Monday, November 24, 2008

Busting the LT at the CG

During my sojourn in the Marine Corps, I saw in vivid cammie green the demonstration of many valuable life lessons.

Some of the most valuable lessons concerned leadership, something on which the Marine Corps has always been rather big.

Anyone with military experience has probably at least once per term of enlistment been through the perennially annoying experience of the Commanding General's inspection, abbreviated to "CG."

As the guy who has signed for every rifle, tank, and paper clip in any large military organization, a general (or admiral in the Navy or Coast Guard - the latter being a different version of CG) will therefore - if he has any sense - have every unit and subunit inventory, inspect, and otherwise account for every piece of gear supposedly possessed by them, and by extension, by him, both to verify its existence and good repair, or conversely to identify deficiencies and general tomfoolery on accounting ledgers and unit tables of equipment.

Basically, it means everyone gets, for 3-6 months two or twelve times the attention to everything from their boots and belt buckles to the larger items they own. In my unit, it was trucks and howitzers.

Being artillery, we hauled ourselves and our gear with trucks, which were assigned to individual drivers. People from each section were assigned to help, and the motor pool folks assisted, but the individual truck's equipment, like spare tires, chains, jack, tools, etc. were the responsibility of the individual driver to maintain.

One Axiom of a CG is that "There's never enough time to do it right, but there's always enough time to do it over." Thus, long before the CG and his field-grade minions look over all the personnel and equipment, the regimental commander, battalion commander, company commander, platoon commander, and platoon sergeant will have already had a crack at inspecting it all. Probably three or four.

This is why the process takes weeks and weeks. Which is probably why everything after the second week is intensely resented, especially at the bottom rungs of the rank ladder.

During which time, being the Marines, we went out "to the field" for training with everything previously made immaculate and got it all dirty, muddy, and rusty again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Enter our young lieutenant, first type, one each. 1LT Whatshisname had been momentarily vested with being assigned as the Battery Motor Transport Officer for our happy band of warriors, and was assured in his own mind that this was merely a temporary stopping point for his rise to heights that would make Chesty Puller or George S. Patton green with envy.

Unfortunately, one of his drivers was a career Lance Corporal (with no pretensions or dreams about ever rising above E-3 before returning to the civilian world) who shall remain suitably nameless. I'll call him Lance Corporal Whocares.

Come the 2nd or 3rd round of "junk on a tarp" pre-inspections, LCpl Whocares had laid out his collection of rusty crap reputed to be the equipment for a Truck, 5-ton, Prime Mover, 1 each.
Whereupon, in front of the entire battery, God, and Everybody, 1LT Whatshisname found collections of unattacked rust, mud, crud, small animal parts, and whatnot on LCpl Whocares' tarp.

Axiom Number Two in the military (and everywhere else, if they have any sense at all) is
Praise in public, correct in private.

1LT Whatshisname had evidently been sick that day in Basic School, and never remedied the lack of that lesson. So he began, with increasing fury and personal offense at each new lump of crud, mud, and rust, to berate the young LCpl in a parade ground voice audible for some number of grid squares distant. LCPl Whocares, being a dutiful young ranker, stood there and took it.

The final summation of the inspection was 1LT Whatshisname's solemn promise that LCpl Whocares would do extra duty to get all his gear in shape, and for his previous lack of attention, would suffer a stint of 30 days of mess duty regardless of how little time he had left in the Corps, so help him God, signed 1LT Whatshisname.

Well, LCpl Whocares wasn't a bad Marine, just poorly led. And 1LT Whatshisname - and every other Lt. in the battalion - was about to get the Mother Of All Lessons on how not to be led.

Some number of weeks and further pre-inspections later, we stood out for the CG. LCpl Whocares' previously ratty gear was now immaculate, as multiple re-checks had demonstrated to one and all. 1LT Whatshisname was feeling pretty good about his leadership in this matter.

What he didn't take into account was that berating your juniors publicly for so small a sin was going to come back and bite him in the backside due to any Marine's inate wiliness and skills of adaptation, let alone pure meanness when unfairly provoked.

LCpl Whocares waited until 15 minutes before The Big One, the actual CG, to take all his immaculate truck gear, put it in his car trunk, and pull out his specially collected assemblage of spare chains, jack, tools, and other truck paraphernalia, marinated in sea water and sewage for all the subsequent weeks, and lay it out precisely according to regulations on his truck tarp.

When the full bird colonel in charge of the division's Motor Transportation pools came by with his sergeant major and got to the rusted, smelly, green and orange thing that vaguely resembled a truck safety chain, the fireworks started. And I mean skin-color-changing, full-volume fireworks.

Still being a good Marine, LCpl Whocares took his lumps.
Unfortunately, so too did his officer.
Battery Motor Transport Officer 1LT Whatshisname.
The officer who was supposed to have insured compliance with all applicable Battalion, Regimental, Divisional, and Marine Corps Regulations regarding proper maintenance of truck equipment.

LCpl Whocares, for his sins, got assigned to mess duty to salve the Division Motor T Col.'s apoplectic rage. Which duty LCpl Whocares was going to get handed anyways.

But 1LT Whatshisname got a subsequent Officer Efficiency Evaluation that permanently ended his hopes of further rise in the Marine Corps, and thus any hopes of a career in it. All because he couldn't figure out that chewing out a young Lance Corporal of Marines in front of 200 of his closest friends and buddies probably wasn't the wisest course of action to take to correct a deficiency.

Thus manifested Axiom Number Three:
Men have to be led, not driven like oxen.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas at College

College is obviously a time of learning and serious study.

But studies of primates have repeatedly demonstrated that the higher the intelligence, the greater such a mind finds need for play. Not just because they can, but that the mind needs play breaks in order to maintain its sharpness in the same way the cook's knife needs to be stropped on the steel from time to time in order to carve cleanly.

With that need in mind, and lest these lessons forever fall out of group knowledge, a couple of examples from my earlier visits to the realm of higher education.

Lesson One: Snowman

I attended college in Santa Barbara. Consequently, snow was a rare commodity, and many of my fellow students missed the seasonal joys, such as making snow men. But, clever minds can always find a way through a problem.

First, get the largest envelope you can find. Not a letter envelope, but something more like one of the overnight things used by the USPS or FedEx: large, square, shiny cardboard contraptions. Or at least, the biggest manila envelope you can locate. As long as it's less than 30 inches wide, it will suffice.

In fact, for this reason you can get two or three of them.

Second, you need to locate someone studying. Not studying just anywhere, but studying in their dorm room. This is key. Ideally, they should be 1) alone, and 2) not able to run as fast as you. This point will become clear in a moment.

Third, and probably most important, you need a few bucks cash to buy several cans of men's shaving cream.

Once you've assembled your components, the rest is relatively easy.

You then squirt the contents of the shaving cream can(s) into your envelope(s) until they are full to oozing. Surreptitiously creep to the door of your intended snowman (or snowwoman). Slide the envelope(s) under the edge of their dorm room door - without going past the inner edge, as this will needlessly tip off your prey. This should all be done with the silence of a cat burglar.

Now, with great alarcrity, pound the living daylights out of their door. Do NOT speak. If they call out, merely continue to pound. If you've ever had your door "cop knocked" by the local constables, you know the fervency of door-knocking to which to aspire.

When you can hear them approaching the door, and ideally, before they open it, jump, stomp, or drop heavy books (that aren't yours) on your envelopes.

Now, RUN.

Because your prey is now covered head to toe in shaving cream, which has spewed forth under the door, and sprayed upward and inward with wild abandon.

If you can arrange to have any number of persons handy to record the scene by photo or video for you, and who are innocent of the crime, and thus not likely to be pummelled, so much the better.

The pictures are guaranteed to be hilarious.
And very snowman-like (minus the corncob pipe and two eyes made out of coal).
And the shaving cream cleans rather simply - once it dries, in a day or so.

Obviously, if someone subsequently pounds the daylights out of your dorm room door, DUCK.

And if you try this in reverse, on passersby while you are inside your own dorm room, you're on your own.

Lesson Two: White Christmas

The dorm I lived in had an upright vacuum cleaner for use by residents, and to vacuum the hallways.

However, if you can gain access to someone else's room while they are, say, studying in the library, you too can help them enjoy a snowy day.

First, unscrew the overhead light fixture.

Replace it with a chain pull-operated socket (about $3 at Home Depot) that screws into the fixture, and replaces the bulb.
Do NOT replace the bulb.

Plug the upright vacuum cleaner into this overhead fixture - with the light switch off - after opening/removing the collection bag. Test it to make sure it goes on when the light switch is flicked on.

Place the sucking end of the vacuum into a large box full of flour. Two bags are better than one. Point the vacuum's exhaust outlet as you see fit.

Optional: plug in a tape player cued to the opening words of "White Christmas," such that flicking the light switch turns on the vacuum and the tape simultaneously.

Lastly, if there is a hallway light, unscrew it, to make the room even darker. Do not attempt this trick in daylight hours. Duh.

Await your mark's return.

They will typically open their door, flick on the light, and hear "VRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"
Sometimes, they will do this two or three times. It's far funnier if they also hear Bing Crosby crooning "White Christmas," of course, but that may not always be possible.

3-5 seconds, let alone 10-20, from most decent vacuums, will cover everything in a 15x15 room with a thick layer of flour powder. And I mean everything.

Which they will discover, once they turn off the overhead switch, and blindly stagger to a desk lamp or what not.

Merry Christmas.

And may all your Christmases be white.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


From my prior post, please don't think I'm biased. I like cats too. Especially with mustard and relish. (Just a little humor to torque off any PETA freaks.)

Seriously, I do like cats, and have owned a number of them. They're neater, more self-sufficient, and generally quieter and less bother than dogs.

But there are two types of cats: Your own cats. And those other blasted furry terrorists.

I was studying for finals one night. Long enough ago that the statute of limitations applies. It was about 3 AM, with me earnestly reviewing vital material, when one of the local feline lotharios decided he was in the mood, and a serenade was in order.

I'm not some puritanical prude, and feel perfectly alright about Mr. Tom finding an amenable partner where and as he may do so. I even support his right to free speech to advertise his availability.

But after an hour's enlightened outlook upon his incessant offers from a thoroughly uninterested neighborhood, and much studying yet to be done, it was time to explain the facts of life to this particular tomcat.

Unfortunately for him, he was on my street. A block north, east, or west, and he could have paraded indefinitely without incurring any of my ire. But my south windows and balcony all faced his chosen cruising territory.

Also, it was his bad luck to be white. Not caucasian, but rather, that particular shade of dirty white-furred beast that shows up handily under moonlight and streetlamps.

Strike three was my possession of a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun (without a compass on the stock or a thing which tells time, for any fans of A Christmas Story out there).

For the unitiated, the Daisy BB gun is a work of civilized art at its pinnacle. It's quiet, it's simple to operate, fairly accurate, and rather benign. By which, I mean to explain that there was no danger of killing Mr. Tom in using it to dissuade him from his amorous prowlings, due to its low power and poor penetration.

To be fair, it stings like a son-of-a-. You certainly wouldn't want to get shot in the eye or anything equally foolish. But a smack in the gluteus makes a bee sting feel like a lover's kiss.

At any rate, three strikes and Mr. Tom's out. It was time to regain the solitude of my studies.
I crept out onto the patio, and searched for my quarry. More bad juju for Tom: he was just across the street, coming right up to a conveniently lit streetlamp, and well within my weapon's range and estimable personal marksmanship skills.

One flick of the lever, then carefully sighting in like a Force Recon sniper on my little dirty white prey, and I was poised to let fly.


If you've seen the "Bring Out Your Dead" scene in Monty Python and the Quest For The Holy Grail, I observe firsthand that a thwacked tomcat, when hit in the rear haunch, makes exactly the same noise as the cat in the movie. EXACTLY.

This one also ran back about 10 feet, then stopped, turned, and licked furiously at the mysterious affliction to his hindquarter.

Then resumed his quest for a girlfriend. Ah, the power of biology.


I re-cocked, and re-laid the front sight on the same eastern end of the westbound tomcat.


Exuent Tom Cat, stopping occasionally to lick the same pained haunch, who then continues at a high rate of speed down the street, around the corner, and off to a happier singles' scene than under my window.

And, for the "Awwwwwwww!" crowd, he left in full possession and use of all limbs, little the worse for wear. And in all honesty, he was out of water balloon range anyway.

I got an A on the final.

And if it makes anyone feel better, in my anatomy class we had to dissect a cat. I was not only a vegetarian by choice for the duration of that semester, but my assigned victim was a black and white tuxedo tomcat, the penance for which dissection moved me to find and adopt not one but two such tuxedo cats as kittens for some 12 years until their deaths as suitably aged and happy housepets. Fred and Ginger were definitely the best cats that ever were.

(Not least of which because they didn't howl all night long.)

Barking Mad

I don't dislike dogs, but I've never owned one, and was not raised with one as a family pet.

Frankly, I see this as no fault, much as I admire such loyal and faithful companions.

Why can best be explained by a lesson in my formative years. It was a balmy Southern California evening, with nothing much on TV, and little constructive I felt like doing.

What follows may help to explain the ancient Greek adage: "Beat your child once a week. Even if you don't know why you're doing it, he will."

I went and found my baby brother (who stopped being my little brother long about 4th grade, when he began to outgrow me) and we headed out to the back yard. Then we climbed up the barred window of my father's workshop, and onto the garage roof. It was the one place where we knew no adult would ever be, and our parents had long since stopped trying to keep us off of it, usually warning us only to avoid falling off and killing ourselves.

This night, it was a stage. Because we had cats, whereas nearly every other neighbor had dogs. I'd never been to their houses or yards, but I knew this was so.

I demonstrated this contention to my baby brother thusly:
"Watch this."

Whereupon I began, rather convincingly, to bark, yap, and woof. Like some scrappy mutt, I kept at it, growling, barking, and generally annoying the bejeezus out of the neighbor's two hounds. So they started barking back at me.

BB thought this was cool, but I was just getting started.

Walking to the opposite corner of the roof, I barked some more. In no time, I had the other neighbor's faithful yard patrol barking back at me.

I barked more. Louder. More frequently. Soon the dogs beyond each neighbors' house began barking back, which only intensified the dogs nearest us. I continued.

In a matter of 2-3 minutes, I'd succeeded in getting every dog in a 20-house radius to bark their fool heads off, each in turn aggravating their fellows all the more.

Then, I stopped, sat down, and basked in the cacophony of canine commotion I had ignited.
It was raucous, terrible, horrible, and glorious. It completely drowned out my laughter and that of my brother.

In another eternal 2 minutes of howling madness, porch lights began snapping on, spreading down the block like ripples on a pond, and owners' voices could be heard shushing, yelling, and berating their pets roundly and scathingly.

The din ebbed, and I immediately began egging them on, quickly rousing one and all to full voice once again.

Porch lights snapped back on, and now owners could be seen and heard going out and corraling their animals.

At this point, exuent myself and my padawan brother, having successfully killed almost 15 minutes at no cost to ourselves, with a form of entertainment whose price was above rubies, as we returned inside the only house in the neighborhood shrouded in a cocoon of blissful peace.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Community Policing

It was a Saturday afternoon in spring, late but still daylight outside, and the usual sports fare on the tube.


From just outside the street-level living room window. Probably one of the two college-age romeos who lives upstairs, playing slap and tickle with one of their parade of girlfriends.


Hmmm. This sounds more serious. I suppose I'd better go and have a look.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Troglodyte, First Class. Not 20 feet from my doorstep, sitting on something (someone) in the adjoining thick ivy. I can tell it's a someone because her legs and shoes are sticking out behind him.

Troggy, in fact, has his left hand pressed down about where her mouth would be, and his right is fiddling with his zipper and undercarriage. I stare in open-mouthed astonishment as he momentarily lifts his left hand to get a better grip on his trousers.


A bloody rapist! In broad daylight! On my freakin' doorstep!
Enough of this nonsense, time to step in.

I reach behind the door. Because I usually kept there a M1903A3 Springfield rifle, loaded with 5 rounds of .30-06, with 16 inches of well-honed bayonet attached. (Marines do stuff like this.)

Except, drat, dang, coal-burning tarnation, it isn't there. The then wife-unit has decided the closet is a better place for it. 30 feet and two rooms away. Lightspeed, to the bedroom I go.

Still can't find the thing. But right handy, God bless my baby brother, is his recent birthday gift unto me:
An old-timey, double-barreled 12 ga. shotgun, complete with external hammers and twin triggers. I grab it, and a handful of shells, and load it, double-timing back to the front door in the process.

I yell to wife in the kitchen that calling 911 would probably be a great idea, snap the loaded weapon shut, and step out to face the hopefully still-present miscreant.

Oh yeah, still there, in all his glory. Legs underneath still kicking. Observing him to be of hispanic lineage, I yell both "Stop!" and "Alto!" in my best parade-ground voice. In the background, I can hear wife giving particulars to the LAPD dispatcher.

Mr. Troglodyte doesn't appear to be paying any attention to me, so I repeat myself, and hear my voice echo clear down the street. And so help me, it is basso, not scaredy-cat falsetto. I would have obeyed me, by thunder. But my voice is curiously muffled and far-away.

I see Trog's left hand come up, middle finger extended, and he's about halfmast to flipping me the bird. When he swivels his beady little would-be-rapist eyes towards the sound of my voice.
And sees me standing there in the offhand position. Looking over both 12 ga. barrels, steady as a rock. Pointed at his head.

I should note that at this time, I am viewing the world through the equivalent of a loooong, dark tunnel. Imagine poking the bottom out of two sno-cones and strapping them over your face. I am told this is common in life-or-death situations. In this case, his death, come the moment.

Realization dawns on him. I can tell this, because his eyes get as big as dinner plates. His jaw drops. He stands as if on marionette strings. His prey wriggles free and runs further down the street.

I can't shoot the SOB because she's behind him. So are the apartments and houses on the street.
&@*^! He closes his piehole, and zippers his fly in one move. And begins walking towards me, towards the open end of the cul-de-sac. Which means he has to pass right under my step. Except as he gets closer, he siddles off to the side of the parkway.
I'm the only thing between this jerk and my wife. Please, give me a reason, dirtbag.
But he doesn't. Won't even look at me as he passes 4' from the muzzles aimed at him. And continues off up the street, and at a much accelerated pace.

Son of a turd's going to get away?!?
Then I notice that this whole time, I'm barefoot.
I decide to pursue, but I need shoes. I grab them and shuffle into them in a flash, and get outside just in time to see Troglodyte turn the corner and head southward. In a flash, I run outside, 12 ga. in hand, start my waiting curbside Jeep SUV, and haul after him. I get to the corner in time to see him duck into the neighboring apartment megaplex. He's gone in 60 seconds; probably lives there. Hundreds of units. I've been in there before.

Tragically thwarted, I return to the scene. Dusk is settling. It turns out the victim was the sister of a neighbor, she fresh up from Mexico. She speaks no English, but through her brother, my heretofore unknown neighbor two doors down, she tells us that she noticed Trog follow her out of the laundromat 2 blocks away. She walked fast, he walked faster. She ran, he ran. I note that they had to pass dozens of layabouts on the cross street who watched the entire tableau, and did nothing, not even follow to watch. Dropping the laundry, she'd almost made it home when he'd tackled her in the ivy in front of my bedroom window.

He hadn't done anything but scare her, and try to hush her, when I happened along. I lived in a 40-unit apartment building, most of which faced the street in question. Across the street were 10 houses, all facing the incident. On a Saturday afternoon, with everyone home.

No one else came out to help, at any time.

Relieved and thankful that his sister was safe, my neighbor thanked me profusely as they returned home. After I helped them retrieve the dropped laundry.

Ten minutes later, a lone LAPD cruiser approached the intersection a block from the scene.
True to LAPD form, they didn't even get out of the car.
I practically had to threaten bodily harm to get them to take and put out a mere suspect description on the radio.

{Thanks for nothing, you worthless wankers. You thoroughly deserve all the thanks you don't get in that town, and twice the derision you do get.}

After LAPD's sterling service, I took it upon myself to take flashlight and suitable small arms, and survey my apartment's laundry rooms, and outside areas, before retiring to TV land.

I lived in that neighborhood for 5 years, in a building equal parts black, white, oriental, and hispanic, and never had so much as a hubcap molested after that incident.

I thought nothing of it, until some years later, one night I and a couple of neighborhood kids from the houses across the street were heading towards the sounds of fire engines around the corner to see the commotion. One of them asked me "Aren't you the guy who went after that rapist with a shotgun?"

"Uhh, yeah, that was me. You must have been in grade school then. How do you know about it?"

"Oh, my dad told me all about it."

His dad, for the record, was a stranger to me from that day to this.
But you never know what your neighbors will notice.

And to this day I regret the lack of the Springfield, which would have enabled me to drill him on the scene without any worry of damage to victim or bystanders, or even better, to be able to pin Mr. Troglodyte Rapist to a convenient tree via the pig-sticker bayonet, in order to have him on hand to turn over to the proper authorities, screaming and whining.

And had he given me cause, I'd have ventilated him with the 12 ga. with the flick of a finger. But I'm glad - really, truly glad - it never came to that. His underwear cleaning bill was hopefully punishment enough. The incident doubtless convinced him to seek greener pastures. And perhaps, just perhaps, he adopted a more suitable, and hopefully law-abiding, occupation.

Bring up the subject of gun control with me. I dare you.

Impala tsunami

It never rains in California, except when it pours. For days.

During one of those interminable bouts of November downpour, one of my best high school friends came over, and off we went in search of mischief. This is what juvenile semi-delinquents, and most other teenagers, do when faced with the prospect of a boring Saturday.

We left in my friend's venerable old Imapala station wagon, late 60s model IIRC, a testimony to the true utility of a V8 engine and 4000 pounds of steel. It was a gloomy day, but not raining as much at the moment, and so we went out and about to look for something to truly put the Impala through its paces. A wet empty lot to do spin outs, or such like.

As fate would have it, we were cruising along a main boulevard when I, riding shotgun, spied two kids up a side street, probably about 10 years old, out walking in the momentarily halted drizzle of the day.

Two things sealed their fate:
The side of the street they were on had water up to the curb.
They were approaching a 200' stretch of sidewalk next to a brick wall with no exit.

With the reflexes of Richard Petty, my friend downshifted, slowed, pulled a 180 and then a quick left, and pulled over to the right curb to await our quarry enterring the trap. Lions in Africa aren't this cunning, or half as ruthless.

In a matter of seconds, our two oblivious pigeons toddled, bundled up as best as their moms would allow, from coats to rubber boots, into the kill zone half a block in front of us.

As they approached the midpoint, we tightened out seatbelts, and I turned to my friend and said "Ramming speed!"

He gunned the engine, and 400+ cubic inches of Detroit powerplant went from a gentle purr to a roaring din.

Halfway to our target, physics took over. The sound waves reached the prey. They were on the left side of the street, but no matter. Laws are for other people. My friend swerved across the narrow sidestreet, and put his left side tires right in the gutter mere inches from the curb.

We hit the puddled gutter water with a thump, and immediately, a left-side bow wave 8 feet high began to WHOOSH up, across the sidewalk, and into the cinderblock wall.

Realization dawned on our two pigeons. It was comedy gold. One of them, certainly the fat one, pivoted like a ballerina, and began to waddle as fast as his little legs could carry him to the end of the brick wall. It was pathetic, and utterly hilarious, because a cursory glance at our inexorable progress showed he never had a chance of escape. But at least the little guy was game, and not going down laying there.

His partner, probably the smarter of the two, just stood there. He'd done the math, and realized his fate. No way forward, and too far back, he watched the tsunami approach him, water arcing like snow from a snowblower, his little lower lip in a fatalistic pout, his eyes big as salad plates, and his feet rooted to the spot. Looking daggers at us, and utterly bereft of mortal hope he awaited his certain doom.

He was hosed in a split second, water pouring into every crevice of his clothes from head to toe.

Fatso was just ahead, mere seconds from a chance at freedom to the left, when the wave hit him too. Water pummeled his body and head, and knocked him sideways. He stumbled, bounced off the bricks, and slid to a stop in the muddy grass of the parkway, 10 yards short of his goal.

As the sight of two very soggy 10 year olds screaming every shrill curse they could muster receded into our rear view mirrors, we motored off into the grey oblivion, having meted out the day's dose of Fate to the unwary, and our hearts were glad.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Over It

I'm early for this one.

I swore I'd tell stories until I ran out of them before I turned my attentions to either politics or religion.

But my respite from blogging them has been due to a deserved funk and recuperation from last weeks' electoral temper tantrum. I'm better now, and completely over it.

A few observations:

1) John McCain, despite sterling service to his country in wartime Vietnam, and despite unquestionably bearing a great love for his country, is an unmitigated catastrophe as anything other than comedy relief for serious politicians. He is what you get when you magnify the prejudices of a small, under-populated state, and add in the residue of 20 years of incumbency to calcify his petty conceits about his own wisdom and judgement.

One would have thought that his rabid opposition to every commonsense proposal (and, broken-clock fashion, the occasional opposition to actual lunacy) would have demonstrated his manifest unfitness for candidacy beyond the vistas of Phoenix AZ.

The GOP will now pay for that lack of perception.

2) The other dwarves were even worse. The only two to have any pretensions of being conservative were Fred Thompson and Tom Tancredo, and both were starved of light and oxygen so quickly they won't even make the trivia files in 20 years.

They also showed the spines of jellyfish come the battle, so good riddance to them.

3) Barack Obama has been best described as a pig in a poke. Bereft of agricultural idiom, his fanbase is about to find out what that means, in real terms.

He is an unredeemed socialist with delusions of competence, and he's about to fail spectacularly in a way that will warm the heart of Jimmy Carter. Carter is about to rise in standings of the worst presidents of all time, chiefly because of Barack Obama. And in Plains, GA that has to be the best one can hope for. First Clinton, and now this rube.

In his favor, he ran a far less inept campaign than the idiots on McCain's side (which makes one wonder how incompetent you had to be for the other GOP nominees to lose to McCain's bumblers), and truly, Obama was a far more palatable, even adorable, candidate than either Gore or Kerry.

But then, he'd have to be.

In truth, that bar is so low that the comparison shorts Obama unfairly.

4) Hillary Clinton will not (probably ever) be president.
Cue Handel's Hallelujah Chorus please, loudly.

Further expansion on this is superfluous.

5) Dubbya:
Most despised of presidents, only partially due to the media drumbeat for 8 years, but overarchingly, due to your incredible mediocrity in a job that demands so much more than you ever had to offer. Return to your ranch in Crawford, and the eternal ignominy you so richly deserve, with all appropriate haste.

If life were fair, you'd have been born in the 1800s, and served as a Whig.

6) The Democrats are now without excuse. The last Congress, bigger do-nothings by far than any in remembered history, are about to share the center stage one.
No excuses.
No ideas.
No policies.

And when the euphoria wears off, and Emperor Obama I struts naked onto Pennsylvania Avenue, with your sycophantic cheering ringing in his ears, some little boy is going to shout out "He's not wearing any clothes!"

And then the fun will begin.

7) The GOP.
May flames consume thee, and leave nothing but gold in the place where for 20 years you've venerated dross.
Return to the policies of limited government and fiscal stinginess which gave you birth, while maintaining all that is good, and true, and decent in America here and abroad.

You sold that birthright for a mess of pork.

In due time, the country will see the wisdom of those ways, and that remnant who never left the true path should be there waiting to step in, brimming with not just policy, but with vision, and the right spokesmen to share it with America.

Rid yourselves of the half-hearted, the weak, the lame, the stuttering, and the lying posers who have pretended to be of you, and flattered both you and themselves that they were of you, but who have been found wanting.

This president doesn't rule, he governs, and he has but a short time. In 18 months (incredibly, a shorter span than the current campaign season lasted) his time will begin to eclipse, and it isn't likely he'll have anything worthwhile to show for it.

To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail, come that day.