Wednesday, January 30, 2008

biscuits and gravy, milk and cookies

Today the Presidential campaign moved closer to the center as the candidate who may have cared the most about the poor in this country, John Edwards, and Rudy Guilliani, arguably the candidate who cared the least about the downtrodden, both called it quits. We're down to two Dems who are almost the same candidate, and if CNN had their say, the Republican Party would be forced to pit the curmudgeonly war hero against the satorial splendor in every debate. Perhaps the Republicans can decide their candidate based upon who will pledge to keep the troops in Iraq the longest! Twenty five years! No, fifty! Raise, a hundred.

After next Tuesday, the Hopeful pastor will likely part the troubled sea of political turmoil for the greening spring pastures of Arkansas. But much to the dismay of Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams, Ron Paul, will most likley be around for the convention, since his campaign is financed on the gold standard of fundraising, the internet.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

obama endorsed by grizzlies and cobras

Senator Barack Obama was endorsed today by members of the Butler Community College National Championship Football team "the Grizzlies" at a rally in El Dorado, Kansas. Senator Obama spent part of Kansas Day, which celebrates the birth of Kansas statehood, in the birthplace of his grandfather.Kansas Governor Kathleen Seblius gave her support for Senator Obama at the rally with calls for bipartison unity. This stood in stark contrast to one chilly Grizzly, who, after waiting outside for an hour-and-half in single digit temps and blustery winds, told his pal, "dude! I just want a picture for my facebook page!"

The fullback's maneuvering skills paid off, because later he was seen in the front row shaking Obama's hand. He then quickly turned his back on the candidate, whipped out his cell phone, and got the prized picture. No doubt he'll soon be scheduling a meetup with coeds to discuss some serious issues. The Obama campaign was also courting female voters in Kansas and Missouri as Governor Sebelius and Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill were on hand at today's rallies to lend support to the candidate, provide photo ops, and garner local coverage of Obama. Incumbent juniors(McCaskill) and term-limited (Sebelius) Democrats are beginning to hedge their bets about the eventual nominee; early support can bring the spoils of victory.

Just a few hours later at a rally in Kansas City, members of the Marching Cobras Drum and Dancing Corps gave the Senator and the assembled thousand(s) of supporters, a rousing stomp and a joyous welcome. The Cobras may have lost a step over the years, but they can still bring the funk when needed. All the noise couldn't bring out Kansas City Mayor Funkhouser whose invitation to the event was likely withdrawn after being served today with an official challenge calling for his recall. We did note that Alvin Brooks, Funkhouser's foe in last year's election, had a center-stage spot on the podium, directly behind Obaman, McCaskill, and Sebelius.

[correction and apology: The KC Star ran a photo in today's paper that clearly showed the Mayor front and center at the event. Our vantage point, from the cheap seats, while offering a view of some of the backstage manueverings, didn't allow us to see everyone who came and went].

visual reviews of aural entertainment

Mars Volta, rock band. Beaumont Club. Friday, January 24th.

Isabel Bayrakdarian, Soprano, Folly Theater, Saturday, January 25th.

Monday, January 28, 2008

branding the coo coo cuddly coo

I found a funny little shoe during a recent walk around the new Block Building at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, exposed like a glacial erratic at edge of the retreating snow. It's size 1 US, or size 0 in the UK.

Baby's first shoe can be a brand. Bring baby the power of the puma. Even before baby recognizes the danger of puma. Run baby run. Leap baby leap. Buy baby buy.

Serendipitously, upon my return home, there was an even funnier little Sundance short playing, Force 1 TD about a blind teenager, his seeing-eye horse, his homies, and their vision quest to Jersey to find just the right pair of prom shoes.

for your consideration

Politics and film are kettles of joy, hope, and intrique as much as they are cauldrons of excess, myopia, and greed. I enjoy them both but they can be maddening.

Americans will spend approximately 1 billion (1 x 10 9th power in scientific notation, frequently abbreviated as 1e9) dollars to elect a President this year. Although the exact information is a little more difficult to extract, movie studios will likely spend a similar amount to try and convince you to view their films before the next state-of-the-union address.

One shudders to imagine how many schools, roads, or bridges could be built with this money, how many water-treatment plant upgrades, homeless shelters, or drug-rehabilitation facilities could be constructed, or how many children could be lifted from poverty, families offered medical care, or research spent on developing alternative forms of energy. How much music, art, and architecture could be built in lieu of this largesse of self-promotion. But it's our system, and despite the protestations from the few, we seem to be sticking to it. Or at least until we decide to change it.

"make it rain", 2008, m.o.i. Ink on paper, denominations vary, 20 multiples to date.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

48 days, week 6

Sunday, 9:00 AM.
Eddie Salazaar drops his paper and punches in a number on his phone; the call immediately goes to voice mail. "Bastard!" he shouts, then hangs up and dials another number. "Where's Hector?" he demands.

"I don't know, last I heard he was headed to the high stakes table on Obama's behalf," Bridgit replies. "Maybe Jennifer took him over to the dark side. Have you tried the churches?"

"It's too early for the sermon. And none of those folks seem too churchy. Listen closely, Bridgit. Hector needs to be in Columbia for the King Celebration. Why? Because all the Dems will be there. HRC wins Nevada and he disappears. What the fuck is going on out there? I thought you guys had a handle on this."

"Relax. Barack won more delegates. House rules or something."

"Weird. But not as strange as Mike Huckabee doing an Elvis impersonation of Take My Hand, Precious Lord. Saw that on YouTube."

"You scare me with that stuff Eddie. Next you'll be telling me you watch Quarterlife. But that was a bad move on the Huckster's part, the analagy is too easy for the bloggers. Elvis IS dead. Tell me you know that. Huckabee isn't far behind."

Monday, 11:00 AM.
CTU agents Tony Almeda and Michelle Dressler stand before Special-Agent-in-Charge George Mason. "Sit!" he commands, and then walks over and closes the office door. "What do you have?"

Tony starts. "Hillary looks like a lock on the nomination given her machine, but the party base is fractured. She's might still be vulnerable to eloquence."

"Bill's or Barack's?"

"Both. But Barack's the one with the dream."

"You think Bill doesn't have one? All he does is dream. Hell, he's had more wet dreams than most people have hopes. As for Obama, once the peckerwoods find out his middle name is Hussein, he's done. And you Michelle, what do you have from the grand old folks home?"

"It all depends on which prophet you follow. Jesus, Joseph, or Ronald. I've give 'em all about even odds in Florida at the moment."

"This is costing the country a whole lot of money. You've been on this for almost 6 weeks running and nothing! Not a damn thing! We're getting a lot of pressure from people in very high places to get a wrap on this and you know the Dick loves Bauer like a child. He's pushing real hard to get Jack back on the street. If you want YOUR name in lights, you better get some juice to the cable, and quick."

"Agreed, Jack's a special agent, but remember, he also a two-time loser. Once more and he's done. And we have managed to kick off some of the fringes."

"Fringes? To date, we've lost the only Spanish speaker, a tv hack, an evangelical, and some geezer white dudes. That sounds like middle America to me! Maybe you should reach out to Bauer again, see what he knows."

"I thought you said he was off-limits for the duration."

"I did, but dirty laundry is his specialty."

Tuesday, 11:00 AM.
There's a loud knock on the door of Suite 777 at the Belagio Hotel and Casino. Then again. Then the door opens and the room attendant calls out in a thick Spanish accent, "House keeping! House keeping!"

She goes to the window and pulls back the curtain. Sunlight floods the room. She turns to see that the room is in complete shambles, champagne bottles everywhere, room service trays, a lamp tipped over. She mutters to herself ¡Ah cabrón!, looks up, then tentatively approaches what appears to be a body beneath the covers. She touches it. No movement. She touches it again. Again nothing. She looks around the room unsure of what to do next. Finally she musters up the coverage to pull back the covers and examine what's underneath. Slowly the covers fall away to reveal Ron Surnow, the out-of-work-writer and Vincent Carter's friend, lying face down on the bed. She nudges him. Nothing. Again. Nothing. "Mierda!"

Just as she begins to back out of the room, she hears a groan. Then another. Ron turns over slowly and tries to open his eyes but the sunlight makes him wince. He can see a woman in the room but he can't make out her features.

"You're still here?" he mumbles. "Don't know if I have another round of role-playing in me without some help," he reaches over to the nightstand and gropes around.
A pharmacopoeia of prescription bottles topple off the nightstand and Ron proceeds to follow them into the floor.

"Give me just a minute here and I'll be ready," he weakly calls to her. He gropes around looking for the right bottle and then sees a couple of polaroids on the floor. He picks one up. It's of him looking very blotto. Standing next to him is a woman who could make cream whip just by looking at the bowl. He's trying to remember her name. Damn, he thinks, he was lucky last night. He tries to grab onto the nightstand to pull himself up, but only manages to pull an ice bucket full of lukewarm water onto to himself. "help me out here! will you?"

The housekeeper comes over and helps Ron to his feet. He looks down and sees more photos on the nightstand. He picks them up and begins leafing through his sordid progression from the night before. There's one of Ron at the cabana with the Clinton staffers. Everyone seems to be having a good time. A couple of them are real babes. Damn, he wishes he could remember more of last night that these photos seem to reveal. He shuffles through the stack. There's one where everyone is skinny-dipping in the pool. Another of them in the room with 2 of the staffers, no one has any clothes on. Ron's starting to get excited.

"¡Estas cabrón!" the housekeeper says to Ron.

He smiles. He continues to look through the photos and until one makes him gasp. Ron is wearing an Afro wig and is tied to the bed. Standing over him is a woman who resembles, at least in the photo, Oprah Winfrey in black leather bondage attire. She's slapping Ron's ass with a whip. But what is really upsetting to Ron, what makes him retch and drop the photos, and run to the bathroom and hurl, is that photo clearly shows that in addition to the bondage, Oprah's wearing a huge strap-on dildo and Ron's got a big grin on his face.

Ron spends several minutes draining most of his stomach contents into the commode, then finally manages to stand and walk back into the room. When the housekeeper sees him she laughs and points, "hijo de mil putas".

Ron looks down and realizes for the first that he's wearing of pair of jockey shorts with a big picture of Hillary Clinton on the front. He bends down for a closer look and the writing scrawled across the bottom. "It was fun! See ya' on YouTube my sweet little Oprah Bitch. signed, the Hillary Nutcrackers."

Ron stomach churns and he heads back to the toilet.

Wednesday, 5:00 PM.
Vincent "Vinnie" Carter's Cadillac Eldorado convertible crosses over the cattle guard with a thunk and stops at what appears to be a lemonade stand. Two lady's, hair in buns against the Texas heat, sit behind a sign that says, CHUCK4HUCK. All U CAN EAT, $15. "Y'all here for the B-B-Que?" the woman asks.

"Yes ma'am."

"Well it's $15 apiece or $30 a family. Ya'll family?"

Vinnie looks over at Ruth, the middle-aged show-it-all-girl he discovered at the Belagio omelet bar, winks, then looks back at Hector Ramirez sitting in the back. Ruth smiles back, Hector scowls. "More or less," Vincent says to the woman and hands her two twenties. "Keep the change."

"You want some sweet tea? Ranch is a ways ahead and it'll be dusty with the top down."

"Sure why not", Vinnie takes 3 plastic cups of tea from the lady, "nothing like a little southern comfort to take the heat off the afternoon."

They drive on. Hector takes a big gulp of the icy beverage, the sticky sweetness rolls around on his tongue, and makes it hard to talk. He pulls a flask from his coat and tops off the drink.

""A little sweet for you?" Ruth asks.

"Yeah, this ticket needs some balance," and he hands Ruth the flask.

"Don't mind if I do"

Vinnie looks over at Ruth, "you ever been to a ranch, a real ranch?"

"There's country, and then there's me, sweetpea," Ruth replies. "I was polling Herefords before they invented push polls."

"How about you?" Vinnie looks up in the rear view mirror and makes eye contact with Hector Ramirez. "Are you country? because this here's supposed to be the real deal." and he sweets his arm out toward the landscapes. "Owned by a real Texas Ranger."

"Bullshit, if this dude is a real lawmen, then I'm a campaign advisor."

Wednesday, 6:30 PM.
Vinnie, Ruth, and Hector are sitting at a picnic table chowing down on some brisket, beans, and slaw, drinking PBR from cans. All around them are white folks with wane smiles and up on stage, Lynard Skynard covers are being tortured out of guitars.

Vinnie looks across to Ruth, grabs her free hand, and suckles the sauce from her fingers, "I always did prefer the sweet to the piquant, now I'm in love."

"You really haven't been out in a while have you Vinnie?" Ruth says, dabbing sauce from her smile. "You're in a campaign. Every one's in love."

"Maybe I'm naive, and yes, I have been out-of-touch of late, but I still want to believe that people from vastly different backgrounds can still find themselves on the road to America."

"Sounds like the stuff of fairy tales," Hector chimes in, "I need to charge my phone, this music is giving me a headache."

Thursday, 5:00 AM.
Hector's up and taking a walk. There's considerable activity around the ranch at this hour, Hispanic ranch hands and men with prostate problems. His phone rings, first time in a couple of days.

"Hector? That you?" Bridgit asks. "Where the fuck are you? Salazaar been going ape shit trying to find you.

"Stopped in Texas for some b-b-Que."

"Wrong meat, Hector. You're supposed to be at Maurice's Piggy Park in Columbia."

"We'll get there. But the buses needed refueling and they're out of money. Had to have a hoe-down just to buy gas."

Friday, 11AM, CTU Headquarters.
Tony and Michelle are sorting through campaign staff emails taking notes. Mason approaches them. "Any word from Jack?"

"He's been released back the general population, but his former cellmate, a man named Vinnie Carter, was kicked loose last week. Vincent somehow managed to get hooked up with a Huckabee staffer in Vegas. They're driving cross country now and one of Salazaar's men, Hector Ramirez, is traveling with them."

"Do we know what their plans are?"

"Beyond playing Free Bird in all the Purple States we're not sure. Looks like they're headed to Florida."

"So who's Jack bunking with now."

"Some White House intern charged with perjury in the Balco case."

"There's a steroid scandal in politics?"

"Not yet, but the intern was an old friend of W's, from his glory days with the Rangers. Club house attendant or something. Apparently he was also the clubs go-to-guy for the clear. He made the mistake of lying about it to a Clinton appointee."

"Those activist judges will get you every time. You think he's a plant?"

"Either that or a ball boy."

Saturday, 11:50 AM, Zion Baptist Church, Columbia, South Carolina.

The crowd is beginning to get a little restless as they listen to the concluding M.L. King Day remarks about how the lives of public figures have changed in the year's since King's death, how every aspect of the candidates, their families, and their staff's lives have become fodder for the prying eyes of America, "it's played out on television, it's sensationalized in the media, and it's crept into the presidential campaign in a way that serves to obscure the issues" Barack Obama tells the crowd to shouts of "Amen! Amen, Brother! Testify!"

Saturday, 12:20 PM, Capitol Grounds, Columbia, South Carolina.
Tony Almeda surveys the crowd, now estimated to be 5,000 strong and growing, from his vantage point atop the Governor's Building just across from the Dome. He calls Michelle Dresseler who's working the street ahead of the marchers, "What's it look like down there?"

"It's a mixed crowd. State police, locals, SS, plus the campaign staffers working the crowd for product placement opportunities."

"How much longer before they get to the Capitol."

"Tomorrow afternoon if they don't stop kissing babies."

"Any sign of Salazaar's people?"

"Not yet, but we've got people spaced out the entire 6 blocks so if anyone surfaces, we should be in a position to react."

"Keep me posted." Almeda motions to Rico, the SWAT captain to come over. "Listen. Our inside man, Bauer, came across someone in the know who said today's the day. You have specific orders. If a target appears, get a visual lock, copy the image to your handheld, and page it immediately to me. I'll verify the ID and then give you the go ahead. But if deem them an immediate threat, and you can take them out with minimal collateral damage, you have authority to do so."

"Roger that."

Saturday, 12:40 PM, Street, Columbia, South Carolina.
"Tony, it's Michelle, listen I think we've got something."


"Intersection of Assembly and Lady Street, that's one block from you. Can you see it?"

Tony places two fingers to his eyes and motions to Rico. Rico begins scanning the crowd with his 80-power binoculars. "Where? Where? Where?" Tony calls to Michelle.

"Southeast quadrant of the intersection. Check out the guy in the white outfit moving through the crowd. Jumpsuit, glasses, looks like he's wearing a wig. No, wait, it looks like an Elvis costume, from the Vegas years."

"He's out of place, King's birthday was last week. Rico, capture that image and send it to me. I'll run a trace. Tell your men to standby for orders, and DO NOT let him out of your sight."

"How far before the Dems make it to the intersection Michelle?"

"They're a block away. What do you want me to do?"

"I'm waiting on this feed, standby."

"They're getting closer Tony. The guy's behaving erratically, jumping around, yelling, he's moving closer to the street."

"WE can't tip our hand if he's not the one. Give me just a sec, we're paging through files now."

"Sir! The target is moving into the street. I repeat, into the street. I have a clean shot. Should I take it?"

"Hold fire for 10 seconds."

"Tony, the guys in the street now. He's acting crazy, moving around, he's looks like a nut."

"Wait, wait, wait, wait. Could be a distraction. Rico, have your men cover him. Michelle scan the crowd for an accomplish."

There's a beep and Tony looks down at his pda. Status confirmed. "Holy shit! It can't be. Weapons down! Now! Weapons down! I can't believe this shit! It's the President."

"The President. Sir, are you sure, the fat dude in the jumpsuit, the President?"

"Yes, former President Clinton. Looks like he's making good on his promise."

"His promise? to do an Elvis impersonation on Martin Luther King's Birthday?"

"No, he challenged Obama to a dance contest."

"Well sir, he does appear to be winning at the moment."

see also:
m.o.i.: 48 days, week 5
m.o.i.: 48 days, week 4
m.o.i.: 48 days, week 3
m.o.i.: 48 days, week 2
m.o.i.: Season premiere-48 days, week 1
m.o.i.: Damn it! I just can't do this anymore.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

favorite sundance story

My friend Robb brings this story back from Sundance. He went to the Dance, as he now calls it, to try and learn how to get a film in the Dance, which he discovered isn't easy. He's got a film, and it's traveled a short circuit, but he'd like to take it up the mountain so-to-speak. Robb's not very patient with pretense so it wasn't long before he tired of the bling bullshit and headed out for some back-country snowshoeing. He figured all the hot shots would be skiing and if he opted for something more pedestrian then he could more likely find some solitude.

So he finds a place to rent some shoes, which he said was pretty easy, and then he hitches a ride to a state park not far out of town where they have snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Unknown to Robb, it's also a trail head for snowmobilers, which Robb despises in the backcountry because of the noise.

Robb said it wasn't too bad once he got a mile or so out, but the parking lot was just yowling with all these Parka People - that's what he called them. All the latest hi-tech gear and you could see they hadn't been off-trail in their life, but here they were, with the best guide that money could rent, and ready to go tackle the great outdoors.

So Robb goes and does his thing. Has a great time, lot's of fresh powder, solitude, can only occasionally hear the whine of the mobile in the distance. Gets back to the lot and he's hanging out, sorta checking people out, trying to figure out which one of these folks might not be so uptight as to give him a ride back to town. There's this one guy, and Robb can tell by looking at him that he's some kind of money, Lexus sedan, 200 dollar shades, tan, and a blond in the front seat. Complete stereotype of the nouveau riche, but Robb says he can't take his eyes off the girl, she's so drop-dead gorgeous. Well they're dicking around getting their shit together, eating a granola bar, sipping a cappacino or something, and the guy has got his trunk open and the stereo blasting like he's some kind of gansta'. Thumpin' away, and the whole time Robb says the fuckwad is yakking on the phone like he's trying to close some huge deal or something and never saying a word to the girl. Robb's watching this whole thing and can't believe it, and then there's the girl, Robb just can't take his eyes off the girl.

Here's where it gets unreal. Robb's hanging out, chilling, looking around, when this black bear comes sauntering into the lot, nosing around, out of nowhere. Now this time of year, this bear should be snoozing, so Robb, who's never ever even seen a bear, much less one this close, so Robb is watching the bear very intently and wishing he hadn't left his camera back in town, but the bear seems intent only on finding some grub as he makes his way around the parking lot.

The bear is nosing around looking for food, and after awhile he sees the trunk open on this dude's Lexus. So he goes over and starts rummaging through the trunk. Shit starts flying out the trunk, shoes, luggage, a briefcase, all kinds of stuff as the bear is looking for food. Robb is watching this whole thing, kinda in shock. Then he hears the woman say, "OH MY GOD!" and she punches her partner in the shoulder. Well, then the dude looks in the rear-view mirror and then he gets out of the car, and then this next part is just unbelievable.

Robb watches the guy, walk quietly, very quietly, to the back of the car. The bear has his paws on the back of car and his head in the trunk and by this time the bear's found some food so he, the bear, isn't really paying attention to anything but his prize. Robb watches the guy walk up and slam the trunk lid down as hard as he can on the bear's head and paws.

When this happens the bear jumps up and the guy takes off running and the bear after him, but he quickly knows enough not to keep running so he stops. And then the bear stops. And they just look at each other. The bear does a fake charge, which just about makes the guy shit his pants, but then the bear goes right back to the trunk.

Then, unbelievably, after a few minutes of being at a standstill, the guy walks up to the trunk and THWAKK! does the exact same thing, this time even harder. Trunk down on the bears paws and then the guy backs away. The bear kinda lets out a yelp, looks up at the guy like he's going to eat him, and then back to the food in the trunk.

Robb can hear the woman in the front just kinda whimpering, "Please be careful honey. Are you sure that's a good idea?"

"Got it covered. Don't worry. This bear's going to rue the day..."

Ok, here's where it gets really crazy.

The guy has smashed this bear's paws twice and lived to tell about it. You'd think by now he would have known better, that maybe he saw that Treadwell movie or something. But no, the bear is still rooting around in his trunk and he wants to go. He's in a hurry. Deal time or something. Who knows? So the man goes up to the trunk and for the THIRD time, BLLAMM! slams the trunk down on the bear's paws! Even harder than before. But he doesn't run he just stands there like he's challenging the bear.

The bear stands up, looks over at the guy, makes a few grunts, then the bear reaches over and takes his paw behind the man's neck, pushes the man's head down into the trunk, and SSLAMMM! as hard as he can, the bear slams the trunk down on the man's head, and then the bear turns and ambles away.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

nine pin to the king pin's head and off you go

The Oscar nominations were announced Monday, and leading the list of nominees is There Will Be Blood. Being loosely based on Upton Sinclair's novel, Oil (1927), dare we say the movie is "torn from yesterday's headlines"? or is today's? as the director, Paul Thomas Anderson, gives us plenty of headroom (literally) for reflecting on other bloody battles that consume the current world.

There Will Be Blood, might politely be described as a parable of how humans are wont to take advantage of each other, especially if money, fame, or religion are involved. In less polite company, you might summarize the plot as, the proper way to smash a skull - to bits. The movie works on many levels but life affirming it is not, unless you wish to come out on top, and really, don't we all? Some of the violent images in this movie will have you turning away in disgust. They made me cringe and fall into my seat gasping for air. The last scene could only be said to make a caring person angry enough to want to bash out the brains of the studio mogul who financed the damn thing. You won't leave the theater feeling good. Rather, you'll be lucky if you don't commit murder if someone dares step in front of you on the way out the door.

Movie goers have seen so much screen violence that there must be Hollywood consultants whose express purpose it is to dream up more and more inventive ways to surprise and shock our calloused souls. No Country For Old Men, which also garnered a lot of nominations, featured as a subplot, a novel way to kill humans. Lest we give the plot away and feel good about ourselves, let's just say it's nothing we haven't already perfected on cows and pigs. Only the vegans die old in Hollywood.

But really, what every one seems to want to know, after "why did he do it?" is "will there be a red-carpet Oscar gala event this year?". Of course there will be - why do you think There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men received so many nominations?

However, an Oscar holdout is the WGA ace-in-the-hole so they won't be offering any waivers for Valentines unless there's a done deal in the works. Right now, preventing the A-list and the studios from an updo is the only hand the union has to play, so play it they will. The studios will look to settle this soon, and if they don't then they won't play again for many months.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

when the pretty and famous die young

people are saddened because they'd like to be pretty, famous, and they don't want to die young.


Yesterday, while multi-tasking on housework I managed to inadvertently destroy one of favorite t-shirts. Shorts and t-shirts are wardrobe staples for me and losing a favorite one, like breaking a cherished coffee cup, is cause for a moment of reflection. Bleach misuse has been a past flaw in my arsenal of house cleaners, which is why it's banned from the laundry room. This didn't prevent me from wiping down the counter with some golly-gee-whiz spray designed to kill, if ads are to be believed, MAR germs which are as ubiqutous and costly as sub-prime mortgages, and then dropping the wet towel on top of the t-shirt and leaving it sit for several hours.

The shirt in question, in addition to being heavy-weight cotton and a nice shade of blue, was purchased in support of a language program to teach the dying language of Osage to young tribal members. All I could say when I pulled the clothes was the dryer was HA.KA.ZHE!!!!! There are somewhere between 15-20 speakers of the Osage language alive today, and now there is one less t-shirt.

osage nation language program

Monday, January 21, 2008

edward's candidacy maintains morality, loses steam

There are signs that John Edwards' resolve for the Oval Office may be waning. Yesterday, Edwards, the most frequent church goer of the bunch that calls itself churchy, decided that Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was more important than politics. Instead of addressing the congregation of the Zion Baptist Church, the modest Edwards' family, sat in the pews and listened to the sermon. His political adversaries did no such thing even though they had complained to Edwards about his speaking from the pulpit. Barack Obama spoke at Ebenezer Baptist Church (it's hard to imagine any candidate foregoing this opportunity) and Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to members of the Absynnian Baptist Church in Harlem (it's hard to imagine any candidate not wanting to hear their choir).

As much as I respect John Edward’s decision not to politicize Dr. King’s legacy for personal gain, he would appear to be one Democratic candidate who hasn’t done so. The meek may inherent the throne of righteous causes, but they won’t garner many delegates in the devil’s den of politics.

caucusing on the queen's gambit

Whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts... My fondest hope for each one of you—and especially for the young people here—is that you will love your country, not for her power or wealth, but for her selflessness and her idealism.

Ronald Reagan, Republican Party national convention, August 1992,

Less than 3 months later, Reagan's bag man for 8 years and the incumbent President, George Herbert Walker Bush, would be defeated by William Jefferson Clinton, a brilliant hick from Hope, Arkansas. Two days later in Belgrade, working in violation of U.N. sanctions imposed against the brutal regime of Slobadan Milosovic, Bobby Fischer, a gifted mind with a reputation for daring moves and insanity, closed the board on the Soviet Union's last hope at a comeback, and sent Boris Spassky into permanent exile.

These distant events, inauspicious and seemingly unconnected at the time, were brought to light this past week as Republican Dives repeatly attempted to resurrect Lazurus from the dead and the Democrats tried to convince the America public that although they are smart, they hold none of the trepidation sometimes associated with members of the intelligensia.

Reagan as a party icon has been relegated to (depending upon your particular brand of Republicanism), a lifetime of matrimony, neo-con infamy, or napping forever in the Big House with clouds for pillows. In truth, the Great Communicator left behind a polarizing ideology that lacks, despite the feeble arguments of the well-to-do, pragmatism, fiscal responsibility, and a world vision that extends beyond the lower forty-eight.

As for their part, the Democrats still seem to want to dance around being the smart one in the room, driven by a fear of being labelled bookish and therefore by implication lacking the resolve they imagine the public expects of a Commander-in-Chief. They fight over who gets to sing in the church choir, but in truth don't know the lyrics of Precious Lord, Take my Hand without consulting their handlers, the hymnal, or the Ghost of Elvis.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Long Pass to Scramble Backfield: the Legend of Brett Favre

Legend has it that he was born in a horse barn in Backfield, Mississippi. In truth, the 14th, and last child of Irv and Bonny, was conceived during halftime of Super Bowl III. Irv, no fan of the AFL, tired and embarrassed that the tumbledown Colts were behind by 7 at halftime to a cross-dressing New Yorker with a drinking problem, decided to take control of the home offense and in an efficient, 4-minute drive quickly crossed the goal line. Unfortunately, the extra point was muffed and these were the last points for the home team

Irv wanted to name him Bart, after the famous Packer’s quarterback, but Bonny, who was listening to "Indian Love Call" by Fernando Lamas during what was then, by today’s standards, a meager halftime show, nixed the idea outright. They settled on a compromise, thus Brett Lorenzo Favre (pronounced FavRAH) came into the world.

The family dreamed that the last heir of a coach might some day play semi-pro football with the hometown team. The rebellious son would have none of it. Folks thought him a nerdy kid; he was a poor student, one who never played sports or hunted in the fields like most other backwoods boys. When given the choice between the Marines or art school, he chose the kiln, and spent his late teens learning the touchy art of fine ceramic glazes and dreaming of becoming a consummate craftsman.

Art school turned out to be too literal for the moody upstart. The young man was asked to leave the program after one semester for being overly expressive, which he took as a compliment.

Leaving art school turned out to be fortuitous for the young Favre. The early 1990's were a scarce time for jobs, especially for someone who lacked a formal education and spoke only Creole fluently. Eventually, he landed a job translating the works of the great Choctaw Chief Pushmataha, but the work failed to financially sustain him.

A frigid January day changed Favre’s life forever. Walking down the street in Chicago, Brett was spotted by his high school nemesis, Riley Snipnash, the standout starting quarterback who had misplaced his father’s attention and stolen his girlfriend’s heart during Brett’s sophomore year. Snipsnash had never forgiven Favre for painting a caricature of the high school hero that resembled, some said, a cross between the cartoon hero George of the Jungle and Dabney Coleman. The painting won first prize at the county fair and was reproduced on the cover of the local paper, after which Snipsnash became the butt of jokes and lost the respect of his linemen. Upon seeing Favre, Snipsnash crossed the street and unceremoniously body-checked the unsuspecting Favre off the sidewalk and into the street where he was accidentally struck by a city bus. Despite suffering severe injuries that required a six month hospital stay, 4 reconstructive surgeries, and 2 years of rehabilitation, Favre eventually walked from the hospital on his own accord.

Once leaving the hospital Favre vowed to never again be the victim of chance, bullies, or a vague economy. He dedicated his life to other causes and disappeared from the public eye for several years. It was frequently rumored that during those missing years he captained an itinerant rugby team composed primarily of oil derrick roustabouts and union meat-packers who prided themselves on guzzling beer and breaking each other’s noses, after which they would proceed to take on any and all opponents. It is said their greatest triumph was the day they scrummed a group of senseless Chicago bond traders out of $3500, ten cases of PBR, and 8 season tickets to Lambeau Field.

Favre’s trenchant story has now become legend for legions. As yet unfinished, there are many who believe that he has achieved a great deal of success for someone with only a modicum of natural talent.

Photo: John Ritter as the young
Favre in the HBO movie,
Scramble Backfield, 1996

Saturday, January 19, 2008

writer's strike fallout

The writer's strike has finally started to effect me. Last night I had a dream about, of all people, Johnny Carson. We were sitting at a lunch counter, having a burger, trading industry jabs, when the subject finally came around to money; who has it, who doesn't. I said to Johnny, "so with all your millions, people must constantly be harassing you about money." Johnny looked down, smiled, shook his head no, never. And I thought, should my company ever go public and we make a killing on the IPO, then my friends and family wouldn't ask me for money either, they'd DEMAND it. Lot's of it.

We attempted to determine the exact cause, meaning, and purpose of every single scene that played out in this dream but doing so led us down some very convoluted reasoning that had us trying to include Rev. Martin Luther King, father, Bush's tax rebates, my friend's inability to sleep, and a random side conversion at an art opening together into one coherent sentence. That being too much work, and rife with large error bars, we opted instead for the psychic services of ChiChi the Whispering Chihuahua.

ChiChi's response. It's simple. Don't drink coffee immediately before bed.

see also:
m.o.i.: chichi the whispering chihuahua

Thursday, January 17, 2008

48 days, week 5

Sunday, 10:00 AM
Habitual small-time offender, Vincent "Vinnie" Carter, pushes through the Glendale City Jail doors and into the bright Southern California sun. "I can't see a damn thing out here!" he says, and then spotting his brother Jimi sitting on the steps, reaches down and plucks the new chrome aviator shades off Jimi's head and puts them on. "Better!"

"So, how was it this time? Any trouble from the latin kings? How was Mama Momo's cookin'?"

"Easy does and easy it was. The Locos have moved on, the Latin Kings are now a swing band, and Mama Momo's still the shit, I'm tellin' you... black-eyed peas, mustard greens, and corn bread for New Year's - the best in the valley. Brought me some luck too."

"How's that?"

"You'll never believe who I spent a couple of nights with."

"Your ex?"

"It's jail, Jimi, not a party dorm. She did some evil shit, but most of it was legal. Think famous."

"Mel Gibson."

"He's locked in a different kind of cell. Think A-list, not B."

"I thought Mel was A-list."

"After the AMPTP found out he hated Jews, he's been down-graded."

"What about OJ?"

"He's in Florida, you douche bag. And Hollywood, not the Most Wanted List."

"Phil Spector?"

"Hung jury, out on bail awaiting a retrial, primed to kill again. You're fucking hopeless, you know that? What do you do all day, when you're not wanking off? The View? Ellen? Sponge Bob? Do you know anything?"

"Nick Nolte."

"OK. Close enough. Jack Bauer."

"Bullshit. He's a hero, or somein'. Like Rambo. They don't put Rambo in the slammer."

"When was the last time you saw Rambo? Of course they put guys like Rambo in the slammer. Or at least they try to. When they try to arrest Rambo for walking down the street, THAT'S when he loses it. Law enforcement hates vigilantes more than they hate criminals."

"I thought 'Nam make him crazy."

"'Nam just made him paranoid and taught him how to survive. He was already crazy."

"So what's Bauer's problem."

"ProblemsZZZZ. He got tons of 'em. For starters, he's a meglomaniacle, alcoholic, serial-killing torturer with a distrust of authority and a penchant for destroying relationships."

"Sounds like a burden."

"A heavy one. But he's as light as a brother. Turns out he's got a soft spot that few people knew about. Come on, it's TCB time, let's go cash in on personal problems."

Monday, 1:00 PM CTU Headquarters
Michelle Dressler stops Tony Almeda as he makes his way to the canteen for a refill on his coffee. "Ever since you planted that tracking device in David Pouffe's shoe we've been monitoring his movements. We know he placed a call to Hector Ramirez the day that O'Reilly did his Colonel Sanders impression. But here's something really interesting. He flies to Las Vegas a day ahead of all the other Obama staffers, rents a car, and then drives to a beach in Southern California."

"That doesn't seem unusual. Vegas is only a few hours from LA. Maybe he's from there. Working a primary campaign would have to take it's toll. It's no wonder candidates say dumb things, they never get enough sleep."

"That's not the interesting part. On his way to the surf zone he made a stop. In Glendale. At the city jail."

"To see who?"

"Jack Bauer."

Tuesday, 5 PM
Carters's sky blue 1965 Cadillac Eldorado convertible cruises down Las Vegas Boulevard toward the South strip. In the trunk is a change of clothes, an ounce of primo, a fifth of Glenmorangie, and gym bag containing ninety-nine bundles of 20 dollar bills. One more bundle, strapped by an Elvis TCB money clip, bulges from his jacket pocket. Ron Surnow, whose last script was just dropped by Univeral Studios, and whom Vincent convinced to come along for "the ride, some no-limit texas hold'em, and some fresh babes", sits in the passenger seat.

As the convertible motors past the Travelodge sign, a big sign proclaims. Lucky room rate $77.77, Lucky dinner buffet $7.77. "Look Vinnie, they got a vacancy and lucky numbers."

"Fuck that. We can make our own luck. We're here for some action and we're staying at the Belagio."

"Sweetness.", Ron takes a hit from the third joint they've smoked since leaving LA, "but dude, tell me this. I've been walking a picket line for three months, my last script just got tossed in the can, and I'm flat broke. You on the other hand, have been in jail for 90 days and the first day, the very first day you get your tan back - you're spending money like there's no tomorrow. How's that happen?" He passes the joint back to Vinnie as they come to a stop light.

Vinnie looks at the joint, which is about half gone, then motions to a homeless man standing on the corner with a sign around his neck that reads, Need $$$ 4 alcohol reSERcH. Vinnie reaches in his pocket, flips out a couple of fresh twenties to the man, takes one last hit on the joint, then hands the rest to the man. "Best shit in Vegas or your money back. And be sure to spend that all in one place!", Vinnie calls as they motor away.

Then back to Ron, "New media. That's where the money, the action is. But you have to have something to sell. And I did. I had something everybody wanted and when everybody wants something, they're willing to pay top dollar for it."

"What's that?"

"A story."

"Nobody wants stories anymore, why the fuck do you think I've walked in a circle from Thanksgiving to Martin Luther King Day. They want reality. They want buzz. They want gossip."

"Exactly. And I had all three: reality, buzz, and gossip, neatly wrapped into a single story, and let me tell you, those greedy bastards at TMZ, Entertainment Tonight, AND Extra would fuck their boss's mother to get an exclusive story. I thought about making 'em, but decided to settle for a nice advance instead. From all three."

"Dude!!! They're going to be pissed. They might even want a refund. Have you seen Mary Hart lately, she could kick your ass."

"Fuckem. AND her. We'll be all in when they air that shit."

Wednesday, 5:00 AM, Las Vegas, Nevada
Hector Ramirez and Jennifer Rowland have been at the no-limit table in a Belagio back room for over 9 hours. Vinnie's still there, still talking trash, even though for the last 7 hours he's seen his massive twin chip towers slowly reduced to rubble. "That's quite a streak you got going there," he says to Jennifer. "How much you got in the bank?"

"About 250 thousand," Rowland says calmly from the blind as she examine her hole cards, ten, seven, suited diamonds. "But we plan to spend it by week's end and we'll need to double that for South Carolina, so don't do anything rash on my account." She tosses ten 1000 dollar chips into the pot and a button across the table.

"Here Vincent", she refuses to call anyone Vinnie, "since you're one of our biggest donors, you can have a button."

Vincent examines the button carefully. It's a large O, or circle, and in the middle it depicts what appears to the sun coming up over a flag-like landscape. "What's it suppose to mean? Ophrah Owns Omerica? Call."

"Could be. But what it really stands for is", she glances at Ramirez, then back to Vincent, "we like what you like. Or it could stand for..." she watches the flop: Deuce diamond and ace, nine, off-suit, "it could also stand for...OHHHH... the fun's just beginning. Five thousand to you."

"You did that in one night?" Vincent asks, motioning to Jennifer's stack.

"No, tonight's only about 80K, most of it yours, but you appear to be nearing campaign limits. Are you Ready for Change Vincent?"

Vincent pins the bucket to his jacket then checks his hole cards again, "no one is that lucky. All in." He pushes what's left of the three advances, $18,000, into the pot.

"What's the opposite of luck?" Rowland says to Ramirez.

Ramirez squeezes his cards, shakes his head, and folds, "I dunno, hard work?"

"No. It's money. Call." Rowland matches Vincent, and slides her cards face up onto the table.

Vincent stands, "the opposite of hard work is a monarchy!" and exposes a pair of Kings.

The turn is a King diamond. Vinnie looks up and shakes both fists in the air, "YES! Hail to the Chief." He knows trip kings are his ticket to 52K and a position of strength for a big comeback. Maybe he can get out of town before everything is lost.

David Pouffe steps from the back of the room and motions to Jennifer that there's a call. She nods back. "We're almost done."

The last card comes up Queen diamonds. Ramirez lets out an audible gasp, "Damn, That's an shitload lot of money for one hand."

"It's nothing, we can spend twice that amount in 60 seconds," Jennifer says quietly gathering her chips. She offers her hand to Vincent, "Pleasure before business, and it was a pleasure, but now business calls."

Vincent looks dumbfounded, realizing that he's broke again. He shakes his head, "I don't know how you did it, but you pulled that out of your ass."

Jennifer looks at the dealer, "Thanks," she says and tips him 5 thousand dollars. Then she looks at Vincent, "People say every thing's bigger in Texas. Here," she stacks 20 hundred dollar chips, "I'd say that's about the right size, about four inches" and she pushes the chips to Vincent. "Take that stack, go back to your room, and pull IT out of your ass", then stands and leaves the room.

Vincent calls to her, "Hey...I'm from Tennessee."

"What's the deal?" Jennifer asks Pouffe.

"OJ's been arrested!"

"Yeah? So? Who but TMZ cares?"

"Everyone. It's all over the news. The bloggers are having a field day with it."

"And what's that got to do with us."

"Black man in Vegas, another black man in Vegas jailed for a parole violation. To white folks, it's one and the same, and HRC and the Republicans are already leaking trial balloons about past drug-dealing and cocaine use."

"Shit. We got to get out here. Fast."

Thursday, 5:45 AM
Victor cashes his free chips and ambles into the lounge. There's an all-you-can eat breakfast buffet set-up by the stage, but it's much fancier than anything he's had in a while. Fresh fruit, Belgian waffles and omelets made to order. Vincent's used to being up at this hour, but it's still very early in the morning by Vegas standards yet the omelet bar has short wait. He fills his plate to overflowing and grabs a morning paper off the rack, takes his plate to a corner booth, and sits. He realizes he's exhausted. The food's not as good as Mama Momo's, but the coffee is strong and for ten bucks it begins to ease some of the tightness in his gut.

Even at this early hour the restaurant has a small crowd. Looking around the room he sees folks like himself who never went to bed, plus a fair contingent of tourists who appear to only come to Vegas for the all-you-can-eat buffets, corny comic shows, and kick lines. He can't understand why, if they don't like to gamble, that they don't they just go to Branson? He looks at the headlines. Clinton Deals Race Card, Obama Checks. He puts down the paper and mutters aloud, "doesn't anything ever fucking change in this country?"

"Yes, if you want it to." a woman's voice, deep in southern twang, says from the booth behind Victor.

He turns to look at the woman and finds her attractive. Mid-forties, maybe early fifties, he can't say for sure, but she's taken care of herself and she's alone. She's over-dressed for the place and the hour in a light wool, carmine suit, a strand of pearls around her neck. The clothes are tailored, her hair stylish, she looks like money Vincent thinks. Vincent was always fond of pearls, more fond of the act of standing behind a woman and unclasping them and the memory of that intrigues him as does the woman but he's forgotten how to talk and nothing comes out of his mouth except saliva.

"You know, you shouldn't eat by yourself, it's bad for your digestion" the woman says to him like she knows him.

"Not as bad as losing all your money."

"Money's not everything, you know."

"Only people who have money, say that."

"Even people that do, say that. Mind if I join you? My friend's aren't used to staying out all night, so they went back to the room. I'm all alone, I don't like being alone."

"Suit yourself" Victor tries to act excited but it sounds like a grumble.

"After my husband passed, dropped dead in the checkout line at Walmart. Took one look at the total, dropped dead just like that. Best $150 dollars I ever spent. Any way, after that my digestion when all to hell, the doctor said I was just lonely, so I started taking most of my meals at the diner, and before long I was good as new. So I try not eat alone" the woman continues. "You look sad. Don't tell me, your wife's at her mom's and you're flying solo in Vegas and it hasn't been all it was cracked up to be?"

"Yes. Nope, not married, not even in the loop. It was a buddy trip, 'till he won a few turns on the wheel, then split for a private cabana and a harem of liberal Clinton staffers. They were very impressed when he started waving his cash around."

"They say winning is everything."

"The winners say that. The losers say something else."

"And what is that?"


"I thought winners and losers both said 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas'."

"Tourist say that. People in the know, they say it's the only city where you can arrive in an $50,000 Mercedes and leave in an $800,000 Greyhound bus."

"Such a pessimist! It's too early for that. Eat something. They still have Greyhound buses? I thought those went the way of the Cadillac."

"Yes they do. And they still have Cadillacs. I've got one outside. A convertible."

"Really. I haven't been in a Cadillac in years."

"Nothing like it for seeing the country."

"Why not you? In the cabana, with the Clinton staffers?"

"Too progressive. I went for the big score but ended up getting knocked out of the debate by a court ruling."

"That's what happened to Kucinich."

"Who's Kucinich?"

"I thought you were a progressive?"

"Don't follow politics that closely; been a little out of touch of late. In truth, I'm a conservative Southerner, like that law and order dude, what's his name, Thompson. And it was Queen diamond that knocked me for a loop."

"Ladies best friend still packs a punch. How do you know about Thompson if you don't follow politics?"

"I watch tv instead. Hey, you ever seen the sun rise in the desert? It's pretty as money and lasts just as long."

"Why not, I did come to Vegas to get lucky."

Friday, 6:00 PM Charleston, South Carolina
Chef Rick is trying something he's never done before at his New South Cafe on East Bay Street. He's closed the main kitchen on a Friday night to host a fundraiser for Barack Obama. Friday is typically the busiest, and the most fun night of the week, as much of Charleston's career set gets wild and flirtatious after a week in the trenches and he's not sure how they'll react to not being able to sample his 3-star menu.

To accommodate more people in his tiny space, Rick pulled the 4-tops into the back alley and split the restaurant in half with a line of buffet tables. He was told by Mr. Pouffe, the campaign manager, that the cash bar had to be open for AT LEAST an hour before the food could be served. "Helps to loosen the pocket book" he'd told Rick.

And when Pouffe found out that it was tradition to serve a Low Country Boil on newspapers, he sent an intern out to get 50 copies of the Constitution from the day after the Iowa caucuses. That was 2 weeks ago, so no one had any and the inventive intern ended up at the recycling center where he spent the better part of an hour rooting around in the paper bin, then he stopped by his motel room where he spent another hour ironing the papers flat so they looked new. Pouffe was ready to fire him, till he saw all the headlines "Defining Moment in History; Obama Breaks Tradition; Moment of Change" spread across the tables.

Reed Messer, the erudite socialite turned food critic for the Savannah Times is trying to talk to Chef Rick over the crowd noise, trying to get something juicy for Sunday's style section. Her editor told her, "get me something, something good, find a different angle on politics, on race relations in America, New South meets Olde South, anything, but most of all, get me pictures of attractive people having a good time!" She asks Rick, "so what does your regular crowd think of all this, closing ranks for a black candidate? Has the South really changed that much?"

Rick surveys the crowd, a mix of working class stiffs drawn to the message of hope, heir's to old money drawn to the good looks, pinheads drawn to the eloquence, and campaign staffers. Rick notices that what's different about this crowd is there are more minorities in the fray than typical of Charleston society.

"Well, folks that come to my restaurant and eat my food know the South has changed considerably. We're not where we should be, but we continue to move in the right direction. That said, EVERYBODY in Charleston wants to meet Obama and since this is THE place to meet important people, it was a natural for us. But hell, I told Martha, donation or no donation, Democrat, Republican, or Independent, don't turn any regulars away. We'll need them next month when these Yankees are doing whatever it is Yankees do in February. What do they do, anyway?"

"Same thing we do Rick," Reed says, "Go to Florida."

He looks at his watch, 06:20. Folks have been pounding drinks for over an hour on an empty stomach and the place is really getting noisy. He excuses himself from Reed by pointing her in the direction of Jennifer Rowland and then heads back to the kitchen where he tells his sous chef, "we need to serve some food before some of these folks realize they don't really like each other".

Jennifer's watching the crowd and noticing that although the crowd is cordial, they have managed to segregate themselves into two camps. Black folks on one side of the buffet table, white folks on the other. She moves to the head of the table and begins directing folks to different sides of the table to better balance the mix. She stands there for the next forty-five minutes greeting folks and silently directing them, splitting their prejudices, and mixing them all together so by the time the last of the crowd has moved through the line they resemble the jumbled piles of spicy steamed sausage, potatoes, shrimp, and corn-on-the-cob that were cooked in the same pot.

David Pouffe hands Jennifer a Manhattan, her drink of choice on Friday. They stand there for a moment in silence, not sure what to say to each other. She can now smell the grease in the air, it hangs like fear, and dread, both of which seem to be following her around this week. The headlines on the newspapers are now stained with the grease and she can't seem to shake the notion that maybe, just maybe, the best has already happened, that all the promised land, was just that, a promise, and they're never going to get there. Dr. King got there, but look at the sacrifice. Fuck that. She's worked too hard for this, it was still possible, Barack said that just today, we can do it; believe, that's all you got to do, is believe.

It was David she decided. Such a bummer. A plane ride with him across the country and then a full day of campaigning. It had taken the buzz off, and having to fight the HRC steamroller of dirty tricks. Robert Johnson. Of all people. Everyone knows he sold his soul to the devil for some hip-hoppity, bootylishish fun. No wonder he and Bill were friends. And no wonder Hillary's ass was so big. Bill liked big asses, the bigger the better.

"Nice event, don't you think. Barack should be here in an hour. He got hung up in Savannah with a trial lawyer", David says to her.

"It's lovely," Jennifer says slowly. "It's been so long since I've been in the Deep South, forgotten how beautiful it can be. Look at them, so easy, everyone's so easy. I miss that. People in the city, on the campaign trail, reporters and staffers alike, are too damn tight." Jennifer turns her back on David, "I need some fresh air," and walks out the door.

Friday, 9:30 PM Charleston, South Carolina
Reed Messer finds Jennifer sitting on a park bench staring out at Fort Sumter. "You know everyone's looking for you. Charleston's all a buzz now with the spirit."

"My works done for the day. It start's again at 6 am. But today, no more. Done."

"How do you do it? day-after-day?"

Jennifer takes a drag off her cigarette and looks out over the water. "How? I don't know any better. Plus, I can't stop now, not at this point....why?... that's more difficult. Some days I honestly don't know why, don't know why I smoke either. But deep down I know what we're doing matters, or at least it should matter, and it's my job to help Barack convince people that it does matter. If we weren't doing this, then maybe nobody else would and that's my greatest fear that no one would. I couldn't live with myself seeing, knowing, that things aren't right, if I stood by and did nothing. That would haunt me, it would haunt the country. We've lived enough with ghosts, it's time to make a difference."

"I think you are."

Saturday, 5:00 AM
A baton clangs against the door and reverberates into the cell. "Bauer! Get up pussy. You got a call."

Bauer, deep in sleep, rolls from his bunk onto the floor, then stands warily looking at the guard, "I thought no calls in solitary."

"We may special exceptions for shitheads like you. Now, all I want to see is your ass and your elbows, moving down the hall. Now!"

Bauer is led through a series of hallways and into the wardens office, then told to sit. A moment later, the warden comes in, unshaven, tucking his shirt in his pants, looking like he hasn't had his morning coffee.

"Probably didn't see the news last night did you Jack being kooped up like you are in the hole. Your buddy Vincent says you're a sweet cunt, but that's not why you're here today. You got a call Bauer, but if I had any say in the matter, you'd still be in shithole."

The phone on the warden's desk buzzes, he picks it up, nods, then hands the phone to Jack, "You got 3 minutes. After that, I rip it outta the wall and you a new asshole."

The warden turns and leaves. Jack is alone in the office. He picks up the phone.

"Jack Bauer."

"JB! You dumb fuck. When are ever going to learn? Didn't I teach you anything? Don't be a smuck, play the odds. Drinking and driving, that's a losing hand. People could get hurt."

"Who is this?"

"Dick. Jack, it's the Dick. I'm here to help get you back in the mix."

"With all due respect Mr. Vice-President, the mix is what got me here."

"Different mix altogether son. Listen, we got a situation brewing, and I need, the President needs, the whole country needs, your help. Can you help us?"

"I'll do my best sir."

"I know you will son."

see also:
m.o.i.: 48 days, week 4
m.o.i.: 48 days, week 3
m.o.i.: 48 days, week 2
m.o.i.: 48 days, week 1
m.o.i.: Damn it! I just can't do this anymore.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

sorry, i thought you said destroy the tapes

Looks like an administration scapegoat has surfaced in the case of the C.I.A. torture tape destruction. According to Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, the man who destroyed the tapes, C.I.A. employee Jose Rodriguez, was a rogue employee who acted against the wishes of Congress, his superiors, and the will of the people. No doubt, Rodriguez believes he did it for the good of the country, especially since he's now likely to argue that although, yes, he knew it wasn't a good idea, he didn't know that destroying the tapes was illegal. Hopefully, Rodriquez and other administration officials will someday get a chance to try and convince a jury if such arguments are plausible.

source: Associated Press

see also:
m.o.i.: zero tolerance for conspiracy and torture
m.o.i.: bringing some light to a dark hour
m.o.i.: insane clown posse

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

don't be a dope, pt.3

Lot's of folks are going off right now about the unauthorized Tom Cruise biography and the video where he accepts his lifetime achievement award* and how crazy he is. Really? You sure about that?

I'm not a believer in Scientology but if you watch the video he doesn't really say anything other than this belief system, Scientology, is everything to him. And if you take if all the way, then you'll know it's the real deal and better than anything else. This is same thing that many Christians, especially hardcore, fundamentalist Evangelicals, and Muslims, especially jihadist Muslims believe. "You're either with me or against me; you're either on board or not on board." "We can unite the world." "We can bring world peace." "This is the one way to true knowledge." "We can rehabilitate criminals." "Now is the time!"

If Tom Cruise wants to be a Scientologist, and you don't believe in Scientology, then why should you care what he does?

I will say the background Mission Impossiblesque dub was a nice touch.

*IAS Freedom Medal of Valor [asuming that IAS means international association of Scientology]

don't be a dope, pt.2

We don't know who's telling the truth, Roger Clemens, or his former trainer, Brian McNamee, but we have observed that they both agree on one thing, Roger Clemens likes to take it in the ass. When was the last time you took your vitamins in the ass? Your ibuprofen?

The stakes have been raised now for the Rocket. Does he have enough juice left in his 4-time retired body to get another fast one past us? We may find out today* as he, his former trainer, and former Senator George Mitchell must testify before Congress and under oath about who knows what, when, and how.

His guaranteed Hall of Fame status threatened, Clemens has been challenging people with chin music and live wires. With baseball's antitrust exemption being challegned, MLB has been pulling all the stops to make the dopers go away before spring training opens next month. If cycling is any indication, there are years of doping scandals in baseballs future.

Unfortunately for Clemens perjury isn't something often overlooked by prosecutors, even for 7-time Cy Young award winners. If he testifies and is later found to have been lying, then he can expect the Gold Medal treatment. Marion Jones is serving 6 months in the Big House on a perjury charge stemming from lying about, among other things, steroid use, and check kiting. Now rap stars are being accused of taking 'roids so they can bulk up for the album cover. Is this the reason everyone is so damned angry all the time?

*correction to today's post: Clemens is set to testify on Feb. 13th before Congress. Today's hearing including MLB commissioner Bud Selig and George Mitchell.

Monday, January 14, 2008

don't be a dope

Ezetimibe, trade name Zetia

Think BigPharma is your friend? Think again. Word today that one of the leading cholesterol medications simply doesn't work to reduce the risks of heart disease. Is this a problem? Only if you consider that 5 million people are taking the drug worldwide.

The drug is Zetia, which inhibits the adsorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract and is commonly prescribed in conjunction with other kinds of cholesterol lowering medications.

Cholesterol medications are huge business for BigPharma. The following is from a Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals (the makers of Zetia) press release dated June 6, 2007.

"The cholesterol-management market is one of the largest worldwide, with total global sales of $34 billion and sales in the United States of $22 billion in 2006."

And this from an earlier Schering-Plough press release.

"Since its introduction in November, 2002 more than six million prescriptions for ZETIA have been filled in the U.S. and it is one of the fastest growing products in the lipid lowering market."

There are 2 problems here. While initial research showed that LDL cholesterol levels were reduced when Zetia was used in conjunction with other types of cholesterol medications (statins), research conducted over 2 years ago showed that the drug had no effect on reducing the incidence of heart disease, which is the reason to take the drug in the first place. More telling, more damaging, and downright evil was the fact that while Schering-Plough was busy telling it's shareholders what a wonderful drug Zetia is (it constitutes a significant percent of the company's sales), they were also busy withholding publication of research findings that showed the product didn't work and opening up new markets, such as Japan, in which to sell their dopey drugs.

If you're a user of Zetia, now might be a good time to STOP and if you're a Merck or Shering-Plough shareholder, now would be a good time to SELL.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

live blog:mayor funkhouser's state of the city address

another first for warrior ant press. live blogging of mayor mark funkhouser's state of the city address from all souls unitarian church in kansas city, mo. we are using a olpc (one laptop per child) computer (more on that later) which has a tiny keyboard and we have sticky fingers, so caps are off and misspellings may be frequent. get used to it, just as you may have to get used to the mayor's parsed approach. or least what we thought would be a parsed approach when he was elected. also, our editor is off today, so your hearing it straight from one of the worker ants, live and unedited.

Well, not exactly.

We'd hoped to bring you a live blog from Mayor Mark Funkhouser's State of the City address but technical problems prevented that from happening. We were there, live-blogging the Mayor's speech, but the tool, and our use of it, didn't quite perform to the expectations needed to pull it off.

This was our first attempt at mobile blogging, a miserable failure by any stretch of the imagination. Good thing we didn't send out a press release! We did learn some things, we just need to learn more things before we can confidently do it. And we will. This is the tool that we hope to take to the Democratic National Convention and use for mobile blogging. We've got months to work out the kinks before that happens. A good thing.

So the the speech. One of the problems that we had today, besides with the wireless signal, was retrieving our blog notes after we made them. If and when, we recover them, we'll share them with you, because there were a number of telling quotes from the Mayor today, but as it is, we're going on our memory, which isn't perfect so bear with me. Some corrections may be forthcoming.

In short, the Mayor gave the kind of speech that got him elected in the first place. First, he told the brutal truth about the city, then he offered some suggestions about how to fix the problems, both from the Mayor's perspective as well as the city's.

There are 4 major problems facing the city.

I. The city has been, and continues to be on an unsustainable path of operation and growth. Why?
a) The city spends more money than it has and doesn't fix the problems that need fixing. We build many grand things, i.e. stadiums, frequently at the expense of putting off until tomorrow, things that should be done today. This raises the cost of doing them. The city has 6 billion dollars worth of needed infrastructure improvements. It has an additional 2-3 billion dollars worth of sewer repairs needed. The costs of neglect are reaching uncontrolled proportions. The debt load right now alone is huge (40 million a year), and service on the debt has to be paid before streets, bridges, sidewalks, and roads can be fixed. Unless we check spending, this will get worse.

The budget for FY09 was initially projected to be 45 million dollars short. Because it has to be balanced, the money has to come from somewhere and the pattern has been to put off today, what you won't do tomorrow. "Folks, that has to stop."

b) This year the city took in $9 million less than expected and spent $9 million more. Again, that pattern has to stop.

c) The city isn't growing, the tax base is shrinking, and the needs are escalating. We need 20,000 more people downtown to make it a viable venture. The city is hung-out-to dry in the Power and Light deal. Typically, the margin of revenue-to-debt on a project should be 1.3, no less than 1.2 for those who aren't risk adverse. The revenue to debt ratio for the power and Light district is 1.02. If it looses, then Kansas City and the taxpayers will have to pay the debt load.

II. Citizens are unsatisfied. Of 45 categories of services that citizens were asked about, Kansas City ranks below the suburban average on every single one. This level of satisfaction will not allow the city to grow and has to be improved drastically or people will continue to leave and the city will continue to lose taxpayers.

III. For many, many years unemployment rates in Kansas City were at, and frequently below the national average. Beginning in 2001, the rates began to climb. Today they are at 7.5 percent and for African-American males, the rates are 45 percent. This is untenable and poses a huge threat to city. Light rail can help alleviate some of this by providing jobs and development in economically underprivileged areas of the city.

IV. The level of discourse has to change. People in power resist change at every turn. They circumvent those who advocate change by almost every means possible and that includes diminishing their opponents via trivialization, petty bickering, and talking about things about which they have no business to talk about, for example Christmas letters. We have to communicate better and here the Mayor included himself.

He ended his speech with a quote from Michelle Obama when she asked about why would you want to be in politics given how difficult it is and how vindictive and mean-spirited people can be.

"We’re not going to keep running and running and running, because at some point you do get the life beaten out of you. It hasn’t been beaten out of us yet. We need to be in there now, while we’re still fresh and open and fearless and bold. You lose some of that over time. Barack is not cautious yet; he’s ready to change the world, and we need that. So if we’re going to be cautious, I’d rather let somebody else do it, because that’s a big investment of time, just to do it the same way. There’s an inconvenience factor there, and if we’re going to uproot our lives, then let’s hopefully make a real big dent in what it means to be president of the United States.”
Michelle Obama to Lelsie Bennets, Vanity Fair, Dec.27th, 2007

The Mayor then took questions from the audience for 30 minutes and dealt with light-rail funding issues (needs to be regional), 3 am bar closing downtowns (not going to change until the citizens ask for it to change), and how the Bannister Mall project was changed to make it a better deal for the city.

re: the mayor's parsed approach. He did not parse words today. You would have never a speech like that from a feel-gooder like Mayor Kay Barnes, or from most members of the past, or even current city council. Now the question is, are citizens ready to change?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

candidates choose AmGlad over NPR

Due to a lack of interest among Presidential candidates, NPR has been forced to cancel a scheduled debate next week in South Carolina. Instead, Democrats and Republicans will mix it up in the arena against the cast of American Gladiators, with the last two candidates eventually squaring off in the all-important eliminator round.

Here's a sneak peak on what some of the Gladiators had to say about the pending competition.

Gladiator Cry Wolf on Rudy Guliani

Gladiator Helga on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

Gladiator Big Chin on Mike Huckabee.

Gladiator Crush on Dennis Kucinich.

Gladiator Stealth on Ron Paul.

Gladiator Justice on Fred Thompson.

Gladiator Siren on Barack Obama.

Gladiator Milita on John McCain.

Gladiator Tao on Mitt Romney.

Gladiator Venom on John Edwards.

Friday, January 11, 2008

hillary doesn't dream in color

The Grand Old Party is in trouble. Dems are lining up, joined by Independents, and lines are stretching out the door to hear the candidates. Why? The Republicans basically offer two choices. More of the same ineptitude or a return to a Reaganese Presidential style that's essentially 25 years old. Think the world has changed just a little over 25 years? How about just the last 7?

The median age in the US is about 35 years which would mean the average voter was 12 years old during the midpoint of the Reagan Presidency and those same voters, have more respect for Steven Colbert and John Stewart than President Bush. For that matter, so do I.

Lest everyone, including myself, dare to begin to jump up and down with glee on the grave of the Republican Party, let's recall, the fat cat has yet to sing.
It's likely the party still has a few tricks left in their hand and if some of the cards are a little dirty, sigh....that's the way politics is played. At least by those who consider the win to be more important than the governance.

People are sick to death of the crap that comes out of Washington. Most lunchroom conversations are far more probing that the mild pratter that comes from the made-for-television debates. It's not just the candidates that need to be taken to task, it's the media that asks either soft-boiled questions, poll-based questions, or just plain dumb ones. I wouldn't vote for Ron Paul, but he should have throttled Carl Cameron for asking such a pointedly subjective question designed to diminish Paul in the mind of the voters during the recent South Carolina debate.

Cameron should be fired; if he worked for any other network than Fox, he might be. Dennis Kucinich has also received similar questions during debates and for the life of me, I don't understand why someone doesn't stand up during these debates and dress these questioners down in front of 3 million viewers.

On the other side, the Clintons continue to talk at us, and not with us. Witness Hillary’s understanding of Dr. King’s legacy as spoken to Fox News.

“I would point to the fact that that Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, the President before had not even tried, but it took a president to get it done. That dream became a reality, the power of that dream became real in people’s lives because we had a president who said we are going to do it, and actually got it accomplished.”

Uhhh, Senator Clinton, correction needed.

Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when thousands joined with him to boycott the segregated buses, when thousands marched non-violently with him down the street in spite of often unprovoked violence against them by armed police and racist thugs, and when thousands gathered on the great lawns of our nation’s capital to hear his, and other’s pleas for equality. Only then did Johnson act.

It’s telling, and equally disheartening, that Clinton’s inexperienced command of history is no better than it is. What else has she missed?

People want meaningful change in the way our government functions. The candidate that can carefully articulate a workable plan to improve the quality of life of most every American will win this election.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Southern Christian Leadership Conference Convention, Atlanta, GA, 1960 photo by Howard Sochurek

Thursday, January 10, 2008

48 days, week 4

Sunday, 11:20 pm.
Jack Bauer, the cold, hard floor pressing into his face, reflects on the events that led him to be in solitary confinement in the Glendale City Jail. Jack had never told them he was dying. What would have been the point? They wouldn't have believed him anyway. No, they thought him invincible. After he escaped from the Chinese torture chamber and found the A-train bomb, everyone thought he was immune from torture, from death, from everything. They thought he'd made a pact with the devil. The truth was, he had.

What could have been gained by telling them that death lurked around every corner, waiting for him, for them, for all of us? This they certainly didn't want to hear. Jack had taken out the Chinese guard by drinking ho made hooch with him for 14 hours straight. When the guard nodded off, Jack garroted him with his own shoelace. The man who found him said his head had nearly been severed from the force. He did what needed to be done and thousands were spared because of it.

CTU wanted results. And that's what they got. They paid him to extract information. He delivered. They paid him to find people. He delivered. They paid him to neutralize problems. He delivered. They paid him to drink. He delivered. And what did he get in return. Thanks? No. A pension? Not yet. A lawyer who could make a DUI go away? No. He got more CTU dirty work. Fuck them. He'd washed their last dirty sock and now he was languishing in jail for 48 days.

Those CTU hacks. Pussies all. They couldn't pull a confession out of their own children, their own ass, much less the terror-fucks they chased night and day. Director Mason had no idea, NO IDEA, how dangerous these folks were. They were waiting, just waiting for a chance to grace the planet with a bomb, destroy our way of life, and butt-fuck his mother.

Pity. That's what he would have gotten from CTU. Pity. Fuck that. He didn't need their pity. They could take their decaf chai lattes and their pity and shove it. He'd take a black-and-tan with a Talisker neat on-the-side, if you'd don't mind. To victory. Yes, to victory. Another round? Sure why not, got no place to be. Let's drink to Tuesday. Tomorrow's Tuesday. And then after that, Wednesday. To Wednesday.

Monday. 8:00 AM.
David Pouffe greets Jennifer Rowland as she boards the Obama bus. "I got a good feeling about New Hampshire. How about you? You got a good feeling? Or did you get more of that feel good last night."

"Fuck off, David. Beats shagging yourself. And yes, I do have a good feeling. A hopeful one."

"Hillary says hope is a bad work."

"She would. Bill's from Hope. And so is that scab Huckabee."

"Scab? He's running for President, not shop steward. Have you seen the tape of the Leno show? He's kinda likable, very pastorly."

"You're talking about Leno, right? 'Cause Huckabee is Old Testament, David. He would pluck your out eyes to get to 1600 Penn. And his wife needs a new set of china. The only that gets Hucksters more excited than a chance at free china are tent revivals and WalMart sales. Stand aside, David, or I will smite thee with a terrible vengeance!"

"You're going to hell."

"We both are. After New Hampshire, it's on to Las Vegas."

Tuesday. 11:00 AM.
The HRC caravan, which today consists of a fleet of 4 campaign buses, flanked by 5 blue Suburbans, 2 Black Excursions, 6 rented, white minivans, and 1 unmarked SS sedan, follows the lead of Bob Dimmit, Hillsborough County Sheriff, as he makes a slow turn onto Elm Street and descends into the final days of Granite State campaigning.

Bridgit Kern looks up from her coffee at Dunkin' Donuts and watches them pass, walks into the cold air, and calls Hector Ramirez. "They're here. A few minutes late, but they're in town."

"Good. You know what needs to be done. Make it happen." Ramirez says and hangs up.

Tuesday. 11:25 AM.
Hillary Clinton, working on 3 hours sleep steps from the bus, exhausted. The bright New Hampshire sun makes her squint and she almost misses the last step, stumbles just a bit, then rights herself as a small crowd of supporters begins to applaud. The applause and brisk air sends a new energy deep inside her. She smiles slightly, waves to the crowd, then moves toward the day's events.

Tuesday. 3:25 PM.
"We can't sit on this, we've got to keep moving, got to keep pushing ourselves. What have you got for me, Jennifer?" Barack Obama, voice a little stretched is reclining on the bus.

"I think you need to keep reminding people that anything is possible in America, that their Dream is Still Alive."

"What do you think David?" Obama looks at David Pouffe who's staring blankly into the falling snow. "David! you with me here? what do you think?"

"I think it's a mistake. I told Jennifer that. Stick with got you here."


"No. Hope."

"That's what we're doing. You OK David? Need a few days rest?"

"No. I'm good, just tired. No time for rest, we've only got a few days."

"We've got months, years maybe. Have some faith. Some hope. Dare to dream David."

"I'll dream when this is over."

Wednesday, 1:00 PM. CTU Headquarters.
Tony Alemada pulls Nina aside. "Anything from Jack?"

"This text. Although he may have been interrupted when he sent it. Either that or his battery died. Does this mean anything to you?"

Almeda reads the message, Col. SAND Fair &

"Nothing. Give it to Michelle, have her break it down. Pronto!

Wednesday, 5:00 PM.
Special Agent-in-charge Mason confronts Tony. "Anything?

"We got a message from Jack. Michelle may have found something. Salazaar had an operative, a former colonel in the S. Vietnamese Army, working for him a few years back. We think this may be the guy."

"Who is he?"

"Rilo Sand, born Nguyen Quan in Hanoi. Escaped just before the fall, now owns a dry cleaners in Omaha."

"What's his beef?"

"Thinks taxes are too high."

"Bring him in."

Thursday,11:00 AM CTU Headquarters
Michelle Dessler, special agent, has been monitoring the cellular transmission frequencies since 5 AM with a new voice recognition program that alerts her when Eddie Salazaar or Hector Ramirez uses the phone. She's reading the latest Nikke Finke blogger buzz about the writer's strike when her other monitor buzzes. She turns ups the audio, checks the log file and hears Ramirez's voice.

"Ok, it's a go. Friday at the gym." she hears Ramirez say. She tracks the other call but can only determine that it first passed through a tower near Concord, New Hampshire. Michelle pulls up the the campaign staff's calendars and discovers that Hillary is scheduled to be at Concord High tomorrow afternoon.

Alemeda and Nina have suspected that Salazaar and Ramirez had formed a cabal to interrupt the Presidential primaries with the goals of destroying freedom and our way of life. Now Michelle is certain that it's true. She takes the info to Special Agent-in-Charge Mason.

"Get on it. Be discreet. Stay out of SS's way and for God's sake, don't let anything happen to her."

"It won't. I promised Jack that nothing would happen on my watch."

"Great. Now promise me."

Friday, 2:45 PM. Concord High School Gymnasium.
Senator Hillary Clinton has just finished giving her stump speech for the third time today to a modest crowd. Unbeknown to HRC, in addition to her SS detail, audience members also include a team of CTU undercover agents, lead by Michelle Dessler, and Bridgit Kern, Hector Ramirez's operative.

Hillary's campaign advisers have warned her to loosen up, be more human, interact more with the crowd. Her SS detail has warned her of the dangers. But after Iowa, she's on the ropes; it's showtime now and Hillary knows it. She's put up with Bill's bullshit for long enough -the White House will be her payback. Hillary begins to move into the crowd, taking questions. Someone asks a question about health care. Hillary turns to address the question and moves closer. Bridgit sensing this might be her chance, reaches for her bag, places it on her lap, opens the latch and reaches inside.

Then from the back of the room there's some shouting. At first she can't understand what he's saying. "Excuse me? Could you repeat the question?" Clinton asks politely.

"Do my ironing. Do MY ironing. DO MY IRONING." the man is shouting. He reaches for a cardboard sign which says the same thing.

"Take him, NOW!" Michelle shouts into her lapel and a CTU agent 2 rows behind the man leaps over a whole of chairs and lands on the man, dragging him down. He pulls him to his feet and drags him out the door.

Michelle quickly follows them outside into the alley. The door is barred from the inquiring press. "Who are you? Who do you work for?"

"Do my ironing." the man replies.

"What? What did you say?" Michelle screams in his face.

"Do my ironing," the man calmly replies.

"Fuck you. You are going to tell me who you are working for. Now!"

"Do my ironing."

Michelle pulls her weapon and says, "three seconds." The man stares blankly at her. She jams the barrel in the man's mouth, "Two!" Nothing but fear in the man's eyes. She pulls the hammer back on the Beretta 92FS. "Then shit your pants and do your own ironing." The man shits himself. "Momma's boy," she spits in his face and walks away.

Saturday, 10:00
Omaha, Nebraska. Three blue suburbans drive down an alley and stop. A group of undercover swat officers emerge. The group, led by Special Agent Nina Myers take up positions in doorways and behind dumpsters just out of sight of the rear entrance to
the Sand and Sons Dry Cleaners. Before long, a young man emerges, looks around, pulls out a pack of smokes and lights up a Marlboro. Nina looks over and at one of the swat team members and shakes her head "No." The young man takes a deep breath, relaxes, opens the door, and then shouts something in Vietnamese. Before long an older gentlemen emerges, limping slightly. He takes a cigarette from the younger man, grabs a light from him, and inhales. He exhales, looks down, and notices the red lasers tags dancing across his chest just as the squadron leader emerges from behind the. "GET DOWN ON THE GROUND! NOW!"

Saturday, 11:00 AM
Manchester, New Hampshire.
Tony Almeda sits at the back of the cafeteria and scans the room. Barack is answering questions at the front. Folks are still trying to get into the room to catch a glimpse of him. The wait, he's been told, is close to 45 minutes just to get in the parking lot. Tony sidles over to the coffee pot, pours himself a cup, grabs a donut from the box. They're both stale, but he hasn't eaten since lunch yesterday. He hears him before he sees him. At first he thought it was laughter. Cluck. cluck. cluck. A funny laugh. Forced. Then he notices that people are turning in their chairs to see behind. For a moment Barack seems to glance in the direction, his speech slows just a bit. Then Tony sees him. A man. A large man. Dressed like a chicken. He's strutting back and forth at the back, "cluck, cluck, cluck", he says as he struts back and forth. Tony watches him closely.

People turn back to Obama trying to ignore the clucks. "Jeez. What a nut." someone say out loud.

Obama raises his voice to cover the sound of the clucking. Almost imperceptible the man begins to creep toward the stage. Because he's so loud and large, folks naturally give him some room, but he moves slowly toward Obama. Almeda stands as moves toward the man as he edges closer to the stage. Barack looks up, he and the man-in-the-chicken suit exchange looks, but Obama continues speaking as though it's normal to be clucked at by a large white chicken when giving a public speech.

Obama is just to the point in his speech. "They said it couldn't be done. That we were too inexperienced..." Almeda reaches the chicken-suited man just as he nears
the edge of the stage, grabs him, then forces him behind the speakers and toward the rear of the room. Obama continues, "today is an historic moment..."

The crowd appears more intent on the speech than the minor commotion. Almeda forces the man to behind the stage, then shoves him into a folding chair and rips off his chicken head.

"O'Reilly? Bill O'Reilly?" Almeda can't believe what he's seeing. "What the fuck are you doing a chicken suit! You pathetic egg sucker."

see also:
m.o.i.: 48 days, week 3
m.o.i.: 48 days, week 2
m.o.i.: 48 days, week 1
m.o.i.: Damn it! I just can't do this anymore.