Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"I do not think you know what those words mean"

"My name is Brando Montoya. You coopted some of my favorite songs. Prepare to die."

Blue Girl hipped me to this.

The National Review, the place where conservatives who aren't smart enough for business or politics find work, picked their Top 50 "conservative" rock songs. (Don't fear the linkage-- it goes to the New York Times.)

So you're probably thinking that the top 10 are all Ted Nugent and Sammy Haggar songs, right? Oh, my sweet, deluded, liberal child, think again...

1. "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who
2. "Taxman" by The Beatles
3. "Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones

Here is the actual logic for #3:

The devil is a tempter who leans hard on moral relativism — he will try to make you think that "every cop is a criminal / And all the sinners saints." What's more, he is the sinister inspiration for the cruelties of Bolshevism: "I stuck around St. Petersburg / When I saw it was a time for a change / Killed the czar and his ministers / Anastasia screamed in vain."
Just before my head explodes from cognitive dissonance, Skynnard's "Sweet Home Ala-awful Fucking Song" and the Beach Boys appear next, which briefly reduces my cranial swelling. Even U2's "Gloria" is not a shocker at #6 -- I will let them coopt U2's Christian rock if it means keeping Stryper off of any list.

But then #7 and #8 hit like a pair of roundhouse kicks to each cultural testicle:

7. "Revolution" by The Beatles
8. "Bodies" by The are-you-freaking-kidding-me Sex Pistols

What else shows up? How about "Rock the Casbah" as the best Middle East air sortie song evar? Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla" as an anti-environmental anthem? Or "Who'll Stop the Rain" from Creedence Clearwater Revival, with this explanation:

Written as an anti—Vietnam War song, this tune nevertheless is pessimistic about activism and takes a dim view of both Communism and liberalism: "Five—year plans and new deals, wrapped in golden chains . . ."

Yes, and "Fortunate Son" is all about how it's okay to support a war without fighting in it.

The most frightening thing is that this is all done with a straight face. The members of the most respected conservative publication (pause for laughter) seriously think Joe Strummer was on their side. I mean, what's next? Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade" as a pro-Wall Street song? Ministry's "Stigmata" as an homage to St. Francis of Assisi and Catholicism? Maybe they should ask Neil Young for permission to use "Keep on Rocking in the Free World" at the next Republican National Convention. Cause one thing you can't do if you're not free is rock! Jeb could even revive the "thousand points of light" platform.

The one good thing about all of this: after reading the lyric excerpts and snake-swallowing-its-tail circular logic, I understand the push to invade Iraq much more clearly than before. "See this, these three lines say 'Saddam may have WMD.' It's like this report is speaking to me, man! Gimme another hit."

You know who I really pity? The Nuge. 50 chances to score, and the bow-hunting, jerky-making, flag-humping Motor City Blandman can't beat out After the Fire (!) and The Scorpions' "Winds of Change," a song so bad it made East Germany long for Der Kommissars to ban rock and roll again.

I guess this means if Condi winds up running for president, we won't hear "Wang Dang Sweet Poon Tang" at her rallies.

P.S. Lance Mannion has some good thoughts about how conservatives can't even interpret the Beach Boys properly.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Top Ten Tuesdays: What advice are we giving graduates?

10) Make sure you take the fries out of the oil as soon as the bell dings

9) Cheaters never prosper except in sports, business, and the arts

8) Go forth and enlist

7) Get that rash looked at before your student health coverage runs out

6) You can’t really appreciate the cradle of civilization until you call an air strike on it

5) Gunga galunga, gunga-gunga lagunga

4) When delivering anti-American tirades into your cell phones, please speak slowly and clearly

3) Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, but drunk and stupid is good enough for the White House

2) Remember: every song you download for free makes Baby Jesus cry

1) When you have thousands of voting-age Americans trapped in a room for hours, always remind them you’re running for office

Monday, May 22, 2006

Top Ten Tuesdays: What are we putting in our PowerPoint presentations?*

10) A wealth of sentence fragments, improper punctuation, and typos to inspire the sales force

9) Venn diagram displaying suspected movers of our cheese

8) Clip art of a chainsaw-wielding stick figure decapitating someone putting clip art in their PowerPoint presentation

7) An inspirational quote from Death of a Salesman

6) Storyboards for the new ad campaign showing Paris Hilton giving birth to a tasty Carl’s Jr. burger

5) MP3 of “Take This Job and Shove It” along with a scan of our winning lottery ticket

4) Plenty of bullets, fired through the projection screen

3) Detailization of the strategic strategies that will enable us to proactively take the initiative toward realization of sales goals re: revenue production per remaining operational in the marketplace

2) Pixilated image of two sets of tassled loafers facing each other in the men’s room stall with the caption, “How Bob really got his promotion”

1) A Photoshoped Dilbert cartoon containing our suicide note

*In honor of my all-day PowerPoint training session tomorrow.

Caught red Lohan-ded

Hi, my name is Brando, and I'm a dirty old man.

I don't know how this happened, but I do know when: during the opening minutes of Lost in Translation, when the camera pans over the moon peeking from between the clouds of Scarlett Johansen's underwear.

Shortly thereafter, she was on the cover of Esquire in a pose that almost made me drop the magazine. Now, I had seen her in Ghost World, and I knew she was young, but I figured she was probably around 25. Lo and behold, I turned to her interview, and the writer noted that it was six weeks before her 20th birthday. That made me drop the magazine. I think I let out an Ignatious Reilly-esque, "Oh my God!"

That was child's play, though, compared to the dark, dirty, icky sin of Lindsay Lohan. At least Johansson looks older, can act, and isn't one-step away from dancing around a pole. Bear in mind that I wasn't happy with the Lohan crush—which developed after seeing Mean Girls—and I was desperately seeking a cure.

Well, the ever-clever TLB found a way to cure me: The Libido Trap. Head over and see what she did, especially with the second picture she links to. Let me tell you, I am free of The Lohan.

But not Scarlett. I don't give a damn if I was 28 when she made The Horse Whisperer. I can't quit her.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

TLB in the NYT

When we moved to Iowa five years ago, we left our dashing urbanite lifestyle behind so that The Lovely Becky could hone her fiction writing and publish a novel--a lifelong dream of hers. Seeing her book reviewed in the New York Times Sunday Book Review was part of that dream.

Today, that dream is a reality. The NYT reviewed Icebergs, giving her a full-page review.

The review is mixed, but it said a lot of nice things about the book. The reviewer is dead wrong about her prose. Like Big-Pussy-Swimming-With-the-Fishes dead wrong. (That joke will make more sense if you see who reviewed the book.) But just getting reviewed in the Sunday Book Review is a big triumph, a sign that you have been recognized as a serious writer by the literary community. That alone has made our journey to America's Heartland worthwhile.

And it's been quite a journey. In March of 2001, we lived in Chicago. I was happy--I had a good job at an ad agency, I liked living in the city, and we had an awesome condo we had just bought in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. TLB, though, was really not happy. She had been writing fiction since she was a little girl, but felt that she had hit a wall of sorts, that she needed to make a much fuller commitment to writing if she was going to publish. She wanted to take the next step, to study in an MFA program.

When you want to study fiction, the Iowa Writer's Workshop is the place to be. I won't get into the merits or demerits of the Workshop, but at the very least, it provides students with two years to devote to the art of writing fiction. Of course, it's ridiculously hard to get into, and TLB applied thinking she would never be accepted.

Truth be told, I wasn't expecting it either. Not that I didn't think she was talented enough. But when a program gets 700-800 applicants per year and admits 25 people or so, a lot of very talented folks will get left out. After all, they rejected me twice. I know, hard to believe, but true.

So, in March 2001, several months after she submitted her application, TLB and I are vactioning in Rome. A routine check of messages at home uncovers a voice mail from the Writer's Workshop. They need to talk to TLB. Due to the time difference, we must sleep before talking to them.

--What could it be? TLB asks

--Well, I'm sure they don't call people to tell them they didn't get in.

--Oh my God, do you think...?

The truth is, I do. I know right then that she has gotten in. But it is best to not jump to conclusions, so I say that they could be calling if something was missing from her application or for some other reason. Best to not get ahead of ourselves blah blah blah.

The phone call the next morning confirmed what I knew--that my wife is one talented lady and that I am going to need to sell my condo, find a new job, and figure out what the hell a Hawkeye is. In one of the less proud moments of my life, I whined and moaned a bit over all of this for a few weeks, despite being very happy for my wife. I knew the experience would be good for Becky, but would it be worth it?

The answer is yes, and has been yes since before she even sold her novel. It's been a great experience here, and the review today just validates that we made the right choice. As do the rave reviews she got from the Chicago Tribune (home cookin' is always the best) and Nancy Pearl, the Goddess of Librarians who reviews books on NPR.

So if you're looking for a book that opens with a bang (literally) and then pulls you in with a deeply moving, emotional storyline spanning several decades, buy Icebergs today on Amazon or at your favorite bookstore. You'll be happy you did, just like I'm happy that we turned our lives upside down to chase a dream.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Top Ten Thursdays: Why Do We Wish We Were in Canada Instead of the US, Eh?

10) The Canadian Supreme Court approves of sex outside of the missionary position

9) Their Border patrol says, “please,” before conducting body cavity searches

8) Their Sin City only has the good kind of whacking

8) Kids in the Hall reruns crush the heads of new Saturday Night Live episodes

7) The metric system makes gas seem lots cheaper and speed limits way faster

6) Canadian Idol auditions involve 20-minute sci-fi dystopias with complex time changes

5) Domestic violence is swiftly punished with a trip to the penalty box

4) Even though many Canadians don’t agree with Ann Coulter’s beliefs, they politely respect her wish to become a woman

3) When having improper relations with an intern, you can use Cuban cigars

2) Trailer Park Boys refers to a TV show, not the Republican voting base

1) No Cheney

P.S. I'm definitely asking for asylum if Jeb wins in 2008.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Used-Car-Program-Related Activities

I'm off to Michigan (where The Lovely Becky is on a panel at the Ann Arbor Book Festival) and then onward to Windsor (where I will smoke Cubans and drink with TLB's awesome Canadian relatives). I may be able to squeeze in a Top Ten if they have the Internets in Canada, but otherwise the jerking will be taking a breather until later next week.

My recent purchase of a new used car* (to replace the tornado-totalled one) and the WMD shenannigans with Iran reminded me of the following, a piece I wrote in spring 2004 that later became my first blog post, back when I was posting at a blog called Jane's Calamity and CJSD was just a twinkle in my eye. I thought it would be fun to resurrect it.

*purchased from my father who, while a staunch Republican, always cuts me a great deal.


--Hello, sir, I’m George. How can I help you?

--I'm looking for a new car.

--This is the used car lot. See, says so right up there.

--No, I meant I’m looking to purchase a car. A used car. I’m under a very tight deadline, and I have very little money to spend.

--Oh, well, then you’ve come to the right place....


--Hans. Nice name. Nice German name.

--I’m Swedish.

-- I love your meatballs!

--Um, thank you. Now, about this car....

--This one is one-of-a-kind, Hans.

--It’s a Datsun.

--Yes, but they don’t make these anymore, Hans.

--Why not? Is something wrong with it?

--No, no, of course not. In fact, this one was owned by a little old lady. Myrtle Jenkins. She cried when she had to sell it, Hans, that’s how much she loved this car.


--Yes, she was nearing the end of her life. She had seen her father go off to a world war. Her husband fought in the next world war. She sent her son off to the jungles of southeast Asia. And her grandson....

-- Why did she sell the car again?

--She couldn’t afford to keep it, Hans. See, Myrtle lives on social security. Unfortunately, that didn’t provide her as much money as she banked on. Not as much, certainly, if Myrtle had been able to control how her social security was invested through private investments.

--I see. But it’s in good shape?

--Hans, a pessimist would say this car is in good shape. A pessimist. I would say this car is in phenomonable shape. Probably better shape than you or I, even though I’m a jogger. You jog, Hans?

--No. It does seem to be well maintained.

--Phenomonable, Hans. It’s met all of the state's minimum safety requirements.

--That price almost seems too good to be true. Safety is very important to me, George. And this car is a bit...


--...old. I’m worried about its safety features. Does it have anti-lock brakes?

--Hans, it has something better than anti-lock brakes. Neo-anti-lock brakes. With traditional anti-lock brakes, what controls the braking? A machine, a computer chip. Now let me ask you a question. Are you smarter than a computer chip?

--Yes of course, but—

--Exactly. No little piece of silicon can out-think the ol’ human noodle that God has blessed each of us with. But a while ago a bunch of liberal engineers decided to take braking out of your hands, Hans, and put that life-and-death decision into a chip. These neo-anti-lock brakes restore your power to choose when to pump your brakes. If they lock up, then you decide whether or not to take your foot off and pump. You remain in control during the whole decision process, Hans, not the little computer chip.

--Well, I don’t know....

--Hans, how do you like the sound of “free CD player”?

--Okay, you have a deal.


--Hello, can I help you?

--Hi, George, remember me?

--Franz, right?


--Right, from Sweeden. Love those meatballs!

--I’m not...never mind. Look, it’s about that free CD player.

--Nice, isn’t it? Much better sound than those old records. That’s the beauty of progress.

--Yes, well, George, the problem is I can’t enjoy that crystal clear sound without speakers.

--I see. The best suggestion I can make would be to purchase speakers, then have them installed. That should solve your problem.

--Yes, but I think you should do that.

--I don’t follow you, Hans.

--Well, you deceived me about the speakers. When you said, “free CD player,” I interpreted that as “a CD player that plays through the car's speakers.”

--Hans, correct me if I’m wrong, but I didn’t say, “free CD player that will play through the car’s speakers.” All I offered was the free CD player.

--Yes, but, who in their right mind would offer a free CD player without something to play it through?

--You seemed to think it was a great offer, Hans.

--But you told me the speakers were there, George. Remember? You pointed to the speaker covers in the back and in the door and said I would be “blown away” when I heard the CD player through those. But when there was no sound and I checked under the covers, it looked like the speakers were removed quite some time ago.

--Hans, I’m sorry. I assumed those speakers were there. I see speaker covers, I assume there are speakers underneath. All the information I was given suggested that there was a high probability that those speakers would be found where one would expect to find those speakers on this model of car.

--Just put the speakers in.

--Sure thing, Hans. Again, I repeat to you, the capacity to have a good owner’s manual means that a car salesmen can make good calls about the features of the car. So please don’t tell my manager.



--Hans! Good to see you. How’s the Toyota?

--Datsun, you lying sack of—

--Whoah, buddy, let’s simmer down.

--Simmer? Is that a joke, George? Because my Datsun is simmering at the junkyard now. It caught on fire.


--Remember the gas smell I asked about? You said it was because the Datsun used a high efficiency engine that actually recycled some of the gas.

--I don’t recall saying that exactly....

--It turns out it smelled like gas because it was leaking gas. The insurance inspector said there were holes in the fuel line. How the hell can a car meet “the state’s minimum safety requirements” when there are holes in the fuel line?

--That sounds like a question for the state. I am as shocked as you are, Hans. It sounds like we were both lied to.

--I want to see the inspection records.

--Okay, okay. I have them in my files. Let me see...yes, right here.

--What’s this big smudge? There’s eighteen months of inspection records I can’t read.

--Well, I’ll be. I don’t know how that got there. But see that signature at the bottom? That’s from the state inspector. He wouldn’t sign that if the car wasn’t safe. Wouldn’t be much of a safety inspector, would he?

--George, I swear, if you’re lying...

--Hey, Hans, we’re friends. There’s no need for that kind of hate speech. Tell you what, I’m going to get you another car, okay, and I’m only going to charge you...I can’t even say it out loud, because I’ll get in trouble with my manager. That’s how good of a deal I’ll make. I’ll even throw in those speakers I was supposed to install. Now, you look like a Yugo man to me.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Armistead Maupin's Tales of the Site Meter

Like a lot of bloggers, I am fascinated by my Site Meter. There's the inexplicable numbers fascination part: how many people came by today? It's inexplicable because whether 5 people or 5,000 show up, I am not any richer or wiser or more endowed (could you imagine the traffic stuffing that a Site-Meter-enabled penis enlargement would produce?).

The more fascinating part to me is who stops by. Some I know, some are what Blue Girl calls imaginary friends, but there are also a lot of folks who come by and see the blog who I may never have had any contact with. I especially enjoy the thought of someone I don't know in some far away place reading the blog and laughing (or, if they are from the Vice President's office, preparing to expose my secret identity).

The most amusing entertainment of Site Meter comes from the search results. What are people looking for when they wind up here, a site that is neither about gay sex nor country dancing? As you can probably imagine, when you have a blog with Circle Jerk in the title, you get plenty of amusing hits from search terms like circle jerk, co-ed circle jerk, two males jerking each other (that was one from today), and married guy circle jerk (did I leave a window open?).

Before today, the most odd and unsettling episode of Tales of the Site Meter was "Sammy and Elijah." I wrote a sketch called Jehovah's Witness Protection Program that had two characters with those names. I started getting hits from searches for "Sammy and Elijah." Naïve boy that I am, I assumed there was probably some religious context for those names that I didn't know about. I googled the term, and wound up on a gay sex site dedicated to two young men named Sammy and Elijah. From the 1.7 seconds I spent looking at the site, they also looked like borderline NAMBLA bait. I slammed the browser in reverse and got the hell out of there. The last thing I need is to pull a Pete Townshend and have to explain to the FBI that I was "researching" my Site Meter hits.

But today, I saw the best search term I have seen to date, the (literal) royal flush of search words: peanut looking chunks in my feces.

That's the Site Meter equivalent of Michael Jordan hitting the game-winner over Bryon Russell during the 1998 NBA finals. I almost think I should quit looking at the search hits, because everything else will be like Jordan coming back to play for the Washington Wizards.

The worst part is, I want to know the rest of the story. Was it a hit from sub-fetish too freakish for even Dan Savage? Was it a dire, extra-crunchy-Skippy-related medical emergency? And was "peanut looking" supposed to be hyphenated, or was the Peanut the subject and doing the looking?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the real beauty of Site Meter. You get just enough info to write your own story. It's Mad Libs, Choose Your Own Adventure, and an endless Dickensian serial drama all rolled into one. Only with peanut feces and group groping included.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Top Ten Tuesdays: What changes will we be making at the CIA?

Special extended confirmation fight edition!

12) Removing the “para” from “paramilitary.”

11) Taking Jack Bauer seriously when he tells us there's something fishy going on at the airport.

10) Relocating prisoners from secret overseas prisons to American prison system, where no one will pay attention to them.

9) Mandating that all martinis be stirred, not shaken.

8) Settling disagreements with the Defense Intelligence Agency in a winner-take-all steel cage match with Rummy.

7) Keeping that Negroponte from getting too uppity.

6) Switching to Verizon for all secret wiretapping.

5) Reducing operational overhead by starting new “authorize one assassination, get the next one free” policy.

4) Improving readability of the President’s Daily Brief by changing it to a picture-based format.

3) Banning use of Magic 8-ball when writing National Intelligence Estimates.

2) Activating special 2008 election mind-control program, The Frist Supremacy.

1) Respecting the rights of sovereign nations, even when we disagree with them...just kidding, we’re going to ask Pat Robertson which world leaders God says have to go.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Why I will probably not be featured on Taxicab Confessions anytime soon

Driving back to Iowa from Nashville this weekend, my lovely wife and I passed the Leviathan-sized giant cross of Effingham, Illinois. Or, as I would dub it if I lived there, the "effing gianormous cross of Effingham."

"Jesus Christ," B said when she saw it.

"Exactly," I said.

Soon after basking in this multi-storied Christian grandeur, we saw a sign for a Bible Factory Outlet store. That prompted this conversation:

Me: "What the hell do you sell at a Bible Factory Outlet store?"

B: "Beats me. Maybe used Bibles?"

Me: "Hmm... that could be cool. What if you could buy Bibles that were used in an exorcism?"

B: "No one would want something like that."

Me: "Are you kidding? I would totally buy a Bible that had been used to cast out demons."

B: "No one normal would want something like that."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Dude, that was my skull!

Pop quiz: what does this picture show:

a) Verizon's new "Dude, can you hear how high I am now?" campaign
b) A new PSA, "Friends don't let friends doobage dial."
c) A still from the set of the new movie, Harold and Kumar Go to a Phish Concert
d) The annual spring barbecue at Matthew McConaughey's house
e) 21st century police work at the Colorado University Smoke-In?

The answer is e, and Trevor Jackson over at Creekside Review has all the dope and links to some really, really funny pictures.

Plus, for those of you indie rock lovin' hipster doofuses (or is it doofi?), Trevor also puts up a monthly mix of great tunes to download, including The April Mix. Find an up-and-coming band you can love before they get all popular and you have to disown them.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Top Ten Tuesdays: How are we going to deal with Iran?

Special expanded options on the table edition!

12) Storm their embassy and take some hostages

11) Tell them in no uncertain terms that if they don’t stop enriching uranium, we’re uncertain what we’ll do

10) Convey the dangers of developing nuclear power by screening director’s cut of Silkwood

9) Grant all 12 million illegal immigrants citizenship, then immediately draft them into an invading army

8) Convince Iran they should unite with the Bush Administration against their common enemy, liberals

7) Incite a pro-Western cultural revolution by opening a Tehran Hooters

6) Activate OPERATION: YOINK where two disguised CIA spies point to the horizon, say, "Hey, is that the Prophet Mohammed?", and steal all the centrifuges when the Iranians look away

5) Check the Book of Revelations for our next move

4) Decide the issue once and for all by asking President Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to appear on special nuclear weapons edition of Deal or No Deal.

3) Open up the football and press the red button with the "Ayatollah Assaholla" sticker on it

2) Air-drop special Delta Force division of Jehovah's Witnesses to covertly convert country to Christianity

1) Beg them to overthrow our democratically elected government, please!

Monday, May 01, 2006

It's nice to know that after one year of jerking, Powerline is still the worst blog on the Internet

It was one year ago today yesterday that I started this blog as a way to procrastinate on writing a novel share the comedy routines I was telling the pigeons at the park. I started with Quentin Tarantino's Julius Caesar and things went steadily downhill from there.

I appreciate everyone who comes by and checks out the blog, including the people I know who have to read it so they can answer my weekly, drunkenly slurred quizzes ("What kinds of animal is Bush using to eat the Mexicans? Answer me!"), and the folks I've met virtually who also keep some awesome blogs themselves. I also have to give special nods to Michael Schaub at Bookslut and Ginmar for driving all kinds of traffic my way.

What's in store for Circle Jerk at the Square Dance II: Electric Boogaloo? Besides lots of breakdancing? Well, hopefully more regular blogging, assuming no goddamned tornadoes hit my house again. There's plenty more where Cheney Devours Puppy came from.

I also have to thank the right wing for giving me so much to work with, and as if on cue, Powerline once again delivers my punchlines on a silver platter. Over the weekend, John MoonrakerHinderaker, aka Der Rocket im Hiney, wrote this ditty about Steven Colbert's appearance at the White House Correspondent's dinner. I decided to funny it up a bit by channeling the spirit of Bob Dole:

The annual White House Correspondents' Dinner is always a news story of sorts. This time, there was buzz about the fact that Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame would be there. They did indeed show up, but didn't seem to figure in any news. Commentary this year focused on the comedy: President Bush showed up with a look-alike version of himself who uttered the President's real thoughts while Bush stuck to the platitudes. The routine, which was funny, was well received.

The big news story was that the featured comedian, someone named Steve Colbert, apparently bombed. He did a virulently anti-Bush routine that got few laughs. Hot Air has good footage of both routines; you can judge for yourself who was funnier.

John Hinderaker wasn't surprised by this, inasmuch as John Hinderaker had never heard of Steve Colbert, and it's been a long time since John Hinderaker heard a political humorist who was very funny. Comedians, in general, don't seem very funny to John Hinderaker nowadays. For that matter, neither does politics. If you want to take a break from current events and remind yourself what it was like when comedians had no agenda other than being funny, check out this clip from the Jack Benny (ed: Jack Benny! Sweet fancy Moses!) show on Power Line Video.

And conservatives wonder why Hollywood doesn't market to them...

Daily Kos posted the Colbert transcript (thanks Grendel), and I can see why someone lodged with room-temperature IQ minority that approves of the President would not be happy with Colbert's truthinees. For instance, here was one of Colbert's jokes:
In fact, Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, welcome. Your great country makes our Happy Meals possible. I said it's a celebration. I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.

I guess Hinderaker was expecting more Joy Luck Club than Friar's Club. He's just lucky Jeffrey Ross (scroll down) wasn't there, otherwise he might have heard: "Condoleeza Rice? I wouldn't shoot her in the face with Dick Cheney's colostomy bag."

Here's to another year of conservative cluelessness. Without it, I'd be making comedy bricks without straw.