Sunday, June 20, 2010

Divine Intervention Saves the Ohio Landscape

A few days ago an appalling statue of Jesus that some idiot church in Monroe, Ohio set up was struck by lightning and completely destroyed. It was the worst eyesore in the state, and, considering the state is Ohio, being the worst eyesore in the state is a hard distinction to achieve. The whole state is an eyesore. But with that statue gone, Ohio’s aesthetic appeal has been raised to a whole new plane.

Before Benjamin Franklin came along, people would have seen this as an instance of Divine Intervention. Franklin convinced people lightning is just a random electrical phenomenon, like old reruns of Seinfeld. But they are wrong. I was driving along I-75 when the statue was struck and I know.

Ohio is such a boring place that it is normal for people there to hear voices, but I am from Texas. I never heard any voices until that day. Then I heard the Voice of God.

“God here,” the Voice said.

“Oh, yes,” I said. “Nice to hear from you. My life has been so sucky lately I started wondering if You really existed.”

“Yes, I’m still here. The world disgusts me so much I just turn my back on it from time to time. Speaking of which, have you seen that statue in Ohio?”

There was only one He could be referring to. Ohio is not noted for art, unless you consider rusting factories and shuttered buildings where people used to work “art.”

“Are You referring to that thing on I-75 just north of Cincinnati where I happen to be driving, God?” I asked.

“I am. What do you think of it?”

I thought it was the most distasteful thing I had ever seen, and I had been all over Ohio, so that was going some. As a matter of fact, I was driving right past it at that moment as I said. But I was not about to second guess God.

“You first, God,” I said.

“I think it is the most distasteful thing I have ever seen,” said God.

I felt vindicated when I heard that.

“And I see everything. I am God, after all.”


“It’s the ugliest thing I have seen in a hundred million years.”

“That long?” I asked. I did not want to be impertinent but I was surprised. “I thought the world was only five or six thousand years old,” I said.

“You don’t believe that Young Earth garbage, do you?”

“Well, I-“

“The Earth alone is five billion years old. I know. I created it.”

“Thank You for the correction.” I had always wondered about that. Now I know.

“And that statue is the ugliest thing I have seen in all that time.”

“It is supposed to be a statue of Jesus.” I said.

“It does not look anything like Him. It has a beard and two arms. That’s the only part they got right.”

I started to say something but I was intimidated. God spoke first.

“Whaddya say I zap the thing? Then I won’t have to look at it anymore.”

“I say go for it. I wish I could do it myself.”

“I really don’t need your permission,” said God. “I am God, you know.”

“I’m just saying we’re all behind you, God. Everybody will be happy to see it go except the idiots who put it up in the first place.”

“That’s it, then. That does it. Stand back.”

“Stand back?” I said. I did not know what He meant.

“WAY back,” said God.

I hammered down in my truck and got as far away from that statue as I could. Then ZAP! When one lightning bolt did not do the trick there was another. And another. It looked like the fourth of July and it was only June.

“Good God!” I said softly. The statue was no more. “Could you take out the church that offended us with that thing while You are at it?” I said. I could hope, after all.

No response. The audience was over. The church is still there. Whether anyone has nerve enough to go there after what happened is another question. But it is still there. At least the statue is gone. And that answers the question we have all been wondering about. Yes, there is a God after all.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Slimy Limey

I had a horrible dream last night. I dreamed I had gone to hell and my punishment was to watch Katie Couric read the news. Man, was I relieved to wake up. I mean, I could probably handle devils with pitch forks. But watching Katie Couric? No way, Jose! And what sin could I commit to justify such a miserable fate anyway?

So in my nightmare Couric comes on my TV and flashes that I’m-A-Cougar-and-I-Know-Something-You-Don’t-Know grin she always seems to have on her face. A Cougar is a woman who only goes out with men half her age. Katie Couric is a Cougar. And she flashes that Cougar grin and says: “Guess what I’m going to rant about tonight, folks?”

Well, I knew what it was going to be. It was my dream, after all. That damn oil spill again. That’s how I knew I was in hell. Katie Couric was bad enough, but Katie Couric mumbling about that oil spill – well, just that had to be hell. So I talked back to the TV: “It’s going to be BP again.”

“That’s right,” Couric said. “Bull Poop! Bull Poop! Bull Poop!” The I’m-A-Cougar grin got even wider.

Bull Poop? I thought to myself. They’re calling BP “Bull Poop”? Now this could be interesting. Maybe this dream is not a nightmare after all. Maybe I am really not in hell, even though Couric is on my TV. I fought the urge to change channels.

“BP stock has gone down 40% in value,” Couric said. “Bull Poop stock is schlock.”

This is obviously not hell, I said to myself. Bull Poop’s stock going to hell is my idea of heaven.

Couric continued: “The British are experiencing a wave of anti-American sentiment because of that. And here to talk about it, I have the man who presides over Bull Poop all over the world – Mr. Tony Wayward.”

Tony Wayward is just a Mr.? I thought to myself. I thought when the British screwed up they got knighted or something. It seemed to me anyone who screwed up as royally as Wayward does should be made a member of the royal family. I yelled at the TV screen. Couric ignored me.

“I want my life back, Katie,” Wayward said. There was a pleading tone in his voice as he said it. I thought I saw a tear of self-pity form under his left eye. Somehow I did not feel the same pity.

“I’ll bet you do, Mr. Wayward,” Couric said. “We all here are just shocked that Americans have inconvenienced you because of this little incident.”

“Inconvenienced?” Wayward said. “I’ve hardly been to the pub for a pint more than three times a week since this started.”

Only three times a week?” Couric asked.

“Well, OK, maybe four,” Wayward said. “But it’s still tough. I want my life back.”

“I hope it has not turned you against Americans,” Couric said. “We know you British are a drinking lot.”

“Gotta have me pints, Katie,” said Wayward. “Hardly have enough time to throw as many darts as I would like to as well with this little annoyance distracting me the way it is. But no, I’m not sore at the American public. In fact, I’m glad to be here. I want to tell the American public that the explosion in Beaumont or wherever it is should never have happened.”


“Yes, you know. In Texas. The BP refinery that blew up because of gross incompetence on my part and negligence on my part and gross mismanagement on my part, killing a bunch of our employees that we don’t give a rat’s ass about anyway.”

“That’s the wrong disaster, Mr. Wayward.”


“Yes. That’s the wrong disaster altogether. Our viewers are not interested in that BP oil refinery in Texas blowing up and killing a lot of people anymore and BP responding with arrogant indifference the way you did. We’re talking about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. You’re not Bull Pooping me, are you?”

“No, Katie, no, indeed. BP is a company. BP is not something we do to people. We never BP anybody.”

“Well, I’d say,” Couric said. “To listen to the governor of Louisiana, you’d think you BP everybody. He calls you ‘The Slimy Limey.’”

“It’s just hard to keep all the disasters BP is responsible for straight when you’re the VP of BP. BP has been responsible for so many disasters, you know.”

“But I thought you were the BP of BP.”

“I like the way VP of BP rolls of my tongue better.”

“I see. Well, Mr. Wayward, while we are on the subject of disasters, I did a show on abortions the other night. Your mother was my guest. She said you were a disaster.”

In my dream I jumped up and started talking to the TV again. “Now that’s a show I would like to see.” But apparently I missed that dream. Nightmares are that way, you know. The nightmare I really wanted to see was always the night before and I slept right through it. Of course I was sleeping through this nightmare also, so, as Ross Perot would say, "What the hey?" Anyway, Couric ignored me. She does that even when I am dreaming.

“Katie, I want to tell the American people I am deeply sorry.”

Well, now, I thought to myself, that makes up for millions of gallons of krud pouring into the Gulf of Mexico while BP’s executives count their gold doubloons. All is forgiven if he is deeply sorry. But what was that I heard coming from the TV when he said that? Was that a laugh track?

“You’re not laughing at me, are you, Katie?” Wayward said. He must have heard it, too.

“No, Lord Wayward.” Apparently Katie canonized him herself. “That was supposed to be on our comedy show. I don’t know how it got on the news. We use laugh tracks to fool people into thinking comedies we show on our network are funny.”

“When they’re not funny at all.”

“Of course not. Have you seen the crap CBS plays in prime time? I’d rather be chugging pints of bitters in the local pub than watching that shit.”

“So would I. I want my life back. People holding my company responsible for all the disasters we cause are interfering with my life. Anyway, I am deeply sorry that I am responsible for spilling millions of gallons of krud into the Gulf of Mexico.”

(Laugh track distinctly heard playing again.)

“And … and I want to say I won’t do it again. I did it this time and I did it the last time but I won’t do it again.”

“You bet your smelly ass you won’t do it again, you limey rotter,” I said to the TV. But I could not hear myself. They played that laugh track again and it drowned me out. Dreams are like that, you know.

“So what happened, Lord Wayward?” Couric asked.

“Well, when you do something like deepwater drilling you know an accident is going to happen. That is just the nature of things. It’s just a matter of time.”


“So it is just good engineering practice to have a contingency plan for when the accident does happen. Then your response team can swing into action and control the damage.”

“So that‘s what BP did, right?”

“No, of course not. I said that’s good engineering practice. I didn’t say it is what BP does. BP does not use good engineering practices. If we did we would not have refineries blowing up, drilling platforms blowing up, people getting killed needlessly, environmental disasters in the Gulf, and so forth the way we do.”

“I see.”

“Here at BP, that is.”


“We don’t even pay attention to government mandated safety practices. That’s the reason all those bureaucrats had to resign. We have a cozy relationship with the government regulatory agencies. Good thing we don’t have a cozy relationship with our employees or we would never get anything done.”


“So when anything does happen, we have no contingency plan, no idea in hell what to do or who to assign to the job, and all we do is run around like headless chickens. That is how I got to be the top dog in the company.”

“Sounds like a plan to me.”

“It’s the BP way. Whenever anyone asks me what I am doing, I just shrug my shoulders, French style” He demonstrated how he did it. Then he demonstrated it again.

“That must be why you seem to have stooped shoulders, Lord Wayward.”

“It is. I have been shrugging my shoulders so much I seem to have developed a permanent stoop. I am thinking about going on medical disability.”

“I notice President Obama seems to have developed that same stoop,” Couric said.

“He does. He has mastered the BP style. We’re thinking about offering him a seat on the Board.”

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tales From the Upper Atmosphere

Well, it’s official. Al and Tipper Gore are separating. The news media say it was a surprise. But I knew it was coming when I saw them kissing and hugging and just making asses of themselves at the Democratic Convention. The way I see it, people who make asses of themselves kissing and hugging in public at Democratic Conventions are just guaranteed to separate. It is just a matter of when.

Big Al did not give any details except to say it was cordial. But I don’t buy it. Someone saying “I don’t want anything to do with you, get out of my life” is cordial? I don’t think so. Here is what I think really happened. (Once again this is a reconstruction.)

Tipper Gore is speaking: “Al? Al?”

“I’m up here in the ozone, Tipper. They don’t call me ‘The Ozone Man’ for nothing, you know.”

At that moment Al Gore descends from the ozone like Mary Poppins. Only he is not British, so he does not use an umbrella.

“Here I am, Tipper.”

(Tipper clears throat.) “Al, you know I’ve had a lot of hot flashes lately.”

“Boy, do I know it. I couldn’t miss that, even living up there in the ozone where I do.”

“Well, here is a hot flash for you. I want out.”

“Out? Out of what? Out of the ozone?”

“Especially the ozone, Al. I want out of the whole thing. I’ve had enough of this ozone crap for ten lifetimes. It’s all owls and glaciers. Come on!”

“Well, golllll-ee. I guess I’d have been better off if I had not spent so much time in the ozone these past twenty years.”

“You bet you would. And here’s something else. I am secretly glad George W. Bush was the president instead of you. So ha!”


“Yes. I admire his speaking ability.”

“You think George W. Bush can speak? And you’re accusing me of being in the ozone?”

“I don’t see how you could have run against him. And worse yet, you beat him. If it hadn’t been for the supreme court overturning the election we might not have got to listen to eight years of him, stammering and spluttering through badly written speeches.”

“That would be terrible, I know.”

“And he wouldn’t have started those wars of his.”

“Terrible, just terrible.”

“Or racked up all those deficits.”

Gore says nothing, but just shakes his head remorsefully.

“What were you thinking Al, running against him?”

“I dunno, Tipper. I must have had a brain fart.”

“And think of how bad it must have been for George, going on TV for years and years, pretending to be president, when everyone knows he lost the election.”

“Because I beat him.”

“Yes, because you beat him. Think of how that made him feel, having to turn to the supreme court the way he did.”

“Oh, I don’t think so, Tipper. George has no shame.”

“You don’t think it bothered him, being the First Pretender?”

“No. I think he slept like a baby through the whole thing.”

“I do, too. I think he slept through all the cabinet meetings.”