English Language

Midge. Moose. Moose. Midge. You know, alliteration is just one of the quirky little twists that one can use to augment the English language. English, for my jingoistic dollar: still the creme de la creme of all languages. Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but to listen to all the alarmist intellectual Henny-Penny doom-mongers going on and on these days about the imminent death of the English language, you'd think the English language was, like, ya know, totally dying, or something. Whatever.

George Orwell warned that banalities in the English language reflect a corrupted culture. "Banalities" without the "B" is analities. That's funny.

English is not just the language of Britain, Australia, Canada, and certain parts of Kentucky. It's also the language of business, diplomacy, and technology.

Now, when I say English, I'm talking about what we speak here in the States, without the funny accent. Because I don't know what language working-class Brits are speaking over there in England, but it isn't like anything I've ever heard. I saw the movie "Snatch" over the weekend and I felt more out of it than Liz Taylor at the Golden Globes.

I have always had a deep and abiding love for the English language, from early on in life. I've always loved the flirtatious tango of consonants and vowels, the sturdy dependability of nouns and the capricious whimsy of verbs, the strutting pageantry of the adjective, and the flitting evanescence of the adverb, all kept safe and orderly by those reliable little policemen, punctuation marks. Wow. You think I got my ass kicked much in high school?

You can gauge the esteem in which we hold the English language simply by telling someone you majored in it. Now, the first thing they do is mentally subtract twenty grand off what they think you make. The second thing they do is ask you to bring them a menu and tell them the soup of the day. And why not? In school, English was the easiest subject to bullshit your way through. There are no Cliff Notes for Physics. You can't bluff your way through a Calculus discussion just by watching "Calculus: The Movie." But when it comes to essay questions, well, you can fake it like a hooker being paid by the moan.

I understand that English is a protean, evolving language that must constantly change in order to remain relevant. But let's not go out of our way to appropriate words from other cultures simply to justify making something more expensive. Hey, you can add all the Italian suffixes you want, you're not fooling anybody over there at Starbucks. It's still just coffee. Now ring me the fuck up, you frappaloser.

And Starbuccos is not the only cultural borrower. Doctors tend to lift most of their phrases from Greek, which is only fitting since every time I go to see one, he somehow feels the need to spend the afternoon spelunking around in my ass. All I know is if Hippocrates had been born someplace other than Athens, they would have come up with an easier way to check my prostate than drilling me like theyre George Bush and my ass is Alaska.

I wouldn't be so worried about the fate of the English language if more of us could speak it properly. Forget Stone Cold Steve Austin or the Rock, if you want to see real wrestling, watch our newly elected president pronounce the word "unilateral."

Love the guy or hate him, you have to admit that when Bush is speaking unscripted, the English language disintegrates like cotton candy in a monsoon. Even he looks like hes surprised at whats coming out of his mouth, kind of like Malkovich when he had that puppeteer inside his head.

Folks, the English language is very much alive. From where I'm standing, our mother tongue is kicking ass and taking names. It's large and in charge, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, full of piss and vinegar and ready to open up a big ol can of whup-ass. It's calling the shots, it's bouncing and behaving, it's all up in it, and it's all that and a bag of chips. For the love of God, somebody please tell me what in the hell I'm talking about.

Now, while I have upon occasion been labeled the E.B. White of the word "fuck," you do have to admit that I went an entire football season without saying it. Take it from a connoisseur, it should be used sparingly, like saffron in a fucking paella.

See--the word "fuck" is a beauty, isn't it? From its fricative genesis, blossoming into its ripe, rich middle until its cruelly truncated in its prime by a merciless, glottal stop... In all of its earthy, salty, illicit Anglo-Saxon glory, "fuck" is almost as satisfying to say as it is to do.

Now, some would say I contribute to the coarsening of the English language through my casual use of profanity. To those critics, I would respond that my discourse merely exemplifies the vaunted precedent of valorizing the oral vernacular. I would further add that language is a living tissue, which must occasionally suffer the rupture of subversion in order to convalesce with more structural stability. So to those guardians of the linguistic gates who charge that I shoehorn the F-word in wherever I can, merely to further a rather tenuous career built entirely on a profane house of cards, well, why dont you just go fuckerize yourselves.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

more ...

Al Gore

Well, tomorrow George W. Bush moves into the Oval Office and Bill and Hillary tell the White House staff, "See you in four years." But what about Al?

Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but Al Gore is about to leave not only the White House but the flimsy IKEA lean-to that is the American consciousness. He's about to sling his wobbly, too-tight high heels over his shoulder and take the morning-after Walk of Shame out of the beer-and sweat-stained frat house of Washington, D.C. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

Tonight, I hope to answer the question, "Who is Al Gore and what are his core beliefs?" So, Al, if you're watching out there, stick around, cause this'll all be new to you.

Poor Gore. Desperate for approval, he violated the Number One rule in showbiz: Work the shaft. Oh, I'm sorry, that's the number two rule. The number one rule is: people hate flop sweat. It doesn't matter what color shirt your handlers tell you to wear, Al. If the pits are darker than Ann Rice's dream journal, you're in trouble.

Even the biggest Democratic apologist has to admit that Gore lacked something. You'd think the guy who won the popular vote would be well, more popular. Hey, everybody knows that winning the popular vote is sort of like winning a People's Choice Award. Sure it feels good for a while knowing you've carried the three - hundred - pounds - and - up turqoise-collector demographic, but it doesn't mean shit if you don't back it up with the Oscar.

And let's all stop blaming the electoral college system. It's an essential part of the democratic process specially designed to make sure that each candidate is responsible for making false promises to every American, not just the ones in highly populated urban areas.

So, how did Al Gore come to lose the presidential race? Simple. He ran. The ability to come across as warm and genuine to the American public is simply not in Al's Westworld wiring. "Al, you lost me at Hello."

And anybody who watched the debates knew this. It was like watching a pit bull try to go duck hunting. He kept trotting back from the pond with nothing but a mouth full of bloody feathers thinking he did a great job and not understanding why everybody kept on petting the dumbass Texas Labrador with the bandanna tied around his neck.

Al Gore is a supreme intellectual, there's probably nothing he doesn't know, except perhaps who he truly is. The problem with Al Gore's intellectualism is, he never lets us forget it. And though we value intelligence, nobody likes a know-it-all. Sure, I enjoyed reading Proust in high school too, but at least I was smart enough to lock myself in the bathroom and tell my parents I was masturbating.

It was painful to watch Al try to emulate Bill Clinton's charming, personable style while campaigning on the road. He gave it his best shot, but people got the impression he wasn't really paying attention to them. Every time he'd try to connect with some guy working in a factory or a waitress in a diner, he'd end up nodding his head faster and faster and slowly inching away. His body language always reminded me of somebody who's asked directions to the nearest gas station, but can't actually listen to them because he's gotta whizz so badly.

Try all he wants, Al Gore will never be Bill Clinton. A leader like Clinton only comes calling once a generation. When Bill Clinton spoke to us, he looked like he really cared what we were thinking, made us feel smart, made us feel good about ourselves and made us think that he would always remember us. That's a style that can only be honed by decades of trying to score strange tail in cheap, roadside cocktail lounges.

When it comes to assigning blame for their recent loss of the White House, the Democrats are going to be pointing more fingers than the Hindu god Vishnu at a Dunkin' Donuts. But ultimately, the problem was simply this: Al Gore came across as a phony, and George W. Bush came across as genuine. And after eight years of being lied to by one of the smartest men on the planet, a lot of people had decided they wanted a president with neither the inclination nor the brains to mislead them.

I'll be honest, I like my presidents to be a little dim.The clever ones get bored and try to tamper with my life. Give me a mildly clueless figurehead who will meet with the Girl Scout who sold the most Thin Mints, telephone the winning Super Bowl team in their lockerroom, fly abroad now and then to watch funny foreigners dance funny dances, and most important of all, leave me the fuck alone.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

more ...

George W. Bush

The Russian Prime Minister has declared Space Station Mir too old and decrepit to be useful anymore. Naturally, the space station will now begin confirmation hearings to serve on George W. Bush's cabinet sometime next week.

Bush leaned on Donald Rumsfeld to take time off from writing his memoirs of the Battle of Hastings to serve as Secretary of defense. Rumsfeld keeps pushing for that Star Wars Catapult Defense System, because he's afraid the North Koreans might have the crossbow.

And on Monday, movers went to the Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas to transfer Bush's belongings to Washington. The move itself took very little time once workers discovered that Bush had nothing upstairs.

Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but as a comedian, with George W. Bush coming into office, I feel like the owner of a hardware store before a hurricane. I hate to see it coming but I have to admit it's good for business.

I'll take my shots at Dubya, but I actually have high hopes for the next four years. I see George W. Bush working hard to keep the ambitions of big business and the military in check, and ensure that even the lowest job pays a dignified wage. I believe he'll erase the animus that has divided Washington, and bring both sides of the aisle together. I also happen to believe dogs can talk if you touch them in the right spot, and everyone watching me is happy with their body.

As much as I'm willing to give Bush a chance, I'm a little nervous about his intellectual capacity. I mean, at least Clinton had his dick to think with.

And Clinton did a lot of thinking. If I were Bush, the first day I took over, I'd have a convoy of six Rug Doctor trucks come chugging through the main entrance of the White House, park right in front of the TV cameras, and start dragging their steam-cleaning hoses through the Oval Office door. Well, come on. It's got to be like buying Bob Guccione's mattress at a yard sale.

You can say what you want about Bush, but he's going to surround himself with people who are so experienced that they aren't gonna let him eat at the grown-up table for a long time.

And you can't understand the great and powerful Bush without peeking behind the curtain at the clever bald man pulling all the levers: Vice President Dick "It's Probably Just Gas" Cheney. Now, Cheney's heartbeat skips more than Richard Simmons on his way to a Ricky Martin concert. You know, the job of V.P. doesn't give you that much to do, so it would be a shame if the very first state funeral he attended was his own. But Cheney is also smart, crafty and persuasive, so give George credit for putting him on the team. Most presidential candidates try to pick a running mate who won't outshine them, but who would that be for Bush? Maybe Wilson the volleyball from the movie "Cast Away."

Let's put Bush's cabinet under the microscope, or, as he calls it, "the little-stuff-to-big-stuff thingy."

Now, we do need to cut Bush some slack on Linda Chavez. How could he possibly know the woman had a Guatemalan slave? Chavez got out quickly. I guess she felt that if people had a hard time with the illegal alien maid, they might respond even more negatively to the 30 Haitians assembling "Salad Shooters" in her basement.

Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft will not be able to fill Janet Reno's shoes, but then again neither could Shaquille ONeill. But what I don't understand is how Ashcroft can be so pro-Death Penalty when he lost his last election bid to Mel Carnahan, a dead guy. What's really scary is that most people thought Carnahan won the debates, too.

National Security Advisor nominee Condoleezza Rice has often been described as W.'s "foreign policy tutor". Oh, yeah, I love the sound of that. It's nice to know we're signing our nuclear arsenal over to a man who needs after-school help. Don't you think the fact that he needs a tutor ought to be raising more eyebrows than Eminem teaching kindergarten on the planet Vulcan?

Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Tommy Thompson says his top priorities include overhauling social security and Medicare as well as fixing his stupid name. Hey, what kinda guy makes it past forty with a "y" on the end of his first name? Hey, Tommy Thompson, nice to meet you, you loser fuck, I'm Denny Dennerson.

For Secretary of State, Bush chose Colin Powell. Okay, no complaints there. Nice to see that Bush picked a minority. After all, a minority picked him.

All in all, George W. Bush has to have had the same reaction that I did after I got the job on Monday Night Football. Hey, what in the hell happened here? I only applied for the job because I never thought they would actually give it to me. So my advice, George, is take your lumps and jump in there. For me it was the best thing I ever did, next to this show on HBO of course. Man, it's hard kissing two asses at once.

You know, in the end, it's hard to know what history will make of the second Bush presidency. Will it be regarded as an aberration in the electoral process? A surprisingly capable underdog effort? Maybe just a placeholder in the strange but easy-to-remember Presidential sequence "Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton." Whatever is to be, there's one thing we know: It's time for Daddy's little boy to grow up. George W. Bush's seemingly endless supply of free passes is now officially drier than any of the oilwells he once managed. Well, I, for one, wish him the best.

Now, I don't pretend to know anything about the Machiavellian intricacies of politics, the " one - hand - washes - the - other - that - scratches - the - back - that - spanks - the - monkey - that - gives - the - reacharound - " to whomever. All I know is, with the Nasdaq numbers acting like they're in a fight scene from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and the once-madly-thriving economy now teetering like Forrest Whitaker in a pair of Jimmy Choo stilettos, if I were Dubya, the first thing I'd do when I set foot in the White House, before I unpacked the video golf game, before I started crank-calling my old frat brothers, before I snuck up behind Dick Cheney and popped an inflated paper bag, the first thing I'd do is get my ass on the phone and send Alan Greenspan a four-year supply of Omaha fucking steaks.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

more ...

Rage

Not to be an armchair sportscaster and psychotherapist, but howzabout this theory: obesity is rage turned inward. Well, then, why is America simultaneously the most overweight and furious country on the face of this planet?

Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but our hair-trigger society has a fuse shorter that's than George W's attention span at Yale.

I guess the latest rage that's all the rage is road rage. We use our middle finger so much, scientists say it may soon evolve its own brain.

I'll tell you what's scary, flipping off some asshole only to watch the car follow you all the way home and pull into the driveway behind you, causing you to cower on the floor of your car frantically dialing 911 until your wife comes out and explains that they're the friends she invited over for dinner. How humiliating... I would think... Probably.

Of course, the phenomenon of road rage, like many other curses on humanity, originated right here in Los Angeles, where you have to get in your car even if it's just to go get shot.

I have a simple solution to road rage. Make everybody's license plate number the same as their cell phone number. That way, you can drive a safe distance away before you call the other car and tell them what assholes they are. Of course, they'll probably have asshole waiting.

And a recent scary derivative strain of road rage is air rage. Boy, hard to imagine how flying could make you uptight. As the events of last night point out, some people feel they're better in a wheel well than in Coach. From the moment you get to the airport and a sadistic airline drone starts measuring your bag like they're making a suit for it, you're treated with all the respect of Emenem at the GOP convention. It would be fair to say that airlines no longer treat average passengers like cattle because you have to upgrade from Dustin-Hoffman-In-The-Dentist's-Chair-in-Marathon-Man Class to even get to Cattle Class.

I think for me, the sickest and scariest kind of rage is the Hillary Clinton kind of rage. You know, the perpetual permafrost smile she wears that's hiding a well of fury deeper than Barry White's voice during a bout of pneumonia. If she loses the election, I predict all that will be left of Hillary is a five foot three inch mushroom cloud and a pair of canary yellow Ferragamo pumps.

Personally, I get pissed off when I think about the generitrons both major parties are foisting on us this year. Al Gore couldn't be more phony if he were a professional Al Gore impersonator, and George W. Bush is 20 gallons of dumb in a 10 gallon hat. I know millions of Americans share my feelings, and you know what? If this country could simply channel that rage into productive political activism, it could transform the entire American system come November. And if you do so, let me know how it goes. I'll be busy voting for whichever of these two losers is gonna take less of my money.

It's true. America's a very uptight place now. Sure, we're making more money, but people are working longer and longer hours these days with some of us holding down two jobs in completely different fields at the same time. We're fighting more traffic, paying more for homes and food and having to fuck around with more goddam remote controls. No wonder we've become touchier than a blind man reading Penthouse Forum in Braille.

Rage is not a completely unreasonable response to the stimuli around you. The meek may inherit the earth but trust me, the assholes are going to contest the will. And occasionally, you've gotta express your displeasure at the cosmic injustice of it all.

But if a human being causes you extreme stress, the best thing to do is take it out on an inanimate object. Break a clock, kick in your TV set, or smash your computer screen with a ball-peen hammer. You'll feel a lot better. Just don't hurt anyone. Unless, of course, the cause of your rage is a malfunctioning piece of machinery. Then it's only fair to take it out on a human being, preferably somebody smaller than you. Or better yet, try digging up cemeteries and beating up people who are already dead. But considering this country's Puritan attitude toward disinterment, it's best trying this one overseas. I guess what I'm advocating here is beating up foreign dead people. Sorta like a Hearafta-NAFTA.

During the past two decades we have become inundated with money and technology that allow us as Americans to become accustomed to everything going our own way, which means we've got very little tolerance for frustration. The difference between the rage we see today and the rage of the 60's is, road rage and air rage are the rage of the haves, not the have-nots. The people flying off the handle today are the people who have no reason to be upset about anything. Their rage is the byproduct of an overfed, overindulged society of spineless, blathering crybabies. And it just makes me want to kick their fucking teeth in.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

more ...


Travel

You know, I actually went on a short vacation to Vietnam last year. Me loved it long time.

They had so many German tourists down there. I guess Germans are so reflexively guilty they now feel the need to document everything with camcorders in case they're called on the carpet in the future. You know the type, they spend the entire vacation with their right eyeball buried so deep inside the viewfinder of their video camera that when they finally do put the thing down, they look like Peter Falk with his balls caught in his zipper.

Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but travel lets us leave behind our unrealistic prejudices about other places and the people who live there, and develop new, more realistic prejudices based on their actual inferiorities.

I hate travel so much, I actually look forward to the day we can simply get in a transporter room and materialize in our desired location. If there's a molecular foul-up and I'm reconstituted wrong on the other side, that's okay. I'd rather have my dick growing out of my shoulder than sit on a plane next to 99 percent of the mutants flying on commercial air carriers. Air travel these days is such a carnival of the insane that I'm often forced to sit in the exit row because I'm one of the few passengers sporting opposable thumbs.

And what's the point of even traveling any more? The world has become so homogenized that the only way you can tell what country you are in is by the language on the McDonald's menu. You find what you think is a virginal and untouched out-of-the-way land and I guarantee you, you'll run into a TV crew setting up a voyeuristic game show on it.

But there are some travel tips that will help you enjoy some of the more exotic locales. For instance, when going through U.S. customs after a trip to Colombia with fifteen balloons of pure grade Angry Gecko heroin in your stomach, always make sure to keep things light. Smile at the customs agent's jokes, but never giggle. And if one of the balloons should rupture and the dope starts to enter your blood stream, try to cut short the cavity search by whispering over and over, "Oh yeah, daddy, that's the spot."

Speaking of lodging... Hotels and I appear to differ on the precise definition of what constitutes a no smoking room. When I say "no smoking" I mean it's only been occupied by people who don't smoke. The hotel's definition appears to be, "Nobody's smoking in there right now." I stayed in a No Smoking room in New York two months ago that smelled like the guy before me was curing a fucking ham.

Now the big thing at hotels is telling us that all the energy used to clean and dry the towels we use after a bath is the number one cause of global warming. Sorry there, Sierra Club, but if it's a choice between the polar ice caps melting and me using the same towel to dry my face that I use to dry my squatter, all I can say is, "Surf's up dude."

Some people like to travel by train because it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of an airplane. Hey, brilliant, Casey Jones. I want to copy from your quiz.

But for most people, flying is the way to go. Airports have a curious smell that I've finally deduced is a delicate mixture of jet exhaust, bad food, spilled beer and hundreds of thousands of armpits emitting various levels of toxicity according to various cultural hygienic mores. Try to picture an international rainbow of stink.

One of the more frustrating things about air travel is that you can't even relax when you land because you've still got that boot camp obstacle course of baggage claim to negotiate. To all those people who insist on rushing to the carousel and staking out shoulder-to-shoulder body-wide territorial claims like it was the Yukon in 1890, will you fucking relax? Take a few steps back Attila. No one is going to steal your duct-taped styrofoam cooler full of pickled goat entrails that you brought back from the old country. And to the elderly Eastern European women who for some reason think it's acceptable behavior to sever people's Achilles tendons by ramming them from behind with those rented baggage carts, let's try to keep the maiming to a minimum or the wall goes back up okay Olga?

C'mon, let's face it. We only travel so we can come back and tell other people about where we went. Yeah, like they give a shit. People only want to here about your trip if you had a miserable time. They want horror stories because it validates their decision not to go anywhere. Hey, you want to make your friends happy? On your next vacation, lose an eye.

Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

more ...

Hillary Clinton

Ah, Hillary. What can you say about Hillary Clinton that hasn't already been muttered under somebody else's breath?

Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but love Hillary Clinton or hate her, you'd better get used to her because, like a retired Celine Dion, she's not going away any time soon.

Now, traditionally the role of the First Lady has been maintaining an inviting atmosphere at the White House and then picking a special pet project to keep her occupied. Jackie Kennedy chose celebrating the arts, Lady Bird Johnson the environment. Hillary Clinton's pet project? Total world domination.

Look, I won't lie to you. This country has a deep fear and mistrust of strong, smart, accomplished, outspoken women unless they're sexy 22-year-olds killing vampires on television. But what do we really know about Hillary, other than that she's had more make overs than Sammy "The Bull" Gravano's wife?

Well, for one thing, we know Hillary is an insanely loyal spouse. I don't understand how she can be in the same house as Bill without wacking him in the nuts with a polo mallet every time he falls asleep on the couch.

But the Clintons are a rare breed. For many people the idea of running for office, forcing the public to choose whether they like you or not, would be a nightmare. But Hillary and Bill need the assurance that 46% of the country loves them, and the other 54% is out to get them. That's why I'm different. I know all of you like me. Right? Don't you?

[HIT APPLAUSE SIGN, SHOW APPLAUSE SIGN ON CAMERA]

See, I knew I was right.

Bill and Hillary possess that rare blend of grade A Machiavellian caginess combined with the luck of a two-time Powerball winner. Who but the Clintons could see one of their opponents bow out of a senate race plagued by, of all things, charges of marital infidelity? I'm sure when reports about Giuliani's mistress surfaced, the Clintons laughed so hard they could almost hear each other from across the hall in their separate bedrooms.

Now, critics have asked why Hillary chose to run in New York instead of Arkansas. You know, I think it has something to do with Arkansas being in Arkansas.

But New York? Who does she think she's fooling? Hillary Clinton actually had to go on a listening tour to find out what the residents of New York want. C'mon, you can't spend fifteen seconds with a New Yorker without discovering not only what he wants, but who he wants dead and when he was last operated on. And believe it or not, New Yorkers are buying it. She's actually working her magic on a bunch of people who pride themselves on the fact that they cannot be snookered. I can only assume this is karma for fucking the Indians over on that bead thing.

I can't believe they can't see how phony she is. Don't they see through those perfectly prepared speeches, where every brittle smile has been pre-programmed to last exactly the right number of seconds to express humility without veering off into self-doubt? You know what I want? I want to see if she can tell me her home phone number. I want her to tell me what's in her refrigerator, or what her mailman's name is, or when she last parallel parked a fucking car. I want her to tell me about the life she does lead rather than the life she thinks I should lead.

Anyway, here's how I think it's going to play out in November and beyond. Hillary wins the Senate seat in New York. Now, you would think she wants Gore to be the next President, but she actually needs Bush to win. Then the Clinton machine starts a back-channel campaign attacking Bush for the next four years.

Bush is such a massive nitwit that he won't seal the deal for reelection in 2004, so Hillary runs against Dopey and becomes the great white female hope. Then we begin to think, if we can elect the son of a President, why the hell not the wife of a president? Next thing you know, Bill's back cruising trim in the West Wing without any of that bullshit running-the-country-thing to get in the way, plus, this now gives the Clintons eight years to get the 22nd Amendment repealed and get themselves sworn in as the fucking King and Queen of America... Hey, just you watch.

Now, I generally don't subscribe to the grossly sexist theory that women who seek power are secretly compensating for something that's missing from their lives, but in Hillary's case it's so pathetically obvious. I guarantee you, if Bill Clinton flies home this week from Europe, stops in Manhattan long enough to pick up a couple dozen long-stemmed roses, a bottle of Cristal and a La Perla negligee, then heads up to Chap-a-qua, glides in through the front door, slaps a little Francis Albert Sinatra on the CD player, picks Hillary up in his arms like he's Richard Gere and she's Deborah Winger in a paper mill, carries her up the stairs, and spends the rest of the weekend showing her exactly what his definition of "is" is, well, my friends, I think Rick Lazio will be running for the Senate unopposed.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

more ...

Elvis

See, this is the kind of rock & roll star we're stuck with today: Prince. Ah, do I long for the days of the King.

Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, ma'am, but from his lean and hopeful beginnings to his sad and bloated end, Elvis Aaron Presley's life story fits our criteria for mythos and allegory like a skin-tight, jewel-encrusted, pit-stained, white-leather jumpsuit.

Elvis blew the lid off the sexually repressed, uptight '50s, set the stage for the upheavals of the '60s, and was the excesses of the '70s. Elvis lives in our consciousness as icon, cautionary tale, alter ego and punchline, embodying a litany of contradictions: a great talent with a boundless capacity for schlock, a transcendent live performer who starred in some of the most god-awful movies known to man, a rebel who willingly served his country, and most enigmatically, a man who liked white gravy on top of his brown gravy.

Now, according to the biographers, Elvis was a big eater from the beginning of his life to the end. It's just that in his 20s, he had the metabolism to burn all those calories off. When I was in my 20s, I ate six cheeseburgers a day and drank three quarts of buttermilk, too, but instead of launching into a successful career as an international superstar, I used up the calories jerking off in my room. Different paths. No regrets.

How big an Elvis fan am I? Just ask my sons, Tuinol and Seconal Miller.

When Elvis first appeared on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW, they had to shoot him from the waist up because CBS felt America wasn't yet ready for the gyrating pelvic thrusts of a hormonally crazed banshee. Pretty much the same reason that CBS to this day still insists Dan Rather never come out from behind his desk.

Highbrow music critics have always looked down their noses at Elvis, but the truth is, he had much in common with history's greatest composers. Like Mozart, Elvis was a performer whose energy and stage presence brought him fame at a young age. And like Dvorak, Elvis synthesized African-American tonal idioms with European performance tradition. And most striking of all, Elvis and Johann Sebastian Bach were both deeply religious men who both wrote chamber works for the Margrave of Brandenburg that were virtual textbooks of late baroque-era polyphonic counterpoint. Also, Presley and Bach--both monster pussy hounds.

Elvis is the most important musical force of the past 100 years. Look around. You don't see any Beatles impersonators, do you? Except for, you know, Oasis.

Incidentally, ever notice all the Elvis impersonators portray him in that '70s blue-sequinned painkiller haze? It's a lot easier to impersonate that Elvis than the raw, sexually primed Elvis of the '50s. In fact, nobody does Elvis from the '50s, because they can't. After the '50s, even Elvis couldn't do Elvis, and he pretty much became the world's highest paid Elvis impersonator.

Oh, by the way, is Elvis still alive? No, he isn't. If he was alive, he would have showed up and stopped his kid from marrying Michael Jackson. You know, even though he's dead, I'm shocked he didn't show up to put the kibosh on that freak show.

Elvis still exerts a mystical pull on us. An estimated 700,000 visitors file through Graceland each year. Or to put it another way, that's nearly 800,000 teeth.

How tastelessly did he decorate Graceland? It's like if the guy who put THE PRICE IS RIGHT showcases together was blind. Elvis bought shit for his home that's so hideous, they won't even sell it in the Graceland giftshop. Hey, I've seen black velvet paintings of Jesus in clown makeup playing poker with dogs and big-eyed kittens that are less tacky.

Was Elvis a musical force of nature, a bridge between two cultural heritages, or just a lucky hick who stumbled into the right recording studio at the right moment in history? The answer is the same one Elvis might have given when confronted with the five-page menu from Skeeter's International House of Waffles And Deep-Fried Arterial Plaque. "I'll have all of the above, my man, with a side order of more."

In summing up about Elvis, let me say this before I leave the building. When the post office made us vote for which Elvis stamp we wanted, I voted for fat Elvis, and I was really disappointed when he didn't win. Sure, any country can put out a stamp with a trim, young, sexy star on it. But to be a citizen of a land that proudly sticks on its mail an overweight, reclusive, constipated, pill-addicted, television-shooting, two-pounds-of-bacon-at-one-sitting-eating, God-damn American legend--well, I think the King would have wanted it that way. Thank yuh, thankyuverymuch.

Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

more ...

Friends

Hillary and Bill have been saying some pretty nice things about Rudy since his personal life derailed. Is there anything odder than political friendships?

And you know, after watching Bush and McCain bloody each other in the political arena for three months in a way that makes the battle scenes in GLADIATOR look like a pillow fight between Mr. Rogers and Ainsley Harriott, it's hard to accept that they're best buddies now. I guess Bush has learned the sweet truth that there is nothing more satisfying in life than a good friend, except of course a good friend who is far less successful than you are.

Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but what is a friend? Usually a friend is someone with whom you have a lot in common, but sometimes opposites attract. For instance, one of my closest buddies is a wise-cracking, cynical, self-centered prick with blonde hair.

In a nutshell, a friend is someone who can see through your external surface bullshit to the deeper and more profound bullshit that lies within. A friend is someone who holds your place in line to get Sulu's autograph while you're changing into your Klingon costume in the car. A friend is someone whom, when you ask what he paid for his house, doesn't pull that "It was so long ago I really can't remember" shit. You ask him and he gives you a number.

To me a true sign that someone is a great friend is when I can go long stretches in his company without saying so much as a word. That's trust. My best friend? Actor John Garfield's perfectly preserved corpse.

Friends are so important that, if kids can't find real ones, they'll make them up. Most people outgrow their imaginary friends, but I've just been adding to them over the years. Gary was there from the beginning, but there's also Russell, Dwight and Kim, who sounds like a girl but actually he's from Korea. My doctor gave me a medicine that makes them go away but I don't take it.

I remember in eighth grade when this girl had to be excused from class because I overheard her tell the teacher that she got her "friend." I kept thinking to myself, "Boy, that must be a great friend if they can get you out of school." The next day, math class was getting pretty boring so I told the nun I needed to go home because I got my "friend." But instead of letting me go, she turned her college ring into her palm and hit me on the top of the skull so hard that, to this day, her college still uses my head as a mold to make its rings.

Anyone who ever said a dog was man's best friend never had a pet chimpanzee. A few years back I rescued Johnny Mustard from an animal shelter in Vegas. Johnny draws me a bath and changes the television channels, but most of the time he's just sitting there on my lap chain smoking some strange French cigarette that he seems to like. I take him on the road and we sleep in the same bed together. I just wish he didn't get so enraged whenever my two kids walk into the room.

Women will often say it's a test of friendship among females when both of them like the same guy, but I don't think that has to be a problem. Most guys would be happy to sleep with both of them at once. You know, I'm surprised more women don't pursue this solution. I guess deep down inside, they just aren't committed to making their friendships work.

Our guest tonight is one of the stars of the show FRIENDS, which has done more for friendship than the little white lie. Boy, I hope the show comes back. You know what I say? NBC, give 'em the million per episode. Hell, give 'em two million. It's a great show, they're funny kids, and they've made you buckets of money. Hey, you think girls are gonna run to the salon anytime soon and ask for Kelsey Grammer's haircut?

By the way, you know who my favorite "Friend" is? Many of you might guess Chandler, because he's so fast with a quip, or Rachel because she's sooooo pretty. But no, my favorite Friend is Joey. You know why? Very simple--I love him.

Sure, friendship is risky. When you let someone into your life, give them your trust and avail yourself of theirs, you open yourself up to the possibility of being hurt. But what is the alternative? Being a cold and distant emotional hermit whose only interest is in himself? That's no way to live--unless of course you happen to make a shitload of money, in which case it'd be pretty damn sweet, because as we all know, you don't need friends if you have money. Right Wally? [Dennis pulls out his wallet.] "Righty-o, Dennis."

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

more ...

Campaign Issues

Boy, there's a lot of interesting campaigns coming up this fall. Unfortunately, just not the one for president.

Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but it's been a month since Al Gore and George W. Bush surfaced as the frontrunners in the campaign, and our excitement shows no sign of starting. This election seems to be inexorably building into a cavalcade of galloping mediocrity, with both Bush and Gore stampeding toward the center, each trying to pretend to be something he's not when he's never really made it clear what he actually is in the first place.

But tempting as it is to hit the political snooze button until Election Day, it might behoove us to find out the difference between Tweedlebush and Tweedlegore. What is the major issue in this race? That's easy. It's deciding which one of these second-stringers can lead us for the next four years without fucking it up until we eventually get to see some real A-list candidates for a goddamn change.

Consider our lack of choices. Let's put George W. Bush under the microscope first. Bush promises to spend an additional 13 billion dollars on education. OK, George, that covers you. Now what about the rest of the country?

George W. also wants to enact the most comprehensive overhaul of Social Security since the Great Depression. He wants workers to have the freedom to invest their own Social Security money in the stock market. Hey, most people can't balance a fucking checkbook, let alone invest in their future. Anyone who has seen the little counter on the screen that shows you how many pieces of Joan Rivers' jewelry is being bought on the Home Shopping Network knows people cannot be trusted with their own money.

And when it comes to international affairs, well, let's just say Bush discusses foreign policy in that same uncomprehending way that parents of teenagers talk about their kids' favorite bands. His eyes become more glazed over than a Krispy Kreme when Brando's workin' the spray gun.

And Bush's embrace of traditional Democratic issues like education and health care are said to be examples of his compassionate conservatism. In reality, they are examples of the craven behavior of a human baloney-on-white-with-Miracle-Whip sandwich, who will say anything to get elected. And I don't mean that in a good way.

And then there's Al Gore, "Mr. Smith Stays in Washington." Now while Gore is a major supporter of China being made a member of the World Trade Organization, he has promised that if elected president, he would "prod" China on human rights abuses. That's good, Al. You know, lost and found just called, and your balls still haven't turned up yet.

Gore would come down hard on gun ownership, calling for photo licensing for all handgun purchases at a government office, similar to what we currently have at the DMV. Yeah, super notion there, Al. Because so many times I have been waiting in a long line with a lot of pissed off people at the DMV and thought to myself, "You know what would make things go a lot smoother here? Guns."

Now, both men are equally adept at insulting our intelligence. Last week, for example, at a fundraiser in Los Angeles that raised nearly \$3 million for his campaign, Al Gore said he was committed to making life easier in the inner cities. Yeah, but apparently not so committed that he would turn that \$3 million over to a charity that does just that. Do you realize Bush and Gore are spending more on telling us how they plan to fight poverty than they will actually spend on fighting it once they get elected?

But these are the guys we deserve. The average American refuses to invest a few minutes a day in actually picking up the newspaper and reading, and the result is that politicians who want our attention have to raise huge amounts of money to buy soundbite TV advertising. Look, I know it's hard to find the time to bone up on the complicated issues facing our country, but doing your duty is never easy. Look at me. I'm a busy man. I've got two kids and a job that requires at least nine hours of my time a week, 26 weeks a year, yet somehow I still find time to read up on the issues--or at least to hire people to read up on them for me. Dare you do any less?

You know, at this point in my life, I've had it with presidential candidates blowing smoke up my ass--I want them to do nothing. Treat the presidency like Homer Simpson treats his job. Come in, have a donut, take a nap and try not to burn the place down. Enough rhetorical bullshit about "meeting challenges" and "helping those who can't help themselves." Things are good, don't fuck 'em up. Just sit there and don't touch anything. Be America's first 10-to-4 president. And on Fridays, you know what? Don't even come in at all.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

more ...