The End is Near

No, no, not the end of civilization as we know it (although that might not be such a bad thing).

For my fellow Americans who are dismayed, disgusted, incredulous or [insert your favorite string of expletives here] outraged over the pointless and damaging shutdown of the federal government, I see a ray of hope.

Sure, the various factions seem to be holding firm to their positions, pointing fingers and laying blame, while the talking heads in the media proclaim there is no end in sight. They all blather on and on, as the ridiculous shutdown clock racks up more days and the equally ridiculous debt ceiling countdown clock edges us ever closer to doom.

John BoehnerBut wait. Have you noticed that in recent days, John Boehner’s normally carrot-tinged bronze complexion has begun to fade to a washed-out amber color? That must mean the unthinkable has happened — the Congressional spray tan booth has fallen victim to the shutdown—yet another obvious but inconvenient consequence of, ya know, shutting down the government.

One day soon, there will be a day of reckoning, a day when John Boehner will look in the mirror and a pasty old white guy will be looking back at him. As the realization dawns on him that he is looking at himself, rather than his colleagues, he’ll cave. A vote will be held and the government will be up and running.

The sun will shine, federal workers will work, terminally ill people will have access to clinical trials, the Statue of Liberty will reopen, and the CDC will get back to the business of spreading fear and panic about a flu epidemic that will never happen. Most importantly, Speaker Boehner will collect on his back spray tan sessions, restoring him to a robust shade of pumpkin just in time for Halloween.

Welcome. Your government is now open, just as soon as that Park Ranger gets here with the keys to the front gate.

Welcome. Your government is now open, just as soon as that Park Ranger gets here with the keys to the front gate.

Things I’d Rather Watch

Unless you happen to be among the hundreds of thousands without power along the Gulf Coast, you probably noticed that the Republican National Convention is in full swing. Next week, it will be the Democratic National Convention. Before, during, after and in between, there is the usual non-stop blathering about the conventions and all things political. In my opinion, the conventions are just expensive infomercials that are longer and even more annoying than all the campaign ads we’re already being inundated with. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, are you as sick of all of this as I am?

Personally, I’ve made up my mind and I suspect most of you have as well.  If you choose to watch one convention or the other (or, in rare cases, both), you’re probably either a member of the blathering media or you’re looking for more reasons to bolster your decision. If you’re one of the 7 people in the country who is still truly on the fence, I suspect the debates will offer you a much better basis upon which to make up your mind.

For now, here are some things I’d rather watch instead of the conventions:

  1. Spongebob Squarepants, whose laugh could be used for “enhanced interrogation” purposes.
  2. Toddlers & Tiaras, which never fails to make me want to grab the phone and call Child Protective Services.
  3. An endless loop of car dealership commercials, guaranteed to feature people unnecessarily yelling their message at you.
  4. An endless loop of those ridiculous Cialis commercials, which begin with fake looking middle-aged couples pretending to still be smitten with each other, and end with them parked in two separate bathtubs.
  5. Old episodes of Fear Factor, the single most disgusting series ever on TV.

How about you? Conventions or __________?

What I Did During My Summer Vacation

Remember me? My deepest apologies for being AWOL most of the summer.  You probably assumed I was traveling the globe, immersed in writing the next series of novels that would eclipse the popularity of Harry Potter, in an intensive in-patient Real Housewives detox facility or otherwise engaged in some profound all-consuming activity.  Such assumptions would be wrong.

Mostly I spent the summer caught in a cycle of being stressed, waking up a 3 a.m. to worry about a situation that was largely out of my control, and being exhausted from lack of sleep. Surely, you’ve played that crappy game at one time or another.

Now and then during the summer, I came across a blog-worthy topic, but lacked the creative energy to follow through. For instance, I considered writing about:

  • The recent archeological discovery of a 600 year old linen bra that was similar in design to modern bras. It was considered a big deal because “modern” bras were thought to have been developed sometime in the late 1800’s. Seriously, if you’re in search of ridiculously old bras, you need look no further than my underwear drawer, where I house my personal collection of ancient bras because shopping for new bras is nearly as awful as shopping for bathing suits.
  • No wonder Victoria keeps this a secret.

  • The sad bunny. Around Easter, the Hallmark store in our local mall had a window display featuring a big stuffed bunny dressed in a cute little pink polka dot dress. It’s August and the bunny is still in the window, though her exact location changes from time to time. Her ears are now hanging dejectedly down alongside her face like two limp ponytails, her eyes plead to all who pass by, “please, won’t someone get me out of this window…”
  • 101 things I’d rather do than watch one more political ad – a list which includes shopping for bras AND bathing suits and trading places with the sad bunny in Hallmark’s window until next Easter.

In any event, the stressful-out-of-my-control situation is now resolved (at least for the time being), my kids are back at school, and my Real Housewives addiction continues unabated.

And how was your summer?

Grover’s Pledge

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, we learned things like:

  • You can’t always get your way, it’s not fair to everyone else.
  • When playing with a group, you have to compromise so everyone is included.
  • If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

You can probably guess where I’m going with this. Yes, politicians, I’m talking to you. You clearly need to be reminded of how to behave. I know it’s an election year and things are bound to get ugly (correction, they ARE ugly), but it seems things now stay ugly from one election cycle to the next. Ugly isn’t getting anyone anywhere.

The no tax pledge, pushed on politicians for many years by a constipated looking guy named Grover, is emblematic of the problem, as Elyse over at FiftyFourAndAHalf reminded me today. But, you know what? Constipated Grover is not the only Grover out there. If you must sign a pledge, how about signing one that THIS Grover would be proud of:

Grover’s Pledge

  • I pledge to work on behalf of all the constituents I represent, not just the ones who are in my political party.
  • I pledge to work cooperatively with all other members of Congress to create solutions that help solve the problems of our country.
  • I pledge to listen with an open mind to all ideas, even if I don’t agree with them, and to seek common ground.
  • I pledge that I will put the good of the country ahead of my own personal interests and ahead of the political interests of my party.
  • I pledge to treat my colleagues, my constituents and my political opponents with respect.
  • I pledge to always be mindful that my job is not to thwart the good faith efforts of others to accomplish the work that the American people have sent us here to do.
  • I pledge that if I fail to adhere to the letter or spirit of this pledge during my term in office, that I will refund my salary to the people of the United States and not seek re-election.

Okay, who’s ready to sign?

(This pledge is not officially endorsed by Grover or Sesame Street, but I’m quite sure Grover would be totally on board with it.)

If You Were a Tree …

Every now and then I like to peruse the section of LinkedIn where people post questions. Mostly, they’re appropriate business related questions or technical questions about LinkedIn (e.g., “how the *bleep* do I cancel my LinkedIn account?”) though sometimes people just can’t help themselves and ask politically charged questions (e.g., “how do you feel about Congress’/the President’s/this candidate’s recent misleading/inaccurate/idiotic statement/action/inaction regarding name your favorite inflammatory topic?”).

Today, I discovered this question: “If you were a font, what font would you be?” It reminded me of some of Barbara Walters’ old interviews where she would ask celebrities such provocative questions as “if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?”  It also reminded me of those insipid little personality quizzes in women’s magazines, which are no doubt created by a team of serious PhD experts or perhaps by unpaid summer interns guzzling Red Bull. You’ve seen them, things like: “What the Shape of Your Thumbnail Says About Your Love Life;” “ Which Real Housewife Would You Most Hate to be Stranded on a Desert Island With and What It Reveals About Your True Personality;” “What Your Favorite Spice Reveals About Your Mental Health,” etc.

It’s time for the Big Sheep Blog to jump on this bandwagon, so please play along and take this little quiz.

1. If you were a font, you’d be (yeah, yeah, I’m stealing this one from the LinkedIn dude):

  • Times New Roman, because you’re traditional all the way
  • Comic Sans, because nobody takes you seriously anyway
  • Wingdings, because you lost touch with reality long ago
2. If you were a form of social media, you’d be:
  • Facebook, because one can never share enough
  • Twitter, because your attention span renders you incapable of staying focused for more than 140 characters
  • Pinterest, because you want people to see your every thought

3. If you found your latest blog post on the WordPress Freshly Pressed page, you’d:

  • Think to yourself, “Finally, what took the Freshly Pressed gods so long to discover my brilliance?”
  • Start searching for an agent for your upcoming melodramatic/comedic autobiography that will take Kindle by storm and earn you an obscene amount of money
  • Cave under the pressure of topping your Freshly Pressed post and stop blogging altogether

4. If you were a texting acronym, you’d be:

  • LOL, because you’re just that amusing
  • ROFLMAO, because you’re not just funny, you’re hysterical
  • TMI, because there is not a thought, event or mundane activity that you do not share with the world
  • OMG, because everything about you is just that amazing

5. When it comes to social media, you:

  • Think it’s the most misguided time wasting crap ever
  • Appreciate that it lets you stay in touch with friends and family
  • Are grateful that cyber-relationships allow you  a quasi-legitimate substitution for real relationships

6. When it comes to election year politics, you:

  • Enjoy the robust exchange of ideas between the candidates
  • Feel sad that the Rapture did not occur on whatever date/dates it was supposed to, therebyleaving all of us to endure the never-ending onslaught of campaign commercials
  • Would rather run naked with the bulls in Pamplona, your body painted red from head to toe, than answer one more robocall

How to interpret your answers:

  • If you took the time to answer all the questions, you need to reevaluate your life and find a meaningful volunteer opportunity.
  • If you read the questions, but did not bother to answer them, you are an inconsiderate blog reader who cares nothing about the time and effort expended by the Big Sheep Blog staff to create a quiz for your personal enrichment.
  • If you stopped reading when you got to the quiz, then it doesn’t really matter what I say about you because apparently you have a real life and you haven’t bothered to read this far.

Supremely Unpopular

In case you had a scintilla of lingering doubt about how shallow we have become, let me set the record straight once and for all. A new Pew research poll finds that the U.S. Supreme Court has hit an all-time low in popularity, with only 52 percent viewing the Court favorably, down considerably from its popularity peak of 80 percent back in 1994.

I’m sorry, we’re rating the popularity of the Supreme Court now?  Are we nuts?

There’s a good reason why Supreme Court justices are appointed, not elected, and why they’re appointed for life terms. They’re supposed to make decisions independent of politics, independent of what would make the majority of Americans happy. When they consider a case, they’re supposed to stay above the fray in which the rest of us are wallowing.

They are a serious, intellectual (and often geriatric) bunch. Their decisions have monumental consequences. When they decide a case, someone always loses and the stakes are always high. Frankly, I don’t want them to be popular.

That’s not to say that when they hang up their black robes (and for the women, those fashion backward little lace collars), they’re not regular people, capable of being charming and personable. In fact, I imagine some of them even have a wicked sense of humor and could liven up an otherwise ho-hum cocktail party. Still, I’m confident that none of them were among the popular crowd in high school and that’s a GOOD thing.

Think back to high school. (I apologize if this causes a flood of bad memories, unpleasant flashbacks or seizures.) Remember the popular kids? No offense if you were among their ranks, but as I recall, the popular kids would never be confused with the deep thinkers. Fair or not, popularity can get you far in life, but it cannot get you a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court and for that, I’m very grateful.

To the esteemed justices of the United States Supreme Court, I thank you for your unpopularity. You must be doing something right.

An All American Casting Call

I read that in a recent interview, when Newt Gingrich was asked what actor he’d like to have portray him in a movie about his life, he jokingly replied, “Brad Pitt.”  Well, that started me thinking about who I’d cast as the main characters in the movie Road to the GOP Presidential Nomination, which I sincerely hope will be a musical.

A little disclaimer: my picks are based solely on physical resemblance. Any other similarities, real or imagined, are entirely coincidental.

 

 

The Original Ken Doll as Mitt Romney.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pillsbury Dough Boy as Newt Gingrich.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Brady as Rick Santorum (just picture him wearing a sweater vest).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Martian as Ron Paul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I smell an Oscar …