Friday, January 20, 2006

Weekend Edition


Before I get started today I have a question. I don't know if it's a question on your mind too, but it sure has been on mine.

What's with the striped suits?

I know, I know, with all the problems facing mankind, what western white collar men are wearing isn't exactly on a par with global warming, an unjust war and an approaching economic collapse. Nevertheless it's starting to bug me.

It began with one guy on TV. I don't remember who he was, but I remember turning to my wife, Sue, and remarking, “What the hell is that guy wearing? It looks like he sewed together some old mattress ticking and dyed it dark blue.” Sue informed me it was a pinstriped suit. Ah. yes, I remember seeing pictures of guys wearing those, but they usually include a big gold watch swinging on the end of chain big enough to tow a small car. And weren't there also Panama hats involved?

Then they started to show up everywhere. Now I can't turn on my TV without seeing guys in stripes. Pinstripes! Jesus H. Christ, even John Gotti had enough fashion sense not wear suits that made him look like he was about to high-step down Main Street belting out “Seventy-Six Trombones.”

It's been so many years since I wore a suit I doubt I remember how to tie a tie (another piece of fashion utter nonsense.) But I do recall the limited choices men have when it comes to office-acceptable wardrobe. But returning to pinstripes is not a fashion statement but ape-ary – monkey see, monkey do-ism. (Though I doubt even a monkey would voluntarily climb into one of those things. After all, even Jack Abramoff had enough fashion sense to settle for simple, slimming, evil black for his court appearance. Even certified crooks understand that pinstripes are simply asking for it.)

It makes me wonder if these guys in pinstripes own full-length mirrors. Apparently not. Because if they did -- once they could stop laughing -- they'd strip off those stupid looking constumes and pawn them off on the first, blind man, mime or homeless person desperate enough to accept them. (And the same goes for the growing number of bow ties I am seeing on TV lately. Pinstripes and bow ties -- why not just slap on a red rubber nose and over-sized shoes while you're at it?)

(Disclosure statement: All fashion advice provided by a guy still wearing his P.J.s unshaved, pecking away in a home office that would be designated a Super Fund clean up site if the EPA saw it.)

Whew! Glad we had this little talk. Now onto more weighty – but no less annoying – matters.

More Balls
Last night I nearly wretched as I watch Democrat Senate “Leader,” Harry Reid, being interviewed by Jim Lehrer on the News Hour. If anyone is looking for a symbol of everything wrong about the Democrat Party, all you need to do is hold up a photo of Harry Reid. No more need be said.

Jim was asking Reid pointed questions about the current lobbying scandal and trying to to get Reid to at at least acknowledge the problem was more systemic than partisan. But Reid had his talking points and rattled them off like a third grader reciting a homework assignment. His answers to specific questions never even touched on the substance of Jim's questions. My African Grey parrot, Vinny, does a better job coughing up appropriate answers to specific questions.

Harry Reid sounded like a Coca Cola spokesperson, repeating over and over his brand's latest product slogan. He was not there to provide viewers with insight or substance. This appearance was all about product placement, branding and marketing.

But if Reid was a saleman for my product I would send him to Human Resourses to be freed up to pursue other interests. He was so transparent, his answers so devoid of information or honesty. His very demeanor screamed "Grab your wallet and run. This guy is up to no good." (Full Transcript Here)

He would begin each answer the same smarmy way. Jim would ask him something like, “But doesn't all this lobbying go on throughout Congress, with both Republicans and Democrats?

Reid would cock his head to one side -- as if to say “I am about to be terribly sincere,”-- he'd pause for affect then begin each answer a used-car salesman's first name gambit: “Jim,” (pause.. phony smile... pause,) “What we have to deal with is a Republican culture of corruption,” ... Republican culture of corruption... Republican culture of corruption...."

JIM LEHRER: But it's been going on for years and years-- the very things that you and the Republicans agree on to correct have been legal up till now. In other words, these are not the things that Abramoff is charged with or any of these people that you say are going off in handcuffs, right?

SEN. HARRY REID: Yes. But of course this culture of corruption, we need to change the rules and regulations that you talked about here on the program, but people are taking millions of dollars defense contractors, as one Republican was doing, and is now -- pled guilty. The stuff that DeLay has done, you don't need to change the rules.

Of course, no Democrats ever hung with lobbysts... right? Just those corrupt Republicans.

JIM LEHRER: But the specifics that are involved in the current situation aside, the practices of lobbyists taking people -- financing trips abroad, taking people to meals -- all of that -- free airplane travel -- all that sort of stuff has been common practice. Democrats and Republicans have been doing that for years, correct?

\When Jim finally put the question to him in a way he couldn't dodge it further the pause was longer, the head tilted two degrees further to the side, and the smile nearly broke into a nervous grin: “Jim” (pause , tilt, lean, smile)

SEN. HARRY REID: Jim, your question is very valid, and I'm sorry I didn't get to the answer sooner. Here's the situation we have though. We are in the minority....

Ah yes Harry, indeed you are in the minority – and for a reason. That reason is there are still too many Democrats in Congress exactly like you. If the fight to regain our own democracy hinges on the Harry Plodders of the Democrat Party, al Qaida is the least of our worries.

More Balls

Yesterday I inaugurated New For Real's “Balls of Steel Award,” which I gave to Rep. John Murtha.. a man who is the polar opposite of Harry Reid.

But there are so few like Murtha that I fear I will not be able to award Balls of Steel very often. So today I am inaugurating another kind of award, the News For Real, “Balls of Jello Award.”

And the first recipient of the

Senate Minority Leader

Harry Reid

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