Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Gosh! My Goodness!"

Hereby, The Mt. Washington BrainTrust & PipeClub looks at Mitt Romney:

This polished specimen of political plastic, described by dear Lady Rivera as “hot,” begins with gusto...
“Gosh!” “My Goodness!” “It warms my heart…” “You know my Dad…” His dad was an old Governor of Michigan, I think. Supposed to have done a lot to help schools in MI. Michigan is where poor Mitt was reared. This apparently necessitates him repeatedly and annoyingly talking about “Michiganders.” Mitt was named after his dad’s favorite piece of sporting equipment, (I’m making that part up.) But he seems just as skilled at clever deception, as he feigns surprise at his own candidacy announcement. “Gosh!” The Mannequin brings up both proud and terribly endearing family information (big family = lots of Bamboozling, if you know what I mean.) He never stops smiling. Like a ‘Ken’ doll infused with life, he pauses between each grandiose assertion to showboat his perfect teeth and greased hair with that special twinkle in his eye. The Mannequin certainly has the look to be president.

Mind you, he throws his official presidential announcement gala as he puts on a Car Show. He’s standing in front of a classic Ford, a giant SUV (a hybrid supposedly) and an airplane. He informs us that down the hall is Rosa Parks’ bus. (Heaven forbid he get that in the shot.)

The Mannequin wants to “Slay gas guzzling dinosaurs.” So beware all you SUV owners. Mitt is coming. He drops in the word ‘innovation’ like he’s getting paid royalties for every time it is spoken. He mentions schools about half as much (at least he mentions them.)
He denounces lifetime politicians. And is obviously a classic self-loather, attempting to forget his time as Governor, and an unsuccessful bid for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. He doubts the experience of politicians, instead praising business. Which isn’t surprising since he was the CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City, huh? Why would he be there? hmmm..

God. He talked a lot about God. Even spoke of “children of God.” Then he rolls through his entire belief list, as follows:

*Family- needs protecting (umm.. that means no gays), marriage before childbirth
*Sanctity of human life- (that is his brand new way of avoiding the fact that he was a pro-choice candidate when elected as Massachusetts governor, and now that he has to be taken seriously on a national level he is running as a Pro-lifer)
*Judges- hate them (because judges like gays)
*Borders- Secure them (this is a hard argument to make without sounding racist, no illegal homosexuals either)
*”Believe, Believe, Believe!”

Well it sounds like he’s vying with Robot Brownback to grab the conservative Christian block. Indeed, my wife suggested that the Mannequin has had to lean way Right just to appeal to the Robot Senator’s base. But wait, what’s that?! He’s not Christian?!?! Say it ain’t so. He is a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Mormon! I was only informed of this after seeing his campaign announcement. He’s a good social conservative religious type. Unfortunately I don’t think good backwater Christians will even attempt to hear his message, even if it is exactly the same as theirs. Christians are pretty serious about the Jesus part of the story.

The real crown of the speech is his portion about “Radical Jihad & Nuclear Epidemic.” Yeah, I was excited about this part, too. Looks like he is just as willing to stir up good fear-mongering as the current President, making a laundry list of international threats:

*An “aspiring tyrant” in our own Hemisphere (Hugo Chavez over Raul Castro, I’d imagine)
*Iraq’s civil war (my words, not his.) And he says that staying the war would be the “wisest choice.” I suppose there can be differing definitions of ‘wisest’, nonetheless, I must disagree.
*He even brings up that Turkey would be pissed to see an independent Kurdistan. He’s just making trouble up now.

A pan shot of the audience shows a Muslim girl, in traditional head dress, looking scared.

The Mannequin goes on to Pontificate about the need of Military Might.

A bunch of black people corralled into a corner hesitantly and unenthusiastically clap when the camera closes in. They’re probably all too aware of the incredibly high percentage of minorities that make up the troops being led to the Iraqi slaughter he supports.

The Mannequin stresses the value and importance of work being done in the home, especially parents and caregivers (as long as you are not gay).

We see some twenty-something girls in the audience, most of them bespectacled with erudite glasses, looking bored. Old white balding men seem riveted.

Then at the end they shove some babies at him and he attempts not to drop them while a press core in heat snaps photo after photo. He feverishly hurries to get off stage, however the only way out is through the fevered masses (ok they weren’t really fevered). The Mannequin is polite the whole time. He pretends to know everyone there. He comments to many, “Wow! You came the whole way out here?!” And as we see the crowd we make a realization, except for the few minorities piled into the room for PR purposes, every one there is Mormon. “We prayed for you” some woman says. Another asks “Will you be campaigning in Utah?” My guess is that’s the one group of religious folk he’s not worried about voting for him.

“Absolutely!” the Mannequin smiles. He’ll make a great VP someday.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Beware of Robots

Hereby, the Mt. Washington BrainTrust & PipeClub joins the campaign inquiry by giving profiles of the presidential hopefuls this year. I hope my colleagues join me in evaluating each character… oh I mean candidate.

The first prostitutes himself as Senator Brownback of Kansas. He was elected in that rectangularist of states, but it remains unclear where exactly he was manufactured. Ooops! Did I let it out? Better just lay it out there; I believe the Senator is a Robot.

My expert analysis comes from the most unlikely of places for personal inspiration: C-SPAN.
C-SPAN is either a brilliant and subtly clever network, or they have really just lowered their airing standards. Some self-proclaimed “Right Wing Talk Radio” host, Kevin Cohen, strokes the good Senator’s campaign platform like it’s Aladdin’s lamp, in this attempt to, what could be loosely described as, interview the most vile of American products: the Robot Senator.

When asked the first softball question about his feelings about America, the Senator Robot responds, “A lot of people to contact.” That, my friends, is no human response. He is an artificial being, created solely to stand in front of cameras and spout a platform so far outside the bounds of reason or sensibility, that it appeals to the largest portion of one-issue voters. "Must contact humans." (said in Robot voice. )

Then, he talked about the weather a bit. This feign was to show that he has human senses. But take no mind, it is indeed a ruse.

Throughout the segment the Robot spit out Iowa town names at timed intervals, in case someone from that not quite so rectangular state might decide to give him and extra + or -1 point in the one primary he may actually stand a chance to win. He also digitally calculated random mentions of past and present democrats so as to win over their republican haters: Howard Dean, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barak Obama.. His programming needs a bit of updating, apparently mistaking these people with the actual rivals he has at this point like Giuliani, McCain, Romney, and Huckabee. (And that’s just in his own party.)

At this point I gained an amazing respect for C-SPAN’s often boring habit of keeping the camera rolling, even when most stations would have happily cut to commercial. The “right-wing talk radio” station indeed cut to commercial, while C-SPAN taped.

Kevin Cohen begins talking to the Senator. Knowingly or not, he teases some amazing statements from the Robot, with Borat ease, getting him to say things because the Robot does not realize that even though the microphone is off, C-SPAN watches. The Robot defends his candidacy because running for president is “More doable now than ever before.” And spewing on about how “Campaigns have changed” Agreed. Campaigns used to have qualified candidates. “I think I’m gonna wear well,” the Robot attempts his best hick accent. “I have a strong and clear message.” “I’m strong on the issues.” Unfortunately ‘Issues’ usually have nothing to do with government policy, and especially government intervention. Most issues speak to some of the most hopelessly narrowly minded people, unable to relate to anything but a single issue. I hate that the Robot Senator is able to both plead about the life of an unborn fetus, yet support war in Iraq, which costs innumerable lives. He goes on about the need for strong families, then in the next breath denies the legitimacy of families unless they submit to the criteria that the robot has been pre-programmed with.

The Robot says to the DJ, off-air, of course, but C-SPAN sees all, “to come through here you have to speak a different language.” His Pro-life programming actually knows the real issues. He explains to the DJ the issues that he admits lost his party in the last election. He spouts them to the DJ off-air: the war, spending, and government corruption. Yet as soon as they go back on air, his perfectly synchronized data boards go right back to key push button social hot spots. Speaking their “different language.”

He did have two good ideas. He seems excited about natural energy sources, namely corn-derivatives. Well, he knows the heartland loves that. He also didn’t sound like too much of a racist when talking about immigration. His programming is somewhat endearing; what with the accent, perfectly combed hair, and never breaking half-smile.

He has about the same chance of becoming president as two other no names, Huckabee and Romney.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


The ancient Japanese sport of Sumo wrestling is as rich in its history and tradition as it is beautiful in its simplicity. Sumo wrestling has found itself in myriad cultural places and settings during its existence. It began as an ancient form of entertainment for the Japanese emperors of old and from there it has progressed through the ages and taken on many meanings that include an essential part of the Shinto religion, to a form of contemporary entertainment for the avid fans of professional wrestling.

I remember that my first real exposure to Sumo wrestling involved the introduction of “Yokozuna” into the ranks of the former WWF (now the WWE because of the conflict with the World Wildlife Fund). He was an incredible man, both in his stature and in his ability to be construed as offensive to the history and tradition of Sumo wrestling. Of course, this understanding of the cultural insensitivity towards Sumo wrestling that the former WWF’s Yokozuna portrayed has come much later in life. At the age of 12, when Yokozuna came onto the scene, it was pure awe and fascination. Thinking back on those times, I sometimes curse the current course my mind is taking. The hyper-sensitivity to everything and everyone that becomes second nature during legal training makes one well prepared to deal with the plethora of people and situations one will deal with in their career, but it also causes a person to lose the part of themselves that can love and enjoy such examples of low brow absurdity.

I digress.

Rodney Anoai burst onto the scene in 1992. A mammoth 600 pound Samoan who suddenly became Japanese and named Yokozuna shook up the former WWF. Yokozuna was given the crafty and dislikeable manager Mr. Fuji, and became an instant villain and someone everyone could agree on hating. In the former WWF there was always a huge need for the fan favorite, such as the Hulkster, Macho Man Randy Savage, etc., but those fan favorites were only a great as their biggest nemesis. Yokozuna, as the “Japanese” Sumo villain, turned out to be a great nemesis and a perfect yin to the American fan favorite yang in the former WWF. (Yeah, Yeah, that would have been a lot more clever if yin and yang were from Japanese philosophy and not from Chinese philosophy. I’m keeping it a part of my blog regardless.) Looking back on his influences I believe he is best described as a potentially misguided, yet amazingly successful, ambassador of Sumo wrestling.

The former WWF fan is generally considered to be a member of what is known as the lowest common denominator in our society. Believed to be a person unable to look past their Bud light and limited intelligence to see anything enlightening in their blue collar entertainment, and thus missing out on the great opportunity to learn an important part of Japanese culture. This stereotype is in my humble opinion is somewhat misguided. (And it is most certainly a stereotype in the pejorative sense, but that is a subject for a different blog.) Maybe the typical WWF fan can’t appreciate the works of James Joyce, the latest tribute to film noir, or the subtle beauty behind a few dissonant key strokes of Thelonious Monk, but the typical former WWF fan also should not be sold short. Although Yokozuna would probably be considered an embarrassment and disgrace to Sumo wrestling by those native to Japan, he created an opportunity for the young inquiring minds of the former WWF to learn about the great tradition of Sumo wrestling.

I digress

I remember when Yokozuna beat Bret “The Hitman” Hart for the former WWF heavyweight title in Wrestlemania 9. Yokozuna finished off one of the most popular wrestlers to date with his infamous and amazingly effective “Bonzai Drop”. A killer finishing move where the gargantuan Yokozuna climbed the ropes and allowed gravity to bring down all 600 pounds of him upon his hapless victim laying in a false state of paralysis upon the mat. After that win Yokozuna became a household name in the households of the aforementioned and inaptly titled lowest common denominators. Mr. Fuji then went on to seal Yokozuna’s fate as one of the greatest villains in the former WWF’s history when he mocked the USA and challenged any American athlete to body slam Yokozuna on the deck of the U.S.S. Intrepid aircraft carrier. Fervent nationalism was sparked by this blow to the American ideal and pride. Of course nationalism in the early 90s was much less threatening than it is in its current form. This is so even though the nationalism of those days was as equally unfounded as the nationalism of today. (Especially, considering it’s essentially pride and hatred based upon man made geographical boundaries.) The nationalism of those times passed only incited Americans to step up to the challenge of a professional wrestler, not to use fear and ignorance to place us in the midst of an ideological war on terrorism that we are as likely to win as a war on jealously.

I digress.

I sat in a state of what seemed to be perpetual anxiety after challenger upon challenger unsuccessfully attempted to body slam Yokozuna. It seemed like all was lost, and the strength and resolve of America had been exposed as fraudulent. Then all of the sudden Lex Luger jumped down from a helicopter and stepped up to the challenge. I had never been so exhilarated and yet so skeptical at the same time. Luger had a history of being a bum, a part of that aforementioned inaptly titled lowest common denominator, and a perpetual underachiever in the world of wrestling. He couldn’t be our last hope, he just couldn’t be. But this didn’t seem to be the same Lex, something seemed different, and when Lex picked up Yokozuna and slammed the previously immovable man to the ground, the world made sense yet again. What an amazing time to be a wrestling fan. And what an inspiration Lex Luger had become, and maybe, just maybe, you could drink some Bud light, turn on wrestlemania, turn the volume down low and listen to some Coltrane while men resembling the gladiators of old battled for nothing more than pride. (Yes, Yes, we wrestling fans may not enjoy martini parties or Basquiat, but we know the outcome of the matches are fixed, sheesh, give us some credit.) If Lex Luger could change, if Yokozuna and Sumo wrestling could become a part of the “typical” wrestling fan’s interests and intrigues, then maybe anything can cross the cultural boundaries created by our capitalist class systems.

I digress.

Sumo wrestling has become so popular that this traditional style of Japanese wrestling has extended well beyond the boundaries of Japan. Although professional Sumo wrestling is still maintained strictly by the Japan Sumo Association, amateur Sumo wrestling has become a part of many schools and universities in Asia and amateur Sumo clubs are popping up more and more around the United States. There has even been the formation of the International Sumo Federation that is engaged in developing the sport world wide and is working towards having Sumo wrestling recognized as an official Olympic sport. Sumo wrestling is a wonderful sport in that anyone, big or small, can participate. Its popularity is growing every day and all you need is a large floor area, a circle made from tape, and some willing participants to have your own amateur Sumo wrestling fun. Also, one of the beautiful things incident to the growing popularity of Sumo wrestling is the desire more and more people possess to learn about the rich culture and history of Japan.

Now, I’m not saying that the former WWF and Rodney Anoai are responsible for the worldwide popularity that Sumo wrestling is now enjoying, but I’m also not saying that they haven’t had a large impact on America’s interest in the sport. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think being a former WWF wrestling fan has significantly influenced my knowledge and interest in this grand sport, and I would be willing to bet that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Year of the Bastards

‘Tis is the season for the hostile takeover. Whereas the blog’s takeover was a complete success, USAir failed to takeover Delta (losers.) But in reading the Sunday Post-Gazette I have found a new outlet for my Hostile Takeover aspirations: the Pennsylvania Legislature. Tracie Mauriello penned a fabulous article expounding all of the irresponsible spending on taxpayer dollars, and much of the compensation that these fat suits then get recouped. Bastards! Here’s a quick list of examples Mr./Ms. Mauriello (damn androgynous names) cites:

$32,000 and $20,000:
These two amounts were spent on a part-time chauffeur and then mileage compensation to the representative (That’s our tax money mind you.)

$450- Make-up for John Perzel (can anyone say Trannie!).

$7,932- for pretzels and nuts - FOR ONE GUY- Sam Smith- (he loves nuts, apparently).

$62,600- public service announcements by two guys.

$6,322, $12,730, and $863:
These three amounts are all individual MEALS. I may not be too savvy but that seems like a lot for some freedom fries.

Now the real tragedy is highlighted at the end of the article.

Legislators get catered lunches served every legislative day, and dinners are catered too, if sessions run late. Then they get all of these Lobbyist sponsored meals, and free meals in the Caucus rooms (maybe they should be called ‘cock-us’ rooms.) But these same fat heads get reimbursed approximately $126-$165 a day for food and lodging! I’ve been to Harrisburg. You can get a room at Days Inn for $39.95 a night. That means they are pocketing all of this taxpayer money. And these same ankle-biters tried to vote themselves a pay raise last year. I think a blood vessel in my head is about to burst.

This all comes in addition to those craptastic bonuses that have been all over the news. Let me tell you if the Brain Trust had such poor accounting practices, I would never have kept the treasurer’s job for these long 6 months. I hope PA Clean-Sweep and those other various groups haven’t fallen asleep on the job since last election. There’s a lot more change that needs doing. I have two words: Hostile Takeover.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Pirating the blog

Hostile takeover.

That's the only description for what has just occurred. While a rotating line-up of authors initially seemed like the best way to insure constant updates to this little gem of a website, we failed. What originally began as 1 week deadlines got pushed into month long dry spells. Whether this event is attributable to procrastination, laziness, acts of God, or peoples' inherent fear of expressing themselves in the public forum- we have been ineffective. What makes the internet so fascinating is that it is constantly revised, updated, and tended to. In this respect, we failed as well. A blog, or any website for that matter, will not get seen repeatedly if the content never changes. That in itself may be the reason why we founders of the MWBT&PC stopped coming to this semi-sacred digital domain. Well this ends it. I'm taking over. Hopefully I will be arrogant enough to force others to post and respond and what not.

I also feel that the blogs themselves have become dreadfully serious. I also intend to chage that. While passion is never to be discouraged, passion with out a bit of humor often gets ignored. Or worse turns into homicidal fundamentalism (I'm looking at you, religious peoples everywhere.) So let this new era begin.

You have been pirated.