Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Freakiest People on the Planet

They were such nice guys. God-fearing, patriotic and rich. A real principled bunch of regular Texas folk, generally ... Honky Tonk Payola and Problems with the E-Mail Server ... Constant Cash Flow Problems, Useless Press Releases and a Dim Voice in the Distance

"The American system is the most ingenious system of control in world history. With a country so rich in natural resources, talent and labour power the system can afford to distribute just enough wealth to just enough people to limit discontent to a troublesome minority. It is a country so powerful, so big, so pleasing to so many of its’ citizens that it can afford to give freedom of dissent to the small number who are not pleased. There is no system of control with more openings, apertures, flexibilities, rewards for the chosen. […] There is none that disperses its’ control more complexly through the voting system, the work situation, the church, the family, the school, the mass media – none more successful in mollifying opposition with reforms, isolating people from one another, creating patriotic loyalty."
- Howard Zinn, from A People’s History of the United States, first published 1981

The game itself does indeed get heavy at times. You shouldn't go gallivanting around picking fights or putting the hammer down on your enemies unless you're absolutely free of dander, excrement and bad intentions. No skeletons in the closet, Sparky: no loose hotel room receipts or secret vices or shady deals with a paper trail ... because if your sordid past outweighs your political capital or reputation, not even Jesus H. Christ can save your vote or your soul, and the lobbyists and party pimps will cash you out as firmly in their column come vote time. If you took payoffs from Indian Casinos in the name of party dominance and dissecting the electoral map, the K Street boys with the dark suits, designer sunglasses and silver briefcases will come knocking in the wee hours of the morning to confront you with hardcopies of the emails that you thought were completely destroyed, in which you once referred to your key Native American clients as "monkeys" and "idiots" or the tribal leadership as "Chief Running Scam" and "Keeping Two Books."

When you get caught playing dirtbag, you're screwed. The cost of your vote just hit rock bottom - zilch - and your supporters back home and your interests are worth about as much as Atari or Digital Equipment stock.

Every once in a while a major political player goes up in flames in a way that kindles the concept of spontaneous combustion, just like we're about to witness with The Bugman, and it goes a little like this: On Monday morning, on the first day that the new UN Ambassador nominee goes up on the Hill for filleting and grilling, you - the treacherous and ambitious party insider and House Majority Leader with more than a few skeletons in the backseat of your limo - are working the hallways of the Rayburn Building in good - albeit, a twisted sense of good - faith, basking in all the attention and requests for a moment to speak about a new appropriations measure when you hear a dim voice in the distance calling your name. You battle an urge to ignore it, then glance down the hallway for your office door to see a smiling, crisply attired young operative of about thirty five years, waving at you to join him for a brief but important discussion.

"Nice to see you, Tommie Boy," he says. "My name's Clayton B. Normal. I've been sent here from the White House and we'd sure like you to come out hard on the flank on this Social Security Bill we're working on. You can call me Clay."

You let out this sheepish smile, but remain silent - waiting for Normal to continue with his pitch. There's going to be a price, and you've been down this road before so you want to fish out this hole before calling it a great deal.

But Normal is already lining up a few more staffers with his hand gestures, settling his sideways gaze on a hot little staffer in black pumps who just started working for Congressman Raptures ... then just as suddenly his expression turns hawkish and he starts rambling about how he always wanted to be one of those pilots in Air America that supplied Cambodia and Laos with supplies and armaments, but the politcal bug caught him and he never looked back ... "And well, goddamned Almighty, we are going to really need these last few votes ... "

You flash an impatient grin and scratch at an ear, wanting to get down to the details. But Normal starts shouting down at a Senator, then turns back again and says: "Holy Mother of Christ, Tommie Boy, I'm really sorry to leave you hanging out here like this, but I have to chase him down. That Senator over there is a regular on Meet the Press and he promises to deliver us half an hour on Sunday morning." He lets out an impish grin and extends his hand for the first time: "Perhaps we can chat over dinner about this? I know this little out of the way place that does a fascinatingly devine carpaccio and tuna nicoise. You game?"


He nods at the only demand you've made thus far, in an almost mocking tone. "I'll phone your office with the details. How's about eight ... tonight?"


"Perfect," he replies gleefully. "Say, Tommie Boy, we can take a scramble in my new 645Ci convertible - take in the sights, come to an understanding over a 1996 Bien Nacido and little thing on the side."

Christ! He's got the 6 Series, a rag top, two hundred bucks a bottle ... Normal is big-time and here for the kill.

"We'll meet at the place by seven thirty," he says, clucking his tongue and pointing to nobody in particular. "Sharp."

Later that night in that out of the way place that Normal described, half sick from the warp speed transport in the BMW - now praying that your wife won't call to wish you a merry good night.

"Listen, Tommie Boy." Clayton B. Normal, grinning like a lion with a small animal in its mouth. "It kinda pains me to have to do this to you. After all that you've done for the party and all - "

"It's all a bunch of shit - the fucking press is responding to leaks and hearsay."

"Really? That's too bad. And I just wanted to lock up that dirty little vote of yours, along with a few of your colleagues."

"Dirty? Wait on there a minute, Clay ... This whole thing is crap; we never took anything that wasn't locked down."

"Bullshit! You've got JOD looking into your travel arrangements. Your lobbyist buddies are talking to the opposition already, Tommie Boy. But heck ... if we weren't on the same side, we would have tossed you under the bus long ago."

Anger mixing with the first bottle of Bien Nacido, a dull throb behind the eyes. "Fuck you, Clayton! This ain't about sides or there ain't no I in team horseshit! If you need my vote - or want me to lean on a few guys for theirs - you damn well know how to put it into play. So save the circus tent speech for the focus groups and fundraising tables in Des Moines."

Normal lets out a heavy grin. "Speak to me, Tommie Boy - what would it take for you to deliver your vote and a few others? Become a party chairman, what?"

"You're fucking A-right! You know what kinda shit storm you guys got me into back home, Clay? When I went back there over the holiday, those liberal vandal bastards spraypainted "Pimp" and "Theif" on my driveway. My fucking driveway! And stretched toilet paper from my goddamned trees."

"I know. But you did call those people monkeys."


"Look at these, Tommie Boy. Some of the most vile and repugnant messages I've seen come out of the Congressional e-mail system."


Normal slides faxed copies across the table.

"Jesus Mother of God!"

"No kidding. That's what I said when I first saw them, Tommie Boy."

"Never! This wasn't me who wrote these! I would never say such a thing about ... Christ, why in God's great name would I ever say such things!"

"That's why these e-mails are disgusting things, Tommie Boy. Never mind the stuff we could allege when you sit down and read between the lines. You're lucky somebody didn't leak them to the press already - or call the IG." Normal starts banging his fist to stress the point that he is about to make. "That's the lead story for the News at Six in Odessa and Peter Jennings. Next thing you know - Stewart and Leno and Letterman start pissing on your grave."


"Yes, Tommie Boy - and now you gotta pay for your sins, big fella."

"How so?" A pregnant silence. "Like what are you talking about ... exactly?"

Normal reeling in the big fish now, flashing a cocky grin. "Votes, Hoss. And Gold Member treatment at the Rules Committee when we decide to use it. Get all your boys in line and tellem to 'go fetch' - especially the California Closetboy in charge of rules, he better deliver the goods."

Quiet rage in all the non-verbal expressions, a guzzle from the wineglass after a heavy pour. "You fuckin' monsters! You're telling me that the White House sent you to blackmail its own Majority Leader? A friend of a friend, right?"

"Don't be so dramatic, Tommie Boy. This is called alliance building and shaping the public policy debate."

"In this climate I can't guarantee anything. Not without some budget giveaways. And besides, Clayton, they all want something in return."

Normal motions for the check. "Spare me the grubby details. I think in big concepts and my mind is only good for speeches, columns and white papers. But you should get yourself immersed in a way that instills accountability and measurability in your communications plans. Just have seven votes off this roster of names by the end of business Friday. If they come through when the time comes, we'll be sure to burn those credit card receipts along with these e-mails."

"Gimme a break ... by Friday? I'm leaving this rathole."

Normal shifts to his feet and reaches out for a handshake that is not returned. "Nope, Tommie Boy. I'm leaving - and I think you need to dedicate a little more time to consider the possibilities. Just make sure that your life doesn't take a turn for the worse."

Alas, total castration at the highest point of the curve ... a scene like this could go on for hours, and it gets replayed day after day in the world of organized politics. Rewards and threats are all part of the gameplan, and it becomes easier to orchestrate once the bright shining glare of election season subsides. All the smiling never leads to laughter and an appreciation for the subtle details is better left to the high-stakes strategists and high-visibility spokesmen of their time, who develop messages and tactics to lead opinion during the most intense public debates of the new Congressional session. Theirs is a gig too deadly serious and expensive for the less inclined - and the political leader, just like his master motivator, is not too different from a crackhead interrogating the emptying streets for spare change along with washers and subway tokens substituting for spare change.

The payoff is extremely high in both unhinged worlds, for those who are into the chaotic parade - but anyone who has ever been cornered by an angry yet preoccupied junkie with a vibrant sob story to share will tell you that it's a fear of the unknown that motivates the sudden reach into your pocket for a quick donation to the cause.

Politics - as Tom DeLay knows it - is really no different. There is nothing but extreme highs and terrible lows when dealing in the total involvement of any rapid-response public policy debate - especially when you're keeping score on so many fronts that you begin to feel more like a wiseguy sharking money to degenerate gamblers than you do the House Majority Leader.

As far as we can tell now, there is no point in kidding ourselves about what Tom DeLay and his cronies truly want for America in the New Century. When he glares out the window of his spacious office and sees the greater Washington power structure converging at his feet, he doesn't imagine "legislators" or "honorable public servants," he sees "price tags" and "marks that can be bought" like cheap, toothless hookers in Atlantic City. Little systematic parasites that are all there to serve his every whim and his personal firesale of the American Dream, and he's prepared to drive a wooden stake in the heart of the Great and Very Democracy that put him in the place where he stands today.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Michelle Malkin Meets Mattel
Mistress Michelle Meets Mattel ... Suspended Somewhere Between a Newsroom and a Brothel

"Any good time had while wearing pajamas. Positive, uplifting experience. Can be a party of one or several. Not to be confused with a pajama party, although it would fit in some circumstances."
Example: We stayed up late last night and had a pajamaramalamadingdong of a time blogging about the Nazi impulses surrounding Michelle Mattel's opinions of Arab Americans."

Babiecakes - received your postcard last night and I was immediately left astonished by that alluring scent of Christian Dior and the scribbled Cupid's arrow on its back, pointing to "our beachfront getaway." What getaway? Have you moved back to Koreatown? I guess it's not such an extraordinary concept, considering your vast and wayward history in Los Angeles. Did you already find work down there and do you need me to rough up that crappy editor of yours?

Anyways, don't send any more of your designer wardrobe to my Hermosa Beach compound. Hang onto those things until the contractors are done expanding the deck and the bedroom. The fellas might rifle through your nighties and things, and I'm not much of a garment policeman. As of right now it seems like you can move your things back into the pleasure hut in about ten days or so. The general contractor, a stocky and hirsute 310-pound Chicano surfer dude named Pedro D. Infringement, has been a bit sluggish in pouring the concrete, and the constant hammering has been a huge distraction from completing my book. It's been going badly for about a month now; I'm yelling more and writing even less. The agent has been checking in daily, telling me that the characters are borish and that I should stay clear of your hypnotic seductiveness until I get the plot better aligned. Personally, the criticism has been a little too much to bear - and it's about the last thing I need. "A brilliantly crafted tale of political intrigue and cultural upheaval," he barked into my voice mail this morning, "but it needs ... " And so the tiring beat continues, like we're distant vessels breaking against a raging sea ...

I trust you're having better luck with your blog and media appearances. FOX is a tough line up to crack, it seems, even for a woman of your innate talents. Might I suggest an approach more in line with a hot asian incall escort selling a GFE service for the newsboys in the production silo - which I've heard stands for girl friend experience in the adult entertainment business - so that way you're not obligated to go that far with an undesirable client such as Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity or Brit Hume. But caveat emptor, my girl. Once you've travelled down that slippery slope, you would be nothing more than Ann Coulter with a better ratchet set and all that would be left of your destiny would be the occassional semi-nude appearance on HBO's Cathouse or an edition of Girls Gone Wild: The Kinky Blogger Edition or working the casino lobby in Vegas when the Shriners and Bar Association hit town. Then no one would look at your blog and the advertising dollars would dry up, unless you parsed out some space to the online seek-and-screw databases that seem to be the rage on the internet these days - the very services that Jeff "Bulldog" Gannon and Laura "grace919" Ingraham have been found to frequent under assumed names borne from years of cathartic alterego addiction. Even then, I still can't think of a compelling reason why you would subjugate yourself to such a creepy quid pro quo anyways, and these types of things seem to get straightened out rather quickly if you lay down the law on sexual advances. But it's a thought that must occupy your imagination from time to time.

A rumor hit my email the other day - to jump into another subject - that the editorial staff of the Caracas Herald is searching for a new Op-Ed contributor of note. Would you be kind enough to shake the tree on this for me? Clearly my South American Rolodex needs brushing up and I wouldn't even know who to contact. With all your powerful connections in the World Press you could probably snoop something out rather quickly. The fishwrap was something of a ruse, if memory serves me correctly, but it would be right up my alley, or yours, even if they offered a mere pittance in terms of contributor's fees. If you come across anything noteworthy, drop on by the compound with a nice Syrah and two or three jars of Nutella because it could get kinky.

Now for observations from your blog - Do I detect just a change in your hairstyle or did you go under the knife recently? You disappeared there for about three weeks; and the contrast with your old photographs to this new one on your site has got the better part of my imagination all riled up. Not sure why it caught me this way, but you seem to have one of those permanent surprise expressions found on those thirty-something women with more plastic than Mattel who saunter freely along the mean streets of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills ... and I was wondering how much work you had done. Even my personal assistant, Uma T. Vogue, a nubile young Aryan lass who delivers the morning latte and inspirational backrub, has noticed that the shape of your face is more narrow. God only knows how much plastic surgery and dental bleaching really costs these days and whether you got one of those pro bono semi-celebrity deals; I'd rather examine you with my own two eyes and other sensory exploits too carnal to mention in this space.

As I look back over the first page of this message, the language seems rather dim and non-linear. So I have attached a short article I just finished for the Arizona Republic on the military offering free cosmetic surgery to recruits and active soldiers that "compensates for the tremendous sacrifices they are called upon to make" in the name of God and Country. I have also enclosed some other ideas on sculpting your otherwise provocative appearance, and what some of these procedures mean in layman's terms, even if you have received some of these already - and I hope you at least got number three and number six in anticipation of our next "journalistic" endeavor:

  1. Rhinoplasty - is considered to be one of the most gratifying plastic surgeries to receive, because the patient often will find their entire facial aesthetic modified.

  2. Chin and Cheek Implants - Cheek implants are one of the most popular surgeries in Hollywood, because they make the face appear more youthful and less tired. The cheek implant is placed through an incision just inside the mouth. This creates a partial face lift, which makes the patient look younger.

  3. Breast Augmentation - is one of the most frequently requested surgeries. Implants are inserted behind the breast tissue of each breast or behind the pectoralis major muscle thereby increasing the size of the breast. Silicone implants are made of thick material and filled with either saline or an antibiotic solution during the operation.

  4. Blepharoplasty - is the name of the plastic surgery procedure that corrects aging eyelids. This surgery helps a person look alert and rejuventated. Most patients need an upper and lower procedure. The surgery is often covered by insurance if the upper eye lids droop so much that they obscure vision. The price range for surgery is $3000 to $4000.

  5. Brow Lift - A brow lift is wonderful for treating a tired upper face. It can help eliminate droopy eyebrows, forehead lines, and frown lines that come with age. Sometimes a brown lift is combined with a face lift to help eliminate age.

  6. Liposuction - is the most popular cosmetic surgery in the world. The procedure has evolved to include liposculpture and ultrasonic liposculpture. Ultrasonic liposculpture is a technique in which a metal probe is inserted through an incision in the skin into the depths of the fatty compartments of the body. The probe is moved back and forth in different directions. Next, the fat is removed using the routine liposuction technique. Unfortunately, the use the the ultrasound machine increases the length of the incision because of the size of the probe that is inserted.

As for me, I'm a writer, an enigma, a keen observer, an inspirational conversationalist, a true artist, a thinking man's journalist, a heat-seeking searcher of fun and profit - and, generally speaking, a battle-tested svengali of note who will stand the test of time. If it occurs to you suddenly that I am trying to lay down a slam on your right wing inclinations, don't even go there. Because I'm content to let you be who you really are, even if you got an extreme makeover to jumpstart the career. Politics and personal appearances are important, of course, but I prefer people when you get right down to it.

Anyways, if the article interests or inspires a couple of blog entries, please make sure you credit the source. I'm going to let the newspaper print it as is, but if you have any additional insights that I may have overlooked I'll be sure to quote you fully and not cut-and-paste your explanations into a misleading byline. Also, please send me some of those bikini shots we took in Cozumel so I'll know if you went under the knife for sure.

Until our next distorted and concupiscent rendezvous,
Team Gonzography

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Holy Simp and His Showdown at the Communion Rail

"For the first time in my own life, I find myself unable to go to Mass. During the most heated bouts of rhetoric coming from the Vatican this summer, I felt tears of grief and anger welling up where once I had been able to contain them. Faith beyond resentment began to seem unreachable ... Perhaps a new pope will change things. But the odds are that hostility will get even worse. I revere those who can keep up the struggle within the channels of the Church. I respect those who have left. But I am somewhere in between now.

There are moments in a spiritual life when the heart simply breaks. Some time in the last year, mine did. I can only pray that in some distant future, some other gay people not yet born will be able to come back to the church, to sing in the choir, and know that the only true scandal in the world is the scandal of God's love for his creation, all of it, all of us, in a church that may one day, finally, become home to us all."
- Pope Andrew the Heretic, Losing a Church, Keeping the Faith, October 2003

"Life is a job. You get $14.50 a day, but after you die, you have to pay for your sins. Stealing a hub cap is around 100 dollars. Masturbation is 35 cents ... it doesn't seem like much, but it adds up. If there's money left when you subtract what you owe from what you've earned, you can go to heaven. If not, you have to go back to work. Sort of like reincarnation - many nuns are Mafia guys working it off."
- Father Guido Sarducci, gossip columnist and rock critic for the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano

Trapped in the never-ending pontification of the religious coverage that became borish - say, after the eleventh hour - and then, just as the nation was forced to watch that frightful self-fulfilling replay of Keith Olbermann interviewing Chris Matthews on MSNBC just because he's Catholic, it became abundantly clear who the next Pope should be.

Pope Andrew the Heretic of Provincetown. And why not?

The main noise in the aftermath of The Pope's passing in the media has been an unlikely and unholy alliance between John Paul II and good old Ronnie Reagan with some maniacal passion they shared in bringing down the Iron Curtain, but nobody in Washington really cares anymore about the Russians - or the Poles, for that matter - despite their sudden and obvious ignorance that World War III is already in the catalyst and countdown stages with the rest of the Islamic world.

Not to jump on anyone else's parade here, but the rational mind could not do anything but agree with Billmon's simple assessment of the Pope and his place in the pantheon of christian victories and its laundry list of charlatans and false prophets and grotesque efforts to subjugate the masses. But so what? John Paul II led the Catholic world for a little less than 27 years, which is longer than almost anyone else in the currently active political sphere of influence except Fidel Castro in Cuba, Moammar Khadafy of Libya and the grandsons of King Abd Al Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia - none of whom would be considered harbors of global democratization and general good will.

Twenty six years is a very long time in the Big Chair or for this century, no matter how you slice it. Dubya has the look of a crazed baboon who traded the taste for ripe bananas for gushy warm hyena blood a long time ago, and he's been wearing the preznut sportscoat for a little more than four years. Gerald Ford only got three years before they snatched him out by the collar, and South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu only held power for ten years because the U.S. military was stubborn enough to replenish an endless supply of body bags.

Let's just agree that political tenure is mighty brief in the passing lane. Brutus did in Julius Caesar after five years at the top of the food chain and Lee Harvey Oswald whacked John F. Kennedy before he even finished three, while that freakish little degenerate Caligula was tossed out like the trash in only four years, his reign even shorter than Jimmy Carter's was at the helm of a modern superpower.

Only Franklin Delano Roosevelt came close to Pope John Paul II in terms of American longevity, and he only lasted that long because the camera shot missed the wheelchair and the world was at the brink of complete disaster. As a people we tend to measure the world in four year cycles, while the rest of the planet cannot resist the urge to calibrate political power in terms of lifetimes and monarchies. And in the curious case of Khadafy, he will probably outlive the next Pope and certainly Dubya, whose regime is apparently more stable and slightly less prosperous than half of the European Union and Central America combined.

He is clearly smarter than Dubya and dumber than the Saudi Royal Family, but Moammar has never lost the absolute genius nor the capacity to wreak destruction and massive retaliation in one fell swoop. Not even the Israelis want to fuck with him, regardless of how many people he's vaporized along the way.

The Colonel might be a ruthless and insane and barbaric plague on the Arab world, as Reagan once regarded him, but even some of our closest allies in the War on Terror still enjoy doing a little business with him, and while the rest of world society marches along on its Papal reunion tour, Khadafy is busy polluting the airwaves with his evening thoughts on Islamic fate and incoherent ramblings on the idea of recognizing the Jewish state.

Which brings us back to His Holy Simp, Andrew Sullivan, who is also prone to polluting the airwaves with his ideas. Many of these range from not knowing if he agrees more with the Rethugs or Democrats to whining about not being welcome in any of the red states because he is openly gay to connecting everything from Abu Ghraib and Terri Schiavo to debating the rate of HIV infection and demanding gay marriage all in the space of one discordant and stammering blog entry. Truth be told: you want to agree with this pinhead right up to the point where he gets too emotionally draining and sermonizing, but he's so damned annoying that even a prolonged view of his written word makes you wish that he could be expatriated to the Vatican City Order of Interior Decorators. And word has it that Brother Andrew from the Jesuit Society of The Conflicted can perform wonders with a roll of velvet, and his concepts with lace curtains are to die for.

For those less-steeped in the strange and bizarre life and times of Andrew Sullivan, his biography reads straight (no pun intended) out of a Catholic high school yearbook. Almost all of his readers are the type of conservatives who could go over the edge at any moment or kill or maim or destroy or burn down your house with your family still in it, or imprison thousands of stray felines in their summer condos while worshipping yellowed photographs of Ray Sharkey and Liberace. They are almost always from Miami or Key West or living a repressive existence in places like Austin, Texas or Santa Fe - and they are all connected to the festival of political schizophrenia that is, from the fish-headed wingnuts to the deviant Jesus freaks and closet Nazis who wear the uniform only on "special occassions" at Kate O'Beirne's pad.

He is also - according to a young Peruvian houseboy who goes by the name "Zorro" in West Hollywood, California - a hopeful and wannabee disgraced priest of some form or another, who can slide into a long winded evangelical mode reminiscent of Oral Roberts or Billy Graham. This probably accounts for his terribly huge and devoted following in many of the blue states, where his constant doomsday-like warnings of an impending gay persecution has elevated him to virutal sainthood amongst the male Edith Bunkers of this world, a quasi-Messenger of God for the Adam and Steve division of the Christian faith. More homosexual males have abandoned their sublets and variable rate mortgages and began scrambling around like cranked up rats on Andrew's good word than ever ran blindly into the streets screaching their girlish outrage once the Bryman School of Cosmetology lost its authority to issue Pell Grants.

All Andrew really does in the end is scare homosexuals to death and tell them to flee God's wrath. But the serious truth of the matter is that any mildly educated buffoon with a skill for accessorizing and a reasonable vocabulary and a contract with The New York Times could do Andrew Sullivan's gig, and the same vacillating collection of homosexuals - latent or otherwise - will just so happen to be selecting a new Pope in the coming days, the exact Catholic church that was quick to rescue Cardinal Bernard Law of the Boston Archdiocese from hundreds of lawsuits alleging that he allowed pedophile priests to molest children, by appointing him Archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome and giving him a vote that should determine John Paul II's successor.

In the end, one man's Holy Calling is another man's ecclesiastical kink in the Year of Our Lord 2005. Somebody - just anybody - at least make Andrew Sullivan our Holy Simp of paternal matrimony, so he'll crawl back under the rock from whence he came.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Just Another Terrorist Organization Gone Terminal on Itself

flog the operative

jumping the shark
1. when your favorite show starts to flag and go downhill, as when Fonzie jumped the shark on waterskis. We all knew that Happy Days was on its way down then.
2. a semi-popular phrase for "selling out" or turning into shit.
3. the precise moment when you recognize that something is really over although it's momentum carries it on for a few steps.

There was a strange vibe all over the globe last week. Terri Schiavo finally went off to her maker, the Pope took a turn for the worse in the aftermath of another Easter Parade, The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek's Master of the Obvious Howard Fineman declared Tom DeLay dead on arrival, a real and significant Democratic leadership still hasn't emerged long enough to grow some cajones, the preznut's commission on weapons of mass destruction found that America's spy agencies were "dead wrong" in most of their judgments about Saddam Hussein's WMD capabilities - and just about everywhere else in this shrinking world, including Afghanistan, either Dubya or members of his immediate family were being hunted down like a pack of rabid animals before they could sink their fangs into another uninfected creature or constituency.

Karl Rove and Karen "Man Hands" Hughes, in the mean time, flew back up to the Big House for a series of late night strategy sessions to consider the alternatives along with Dubya, which all seemed to be growing bleaker with each passing morning and evening news cycle. Chimpy from Crawford was still hunkered down in the Oval Office with spent Jim Beam bottles and a few bad intentions and some choice words for his predecessors' paintings, too distressed to venture close to the Briefing Room and cursing the worm that had already started to turn on his presidency from blowing every bit of politcal capital he once had, which he foolishly brandished like a loaded 12-gauge in the salad days of his November re-election, by rolling the dice on a braindead woman in Brother Jeb's home state of the damned, a place filled with steroid-addicted rednecks looking for skull sessions with trailer trash degenerates proud and eager to serve them.

Some have called this outrageous episode a microcosm of our time. That a standing president would gamble everything on the fate of one tug of the feeding tube from deceased speaks volumes about his arrogance and otherwise good fortune. But Dubya had to win this battle with the courts and our Constitution, it was argued amongst the religious fanatics. Even now - after having issued edict after canon followed by dictum through the legal pad and hollow squak box that has become Karl Rove - he still needs his right wing base to articulate a position that clearly stands on the wrong side of his addictive need to control the ebb and flow of our collective morality ... just as he did with WMD, Saddam Hussein and the Saudi Royal Family. It's a deprived sickness worse than black tar heroin. Out of one side of his mouth Dubya will dig deep into all the reasons why we should put Arabs (pronounced Ay-rabs) on a magical mystery tour of Uzbekistan's best and most lethal torture huts - and so what if a few of them die during the funhouse ride - then on the other side of the morality scale, this corrupt and freakish hellhole of an administration spikes yet another few testosterone shots of greed and outrage and revenge ... then settles its gunsights on a perverse cocktail of homophobia, quasi-military fetishes for destruction at any cost and taking that dip into a rank and wretched conservative sewer known as the culture of life.

The rest of the somewhat free world just laughed, but the religious fundamentalists are clearly not amused. They are, after all, the reason why Dubya got the nod on the second go-round - and if the Constitution got in the way, so what? Laws are meant to be broken, and anyone who complained about it was probably a socialist anyway. They could be villified through the cable TV cuisinart once the boys and girls at FOX and MSNBC and CNN secured the White House talking points. And in the meantime there were enough religious maniacs to clutter the airwaves and carpet bomb the secular view on things. For them it was the only Godly thing to do.

Or at least that's how it was justified, for the moment - but in reality, once the message and its intention were stripped down to its bare essence, it was just another moronic white-knuckle form of terrorism that appeared on the nightly news about as terrible as anything normally blamed on Osama Bin Laden or masked insurgents or Chechen rebels invading a school.

Innocent people were beaten down and had their reputations shredded forever. Whole towns were so bitterly divided over it that the terrorists gathered in churches on Sundays after having been energized by their preznut and outlaw Congress, who have distracted the rest of us long enough to write even more checks on the National Treasury like it's their own overdrawn personal bank account.

It has been political arrogance delivered at such a polished level that even party warhorses like John Danforth are no longer biting their tongues. The letter sent to the preznut from the "Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction" has been largely seen as a universal indictment on American interests in Iraq and around the world.

"We conclude that the Intelligence Community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. This was a major intelligence failure. Its principal causes were the Intelligence Community's inability to collect good information about Iraq's WMD programs, serious errors in analyzing what information it could gather, and a failure to make clear just how much of its analysis was based on assumptions, rather than good evidence. On a matter of this importance, we simply cannot afford failures of this magnitude."

Not even Ted Koppel could take it anymore. When he gave his closing thought on "Nightline" the other night he delivered the issue into a clear and blinding light - but the nation of fundies and beserk Jesus freaks were still reefed on that Holy Ghost power, dismissing the sanest newsman in the business as nothing less than leftist pinko commie swine.

"What bothers me is when politics and ideology get in the way of logic and consistency."

Indeed. And with that last take, Koppel announced that he was leaving the network at the end of December. And who could blame him? Why go on and play traffic cop to a news media overriden by dehumanizing voices of outrage and trivialization?

Why play along with the game at all?

We are getting into dangerous territory here, because we are still talking about a preznut who treats the entire country like it is his personal joystick to every gutter kink and ephemeral pleasure, after all. Dubya uses the military and our intelligence agencies like bathroom tissue and he pisses all over your future and your kids' future every time he declares "somebody will be left behind" or "we gotta major crisis on our hands" if nothing is done but jiffy-quick ... and he routinely hands over the regulatory keys to the most generous lobbies and most abusive corporate pimps after a single phone call that is always met with a home-spun Mayberry RFD "come on down and tell us how you want it sized, scoped and press released, partner."

Washington is no place for rank amateurs these days. Not even Don King could deal with the venality of it all. Take my word on it, Sparky - I've seen heartless and calculating thieves in my lifetime, and this crowd should be sent to a small and vacant island with no government of any kind and no extradition treaties where all the inhabitants would be found absolutely guilty, if only an impartial jury could be impanelled, and no crime against the state or humanity is regarded as too heinous to obtain acceptance into the club.

High-stakes freaks like David Duke and Manuel Noriega and John Poindexter and "Redrum" Rumsfeld would be sipping pina coladas poolside, along with Gordon Liddy and Oliver North and Tommy Franks, shacking up together as one big delusional and happy family in a single - albeit monstrous - Mandalay Bay-like existence all tucked away forever, with a fully stocked open bar and satellite TV beaming Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous reruns and overflowing platters of tropical fruit and Don Ho yodelling Tiny Bubbles behind the Hawaiian organ and hordes of tanned topless servants lapping the grease and shards of meat from their fat fingers while others comb at the thin hairs on the backs of their necks, insulating them from all the struggles of the outside world.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are going to witness some very strange doings on the TV sets stateside in the next few weeks. It should lead to some fits of very strange behavior on both sides of the aisle while the factions start choosing up sides ... But one thing is for sure: Tom DeLay will be sent off to the Cayman Islands in the dead of night before Ken Lay can roll over on him and the party loyalists are worried that the Bugman may outsmart all of them and make a run for Iceland with their stash of campaign contributions for 2008.

As for what it means to Dubya and his brother Fredo, there is no word yet from above on how all of this should play out - at least not until Dick Cheney can sort out that little problem with the Inspector General way in advance of the inquisition, and when the trail needs sweeping only Number Two knows where the bodies are buried. But these kinds of things always come together in due time.