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Friday, November 30, 2012


Now that the dust has settled after the elections, one thing seems clear: we have a lot more dust than we thought. I exercised my right to vote, and now I have a cramp. State senators, assemblymen, district judges, what do all these people do? I guess we need circuit judges, for instance, since circuits pretty much all look alike to me.

The voting process is different now: it basically resembles a multiple choice test, so I’m pretty sure I failed it. You fill in a box with a number two pencil. I tried to copy my answers from the guy next to me, but an old lady from across the room wagged her finger at me. My fly was also down, so it might have been because of that. If they had made it a true/false ballot I think I would have done better.

You used to pull a few tabs and then pull on a lever, like a one-armed bandit, which always amused me because it made the whole thing seemed like a huge gamble, and you never knew if you won or lost until 2 or 3 years into the term. Maybe we should vote using a pair of dice.

My voting choices were limited by the behavior of the candidates. A politician named Justin Wagner had THREE old ladies call my home one day while my power was still out from the hurricane. They will probably tell you that they learned a few new words that day. He was the only candidate that I was not on the fence about.

I have to admit that I’m glad we don’t have a president named “Mitt.” “Barack” does nothing for me either, but Mitt sounds like it might be short for “Mittens,” leading me to believe that Romney might have two black feet like my neighbor’s cat. I don’t even want to think about a president named “Newt.” Presidents named after pets is just wrong for America.

I am happy that I will no longer have to hear politicians try to guess what is right for America. Several Republicans weighed in with their knowledge of women’s private parts. The consensus seemed to be that abortions can be condoned if a woman is raped by a ghost, or a cartoon character who is a registered Democrat. Women’s private parts should STAY private, and they should be password-protected.

Many states voted to allow the use of marijuana, a direct result of the powerful Doritos lobby. You can have all the Tea Party you want, but it’s going to be a snorefest unless somebody brings something to smoke up with. Most states agreed that it should be for medicinal purposes only, although these same states have accepted “rockin’ pneumonia & the boogie-woogie flu” and “Bieber fever” as legitimate ailments. Some municipalities are also considering medicinal crack.

We elected our first openly bisexual member of Congress. Doesn’t that seem like a little more than we need to know? What’s next? How long until we elect our first member of Congress that likes anal? And how open is “openly bisexual”- does it mean that virtually NO ONE is immune from receiving sexually harassing texts from this person? When will we finally elect an openly bipartisan member of Congress??

On the negative side, we are fast approaching the “Fiscal Cliff,” a Congress-invented taxpocalypse that is supposed to frighten itself into making a bunch of compromises that are just as bad as whatever is at the bottom of the cliff. What the press does not tell you, is that as soon as Congress settles that issue, looming on the horizon is the “Fiscal Up Shit’s Creek Without a Paddle,” and even worse, the “Fiscal Mongolian Clusterfuck.” Both involve draconian measures designed to take money out of one of your pockets and put it into another one that has a hole in it.

Incidentally, the ascendency of “superpacs” has resulted in a firestorm of controversy regarding the funding of political campaigns. “Restore our Future” raised over $131 million dollars to get you to vote for Romney. If you were going to vote for him anyway, you should give some of it back. “Winning Our Future” drummed up about $24 million for Gingrich. Gingrich did not win, so it’s doubtful that your future did either. “Texans for America’s Future” supported Obama to the tune of about $650,000. It seems to me that all that money for the future would make one nice present.

*Disclaimer: I am not one of those annoying political people that can’t talk to you about anything else, although I am clearly annoying for other reasons; this column is for entertainment purposes only

Friday, November 9, 2012


The last thing anyone would want to do is try to make light of a dangerous and heartbreaking hurricane, so I will not attempt to do that. In the northeast, we haven’t seen anything even closely resembling a hurricane since, well, last year.

I thought about leaving before the storm got here, in order to protect my home and family, since an emergency situation is when I would be most likely to do something stupid that would harm them. My wife suggested a few places I could go and promised to write to me. In the end, we stayed put, but our electricity evacuated to higher ground.

This was not the time to “ride it out.” Those who did actually rode it right out of town and ended up in another state. The weather system was downgraded to a “superstorm,” but it was long and scary. And still, it could have been worse: what if it had become a “super-duper storm??”

After last year’s weather drama we finally went out and purchased a generator, and we have been generating since Monday. We had the electrician wire it into the circuit-breaker panel, and each time we turn something on, the generator groans like, “Dude, did you just turn on the oil burner? Was that ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY? Ever hear of a SWEATER?”

Power was so haphazard in our town, with every other street lit up, that it seemed like it had been wired the same way as a string of Christmas lights.

The utility crews came from far and wide. We had been without power for days, and every time my wife saw a truck of any kind she started to exhibit signs of hysteria, and wanted to stop the car and promise them things if they would restore our power. Nice things, things I have been asking for for years.

The lack of electricity cast a pall upon normal activities. Peoples’ smiles just weren’t as bright, mostly because they could not charge their electric toothbrushes.

I always like to look at the bright side of things, since that is where the power is back on. For instance, after the storm we didn’t have to rake the leaves. They were still on the trees, which are across our back lawn. All we have to do is cut up the branches and haul them away.

Many people have been displaced by the storm. I hope they don't give them those FEMA trailers like they did after Katrina- the ones that they found all this mold in the walls? When they got rid of those they should have thrown away the mold- you hardly need me to tell you that.
Around Thursday or so things started getting a little dicey trying to find gasoline. By Friday it was like a Mad Max movie. I went out to the bar to smuggle some alcohol out to mix with my gas. I felt like a gasoholic- I’d hide a little here and there that my wife didn't know about.

On top of that, I drove around wasting precious petrol because no one had bothered to place a sign at the beginning of a road that you couldn't get through. A lot of people just plowed right through the yellow tape and tried to drive under the downed utility poles; in some cases it was a tight fit. I drove past a barrier once or twice myself but only after somebody else did it first. I didn't stop to read the yellow tape- It’s possible that I drove through a crime scene- I might have even left some DNA.

We have learned a lot from this storm. We learned NEVER to name a storm something that might prove to be prophetic. Hurricane Sandy dumped three feet of sand in the middle of every town in the Northeast. Thank god they didn’t call it Hurricane Dick.

We learned to keep things in perspective: for those of you whose mortgages are the only things underwater, it could be a whole lot worse....

I am a big fan of the Jersey Shore (the shore, not the show), and it was sad to see an entire amusement pier vanquished into the ocean. Maybe it will become a water park. For miles around all you can see is devastation, except for a few places where there is only havoc. But the shore is still there, and when the summer rolls around, I will be there too.

Our electricity came back we embarked upon an orgy of power consumption. We turned the dishwasher and the clothes dryer on at the same time in a defiant message to the gods: “WE STILL HAVE NOT LEARNED OUR LESSON!”

I wanted to perk things up so I bought some flowers on the way home from work today. My wife’s face lit up, and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that they were for the tree guy.

And to those of you in neighboring unaffected states, our sediments are with you.

Incidentally, there have been more powerful storms in the Northeast throughout history. The “Long Island Express” of September in 1938 blew sustained winds of 120 miles per hour through Massachusetts, making a decent game of tennis virtually impossible. Hurricanes Carol and Edna struck within two weeks of each other in 1954. Hurricane Katrina of 2005 remains the most expensive in U.S. history, costing an estimated $75 billion. It seems to me that with a little haggling we could have gotten it for less, but it’s too late now.