Tag Archives: America

Let me tell you something about the midterm elections

We’re all supposed to vote a week from Tuesday. And that’s great, just really terrific. But what a tease, an election with nothing at stake. I can’t wait until these phony elections are over, so we can start doing some serious politicking two years from now. Hell yeah, I’m talking presidential elections. They’re like the Olympics, or the World Cup, only they last for like a year and a half, and instead of focusing all of our energies toward faraway countries in a spirit of mostly benign sports competition, we get to wage personal warfare against friends, family, and strangers alike.


I’m serious, I’m talking all out war. It starts innocently enough. Sure, at this point in time we only have an idea about some of the men and women thinking about how they potentially might want to start considering setting up an exploratory committee to test the waters regarding the viability of a book tour to measure a theoretical dropping of the hat into the presidential contest. But in the coming months, once this midterm nonsense is out of the way, we’re going to start hearing from all sorts of people who think they have what it takes.

They’re going to start scheduling debates on both sides of the political spectrum, and sure, you’ll see the big names, I’m sure Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie will be standing out front. But there’s also going to be like all of these governors and senators and other random jokers that you’ve never heard of before.

And they’re all going to dig deep and start piling on the front-runners. It’s going to be a classic race to the bottom, with everyone trying to out-America one another, only talking about the most contentious of popular talking points: abortion, guns, taxes, Christmas.

By the time they narrow down the playing field, everyone paying attention is going to be foaming at the mouth, convinced that this is the year that the fate of our nation will be irreparably sealed. And even though every election comes down to these so-called “independent voters,” everybody already has their minds made up. Right now, right this second, even though nobody is officially in the race, I promise you that everyone knows exactly who they’re going to vote for come 2016.

Sure, everything looks calm now, but get ready, because this time next year, you’ll go on the Internet, you’ll log onto Facebook, and everyone you know is going to be putting up recycled headlines and overblown mischaracterizations about the other side. People you haven’t spoken to in years will be popping up on your news feed giving the world their expert two cents on why everything that you believe in shows that you’re an idiot.

I’m sure I’ll be doing it too. Right now I’m acting like I’m above all of this stuff, and sure, maybe I’ll pay some lip service to being respectful and keeping my opinions to myself, but there are always at least a few points during every campaign cycle where everybody gets caught up, a particular controversy or a quote taken totally out of context, and I’ll dive in, guns blazing, family lines forgotten, friendship irreparably destroyed.

And then the election will be over and nothing is going to change at all. Because look at what we’re dealing with today, Ebola, celebrity plastic surgery, none of this stuff has anything to do with politics. But whatever, like I said, it’s easy to talk like I’m above the fray when there’s nothing else going on. Midterm elections are boring. Nobody ever goes out to vote, and you wind up with only the most cranky senior citizens dictating who goes to Congress. I’m done ranting. If you need me, I’ll be outside, washing my car, polishing my bumper to get it ready for all of those inflammatory 2016 bumper stickers, hopefully I’ll get to really piss off some complete stranger behind me paying five bucks a gallon at the gas station.

Fourth of July on Mars

If we ever figure out a way to get some sort of a permanent settlement up on Mars, how are they going to figure out when to celebrate the Fourth of July? Because, you have to think about the science, right, a Martian year isn’t anything like a year here on Earth, it’s much longer, something like six hundred and eighty six days.

So assuming we colonize Mars, I’m naturally guessing that we’re going to want to divide those days into twelve months, just like we have here. Would it make sense to do that? Would we be cool having a regular Fourth of July over here knowing that, over on Mars, they’re having one that’s something like twice as long? Wouldn’t that diminish the importance of our July 4th?

And these are all just fundamental questions of how long a Martian Fourth of July would take, and what it would look like. We haven’t even begun to address the more complex issues, like: how would they get enough hamburgers and hot dogs up there for a barbecue? Do fireworks explode the same way out there than they do over here? What if we find a race of aliens living under the Martian surface, and what if they already have their own holiday scheduled for the same day, would we really be expected to share?

We’re still a long way off from a permanent settlement on Mars, but not that far away. All I’m saying is, we should be thinking about this stuff, just drawing out some sort of a long-term strategy.

Happy Fourth of July.

Happy Columbus Day!

Can we please give some credit where credit is due? I’m talking Christopher Columbus, the man who discovered America. Everybody knows the story, they taught it to as schoolchildren. In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. And he found America. Nobody else had the guts to go out there and find America. Everyone was too afraid that they’d fall off the face of the flat Earth.


Again, this is all rudimentary American history, I’m not going to go through the whole tried and true “it really happened” story. Because it did happen. And why do I even have to mention that, that it really happened? Because every year, Columbus Day rolls around, and you see a bunch of stuff on the Internet, like “Columbus was an asshole!” or “He didn’t really discover America!”

Or my favorite, “People didn’t really think the earth was flat!” to which I say, oh yeah? If the ancient Greeks knew that the earth was round, how come they didn’t send any ships over to find America? Because they didn’t know the earth was round, and they didn’t know America even existed. That’s why Alexander the Great’s empire collapsed. That’s why Xerxes won at the end of 300. And that’s why The New Adventures of Hercules and Eolis wasn’t renewed for a seventh season.

“Oh but what about the Vikings! What about Newfoundland!” Listen, has anybody ever been to Newfoundland? Because I haven’t. And if you’re thinking it’s a little solipsistic of me to write off a place as nonexistent just because I haven’t been there, I’d like to offer this: none of my friends have ever been to Newfoundland. Have you? Seriously, have you? Because I’ve had friends and family members visit a lot of places, Japan, Africa, even Toronto. So yeah, I can say with some confidence that I’m pretty sure they’re all real. But Newfoundland? Vikings?

I’m not even sure that the Vikings ever existed. But I’m getting off topic. Let’s just say for argument’s sake that Newfoundland does exist. Couldn’t these so-called Vikings have simply crossed the frozen North Pole, straight up from Scandinavia, and then ventured down south to Canada? So even if Newfoundland does exist, it’s not like these bearded adventurers had to cross any oceans or anything. No, because they wouldn’t have, because everybody that was born before Columbus proved that the world is round simply took it as a matter of fact that the planet Earth was flat.

“It doesn’t matter at all,” the naysayers complain every year, “because Columbus was a jerk, he butchered the indigenous population, he would chop off the limbs of little children to test out the sharpness of his blades, he demanded tributes of gold from everyone under his rule and mutilated anybody that failed to meet the quota,” blah, blah, blah.

No way. I remember watching this video in the first grade, it was the complete story of Christopher Columbus, it was a cartoon, how he convinced the Queen of Spain that the earth was round, how he led those three ships across an unprecedented transatlantic voyage. When he finally reached dry land, I distinctly remember him marching to the shore, meeting a group of curious Indians and saying, “Hello! My name is Christopher Columbus! I come in peace!”

Why would they teach little kids something if it were so completely contrary to what actually happened? They wouldn’t do that, not in America, not in the greatest school system in the world. It wouldn’t make any sense, to take something so wildly inaccurate and then present it to little kids as historical fact. What would be the point of such needless revisionism? No, I can only assume that everyone else is lying, that instead of looking to Columbus and seeing a great man, they’re just petty, angry, jealous that they weren’t the ones that got to discover America.

Everybody loves Christopher Columbus. The people of Columbus, Ohio, they really, really love Columbus. The nation of Colombia, they love Columbus even more, they named the whole country after Columbus. That should have been our country’s name, the United States of Colombia. I can’t believe we dropped the ball on that one.

Let’s just give the guy some credit, OK? To a great man, one of the greatest, Christopher J. Columbus. I wish every day were Columbus Day.

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July everybody. And by everybody, I’m talking about Americans, of course. Real Americans. What’s a real American? Well, I’m not going to get into a political diatribe. Anybody who knows me understands that I never insert myself into political controversies. No, I like to stay above the fray, out of the spotlight. OK, yeah, I’m known to make the occasional passive-aggressive comment on my relatives’ Facebook posts. Whatever, maybe sometimes it’s something bordering more on aggressive-aggressive, I’m only human.

Captain America punches Hitler

But I’m a human American. And as an American, I can say that the Fourth of July is the one day out of the year when Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs can lay aside their differences and focus on what makes us different from everybody else. Call it American exceptionalism, you know, that feeling you get when a big group of people start chanting “USA! USA!” and then you start chanting it too, and you’re all really pumped up, almost daring a different group of people to start chanting something else.

Can you imagine what it would be like if an equal sized group started chanting something ridiculous? Like, “Germany! Germany!” or, they’d be saying it in German, I’m not going to bother writing out the German word for Germany, seeing as how it’s the Fourth of July and everything, but in that scenario, things would get ugly pretty fast.

Luckily, all we have to do is look back at history to imagine how that one would play out. We’d probably lose a bunch of really great chanters, but they’d be the greatest chanting generation ever, and it would be worth it, because this is the greatest country in the world. Sorry Canada. Sorry every other country in the world.

Sorry Puerto Rico, and look, I get it, it’s kind of nice to be wanted, but you think we’re going to keep up this courtship forever? One of these days it’s going to be like, all right, are you with us or against us? And you might be like, “Well, it’s complicated, we have to have a series of referendums. Ask us again in another twenty years,” and that’s when we’re going to pull the rug right out from underneath your feet. And maybe we’ll give statehood to some other country, people who really want it. Denmark? Chad? I could just keep listing random countries all day.

But why would I want to talk about any other country besides America? Especially on the Fourth of July. Forget all about that Canada and Denmark and Chad stuff I was talking about earlier. Let’s focus only on America, for real. I went to the arts and crafts store the other day with the idea of making my own custom globe, one with only America, like it would be the earth’s only giant country. That’s a globe I figure that all Americans might be able to rally behind. Obviously there’d have to be water, but that’s OK, it would just be one giant ocean, and I’d call it the American Ocean, and it wouldn’t really be as big as giant America anyway.

But walking into an arts and crafts store with an idea for a project is a lot different than actually figuring out what you’d have to do to make that project a reality. I started talking to some sales clerk about my idea, and she just kept giving me the craziest faces. Again, I don’t want to get political, but she was clearly one of those unreal Americans I was talking about earlier. Maybe she wasn’t even American at all. Jesus, I can’t believe I almost bought something from a potential non-American, and this close to the Fourth of July.

But it’s OK, because I didn’t buy anything. It would have been a lot of work, involving stuff like paper mache and mod-podge and … well, it doesn’t matter, I’m not really a crafts guy I guess, and so, who knows, maybe when I strike it big some day I’ll be able to hire a real globe maker to make my dream globe a reality. But for right now I’ll have to settle with this regular globe that I bought and covered up with blue paint. You know, all of the non-American parts. But it’s not the same, it’s like, regular America, just by itself, it’s too small surrounded by such a large ocean.

Anyway, I don’t want to keep anybody too far away from their barbeques and celebrations today. Go out there and eat a bunch of hot dogs, and make sure your flag lapel pin isn’t on crooked, and if you see anybody chanting anything else, just pretend like you’re one of them, like you’re chanting whatever it is that they’re chanting, but slowly start to alter the trajectory of the chant in a way that, after a few minutes, nobody will realize that they’re all actually chanting “USA! USA!” I’ve seen if happen before. It’s difficult, but it’s totally doable. Happy Fourth everybody.

I’m starting a gun-lobby-lobby

I’ve been thinking a lot about guns lately, about gun violence, about the gun lobby and the power it exerts on lawmakers. For instance, the gun lobby has been very successful recently in blocking any significant legislation that would have made it harder for crazy people to buy guns. And I think about all of the violence we’ve had to witness lately, how, even in the face of such despicable acts of wanton mayhem, this gun lobby is able to shake its fist at Congress and say, “don’t even think about it.” And Congress puts its hands up and goes, “Think about what? We weren’t thinking about anything. We’re sorry.”

Don’t get me wrong. I love guns. Some of my best friends happen to be guns. But I don’t get it. If the government makes me wait on line on a Tuesday morning to take some bullshit road test just so I can get a driver’s license, why am allowed to walk into any Wal-Mart and walk out with a bunch of weaponry? And why isn’t the auto lobby pressuring Congress to get rid of these restrictive license applications?

I’m thinking that, in order to fight the gun lobby, I’ve got to join the gun lobby. That’s going to be tough, for obvious reasons. Reasons like: I don’t own a gun, I don’t know how to use a gun (I’m even terrible at Duck Hunt,) and I’ve never been to any gun lobby meetings or read any of that gunny lobby literature. I guess I’ll have to start somewhere. I’ll start writing op-eds to newspapers across the country, “Yer gonna hayaf ta prah muh gun from muh cold deyad hayands!” until Fox News gives me my own radio program or column on one of its web sites.

And from there I could start rising in rank, I could become like gun lobby secretary, treasurer, maybe even vice-president. Once I gain their trust, I’ll start slipping in my more moderate agenda. It’ll be like that scene from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, when all of those biker guys are about to beat the crap out of him in that dive bar, and they’re all shouting out what they’d like to do to him, “I’m going to rip his throat out!” “I’m going to make him wish he was never born!” and then Pee Wee says out of the corner of his mouth, “I say we let him go!”

But there’s a risk here. What if the gun-lobby power starts to corrupt me? I mean, I’ll have a gun in my holster, so that’ll be like its own natural power trip. Anybody even so much as looks at me cock-eyed and who knows what I’ll be capable of doing? No, there’s too much risk, too much gun power, gun-lobby power. I think that, under those circumstances, I’d probably be doing exactly what the current leaders of the gun-lobby are doing.

Man, I’m already having trouble shaking from my head the image of me walking down the street twirling a gun on my finger, stopping every now and then to give a really ominous stare-down to every other person, like go ahead buddy, you have a problem with my gun, with my liberty?

No, snap out of it Rob. The gun-lobby is too powerful, and I’m no match. But wait a second, I just had an even better idea. So the gun-lobby has power over Congress in regards to guns, right? Well who has power over Congress in regards to gun-lobbies? Nobody. Yet. I’ve got to make my own lobby, a new lobby, the gun-lobby-lobby. It’s almost too simple, yet I can’t think of anything that might go wrong.

I’ll march to Washington and speak on behalf of those who speak on behalf of guns. I’ll sponsor legislation, making laws like, I don’t know, whenever the gun lobby says something, they have to say it in a really silly voice, like they all have to suck in helium from several balloons before they go on any talk shows and speak about arming kindergarten students with AK-47s. And then we can all just sit back and laugh, because whenever we look at these people, foaming at the mouth, red in the face, “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” it’ll all sound like a big joke. And it is. It’s really just this huge national not-that-funny joke. Let’s do it. Let’s start a gun-lobby-lobby. I’m president.