my jaundiced eye

the absurdities of life

Month: February, 2015

benevolent sinning

Lent pic 2:28:15

I was just reading an article in the local rag about the observance of lent. The piece reported that Pope Francis, in his annual Lenten message to the faithful, said that just giving up something you like is not enough. You need to do something that benefits others. Well, as my loyal readers know, MJE is all about helping others, so I am celebrating the spirit of lent with extra zeal his year.

I totally get what Frank is talking about. For example, if I gave up drinking, would that benefit my local liquor store? They would lose substantial sales, perhaps have to cut employees’ hours or even let them go entirely. They might go smack out of business. Imagine the ripple effect that could have. Neighborhood sots would take to the streets, careening around half bombed trying to find someplace to get their trembling hands on more hooch, thus endangering the lives of every man, woman, child and dog in this zip code. Not beneficial.

Or chocolate, MJE even extends her concern to the Belgians, and I am probably the only person on the planet who gives a rat’s ass about them. Coffee? The struggling Columbians are in a world of hurt already, that seems like piling on. Soft drinks? Yes! but I have to think about all the old pensioners who own shares in Coca Cola Corp. or Pepsico, and rely on their paltry dividend checks to buy lottery tickets. Depriving a bunch of feeble geriatrics of the delusion that they might win the powerball doesn’t sound like a helping hand to me.

So, what’s a penitent to do? MJE’s advice is to embrace your sinfulness during this special time. In fact double down on it and save the world! A rising tide lifts all boats.

an embarrassment of riches

DNC email 2:15:15-1

Just when I thought I’d won the political powerball with my invitation to participate in a tea party survey, yet another amazing thing happened. I received a personal missive from Juan Manuel Contreras, Ph.D., Senior Data Scientist, Democratic National Committee!

Of course I have received numerous emails from President Obama, and the missus, Joltin Joe Biden, Debbie “do something with that hair” Wasserman Schultz, the DNC headquarters and the DNC war room (hope Merkin Muffley and Buck Turgidson* are in there) but this is the first one from the senior data scientist. I thought I’d made some bonehead life choices but this doofus spent decades in school so he can spend the rest of his miserable existence staring at spreadsheets and computer screens all the livelong day. Get a life J Man.

But I digress. Juan certainly knows his data because he had me at “Hi, Martha-” I don’t want my readers to miss one word from Juan’s note so I’ll just paste some of it below in its original bold and underlined blue type and exclamation points:

Hi, Martha —

I’m in charge of tracking our online support — seeing which petitions supporters like you are signing, what issues you care most about, that sort of thing.

‘Anyway when I came across your supporter record the other day, I noticed that it’s really good! You’re in the top six percent of Democrats who are active online supporters, and we can’t thank you enough for that, Martha. Without your activism, President Obama and other Democrats would have a tough time doing what they do.

In fact, since you’re such a strong supporter, I have a guess that you might be interested in becoming a monthly sustainer — especially because for a limited time, we’ll send you a free sticker when you do. If I’m right, and you are interested, you can get started right here (it only takes a second).

So, let me know! If you’re interested in taking the next step of support, and getting a free sticker, do it here. But no matter what, thanks so much for everything you’ve done, and will continue to do:’

I mean who can resist that pitch! Juan hits just the right tone, informal and folksy and totally nails the “we’re in this together” vibe. And I’m in the TOP six percent of Dems who are active online supporters. That means that 94% gave less than $25 which, if I were Juan, would be a deeply troubling bit o’ data. And boy does Juan know me, a free sticker, hell I’d rob a convenience store for one of those.

Sadly Juan started to go off the rails when he “guessed” that I might like to become a “sustaining member.” The only things I sustain are my hair coloring appointments, my Amazon Prime membership and my supply of gin. I just don’t have the time to sustain the Democratic party too. Even if it only takes a second! Juan, love ya, but I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck, the only thing that takes just a second is your last breath.

I really hate to be the one who makes it even tougher for el presidente and the other Democrats to do what they do. But if Juan could provide me with a detailed report of exactly what that is I might be inclined to be more supportive. And it was nice to be thanked for everything I’ve done but Don Juan started sounding like a creepy scientologist when he added “and will continue to do.” Back off buddy, MJE doesn’t like being rushed into any sort of meaningful relationship, not without dinner and a movie first.

* see Dr. Strangelove

welcome to my tea party

Tea Party 2:24:15

 Disclaimer: Dear readers, some of the opinions expressed below may not square with your political views, but MJE has never been one to hide her lefty light under a bushel so you probably already know that. Read no further if you think it might cause a rift in either our personal or virtual relationship. 

I just got one of the most unexpected telephone calls of my life! One I never thought possible. No, I didn’t win the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes, and no MJE’s 45 year old daughter didn’t finally get a job. (but thanks for bringing up that painful situation), and no our son hasn’t repaid the $10,000 we lent him for a down payment on his house. No…. wait for it….it was from the TEA PARTY!!!!!!!!

I couldn’t believe my eyes when “tea party “popped up on the caller ID. Usually I ignore political phone calls or tell them I’m dead but this was one I just had to take.

A very nice man asked if I might like to be part of a survey for the Tea Party. You bet your pitiful excuse for a job I would!

Let the games begin.

Q: What do you think about Mr. Obama’s inability to get anything done?

A: Kinda tough to get much done when it’s 301 against 1. The fact that the country has been in a legislation- free zone since 2009 sits squarely in the laps of the self-aggrandizing numbskulls in congress who put their political futures before what is good for the country. As far as I can tell all they do is sit around with their thumbs up their asses, pointing their fingers across the aisle and clacking their jaws whenever a TV camera comes into view.  Oh and wasting time and taxpayer money trying to kick out a gazillion illegal immigrants (they better start learning how to mow their own lawns and throw up sheetrock.)

Q: Why hasn’t Mr. Obama done anything in the last six years to improve the economy?

A: Oh, you mean like bringing the US back from the edge of the financial abyss that arrived on his inaugural day doorstep like a bag of dog doo in a burning paper bag? Or reducing the unemployment rate by about half, or overseeing an impressive increase in GDP and industrial production, a rebound of the housing market and a stock market that is up hundreds of points…oh and BTW ending our misguided war in Iraq which cost billions of dollars and thousands of US lives and god knows how many Iraqis’? Would you like me to continue? And make sure you get this all down. Not a problem, “it was being recorded”, and probably forwarded directly to the NSA.

Q: What do you think of Sarah Palin? (That question alone made me rethink my not believing in god.)

A: Sarah Palin is an uneducated, intellectually lazy, narcissistic imbecile whose greatest achievement was getting a man like John McCain to abandon his principles and tarnish both his reputation and a lifetime of service to his country by putting her on the republican ticket as his running mate. That and giving me a reason to watch Saturday Night Live for the first time since 1983.

Q: What do you think of Ted Cruz as a possible presidential candidate?

A: Ted Cruz is a dangerous ideological crank who behaves like a petulant child when he doesn’t get his way. Unwillingness to compromise is his signature move, increasingly alienating his fellow legislators and hindering any congressional action but beloved by the hard right. His “my way or the highway” mentality is antithetical to the democratic values of this country and the US Senate. He is also a dead ringer for Joe McCarthy which is reason enough not to want to be in the same room with him.

Q: Well how about Rand Paul?

A: Rand Paul is an antigovernment nut job who doesn’t want to have the US government intruding in people’s lives, unless you are an unborn fetus. And despite being a physician who knows full well the benefits of vaccinations he shamelessly pandered to the anti-vaccination fringe, citing some anecdotal bull crap about normal children being turned into cretins as a result of vaccines. For that he should have his medical license revoked. And he looks like Spongebob Squarepants.

Q: What do you think is the best solution to the deficit?

A: Well that’s a no-brainer, cut government spending, specifically the salaries, benefits and staff of the 535 members of congress. With their abysmal performance record, they would be booted out of any private sector position, after which they better not count on unemployment benefits.

At the conclusion of the survey the caller chirped “It sounds like you’d be a great addition to our tea party team!”

Even MJE couldn’t make this stuff up. God bless America.

MJE mardi gras

MG 2015 pic  2:19:15

There is one exception to MJE’s ‘hate the holidays’ rule and that is Mardi Gras, well not the actual day but its spirit of irreverence and disdain for the mind numbing conventions of everyday life

As in the past, our three ring Mardi Gras circus, Apricot, Seymour and of course Decibelle, arrived on Thursday night before MG and we rocked the parade routes nonstop until Sunday dinner time. Their parents, our son (SOB) and his long suffering wife (LSW) were both sick, SOB with a ticklish cough (“persistent and extremely debilitating, possibly life-threatening”) and LSW down for the count with a full blown cold. (“Thanks for coming!” bring the measles next time) Of course she got barely a mention as the drama of the ticklish cough was duking it out with Decibelle’s fortissimo for everyone’s attention.

The OB&C and I had already assembled the parade essentials: boatloads of iced beer, wine, bloody marys and margaritas, go cups, and unhealthy snacks and sweets. Prioritizing whose needs are foremost is key to success at Mardi Gras (and life) and obviously MJE’s are #1. But being mindful of the under-aged amongst us who require non-ethyl alcohol-related hydration I did squeeze in one bottle of water for the young folk to share. And of course we had Big Bertha, our rickety relic of a wooden parade ladder with child seat atop. If we showed up in California with that death trap we’d have child protective services on us faster than you can click a pic with your cell phone and tweet #childendangerment.

Transporting all of this stuff involves black op worthy maneuvers: pre-dawn reconnoitering of the the parade route, locating and commandeering a suitable site, unloading gear, securing it with yards of heavy chain and returning to base camp hoping that any of it will still be there when you return. Generally Mardi Gras manners prevail, at least in the 1 percenter viewing venues we favor. Ladders and assorted paraphernalia are left unattended for hours and remain largely unmolested (although one year the OB&C had his crappy little conference freebie cooler lifted from in front of the port-o-let while he was briefly indisposed, and he has never forgotten it). People give beads and other junk they’ve caught to little kids nearby (gee thanks, our bead midden at home is only eight feet high and we’re hoping it gets huge enough to land a spot on the mardi gras episode of “Hoarders”). Locals know it is bad form to show up when the parade starts and stand in front of people who have been wasting hours waiting there and that if two people catch the same pair of beads you call on your better angel and let go first. However, politely maneuvering through the impenetrable maze of plus sized people, chairs, ladders, ice chests, bead bags, wagons etc. that line the parade route makes patrolling the back alleys of Falluja look like a cake walk.

Best of all, Mardi Gras gives everyone full license to pretend for a time to be who they are not. The OB&C and I believe in taking full advantage of that opportunity and consider masking to be a sacred part of Mardi Gras tradition. The SOB et al (Apricot was the exception, keep an eye on that dark horse) on the other hand, apparently have no desire to be anything but what they are and dressed up like a yuppie family from Atlanta.

anyone seen my funny bone?

Not funny pict  2:5:15-1

MJE has been back in New Orleans for about a week and has been feeling a bit out of sorts, unable to concentrate on the inherent idiocy of life. That’s ironic because people in New Orleans appreciate and practice idiocy more than anywhere else on earth. Look no further than Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras. Jazz Fest, touted (or “trouted” in the local vernacular) as the best music festival this side of Uranus is absolutely beloved by locals. In reality it is akin to the Bataan Death march. You tramp miles from where your car’s parked to the fairgrounds in the broiling heat loaded down with lawn chairs, ice chests, umbrellas, picnic blankets and bulging tote bags only to find that 100,000 people got there before you did and there’s no room left.

And Mardi Gras, despite its reputation as “the greatest free show on earth”  is in fact a grueling endurance contest. By the time Fat Tuesday rolls around most locals, including the OB&C and I, are stupefied to the point of watching it on TV like a bunch of shut ins. After a couple of weeks of non stop gras, the Sunday before Mardi Gras day is our personal Waterloo. As an example, late one such Sunday afternoon a couple of years ago, I, having perhaps overindulged in parade-related imbibables, headed home like a cow to the barn. Bedtime for bonzo. I awoke refreshed and ready for yet another day of riotous fun, showered, got dressed and swanned into the living room where assorted family members were knocking back cocktails. I looked at the clock, which read 7:00 and exclaimed that even for me it was a bit early, to which they responded in unison “It’s 7:00pm.” Sunday.

I hate to think I’ve lost my zest for life. Without that I’m just some middle aged (if I live 128 years) self-absorbed sot. I guess that’s not so bad compared with being say an inmate at Gitmo who hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in Haifa of ever getting out of there. Or being married to Chris Christie. But last night whilst listening to the local news I was heartened by a couple of pieces. In one segment on the crime rate in New Orleans the perky newscaster, as a visual aid to the viewers, brought up her “Murder Map!” with a wide smile and a sweeping Vanna White arm movement. This was to help us better understand that some parts of town might be high on the dangerous to downright deadly scale. Areas similar to what our esteemed governor Bobby “Bobblehead” Jindal referred to as “no go zones” for non-muslims in certain parts of Birmingham England, a place to which he has never traveled.

The next bit was an even better mood lifter. A bombastic local pol, referring to his constituents’ outrage over too many turds on the sidewalk or something, told the reporter that “their hair was up in arms.”

A mixed metaphor of that caliber is an elixir for the soul. I think I’m on the mend.