Before I delve back into the muck of Americana on which this House typically focuses, I apologize for the innocuous, last-minute absence of yours truly from these pages. My hiatus was an impromptu reaction to a number of things: an excess of stress derived from work, a dearth of worthy topics on which to contemplate and wax both poetic and profane, a complete and utter disgust over the recent play of the New York Yankees, a malaise in part contributed to by the immense and repulsive heat and humidity pervasive throughout the entire northeast, and, finally, the fact that I just didn't feel like comin' in. So kiss my bubinga.
Good...now, then, we can resume festivities.
There's not much on today's agenda so for those of you whose lips are wet with anticipation, don't ring Pavlov's dinner bell just yet. There are a mere three topics on which I have intended to focus, and none of them are particularly important, relevant or interesting.
The first flavor of the day is, of course, the news about the Space Shuttle Discovery. I certainly commend the bravery, ability and courage of the crew -- fixing, mid-mission, glitches with the shuttle's hardware -- yet the question on my (and apparently a lot of other peoples' minds) is who in charge at Nasa decided to send up the flying Oldsmobuick with parts missing, stuff leaking and the insulating foam -- the stuff that kinda put a wrinkle in the LAST shuttle mission -- up into space in the first place? What the hell kind of program -- space program, cafeteria lunch program, TV program -- goes ahead with a life-and-death mission, knowing the same problems occurring now wound up killing seven people that went up during the last mission? And who the hell builds the shuttle that it keeps having problems? GM? Sorry, with the chance to burn up during re-entry, I'll pass on the NASA Employee Discount and opt for a nice, safe BMW M6. I've always wanted to fly, but if you can't build it better, I'll stick to flying with four wheels on the ground. There's less debris/litter, it can make pitstops, and I can always swing by the Wendy's Drive-Thru ("Eat great, even late," you gluttonous lolly-gagger) if I need some grub.
So I commend the bravery of the astronauts on the current mission -- doing 7 g's in a tin can of nuts and bolts made by people who couldn't assemble a Lego 12-piece set is mighty courageous indeed.
Next up on the BoogieBlotter is a story out of New York suggesting that the July 7th bombings in London were a result of terrorists using common household items as explosives rather than high-grade stuff like Semtex, C4 and dynamite. There's no question that there are chemicals under the world's collective sink that will go boom when mixed together -- new parents have been using those little plastic childproofing things to stop kids from finding this out first-hand -- and there will always be available to people (see "evil-doers") things which they can corrupt so as to aid in making their sick, twisted thoughts reality. But rather than outlaw toilet bowl cleaner and facial astringent, here's a thought: catch the assholes responsible for committing these acts and not SC Johnson & Wax. As far as I'm concerned, police and security people searching supermarket aisles for bad stuff are barking up the wrong tree: as a society, we need to focus on finding and isolating people that don't want to ascribe to the notions of peace, respect of life and freedom. Some of you might disagree and suggest that we as a society are somehow to blame, ie that the war in Iraq -- which apparently encouraged the July 7th bombers, aka copy-cat nitwits, to perform this act in the first place -- was the cause of their unhappiness. Well, here's a newsflash -- if the Western foreign policy is to blame, and if every move those countries make outside their four walls is going to be scrutinized by Islamic fundamentalists everywhere, then we should close down Israel, hang a little "Going Out of Business" sign out front, and call it a day. If those anti-Iraq war advocates believe it's more important to cow or appease the extremists of the world, then go practice and profess your beliefs in the Middle East or in Southeast Asia. The extremist position is not to engage a political, non-violent debate -- their position is to convince as many people as possible that cutting off the heads of innocent civilians, bombing places of worship (both churches and mosques) and killing women and children is somehow mandated, if not okayed by their religious beliefs. Bullshit on all accounts. These are animals who have taken a religion -- a relatively law- and humanity-respecting system of beliefs -- and corrupted it. Granted, Islam is a religion as tied to the sword as it is to the Koran -- but nowhere does it legitimately suggest that civilians and its own people can be sacrificed. And that's what it is: sacrifice. So, while those opposed to the war in Iraq have their own thoughts on the war, they should avoid at all costs the notion that the West should somehow alter its policies as a result of the chagrin of four imbeciles and what they're planning with their backpacks.
Speaking of imbeciles, news out of the sporting world is that Rafael Palmeiro, a journeyman DH/1B playing this season for the Baltimore Orioles, tested positive for the steroid stanozolol, which, for those who know, is pretty powerful. Mr. Palmeiro not only testified -- emphatically -- to Congress that he never took steroids, he also very recently reached a milestone of getting his 3,000th major league hit. Unfortunately for him, his accomplishments this season, as well as all those before this one, will be forever tainted. The almost comical aspect of the Rafael Palmeiro story -- the antithesis of the pathetic fact that this jerk knowingly, despite his assertions to the contrary, took illegal, performance-enhancing drugs -- is that he also did an ad for Viagra, another (legal) performance-enhancing drug. So between testifying (and perjuring himself) to Congress, collecting a pretty significant milestone on the playing field, and being revealed as a cheater and a liar, Mr. Palmeiro has had quite a season. But now, keeping in mind that taking steroids shrinks (and eventually destroys) the testicles (among other things), it's no wonder that Mr. Palmeiro takes the little blue pill. It all seemingly makes sense now.
I can sense a new Viagra marketing campaign taking shape. Open with a shot of an afternoon baseball game, from a distance...then the voice-over asks: "Feeling a little underpowered and overwhelmed by major-league pitchers and their bevy of fastballs, curve balls and high-n-tight sliders? Take some of this stuff." Cut to the bedroom, a couple sitting side-by-side, she resembling a porno star, he with a sheepish, embarassed look on his face. "Feeling a little underpowered and overwhelmed by major-league groupies in bars and hotels, with their ample cleavage, stilettos and suitcases of B&D equipment? Take some of this."
Three hours later, cut to the couple engaged in vigorous sexual activity, with the male wearing batting gloves, turning to the camera with gleam in his eye: "Thank you, Viagra!!!"
I'm gonna be rich. Either that, or sick.