Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Water, Concrete, It’s All the Same

I had this crazy dream last night. I was flying into New York, headed for La Guardia airport, when the captain came on the plane’s speaker system and said we weren’t landing at La Guardia at all. It seems there was too much traffic there. So we were going to land in the Hudson River. Another plane had landed there a few days before, so I had a sense of déjà vu.

I told the stewardess: “Well, at least we have ‘Sully’ Sullenberger piloting the plane.” I mean, this was my dream after all. The way I figured it, I could dream Charles Lindbergh was piloting the thing if I wanted. The stewardess swiftly disabused me of that idea.

“Sully? Naw, man, he’s doing TV appearances. Ever since the last time he landed a plane on the Hudson he’s hardly had time to fly. Besides, he doesn’t work for this airline anyway.”


“We’ve got this new guy. This is his first flight.”

“A rookie? You’ve got a rookie landing a Boeing 747 on the Hudson River?”

“He was real good with the flight simulator.”

“But that’s a video game. This is for real.”

“The airport is closed, sir. What do you want him to do? Land the airplane on 42nd street?

“That would be better than landing it in the river. The Hudson is so polluted even rats won’t go near it. I’m going to talk to the pilot.” I started to get up, but she pushed me back into my incredible super-cramped, economy class seat. I wish I had gone first class. Then I could stretch out all over the place. But I was too cheap. Being in coach was like being in a coffin. An analogy I did not like to think about right now.

“You have to stay put,” she said. “You are sitting next to the emergency exit door. That makes you the Hudson River emergency exit coordinator.”

“The what? But I thought flight attendants were supposed to do that.”

“Hey, man, I’m just a waitress. All I do is pour coffee.” Then she got excited. “Here it comes!”

I looked out the window. My eyes bugged out. The river was not ten feet beneath the plane’s wings. And there were pleasure boats in the way. Didn’t the people on those boats know to get out of the way when there was a plane coming down?

The flight attendant yelled to the passengers to keep their heads down. “Otherwise you might be decapitated by flying objects,” she said. Somehow I did not find that reassuring.

Then we hit the water. It wasn’t as bad as I expected. Most landings on landing strips were worse than this. The emergency door seemed to fly open of its own accord. While the waitresses handed out little bags of peanuts and offered everybody coffee, we passengers organized ourselves and got out onto the plane’s wings. It was cold as hell, but at least we were alive.

Then we heard the plane’s speaker system. “This is the captain speaking,” it said. “Welcome to New York. We hope you had a great flight and that you enjoy your stay here. Thank you for flying [redacted] Airlines.”

I woke up in a cold sweat. I vowed I would never fly again. There had to be some better way to get to wherever I was going. If not I would just stay home. I dragged myself into the kitchen and picked up a newspaper. I am the type who never throws anything away and did not notice in my early morning haze that it was an old paper.

The headline story was about some character who hijacked a bus filled with people in Canada. The Canadian government assured people bus travel was safe despite the recent hijackings.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Stimulating Crapper of John Thain

Well, I wrote to my senator a few weeks ago asking for some of that federal economic stimulus money everybody seems to be getting. No response. I don't think the senator is serious about stimulating the economy. So I tried again.

Here is the text:

Dear Senator:

I was very pleased to read that John Thain of Merrill Lynch used $4bn of our tax money to pay bonuses to himself and his cronies. I was more pleased to read that he bought a $35,000 crapper for himself so he would not have to park his ass on some piece of crap (excuse me) from Wal-Mart or Home Depot. I believe that will really stimulate the crap out of the economy, and I want to say I am glad you guys are doling that money out. Good job, good job.

So I wanted to ask once again for a few billion for me. I don’t think $4bn would be necessary since I am not paying bonuses to any cronies the way John Thain was. Somewhere between $1bn and $2bn would do just fine to start. If I need a few billion more, I will just write again the way Kenneth Lewis did. I will buy a $35,000 crapper for myself just the way John Thain did, and simulate the economy the same way the other rich people do: by buying toys for myself and mansions and having wild parties. I have always been a Democrat, but, seeing as how the Republicans are The Party of the Rich, as soon as that federal bailout money arrives and I am rich, I will switch parties. It’s the least I can do.

I am sure you are serious about stimulating the economy, and it is the end of the month so I sure could use that $2bn. Please send it forthwith. I promise to shop until I drop at least a billion of it.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Unsung Un-Heroes

I was at Starbucks yesterday and saw my friend Mudd sitting at one of the tables sipping a Latte. Mudd looked depressed. I asked why.

“I was thinking about the songs we sing in our society,” he said.

“Pretty crappy, eh?”

“Well, no but they’re all about love or heroes.”

“There are unsung heroes,” I responded. No matter how heroic they are, nobody even sjngs about them in the shower.”

“That’s true,” he said.

“We have to keep our mouths shut about unsung heroes,” I said. “If anybody sang about them they would not be unsung.” I was trying to be helpful, but the truth is, I was totally confused why I would want to help in this situation.

“But the heroes they do sing about – they’re all heroes.”

“I think that makes sense,” I said. “Whatever you think of all these wars we fight, the men and women who serve are all heroes. Every one of them. They deserve all the honor we can pay them.”

“Yes, but what about the scoundrels? Why doesn’t anyone ever sing about them?”

“Sing about scoundrels, are you nuts?”

“Why not?” he asked.

“We’d be singing about the Bush Administration. If we started singing about scoundrels we’d never stop singing.”

“That’s not a bad thing,” he said.

“There would be a huge run on throat lozenges. People would get sick of it. We wouldn’t get anything else done. We’d be singing day and night.”

“You wouldn’t have to go operatic,” he said. “I mean, I can’t imagine Pavarotti singing the opera Figaro about Donald Rumsfeld.”

“That would be pretty ridiculous, wouldn’t it?” I said.

“Which one is ridiculous?” he asked. “Donald Rumsfeld or anyone singing about him?”

“Take your pick on that one.”

He went on as if he had not heard what I said. “It would keep people from forgetting about Bush. He’d be gone but not forgotten.”

The idea made me sick. “I want to forget about Bush. I’ve wanted that for a hundred years.”

“But Bush has only been president for eight years.”

“It seemed like a hundred. Besides, would you want to sing about Dick Cheney and all those sweetheart deals he swung to his company Halliburton?”

“If you don’t want to sing about it, we could at least hum a few bars. Give Dick that much.”

I’d like to give Dick something, alright. Then I had a thought. “Come to think of it, singing about Cheney is a great idea. As a matter of fact, I wish Cheney would start singing.”

“Not gonna happen,” he said. “They tried to get him to sing about the Valerie Plame scandal. He wouldn’t sing a note.”

“Not than king of ‘singing.’ I am talking about I want him to sing a real song,” I said.

“What is the title?” he asked.

I Fought the Law and the Law Won.”

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Legal Awakening of OJ Simpson

I had lunch with my friend Fred the other day. Fred was a big fan of the first OJ Simpson trial and he expected OJ to get off scot free this time, too. I saw him for the first time since the trial ended and he looked dejected.

“OJ Simpson has been sent to prison,” Fred said.

 “Yes, I heard that.”

 “And he says he did not know he did anything illegal.”

 “Armed robbery, kidnapping, and extortion? He didn’t know that was illegal?”

 “He says he didn’t have a clue.”

 “He’s not a lawyer, is he?”

 “He’s a football player. If he had known it was illegal he wouldn’t have done it on video tape.”

 “Yes, I’ve always wondered why criminals commit crimes right in front of a video camera.”

 “They don’t know living a life of crime is illegal. If they knew crime was illegal they’d ask their victims to please turn off the camera.”

 “Criminals would say please?”

 “They’d say pretty please with sugar on it.”

 “Wow,” I said. “So OJ had no idea he was doing anything wrong.” Then I had a second thought. “Wait a minute,” I said. “ What about attacking people in Florida because he did not like the way they were driving?”

 “People do that all the time.”

 “Or murdering his wife and Ron Goldman. Did he think that was legal, too?”

“He must have. He would not have gone back later and slashed the corpse if he’d thought he was doing anything wrong.”

I still did not buy it. “He ran from the law in a Ford Bronco.”


“But he beat his wife for years before murdering her.”

“His lawyer, that Cochran fellow, beat his wife, too. They were both innocent.”

“And sat in the court smirking at the judge." 

“He didn’t see anything wrong with that.”

“And spending thirteen years dodging his creditors and taunting his victims on TV with a book in which he said how he did it.”

“He was clueless. Completely clueless.”

I was shocked. “Poor OJ,” I said. “He didn’t realize some people might object to him living a life of crime. Do you think he will ever know?”

“I think he will have about thirty years to figure it out.”