Friday, May 30, 2008

Clinton Hopes to Replicate Obama Success

In a bold move to gain ground on Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton today announced that she is joining Westboro Baptist Church. The church, headed by controversial pastor Fred Phelps, is well-known for picketing both military funerals and gays, and is considered by many to be a hate group as well as a cult.

“It just occurs to me that if what the people want is a candidate plagued by reptilian spiritual advisers, there simply is not a more repugnant clergyman alive today than Fred Phelps,” Clinton told reporters. “You like Barack because he listens to racial Neanderthals and conspiracy theorists? Well, my pastor believes that God hates almost everybody, including gays, Catholics, Muslims, and Jews!”

While some said that selecting Phelps as a pastor was a strange move for a Democratic candidate, political analysis Hooper Dudley said that it was a brilliant strategy. “In an election year where voters are flocking to a Democratic candidate who is little more than empty rhetoric, and the Republican candidate is the most despised party figure in a generation, this is sheer genius!

“The electorate is desperate to be fleeced, and this is Hillary’s way of saying that she’s got the biggest shears.” Hooper added.

Escape from Isis Island

The glorious final morning of our last day on the boat found us breakfasting with about six members of our tour group. For various reasons, the other members found themselves confined to their rooms with illness. Poor Chester, Susan told us, had barely fought of death’s cold embrace the night before.

After a hearty breakfast of one croissant, I was ready to tackle the day’s challenges. These included a visit to the Aswan high dam and the temple of Philae, which would require us to take a boat out to the island where it had been relocated after the construction of the dam.

First we went to the dam. It was damn impressive (sorry, I love that joke). Having grown up in the TVA region, I have spent a lot of time around these massive edifices, and they are always an impressive reminder of how efficiently man can tame nature and kill salmon all at the same time.
As we stood upon the dam, Wifey made the tragic error of stepping out without looking both ways and found herself almost flattened by a bus. It honked at her, drawing the attention of every single person on the dam, and causing her no end of embarrassment.

I told her to be careful, because she was only insured for about twenty grand, and it’d take me a lot more than that to buy a Playboy bunny to be a naked nanny for our children.

After that it was off to Philae. As we gathered in the boat, several trinket salesmen crowded on as well and began selling their wares along the way. They had a variety of shoddy-looking necklaces, but the prices were good, so I bought some.

What can I say? I love trinkets and beads.

The temple itself is not only impressive for its size, but for the fact that it was moved up out of the water a few decades ago. Pretty cool. We also heard, again, the “won’t you please give to help us save these treasures to humanity?”

I held up the ticket receipt and said “hey, I just gave forty Egyptian pounds!”

The guide thought that was less than charitable.

The temple was most notable for having a crocodile pit, where the priests kept a pet crocodile that they fed and treated as a god, then afterwards mummified and kept in the temple. I took a picture of the deep pit the croc lived in:

How this has not become the centerpiece in a movie about Egypt, I cannot say. Can’t you just imagine the high priest and the hero struggling, only to have the priest fall into the croc pit and get eaten, and have the hero say “I thought you needed to spend more time with your god!”

I mean, can’t you just see Arnold Swarzenegger saying that?

No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Die

As we returned, our boat was suddenly overtaken by another one with about six vendors hanging off the side. Fearing pirates, or worse hyper-aggressive trinket salesmen, I prepared to do the only noble thing: throw forward one of the other tour members as bait and jump into the water to swim away

Turns out they were lazy trinket sellers who just wanted a ride back to shore. They didn’t even try to sell us anything! Amateurs.

Back on shore we were not so lucky, and found the hawkers on the street in full swing. One of them used a come-on line that was so new I had to stop.

“I know you! We went to school together!”

I stopped. “Really? Is that you?”

He nodded his head eagerly, though he was a good twenty years my senior. “Oh, yes sir, it is me! We were in school together!”

“I thought you were an asshole then, too.” I turned and left. I can’t be sure, but I think he pelted me with poo.

In retrospect, I probably deserved it.

After that it was back to the boat, and not a moment too soon, as the heat was approaching 110° F. There we bid a fond farewell to our guide, and had about thirty minutes until the next Naggar travel dwarf came to pick us up at 11:30.

The Closest to a Real Croc We Got

We meet Chester back on the boat, pale of skin and looking about ten pounds lighter. He was in rough shape but had recovered enough to move. And he was still pissed about the whole receipt thing from several days ago, and vowed that whenever the dwarf showed up they’d duke it out over the trip to Abu Simbel scheduled for tomorrow.

Chester promised me he’d be on that bus, but I told him he’d be lucky if he wasn’t on a hearse come tomorrow morning.

We retired to the lounge, and Wifey declared her long-held desire to finally have some of this ice cream from their menu. She told me to go order a chocolate shake for her, and if they didn’t have that, then order vanilla.

However, there was a problem. “We do not have chocolate, sir.”

“Okay, I’ll take vanilla.”

“We do not have vanilla,” he tells me. Then he rattles off the eight flavors they do have, ranging from strawberry to pecan rattlesnake to camel piss.

What a country! So I ordered myself a strawberry shake and got my beloved wife water. Am I a good husband or what?

Finally the Nagger travel dwarf arrived. Right on time, too, if by “on time” you consider two hours late to be on time. When Tardy finally arrived, at 1:30, we were tired, and hungry, and bored. The boat doesn’t serve you lunch if you’re debarking.

But all was not to be smooth. “Hello,” Tardy told us. “I have come to take you to your hotel.”

All four of us stood, but he shook his head at Chester and Susan. “No, not you. You will be going to a different hotel. I have come to take you to Isis Island.”

Now, I knew full well my hotel was on Elephantine Island, not Isis Island. “That’s not where I’m supposed to go,” I said. “I’m supposed to go to Elephantine Island.”

“No, Elephantine Island is overbooked. If you go now, the room is very bad. You have a room at Isis Island, it’s very nice.”

I exchanged glances with Wifey, then I made my fateful decision. “Does it cost any more?”

“No, of course not.”

I shrugged. “Then let’s go.”

So he took us out of the boat, and I bid what might be a final farewell to Chester and Susan. Yeah, we were booked on the same flight back, but I wasn’t quite sure Chester was going to make it through the night.

When we got to Isis Island, I was impressed. It was a really nice hotel.

Unfortunately, it was full of German backpackers. Smoking German backpackers, who stank like dead hippos and were everywhere with their snaggle teeth and armpit hair hanging out. Not to mention how unattractive the men were.

The Isis Island Hotel: Home of the Stinky Backpacker

We hadn’t yet eaten lunch, so by the time Tardy got us checked in, at about 3, I was pretty sure Wifey was prepared to murder somebody. I kept trying to nominate other people, but she kept focusing on me and “this dumbass trip to Egypt.”

But once we reached the room we had two surprises waiting for us: it stank of stale smoke, and the bed was a Queen bad. Hallelujah! Finally no pushing twin beds together!

After we’d approved the room, Tardy decided to try to help us out for entertainment for the night.

“There is a very nice sound and light show at the Temple of Philae. I can get you tickets, if you like.”

“I’m really tempted,” I lied. “But you know, we have to get up so early to go to Abu Simbel, I’m just not sure we can do that.”

“There is an early show!” he suggested.

“I just don’t think it could possibly compare to the Pyramid show we saw,” Wifey said. “So we’ll have to pass.”

“That is true,” Tardy agreed. “The pyramid show is quite good.”

And with that, we were on our own. So we had a forgettable lunch to improve everybody’s mood, and then we went on a brief walk around the grounds of the Isis Island Hotel resort.

I don’t know if you’ve ever gone for a walk in a pizza oven before, but that’s what it felt like. Geez, it was hot. It didn’t take much of that before we decided to go back to the stinky room and watch Egyptian TV. I ended up watching a German show about a Japanese game show. I don’t know what the hell they said, but watching Japanese women fall into pools of slime while the host chortled is good fun in any language.

Overall, we were quite pleased: big bed, room quickly aired out via the large patio, and a nice view of the Nile River as it swept by, and crazy Japanese game-show hijinks. All in all, one of our more pleasant evenings in Egypt.

Finally we turned in early, because we had a 2:30 AM wake-up call to go to Abu Simbel on the 4:30 caravan.

It damn well better be worth it.

NEXT: What could make us long for the Australian bus of death, and will Chester survive? Stay tuned!

Clinton Tries Desperately to Close “Gaffe Gap”

In a desperate move to bolster her faltering campaign, Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton today launched a verbal offensive designed to close the “gaffe gap” that has recently opened up between her and putative nominee Barack Obama.

Clinton decided on the strategy after reviewing her faltering performance over the past several months. “Look at the evidence,” said one source close to the Clinton campaign. “She says she saw a sniper gun down Sinbad in Tuzla, then wins Pennsylvania. He says there are 57 states and wins Oregon. But now, as we approach the critical June 4 primaries, he’s piling it on thick: grandpa freed Auschwitz, then the meet-with-Mullah-but-not-the-generals thing, John Kerry as secretary of State; I mean, where does this put him? Looking like a moron and on the inside path to the nomination.”

Analysts at said that the move would have uncertain payoffs. “What’s she gonna do, defend Hitler? Legitimize domestic terrorism? Endorse protectionism while the economy goes in the tank? There’s not a lot of gaffes left out there for her to make her own. The bottom line is, for clumsy politicking Obama has an almost insurmountable lead.”

Clinton has tried desperately to invoke past Democratic candidate gaffes, however. She recently drove a tank into a press conference howling in fury, then shouted at reporters “memories of attacking Cambodia on Christmas Eve are seared into my memory, and I dare you to try to find any proof of me fooling around!”

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bush Says Mission Accomplished

In a White House press conference today US President Bush declared “Mission Accomplished” on one of his primary goals after the 2004 elections.

“When I survey the wreckage of the Republican Party today, and its dismal chance for success in the 2008 elections, I just sit back and think about how well I’ve spent the political capital I built up when I beat whats-his-name, that long-faced dork from Massachusetts,” Bush said.

Bush went on to say that “just like the supbrime crisis, some people will say I spent a little too much of my capital and went bankrupt, but I’m not worried. I figure a bailout is coming any day now.”

Honesty in Headlines

Let’s pass a few headlines of current stories through a filter and see how they should be more honestly written:

Guy we think is moron badmouths guy we think is evil
McClellan memoir must be true, despite the fact we hated him

Hillary won’t roll over, die
Hope is good until it becomes a distraction

McCain not fit to be president because he’s not a Democrat
Being a good Republican means he’s best of the worst

We think Olbermann’s an idiot, too
But he’s our idiot so we don’t get worked up about him

Bloggers’ main role should be donating to Democrats, exposing Republicans
Spouting opinion is to be discouraged

Egypt: Even the Horses are Sick

Miraculously, the morning found both Wifey and myself in decent shape and ready to go. Unfortunately, the inebriated old man who lost at potato racing (who was in our group of 12) was stricken ill and sent his regrets and his wife.

That morning we were going to go see the temple at Edfu, the most well-preserved of all the ancient temples. As a special treat, the guide had arranged for horse-drawn carriages to take us there.

On the gangplank out of the ships, one of our tour group had what can kindly be described as a hissy fit over the treatment of animals in Egypt and the horses in particular. Declaring us all monsters for supporting the torture of these noble beasts, she ended up storming back into the boat and refusing to accompany us. Our group was further reduced, from 11 to 10.

Suddenly Agatha Christy’s “Ten Little Indians” came into my head, and I vowed that I would be the one who survived and returned to the boat, even if I had to do it riding the corpses of the other tour members.

If possible, I further resolved to keep Wifey alive with me. But I didn’t want to set my goals too high.

Just before we got into the carriage (which looked like a cross between a 1970’s pimpmobile and a Venetian gondola), the guide gave us our instructions:

“The ride costs twenty Egyptian pounds, per carriage. Not per person. Do not give the driver any money until we get back to the boat, or you will have to walk back. Have a good time.”

Our driver looked like an Egyptian version of Fat Albert. I pity the poor horse that had to take us all to the temple, but it actually looked like it was in okay shape.

I don’t know what they feed the horses in Egypt, but based on the smell, I would believe that it’s Beefaroni. And you do not want to be behind a horse that’s been eating Beefaroni. Unfortunately, if you ride in a horse-drawn carriage, you must be behind the horse. That’s kind of the idea.

Once there, the driver took a photo of the three of us sitting in the carriage (Wifey, me, and the wife of the drunken guy from the potato race). Once he’d done that, he asked for his Bakshish (this means tip).

Mindful of the guide’s warnings, I told him “when I get back to the boat, I’ll take care of you.” He didn’t seem too happy as we sprinted away. I was just glad to be away from the flies and stink of horse.

Please think of the children and donate freely

Here’s something you need to know when you visit Egyptian temples: the greatest of all Egyptian gods was Trinketta, whom they worshipped by setting up a long string of stalls full of knock-off crap from China. As you walk through this long string of stalls you will be accosted by all kinds of sellers, who will use a wide variety of methods to entice you.

I don’t begrudge these guys their living; after all, I purchased quite a few gewgaws and trinkets on my journey. But they’re very aggressive, and it gets tiring as you go through them day after day.

As we passed, one of them tried the old “hey, what’s your name?” routine. They can do this in multiple languages (French, English, German, and Spanish) so dodging through language doesn’t work.

So I decided to try the direct approach. “I’m Dick Force, and this is my wife, Pussy Galore. This is our friend, Tittius Maximus.” Fortunately he didn’t realize that Wifey was doubled over laughing at this point.

“I am Ahmed, Mr. Force. Can I interest you in something?”

I picked up a carved beetle that I’m pretty sure was pressed stone shavings. “Is this real stone?”

“Oh yes, from the granite quarries. It is one hundred and fifty Egyptian pounds, Mr. Force.”

I nodded. “I’ll tell you what, I’ll pay a hundred and fifty pounds, but only if I get to break it with a hammer. If it’s powdered stone on the inside, I then get to hit you with the hammer. Deal?”

“Um, perhaps a hundred pounds, Mr. Force?”

“No deal,” I handed him the statuette. “Five pounds and no hammer, or a hundred and fifty pounds with hammer. That’s the deal.”

“It cost me thirty to purchase, Mr. Force!”

“You were robbed, my friend.” I turned to go. “I bet Pussy here could squeeze ten of those out for a dollar.”

I walked away, with Wifey trying hard not to piss her pants. “You’re an evil man, you know that?” said the other woman.

“You must be hard to be a potato racing champion,” I told her.

This is stone; the trinkets, not so much

The temple itself is, indeed, massively impressive. There are carvings about a hundred feet high of Pharaoh holding enemies up by their hair, and the inside detail is truly awe-inspiring. I don’t know how those ancient Egyptians built all this stuff, but I suspect it has something to do with the lack of an Egyptian OSHA.

As we wandered through the temple, our guide was sure to point out how groundwater seepage is slowly causing problems, and said that “in the future Egypt will need technical and financial assistance from the other nations of the world to save our shared human heritage.”

Yeah, I notice that there’s no line item in the US budget for “Tourist Profit Sharing” from Egypt. Is it too much to ask that you reinvest some of your own money saving this “worldwide” human heritage? Or is that culturally small-minded of me?

We went back to the boat in the midmorning, and I actually paid the carriage driver 30 Egyptian pounds: 20 for the ride and 10 for the picture. I think he took back whatever curses he’d made about me earlier. I also told him to invest in horse deodorant, or at least giant pampers. He just smiled and nodded. Then I waded through the cigarette sellers back to the boat.

Small digression: everyone in Egypt smokes. I mean, everybody. I even took up smoking while I was there just to fit in. There are cigarette sellers everywhere. If I’d known, I’d have brought a case of cigarettes to dole out as tips and payment, just like in prison.

Just as we got onto the boat, Chester felt the first twinge of the Pharaoh’s wrath. “OH MY GOD!” he yelled and ran away, one hand on his butt and the other on his stomach. According to Susan, he spent the next 24 hours laying in bed trying to die, alternating which end of his body he pointed into the toilet to shoot excretions from.

Wifey leaned over to me and whispered “who’s laughing about the chicken now, bitch?”

The rest of the day was spent in transit on the boat, but there was no strip poker after my allegations of cheating against Wifey the previous day. The scenery was nice. I tried in vain to figure out how to make the movie channel work, but they were showing Lions for Lambs anyway, so it’s probably a good thing I couldn’t figure the damn thing out.

Instead of holding his enemies by the hair, he should have just served them ice

That night, Pharaoh’s revenge struck Wifey again, so she spent the entire time after dinner laying on the bed moaning. And not in a good way, in a “it feels like there’s a badger in my stomach trying to kill me” way. I skipped the Nubian entertainment, not feeling too hot myself, but the Immodium seemed to be holding me up in good stead.

In all, all but one member of our 12-person group was sick that night. No wonder Livingstone needed Stanley to come rescue him. This part of the world is a microbial deathtrap!

And the guy that didn’t get sick? He literally ate everything in sight. I think he was either an alien or a replicant.

So what did I learn? I learned three very important things:

1) Don’t eat the ice in Egypt. In fact, don’t eat anything. Just go hungry. Your ass and your laundry will thank you for it.
2) Never pay beforehand for a service for anything in Egypt.
3) Never accuse your wife of being a bad sport at a stripping game on a long trip where you’ll want to play again later. Just let her keep the damned panties and hope for better luck next time.

Tomorrow: the Aswan dam, Isis Island, and me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Contemporize, man!

I'm sorry, the comment I received today on Leo Warns Nasa on Mars Rover was just too funny not to respond to:
This is the least funny thing I have ever read. GET A LIFE

Really? Less funny than the obituaries? Less funny than Bazooka Joe? Less funny than the rest of this blog?

Wow. I'm really hurt. I'm going to have to re-think this whole blogging thing. It'll take me at least a year to get over this barb. Fortunately, this post is from April 2007, so the year is passed, so the blog can go on as usual without interruption.


One of us almost overreacted or something.

UN versus Wal-Mart

Which one is a greater threat to world peace? Let’s go to the tale of the tape:

UN Workers wear blue helmets
Wal-Mart workers wear blue vests
Verdict: Toss-up. The vest might make you look like a Boy Scout, but the helmet makes you look like a condom.

Child Exploitation
UN Peacekeepers are abusing children, with at least one major event per year going reported. UN spokespeople have a “can’t make an omelet without breaking an egg” response:
A UN spokesman, Nick Birnback, said that it was impossible to ensure "zero incidents" within an organisation that has up to 200,000 personnel serving around the world.
Wal-Mart employs 2.1 million people worldwide, with nary a hint of organizational failures that allow child exploitation to thrive.
Verdict: UN, but only if you happen to be female or have a child. Otherwise no problem.

UN Peacekeepers are far more likely to engage in illegal arms sales than combat when they encounter militia groups. That is, when they stick around and don’t just retreat at the first sign of trouble.
Wal-Mart sells weapons in accordance with all local and federal laws, but still makes massive headlines whenever a disturbed teenage client shoots up a school after frequenting their stores.
Verdict: Wal-Mart. But only because the UN’s cowardice offsets their corruptness in this matter.

The Company they Keep
UN Peacekeepers are often found around genocidal thugs who rape, maim, and kill their opponents without fear of the Peacekeepers getting involved.
Wal-Mart generally doesn’t have a presence in places with massive amounts of raping, maiming, and killing, other than their Chicago-area stores.
Verdict: UN. Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas

Where the money goes
UN Peacekeepers are funded by the UN, which derives most of its income from the so-called developed world, which means that their raping and pillaging is heavily subsidized by Western democracies.
Wal-Mart is a publicly traded company that delivers goods and services to millions of clients worldwide, and is dependent upon their continued commerce for its very existence.
Verdict: UN. Because I really prefer hands-on raping and pillaging instead of outsourcing it. Or at the very least take bids. I bet Blackwater could rape and pillage at a fraction of the UN’s cost.

Overall, it sure looks to me like the UN is far more dangerous to world peace than Wal-Mart, the bête noir of the worldwide Left.

But what do I know? I’m just the one paying for it.

A Very Moving Experience

I knew our tour guide was a sadist when he told us that Breakfast was at 6:30 and that we’d be leaving the boat at 7. Oh, sure, he gave us some BS story about the heat and beating the crowds, but I saw him for what he really was.

I tried to reason with him that we were on vacation, but he wouldn’t hear of it. I tried to bribe him, but he’s the only guy in Egypt not susceptible to being bribed. I would have tried physically threatening him, but let’s face it, I’m a total wuss who sometimes takes the stairs for exercise, and he’s a strapping young man with a physical job.

So I had to get up at 6:30 to go to the Valley of the Kings, resting place of the ancient pharaohs, and focal point of all the sun’s rays starting from about 7 in the morning. Don’t be confused by the name, though. If it goes all uphill, it’s not really a valley, right?

We entered three tombs, with the option to buy tickets to enter two more: King Tut and Akhenaton the Sixth. At the guide’s advice, we skipped King Tut, and were the only people in the group to do so. Those who chose to go down told us we didn’t miss anything. Apparently Carter was really thorough when he looted it.

As for the others; well, it’s pretty incredible to see paintings that are thousands of years old yet still have phenomenal color. I didn’t quite understand why the ancient pharaohs had themselves interred in chambers that reeked of BO and had a faint smell of pee in them, but I guess tastes change.

After that we went to the valley of the queens. I had though we were gonna see an Elton John concert or something, but no such luck. It was hot there, too, and the only tomb we went into was nothing so special. It stank too, though, which counts for something.

Finally we ended up at the highlight of the day’s tour: the temple of Queen Hatshepsut. This place was phenomenal, not least of which because it’s built in a giant, open-air microwave that gets so hot your hair will light on fire.

Okay, not really, but it’s stinking hot. Wifey pooped out pretty quickly and went to go lounge at the café, leaving me to snap pictures of this and that.

Hatshepsut was sure to build her temple near lots of souvenier stands

You have to be careful when you take pictures in Egypt, because the guards will try to jump into the shot and then demand that you give them a tip for being in your picture. To counter this, I started distracting the guards by lining up pictures of strangers, and when the guard hurried into the picture I’d say “pay the man, honey” and then walk off.

Good times.

One fateful event happened at the outdoor café: Chester and Susan ordered a couple of glasses of the revolting red juice with ice in it. Susan was very leery of drinking the ice, so Chester had a double portion. He would later regret this.

Finally it was back on the boat to cast off and head downriver. Yay, the boat actually moves!

That was fun for about an hour. But once you’ve seen miles and miles of desert pass you by, it all starts to look kind of the same. I resorted to buying a deck of ill-cut cards just to be able to amuse myself. This was how I discovered that my wife cheats at strip poker.

You can’t refuse to take off your panties just because you’re mad about the hand you were dealt. Rules are what separate us from the animals, who walk around naked all the time anyways.

At lunchtime, I discovered the long finger of Ramses the 6th reaching out to lay his horrible curse upon me. That’s right, I had the runs. I chugged some Immodium and after a couple of hours I was right back into the swing of things.

In the afternoon we went through a set of locks, which I can say was one of the most bizarre experiences of my entire life. As you approach the locks, a fleet of rowboats descends upon your ship and ties off on the side. Below, in the rowboats, the men start yelling at you: “hello! Excuse me!”

Hello! Please buy my crap!

If you make eye contact, speak to them, or even fart, they begin hurling items at you for you to buy. Cheap scarves, gowns, crappy headdresses, that sort of thing. The amazing thing is the arms on these guys: they’re in a bobbing rowboat, tied off to the side of your ship, and they can chuck a rolled-up T-Shirt to the top of a 3-story ship and hit you in the chest.

I don’t know how they feel about dogfighting, but most of these guys have better arms than a good 50% of NFL quarterbacks.

That evening was “Egyptian Night” in the dining room. You know what I discovered? Egyptian food kind of sucks. I can usually eat almost anything, and I was almost SOL. Poor Wifey had to scrape together some bread, as the chicken was beyond the pale for her.

After dinner we were scheduled for “an exciting evening of competition” between the various tour groups in the entertainment room, complete with everybody wearing Egyptian costumes. I couldn’t wait to blow it off and spend the evening up topside relaxing, but Wifey really wanted to go, so she dragged me to it.

I agreed because I was still hoping to get those panties off of her, if you know what I mean, and I think that you do. We didn’t wear costumes, but I improvised by putting a pillowcase over my head like a turban.

Then, just as it got started, she began to feel bad. Excusing herself, she told me to stay through the whole thing while she went and lay down, because she wanted to know exactly what happened. Like a dutiful husband, I did exactly that.

Here’s the best thing about having an “exciting competition” on a cruise ship when the median age is a good 20 years older than you: if it’s a feat of strength or dexterity, you have the advantage.

So it was that I found myself competing in the potato race. They took a potato that was tied onto the end of a rope and put it around your waist. Then they put another potato between your feet. The object was to knock the second potato across the floor (about 15 feet) by hitting it with the potato on the rope, without using anything else to move it.

I was competing against a guy who was about 70 and had drunk 24 beers that day and a weaselly little 50-year-old who looked like the victim from the Charles Atlas sand-kicking cartoons. No problem for a robust man like myself.

As they explained the rules, I asked one simple question: “Can I drop my pants? It’d be a lot faster for me to knock it across the floor that way.” The answer, predictably, was no.

Then they blew the whistle and we started. The drunken 70-year-old quickly gave up, leaving it down to me and Mr. Weasel. Being the engineering stud, I quickly figured out that the game is not what it seems, and there’s a trick to it. Because I am a good blog host, I will share it with you in case you are ever in a rude-looking potato-propelling contest and you, too, are denied the opportunity to drop your pants and swing for the fences.

See, you can’t keep the potato between your feet; you have step forward and crouch down and put it beneath your ass. Then, when you gyrate, the potato hanging from your body will swing low enough to hit the potato on the ground. Once I’d mastered this, I managed to quickly complete the task, all the while praying that my Immodium didn’t give out and leave me with a spattered potato.

Here's what I prayed Immodium would do for me

Fortunately it held, and I beat Mr. Weasel by a good ten feet. Dork! Who’s laughing now? And my prize? A free glass of something that tasted like peach juice.

Just for the record, it sucked, and was not at all worth air-humping my way across the stage in front of the entire boat. But I did get the pleasure of yelling “LOSER!” every time I saw the other two guys and emasculating them in front of their women. Of course, my wife was upstairs, possibly enjoying herself with Ricardo the Pool Boy, which takes some of the thrill of victory out of the contest.

When I returned to my room, I found a simple, loving note from Wifey:

“I always loved you. Please have me cremated and returned to the United States for burial. I do not want to be buried at sea. Tell the children to make me proud. Your loving wife.”

She was laying in the fetal position on the bed, trying not to die. I was concerned, and she told me that Ramses had stricken her as well, but apparently more seriously than me. I asked her if she’d taken Immodium.

“You’re not supposed to take it until 2 hours after you’ve eaten, so I have to wait.” she told me.

I scoffed at this notion. “That’s playground bullshit, like you can’t get pregnant if you don’t orgasm. Where did you hear that?”

“It’s on the bottle,” she told me. “I can read, you know.”

The cold worms of dread began to gnaw at my belly, because I had taken mine with lunch. Are my innards going to plug up now? Are my intestines converting to jelly? Will it not work, and end up with me having explosive diarrhea all over some Egyptian antiquity, leading to my arrest and torture in some godforsaken Egyptian jail, just like the guy in Midnight Express?

Only time would tell.

In the interim, though, one thing was clear: there would be no sex tonight, because intestinal distress is such a turn-off.

Tomorrow: will we be well enough to accompany the Marquis de Sade to another Egyptian antiquity? Will Plebian survive the runs? Will the boat move a second time?

Find out!

Vasectomy gone wrong!

I have a blog child! Well, sort of. A reader of my Egyptian odyssey was so moved that he started his own blog, which you can find at Egypt? why am I here?

Congrats on joining the bloggers, Darell! We're like the borg: soon, everyone will be assimilated.

I can't tell you how proud I am, but this will be difficult to explain to my wife...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

List of Richardson Crimes Grows

A shocking new report from the LA Times alleges that not only did congresswoman Laura Richardson default on three houses, she also kicks her dogs and doesn’t tip the hairdresser.

Richardson, whose party affiliation has not yet been confirmed but is likely Republican, hotly denied the allegations. “I always tip the hairdresser!” she told reporters. “And the dog had it coming!”

Democratic Candidate Barack Obama said it was further evidence that he should be elected. “When even our elected congresspeople can’t make their rent payments, then it’s clear that the Wall Street fatcats are mortgaging our future!” He told a rapt crowd of likely nonvoters. “I promise to do things different when I get to Washington, and get rid of these people who think they are above the law! The message from Barack Obama is clear: I hope you’re ready for change.”

Hillary Clinton told reporters in South Dakota that it was clearly a case of sexism. “If this was Larry Richardson defaulting on a house or two, would we see all this press? No, of course not. But since it’s a woman, the old boy’s club has to fire up into overdrive making her look bad, because they can’t stand the thought of a powerful woman. But Hillary supporters know better, which is why they invest in high-powered rifles and easily-concealed ceramic handguns.”

John McCain, who spent the afternoon arguing with his staff and interviewing potential Democratic running mates on a unity ticket, said that he hoped “Hispanic voters in California will remember the pandering” and vote for him later this year. He also punched a New York Times reporter in the groin, but there were no injuries as NYT reporters have no balls.

Noted conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt commented that “you know who this benefits? Mitt Romney.”

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial day to all you US readers, which is pretty much all of you. I kind of forgot about it, since it's just a normal workday where I live, but I hope you all have a good day and remember those who have died for our freedoms.

Hillary Warns of Second Sumter

Democratic Presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton surprised reporters today when she cited Fort Sumter as one of a long list of historical reasons for her to continue her campaign against Barack Obama, who CNN has called ‘the most exciting politician in the history of the world.’

“A lot of people want me to drop out of the race,” Hillary told supporters at a campaign appearance. “A lot of ignorant people. They’re forgetting history and forgetting all about the attack on Fort Sumter, which was a direct response to the last racially divisive president that this country elected.”

Hillary went on to say that “since I have won many of the primaries of the states involved in the Civil War, I think I can speak with some authority on those residents. And should I not be the nominee, it is fully possible that we could see four or five years of divisive internecine war followed by the assassination of the sitting president. I mean, I hope it doesn’t happen, but you have to know that it might.”

Reacting to the news, Keith Olbermann shrieked in inchoate rage for five minutes, after which his head exploded like the professor in Scanners. The video has gone viral and been downloaded over six hundred million times. However, CNBC has announced that his show will be put on hiatus while they search for the proper replacement, and are aggressively pursuing angry loners and inebriated winos.

Barack Obama called the incident “a distraction” and said that “I hope we can move beyond this to begin to focus on change.”

Do you have the money?

Saturday morning found us in good spirits. We’d seen the best of Cairo, entered a pyramid, eaten a good lunch, and experienced a dinner for the ages. So with all that under our belts, we were ready for a domestic Air Egypt flight.

And the Maginot Line was ready for the German Army.

At nine in the morning we met the third Naggar Dwarf, Greedy. Whatever the word is that means “grasping, shifty-eyed, unfriendly son of a bitch” he was that. His travel agent training appeared to consist of shaking us down for money.

Here’s the deal: there was this extra excursion to Abu Simbel on the next to last day. We all knew we had to pay extra for it, 85 euros for the bus or 175 euros for the plane. The moment we get into the Australia Bus of Doom and go hurtling through Cairo traffic, he turns around and says “You know you have to pay extra to go to Abu Simbel, yes?”

“We have a question,” I said as the group spokesperson. “What time do you leave if you take the plane, and what time do you leave if you take the bus?”

His response: “Same time. 85 euros for the bus, 175 for the plane. Do you have the money?”

I say: “Okay, I understand. Let us talk about it.”

He says: “You can discuss it. Do you have the money?”

He then said, every two minutes, “Do you have the money?”

Remember that the drive to the airport takes an hour.

When we finally got to the airport, Chester was pissed. We got out of the bus and Greedy asked us “Do you have the money?”

Chester asked for a receipt, and Greedy told him “we don’t give receipt. When you paid for the dinner yesterday, you didn’t get a receipt, did you?”

“That dinner was inedible!” Chester said, apparently having been embarrassed last night that his wife was not a pussy. “If I don’t get a receipt I don’t pay!”

Then he stormed off, leaving me with Greedy. “I’m gonna take a chance,” I paid Greedy the money. “But remember that I’ll be flying back through Cairo in a few days.”

“No problem!” Greedy jumped in the bus and sped away. He never once asked me my name.

So there’s 170 euros flushed down the toilet, I’m thinking.

We went through the Cairo Airport security, which consisted of a group of guards waving you through the shrieking metal detector and an old beggar woman trying to guess your language and plead for money, and found ourselves waiting for the flight to Luxor.

Not that you could tell from the only domestic departure gate, which had one sign that read “ASWAN 11:00” on it.

There were no announcements, but occasionally groups of people would stand up and leave. It was like everybody was hooked into this neural network but us and somehow knew when to get on the bus.

Eventually a big group of English-speaking tourists headed to Luxor banded together to make sure that they couldn’t leave us behind without facing major trouble. With so many hostile Anglophones (as well as six confused Chinese guys), eventually they loaded us up on a bus, drove us fifteen feet, and let us get on a plane. Even better, the plane went to Luxor, which is where the boat was waiting.

There was never any announcement. Apparently local flights are handled by first angry mob come, first angry mob serve.

In Luxor, we meet Naggar Dwarf #4, Smelly. He was a nice guy, really helpful, but he could have used a squirt of deodorant. From a fire hose. For an hour.

(Small side note: in Egypt your bags arrive promptly, about ten minutes after you get off the plane. This despite the fact that it’s six hundred and forty two degrees out on the tarmac. In Atlanta it takes two hours for your bags to come up in customs, with some jackass giving you excuses all the while. And in Europe you’re lucky to see your bags the same day you arrive and there’s nobody around to help you, although there are roving bands of teens to rob you. Which of those places is the third world, again?)

Smelly quickly and efficiently conveyed us to the pier at Luxor, where our boat was waiting. It was more like an armada; there were about ten boats moored side by side, and we had to walk from one boat to another to finally reach ours, the Movenpick Royal Lotus Deluxe. Yeah, it’s a long name. I’ll just call it the SS Lotus.

The Lotus was actually a very nice boat. The first thing Wifey saw when we came on board was the deluxe ice cream menu, listing all kinds of delicious ice cream floats, shakes, sundaes, and other delicacies. She announced, “screw it, I’m eating one of those later.” I agreed and became so excited to eat a float I took a picture of the plastic ice cream demonstration on the bar.

I’ll say this much for the boat: it was nice. From the six-foot-deep pool (at least as long as three bathtubs) to the rec center to the wide-open bar, it’s a nice ship. I wouldn’t hesitate to ride on it again, if I were ever to go back to Egypt to take a Nile Cruise.

After a brief rest on the boat, we were off on our tour of the Karnak temples. When we assembled in the lounge, we met the other eight members of our tour group (in addition to Chester and Susan).

Our group ended up being the four of us, four Australians, two kiwis, and two Canadians who were bronzed like Greek Gods. They’d spent two weeks in Sinai, apparently at low heat for 8 hours a day. It was a good group and we quickly introduced ourselves and promptly forgot names.

Our guide, a very nice young man who wore jeans despite the fact that it tickled a hundred degrees everywhere we went, took us around the Luxor temples. Since it was the Temple of Karnak, I decided to do a bit from Johnny Carson:

“The answer is: ice at an Egyptian bistro. The question: what’s overpriced and full of intestinal worms?”

Without Ed McMahon’s chuckle it really doesn’t work that well.

Did you know that the ancient Egyptian priests used to carry these big, heavy gold statues of their gods down this giant causeway that stretched several kilometers? No offense, but I’d start worshiping the Balsa Wood God if I had to lug it in 110 degree heat twice a year. I guess that’s why I’m not a member of any mystery religions.

After the temples we saw the Colossi of Memnon, which I’ll put a picture of in later. Amazingly nobody in the group but me was hot to see it. I tried to pep everybody up, telling them that these statues were Antiquity’s equivalent of a Burrito with the face of Mary, Mother of Jesus, but the only person to get out of the bus to look at them was the Canadian woman, and she’d have taken a picture of a donkey turd if the guide pointed it out.

Of course, she’d have to get in line behind me. My motto is “there’s one for the album!”

Finally, we ended up back at the boat, hot, sweaty, and tired. Dinner was a buffet affair, which Wifey was thrilled with. She chose chicken, which prompted Chester to ask “do you ever eat anything but chicken?”

She smiled at him and said, “Whose dinner sucked last night again?”

Since we were on a cruise, after dinner they’d arranged for top-notch entertainment, a belly dancer/dervish combo to highlight the joy of traditional Egyptian entertainment.

As a special surprise, they’d trained a hippo to belly dance. Okay, not really, but she was a bit more zaftig than your traditional belly dancer. The ill-fitting body stocking didn’t help, either. It was almost punishment to wait through the thirty minutes of caterwauling music and repetitive boob-shaking, and not in the stripper-gyrating-on-a-pole good way.

I thought the entertainment couldn’t go downhill, but then the dervish started. He came out dressed in hot pink with various splotches of neon green and yellow on these long, black skirts. I tried to be nonjudgmental, but dang.

He must have spun for about an hour. At one point he was twirling this multicolored skirt over our heads, and somebody flashed a camera, causing a strobe effect that set off my wife’s epilepsy. She spent the rest of the performance with her eyes closed trying not to vomit and occasionally foaming at the mouth.

Needlessly to say, this is not conducive to intimacy.

So late that night, I pushed the beds together (even on the boat it’s Fred and Wilma Flintstone!) and we drifted off to sleep.

Our third day in Egypt, largely a success.

Tomorrow: the boat actually moves!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Zombie Wave Hits Ohio

Ohio has declared a state of emergency today after a woman dead for seventeen hours revived and was suddenly alert and talking again. Authorities are calling it “the forefront of a coming zombie apocalypse” and said that they have not ruled out nuclear strikes on major urban centers in hopes of stemming what may become a tide of shambling corpses reminiscent of Dawn of the Dead.

While immediate reports were conflicted about whether the zombie had feasted upon the brains of the living or merely upon hospital gelatin, one thing is clear: a strange cult has sprung up around the zombie woman, with people saying it’s a sign of a higher power and that a “miracle” had occurred.

Divisive Fearmonger Jeremiah Wright quickly issued a statement, saying that “this is a sign that God has damned America to be devoured by angry zombies unless they vote for Barack Obama. And all sixty-two states deserve to be damned for their behavior the past six hundred years!”

Not to be outdone, John McCain’s pastor, bosom buddy, and lifelong pal John Hagee said “this plague of zombies is a clear response from God to California legalizing gay marriage, and for George Bush being chummy with the devil’s papal spokesman. I hope that they gorge themselves upon the flesh of the unworthy sinners that populate this nation until they pass my incredibly repressive agenda.”

Meanwhile, local officials were pleading for calm, and reminding people that “to stop a zombie rampage, aim for the head, because that’s their weak point.”

Where Institute Equals Store

Day 2 of our Egyptian adventure started out with a fairly blasé breakfast in the hotel. The staff were all nice, although I was wracked with fear that every piece of food was laden with hostile germs that would lay me low for the rest of my vacation.

Our guide arrived about 9 AM, a very nice headscarfed woman who spoke good English. The group was just me and Wifey and Chester and Susan. My first question to our guide?

“Are we going to see where the Aliens landed their spaceships while they built the pyramids?”

Yeah, she pegged me as a troublemaker right off. Our first stop on the tour was Saqqara, where you can see a giant temple complex and the stepped pyramid of Zoser, designed and built by history’s first architect, Imhotep. I had a woody just thinking about it, since I’m an engineer and a dork (but I repeat myself).
First He Erected This, Then It Erected Me

What was most striking about the site was the mangy dogs. We’re not talking about undernourished dogs; we’re talking about emaciated-covered-in-ticks-with-open-sores-animals-staggering-about-looking-for-a-place-to-die dogs.

The day was not too bad; kind of warm, but not more than we could take, somewhere in the mid-90s. And it was sunny, which was nice. Traffic was much better, since Friday is their Sunday, and the driver was very good.

We entered one pyramid, a nondescript affair on the outside but beautifully carved on the inside. It was simply amazing, and I couldn’t help but admire the crafty thieves who stole from it so long ago without breaking their necks.

After our visit to Saqqara we stopped at a carpet school where they teach children and young women a useful trade so that they can get some money. They show you how the carpets are made (impressive), then they hock their wares to you. Since I’m never going back to Egypt, I bought a little silk panel. For no apparent reason, they wrapped it in Precious Moments paper.

Then, the carpet guy asked if he could get my opinion on something, and showed me a big piece: St. George and the Dragon. WTF? Who buys one of the premiere icons of Christianity in Egypt? Stupid people, that’s who, which is what I told him.

After this we took in lunch at a delightful outdoor restaurant. On the menu were roasted chicken, vegetables, and a fruit plate for dessert. All eaten in the delightful company of sore-covered dogs and all a cloud of hopeful flies. Bon appetite!

During lunch our guide treated us to the Official Version of Egyptian History, or what I like to call “Why the Israelis Are Filthy Liars.” The short version is this: they weren’t slaves, and the Pharaoh wasn’t Ramses II, but was rather Ramses III. Oh, those crazy Hebrews, always telling their stories.

Somehow she sounded much more educated than Chester, who chose to argue that the Red Sea couldn’t possibly be parted but the miracle was instead perfectly normal: a tide came that allowed the Israelis to escape the pursuing Egyptian army. I told him that if that was the part of the story that stuck in his craw (rather than, say, the Nile turning to blood or the rain of frogs), then he’d had a good day.

Just for fun, I asked her if Moses was actually Akhenaton, the monotheist Pharoah of the eighteenth dynasty. Her response was pretty vehemently no. Based on that, I resolved to ask every single guide if Moses was actually Akhenaton. When my wife complained, I told her that it was my vacation, too, and I was entitled to have my fun. Especially since I still hadn’t pushed the beds together.

In the afternoon we went to the highlight of the trip: the plain of Giza, home of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid. All my life I have wanted to see these, and they did not disappoint. Words fail to describe them; they are simply massive, and ancient, and it is worth everything to stand before them once in your life.

The Great Pyramid: You'll Feel Like Herodotus

But what about going into them? Well, it costs about twenty bucks, you have to get in line reaaaaly early, and it’s physically demanding. I passed on it, but I have it on good authority that it’s like this:

You crawl up a 3-foot-tall passage, your face pressed into the ass in front of you. You try not to breathe to avoid the stench of ill-digested salmonella that fills the air. The angle is about 55°, and there are several lights out, so you crawl through the dark, crashing into people trying to crawl down as you crawl up. Finally you emerge into a tiny little room that is very hot from the press of bodies but devoid of any inscription whatsoever. Then, you leave.

I spoke to many people about this, and they were all unanimous: not worth it.

After this we went to a papyrus institute, where they manufacture genuine Egyptian papyrus. First we had the most uninspired ten-second demonstration of how to make papyrus you can imagine, then we were allowed to buy whatever we wanted off the walls. I chose a painting of the golden mask of Tutankhamen, which would be well at home in any 70’s-inspried design scheme.

What can I say? I love the classics.

I’ll spare you the further details of our afternoon, which could best be described as “how to recover from heatstroke without vomiting.” The four of us reassembled late that night eagerly awaiting our trip to see the much-anticipated Giza Sound and Light Show, followed by a wonderful dinner.

I should have known there’d be trouble when we met the Second Naggar Dwarf, Surly. He was a tall guy, bespectacled, as friendly as a German with the impeccable manners of a Frenchman.

We climbed back into the “I Love Australia” bus of death and made our way quickly to the pyramids (thankfully they were close by). Wifey, always smarter than me by a long shot, wore jeans and took a jacket. I was in Egypt, so I wore shorts and a T-Shirt.

This turns out to be a bad move, because at night the temperature drops to about 50° F.

When we got to Giza, we were amazed to find a drum and bagpipe band dressed as pharaohs entertaining the crowd. I am not making this up. They played a rousing medley of Middle Eastern-sounding tunes set to bagpipe. Yes, that is as awful as it sounds.

Then the show started. I can describe it in two words: LAME and LONG. I’ll paraphrase it for you (it’s narrated by the sphinx) so you can understand it:

“I have been here a long time. Lots of famous people have stood before me…(dramatic pause) I have been here a long time. Lots of famous people have stood before me…(dramatic pause) I have been here a long time. Lots of famous people have stood before me…”
Help Wanted: Any Creative, Lighting Talent Please Apply

Yeah, it sucks as bad as it sounds. Add in the ten-dollar laser effects, the car that drove through the middle of the show, and the fact that the Cairo airport flight path takes planes about five hundred feet overhead and you’ve got one cold night of shitty entertainment.

As we waited with Surly for the bus, I spotted a Planet Hollywood. One of my relatives collects Planet Hollywood pins, so I ran over there to buy one. It was the strangest experience inside: there was no Planet Hollywood, just a counter selling Planet Hollywood merchandise. As I puzzled over whether or not that counted as collectable, Surly came barging in and insisted that I go so we could make our reservation at this exclusive restaurant.

As I climbed into the Australian bus, Wifey pointed out a nearby restaurant and said “Look! Pizza Hut! Let’s have Pizza Hut!”

“No!” We all said. “We didn’t come to Egypt to eat Pizza Hut!”

God, I wish we’d listened to her. She’d always been against this restaurant we were going to, because it’s a seafood restaurant. She hates seafood, and had only agreed after being promised a chicken dish.

On the way, Surly said “you all eat fish, right?”

I got this sinking feeling in my stomach, like you might if you woke up and heard your one-night-stand in the other room peeing while standing up. “She doesn’t!” I yelled out. “Is it too late to go to Pizza Hut?”

“Oh, they have chicken,” Surly assured me. “I will ask.”

When we finally got to this exclusive, wonderful restaurant, the first sign of trouble was that it was empty. Sixty tables and not one damned fool inside. Secondly, we had to walk by the open-air fish display that reeked of Today’s Catch. Goodbye, any chance of booty for me.

I decided to have a glass of red wine with dinner. This allowed me to discover the there three problems with Egyptian red wine: it is served at 140° F, it is chunky, and I could detect a slight tang of battery acid when I drank it.

Other than that it was perfect.

When they brought out our plates, we had a long debate about what exactly the fish plate entailed. We settled on deep-fried rubber, crawdaddies, a piece of fish steak, two oysters, and potatoes that had been threatened but in no other way cooked.

It was awful. Susan couldn’t even eat it and ended up having dinner again back at the hotel. Thanks to strong teeth I managed to choke it down, but it was dreadful.

By contrast, Wifey told us that the chicken was absolutely delightful, well-prepared and a delight to the palate. She also told us to go fuck ourselves when we asked for a taste and said that we could enjoy the canal-dredge that they’d served us. I suppose we deserved that for dragging her to a fish restaurant.

When Surly came back, he asked how everything was.

“Fine,” I lied, being a total pussy.

“Good!” Lied Chester, being a total pussy.

“It was absolutely unacceptable. You should never bring people to this restaurant again. It was awful. You can’t eat this food. You simply can’t!” said Susan. As we looked on in horror, she simply shrugged. “Somebody has to tell them.”

“My compliments to the chef on the chicken,” said Wifey.

Then it was back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep, because in the morning, we were going to need all our strength to survive a domestic Egyptian flight.

So what did I learn from my first day in Egypt?

1) Egyptologists don’t take alien jokes very well
2) Institute in Arabic means Shop in English
3) Avoid all sound and light shows
4) When Wifey protests a restaurant, agree with her no matter what

Oh, who am I kidding? I already knew #4, I just chose to ignore it. That’s why I have dysentery more than she does.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

How to improve Economic reporting

It occurs to me that if you really want to improve the quality of reporting on economics, you should subscribe to your local newspaper. In fact, you should buy a subscription for everybody on your block. And you should advertise in your local paper, too.

Here’s my logic: with newspaper sales stumbling worse than a Miss America contestant trying to name all seven continents, it’s only natural that journalists are pessimistic about the economy. They’re losing their jobs, after all.

If you’d have asked auto workers in 1998 how the economic boom was working out, they’d have told you to get bent. The only difference between auto workers and journalists (other than the former having a useful skill set) is nobody expects assembly workers to report on the economy.

Journalists do. Recession? Here’s a hint for you: journalism has been in a recession for about eight years now. In fact, if you look at the stock price of the New York Times, journalism’s crown jewel, you’d think that their sector was in a full-on depression.

I don’t think journalists are trying to make the economy look bad. I think they’re just reflecting the gloomy state of their part of it.

Nostrildamus Speaks!

I’m going to go out on a limb and make some predictions for the rest of the year:

New England Patriots go 6-10 next year. Not only do they have a superbowl hangover, they have a “we almost reached legendary status but flubbed it” hangover. The whole team will implode.

No matter who wins American Idol, they won’t have a successful singing career. But this is really more of a rule than a prediction.

A famous sub-18 starlet appears naked somewhere, probably on the internet. This will not go well for whomever it is that publishes the pictures. Miley Cyrus’ photos will seem quaint by comparison. This is a barrier that we are approaching at light speed (the sexual exploitation of minors) and we’ll hit it like a bug on a windshield this year.

No matter who wins the president, a major chunk of the population will be angry. Not Hillary? Sexist! Not Obama? Racist! Not McCain? Ageist! This will not make for good times in 2009.

The negotiations in Denver will be ugly, with one side chanting “count every vote” and the other one squirming. No one will gain from this except perhaps the Republicans, but that remains to be seen.

People will still believe anything they read on the Internet, despite the fact that they ought to know better.

Europeans will hate our next president, too. It doesn’t matter who it is. The fact is that Europeans expect the American president to “do something” to help them out. What goes unanswered is why they appear to believe this is the job of the US President.

Howard Dean will cement his membership in the inaugural class of the Bonehead Hall of Fame.

A mutant duck/bear crossbreed will be created in a laboratory and it will wreak havoc across South Korea before finally being stopped by the US Navy in the Sea of Japan. For reasons unknown Instapundit will link to the story with the comment “Indeed.”

There will be ever-more bloggers with ever-less to say. I’ll still struggle to break fifty hits a day.

Welcome to Egypt

[As promised last week, I’m going to blog my Egyptian odyssey. I’ll do one a day chronicling our adventure through the land of sun, sand, and really old monuments. And if I’m feeling really inspired, I’ll throw a few all-original pictures in, too. I kept notes all the way through, so I’ll write as if it were contemporaneous.]

When we landed in Egypt it was late, maybe 10 PM local time. Unlike developed countries, Egypt is more like Detroit in that there’s no tunnel that you walk up; you go down the stars to a bus. Then the bus takes you all of ten feet, to drop you at the Terminal. We spent more time waiting for the bus to move than we did driving. Oh, well, you just learn to accept the quirks of other cultures.

Once inside, you have to give your first bribe to the guy selling visas. At least it feels like a bribe. Apparently this is all legal and above-board in Egypt, but to me it felt seedy. Twenty euros later we had our Visas and were quickly through security.

Once we’d left security we did two things: first we met the nice couple who would be traveling with us the next eight days, a pair of retirees who had recently sold their hotel and were living their dream of touring Egypt. For the sake of anonymity, I’ll call them Chester and Susan. They were, I’m guessing, round about 70 years old.

Then we met our local travel contact in Cairo, from a company called Naggar Travel. If you ever travel to Egypt, AVOID THIS COMPANY AT ALL COSTS! I’m not kidding. This guy was the first of what we were to come to know as the seven dwarves of Naggar travel. This one was Dummy.

Why Dummy? Well, I got the feeling that I knew more about Cairo than he did, and I’ve never been there. Typical of our conversation was this: “what’s that big building over there?” Him: “um, it’s old.”

Yeah, I can pretty much tell that, dipshit. I kind of wanted a little more detail.

We hopped on a little minibus that inexplicably had shag carpet on the inside and a huge tissue holder that said I LOVE AUSTRALIA on it, bracketed by a kangaroo and a koala, and we were off into Cairo traffic.

You need to know two things about Cairo traffic: the paint on the roads is for decoration, and the drivers all navigate by radar and not by sight. I know this because our bus drove for an hour without ever turning on its headlights (and it was dark) yet honking his horn all along the route. Even that late at night the roads are clogged with cars. Several times I prepared myself to die in a flaming crash, and my only solace was knowing that the news reports would say “a thirty-car pileup in Cairo leaves forty dead, among them two Americans.”

And that’s something, right?

As we went Dummy pointed out various old things, saying “there’s an old thing of stone, and there’s another old thing, and look! A fountain!” He also told us sexist jokes: “only women have traffic accidents in Cairo traffic, because they get scared.”

My wife, in a rare moment of pique, responded “when do they borrow all these guys’ cars, then? Every damn one of them has a dent in it!”

He stopped narrating after that, which bummed me out because I couldn’t tell which stuff was old and which was really old without his help.

When we finally arrived at the hotel, a little after midnight, we were given some vile-tasting red juice while Dummy checked us in. Because in Egypt, you never check yourself in. I don’t know why. Probably bribes change hands or something.

Dummy returned and proposed, for the next day, a visit to Saqqara and taking in the magical Pyramid Sound and Light Show in addition to our already-scheduled tour of the Giza plateau. We, eager tourists, accepted.

Finally, tuckered out from a long day of travel, we turned in and I made a horrible discovery:

THE ROOM HAD DOUBLE BEDS! What is this, Ozzie and Harriet go on vacation? Ultimately I was too tired to move them that night so we slept apart.

End result: no sex for me.

Not an auspicious start to the vacation.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bestiality Proponents Disappointed

Left unspoken in the wave of jubilation following the California Supreme Court’s dismissal of a law opposing same-sex marriage is the continuing prejudice in this country against interspecies marriage. While many Hollywood stars have rushed to the altar, they have left some of their comrades behind, forgetting that civil liberties aren’t just for the ones who can afford them, but are for everybody.

Here are some of those “forgotten faces” that people like Ellen DeGeneres and Lieutenant Sulu don’t want to think about as they rush to tie the knot and, soon thereafter, get the first homosexual divorces:

Gonzo and the chicken
With a relationship that stretches almost thirty years, these two have longevity that Tom Cruise’s latest beard could only dream of. Yet their love must always remain unspoken, lest Beastophobes rear their ugly heads and begin throwing slurs at them. “People just don’t understand, not even your friends.” Gonzo said in a recent interview. “Animal once broke a bottle over my head and I had to get forty stitches just because I said feather pillows get me hot.”

Peter Griffin and Brian
Though show writers are loathe to admit it, the homobeastoerotic overtone of “Family Guy” has long been a hot topic on the Internet. There’s even a web site, “,” with a petition hoping to force writers to out the worst-kept secret in television out. So far it has collected at least twenty signatures, as well as receiving over a hundred injunctions from FOX for publishing fan art of “a prurient and frankly disgusting nature” which imagines of the fateful act.

Jim Carrey
Fans have known of Carrey’s excessive love of animals since Ace Ventura. What they might not know is that since 2002 he has been locked in a bitter probate battle with the State of New York over the estate of his longtime partner, the Taco Bell Dog. Because of archaic “Turquoise Laws” preventing interspecies marriage, though, he has not yet been able to get ahold of Taco’s vast estate and use it to produce a full-length movie based on Dr. Seuss’s book On Beyond Zebra. Carrey said it was Taco’s dream, and that they worked on the script “every day of the twelve beautiful years we spent together.”

Snoopy and Lucy
Deceased Peanuts writer Charles Schultz long empathized with the plight of beastosexuals, which is why he laced Peanuts with the sexual heat between Snoopy and Lucy as a way to begin to prepare Americans for the day when, finally, men and women could openly express their love for other species and be accepted by everyone “even in the public square.”

Phrenologists Deride Graphologists

A group of prominent phrenologists has denounced the recent spate of articles by graphologists as “nothing more than reporters’ impressions wrapped in quackery.” The true key to presidential insights, they say, lies in the bumps on their heads, not in the orientation of their signatures.

“Phrenology and the United States were founded at almost the same time, which is why for over two hundred years Americans have waited for us to divine the inner minds of the candidates,” said Wilton Geerson, head of the American Phrenology Institute. “And I’m pleased to announce that our international panel of experts has done just that.”

Geerson said that while Obama has exceptionally well-developed brain areas for circumspection, affection, and kindness, voters should be very careful of his overdeveloped mental organs for pride and vanity.

“We have to ask whether Obama is trying to be president because he thinks he’s owed it, or whether he wants to use it to help people,” said Franz Bouts, one of Europe’s leading Phrenologists. “While the shape of his head is certainly very encouraging, much better than the swollen religiosity and underdeveloped intelligence that characterizes the current president, we have to take the area for vanity seriously. But by cross-referencing our files on other famous figures, like Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa, we see that such developments are normal for public figures.”

The API’s Neena Wilders sounded an alarm on candidate John McCain, though, saying that “analysis of his head reveals that his cranium would be better suited on an out-of-control, warmongering, murderous bear in the midst of a downtown rampage. The brain organs devoted to murder, stealing, and revenge are all excessively developed. Even correcting for injuries sustained in a POW camp, this is distressing news, and more fitting of the chronically misanthropic such as Ted Bundy or Coco Chanel.”

But Geerson said that the long Democratic primary was written quite clearly on the candidate’s heads. “Hillary Clinton has a more obstinate zone than 99% of the population, meaning she’ll hang in the race until she’s dragged out. And given both her and her husband’s overdeveloped senses of vengeance, based on cranial Area 22, it’s clear why they stay together: to get back at their shared enemies.”

He also added that one other would-be candidate had a very distinctive skull. “Ron Paul, as well as his supporters, have what in Phrenology we call the ‘pinhead’ skull: diminished areas of intelligence and reason, but increased susceptibility to influence by outside forces. They’d make good graphologists, quite frankly.”

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Celebrity Hot or Not

So "American Idol" has been all the rage on TV for several years now. Never one to jump on a trend when it was fresh and new, the Daily Dollop has decided to pump out its own version. And to help bring in the coveted male 13-30 audience it'll be combined it with another phenomenon, the "Hot or Not" craze that pretty well burned itself out by 2005.

My brother claims to have cracked the code for American Idol’s success: it’s all about the judges. Nobody cares about the contestants, they tune in because they either love or hate the Idol panel. He claims that in order to bring in viewers you’ve got to have:

  • The Mean Guy

  • The Washed Up Star Strung Out on Drugs who says bizarre things

  • The Black Guy

He then promised to get me top-notch celebrities. That was before he got invited to the latest Girls Gone Wild video shoot by an old college roomie who owns the bar where they’re filming and shafted me with this somewhat less-than-inspiring collection of judges. I guess they fit the bill:

Skeletor: Nemesis of He-Man, Grayskull's would-be conqueror, and all around jerk. You wouldn’t believe the mouth on this guy! Whenever you read the word "flower" please mentally substitute the f-word. Skeletor's comments will be in blue.

Gizmo: Did you know that the adorable star of the hit 80s movie "Gremlins" hit rough times after the critical failure of "Gremlins 2"? He just got out of prison after being convicted on drug possession, racketeering, and felony indecent exposure charges. Gizmo's comments will be in purple.

Fat Albert: When this counts as the normal guy on your panel, you know that you have serious problems. What, Gary Coleman wasn’t available? We'll mark Mr. Albert's comments in red.

We'll just do this in round table discussion format. I'll throw out a picture of a chick and a few details, then we'll just let the judges run wild. And so without further ado here's our first girl:

Chloe Marshall: Contestent in Miss England 2008 competition, noteworthy as the first size 16 girl to make the finals.

What the flower? This is a flowering joke, right? Are we judging people or whales here? By the power of Grayskull, someone get a liposuction technician! Did England get hit with the Black Death again or something? There’s no other explanation of how this human blob could win a beauty competition. Not.

I've got three words for her: nice rack, baby. My face is melting here, that's how hot this chick is. I would hit that so hard her grandma in York would feel it. Hot.

Dawg, I would be all up in that. Baby got back, and I ain't talkin' 'bout no baby back ribs. Oh man, I could go for some ribs right now. I'm so hongry I could eat a bucket of KFC so fast the grease wouldn't stick to my fingers. Hot, baby, so you goin' to Hollywood!

We're not giving away trips, flower face. We're just rating whether or not these chicks are worth flowering. And for the record you two are flowering sick for even thinking of getting it on with this sack of lard.


Queen Latifah: Rapper, singer, actress, Jill of all trades, mistress of none. Her greatest regret is never being dissed by a presidential candidate.

Hey, hey, hey! Now that's what I'm talkin' about, dawg! Hot like Indian food! Hot like a stove! Hot like an SUV in my hood! This is what this contest is all about, dawg! Hot, hot, hot!

Are you a flowering idiot, Fatty? This chunk of blubber is even worse than the last one. You know what I liked about the show "Living Single"? When it got cancelled. Not!

Clean up on aisle in my pants. I'd hit that up, down, sideways, and in the negative zone. Pour some brown sugar on me, baby, cuz I'm hungry like the wolf. Hot!

Yo dawg, what's up wit' the attitude? Weren't you the good gremlin?

Yeah, and Rock Hudson was straight in all his movies. It's called acting, fat boy. No wonder you got cancelled.


Paris Hilton: Socialite, frequently photographed celebrity and occasional guest of the penal system.

Just look at that little bitch! Those eyes, that tail, those big ears, and oh that fur! Hot!

We're rating the woman, not the dog, you flowering retard.

If she wants to have a three way with me and the Chihuahua that's fine, but I have got to get a little doggy style with that pooch. But I'd hit the owner too, like Barry Bonds in slow pitch softball after a three day HGH blitz.

I'd actually rather flower the dog than the endless line of cows I'm being presented with. By Teela’s tits, you can barely see her clavicle through all that fat! Not.

I ain't wantin' to be no hater, but to Paris I gots to say see you later. Add some pounds to that tiny butt, if wit' me you want to rut. Not.

What are you, a flowering rapper? You get all gangster after Cosby left you high and dry? Let me tell you this, tubby, Mer-Man’s more gangster than you, and I once caught him listening to broadway show tunes with Orko. And what the flower are you doing using the word "rut"? You born on a flowering farm?


Pamela Anderson: Frequently naked actress, full of more salt water than the dead sea, and Hepatitis C victim.

I'd hit that.

Now there's a flowering surprise. Is there anything on this earth, woman or beast, you wouldn't flower? How about I just take a firehouse to you, flower face, and let's see if you can cool off any!


You pull that on me, dawg, I'll get out my gat and put one in yo' ass.

I don't have an ass, mother flowerer. I'm skeleton all the way down. Even my boner is solid bone, not that I've had one yet from looking at this collection of swollen hags. You'd think maybe having Hep C would take a little weight off this chick, but apparently she hasn't had to curtail her visits to the all you can eat buffet. Not.

I hates to agree wit' you, dawg, but check this out: you dip your chip in that you might come back with some special sauce, know what I'm sayin'? Not.

Amy Winehouse: Singer, future VH-1 "The Tragic Life Of..." subject

Yesssss, now we're getting somewhere! Still a bit plump for my tastes, but a few more months on the crack pipe should do her nicely. I like to see every vertebrae in my lover's back when they're sprawled naked in my chambers. Hot!

You mean like Prince Adam, you bone-armed homo?

How did you...I mean, what the flower is wrong with you, grem-tard?

Never get a gremlin wet, you noseless fairy. As far as this crack whore goes I say hells yeah! Bang it, break it, then give her a five spot and tell her to get the hell out of your car! Me and Hugh Grant used to do that all the time back in the day. Nothing hotter than a junkie who needs a fix! Hot!

Yo, dawg, that is some nasty-ass skin you got there. You need some lotion or something? You both be crazy, this chick ain’t got enough meat on her to fill out a real woman’s leg. Not.


A Mummy: Name unknown, dug up in Egypt in 1973, probably dates to around 1100 BC.

Now I'm getting that funny feeling in my pants! Helloooo, nurse! Reminds me of Mum-ra's sister. Grayskull I wanted to flower that chick. Stupid dyke was more interested in Evil-Lynn, though. But anyway, I say hot.

LeBron James, she dead! What are you, boney, some kinda super freak wantin' to get all up in a mummy? You ain't a playa, you a pervert!

Well I'm flowering sorry I don't like my women to be so flowering fat they can't go to the beach because flowering Greenpeace keeps pushing them back in the flowering ocean. You don't like it, you can flower it, you fat flower, but I'm not going to flowering apologize for having good taste in chicks.

You know what I like about dead chicks? They don't say no to anything, no matter how kinky it is! So let's get out the coonskin cap and the cheese grater, dead girl! Hot!

You've said hot every time, you stupid flower! You're flowering useless on this panel. It'd be like judging a pie contest with fatty's mother.

Aw, hells no, you din't just talk about my mama! You dead, dawg, you dead!

I've got a skull for a face, flowerer. What makes you think I'm flowering alive? Flower you and your big fat mother, you flowering gangster rap wanna be!