Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It's Not Easy...Being "Green"

It's not that I'm "going green"; that's actually mold in my kitchen sink.

You see, I have no dishwasher. I've been living here for almost four years and I'm finally beginning to actively rebel against having to do my own dishes.

When I moved in here, I accepted that there was no dishwasher. In fact, my lease won't allow for one. It's kind of funny, because I swore when I moved out of Mom's house (a house without a dishwasher) that every place I'd live in since then would have a dishwasher. Three years of washing my mother's cat food tins to prep them for recycling day will do that to you.

Oddly enough, I don't recycle now either. But that's another story. One that involves nickel bets on hobbled bums in dumpsters and knife fights.

So when Mr. Scoop, whose own apartment in an identical building 50 yards away has a dishwasher, suggested that I switch to paper plates - I initially balked. Paper plates brought up uneasy memories of Wonder Bread, bologna and welfare cheese...at my best friend from elementary school's house because she didn't have a dishwasher. The crushed potato chips and ranch dressing that also found their way into these sandwiches was a disturbing shadow in the background. "Hidden Valley Ranch" meant money that wasn't spent on actual vegetables. Not that I cared about Brussels sprouts when I was nine. And, frankly, the gelatinous consistency of welfare cheese could occupy me for hours. It was better than a Jell-o mold - and free (!) from the State.

But, ultimately, you start to weigh the environmental friendliness of doing the dishes by hand every day versus only poor people use paper plates versus if you don't avoid paper plates you might destroy the plant resources the children you won't ever have might possibly need versus you can sit on your ass in front of the tv that much damn sooner. You've been at work since 6:30 AM afterall and it's 7:30 PM now.

I like sitting on my ass.

Paper plates begin to seem awfully attractive.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Why I Shouldn't Watch TV...

.....The quiet man watched Laurie Parker jog past his car with her Golden Retriever, Sam. Sam was a lot of dog for the petite young woman to keep on a leash. As he watched, Laurie Parker cheerfully admonished Sam and her face flushed with exertion. The dog really was walking Laurie more than she was walking him. She’s got a smile that’d light up a whole damn city.., he thought, grinning to himself. They passed by his car this morning without noticing him, just like they had every morning for the last two months. He took a sip from his coffee and gazed at her as Sam pulled her around the corner and out of sight. Then he pulled out the day’s paper and worked on the crossword.

The dog is the first thing that needs to go.., he thought.

Laurie and Sam arrived back at her house at exactly 7:45 AM. Just like every morning since he’d begun watching her house. Watching her.

This is what I think of when I see commercials for Brawny Papertowels.

Is that wrong?

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I'm sorry there hasn't been a whole hell of a lot out of me this week. Work has been kicking my ass.

I have thoughts about tonight's episode of Lost, but I'll probably be more lucid tomorrow.

Here's a web site they humped during one of the commercials on the show, though:

Hanso Careers

It's the company responsible for the Dharma Project. The jobs listed seem to hint at some of the characters on the show. Are they plants for the Dharma folks?

Oh, and in the meantime, here's a picture of Bob Barker killin' a guy:

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Fat Man And Little Boy Redux

Musings on ABC's Lost

A World Without Ana-Lucia

I put my dick in there.  That can't be good.You know, I'd feel bad that Michael blew a hole in Ana-Lucia's torso...if the character hadn't been such a screeching harpy. It's not an easy task to screech in one note ("strident"), but she sure managed to make a go of it. Now, granted, Michael was "compromised" and acting under orders from The Others when he offed her - but wasn't he just doing what a lot of us had wanted to do to her character since it had been introduced? Last night, when Jack had nothing much to say about her at her funeral, that spoke volumes about the way the character never really seemed to integrate into the show: "She was a woman of few words". His next line may as well have been, "Next!" It makes me wonder: if she hadn't been pulled over for the DUI while filming the show in Hawaii, would they have written her character out anyway?

Anyhow, I'm glad she's gone. Now that she's fucked off, I find it interesting that by the end of the season we're only left with two "tailees": Eko and Bernard.

Near as I can tell, introducing the tailees provided the writers with two options:

1. Introduce new characters, thereby opening up opportunities for new relationships and conflicts.

2. Provide the opportunity to explore other parts of the island, since the tailees landed on a different section.

Mr. Scoop also likes to point out that since "Lost" has overtones of The Stand, the tailees kind of represent those people who find their way into one of two camps: Boulder and Las Vegas. I haven't read The Stand but I'll take his word for it.

I will say this, though - if you open the season with 47 (or something like that) people on one side of the island and 23 on the other and, by the end of the season only two out of 23 remain...did you really have to introduce a whole new group of characters just to kill them off? Did the writers of "Lost" buy little soldier men by the dozens as kids and tie them to firecrackers just for the sheer lunatic thrill of watching them explode? Out of the 40ish or so folks who came from the fuselage, only 12 of them are focused on as regular characters. Why not have another dip in the pool?

Well, it is easier to introduce conflict from outside. Garbage in = Garbage out. Have them show up, stir the pot and kill them off when they outlive their usefulness (and/or upset the local law enforcement). I just wonder if you had to introduce an entirely new group to serve this purpose, that's all.

Frank Miller Had It Right: Children Are Evil

Michael's motivation for returning to the camp and saddling up the troops - four very specific troops - is that if he doesn't bring Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Hurley back to The Others, he'll never see his son, Walt, again. For "three minutes" he is allowed to see a tearful Walt, who begs him to save him - just long enough to drive home to Michael his helplessness, his inability to be the protective father Walt has cried out for since the first season.

And I still maintain that Walt is manipulating this whole situation out a child's own selfish desire to have one parent's attention all to himself. If there weren't actual high fives all around the second Walt got outside the tent, he replayed the scene in his head with smug satisfaction, "I played you all! Who's the man? Walt's the man. And now the man needs a little nappy-poo."

Of course, since we haven't seen Walt since somewhere around episode, what?, 6? this season, he's undergone a growth spurt and puberty hardcore. "The man" may not be looking for a nappy-poo as much as a fake ID.

How is Walt manipulating all this? Well as Miss Thang, I mean Klugh (pronounced "clue"...go figure...), tells us that Walt has unusual abilities...psychic ones? They appear to have been running tests on Walt. She asks Michael if he's ever seen Walt in one place when he physically was supposed to be in another. Michael seems perplexed by this question. Probably because he's.. never seen it.

You know who has seen this ability of Walt's to be in two places at once? Shannon. And she's dead now. Coincidence?

The island will give you what you want, what you need - unless you piss it off. Unless you aren't supposed to be there. Was Shannon not meant to have seen Walt?

And Speaking Of People Who Shouldn't Be Here

Why on earth is Hurley on the list of folks that Michael needs to bring back to The Others? As Mr. Scoop put it, "What? Two strapping young bucks, the hottie and the fat man? What do they need him for? Lamp oil?" Indeed, even Hurley balks at being asked by Michael to go to on the expedition to get Walt back.

Well, my best guess is still that Hurley isn't actually supposed to be on the island and the island (as an entity or whatever) is trying to rectify the situation. Again, I cover the whole theory about this here. The island (or whatever forces are associated with it) did its damnedest to keep him from getting on the plane. It doesn't want him there. Hurley's mutant power of bad luck is so bad he managed to get on the plane anyway.

As I also pointed out here, everybody on the island is getting what they need to be happy except.. Hurley. This continues when he is prevented in getting together with his love interest, Libby, by the ultimate cock block: Death.

Hurley gets none. And he does not like it. In fact, he doesn't like it so much that he changes his mind after the funeral and tells Michael that he'll go with him to rescue Walt. It's personal now. Thank God we introduced those characters from the tail of the plane so we could create this relationship.

So Where Am I Going With All This?

We've got our Little Boy, the psychically powerful Walt, in the camp of The Others. The island has decided that Walt will be its vessel. Hurley is being marched over there because the island wants to reset its balance (Fat Man with the uber bad luck has to go..Fat Man will ultimately throw things too off kilter for whatever experiments the island (or the forces behind it) is trying to conduct). The other folks, our young bucks and hotties, are chess pieces. However, there is something the island may not be prepared to deal with - when Hurley decides to get shit done, it gets fucking done. It doesn't matter if it's getting on a plane despite being entirely too late to board or making a golf course out of nothing - if Hurley decides it's going to happen, it'll happen.

And right now Hurley is pissed off and looking to hurt the people he feels took Libby from him.

I'm going to be very curious to see how this season ends.

I'm telling you - it's all about Fat Man and Little Boy. A tale of two psychic nukes.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Color Code To Alert Us To New Wave Bullshit Is Indigo

Is Your Child Indigo? And Not In That Good, Folk Dyke Way...

Gratuitous Picture of Lesbian RockersProponents of the theory say creative, hard-to-manage kids are more highly evolved than the rest of us. Reasonable people hear this and punch the proponents in the face. Then they take away their mood rings. Brawl amongst soccer mommies ensues.

At least that's how the article would have run if I'd written it.

Have you heard about Indigo Children? Well, let me tell you about it!

[the]...book spoke of the spiritual evolution of the new children of the "indigo" color...The Indigo Child is a boy or girl who displays a new and unusual set of psychological attributes, revealing a pattern of behavior generally undocumented before. This pattern has singularly unique factors that call for parents and teachers to change their treatment and upbringing of these kids to assist them in achieving balance and harmony in their lives, and to help them avoid frustration...Can we really be seeing human evolution in kids today?

Um...the fuck?

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?

From the Newsday article:

Wouldn't it be a relief to know your children aren't going to turn out lazy or rude...today's children are not the way they are because they live in a high-paced, well-off, self-indulgent culture...No, today's kids act the way they do because they're a more evolved form of humankind.

"The Earth is going through a major transformation," said Sue Marcus, a trained energy healer and aromatherapist from Massapequa. "This is like a major cleansing. I believe these kids are here to teach us a peaceful way."

No. No wait. It gets better:


Want to know if your child qualifies as "indigo"? According to Lee Carroll and Jan Tober, authors of "The Indigo Children," you've probably got an indigo on your hands if you notice the following:

1. They come into the world with a feeling of royalty (and often act like it).

2. They have a feeling of "deserving to be here," and are surprised when others don't share that.

3. Self-worth is not a big issue. They often tell parents "who they are."

4. They have difficulty with absolute authority.

5. They will simply not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.

6. They get frustrated with systems that are ritual-oriented and don't require creative thought.

7. They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like "system busters."

8. They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they turn inward, feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.

9. They will not respond to "guilt" discipline ("Wait till your father gets home.").

10. They are not shy in letting you know what they need.

How many fucking different ways can you write "entitled, self-involved little shit" in a ten item list?

So, let me get this straight:

Your hyper active child - the one who can't be bothered to follow the normal rules of the school day because your aromatherapist says that the kid's third eye chakra tells him that the rules that were good enough for the rest of us are too confining to his tiny ADHD brain - is going to be the salvation of mankind and I should bend over and take this in my classroom?

No. Not unless your kid is a bonafide mutant.

If your kid sprouts adamantium covered bone claws from his knuckles, we'll talk. My portion of the conversation will probably come from under a desk or from the inside of a closet, but we'll talk. Until then, as far as I can tell, you signed off on the discipline code that came with the student handbook. Trust me that I'll come up with a variety of learning activities that will touch upon one of Gardner's Multiple Intelligences and reach your kid - that's why they pay me the almost adequate bucks - but he still needs to do the other stuff that is assigned. And he needs to not mouth off while he does it.

Oh, and the "indigo" thing comes from the "aura" these children supposedly emit.

You know, indigo is pretty damn close to black. Last I heard, the only kid who was supposed to emit a black aura was the Anti-Christ.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Now, If I Could Only Remember Their Names...

We had the day off today because, of all things, it rained too damn much. So, I spent some time reflecting over some moments that stood out to me in the classroom over the last several years. Some were funny; some were uncomfortable - but they're all indelible in my mind...at least until the whiskey finally gets to 'em:

  • Having a student yell out, in the middle of my lecture about Helen of Troy, "Git-R-Done!" I'm sure he understood the zero he got for the day.

  • One time a kid, trying to get my attention, called me "Mom".

  • My "Advanced Literature Class", in 1995, deciding to serenade me with an a cappella version of The Flaming Lips' She Don't Use Jelly. No. I don't know why.

  • The girl who announced, for no particular reason, in the middle of class that she "finally knew what real love was"...while every boy in the room conspicuously avoided eye contact with her for the rest of the period.

  • The year we got away with taking all of our students down the street to see Twister. You know...for educational purposes...

  • The kid who decided that it would be best to read the part of Macbeth to the rest of the class in the voice of Apu from The Simpsons. Is this a dagger I see before me...? Thank you! Come again!

  • The kid who came barrelling into the room screaming that he was possessed by Satan. He was promptly restrained by staff...during my interview to be hired.

  • The kid who tried to seem badass by claiming his gang affiliation to be with "The Lion Kings". (He meant the Latin Kings. He swears.)

  • The kid who, after being relegated to "time out", proceeded to lie down on top of a table and roll off - in order to hurl himself at the floor...and wouldn't stop until I pointed out to him that I knew he'd read Douglas Adams's Life, The Universe and Everything and told him that despite his best effort he wasn't going to be able to learn to fly by throwing himself at the floor and missing.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Rainy Days And Mother's Day Always Get Me...

...Wet...But, Well Fed...

Last Mother's Day, I took my mother out for Dim Sum.

This year, I did it again. However, I also was able to take her to the matinee of Blue Man Group - which worked out well because that was what she had actually asked for.

It has been a tradition for the last few years that, every Mother's Day, Mom and I plan a big day of walking around Boston. Consequently, it's been rainy and shitty in Boston for the last three Mother's Days. This year was the worst. The National Weather Service has reported that my neck of the woods has received 7.1 inches of rain so far this May - and it's supposed to keep raining around here until Tuesday. If I actually believed in God, I'd say he was smiting us for something. But, I looked all over Chinatown while I was there and there was nary an adult bookstore or porn shop to be seen. Even the transvestite dance club on the corner had been replaced with a family friendly shabu-shabu oufit.

It's like it's the end of an era or something. I would've tried to explain this to mom, but I don't think she'd have cared...besides, it's her day anyway.

So, we started with Dim Sum at Chau Chau City. It's a bustling three story affair with tanks of live seafood in the back. Upfront, the restaurant boasts a display of "the third largest shark fin in the world".

I really enjoy eating here. The neon decorating the walls gave the place a real Big Trouble in Little China vibe.

The idea of eating somewhere in which at any moment I could be attacked by the incorporeal form of David Lo Pan also added a tantalizing air of danger that distracted me from the gray dreck outside my window.

The food was excellent too. Mom and I are both seafood nuts. We got the baby clams in a spicy black bean sauce, mussels in a sauce with scallions and a neat sort of "shrimp drumstick" which was ground shrimp formed in a ball around a crab claw - so when you nibbled your way through to the center you were rewarded with a sweet chunk of perfectly cooked crab. We also got braised spare ribs with peppers and ginger, spring rolls, "Lion's Head" (pork and minced vegetable meatballs) and shrimp "crystal" dumplings. Mom and I found ourselves stuffed in short order and the food coma descended forthwith.

To shake off the desire to crawl under the table and nap with our bellies full of Dim Sum-y goodness, we ventured back out onto the street. Our timing in getting to the restaurant had been stellar, because we had to wade through a crowd of people on the sidewalk waiting to get in as we left. The rain maintained a holding pattern of drizzle - not enough precipitation to make us bust out an umbrella, but enough to make me wish I'd brought a baseball hat to keep the rain off my glasses.

In about five minutes, we hit the theater district.

There's all kinds of venues here.

There's relics from well before I was a twinkle in anyone's eye.

Most importantly there's dives to get drunk in after you've had your annual dose of culture.

Mom didn't want to stop and have a drink here. I have no idea why.

We finally got to the Charles Playhouse. It had begun to pour. Ironically, when we were seated we discovered that we were in a portion of the theater that had been designated the "poncho section". Apparently, the show is quite interactive with the audience and you can find yourself splattered with mystery liquids or pieces of Twinkie. I contemplated smuggling the poncho out with me. That was before I noticed remnants of chunky mystery substance that were still clinging to the poncho from a previous show.

The show was great fun. The Blue Men engaged in hard core percussion, sometimes with actual drums but more often with instruments made of PVC pipe. The Blue Men gifted Mom with a bowl of Cap'n Crunch and some flashlights. I was only once caught unawares by an ejaculation of mystery, Twinkie related liquid. By the end of it, we were all caught up in a giant ball of crepe paper under pulsing strobe lights and black lights. I saw tracers off of everything I looked at. All the joy of taking Ecstasy and none of the annoying desire to hug other people. That was good. We watched a guy get coated in blue paint and slammed against a blank canvas in the name of "art". That was even better. And Mom really had a good time. That was best.

Much fun was had by, well, most. At least me and Mom and that was the important thing.

And the rain kept the homeless panhandlers away on the trip back to the subway. That didn't suck either.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

It Came From The Kitchen (Or Revenge Of The Slow Food) - Part 2

Botox is like Teflon for my forehead!
A couple days ago I turned on my TiVo and it had, like a big dumb dog, trotted out and scored me an episode of Martin Yan: Quick and Easy. Now, I find Martin, with his lightning fast cleaver and his OCD-like repetition of instructions as he is performing them ("Cut it up! Cut it up! Cut it up! Cut it up! Cut it up! Ha!") amusing and entertaining. I learned about how to peel ginger with a spoon from him when I was about 12. He's been on tv forever. So, I settled back to watch him begin a stir fry that was supposed to have a "black pepper sauce". I was dismayed to note that his sauce was from a bag that came from the seasoning aisle. He just ripped it open and dumped it on the cooked meat and veggies and went about his business. Did he confuse himself with Sandra "God-made-the-world-from-a-seasoning-packet" Lee? It made me hurl my beer can at the TV and berate my TiVo. Fortunately, I don't think either took it personally. But, if I see Martin I'm going to kick him in the balls.

Now, I'm not trying to cast aspersions on the lucrative market of ready made sauces and seasoning packets. Just this Monday I made tacos. I used a seasoning packet...doctored with some other stuff - but taco seasoning nevertheless. What I am aggravated with is seeing a chef on tv do it. Yes, let's pay the nice man with a string of restaurants, who has demonstrated over 20 years of cooking programming that he has learned and forgotten more about cooking than most of our mothers, to rip open a fucking premade baggie of seasoning from the local Stop and Shop. And, while you're at it, why don't you just film him in his home phoning it in as he slowly jerks off over how he lucky he is to not have to try anymore... Sorry, but I don't watch cooking programs to learn how to do something that I can find out from reading the back of a package. There seems to be a whole dumbing down of cooking programs, probably because the suits in charge of programming have decided that they want their demographic to be fucking everybody.. instead of people who want to fucking cook. That way they can sell more Spam.

Rat-fucking bastards.

One of these days, I'm going to turn on the TV and discover that all of the cooking programming has been moved to some newly created "FTV2" on some digital cable channel equivalent of Outer Mongolia...like MTV did before they decided they wanted to show more than just videos on MTV2 and then created a bunch of other channels to put the videos on by category. That'll also be the day that Food Network has also decided to create a 24/7 Rachel Ray channel. And that's when I send the box of poisonous spiders to Scripps Networks. And some napalm.

It's like if chili and beef stew had a baby! Here's my response to the "quick and easy as marketing tool to sell more seasoning packets" movement: tonight I've made slow food. Slow - as in, it's going to take about two hours to cook. Nary a seasoning packet was opened or baggie of premade sauce punctured in the making of this braise. I'm going to serve the resulting spicy, saucy meaty goodness over cheddar cheese grits. And then, after we've stuffed ourselves stupid and recovered from the ensuing food coma, I'm going to kick Martin Yan in the balls.

Beer Braised Short Ribs with Chipotle Chile

1 lb. boneless beef short ribs (or 2 lbs. bone-in beef short ribs)
2 t. ancho chile powder (or 1 ¾ t. regular chili powder and ¼. t. cayenne pepper)
¼ t. garlic salt
¼ t. onion powder
½ t. black pepper
2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 t. ground cumin
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
1 14 oz. can of diced tomato
1 bay leaf
12 oz. dark beer (like Negra Modelo)
1/3 c. quick cooking grits, dry
1 ½ c. chicken broth
1 T. butter
1 c. cheddar or jack cheese
2 scallions, chopped fine
salt and pepper

1. Combine the ancho chile powder, garlic salt, onion powder and black pepper. Sprinkle the mixture over the short ribs and rub it in well.
2. Heat a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil. Brown the short ribs in the oil (about 3-4 minutes per side) and remove them to a plate. If the ribs have given off a lot of fat, remove all but one tablespoon.
3. Add the onion and celery to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is transparent, but not brown. Then add the garlic and cumin. Stir through until fragrant. Add the chipotle, tomatoes, bay leaf and beer. Bring to a boil and add the meat back to the pot. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours (or until the meat falls apart easily – if using bone-in ribs, meat will fall off the bone easily).
4. Bring the chicken stock and butter to a boil. Add the grits and stir once. Cover and reduce to low heat. Cook 7 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed by the grits. Add the cheese and stir through until the cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep warm.
5. When the meat has finished cooking, remove it from the pan and set it aside. Remove the bay leaf. Skim any fat off the surface of the liquid.
6. Using a hand held blender stick (or carefully using a standing blender), in a large mixing bowl puree the liquid. Then return it to the pan, passing it through a fine sieve (optional). If you use the sieve, press on the solids to get as much through the sieve as possible.
7. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce by one-fourth, stirring constantly to keep it from burning. Reduce the heat to medium-low and return the meat to the pan. Cook until the meat has reheated through.
8. To serve, divide the grits between two plates. Top with the meat and spoon some of the sauce over the top of each. Sprinkle scallions over the top. Serve immediately.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

When I Left You I Was But A Learner...

Mr. Scoop would like to apologize to the nice people at the Indian restaurant. However, they kicked us out without letting us explain.

If you roll out a dessert cart, Mr. Scoop has a moral imperative to seize it from the bondage of your waitron, find an aisle on which to give it a running start and then jump on the back of it like a 10 year old with a shopping cart in a parking lot.

He will then then eat the remains of the smashed mocha chip fudge cake, after he and the cake crash together into gooey oneness against the wall. He swears it was what the cake wanted.

Mr. Scoop and his lightsaber are coming over to your restaurant to explain this to you right now.

Just give him some more damn mocha chip fudge cake and he'll stop jumping on your tables demanding a case of Taj Mahal beer and a funnel so he can "balance The Force".

And I'd like an order of Chicken Tikka Masala, while you're at it.

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Everything But The Girl

Caught At The Crossroads Between DNA And Fate, Patrick Kennedy Comes Into His Birthright

Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy crashed his car into a security barrier near the Capitol early yesterday, and officers at the scene suspected that he might have been intoxicated, a police union official said...Kennedy, a six-term congressman, said that Capitol Police officers told him to park his Ford Mustang and drove him home...

Ok, everything but the girl and dumping the car into Poucha Pond like his dad did. But, I give him style points for driving around at night with his headlights off and crashing his Mustang into a police car before finally smashing into the security barrier and then claiming that it was all because of prescription medication (for sleeping and a stomach disorder) that made him think that it was time to head into chambers and vote. About the only way it gets better than that is if he gets out of the car in a wife-beater and bunny slippers. On Cops.

I think they should put Mr. Kennedy's Phenergan/Ambien cocktail in the water in November before the elections. It seems to have induced the spontaneous desire to vote in at least one Democrat. Maybe this is what the party needs to increase turnout.

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