at all their Christmas parties, but—to her and his dismay, they couldn’t socialize with them at all after Sandra provided the decisive swing vote in Bush v. Gore that had the effect of determining George W would become president. She owes the country an apology.

In closing: The Pickle Award poll’s parameters don’t encompass pedophilia, a transgression far too heinous to be treated lightly. But when it comes to public apologies, wouldn’t it be nice to see a Pope step up?
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This week’s Pickle Award question comes from Steven Eskow, who cordially agreed to let me rework it. (Either that, or he couldn’t have the small token of our gratitude we don’t have for him yet.)

If health care reform hadn’t worn people to a frazzle, I would have put Steve’s question briefly on the back burner and The Pickle Award reward that hasn’t come into existence yet would have gone to “Elsie,” who I have hopes will reveal herself some time—if for no other reason than to let me know where to send her gift.

The Poll will remain posted in the upper left corner for two weeks.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"A Victory For Common Sense"

The news is health care. We look better to the world than we do to ourselves. America, the beautiful from afar, one nation divisible within.
E pluribus unum, in plain English, is not “out of many, one,” but—united we swagger, divided we sprawl. We are noble in spite of half of us.

We join tiny Luxembourg, Cyprus, Iceland, and 33 vastly larger countries in having health care we can believe in. The first to have national health care was Norway in 1912, the most recent, Israel in 1995. It took nearly one hundred years for us to enter the 20th century.

“A victory for common sense,” our president proclaimed, it is the inexorable march of time. The Social Security Act became law in 1935. It survived two challenges to its constitutionality in the Supreme Court. Medicare went into effect in 1965. Seeking to squelch it four years earlier, Ronald Reagan said, “If you don't do this and I don't do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free.” On March 21, 2010, the House of Representatives passed “H.R. 3590 The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” aka “The Health Care Reform Bill” by a vote of 219-212.

What so proudly we hail is merely doing what is right, what is civilized, what is compassionate. It is reform long overdue. It is goodwill, majestic and monumental. And, without doubt, it is historic. Future Pete Seegers and Bruce Springsteens of the world will sing about it.
This is what “you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children.”

I’m not celebrating yet. I can’t raise a glass and drink to “Change” while roughly half of Congress and half the country see their glass as half empty—only now, after having drunk so deeply from its bounty for so long. I can’t applaud leveling the playing field while unruly bullies stomp their feet and scream and do everything they can to break up the game unless they can have their way. Can’t cheer until I can sit them down and say, “Calm down… calm down… that’s it… no, now calm down… take a deep breath… shh, calm... that’s it… breathe… breathe… now say you’re sorry for telling people who didn’t do anything to you, “I wish you were dead.”

The shabby slings and arrows of the Right should be history, as in passé. They tried everything: “death panels” and “granny killing,” “socialism” and “Naziism,” in desperation, spit and slurs. When they didn’t work, they couldn’t wait even a day to get even uglier. Now it’s bricks and guns. Worse, death threats to
the children of legislators who supported the reform bill!

In the spirit of never say die—unless lying or threatening—Republicans cite that 34 Democrats voted against the bill is an argument for their side. I see it differently: that 34 Democrats voted against it shows a party with 34 members who voted their consciences or on principle. Let me spell that for them—princip
le, not principal. Although not a single Republican broke rank and voted anything but no, it still doesn’t seem to occur to them that while they indiscriminately hurl slurs of Naziism at anyone who opposes them, they are the ones who march in lockstep.

They like those isms. An apparent disciple, vw5Ohguy, twittered:
With passage of the wealth redistribution plan...er, I mean Health care "reform", we just took a giant jack-booted step towards socialism.
This is not what President Obama had in mind when he said, “This is what change looks like.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Whose Unwarranted Success Irritates You The Most?

And the winner is… the envelope please…

Heidi… MONTAG!

The results of The Pickle Award poll are official. Drastic plastic or not, Heidi more than made the cut. According to exit polls (voters hastily leaving the page?), women in particular relished giving Heidi 33% of the vote. Green with pickle envy?

Michele Bachmann and Dr. Phil ended in a tie for second. A voter, Alex, commented, “This is like Sophie's Choice... who is more worthless, Michelle Bachmann or Heidi Montag?” He didn’t deign to mention Dr. Phil. Dr. Phil has ratings problems; “Other,” an option without a degree, did almost as well.

What becomes a Pickle most? For Heidi, the fickle pickle of fatuity, it’s sheer gall—divided into three parts: ambition, vanity and vacuity. You probably aren’t aware that the music on The Pickle Award video is from Heidi’s new CD. And what is the last thing you’d think she’d call her CD? “Superficial.” That’s the title. Which happens to be the title song as well. Superficial? A portion of the lyric appears below.

You may have participated in the first Pickle Award poll—or you may not have. To its credit, the web host, Blogspot, sees to it that the poll is tamperproof. But, dismayingly, Blogspot’s poll is not glitch-proof. In the poll’s first days, many votes were inadvertently unrecorded. Subsequent investigation disclosed that insidious browsers—lowbrowsers, decidedly—were the villains. To be sure, the discrepancies were neither as critical, nor as nefarious, as the disputed Florida vote count in 2000 and the ensuing Supreme Court Bush v. Gore perfidy that elevated my initial model candidate for the Pickle Award, George W. Bush, to conspicuous presumption. (Acknowledgeably, it may be tantamount to beating a dead horse, but based on his qualifications to hold the highest office in the land, which add up to a “zera” worthy of “dubya,” can you forthrightly think of a jim-dandier Pickle candidate by definition? An “Other” voter, JRDegan, commented, “speaking of unmerited reward… I move that we nickname the Pickle Award the Dubya.” If you’re inclined to disagree, you should reread the Pickle Award description—slowly.) This isn’t a case of sour pickles vis-à-vis the Supreme Court, but since I am the supreme court on this site, I appropriately recused myself from any participation that might influence the outcome. (Clarence and Antonin take note.) I solemnly swear the glitches have been summarily eliminated. We will conduct the second Pickle Award poll in two weeks.

Which brings me to you. A note at the bottom of the entry “Introducing… The Pickle Award," stated: In all future polls, you the reader will pose the questions and the candidates. We will conduct another poll the first week of every month. When we get around to it, we will award a small prize to the person posing the best question for the poll; don’t hold your breath. (All right, it will be retroactive.) The mastermind of the month’s selected Pickle question and candidates will always get credit for his or her ideas, if desired. Submit as many as you like. I want to hear them! Please forward yours to sonofthecucumberking@gmail.com, stating Pickle Award on the subject line.

I can’t fathom what pleasure Heidi is getting from life—from surgery to mockery—but I derived mine from reading, and rereading, the “Comments” citing “Other” deserving Pickle candidates and the astute and amusing arguments for the worthiness of their worthlessness. Among my favorites:
Becca: Nadya Suleman
Kate and Jon Gosselin OR
The cast of The Jersey Shore
(and isn't it sad that I know who these people are?

Jacopo: Submitted for the Academy's consideration: Glenn Beck.

Sugar Magnolia: It depends on which day you ask me. Yesterday, it was Paris Hilton. Today it is Sarah Palin. Tomorrow? Ah… so little time. So many worthless targets...

Anonymous: Dick Cheney...Talk about a pickle...how I would like to see something positive come out of his mouth....anything!!! ( and unfortunately his daughter has been trained to follow his lead)...they both look so unhappy.

Rik Misiura PT: I vote the 536 representatives of the government.
W. finally found popularity with liberals, and Obama was derided for being one.

Conclusively getting down to the bottom line—my favorite antagonist, Elsie: Personally I suggest a 24 hour hi-colonic so the poop comes from the correct end.

Let’s let the winner have the last word(s):

They say I’m superficial
Some call me a bitch
They just mad cause
I’m sexy, famous and I’m rich

And I don't care
That I keep pissin' people off
Ima let 'em talk
I don't give a damn what they say
It isn't fair
That I wear diamonds for breakfast
And I know this isn't helping

It ain’t that easy, it ain’t that easy
It ain’t that easy, but it ain’t so hard
Heidi Montag takes the Pickle!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


How often do you look at somebody of note and think: “Lucky! If I were him or her, every morning before my feet even touched the ground I’d roll out of bed onto my knees and thank God for the almighty good fortune bestowed upon me.”

We invite you to use the poll to the left to vote for the person whose success most exceeds your estimate of its merit.

Note: In all future polls, you the reader will pose the questions and the candidates, e.g.: Who has succeeded most beyond his or her limitations? What person or project triumphs because no one has anything against it?