Saturday, December 22, 2012

Can't Wait for Tomorrow to End, part II OR, It's OK, There's Enough Whipped Cream Left.

Well, we have survived.  Minor damage to the premesis, all repairable with a vacuum cleaner. 

The End began yesterday.  Just like a Hollywood disaster movie, the cataclysm started on the other end of the neighborhood and rolled this direction.  Wind was displaced.  Clanging sounds were heard.  Dogs barked.  Fence posts rattled.  Trees bent and debris stirred along the streets.

Then they arrived, each one carrying packs of mischief draped from their 11-year-old frames.  You've heard of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, these were the Seven Packmules of Judgment.  The single most prevalent item in these bags of terror were Airsoft pellets.  A Homeland Security warning was put out against such items; still, they found their way through security.  Preppers, every last one of 'em.  One even conveyed his private stash of Wavy Lays - now that's survivalism.

I thought we had dodged the worst of it for most of the evening.  Our stockpile held out.  The toilet didn't clog, although it appeared that one or two of the survivors made an unauthorized discharge of their poop chute in the executive washroom.  But then, the unexpected.  The Birthday Boy came screaming into headquarters that toilet paper was being flung at our walls.  Upon inspection, a small gang of 6th grade females were seen fleeing in terror, their efforts completely busted.  Some still carried the rolls in their hands; caught brown-handed, I guess you could say.  Others stared, frozen.  One was so bewildered that her shoes flew off.

Our only female, a 9-year-old, who was part of our group was seized with panic and excitement.  She grabbed a broom and held it high against the assault team of other girls.  "Let's get this party started!" she declared, shaking her hips.

Eventually, the zombies were chased off.  Shoes were returned.  The 911 call was rescinded.  The National Guard stood down.  Quiet was rediscovered.  The leadership of the band of survivors prepared for rest.

Then the giant 14-year-old arrived, having temporarily joined another camp.  He trudged into headquarters and collapsed on to the carpet.  "Dad, you're carpet's so comfortable..." and trailed off to sleep.  Not wanting to awake the monster, I left him as I was when I retired.  Lights out, however, I could not fall asleep in spite of my exhaustion.  His zombie force wheezed in and out of his greasy mouth and nose, making a maddening guttural sound.  I decided I had to risk it.  I gently roused the beast and directed him to the light, down the hall where other creatures of the night had gathered.  There were no repercussions, fortunately.

The next thing I remember was looking at the clock and seeing 6 am.  The sounds across the premesis were identical to those I heard the last time I saw the clock, when it read 11:42.  I gave them an hour, and just as I predicted, Birthday Boy came in and asked when the pancakes would be ready.  There was no, "I can't believe we survived the End of the World, Dad, I love you.  Thanks for giving me NCAA 2013; we're gonna make it through this 'cause we're men."  There was only, "Don't worry we have enough whip cream left for breakfast, so get up and start cooking."

Normalcy had returned.  I have lived to tell this.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Can't Wait for Tomorrow to End, part I

It's finally here!  The end of the world!  Tomorrow, the foundation of my house will be shaken by 6th graders observing the birthday of one of their number.  Added to the doom will be a giant, trudging 14-year-old capable of spewing attitude from his nostrils, and (more to the others) a pestilential little sister.  I intend to survive this cataclysm by first hurling my stockpile of Newman's Own marinara at this horde.  Then I will retreat to my bunker where everything I need to survive is in abundance:  LOTR and Star Wars on Spotify, Sir Walter Raleigh in a pouch, and images of the patron saint of all good Calvinists who find themselves surrounded by struggle and conflict, Stonewall Jackson.

But in all seriousness, the question we should be asking as the world ends is not, Why God? but, Why can't I stop watching it?  If the world is ending, why aren't I running my middle-aged buns off in the opposite direction?  Why have I chosen to embrace it?  Why am I rubbernecking at it as if Elvis just had a car wreck?

Why can't I turn off Fox News as they blather on about the fiscal cliff, which we were never going to avoid?  Why do I keep wanting to strain apart the bewildering debate over the awful situation of a week ago, when there is no law that could have stopped it, nor will there ever be one to prevent a worse one from occuring?  Why do I keep wanting to pour out my own bowls of judgment on every one who practices Islam and hates America?  Why am I anxiously awaiting news that yet another celebrity or acquaintance or friend has crossed that last river this year?  Why this gallows humor?

I think the answer has something to do with a secret desire that the world really would end.  There, I admitted it!  I am honest, while everyone else is just whistling in the Walmart aisle.

Bring it on!  Apocalypse, you've messed with the wrong Yankee-educated Redneck.

That's all I've got for now.  Tune in tomorrow, and I'll let you know what I saw when the world ended.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

All I Want for Christmas is a Creative Republican

Republicans have once again been steamrolled on messaging.  The Obama Administration and the Democrats have sold the American public on returning to the Clinton-modified fiscal policies of the 1960s.  For a party that ridiculed President Regan for his nostalgic rhetoric about America's past, the Democrats' crowing on about the good ol'days of LBJ-Clinton tax-and-spend policies is nauseatingly hypocritical.  But to give the devil and his demons their due, the White House has successfully undermined the concern of the fiscal cliff and is now preparing the country for the good things that will happen once the rich start paying their fair share.

The President's finesse on the debate has been aided by an inability of the taxpaying public to understand what will happen.  We will arrive at the fiscal cliff on January 1, we will feel the bump underneath our tires and we will keep going.  It won't be until April 15, 2014 when we will all have to file at higher marginal rates along with reduced child tax credits, among other things, that we will wonder why there's no road beneath us.  Until then, our vehicles will look like those wide shots of a stunt vehicle flying off a California ledge in slow motion.  Obama is betting that to most Americans, paying a little more in marginal rates will be no different than paying a little more at the gas pump.

But what America and even many Republicans are failing to understand is that when federal revenues go full tilt starting next year, the expected contraction of the already anemic U.S. economy will be by design.  Liberal economists want there to be a shrink to what they in their Bolshevik mentality see as a bourgeois "market culture run amok" (to borrow a phrase Newsweek once used to describe the 80s).  It's the perfect storm - the Hurricane Sandy -- of central planning:  prevent retailers from expanding so that consumers will quit being victimized, Chinese manufacturers will quit stealing our jobs, food processors will quit selling high fructose corn syrup, developers will quit getting rich, land will quit getting paved, cars won't have to drive as far to the mall and the environment will be protected.  In the minds of liberal economists, they will kill multiple birds with one stone.  They will one day congratulate themselves on getting the 47% to pay more (even though health care subsidies will go to them through the back door).

Any idea of growing the economy is irrelevant to these apparatchniks.  It was during the election and during O's first term.  And, so-called sustainable growth is viewed cyncially.  Socialists believe that spending is always a given, that there will always be a baseline for private sector sales and the funds they transfer up the line to CEOs.  They believe that corporations should retain most of the capital in an economy in an effort to control and minimize risk and waste -- venture capital they think should be coming to them and their efforts to control the unemployed through the welfare state.  The horror of this situation is that innovation is choked.  Warren Buffett, George Lucas, Craig Jelinek and everyone else who writes big checks to the DNC would be nowhere without the radical tax and spending changes of the 80s and 90s executed by Republicans.  Paul Krugman recently hummed about how we now have better food than the Twinkie to get us through a 50s and 60s-style "fair" economy; where does he think our better food today came from?!?!

Which brings us back to where we conservatives have failed, why our message is weak and simply not being heard.  We can't blame the news media - Fox News has made it their mission to hype up the fiscal cliff, but the number one news broadcaster is not breaking through.  The failure came in September 2008 when John McCain waffled on his opposition to the bank bailouts.  He had a chance, right after the GOP convention, to make himself look different than the status quo.  Republicans in the House were backing him up.  He buckled, along with a host of GOP Senators.  Yes, there would have been serious economic consequences to allowing those banks to fail, but probably no worse than what has happened anyway.  But more importantly, it would have defined the GOP as NOT the puppet of the rich, even if McCain would have lost.  This label is what has wiped out our mainstream appeal.  Attempting to fill the vacuum is the TEA Party, but their acerbic amateurism has only made Republicans more off-putting.

As a result, no one is listening to us anymore.  Even when Senator McConnell put revenue increases on the table, the Obama Administration yawned and polished up their golf balls.  The President believes that the rejection of Romney last month signaled a clear rejection of the economics which turned our nation around three decades ago.  I think he believes correctly.  I want a creative Republican for Christmas.