December 20, 2002

Health class.

According to the caption:

An Ukrainian teacher pours water on a boy’s head while other children wait for their turn outside a gymnasium as temperatures reaches -14º in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Many Ukrainians of different ages continue a centuries-old tradition of winter swimming or taking ice-cold showers, which is believed to make people healthier.

The health benefits of cold showers are well-known. They stimulate the lymphatic system and cause an increased heartbeat – a form of exercise. People who take cold showers suffer fewer infections and less severe colds than anyone else – apparently cold baths are even better.

And in contrast to popular belief, the Sunday Times reported in its April 25, 1993 edition that the Thrombosis Research Institute found cold showers improved circulation, strengthened the immune system and led to a heightened sex drive, as the cold water appears to increase testosterone levels in men and estrogen levels in women. One person even claims that three daily cold showers for six weeks cleared his hand of many warts.

December 19, 2002

The only Trent Lott blog Clubbeaux will ever run.

A reader writes: So how come you haven’t written a blog about Trent Lott? You must be the only person who hasn’t.

I suppose if I tried really, really hard I could give a damn.

Personally I always thought his primary objective was funneling porkbarrel spending down to Biloxi.

My sentiments exactly. Yawn. The news is that a good ole boy from Mississippi, raised in the 1950s harbors lingering segregationist sentiments? Stop the presses. Next thing you know you’ll be telling me Democratic presidential contender Al Sharpton gets away with overt anti-white racism without a peep of protest from gutless, spineless Democratic hypocrites.

I know they have a shipyard down there that’s prospered mightily from doing work for the Navy.

Thanks Trent. Now here are your cement shoes. Sleep well, say hi to the fishes. Here are the applications for McDonald’s, everyone, no pushing.

In fact there are probably a fair number of black people making $15-$20 an
hour who would otherwise be looking at hard times ($15/hour in Biloxi definitely gets you a middle class lifestyle).

But you’re in Biloxi. Better to be a pauper in Manhattan…

One idly wonders why Democrats aren’t held to such high standards for their racism. One thinks of Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who once joined the Ku Klux Klan and on Fox News Sunday on Sunday, March 4, 2001 told Tony Snow “There are white niggers. I’ve seen a lot of white niggers in my time; I’m going to use that word.” Oh, that’s right, he’s a Democrat and Lott’s a Republican, sorry. I bet Byrd never went on BET to eat his boots in apology but still he’s allowed a free pass. Just like Democrat Bill Clinton gets a free pass from NOW for demanding sex from subordinate women and Republican Bob Packwood is crucified for making passes at women in his office. Gotta remember those important distinctions.

For that person who has everything:

The Celebrity Mug Shot Shirt. Only $36.

Al Pacino, Dudley Moore, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Tim Allen, Pee Wee Herman, Dennis Rodman, Bill Gates, Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, OJ Simpson, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Robert Downey Jr , Frank Sinatra, Snoop Dawg, Mike Tyson, Hugh Grant, Axl Rose, Keanu Reeves, Marcus Camby, Christian Slater, Christian, Dudley Moore, Jane Fonda, Bill Gates and many more.

Thanks to the JWalk Blog for the heads-up.

Maybe it’s just me.

Okay, maybe it’s just me, but when I see a headline like “Job Opportunities Rose for Blacks in ‘90s,” I settle back for a bit of good news.

Wrong. I mean, you can’t admit that blacks are making progress, getting educated, working hard and joining the American middle class in greater numbers, that goes against the liberal orthodoxy that blacks are poor huddled masses who are capable of nothing but appreciating the patronizing of white limousine liberals. Heck, without a cruelly-oppressed black underclass how else can American liberals prove what monsters conservatives are? Then who’ll feel gratitude to liberals?

Therefore the illusion of systemic anti-black racism must be maintained at all costs, despite the fact that blacks are becoming more and more successful as they take responsibility for their own lives and tune out “leaders” who do nothing but claim that blacks can do nothing for themselves, that it’s all The Man’s fault.

Anyway “social scientists” – one of my favorite oxymorons – who as a class are overwhelmingly liberal and anti-personal responsibility have worked overtime to devise yet another gray lining behind the silver cloud of black progress. According to a recent Associated Press article it seems that now “spatial racism” is the latest effort by whites to keep blacks down on the plantation:

The distance between black households and job opportunities narrowed across the nation during the 1990s, although African Americans remained the most segregated ethnic group from employment opportunities, according to a new study.

All I can figure from this paragraph is that blacks are moving to the suburbs and working in the city, which is what whites have done for generations. This is segregation?

The analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Brookings Institution

Ah there’s the problem. Okay, proceed:

found blacks’ overall proximity to jobs improved slightly during the 1990s, narrowing the gap in “spatial mismatch” between blacks and whites by 13 percent.

Any way you slice whatever phony baloney numbers you’re throwing out there, 13 percent improvement is pretty good. I consider myself relatively well-read on the public discourse, anyone else ever heard of “spatial mismatch” racism?

But no group was more physically isolated from jobs than blacks, the study found.

“Physically isolated” = doesn’t have to live next to the factory anymore.

In nearly all metropolitan areas with significant black populations, the separation between residences and jobs was much higher for blacks than whites.

Again, I’m not sure what the problem is here. Who cares where anyone lives?

“We have designed our metropolitan area in ways that reduce opportunities for potential black job seekers,” said Wayne State University urban affairs professor George Galster.

Wrong. Who’s “we?” Metropolitan areas show evidence of a guiding hand of design? Metropolitan areas today show the dynamics of real-world economics, a concept completely foreign to Mr. Galster, who no doubt can be identified around campus by the “Gore/Lieberman 2000,” “War in Iraq? NO!” and “Tawana Told The Truth” bumper stickers on his car.

The study, he said, shows “continuing evidence of a phenomenon referred to as spatial racism.”

“Phenomenon?” The improvement in opportunities for black Americans willing to work in the 1990s qualifies as a phenomenon. Overall poverty rates fell 3.2 percent for blacks and 0.7 for whites in the 1990s, which shows that blacks used the economic boom to climb out of poverty at three times the rate whites did. Between 1995 and 1999 median real wages for males grew 6.2% for whites and 8.1% for blacks. Between 1989 and 1999 unemployment dropped 3.4 percent among blacks and 0.8 percent among whites. The average income of black families grew 1.1% per year in the 1990s, nearly double the rate for whites. If there is anything Clinton should have run around taking false credit for it was this. I never heard him mention it once. Might upset the liberals if they realized they really aren’t needed to rail against crippling racism destroying opportunities for blacks.

That, my friends, is a phenomenon. “Spatial racism” is not a phenomenon, it’s a meaningless academic buzzword signifying nothing.

Declines in spatial mismatch for blacks were smallest in metro areas in the Northeast, and in metro areas where blacks represent a relatively large share of the population. The researchers credited the decline in part to the national economic boom and higher black home ownership in suburbs, where jobs are often more plentiful.

So blacks are moving to the suburbs and commuting to work. This is a problem?

Using 2000 census figures, researchers compared where people of different races live to where the jobs are found. They then determined what percentage of the population of any race would have to move to a different neighborhood for that race to be equally interspersed among all available jobs.

Politely put, bullfeathers. The claim, insofar as I can make one out, is that you have to live in proximity to a job to have an opportunity to get that job. This probably holds true if working at McDonald’s is the sort of job you can conceive blacks being qualified for, but when you’re talking about a black professional class buying homes in the suburbs and commuting to the city to work it means absolutely nothing.

Here come the dwarves.

Okay, let’s see who the Democrats are going to offer up as a sacrificial lamb against President Bush in a couple years:

John Kerry. When I was living in Boston I remember an editorial writer in The Boston Globe say Kerry couldn’t locate Massachusetts on a map if you spotted him Connecticut and Rhode Island.

If he thought for one second he could get away with it Kerry’d change his name to Kennedy, as witnessed by this line he delivered to the Communications Workers of America meeting Tuesday morning: “I believe we have to be a party and a country that gets back to asking why not again. Why not, in the richest country on the face of this planet, why not stop being the only industrial nation that doesn't provide health care to every single citizen?”

And who was it who said “I dream things that never were, and say ‘Why not’?” Well, yes, George Bernard Shaw, but what ‘60s American politican appropriated that line for his own signature? Hint: think Massachusetts, Democrat, Ke____y.

Unfortunately given Kerry’s left-of-mainstream liberalism – nationalized health care anyone? – he’ll fare a lot closer to another Massachusetts politician, Michael Dukakis, than anybody named Kennedy. For one thing, both he and Dukakis seem to have missed the Kennedy personality injection.

Howard Dean. The only reason you’re reading his name here is that nobody except Kerry has made a serious run yet. The former governor of Vermont, Dean’s famous for approving gay unions in his state, a move which played well in Burlington but won’t play all that well nationwide. You kind of wonder if this run-for-president jag is a recent career move, something to do after Vermonters kicked him out of their statehouse, since nobody in his right mind would approve gay union “marriages” who harbored an aspiration to live in public housing along Pennsylvania Avenue. Once the real fundraising starts Dean’ll be left in the dust big-time.

Richard Gephardt. Big labor loves him, which means the rest of America won’t. Has image of perennial national loser – both in previous Presidential run and in the last elections, when his Democrats got their rears served up to them. Of all the candidates who will try to run as a D.C. “outsider” – meaning all of them – Gephardt will look the most foolish doing so. Voters didn’t trust him back in ’88 and have no more reason to do so now.

Joe Lieberman. Hawkish on defense, smart, can raise money with the best of them, more national name recognition than anyone else in the race, maybe too conservative to survive the intensely partisan primaries (which would be a huge plus in the national campaign), and… Jewish. Thanks for playing.

Tom Daschle. Like Ted Kennedy and Bob Dole before him (and frankly, Lyndon Johnson) Daschle is a man born for the Senate. He does well there, he’s well-liked and respected, it’s his milieu and – for better or for worse, depending on your point of view – he’s effective. He should stay there, if the fate of the last South Dakotan to run for President is any indication. Daschle badly misplayed the last election for the Democrats, looked vacuous waffling around on Iraq and would quickly sink to single-digit also-ran status in the primaries.

John Edwards. Hm, charismatic, folksy fresh face from the South, not much of a paper trail, Edwards is coming out of the sun in this election much like Jimmy Carter did in ’76 and Bill Clinton did in ‘92. (Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that John F. Kennedy is the last Democrat non-Southerner to be elected President in the past fifty-plus years, since Harry Truman?) Is Edwards more than just a pretty face, an interesting sideshow? Does he have the depth or is he nothing more than a Dan Quayle whom you can dress up and take to lunch? Will he wilt when it comes to Slogging For Dollars? Can he jostle and throw elbows with the John Kerrys and Joe Liebermans on the trail? Is America ready for a North Carolina trial attorney as President? What does the man really stand for – is there any “there” there? Stay tuned.

December 18, 2002

Cruelty to the poor.

How can anybody propose this? Haven’t these people suffered enough in life without being asked to sit through a Bengals game?

CINCINNATI - A city lawmaker has a suggestion for grumpy Bengals fans: Give your tickets to poor children.

City Councilman Chris Monzel wants ticket-holders planning to skip Sunday’s game against New Orleans to donate their tickets to the Cincinnati Recreation Commission.

If Cincinnati (1-13) loses, it will be the first time any Bengals team has lost all its home games in one season. It also would be the most losses by any Bengals team in a season.

“This Sunday’s game may be a poor excuse for professional football, but for many of those kids it will be a Super Bowl,” Monzel said.

Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said Wednesday the team prefers that “tickets be used by someone who would enjoy the game, regardless of how that might come about.”

December 17, 2002

News bits from a true fantasy football league:

Sapp apologizes, says he’s learned from mistake.

Tampa Bay’s Warren Sapp paid a visit to Chad Clifton’s hospital room to apologize for ending the Green Bay offensive lineman’s career.

“I feel terrible about it,” Sapp said as he emerged from a 45-minute visit to Clifton wiping tears from his eyes. “There was no reason for me to crunch him like that, and now look, his football career’s over and he’ll have this painful bone condition for the rest of his life.”

Sapp vowed to try to only hit people involved in a play from now on. “There’s gotta be a football reason for me to go after someone,” he told reporters. “I mean if a guy’s thirty yards from the ball I probably shouldn’t slam him out of sheer meanness, I should be trying to make a play on the ball.”

Sapp said that although he did not intend to injure Clifton, “I have to accept responsibility for my actions. I mean, there were millions of kids watching me, and they might think it’s okay to do that to a kid in their leagues.”

Clifton said he forgave Sapp and asked his teammates not to retaliate on his behalf. “Sure the guys could cut block him and wreck his knees on any play,” Clifton said. “But that doesn’t make anything right. It doesn’t do anything to help me.”

Sapp commended Green Bay coach Mike Sherman for admonishing Sapp after the game. “Sometimes we need to be confronted when we mess up,” Sapp said. “After much reflection I realize Coach Sherman was right, I had no business laying that shot on Chad. He’s been in football longer than I’ve been alive, which means he’s probably got a thing or two to teach me. Besides it’s good to see guys loyal to their teams and sticking up for each other.”

Instant replay banned except where really necessary.

League officials today announced that coaches wouldn’t be allowed to call for instant replay to challenge a six-yard completion or to move the spot of a ball a yard or two.

“That’s just bulls—t,” said a league source who asked not to be identified. “The whole idea of instant replay was to make sure games didn’t turn on improper calls, but coaches’ll throw the flag to pick up six yards. Fans have to sit and wait while the call’s upheld – it’s almost always upheld – and the official has to give a five-minute speech explaining everything, it’s just silly.”

Coaches agreed that yeah, things had gone overboard. “Somebody had to do something, it was getting ridiculous,” said Pittsburgh Steeler coach Bill Cowher. “I find that usually when I scream at an official for a call, after I see it on replay I realize he was right anyway.”

From now on, the league said, officials watching TV replays in the booth will decide if a call should be overturned or not. The official will simply send the correction down to the field. “Should take all of ten seconds,” the league source said.

The league also announced that game referees will go back to using only hand signals instead of having miked referees chat with the crowd after each call. “You figure that’ll knock a good ten minutes off the game time right there,” a league spokesman said. “It only takes about that long to learn all the hand signals anyway.”

Sportsmanship to be new emphasis, players say.

Players around the league have announced that they will cut out the unnecessary celebration dances after routine plays.

“I mean sure, if I run a pick back for a touch that wins the game you’ll see me dancin’,” said New England cornerback Ty Law. “But if I just defense a pass, you know, do my job, there ain’t no reason to be struttin’ around bangin’ my chest like I just won the Super Bowl, you know?”

Baltimore Ravens defensive end Michael McCrary said from now on when one of his teammates sacks the quarterback they’ll slap his helmet and help the quarterback up. “There’s no reason to be inventing new dance steps just because we beat a guard or something, that’s our job, we’re supposed to do that,” McCrary said.

Flamboyant San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens promised to abide by the new spirit of sportsmanship. “It really detracts from the game when people are wondering what stupid stunt I’m going to pull next,” Owens admitted. He thanked 49er coach Steve Mariucci for trying to help him mature as a player and as a person.

“Let’s face it,” Owens said. “Just because I can catch a football and I got a million bucks doesn’t mean I know everything there is to know about life. From now on I’ll think how I’d feel if someone did stuff to me, like running to the middle of the field to spike a ball on the 49er logo or something. There’s no need to rub it in.”

New York Giants running back Tiki Barber promised never to kneel and give the first-down signal “especially after a three or four-yard run. Cut me a break.”

No more poaching balls, players promise.

Several wide receivers and running backs have agreed not to keep footballs they score with unless it’s a really significant score.

“Man, you gotta act like you been there before,” said Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander. “Me taking the ball after a score is me sayin’ to the offensive line you guys didn’t block for me, I got this all on my own.”

Some players recalled Cincinnati Bengal receiver Isaac Curtis. “He was the epitome of cool,” said Indianapolis Colt wide receiver Marvin Harrison. “After a score he’d just politely hand the ball to the ref and jog to the sideline. That’s class. That’s a professional. Me takin’ the ball after a score would be like a smack in [Colts quarterback] Peyton [Manning]’s face, you know? If he doesn’t make a perfect throw I’m nowhere.”

League officials applauded the trend, and suggested instead of players taking balls they scored with or intercepted home for their personal trophy cases they distribute them to children in hospitals or schools. “We’d be fine with that,” a league official said. “And sure, if it’s a kid’s first NFL touchdown he can have the ball. But for someone who scores ten, twelve, twenty times a year to be taking each ball, there’s no need for that.”

Moss retires.

Minnesota Vikings part-time wide receiver Randy Moss announced his retirement from the NFL “until I’m ready to play every down, including on game-deciding last-play passes and stop letting my teammates down by not putting out effort when I don’t feel like it.” Moss said he would also seek help in growing up, after which he would consider a return to the league.

In other developments:

- Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Takeo Spikes was traded to the Tennessee Titans yesterday. “He’s such a competitive, exciting player and we just suck so badly I felt for Takeo,” Bengals GM Mike Brown said. “There’s no reason he should be forced to play here when he could be such an impact player on a half-assed team. If he played for Philadelphia or Denver he’d have been to a few Pro Bowls by now.” Club officials said they were in negotiations with Corey Dillon’s agent as well.

- The NFL announced that the Super Bowl will be held at every league stadium on a rotating schedule. “That’s right, we’ll start with Arizona and give it to every stadium in the league,” said a league spokesman. “We’ll lose some of the corporate suckfish who don’t particularly feel like sitting on a bleacher seat in the Meadowlands in January, but I’m sure there’ll be enough genuine football fans to make up for it.”

- CBS, Fox and ABC each agreed with a proposal to cut “way down” on the number of commercials shown during games. “There’s no reason for a one-hour game to drag out over three hours,” declared the president of ABC Sports. “That’s why we’re voluntarily cutting down on the number of ads we run.” Each team only gets one timeout per half, said a CBS spokesman familiar with the proposal, and there won’t be any commercial breaks between kick returns and the ensuing offensive series. “We’re guessing a game could be finished in under two hours,” the spokesman said. “After all, the games are for the fans, right Dave? Dave, wake up. Hey Dave? Wake up, hey –”

Huh? Oh, sorry, must’ve dozed off there.

The Clubbeaux Way Of Success.

Every day Clubbeaux gets cards, letters and e-mails asking Clubbeaux, how can I be as successful as you? I personally answer all inquiries written on the backs of $20 bills, for the rest of you I have produced a motivational CD for you to play it every night for a month. Isn’t that easy? For just $17.99 you can program positive, successful thoughts into your brain while you sleep... you’ll be amazed at how much more successful you are and how you can achieve all your life goals.

I’ve included a small sample below:

… get off your ass and be successful… get off your lazy ass… turn off the CD player, you lazy turd… why are you sitting here listening to a CD instead of getting off your ass and doing something… get off your ass and do something… go turn on your computer… turn off the CD player already, nobody ever made a nickel sitting listening to a CD… turn off the stupid CD and get off your ass and start doing something… get off your ass and do something successful… look at Nora Roberts, you read her books like clockwork, her and John Grisham and Mary Higgins Clark, they all got off their asses and did something… well, actually they sit on their asses all day and write… hey maybe you can do that, it seems to play to one of your strengths… yeah, sit on your ass, put your mind to writing a blockbuster bestseller, here we’ll hold our breaths… just don’t die of tannic acid poisoning from drinking too much tea while you’re sitting on your ass doing nothing in front of the computer and calling it writing… so why don’t we give that a shot… we’re going to go turn on the computer but don’t start playing solitaire, that isn’t successful… send Clubbeaux twenty bucks…success comes one step at a time, but you have to take that first step, which generally involves getting off your ass… to get to the computer walk past the TV… do not turn on the TV… do not get distracted by the potato chips on the TV cushion, that will preclude you from being successful… oh okay, pick up the potato chips, it’s not like your lazy kids are going to do it… no, on second thought, wait for the dog to eat the potato chips, what the hell, it won’t kill him… you, get off your ass and do something successful… lose the idea that someone else can carry you to success, but preferably not before you spend $17.99 on this CD… sure Tony Robbins is successful, because he got off his ass and did something… exactly what he did isn’t all that clear, but we’re pretty sure it involved large amounts of getting off his ass… now you get off yours… put the remote down… there isn’t anything on anyway… send Clubbeaux twenty bucks… do not watch Oprah, you will not gain success by sitting on your ass watching Oprah, the whole point is to get off your ass and do something that will lead you to success… watching Oprah doesn’t qualify… Oprah is successful because she got off her ass and did something, which is what we’re trying to get you to do here… putting your mind to it is the first step, but let’s face it, any idiot can put their mind to something, the hard part comes in the getting off your ass phase… what do you have your mind put to? Sorry, that’s illegal in most states east of the Mississippi, in that case you’re better off in the long run sitting on your ass watching Oprah than doing that… that’s better, even though you’ll probably fail it’s better to fail doing something like that than sitting on your ass… get off your ass and do something… send Clubbeaux twenty bucks… like we said, that’s a pretty good option, now turn off the CD and get off your ass and do it… look at all the people who are successful today because they got off their asses and did something… Peter Jennings is a high school dropout, but he got off his ass and did something… namely walk into the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation headquarters and say my daddy’s the chairman here now give me a job… but still, he had to get off his ass to do that… Jamie Lee Curtis is successful, she set her mind to milking her parents’ names and reputations to open as many doors as possible, doors you couldn’t kick down with a flamethrower unless your parents were Tony Curtis and Peggy Lee… still, she had to get off her ass and do it… get off your ass already, there’s a world waiting to be conquered out there, so just do it… Phil Knight, the guy who owns Nike is pretty successful, he got off his ass and did something, he doesn’t just sit around watching Oprah all day… neither do the slaves who toil in Phil Knight’s sweatshops all around the world… get off your ass and be successful, dammit, there’s no reason some brainless clod can make it and you can’t like, oh, well take Tom Petty for an example… here’s a guy with the musical originality of gravel who got off his ass and did something… send Clubbeaux twenty bucks… namely lucked into the greatest backup band since Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells A Story sessions, but you get the point… he got off his ass and did something… Rod did too, now he’s sitting on his ass cashing fat royalty checks… but there was a time in his life when he did get off his ass and do something… get off your ass and do something… call Tom and ask him when his band’s free, that’d be a good start… Bill Gates got off his ass and did something, and look at him today, the richest man in the world… so if you have all the ethics and honesty of a rattlesnake in heat go right ahead and be the next Bill Gates… it’s hard to trample the law, buy off politicans with the change you find under the sofa cushions and pee on the world when you’re sitting on your ass, so get off your ass like Bill did… get off your lazy ass… get off your fat lazy ass and do something, at least scarf up the change in between your couch cushions before your kids find it… send Clubbeaux twenty bucks… finished that blockbuster bestselling novel yet? Fancy that… probably because you’re sitting on your ass with your brain turning into oatmeal from listening to this slush… get off your ass, turn off the CD and do something with your life… every second is a gift from God, time is the one thing you can’t ever have back, and you’ve already wasted a good eight minutes of your life that we’re aware of, so turn off the CD player, get off your ass and go be successful… of course eight minutes is chicken feed compared to how much time you’ve wasted watching Oprah, but still… look at President Bush, he didn’t sit on his ass, mainly because he was too drunk to sit upright for much of his adult life, but he did get off his ass long enough to give the acceptance speech at the Republican convention, so get off your ass and maybe your family will hand you the presidency on a silver platter… hey, it’s worth a shot, your dad does own the most successful drycleaning business north of the interstate and below Van Henke Street, that’s more than a lot of people have… like the Vietnamese who work in the back of your dad’s drycleaning shop… the ones who kept their asses are the ones who got off them fairly quickly in 1975 and jumped the first boat out… landed in America and never once sat down on their asses, they’re too busy working six jobs at once to sit on their asses and watch Oprah… send Clubbeaux twenty bucks… they’re going to own your dad’s drycleaning shop in a couple years, you know that? Then they’re going to tell him to come in and open up at six, and they’ll wander in whenever they feel good and ready and tell him to get off his ass and make the damn coffee… so you might want to pass this CD on to your dad so he can practice getting off his ass now… right, about that novel, here, we’ll give you a head start: “Cindy had been lusting after Brad Ridgerock for weeks, so that morning when he pulled up to the Kwik-E-Z Gas ‘N’ Go out on the airport spur in his Range Rover, strode inside, knocked over the rack of Good’n’Plentys and York Peppermint Patties and didn’t even take his eyes of Cindy once, reached across the counter and ripped her bodice off and demanded she leave with him that second to go to the bass fishing tournament at Crater Lake, she closed her eyes and said oh take me, Brad, I’m yours.” Now get off your ass and finish the rest of the blockbuster… no, wait, sit down on your ass and finish the rest of that blockbuster novel… be sure to put something in about the Shackleton Expedition, that’s pretty big these days… there’s someone else who succeeded by getting off his ass… well, actually he failed miserably and damn near lost his ass and the asses of everybody with him, but he didn’t sit on his ass after he did so, no siree bob, he got off his ass so it wouldn’t freeze to the ice… send Clubbeaux twenty bucks… the sled dogs were another story, though, they pretty much lost their asses… I guess it didn’t matter if they got off their asses or not, except that the ones sitting around on their asses were the first ones to get eaten, and the ones who hauled ass lasted at least a couple days longer… okay, scratch that, forget the sled dogs… but you could have Brad’s grandfather be one of the guys on the Shackleton Expedition, and his father’s one of these guys who goes around putting out fires on oil rigs, but Brad thinks that’s just a lot of macho hogwash so he started a career counseling service focusing on spirituality in the workplace, and selling a line of sponge-painted lamps in spiritually-enhancing pastels and beige… hmm, no, better stick with the macho stuff… at any rate, get off your ass and start doing... check that, sit on your ass and get cracking, just don’t turn on Oprah, then that becomes pretty much a full-time ass-sitting endeavour while you watch a stream of people who got off their asses long enough to be successful enough to be asked to sit on their asses on Oprah’s show… get off your ass and do something… isn’t it amazing when people have to pay $17.99 to be told that getting off their asses is the way to be successful? What a great country… here’s something you can do, write a diet book. Don’t even have to much get off your ass to do that… we’ll give you the secret to amazing weight loss you can put in your book and make a million bucks: Eat less and exercise more. There, now get off your ass and pad that out into 250 more pages and you’re on your way to riches and happiness… send Clubbeaux twenty bucks… get off your ass and do something… maybe you can have Brad and Cindy be captured in Yemen while they’re searching for the lost treasure of the Queen of Sheba which Brad discovered while poring over ancient manuscripts one afternoon on his yacht… once they’re captured they convince the tribesmen to help them search for the treasure, and they talk them into it, see, and they find the treasure because Cindy’s the one who discovers the secret passageway that isn’t even on the map… there’s someone who got off her ass and did something successful… if you can’t do that at least you can make a million bucks making up someone who did…

December 16, 2002

How to sing the blues.

I have no idea who wrote this, but my congratulations:

by Lame Mango Washington

(attributed to Memphis Earlene Gray with help from Uncle Plunky, revisions by Little Blind Patti D. and Dr. Stevie Franklin)

1. Most Blues begins with “Woke up this morning.”

2. “I got a good woman” is a bad way to begin the Blues, ‘less you stick something nasty in the next line, like “I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town.”

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes ... sort of: “Got a good woman - with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher - and she weighs 500 pounds.”

4. The Blues are not about choice. If you stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch; ain’t no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys and Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don’t travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is in a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain’t even in the running. Walkin’ plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die.

6. Teenagers can’t sing the Blues. They ain’t fixin’ to die yet. Only adults sing the Blues. In Blues, “adulthood” means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in St. Paul or Boulder is just depression, not the Blues. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the Blues in any place that “don’t get rain.”

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain’t the Blues it’s just baldness. A woman with male pattern baldness is the Blues. Breaking your leg while skiing is not the Blues. Breaking your leg while running from “the man” is.

9. You can’t have the Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the gutter or sit by a Dumpster.

10. Good places for the Blues:

a. Highway
b. Jail house
c. Empty bed
d. Bottom of a whiskey glass

Bad places:

a. Ashrams
b. Gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
d. Golf courses

11. No one will believe it’s the Blues if you wear a suit, ‘less you happen to be an old person of the proper ethnic persuasion, and you sleep in it.

12. Do you have the right to sing the Blues?

Yes, if:

a. You’re older than dirt.
b. You’re blind.
c. You shot a man in Memphis.
d. You can’t be satisfied.

No, if:

a. You have all your teeth.
b. You were once blind but now can see.
c. The man in Memphis lived.
d. You have a retirement plan or trust fund.

13. Blues is not a matter of color. It’s a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues. Gary Coleman could. Ugly white people also have a leg up on the Blues.

14. If you ask for water and Baby gives you gasoline, it’s the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are:

a. Wine
b. Whiskey or bourbon
c. Muddy water
d. Black coffee

The following are NOT Blues beverages:

a. Mixed drinks
b. Kosher wine
c. Snapple
d. Sparkling water

15. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it’s a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely on a broken down cot. You can’t have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.

16. Some Blues names for women:

a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling

17. Some Blues names for men:

a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie

18. Persons with names like Sierra, Sequoia, Madison and Dakota can’t sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

19. Make your own Blues name starter kit:
a. Name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)
b. First name (see above) plus name of fruit – Lemon, Lime, Kiwi,
c. Last name of President – Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.
For example, Blind Lime Jefferson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc. (Well, maybe not “Kiwi.”)

20. I don’t care how tragic your life: if you own a computer, you cannot sing the Blues. You best destroy it. Fire, a spilled bottle of Mad Dog, or getting out a shotgun, or maybe your big woman just done sat on it. It doesn’t matter because all of these are acceptable ways of destroying your computer and will add to your Blues.

Gays more equal in Massachusetts.

Good lawyer friend of mine – it’s a federal requirement – was shooting the breeze with another lawyer and judge in chambers one day, when the judge told them that his daughter was a gradute student at Boston College.

“She’s engaged to some guy and will get married in May,” my friend said. “She has no health insurance, but he has health insurance now because he works for some corporation. When they get married she’ll be covered under his policy.”

Yet, the judge told them, she found out that if she were a guy, she’d be covered now because they’d be homosexual partners and non-married gay couples are allowed benefits – “Life partners or some such. But she doesn’t get them now because they are not a gay couple. Suppose she gets into an accident or gets seriously ill before they get married?”

Apparently in Massachusetts gays have more rights than straights.