Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Ticker-Tape Parade Down the Broadway of My Psyche

Decades ago, after I’d performed with my little rock group at the world-famous Whisky a-Go-Go, someone asked if I’d been a professional dancer, and my girlfriend related having heard a young woman in the audience observe to her friend, “All he’s got going for him is his looks.” On the last night of 2010, I was nearly that flattered again when my friend Janet asked me to make a lasagna for the intimate New Year’s Eve potluck dinner she and Nathan had resolved to host. It turned out that my lasagna was the main course, and two of my four fellow diners seemed to like it well enough to request a second portion. A glorious ending for an altogether glorious year!

In 2010, all I did was achieve sanity. After spending most of my adult life either nearly immobilized by despair or bracing myself for the next visit of what Winston Churchill called the Black Dog, I suddenly found a way to keep depression at bay. As I write this, it’s been about nine months since I was seriously despondent. I’ve never gone that long before. When my daughter got married a few weeks ago, I wasn’t even told about it, much less invited. I rebounded from the news — and from the realization that I probably won’t get to meet my grandchildren — in hours. You can’t keep a good man down, or me.

Or maybe I’m giving myself too much credit saying that I found a way. Maybe it’s the citalopram that deserves a ticker-tape parade down the Broadway of my psyche, or the kindness and wisdom of Ms. Rita Ovens, whom I consulted during the first half of the year at the local mental health center. Anyone and anything who feels entitled may take as much credit as she or he can carry! There’s plenty to go around.

I’d long imagined that being in emotional agony a lot of the time at least helped make me who I am as an artist. That turned out not to be the case. My sunny new disposition has made me no less brilliant, and no less driven. I achieved my goal of writing 300 little essays over the course of the year, over 200,000 words. My efforts didn’t make me the toast of multiple continents, or even of my neighborhood, but I’m fine nowadays thinking that my genius may be recognized only after my death, or not at all. A world in which, for instance, Mark Ruffalo keeps getting hired to act in movies and John Grisham keeps getting paid fortunes to write fiction obviously makes no sense whatever, and one can only drive himself crazy imagining otherwise. Hey now, hey now, Crowded House sang, don’t let them win, presumably referring to the forces that try to demoralize all of us. Words to live by!You do your damnedest, take pride in having done so, and let the rest take care of itself, or fail to take care of itself.

My gal moved back to her own country in the spring, but my love for her only grew, and when we spent a couple of weeks together in the autumn, ‘twas blissful. It doesn't get better than being loved so much by one you love so much. I made a good new friend in 2010, and give myself a rowboat full of credit for having done so, as she, a fellow Census trainee, didn’t give me much encouragement in the early going. My friendship with Nathan and Janet got deeper and stronger. After 20 years and an excruciating false start, my best male friend of my adulthood and I managed finally to get back on track after 20 years’ dormancy.

I went to the gym 320 times over the year’s course. The unrelenting pain in the knee that was mangled when an inattentive teen driver ran me down in the middle of Beacon’s Main Street and my failing hearing and vision aside, I remained the picture of what Tom Wolfe has called rude animal health. Nathan thinks I look buff, Janet that I look lanky.

Everything’s coming up roses, my friends. May your 2011 be as happy as my 2010 has been, and all your Xmases white.

Friday, December 31, 2010

A Common Sense Conservative View of Gay Marriage

Liberal and so-called progressive (hereinafter, LSCP) acquaintances are forever challenging my fierce opposition to gay marriage, and I’m forever flabbergasted by their failing to see how they shoot themselves in the foot by supporting the idea. I’m not even going to mention Leviticus’s revelation that God views same-sexed erotic interaction as abominable; we’ve been through that and through that and through that. Rather, I’ll belabor the obvious by noting that the legitimization of non-reproductive unions will inevitably slow the birth rate. Fewer births means fewer consumers, and fewer consumers means fewer jobs. If you want to keep unemployment hovering at or even above 10 percent, that is, just start joining gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the trangendered in holy matrimony!

Not, of course that LSCPs are likely to be troubled by mounting unemployment; why should they be when they imagine they can solve the problem as they solve every problem — by hurling money at it? Countless tens of millions unemployed? Just borrow more money from the Chinese! It’s fine; our grandchildren will pay it back, provided more of us don’t decide to go the gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered route and not produce any.

Many LSCPs purport to love animals as much as they do trees. But let’s imagine that, because of gay marriage, the human population plummets, with the result that there are fewer hunters. The deer population will rise precipitously, and the poor creatures will, because there’s only so much food for them in their natural habit, slowly starve to death. I don’t know about you, but if I were a buck, I’d sooner go out strong and proud and free with a bullet through my head than starve to death after having watched my does and fawns and what have you starve too.

It’s hardly as though we common sense conservatives see no upside to gay marriage. A child with two gay fathers stands to have a superior sense of both interior design and self-presentation. He or she is likely to be far more aware than normal kids of the importance of regular exfoliation and moisturizing, and more likely to appreciate musical theatre. I, for one, would have no reservations whatever about living in a world in which the recordings of Judy Garland singing the songs of master songwriters were appreciated as much as those of Katy Perry, let’s say. A child of lesbian mothers is apt to be precocious at woodworking and home repair, and will probably also develop an early affection for such fitness-promoting recreations as softball and volleyball, and is almost guaranteed to be more inclined than a normal child to believe that one can be attractive without the use of expensive cosmetics that were tested on animals.

Birth rates in societies in which homosexuality doesn’t exist, such as the Islamic and fervently Roman Catholic ones, continue to soar. It’s likely that in a couple of generations, we will continue to have God on our side, as we’ve always had, but stand to be so woefully outnumbered as to make God’s sympathies moot. Seen from this point of view, preventing across-the-board implementation of the homosexual agenda is necessary for nothing less than the survival of our way of life.

I have a couple of points to make about the fact that, through the end of 2009, Gov. Palin’s memoir Goin’ Rogue had sold 1,255,963 units, while her more recent America From the Heart: Ideals My Ghostwriters Cherish, has in a comparable period sold “only” 232,344 units — 23 of which, I’m proud to say, I gave as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa gifts. First, Noam Chomsky and 10 of his favorite fellow so-called progressives would give you the fake leather elbow patches off their corduroy blazers to have combined sales of half of Heart’s. And the relatively slow sales of the second book owe to common sense conservatives realizing that, classic as it is, it will still be available to buy and savor when they’ve finished their seventh, eighth, or even ninth re-reading of Rogue, which has to be read several times even to begin getting out of it all that there is to get. In the fullness of time, I can see its sales comparing favorably to those of William Bennett's The Book of Virtues and the Harry Potter books.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spermboys, Pit Bulls, and Second Chances

Even the most devoted of us common sense conservatives trying to clear Gov. Palin’s path to the White House has to pause every now and again to, as the young people say, “chill out”. Last night, with my two liberal and so-called progressive friends (who said we common sense conservatives are intolerant?) Janet and Nathan, I watched The Kids Are All Right, which has made every Ten Best of 2010 list in sight. I loathed it.

Teen children of a lesbian couple seek out their mom’s sperm donor, a motorcycle-riding organic restauranteur. One of the moms has an affair with him. The other mom is hurt and angry. The two teenaged children feel betrayed (as teenaged children do pretty much regardless of what happens, of course). The two moms remember that marriages and families are hard work, and figure out a way to reconcile. The end.

Performances by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as the moms: good enough to make you feel sorry for their having to work with a rotten script that contains exactly one interesting revelation: that some lesbians sometimes enjoy watching gay porn by virtue, if I got Moore’s character’s explanation right, of men being sexually protuberant. Performance by Mark Ruffalo as Spermboy: far short of mediocre. Photography and set direction: About on a par with Ruffalo’s performance as Spermboy, which is to say the first thing that struck me about the movie was how very ugly it was, how the camera seemed over and over to have been positioned at random.

I have long believed that, if you don’t count Keanu Reeves, who’s in a class all his own, Nicolas Cage is the worst actor of his generation. At least he takes chances, though; indeed, sometimes his awfulness is absolutely riveting. I’d much rather watch him than a non-entity like Ruffalo, about whom you can say nothing more laudatory than that he’s apparently able to remember his lines. He suggests no life beyond the scene in which he’s appearing, has no depth, is never interesting or surprising. You’ve heard movie stars described as so charismatic that it’s impossible not to watch them when they’re on screen, whether or not they’re speaking? Well, I find myself watching everything and everybody but Ruffalo. How does such a guy keep getting cast?

Here. I’ve done it. I’ve thought of someone as bad — the guy who played Ally McBeal’s love interest on television, Gil Bellows. And he was a Canadian.

I would never have dreamed a movie could make me long for Cameron Diaz’s self-delightedly ditzy singing, but the scene in Kids during which Benning’s and Ruffalo’s characters sing Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” over dinner managed it.

I blame myself. I should have known, as a common sense conservative, that a movie about deviates wouldn’t work for me.

In other news, the Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson, formerly known for wearing a bow tie, spoke for a great many of us on Tuesday when he objected to President Obama’s commending the Philadelphia Eagles football team for giving a second chance to Michael Vick, who raised pit bulls to tear one another’s throats out. “Now, I’m a Christian,” Carlson said. “I’ve made mistakes myself, I believe fervently in second chances. But Michael Vick…should’ve been executed…”

Naturally, the liberals and so-called progressives have been having a field day with this, pointing out that we common sense conservative Christians almost invariably append a statement beginning with but to such declarations as "I believe in second chances".

Yet another case of the LSCPs just not getting it! There is no logical inconsistency whatever in believing in second chances only for those who genuinely deserve them, just as there is none in believing unwaveringly in freedom of speech only for those who don’t wantonly abuse it. That one believes, for instance, that a television evangelist who has allowed himself to be seduced by a shapely young secretary obviously placed in his path by Satan himself should have a chance to redeem himself in no way compels him or her to believe that a person of color who has sanctioned dog-fighting deserves a comparable opportunity.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

God's Will and Xanthan Gum

A great many Palin-related blogs, though I hate to use that remarkably ugly word,. are the work of liberals and so-called progressives whose freedom of speech would be rescinded in a society in which common sense enjoyed greater veneration, but at least they serve to remind us constantly of the shameless perversity of those who would slow Gov. Palin’s historic march to the White House. In one of them yesterday, the author bewailed Sarah’s seemingly having broken a law on which she herself signed off while leading Alaska to previously unimagined prosperity and respect in the world community — S.B. 72, which calls for the minor passengers of recreational vehicles to wear seat belts or other restraints.

Again we confront the LSCPs’ appalling inability to parse metaphor, just as all those years ago when they were up in arms about Sammy Hagar’s “I Can’t Drive 55,” which they denounced as hypocritical in view of Sammy’s enthusiasm for Ronald Reagan, that implacable champion of law and order. Strictly to keep up appearances, such laws as S.B. 72 are indeed on the books, but when the books restrict Americans’ personal liberties, the laws obviously become just ceremonial. It isn’t as though Gov. Palin, famously self-described as a Mama Grizzly, isn’t ever vigilant as to the well being of her fancifully named cubs. If husband Todd, behind the Palin family RV’s wheel, had to brake suddenly, you can bet your bottom dollar that Sarah would either grab the little ones’ ankles before they could become human projectiles, or quickly position herself between them and the windshield or the back of husband Todd’s head.

The whole seat belt thing is so typical of the Obamarxists. Suddenly Americans can no longer be trusted to make decisions about their own safety — as they can longer be trusted, if you believe Michelle Obama, to choose between invigorating exercise in the fresh air and sitting in front of some mindless reality television show, absentmindedly washing down with soft drinks great handfuls of potato chips fried in palm oil, or bon-bons full of xanthan gum. One look at the Palins, who — except for the apparently pregnant-again Pistol — are all svelte enough to be on the covers of magazines, makes very clear that Americans are indeed qualified, with God’s tacit guidance, to make such decisions without the help of Big Government.

Viewers of the most recent edition of Sarah Palin’s Third World Hell Holes, in which daughter Pillow accompanied her parents to Malawi, noticed that she’s an insufferable little eye-rolling bitch, as are so many young people in their mid-teens; it is God's will that, in teenage, children treat the two people in all the world who love them most worse than they will ever treat anyone else again. That Sarah had her many children over nearly two decades confirms that her judgment and foresight are impeccable, as only befits the exemplar of common sense conservatism. As the father of only one child, who in her teens became virtually unrecognizable as the sweet, affectionate, appreciative kid I’d known earlier, I often wished I had another child, whose ongoing adoration would reassure me that I hadn’t suddenly turned into a clueless, insensitive monster. When Pillow rolls her eyes at Sarah and husband Todd for, for instance, failing to understand that the ability to transmit and receive text messages is vital to her emotional well being, they can always summon Pillow’s adorable younger sister Wiper for consolation, or even the twins, Trig and Calculus.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Duping the Dems: Our Nation's Greatness Restored

If I had any reason to believe that liberals and so-called progressives (hereinafter LSCPs) in high places read today’s column, I wouldn’t write it, because it contains some revelations that could cause a lot of trouble if they fell into the wrong hands. You’ll notice that in the past few weeks a lot of actual Republicans have been taking shots at Gov. Palin. That great American hero Karl Rover said she shouldn’t be starring in her own reality show on television. That former Reagan strategist from Iceland whose name I’ve forgotten and am too lazy to look up said she wasn’t electable. Lovable Mike Huckabee said she was wrong to suggest that Michelle Obama was trying to take away the nation’s desserts. And now Dana Perino of Fox News — the same Fox News for which Gov. Palin is a commentator! – suggests that Sarah doesn’t write all the books and op-ed pieces and Twitter tweets and so on that appear below her by-line.

Naturally, the LSCPs are rubbing their greasy hands with glee, imagining this means that Sarah won’t be the Republicans’ presidential nominee in 2012.

How not to love anyone that gullible, that eager to be scammed?

What’s really happening, of course, is that the Democrats are being lulled into a false sense of security. Imagining, in the wake of all the above-referenced sniping, that Sarah will decide not to run, and that they’ll have to beat only the presidential-looking, but strangely charisma-free Mitt Romney, the left isn’t making a concerted effort to persuade Barack Obama to retire from politics next year, and to prime former Cleveland mayor Dennis Kucinich and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to replace him and that knucklehead Joseph Biden as their standard-bearers in 2012. They’ll realize too late that they’ve been scammed, and will be stuck with Obama even as his approval ratings drop farther than anyone’s ever, the Republicans will unite behind Gov. Palin, and our nation will be on the verge of being restored to its former greatness.

We learn now with horror and indignation that WikiLeaks kingpin Julian Assange, who Gov. Palin quite astutely suggested should have been hunted down like any other terrorist and disembowled in the middle of Times Square, has just signed lucrative deals to write his autobiography for American and British publishers. A major Hollywood producer will reportedly announce his acquisition of the film rights later in the week; it’s already common knowledge that both Ryan Gosling and Owen Wilson have been approached about portraying the vile Australian rapist and traitor. Justin Bieber, in his motion picture debut, will portray Pfc. Bradley Manning, who leaked sensitive materials to Assange, Reese Witherspoon and Scarlett Johansen his two alleged rape victims.

Mortified though we may be to think of the loathsome cur Assange now being able to pay his legal bills, and maybe even have a few bucks left over for a Lexus, right-thinking Americans can take some solace in Sarah’s having received an advance of $12 million for her America by Heart: Ideals My Ghostwriters Cherish. Sometimes, in this crazy world, the righteous still do finish first.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Quick-Thinking Enough for the Presidency

That I almost missed Sarah Palin’s Third World Hell Holes last night had nothing to do with the frightful blizzard-like weather that kept me from the gym for the second day in succession (the place was to have been locked tight on Christmas). Rather, it was to do with the fact that, while making myself an ultradeluxe lasagna, with roasted carrots and zucchini, to enjoy over the course of the week to come, I was tuned into the Food Network on the little TV in the kitchen, and they kept showing commercials for catheters. Now, apparently, no Food Network viewer need use a dirty catheter ever again, as you can get 200 lovely pristine ones sent to you for a low, low price. I found most disturbing the juxtaposition of all this dirty catheter talk with Bobby Flay and his Japanese counterpart — Morimoto, if I’m not mistaken — competing to see who could make the more delicious meal using eggnog in everything.

I washed down a Valium with some bourbon, lay outside in the snow until I lost the feeling in my fingers and toes, hurried back inside — to whatever extent one with no feeling below his ankles can be said to have hurried — and got the old Magnavox on and warmed up just in time for the beginning of SPTWHH. Sarah and family this week visited the southern African country of Malawi, where the average annual income is $7.65, and where inexpressible misery is rampant. The lamestream media will no doubt attribute the Palins’ visit to Madonna’s having adopted a Malawian orphan, or sort-of orphan, a few years ago, but I prefer to believe that she made her choice strictly on humanitarian grounds — that she felt it her responsibility as a beautiful white goddess to give the populace hope, just as Madonna had, but without the intimations of perversity, and without diminishing the population.

I suspect that, in view of the tragic recall of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell last week, many centrist viewers might have been offended by the segment in which Sarah, at lunch with President Bingu wa Mutharika, husband Todd and Mrs. Mutharika, expressed her enthusiasm for Malawi’s fervent intolerance of homosexuality. The good news is that centrists are going to find themselves right next to liberals and so-called progressives in the litter box of history in a couple of years. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem!

I hugely enjoyed the musical portion of the program, during which Malawi’s premiere recording artist, Tay Grin (nee Limbani Kalilani), joined the Mutharikas and Palins for a medley of his big hit "Break Out", the Captain and Tennille’s "Love Will Keep Us Together", and, rather insensitively, Madonna’s "Like a Virgin", during which daughter Bristol’s embarrassment was palpable. I can’t imagine even the hardest liberal or so-called progressive heart not being touched by the taped segment showing Sarah, with tears in her eyes, handing out condoms, Bibles, and autographed copies of Goin’ Rogue in Chichewa, the country’s poorest region.

After that, it was both a wonderful surprise and a great relief to watch Sarah welcome the week’s surprise special guests Hugh Hefner and his new fiancĂ©e Crystal Harris, to whom he proposed on Christmas Eve. At 104, Hef is actually older than Crys’s great-grandfather, but the couple’s mutual adoration was nonetheless unmistakable. I loved the great aplomb with which Sarah handled their suddenly trying to stick their tongues down each other’s throats, from the look of it, right in the middle of responding to her question about the Playboy Foundation’s plan to distribute free Bantu-language editions of the magazine in the country’s schools to stimulate interest in literacy. “Hey, you two,” Sarah chirped brightly, missing not a beat, even while husband Todd cringed in embarrassment, “get a room, why doncha?” And her detractors would have you believe she’s not quick-thinking enough for the presidency!

I wasn’t at all sure I approved of how Hef, who clearly likes ‘em young and frisky, was leering at Bristol over his new fiancee’s shoulder later in the interview, but Bris is more than old enough to take care of herself nowadays, and in a fight between Hef and Bris’s new inamorato Gino Paoletti, I can’t imagine any common sense conservative favoring Hef.