I've been mostly offline for two weeks.
Some of you may have noticed.
I had a horrible head cold.
At first it was fun.
And by fun I mean, really, who doesn’t enjoy chapped lips, painfully raw red nose, eyes like over-pressurized boiled onions, plugged-up ears that make the entire world sound like it’s happening underwater in an inverted bucket, the inside of your head itching like ants are crawling all over your brain looking for toast crumbs, the red pulsating shooshing noises of the sinus headache, the constant coughing, and the snorfling of snot.
The endless, endless snorfling of snot.
And, of course, there was the plague of boils and the giant festering open sores, the rotting flesh and the rising up of the undead … wait, Okay, maybe I just hallucinated that part. Word of advice, don’t fall asleep with a fever while watching Mitch McConnel on CSPAN. I’m just saying.
So, anyway, you know what the best part was?
It happened over the holiday break.
Because really, why wouldn’t I want to spend New Year’s Eve rolled up on the couch in an achy moaning ball of snot snorfling?
But as that Veg-O-Matic guy used to say, Wait! There’s more: after a week the virus decided to move into my chest and in addition to the snot snorfling I got to add bubbling liquid sounds like a dying asthmatic Darth Vader after the Emperor EMP’d the Dark Side out of his life-support system with the crackling lightning bolts of five-fingered Sith Lord Assholery.
Ahahhhhurgle weeeeezh burble burble weeeezh ohaaa snorfle snorfle…
Vader died. Because he was a little clockwork bitch. I lived because my body responded to this affront by transmogrifying into a hundred and eighty pound gastropod.
That’s right, for the last two weeks I’ve been living life as a large garden slug.
Slow, lethargic, cold, unpleasant of personality, disgusting to the touch, and able to hourly generate my own body weight in mucus. I didn’t get over the virus, Folks, I didn’t develop immunity to this particularly obnoxious strain, no, I drowned the son of a bitch in phlegm. That’ll teach it.
There’s only one thing that could possibly make a cold like this better.
Yes, my wife had it too.
Misery (that’s my wife) loves company:
You’ve giben be the damned colb.
Nu uh, you gabe it to me.
I hate you.
Hate me quieter, I can’t hear Rick Castle’s wisecracking over your snorfling
You want sub more tea?
Ok. But not that disgusting herbal shit.
What kind do you want?
Bushmills flavor. With extra Bushmills. And a slice of Bushmills on the top.
I’ve heard alcohol kills germs.
Ever see an Irishman with a cold?
Well, as long as you’re getting yourself some, get me a cup too.
Ha ha. Funnee. I sneezed on your toothbrush. Just so you know.
That’s OK. After I brushed my teeth, I licked your soup spoon.
Wanna go wipe a booger on the kid?
Yeah. Serve him right. Why should he be so disgustingly healthy?
Damned straight. Besides we’d be manning up his immune system.
The world’s a tough place.
He’ll thank us for this one day.
Quiet now, Castle’s back on.
I’ll bet Beckett kicks somebody in the nuts.
Don’t ruin this for me…
It’s always good to have somebody to share your disease with.
The good news is that between the two of us, the children of Kimberly-Clark Inc, makers of Kleenex brand tissues, will now all be able to attend Ivy League colleges and it’s entirely possible that our need for various pharmaceuticals, soup, tea, whiskey, warm socks, blankets, court ordered parental counseling, and reruns of Castle on Hulu are responsible for the drop in unemployment and the uptick in the global economy.
Yeah, yeah, you’re welcome.
On a side note, if you’d like to have the donuts all to yourself at your next meeting, I highly recommend the Darth Vader Chest Cold of Death. I had no choice but to sit through two meetings on Monday and I had one whole end of the conference room to myself. The rest of them kept looking at me like I was that guy in Dawn Of The Dead, the one hiding bite marks (I’ll be OKAY! I’ll be OKAY! Wait, c’mere, you smell like donuts, tasty, tasty donuts…).
So, you know, it wasn’t all bad. You want in on this action, send me five bucks S&H via PayPal and I’ll sneeze into an envelope for you, because I’m a giver, everybody says so – except it sounds like “Typhoid Mary,” but that’s probably just because my ears are still plugged up.
So, anyway, what did I miss?
…Well, for starters, it’s a new year.
I remember when 2013 sounded like it was maybe a bazillion centuries in the future.
As a kid, I figured I’d be living on Mars no later than 1990. Certainly no later than 1992 – and then only if I opted to stay on Earth for a couple of extra classes at Astronaut University. 2013? Hell, I couldn’t even visualize that. What would the human race be by 2013? Big giant brains in glass jars? Creatures of pure energy? No doubt war, poverty, crime, hunger, and disease would be only distant horrors our great-to-the-nth grandchildren would learn about in history lessons – lessons fed directly into their huge giant god-like brains via direct computer interface.
Frankly, I’m a little disappointed.
Still no flying cars. Which is a good thing, I suppose, given that human evolution remains frozen at the gibbering monkey stage.
There’s no big giant brains either. War, poverty, hunger, crime are still going strong, and instead of getting rid of disease we’re making new ones.
On the other hand, Kim Kardashian is preggers. Can’t say I saw that coming back in 1973.
There were a couple more public shootings.
Fortunately this latest round of carnage seems to have brought the gun crowd to its senses.
Heh, heh, right. That’s apparently the Nyquill talking.
Don’t worry, Republicans are working diligently to protect the inalienable right of crazy people to own as many assault weapons as the crazy little Jesus voice in their crazy little heads commands them to have.
Speaking of crazy little voices in your head, who says bang bang crazy better than Alex Jones?
Seriously, if there was ever a more convincing case for involuntary commitment and forced medication – the kind that involves a long-sleeved shirt that buttons down the back, a small soundproof room smelling of urine and vomit coated in deep padding, and a large syringe full of Chlorpromazine – it’s Alex Jones.
Jones, the under-medicated moon faced King Kong of Krazy Konspiracy, showed up on CNN this weekend about one tranquilizer dart shy of a blood maddened rogue elephant – the kind that keeps trumpeting wildly and biting at its own tail, while stomping villagers into a thin red paste.
Don’t get me wrong here, I really don’t give a fig one way or the other if Piers Morgan loves or hates the Second Amendment. But, frankly I just can’t get spun up over the idea of Piers Morgan and his Redcoats coming to take our guns. Given how gaga most Americans are over British Royalty, we’d probably welcome them aboard with a cup of Earl Grey and a scone anyway. What? Hand over my pistol for a peek at Kate’s royal yabos? Deal! Hey, what do I get for this M-14 and a grenade launcher… ?
But I digress.
When I hear the word “NRA,” I immediately flash to a mental image of an apoplectic red-faced Alex Jones screaming in spittle flecked paranoid hysteria about 1776 and the Redcoats and Mao. That’s exactly what I picture. Exactly. Call me a tree-hugging America-hating comunazi homofacist if you must, but frankly Alex the rampaging rogue elephant and his sleep deprived fan club down at the NRA are precisely the kind of people who shouldn’t be allowed access to anything more deadly than a soft rubber bowl full of cherry Jell-O. A small bowl.
And this is the kind of guy that the NRA wants guarding your kid at school. With a gun.
I’m just saying.
How about that fiscal cliff?
You know, it’s 2013. Frankly I’m sick of hearing about the fiscal cliff.
It’s not a cliff.
It’s also not a precipice, a hill, or a slope.
This year, let’s call it what it really is: The Fiscal Abandoned Well In Our Backyard That Wouldn’t Be A Problem Except That In A Fit Of Drunken Bravado We Ripped The Covering Boards Off And Dared The Neighborhood Children To Ride Their Bikes ‘Round And ‘Round The Crumbling Bricks Of Its Rim While We Throw Clods Of Flaming Dog Shit At Them.
Sure, it’s a little long, but anybody who has taken basic economics will agree that my term is much more accurate than fiscal cliff.
Do I think it will catch on?
That depends on if I can bribe Paul Krugman to use it in a sentence.
We got ourselves a new Congress, the 113th.
Well, Okay, it’s not exactly awesome or new new. The 113th Congress is more like a high mileage used car with a couple of sketchy refurbished parts and no warranty. Sooner or later this old rusty POS will probably leave us stranded and cursing on the side of the highway.
But hey, at least it’s not the 112th Congress, eh?
The freshman class of the 112th, mostly TEA Party fanatics, showed up in Washington two years ago and made everybody read an edited version of the Constitution out loud on national TV. Remember that? It probably sounded good in concept, but in reality it reminded me of that Star Trek episode, The Omega Glory, where a bunch of murderous post-apocalyptic barbarians, the Yangs led by a charming fellow named Cloud William, literally worship an old American flag as if it was the Angry Monkey God or something and mumble their way through a slurred mutated version of the preamble to the Constitution of the United States. The Yangs no longer understand the words or their real meaning, having turned concepts like “freedom” into mere shibboleth, empty words and magical incantations meant only for a chosen few and denied to those that they didn’t like.
Of course, in the end Captain Kirk bangs a few heads together and manages to convince old Cloud William that liberty and justice either apply to everybody equally or they mean nothing. Period.
Watching 112th Congress with the fire of fanaticism burning bright in their glassy eyes, reciting the Constitution as if it was a holy document, and a magical test of Americanism, made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
According to Kansas Republican Tim Huelskamp, they were going to make “big bold changes” and “shake things up.” No more old school Washington.
2013, two years later, 112th congressional freshman class president Scott Austin (R-GA) provided a smug assessment of how they met those lofty goals, “We’re here under a Democratic president, and our job for the most part was going to play defense against what he was going to do. I think we were pretty effective at doing that.”
I think we were pretty effective in doing that.
You may, if you like, visualize Captain Kirk making the Vulcan facepalm.
That’s right, Folks, the way you get big bold changes is by keeping anything from happening. Obstructionism, secret to the universe, Kids. Write that down, there’ll be a test later. If we still have schools, I mean.
They were going to slap down President Obama, put his uppity black ass back in its place. Make him a one term president, and then erase his name from history. How’d that work out again? They allowed their rabid ideology to become so all consuming that even their own party began to hate them and two months ago, standing in the smoking wreckage of their disastrous presidential campaign, House Republican leadership finally had had enough and stripped the most obnoxious of their committee assignments.
Hell, the 112th sucked so bad that Chris Christie ended up looking like a Democrat in comparison. You gotta suck pretty hard to pull that off. Seriously.
I noticed that they didn’t begin the new 113th Congress with a big show of reciting the Constitution like last time. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, I’ll reserve judgment for the moment.
Likely we’ve just traded in one clunker for another, but at this point I’m of the opinion that even Cloud William and his band of bloodthirsty Yangs would be better than the 112th Congress.
Speaking of Congress and getting it done, who would have guessed that Joe Biden would turn out to be The Closer?
You know, it’s ironic. It’s ironic that the Right has done nothing for the last five years but attempt to paint Obama as inexperienced and out of his depth and Biden as a bumbling oaf who spends most of his time swearing at furniture.
And yet, at every turn conservatives have had their asses handed to them by these same two guys.
If conservatives are right about Obama and Biden (not that they actually are, but…), you have to wonder what that says about conservatives.
Seriously, you have to wonder who’s having one over on who.
Suddenly Joe Biden is everywhere, from fiscal talks to gun control. He’s the man. Frankly, I’m starting to wonder whether we’ll see a Biden/Clinton ticket in 2016.
But I digress.
Congress isn’t the only thing changing in Washington, it looks like we’re going to get a new, or at least partially refurbished, Presidential Cabinet to go with our new Congress and newly reelected President.
No real surprises there, that’s pretty typical following a president’s reelection.
Cabinet positions are usually stepping stones to better and much higher paying jobs in the private sector.
And more importantly the second term Cabinet is going to have a much different set of operating parameters from the first term and from that standpoint changes in the president’s cabinet are not only expected, they’re a requirement.
Today the President will nominate Jack Lew (who my brain insists on pronouncing as Jack-O-Lope for some reason) to replace Timothy Geithner at the Treasury. Lew is obviously the best possible candidate. Most of the objections so far are the standard rightwing kneejerk rejection of anything proposed by Barack Obama, but I doubt Lew will face any real opposition to his confirmation.
Labor Secretary is up for grabs since Hilda Solis is leaving, no official word yet on who Obama will nominate to replace her.
John Kerry will likely follow Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and like Lew, I don’t expect he’ll face much in the way of opposition during confirmation – especially since Republicans want a crack at his Senate seat and he was basically their pick anyway.
Sometime in the next year Attorney General Eric Holder will likely resign, which should make conservative conspiracy nuts like Alex Jones deliriously happy. If I was Holder, I’d retire from government and open up a gun shop that caters to Latinos on the Arizona border – just to screw with Republicans. But, hey, that’s me.
And that takes us to my favorite laugh out loud moment in the last three weeks: the nomination of Republican Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.
Speaking of screwing with conservatives.
Senator Lindsey Graham was literally outraged, calling Hagel’s selection an “in-your-face nomination by a president to all of us who are supportive of Israel!”
Bawahaha. That’s right, it’s Chuck, in your face.
Hagel’s nomination is brilliant. I don’t know if he’ll be a good or a bad SecDef, but I like him just for the sheer level of apoplexy he induces in the opposition.
For hard line conservative fanatics, Hagel’s nomination is the emotional equivalent of Eric Holder opening a gun store on the Mexican border.
There’s some fine, fine irony indeed when gay republicans vehemently oppose Chuck Hagel’s nomination because Hagel is, well, a Republican.
Gay Republicans, now there’s an oxymoron for you. If gay republicans are opposed to republican Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense because he’s not an enthusiastic supporter of gay rights and because he tends to look at gay people as second class citizens, then by extension they should be opposed to any republican in public office because, fuck, look it’s the Republican Party!
Jesus H. Christ, have you idiots even read your party’s platform?
The fact that there even are Log Cabin Republicans boggles my mind, that’s like the Vegetarian Local of the Meat Packers Union.
Besides the fact that republicans hate Hagel because he’s not gay enough, they also don’t think he’s Jewish enough and he just doesn’t love war enough despite his two, two, Purple Hearts earned as an enlisted infantryman in the jungles of Vietnam (I guess because he’s a Republican, he doesn’t rate Swiftboating over those decorations. So far).
Honestly, I’m not sure where Obama was supposed to find the gay Jewish warmonger who would satisfy Republicans (take that any way you like), but the comedic possibilities here have had me belly laughing through my own phlegm for the last two weeks.
Even if Hagel ultimately doesn’t survive the confirmation process, I’m going to enjoy watching the hearings given that Mitch McConnell said, “The question we will be answering, if he's the nominee, is do his views make sense for that particular job? I think he ought to be given a fair hearing, like any other nominee, and he will be.”
Mitch McConnell thinks Chuck Hagel should be given a fair hearing, just like any other nominee.
Any other nominee but Susan Rice, apparently.
If the first two weeks are any indication, 2013 promises to be an interesting year.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go buy some more Kleenex.