Friday, November 28, 2008

On Black Friday

A 34-year-old Wal*Mart employee was trampled to death in Valley Stream, N.Y. today when a horde of slavering ghouls broke down the doors at 5 a.m. for a black Friday sale.
And who could blame them? Did you see the deals that place was offering? I mean, these people were totally justified in not only waiting outside the store since Thursday morning - making the sacrifice to skip Thanksgiving with their families in order to provide them with cut-rate prices on My Little Pony and G.I. Joe come X-mas morning - but also in turning a metal security door into an accordion in their blind shopping lust, additionally injuring several employees trying to help their departed co-worker and a woman who is eight months pregnant. (The woman and fetus are reportedly doing A-OK, by the way.)
When told they had to clear out because the store was closing due to the death, shoppers humbly complied and left while expressing their sincerest condolences.
Naw, I'm just kidding - they became enraged at the prospect and went right on shopping.
Because after all, what's a little complicity in murder compared to getting your fat, ugly talons on an $800 50-inch plasma TV?
What's a little common human decency in the face of $70 digital cameras?
Why should anyone be asked to behave like a rational human being under such circumstances, instead of a foul, piggish, stupid thing fit only to be shoved in a box and mailed to the filthiest corner of industrial China to produce lead-lined toys for the next 40 years in a slave camp?
Why indeed, with savings like these?
Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, Calif., two men shot each other to death in a Toys R' Us, either over an argument about a toy or in some gang-related foolishness.
Good job, America.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

On the PPA

Y'know, I appreciate the fact that I can pay a parking ticket online, but I miss writing "choke on it" on the memo line.
Also, the $1.50 online fee just seems excessive.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

On absent friends

It seems like everything makes me want to cry these days. Everything. Either because it's too damn sad or too damn beautiful. Or maybe I'm just too goddamn morose. Anyway, it's always there.
I'm off to yet another funeral Friday. Forty-three years old. Third heart attack, or so I hear. I'm heading that way too and I know it, but it still ain't enough to steer me off that track. I'm smoking a cigarette right now and drinking a beer and hoping to god I can get enough sleep tonight that when I grind my teeth in the office tomorrow it won't be because of the thing that finally makes me take a fire axe to my goddamn computer and call it a day. I'll probably eat a cheeseburger.
These people, they always die of something. Not old age, but something. Drugs, suicide, murder, murder-suicide, AIDS, cancer...
Knowing them, it makes you wonder how you're going to end up. And how much you'll leave unfinished. I'm always worried that for me, it'll be a half-read book. If there's an afterlife, I'll have to wander the globe searching for someone reading that book so my spook can finish it over their shoulder before i can ascend, or whatever.
But what if there's a nuclear war and no one reads books anymore?
A long time ago, I used to run with Dan Gaubatz. He was like no one I'd met before or since. "Puckish," his ex-girlfriend told the papers, and it suited. I was 15, he was about 20, a Swarthmore student and budding comedian. I don't know why he ever put up with me, but he did. There was nothing I could realistically offer, no angle for him. Dan didn't need one. He was that kind of guy. Used to let me crawl in his kitchen window and crash on his couch if I needed to. Cooked me dinner. Never touched a drop except on his 21st birthday, when he had a couple beers. No drugs, no nothing. Bike messenger. To this day, I can't drink Red Stripe without thinking of him.
His roommate found him "unresponsive" in his bed one night. His big, stupid heart gave out, something about a busted valve. He had either just been engaged, or soon would be. They put a few ropes up on the campus in his honor, near the dorms, with a plaque about his "playful nature" or some such gibberish. Like that was supposed to help.
At the funeral, I wore a torn black rain coat and felt like a damn fool. A girl I barely knew kept weeping and dabbing her eyes with this hideous glob of tissue and saying a sentence over and over to me, but I couldn't understand her. I didn't care what she was saying - I just wanted to bend her over a pew and show her what life was all about. Death does funny things to people. It's always made me want to screw, which, obviously, is the opposite of death.
I later found out she was trying to tell me that his parents wanted me to have his bike. A Cannondale, top of the line. The same one he used as a bike messenger. I used it to run drugs either to or from my house.
Some scumbag later stripped it for parts in Richmond. I don't know what ever happened to the frame. I still have the gears the cops recovered, but that doesn't seem like enough.
Maybe I'll do something with them one day, something artsy that he'd like.
Yeah, and maybe I won't be found "unresponsive" one day, too.
Still, it's nice to dream.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Zack Parsons nails it

Here's a link to an article over at that one of its regular contributors banged out today on all the ignorant, petulent and misguided wailings from both sides of the aisle.
You probably won't like it. I thought it was spot on.

On 2009

No question, the tide turned in Delco this year. One need only check the numbers to see that. Where Republicans once held a lofty 2-1 margin over registered Democrats, there is now less than a 20,000 person difference between the two camps.
One local Democratic leader recently told me this represented a "sea change" in Delco politics: Out with the old guard, in with the new blood. It's only a matter of time before we have Democrats on county council, taking over local school boards, etc. etc.
Well, call me a cynic, but I'm skeptical. This swing for the Dems, I think, can be wholly attributed to the high interest in the presidential election and the on-the-ground efforts of the local Obama team; nothing more.
Rudy Giuliani might want to take note, by the way, that when you have a community organizer heading up the ticket, that might mean the people working under him will have a pretty good notion of how to organize a community to do things like, say, vote.
But whether the local Democratic Party will be able to take any lessons away from those grassroots efforts and capitalize on the momentum of a presidential win in an off-year is yet to be seen. I mean, let's be realistic here - while many of the voters who came out Tuesday aren't likely to jump ship from their Democratic Party registration, they've also already done what they set out to do: vote for Barack Obama. And let's not forget there was a lot of ticket-splitting for incumbent Republicans. So if they come back in high numbers next year for any local races whatsoever, I'll be shocked.
Democrats should also keep in mind that the GOP is still the majority party in Delco and they're just spoiling for a rematch.
A historic victory for the Dems? Yes, absolutely. But a sea change? Much like a universal health care plan that works, I'll believe it when I see it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

On post-election blues

I take back every word. I'm soooooo booooored without this stupid election to cover. I almost had to write about Philly's budget woes today, that's how bad it is.
Funny thing is, now that it's over, some guy sent me an email chastising me for inserting my "Republican bias" into every story I wrote.
Guy must not read this thing.
Hell, I get told even by horrible bigots that I'm pretty damn fair. It doesn't always hold, but, you know, I try. I covered things straight that even a child could call shenanigans on. (I mean - saying the PADC is attacking Nick Miccarelli's war record because of a Web site that said he "fought" to re-elect Heckle and Jerkle in 2004? What is this, amateur hour?)
But I guess that's all behind us now.
Obama's gonna be president. McCain's gonna, hopefully, go back to the guy he was eight years ago. Good ol' Joe Biden can finally say whatever damn fool thing pops into his head without any real fear of retribution. And Palin? Oh golly. Oh gosh. That pinhead is done, donchaknow.
She's a joke. No - she's a punchline. The only gig I could see her getting after this is a short-lived daytime TV spot called "The Palin Doctrine." Or maybe just "Sarah," which would be written across the screen in sassy cursive lettering by a cheap CGI tube of red lipstick before each episode. Like Morton Downey's teeth. Remember that guy? Yeah. Get ready to not remember Sarah Palin either.
Unless she comes back as the GOP candidate in 2012, in which case Democrats will dance naked in the streets with the sure knowledge that Obama just got another four years.
Granted he's still alive by then.

What, too soon?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On the state of the onion

Man, I don't care who you were rooting for - you look me in the eye and tell me you aren't proud of your country for what it just did.
This is huge.

Monday, November 3, 2008

On the election eve

Seriously? I think this stupid thing took five years off my life.