The Parable of the Turd With Wheels

One day on the way to class a student saw what appeared to be a huge steaming human turd in the middle of the hall. When he got to class, he said to his teacher gushing with righteous disgust, “please tell me why I am paying all of this money to go to a college where there are huge steaming human turds just laying in the hall?”

The professor replied “I hadn’t heard that there was a huge steaming human turd laying in the hall, but you can believe me when I say I will get to the bottom of it!” (Two young women in the back row giggled at the unintended meaning of his words).

After class the professor called the Dean of his college, who called the office of the Provost, who called an emergency meeting of the faculty council, to be held one hour hence at the site of the huge steaming human turd.

An hour passed and a quorum of the faculty council convened. The provost said to the assembled, “it has been brought to our attention by a student that there is a huge steaming human turd sitting at this very spot.  I would like to request a motion to set aside the normal parliamentary rules and move directly to a discussion of how to respond to this huge steaming human turd’s existence.”

“So moved!” came a voice from the crowd.

“Call for question!” came another.

“Could you read the motion one more time before we vote?” offered someone meekly in the rear.

The motion passed by a vote on 22 Aye, 0 Nay, 2 abstain (They were in the back filling their plates from the provided lunch buffet and had not seen the huge steaming human turd first-hand).

“So, I open the floor for a discussion of what to do about the huge steaming turd,” said the Chair of the faculty committee.

A member of the Communications program spoke up. “I see this as less as a problem that there is a huge steaming turd on the floor than of how we first perceive and then respond to the huge steaming turd’s existence.  I suggest that from this point forward we refer to the object of discussion as a Defecatory Emission Engine—the only one of its kind in the Northeast.”

A Fine Arts professor retorted, “Machine? This is no machine. This is brilliant! Don’t you see? This huge steaming turd did not appear here by accident! It is an artistic statement. It is the product of modern corporatized education lying before us? It defines its space even as it defiles its space. We should find its creator and give her a grant!”

And on it went. The engineers (who by the way had christened it the HST 1000) wanted to build in some servomotors, photo sensors and wheels so that the huge steaming turd could move around on its own. A mathematician calculated its decay rate at the ambient temperature and assured the assembled that in 72 hours and 31 minutes the problem would solve itself. A social scientist went on for a good twenty minutes about the last time a huge steaming turd was found in the middle of the floor—a much huger, steamier turd than this.

“Maybe we don’t need to change the huge steaming turd at all,” said an historian. “We should just have our PR people do a better job of letting the public know that we have a huge steaming turd in our hallway. I mean, what are those people being paid for anyway?”​

Soon everyone was talking at once, and the volume was growing louder and louder.  About the only thing that the body as a whole could agree on was the addition of wheels–a huge steaming turd on wheels appealed to them–but even that was insufficient mass from which to develop consensus.

As the debate raged on, a custodian sidled through the angry crowd with his bucket, dustpan and mop. When he got to the turd he calmly scooped it up, deposited it in the trash receptacle, and mopped the spot on the floor where it had been.

The chair of the meeting challenged him.​ “What on earth were you thinking, sir! This august body has spent the past couple of hours deciding how to fix this huge steaming turd!”

The custodian responded, “I don’t have a fancy degree and all, but I didn’t come here to fix the turd. I came here to fix the floor.”​

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Don’t Tell Me to COM Down!

Over the decade that I was proud to be the Chair of Communication Studies, the drumbeat of administration–both from the President’s office and from Dyson College–was grow and be rewarded. Make a commitment to us by working hard, innovating and demonstrating success, and the university will make a commitment to you. When I took over the department in 2000, we had roughly sixty majors. When I handed the reins to Doctor Kolluri we had somewhere (depending on whose count you use) between 350 and 400 students. When I became chair, Communication Studies (not including CSD which at that time was part of Com) we had seven full time faculty members. As of the beginning of Fall 2012, we had four. Dr. Murphy is an administrator who only teaches 3 credits a semester, and the chair only teaches 1/2 time.

Despite those limitations, the faculty of the Com Studies Department worked unselfishly and tirelessly to accommodate our growing numbers. I turned 20 student sections into 40 student sections, 60 student sections into 120 student sections, and never got so much as a grumble from any of the faculty members. Even our adjuncts got into the spirit and took on larger sections. 

In other words, we did our part. We grew. We worked hard. We innovated. 

Which brings us to today. As you know, we have been interviewing candidates for new teaching positions. We were promised one and had a chance at two. As of this morning Dr. Kolluri was told that there was little chance of us being allowed to hire either, because other departments have greater need. It was also confirmed to me that we are being bumped from our two large lecture halls of 120 students to rooms that house 80 because another program has “outgrown” the smaller rooms. We have filled those lecture halls every semester for the past six or seven years on the second day of registration, so we “outgrew” them several years ago. The net result for you is that when you go to register in a couple of weeks, there will be 80 fewer seats just in two of your REQUIRED courses (111 and 114) than there were this semester. 

There is little that we as a faculty can do about this (although we are trying). I had hoped over the past couple of years that it was the administration’s personal dislike for me that motivated them to frustrate our intentions, but it turns out that they apparently don’t value YOU as assets of the Pace community.

It’s up to you!

You need to go directly to the Dean’s office and the Provost’s office, and tell them you are tired of not being able to get into the classes you need. You need to remind them that Communication Studies as a major needs to be taken as seriously as majors with 1/4 of our population. You need to remind them that our students are among the most (if not THE most) inexpensive to put in a seat for the tuition dollars you pay. You pay the same amount for your seat as the students who need, expensive labs, rehearsal space, machinery, etc. That you are a bargain, does not mean you are cheap!

I don’t like to cause trouble. For years my strategy was to do what I was asked to do and then some in the naive belief that results actually mattered. These two pieces of news clearly indicate that such is not the case. what matters is who makes noise. I am profoundly confident that Dr. Kolluri will be a more proactive and capable administrator than I was as time goes on. However, now it is up to you. Each of you who have crowded into classrooms, and spend hours signing substitution forms because you couldn’t get your classes, needs to make his and her presence known. 

This is the time. Speak up for what you deserve, and if they try to put you off, say:

Don’t tell me to COM Down!

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Sorry folks, but the Bigshot place is going into hibernation for a while, so that I can concentrate on some longer form pieces off line. Thanks for your support; see you whenever!

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Bowing Toward Mocha: Why Americans Suck at Taking to the Streets.

Let me get this straight right at the beginning. I am not complaining. I for one am happy as can be that for the most part my fellow countrymen and I comprise the lamest bunch of flame-throwing radicals in the world.  We put the z-z-z-z in zealot. We put the fool in apocryphal. And that in the words of master criminal Martha Stewart is “a good thing.”

Why has this come up? As the blush of democracy sweeps over the Mediterranean the question arises: Do you think that could ever happen here? We look at the polarized nature of our politics. We look at the Tea Party members all flush with Pabst and vinegar and say maybe the time is ripe for a sea change. The gang is angry. The gang is armed to their chaw-stained teeth. The gang has even mastered the technology of the transport cooler so necessary to a sustained suburban campaign. Give a band of hearty rednecks a few bags of blocked ice, a steady stream of Lone Star and some Toby Keith, and they will hold that cul de sac till the cows come home–which actually won’t be long, because cows don’t wander far.

But seriously, however varied and spirited our national pastimes might be, we should not list spontaneous violent overthrow among them. If you turn on the news and find Tunis in flames, you know that the sweet smell of freedom is in the air. If you turn on the news and find Detroit in flames, you know that the Red Wings have won the cup.

Why are Americans so prone to spontaneous compunction? There are several reasons, the first of which is that deep down we all know that the blather being spread about how the populist right wing constitute the re-emergence of the spirit 1776 is a load of vexation without representation. First off, the leaders of the modern Republican party being American patriots? Please.  Boehner would have been filibustering the call to boycott the East Indian Tea Company “because everybody knows that His Majesty’s gracious consent to grant selective charter to them creates jobs.”  Gingrich would have been hawking Franklin’s sloppy seconds, and Michelle Bachmann would have called for tar and feathering without due process for any citizen who even thought about dressing like an Indian and causing mischief.  Cheney would have been explaining to General Howe that he would love to serve but couldn’t and Sarah Palin would be massaging his  . . . uh . . . musket balls.

The biggest lie that we know we know is that our brave countrymen took their guns down from the mantle and went to war.  As Garry Wills has definitively shown, very few colonists who lived in the cities even owned guns.  Our early war was fought in large part with guns scavenged from English dead. That’s not The Patriot. That’s not even Day of the Living Dead.  That’s using guns when you absolutely have to then putting them away.

If the right wing is paralyzed by its liquid grasp of history, the left is even more a victim of its flight response.  The only significant rebellious act generating from the American left in the latter half of the twentieth century was grounded in its categorical desire not to fight. They were going to overthrown the corrupt machine . . . you know . . with love man. Most of the hardcore revolutionaries in the Sixties left were spoiled rich kids–which seemed all right early on but quickly became too French for us. Neil Young was so blown away by the shootings at Kent State that it took him days to shake off the anger and get Ohio into national release.

Modern Democrats, in Wisconsin and Indiana, facing the fight of their political lives in defense of the sacred idea of collective bargaining, respond the way Democrats always respond in times of dire need–road trip! Let’s hop across the state line and hole up at the Chili’s across the street from the Fairfield Inn until things blow over. “Happy Hour, baby! I regret that I have only one Kicked-up Queso to snarf for my country!”

Our biggest impediment though, when you get right down to it, is common to all of our political appetites. We are just not wired for that kind of drama. Our outrage is diluted by the fact that we at once consider ourselves the bravest, most hard working and righteous peoples to ever tread the earth and the most pitifully picked upon. We are two parts Daniel Boone and one part Screech.  We think we should get to decide who can be trusted with nuclear weapons and who is “ready for democracy” but wonder why they won’t leave us alone?  We are committed to rinds of our ideals not the pulp.  We hate both the teachers in our failing grade schools because our kids don’t learn and the professors in our finest universities because they do. We express our undying commitment to fight to the death for our Lord Jesus but lack the faith to let him handle the idolaters himself.  Tens of thousand of Egyptians gathered in the center of town and asked as one “Tell us what to do!” Ten of thousands of Americans gathered at the end of the National Mall and asked Glen Beck and John Stewart “Tell us when to laugh.”

Onward Christian Soldiers! Marching off to war.

Hold up just a second, I have to check the score.

Christ the royal master leads against the foe!

I’m not getting wi-fi here, I think I’ll just not go.

Like I said, I’m sort of glad that whatever else Americans might be in this year of our lord 2011, we are the hucksters of history, the pussies of providence. We are the retched refuse of your preening bore. We can’t be bothered to engage in holy war; we are too busy bowing toward mocha. Nothing says “I have arrived!” like spending $4.50 on a two dollar cup of coffee so that I can be that person who thumbs his nose at the loser mokes who just aren’t refined and unique like me and the 4 million people a day just like me.  My country tis of thee! My sweet 1080p! Of thee I sing!

I say embrace it. Sit back and wait for all of those people tossing off the yoke of oppression to take on the yoke of possession.  Because the one thing we are right about is that the rest of the world does want what we have. Not democracy. Not self-determination. Not freedom of speech. Not even wrestling. They want the CW–ten hours a week of eighteen year old girls swearing like fifty year old sailors and dressing like thirty year old whores.

Ain’t that America! Hell yeah!

Posted in citizenship, Democratic, democrats, Domestic, election, guns, immigrants, obama, Opinion, politics, president, Prostitute, republicans, rove, satire, schools, Senate, violence | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Red and Blue Rover: My Playground Solution to Cutting the Deficit.

Heck, they’re acting like children anyway. Let’s play in their wheel house.We have this massive deficit, but no one on either side can think of any way to cut it other than attacking a bogeyman on the other side. Republicans want to cut “entitlements”–which when they say they manage always to sneer sarcastically–like enough to eat and ways to get well, while Democrats want to stick it to “the rich” preferably while they are all hole-up at Davros and will be too busy eating caviar off of the bodies of thirteen year-old virgins to notice.

We can’t use experts, because those uncooperative assholes will always do just what you asked them to do–find actual ways to solve the problem and in so doing force people to make sacrifices that are actually sacrificial.  If Congress can agree on anything, it’s that nobody wants to go there!

The only solution left is to think outside the box. Since they haven’t even let me inside the box in over a decade, that makes me your guy.

The trick is to get each side to answer the question: If I had to cut my stuff, what stuff would I cut? Inner city midnight basketball? Corn subsidies? That nifty new bomber the Air Force doesn’t want? National Poet Laureate? You have every single member of the Senate write one idea on a piece of paper and attach it to his or her lapel with that handy flag pin. An independent commission overseen by Jimmy Carter and Henry Kissinger (who will discuss the project on the most boring episode of Charlie Rose in history) will certify that each senator’s choice actually reflects his or her interests. Sorry Inouye, keep your mitts off the subways!

Now the fun begins. Take them out to the national mall and line them up in face-to-face rows of fifty each.

It’s Red Rover, Bitch!

For those of you unfamiliar with the reference, Red Rover is a brutal playground game from back in the day when we were able to throw two-foot long “Jarts” with sharpened tips at each other for fun. In Red Rover, each person in line grabs the hand of the person next to him or her as tightly as possible, then the line is stretched out. The object is for someone on the other side to run across the field at full speed and break one of those links. If the runner succeeds, one of the players whose link was broken is out. If the runner fails, the runner is out.

I’m lookin’ at YOU Kucinich!

Anyway, we’ve got the Republicans lined up against the Democrats across the lawn. The Republican all look a little uncomfortable holding each others hands, except Larry Craig whose mood could almost be described as serene. The Democrats don’t really know how to act. One one hand, they are glad they don’t have to work around the awkward issues that would have arisen with Murtha. On the other, they could sure use Hillary right now.

For those of you who haven’t figured it out yet (Somebody get Palin a note pad), here is how it works.  After the coin flip and the subsequent recovery of the coin from Biden who is being surly because he really wants to play, the winning team goes first. Let’s say the Republicans–I have a sneaking suspicion that if they don’t get to go first, the House will vote to repeal the game. A big beefy Republican, say Kyl, charges across the field and breaks the link between Diane Feinstein and Al Franken (Their advisors told him to hit, Mikulski, but he remembers how hard she clotheslined him when he tried to cheat at Good Friday Limbo Bash). Since he succeeded, Kyl can tear the piece of paper away from the flag pin of either Feinstein or Franken. The program or entitlement on that piece of paper is irrevocably cut. He picks Franken thinking he can finally say goodbye to Public Radio, but Franken fools him. Knowing that his early days as a comedy writer had given him congenitally weak wrists, Franken went with Cap-and-Trade. “Hell,” he thought.  We live in Minnesota. If anyone can last out an Ice Age it’s us.”

Then Patty Murray heads right for John Thune, reasoning that as an evangelical Christian he might fear strange girl cooties. Sometimes strategy trumps strength. Suck it, B-1 Bomber! Your days are numbered.

And so it goes, until finally the last pair on one side of the field is broken. Other than the minor controversies created when Lieberman kept changing sides, and McCain wouldn’t take his turn, because he was afraid of what would happen of his constituents thought he might support sneaking under something, it went off without a hitch.  As a reward, the winning side gets to pick five of its lost programs out of a hat and put them back in the budget. Otherwise, the case is closed. Billions are saved, everyone suffers equally, and three years from now China owes us money.

Yes. It is brilliant. I know. Don’t thank me. I am motivated like we all are by my love of country. If this works, I would like to discuss the possibility of replacing both the draft and the volunteer army with an annual nationwide game of 7-up!

Posted in Democratic, democrats, Domestic, global warming, guns, HIllary, Hispanic, illegal, immigrants, Mortgage Crisis, obama, Opinion, republicans, satire, Senate, Wall Street | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dispatch From the Olbermann Vigil: Blue America Weeps as One.

Sure, no one with reasonable perspective will recall this tragic day in the shadow of the assassination of JFK. No one years from now will ask “Do you remember where you were when you heard the news that Keith Olbermann had been booted from Countdown?” No, this occasion will become rooted in the collective American consciousness not with Kennedy’s death but with his election–far more people will claim proximity to the moment of its occurence than were actually involved. Nevertheless, it is clear that the brutal, senseless murder of Countdown in it’s prime has shaken America to its core, or at the very least its core demographic of 18-45 year old females with disposable income.

Those most affected by this shocking news did what some always feel the need to do when their social illusions are shattered. They congregate. After his shooting, John Lennon’s fans held a peace-in in Central Park. When Michael Jackson passed away, throngs gathered outside the Southwestern Rhinoplasty Institute and solemnly recreated the zombie dance from Thriller. After the tragic shootings in Tucson, a bunch of people decided to go ahead and attend a gun show. As soon as I heard of the passing of Countdown, I knew such a gathering would take outside the New York City studios of MSNBC–the block most Manhattanites now call “ground hero.”

Today, just five days after the news that rocked the world of prime-time basic cable 24 hour news, I came to see how people were coping. What I found was several different strategies for dealing with perhaps the most significant disruption of the middle class left’s daily social reinforcement since Martha Stewart traded her Bourgeat 11″ copper frypan for a tin plate in the big house, maybe going all the way back to the passing of Donahue.

Here are a few representative snapshots.

Especially touching was the story of Wanda Paretski, who traveled all the way to Manhattan from Mystic, Connecticut to place her cherished Edward R. Murrow bobble-head doll on the display of symbolic nick-nacks that formed a tear-stained diorama of grief–or as Hunter College Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies Weylou Stiles called it “a spontaneous public ironic deconstruction of the very Comcast/NBC  commentary-as-theater hegemony that cost Keith his livelihood.” It began to grow as early as 9:15 on the night of the fateful announcement.  “As soon as I heard the news, I told Donald and my kids, Cheyenne and Melon, that they would have to fend for themselves, because this was something mommy had to do.” She then related the story of her trip. “It’s only about 135 miles, but I took the Volt–we’re not even supposed to have one yet, but Donald got a dealer’s model from Pasadena. The Volt only goes about forty miles on a charge, and it’s almost impossible to find a place along the highway where you can sit for ten hours and draw power. It took me five days to get here. I guess I could have taken the Prius, but this was for Keith. It just didn’t seem right to involve any fossil fuels.”

As the day went on, the sea of dazed and disillusioned mourners did not let up. I was at first amused by what appeared to be a hand-lettered sign that said: “Keith! You’ll always be the  ‘Worst Person!’ in My World!” under a heart-shaped smiley face. But by the time I’d seen the fourth one of those, I realized that the viral marketers had made their presence felt. In retrospect, I guess it was no worse than the Velcro-kneed plushies that thousands of well-wishers reportedly sent Zsa Zsa. I just didn’t think this crowd would so quickly abandon the aura of authenticity that was so much a part of Olbermann’s tragic legacy.

For some people grief was beginning to turn to anger. “Most of these people are damn poseurs!” said Kwame Barotunda. “Where they all of other times Keith was booted from a job under a cloud of controversy? You can’t even hold a meaningful vigil anymore. I blame the 24 hour news cycle.”

Over on the corner, a guy wearing a Che sweatshirt and was also named Che–“but I spell it with an -ay”–had brushed off the remains of Manhattan’s latest monster snow, pulled out his guitar, and was singing a song he wrote when he heard the news. “I felt like Neil Young, man, when he heard about Kent State. You know? It just poured out of me:

Anybody here seen my old friend Cronkite?

Like to hear his truth once more.

I thought I saw him walk in’ up over that hill

With Woodward and Bernstein and Moore.

When I asked him why he included Michael Moore who is still an active filmmaker, Chay said “Are you kidding me, man? Watch Bowling for Columbine then watch Capitalism, a Love Story. Tell me they didn’t  get to him!

As we approached 8 PM, the hour at which Olbermann’s program would normally have come on, a strange thing happened. Almost perfectly in unison but with no apparent orchestration the crowd began to chant “Palin Puts Her Foot in It! Think all Wall Street Millionaires Oppose Regulation? Think Again!, Pastor Hagee is a Little Hazy About His Old Testament Facts. And Rob Reiner is here to talk about his new book If Paul Samuelson Had Tweeted.” These stories and more . . . .

Then just as spontaneously as they began, the crowd returned to its respectful funereal silence. “What are you going to do tomorrow night at eight?” I asked. The people in the group turned at looked at one another stupefied as though none of them had thought that far ahead. Then a small woman in a light green Patagonia pullover said “ABC has Wipeout at eight. You know? Where the people jump on those big balls and fall in the water?” I sensed that more than a few hangers-on received some small comfort from that–that like it has so many other times of late America would survive.

Posted in 2011, Opinion, politics, republicans, satire | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Comprehensive Guide to the New Astrological Table!

A lot of confusion as followed the recent announcement that the centuries old astrological table has radically changed. So as a public service, here is the official list of old signs, their new counterparts, and a brief description of the people who fall under them (Use only for entertainment purposes):

Then:  Aries                  Now: Air Guitar

Your zest for life is matched only by your utter inability to properly employ even the most basic social graces. You spend hours honing skills that have no useful purpose and have long since disappeared from the radar of anyone who, say years ago when they were kids, might have found them mildly amusing.

Then: Taurus           Now: Fiesta

While attempting to stay true to your roots, you recognize that failure to attain most of your financial goals makes it necessary for you to scale back your expectations.

Then:  Gemini            Now:  Mercury

Where previously you experienced your love life as part of a dynamic team, now you pretty much just shoot straight up and splash for no other reason than to prove you can.

Then:  Cancer                  Now:  Cancer

This sign hasn’t changed. Only now your crab is from the Gulf Coast.

Then: Leo                        Now: Brad

Where once you were a vibrant self-starter, you have lately fallen into a pattern of following along, doing what you’re told and only really expressing yourself through your evolving experiments in reconfigured facial hair.

Then: Virgo                        Now: Vertigo

You are still just as lonely and unsatisfied as you ever were, but now just thinking about your sterile, miserable life makes you dizzy.

Then: Libra                        Now: Lucha Libre

Your behavior is unnecessarily showy and loud, and your act got old in the 1970s. Far more people claim to be fans of you than actually are.

Then:  Scorpio            Now: Scrappy Doo

You mean well. You try to do the right thing. You exhibit boundless enthusiasm. Still almost everyone who knows you wishes you would just go away.

Then: Sagittarius            Now: Stradivarius

You are tightly wound, and while people recognize your inherent value, you bore them silly after just a few minutes.

Then: Capricorn            Now: Cap’n Crunch

You suffer from delusions of grandeur and grossly overestimate how healthy your influence is on the people around you.

Then:  Aquarius            Now:  Bi-curious

Water is still your sign, but only bottled water, only from France, and poured only over Glace.

Then: Pisces                        Now: Pilates

You follow every trend, especially those promoted by people you consider glamorous. Your progress however is frustrated by the fact that you still spend more on food than you spend on exercise equipment—and you spend a LOT on exercise equipment.

There it is. And Don’t worry! Change can be rough to manage, but rest assured that this new astral configuration is every bit as much founded in solid science as it ever was. You should not be afraid for one moment to make profound decisions about your life based on what you have read here today assuming that you have been doing so with the old system previously.

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Sarah Palin is “The Dear Hunter!” (a film synopsis)

Outline for Pitch

Title:            The Dear Hunter

Authors (information privileged pending contract)


This is the story of Sarah Palin, a young Alaskan girl from a small town who enlists in the culture wars and ships off to foreign lands.  When she comes home, she is forced to come to terms with how much she, her friends and her country have changed (if at all) and finds out that the war at home can be as painful as the one she left. She is eventually tragically destroyed by petty enemies of freedom.


Scene One:            The Wedding.

Sarah is turning eighteen in a few months and trying to decide what to do with her life. She thought of joining the army but didn’t for two reasons–first because it was the middle of the 1980s and Ronald Reagan had made war go away, and second because Reagan himself had both gotten out of the army by flunking an eye test and been able to win elections based on his war record!  Sarah who was very religious by nature considered this a miracle and also a sign. So instead, she decided to follow the more traditional path that so many teenagers who truly value domestic life follow—one of ferreting out government waste wherever she could find it by going to college and training to become an investigative journalist.

Tonight she is at the wedding of her older sister, Malkin [note: Malkin is not Sarah’s actual sister; she is a composite character designed to represent what happens to young women who give in to lust and have unprotected sex.].  Malkin is getting married in a hurry, because she is pregnant and first, must consummate her marriage early enough to declare that her child was born premature, and second early enough to realize her dream of dancing on television by appearing on Soul Train.

While at the wedding, she and her other college-bound friends see Senator Ted Stevens sitting at the bar. [This fictionalized meeting is intended to advance the plot. While it never happened and would probably be considered a baseless, unethical attack in any other medium, it is necessary to the flow of the script and hence justified.] Sarah and her friends offer a toast to the man who in their eyes represents everything they love and respect about America, but he refuses to accept the gesture and instead asks the girls if any of them would like to control his pork. Angered and disappointed, they leave him and go back to partying with their friends.

Scene Two:            The Jungle.

The heat, the primitive customs of locals an especially the distance from home terrified Sarah, but she had decided on her own to come to Hawaii, and she resigned herself to make it work.  While she never shied away from adventure, she felt as though people back home had misinformed her. She was told Hawaii was part of America, but everywhere she looked all she saw were Polynesians, Samoans and Blacks—hardly any Americans at all. It was a brutal life, and it would change her outlook on the world forever.

Scene Three:            Wasilla Roulette.

[This scene is also composite. The game itself doesn’t actually exist; it is a plot device to symbolize visually a developing pattern of interior thought.] One night, she meets one of the white-ish cheerleaders and a couple of tourists from the mainland for a drinking party on the beach. After they get drunk they play a new game Sarah has invented: Wasilla Roulette. She brings out the pistol she always carried in her purse in case of a Hawaiian moose attack. It is Truth or Dare, but instead of choosing the player shoots the pistol into the air. If the chamber is empty, you tell the most horrible secret about yourself you can think of. If it goes off you have to “do it” with one of the other players. Since the gun is never loaded, it ends up being a boring game but a great way for Sarah to get dirt about her companions. Sarah becomes obsessed. In her mind she has never lost a single game, because she has never ever revealed a “truth” about herself that is even remotely true. In life, Sarah had always had to worry about whatever she did or said, because she might be held accountable for it later. In Wasilla Roulette, she can just flat out lie and get away with it. It is amazing even to her. It’s like when people think you are revealing a moment of your innermost soul they never even bother to check if that moment is consistent with any of the other moments you have ever revealed before.  If your revelation were gritty or poignant enough, they would just hang on it, embrace it, and then abandon it in hope of another.  Playing Wasilla Roulette was as close as she got to God.

Scene Four:            One-Shot.

Sarah had always been known in hunting circles as One-Shot, because she loved having her picture taken with dead animals. She hated chasing them or carrying them, but she loved having her picture taken with a dead one. That and her natural good looks made always made it easy for the photographer to get a good picture of Sarah and her corpse in “one shot.”   When Sarah’s tour in the jungles of the Pacific were over, she returned stateside, bummed around at a few other schools in a few more traditionally American states, then returned home. But she didn’t return home as the little girl who left.  In this scene, we go back to Wasilla, where Sarah seems to be living a normal life as a mother and housewife. What we see, but that the other townspeople don’t know is Sarah sneaking out almost every night and playing Wasilla Roulette with local gossip mavens and business people. Soon she has enough dirt on people to become the skilled insurgent she was never able to become in the jungle. She gets the hunter’s lust for power. She is no longer able to fulfill her fantasies with phony pictures of dead animals. She wants human pelts, and she wants to drop them herself!  She stalks and corners a God-fearing mayoral incumbent named John Stein.  Even though he has been a steady church-goer for two decades, a local radio station champions her as Wasilla’s first “Christian Mayor.” She takes Ol’ John Stein down in One Shot!

Scene Five:            Mama Grizzly.

As the film closes, we develop the theme of the basic human tragedy that people who are more honest, harder working, just better than other people just like them are eventually attacked and destroyed by the inferior, less deserving people who envy them.  In the climactic scene, Sarah is playing Wasilla Roulette with Mika Brzezinski and Whoopie Goldberg, and the game is not going well. Whoopie isn’t actually lying; it’s just that she has told so many contradictory stories about her past she honestly can’t recall which ones are true. Meanwhile, Brzesinski, who can count, recognizes that the six-shooter has been fired eight times without going off.  Sarah is so confused by trying to keep track of Whoopie’s ramblings that when Mika begins to confront her with her own inconsistencies, she retreats into a fugue state where she imagines herself as a Jewish woman in a concentration camp whose children are being stolen away and sold by Christians. She is dazedly screaming about “Blood Libel” and crosshairs that look like crosshairs but aren’t, and other bewildering things as her house of cards come crashing down around her.

The End.


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My 2011 Psychic Predictions: Part One.

  • Distressed by the continuing anger of the Tea Party, all of the rest of Americans will band together to give them everything they want–which will just piss them off.
  • Despite the risk to national security, 2,110,541 American men will sign a Maxim Magazine internet petition demanding amnesty for redheaded Russian intelligence agent Anna Chapman so she can come spy on us again.
  • Fans of 24 hour news channels will be shocked at the revelation of Keith Olbermann’s and Tucker Carlson’s gay love tryst. That shock will quickly dissipate when after just a few moments of reflection those same fans realize that . . . yeah . . . they really sort of saw it coming.
  • This will be the year when Conservatives finally figure out that Valentines’ Day and Arbor Day are really just a plot by the bacchanalians and the Druids to get an eight-to-ten month head start on the War on Christmas.
  • The Travel Channel will debut it’s new reality show in which Christine O’Donnell will travel the length and breadth of her home state looking for a Delaware Water Gap that is actually in New Jersey.
  • Speaking of New Jersey, in the debut of this season’s Jersey Shore, Snookie will have consumed so much alcohol that the simple act of grinding against the crotch of the new male cast member, “Brillo”, will cause her to spontaneously combust.
  • The brain trust for Barrack Obama’ 2012 campaign will announce that they are changing his slogan from “Yes We Can” to “If My Supporters Don’t Like It, They Can Kiss My Ass!”
  • Speaking of politics, New York Governor-Elect Andrew Cuomo will be rushed by ambulance from his inauguration to a local hospital when saying “My goal is to bring to the Statehouse the fresh perspective of a political outsider.” makes him laugh so hard he spits up blood.
  • In order to save money, middle schools all over America will just give blue ribbons to teachers’ kids and the usual award winners instead of actually holding science fairs.
  • Yale University will go an entire academic year without giving any grade lower than a B.
  • The President of Yale University will give a keynote speech to wealthy alumni and donors decrying public school grade inflation.
  • Michael Vick will score a rushing touchdown in the Super Bowl and celebrate by killing his mascot.
  • The academy award for best picture will go to The Story of Why, a film only released on Sony Picture Classics Co-CEO Michael Barker’s 84″ plasma flatscreen.
  • An unidentifiable flying object, bluish in color and roughly 12 feet long will descend on London, liberate Wikileaks editor Julian Assange and return him to the mother ship.
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Goodbye . . . Hello: A First Decade Homage to the Lost

Here at the end of the first decade of the new millennium, it is time to take stock.  I view the decade of 9/11 as an historical airlock—a chance to purge from our lungs the excess carbon dioxide of having to live up to the selflessness of the “Greatest Generation” and down to the boot-strapping grit of those who survived the “Great Depression” and suck up the fresh O2 of grossly romanticized and overly self-congratulatory social fantasies of our own.  We have earned that right—nay, that responsibility– at the cost of some who will not be making the trip with us—some who, because they refused to believe that their air supply was finite or simply chose to remain in the ocean and spend their final hours enjoying the view, got the bends and died.  Travel back with me one more time. Say so long to those we have lost and hello to those who have taken their place.

Goodbye Reputation . . . Hello Personal Brand.

There was a time when one burnished one’s reputation to avoid being talked about. Of course let’s face it. When was the last time someone good flip his good name for enough money to spend the rest of his days playing World of Warcraft through a laptop perched on the perfectly rounded ass of an 18 year old supermodel?

Goodbye Privacy . . . Hello Privation.

The more we as individuals feed the Econometrisaurus, the less able we become to express ourselves as individuals. On the other hand, isn’t the prospect of every big business on the planet having access to your entire personal, financial and social life pretty insignificant in exchange for the occasional tasty virtual cupcake?

Goodbye Knowledge . . . Hello Righteous Indignation.

What we see here is the law of supply and demand.  The broadest and most comprehensive access to information since Eve abused the conditions of her library card, has apparently rendered that information valueless. It’s now more important to live in the world that we feel—the world where the Pilgrims rose as one, through Tea in the Harbor to protest Lame Duck sessions and abstracted the Constitution word-for-word from the Book of Leviticus. What else do we need to know?

Speaking of Knowledge . . .

Goodbye Lecture Hall . . . Hello Internet Café.

“Why does this idiot keep droning on and on while I am trying to distract myself from all of the money I am paying for this useless degree? Yeah, I know the lectures are online, but they are long and boring and no one smashes his nuts falling off a bike. And while we’re on the subject, how did I get a D on my paper? I should have earned an Adult Content or at least a Mature.”

Goodbye Jobs . . . Hello Unpaid Internships

Don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of unpaid internships. We get dozens for our students every semester. They give you valuable real-life experience, and you meet professional contacts who will be instrumental in helping you not get the jobs that would have been available at graduation had they not been filled by this semester’s unpaid interns!

Goodbye Seasons . . . Hello Seasons.

A season of scripted television used to be 30 shows. Then it went down to 24, then 22. Now in many cases its down to around 10. From the programers’ perspective, this makes perfect sense. Why try to charge someone $50 for one season of 24 shows, when charge $30 each for two seasons of ten? Heck that’s a savings of $20 for every season you buy!  Buy three short seasons and you would have saved more than enough money to buy a whole season–of there were any for sale!

Goodbye Programs . . . Hello Apps!

Let’s face it, computers had started really just getting in the way. They are production machines in a consumer culture. Why go to all of the trouble to dumb computing technology down to the level of chimps then insist that that install their own banana trees? The marketplace now knows more about what we want than we do (see privacy and privation above), so it only makes sense to streamline the process of delivery. Got a problem with that? Feel that tension building up? Just sling a few angry birds at the pig fortress. Works for me.

You get the drift. There are many more, and there is a comment button below. What will you miss and what has taken it’s place?

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