Saturday, November 26, 2005

George Washington Checks In (20)

Father of His Country Stuns the Nation

Will Guest Star in Ghost Whisperer Episode During November Sweeps

Former President Says He Doesn’t Feel a Day Over 273 Years Old

CBS Entertainment Division held a press conference today to announce that George Washington had showed up at the Ghost Whisperer set for an early makeup call. The former president had apparently returned from the spirit world just in time to film a Thanksgiving episode.

Several reporters questioned why Washington had chosen Ghost Whisperer when The West Wing, or Commander in Chief might have been more suitable.

Sources close to the former president (other ghosts) explained that Washington was a fan of the show’s star, Jennifer Love Hewitt. Besides, he didn’t want to compete, “with that M*A*S*H* fellow or the Lady President”. He seemed to think he would make a bigger splash on The CBS show.

The General, as he prefers to be called, is said to have his lines memorized and is anticipating completing his guest role so he can return to the spirit world in time to watch the broadcast version on his dish.

Washington explained that high tech worked well in the other world; he was sorry, for example, that TV wasn’t available in his day, as he would have enjoyed the sports, but was glad he didn’t have that “blasted cable news” following his every move.

The actual plot line of the script is a closely guarded secret. Washington is said to be upset over present day insiders who leak to the press, and was assured that the script would not fall into the wrong hands. “What tommyrot—in my day I would have drawn and quartered those scoundrels!”

Within minutes of the announcement, however, a Washington Post forum appeared on the Internet that gave full details of the script (after a spoiler alert).

Bob Woodward said Washington had given him the plot in an earlier conversation when he was interviewing him for his instant book “Washington Returns to Earth”.

Woodward did not say when he himself would return.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

President Bush Proclaims National Day of No News (19)

Says Sports and Weather Can Be Covered

Entertainment Tonight Given Special Waiver for Hollywood Couple of the Week Series

President Bush, according to White House sources, ( staff members planning to write insider books) “has had it up to his eyeballs with the news media”.

After recently stunning the nation’s Capital by taking a day off to play with his dog, Barney, the President said today he was setting aside next Tuesday as a National Day of No News.

Official Washington Insiders (leakers) and the Press (leakees) were both agog over the statement as they live on the latest rumors, gossip, and downright whoppers that pass for news coverage in the nation’s Capital. Reporters and their sources fell over one another in their panic to get one last story out before next Tuesday.

One reporter who was overrun in the pressroom—she still had marks on her forehead caused by wing-tip shoes--said, “It was like the last flight out of Saigon”. Some younger reporters didn’t understand the reference to Viet Nam until it was explained that the war had been rerun during the 2004 Election (“Oh, The Swift Boat thing” they said.)

The President was asked about the rights of a free press. “The Press is pretty darned free with their coverage. I just want to give the American people a break from all those cable news birds that think they know everything”.

The Washington Press Corps took the proclamation —as they do all news coming out of their hometown—very seriously. And Congress, after giving a heads up to their reporter friends, held their own press conferences to denounce The National No News Day as Unconstitutional, not to mention harmful to their fund raising campaigns.

One Very Important Senator (one of 100) explained, “Besides, if you’re not on TV, you won’t be invited to the right parties".

The Press was represented by all the major news organizations except the Washington Post staff, which was attending a seminar led by Bob Woodward on “How To Keep Yourself Out of the Story”.

C-Span will have cameras turned on to capture every moment of the No News Day. Brian Lamb, C-Span founder, said it would not be a problem as they were used to dead air from their non-stop coverage of The House and Senate.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

How to Become a Better Old Person (18)

How to Become a Better Old Person[1]

(Footnotes—a new blog feature—will be found at the bottom of the page, according to Word which is certainly the last you- know- what on these matters.)

The other night, while holding my arms over my head and waiting for my deodorant to dry, it occurred to me that I was turning into an old person. “It’s time to work on becoming a better old person,” I said to myself while staring at the Geezer in the glass.

The next morning, after a wild night of waking every hour to make sure I was still alive, I made new rules for myself. If I’m going to be old, I thought, I might as well do it right. If I feel cranky, I darned well plan to be cranky. It’s such a strain to be nice when sometimes all you want to do is to slap certain persons silly.

So, as a public service, let me pass along my thoughts on becoming a better old person (geezer).

If you are naturally hard of hearing like me, you’ll have a head start on being an old person, as you’ll miss a lot of foolish remarks, which will have the happy effect of making you less irritable. Generally what people say is boring anyway; they usually just drone on about their own pathetic lives instead of focusing on you, the interesting person in any exchange.

If you hear perfectly well, just pretend you don’t. Practice a blank look on your face when people talk. Maybe, not right away, but in the fullness of time, they will give up talking about their children or their grandchildren who are so good at sports.[2]

If someone does go on at length about the kiddies, interrupt them with the details of your latest doctor’s appointment, the more embarrassing the better. Describe your encounter with an examination table that was so cold you shot up to the ceiling when you landed on it.

Don’t be shy about describing your latest colon test. Were you put out, or did you stay awake for the procedure? Did your BP take a dive; did you turn pale? Were you held over in the exam room because you very nearly passed out?

Be sure to note this in your diary. Or better yet, if you have a newspaper column, write up your medical problems for the locals to discuss. Everyone will be extremely interested in the results of your annual check-up. [3]

Make a point of not lifting anything heavier than a potato chip bag. If you’re a guy, politely explain your hernias (I have one which is about to give birth to another one) prevent you from lifting. Start wearing a post-it note on your shirt that says “Sorry, no lifting done here”. [4]

For your mental health, give up watching TV News, particularly the Talking Heads on both the right and the left. It’s OK to check the headlines at Yahoo, but skip the stories. They will only upset you and distract you from your goal of becoming a better old person.

The Constitution clearly says you are not required to follow the news. You are only required to pay your cable bill. The Founders knew not many people would be interested in government, which is a good thing. Otherwise we would all be yelling at one another like the idiots on TV.[5]

Speaking of your Constitutional rights, tell everyone you meet how many meds you are on and bitch about how much they cost. It’s your right.

I now take eleven pills a day, up from zero a couple of years ago. One is a blood pressure med; the others are over the counter allergy/sinus remedies. Some days I take twenty-two pills as I forget I’ve taken them earlier. [6]

I’m sorry—I have to bring this article to a close, as it is time once more to let my deodorant dry. Chores never cease, do they? Besides, I’ve run out of footnotes. As a consolation prize, please read this week’s crop (no quiz!).

[1] This title is only a working title unless I blog it. Which would mean I couldn’t think of anything better. Sorry.
[2] People who show pictures of the little darlings at play will be banished in the New World Order.
[3]Don’t mention the hospital’s name, as the staff will be waiting for you with cattle prods.
[4] T-shirts are also available that read, “I’m recovering from surgery—sorry I can’t help”.
[5] The Bill of Rights will be found in your textbook under The Founding Fathers’ Greatest Hits: Volume I, The Early Years.
[6] I know you’re dying to know the names of the pills, but I can’t spell them without looking at the bottles, which are inconveniently located in the kitchen cabinet. Suffice it to say they are harmless unless chewed rather than swallowed.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

President Bush Takes a Day Off (17)

Says He’s Going Back to the Constitution

Plans to Cut Work Day in Half to Spend More Time with Barney, the White House Dog

This morning when the White House Press Corps gathered for their daily briefing they were stunned to find no one in the pressroom. Instead the President’s daily schedule was posted. It read: “Gone to play with Barney”.

The reporters—from force of habit--began shouting as though a press conference were going to be held anyway; after a few minutes of head butting and jockeying for position, they began calling their sources.

Insiders close to the White House—they live in the same time zone—painted a picture of a President whose persona had changed overnight from embattled Chief Executive to Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky. Some feared the President had gone wacko, but most thought he just needed a vacation.

These sources explained that the President was getting very weary of all the criticism from his conservative supporters (“Those birds are never happy”) over the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination fiasco (“She’s a fine person, but who knew she couldn’t pass an eighth grade Constitution test?”)

Staff members close to the story who did not wish to be identified (they wore their very scary—to Republicans—Bill and Hilary Clinton Halloween masks) said the President had a sudden moment of clarity while surfing his way to The White House site.

Bush likes to linger over press releases at the site to read something good about his administration. On an impulse he followed a link to the Constitution and discovered it had very little to say about the President’s duties.

He smacked his head and said, “I’ve been making this too hard. I’ll execute the laws and approve treaties. If nothing is happening in those areas, I’ll take the day off. This ought to make all those strict constructionist right-wingers happy. Besides, I’ve been neglecting Barney something terrible what with all this political stuff.” And then, sources said, he began playing ball with his dog.

Vice President Cheney was so alarmed at the news that the President had apparently gone around the bend that he surfaced from the White House basement. The Vice President’s staff—those who were not busy leaking the news that they never knew “Scooter”—said he feared he might have to assume the President’s duties, which he has always been reluctant to do, as it would seriously interfere with his current job of running the world.

The President said, “Relax, Dick. Read the Constitution—you have even less to do than me. The Constitution says you can preside over the Senate—good luck with that.”

Shortly after the Vice President’s appearance a ball landed in the pressroom with Barney in hot pursuit. To the surprise of the few reporters left, President Bush ran in, scooped up the White House Pooch, and did an unscheduled photo-op.

“It’s good to see the little fellow having fun. And I’m feeling better myself since I realized I’m not all that important. According to the Constitution, the Congress is supposed to do the heavy lifting. The next time they want to do something dumb and then blame me for it, I’ll tell them to include me out.”

And with that the President ignored the shouted questions from the reporters and said to his dog, “Barney, what say we rustle up a little grub?”

The word on the President’s schedule for tomorrow is that he and Barney will be making a holiday video. “Barney,” the President said, “gets more hits than anybody at the site”.