Monday, December 31, 2007

Wishes for a New Year!

With new year's sweaty breath congealing on the back of our collective neck like the residue of forbidden love, I thought I would make a list of wishes and resolutions for 2008. Here goes:

Resolutions for the new year.

1. Utilize out-of-the-box, solution-agnostic thinking toward the exploration of a more synergistic paradigm, codifying best practices, and yielding new-normative results.

2. Convert all of my currency into Euros.

3. Stop it with the cats.

4. Complete more customer response surveys.

5. Lose 145 pounds.

6. Start naming the furniture.

7. Stop when that gets old (next day?)

8. Make more unwise impulse purchases. Brag about them to friends. Become agitated at their non-plussed responses. Return Roombas, stainless steel appliances to Sears.

9. Again, with the cats. Stop.

10. Get on a kick where I'm all into something, tell everyone about it for three months, and then cease all interest in it.

Wishes for the new year.

1. More world peace. Or less world peace. Just some sort of measurable difference in the level of world peace will suffice. I am bored.

2. My very own luck dragon. With eyes that shoot laser beams.

3. That a former nominal television personality will mysteriously die and/or potentially cause mysterious death so that CNN has something pointless to cover for 15 hours a day.

4. For all the camels of the world to become barren. Cause how would you explain that?

5. A new car! Have your dogs spayed or neutered, folks.

6. That, in addition to having mastered the nuanced combination of crunchy, spicy and melty, all in the same food item, Taco Bell would also introduce elements of zesty into their offerings. I would think this could be achieved by the addition of cilantro, but they're the experts.

7. More Nickelback. Oh God yes, more Nickelback. Couldn't do without them. For once, a band that tells it like it is. Keep it up, Nickelback*.

8. That Carlos Mencia and Horatio Sanz would form a comedic duo and tour the country. Onyl because people would hate them in hilarious ways. Seriously, what with the blogosphere, it's almost better for bad things to happen. Not to babies, though.

9. 57 straight-to-DVD movies about the foibles of accidental pregnancy*. Suggested taglines

"She's Pregnant! Now what?"
"A one-night stand. A nine-month problem."
"From the director who brought you a hastily-produced knockoff of Panic Room."
"This is what happened to (Christina Applegate/Alicia Silverstone/Neve Campbell's) career!"

10. Dead serious about the cats.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thursday Musings

Rare musings on Thursday! Grab popcorn! Find room for happiness! Let's roll...

As an American, I find it is helpful to condense the news as it unfolds, particulary when it comes to tricky matters of international policy. As such, I will simply assume that Benazir Bhutto was mauled to death by tigers at a zoo in the midst of a snowstorm.

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It appears my endorsement of John McCain carried some weight with primary voters. Since the endorsement, McCain has surged in the polls, and now sits just 6% behind frontrunner Rudy Giuliani. In related news I will be playing Rosencrantz in an upcoming production of Hamlet.

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My wife and I scored a number of gift certificates for Christmas this year. You know how they say that it's the thought that counts? Well, I admire the person who is thoughtful enough to say to themselves "Kevin is a man who likes to think for himself. I will buy him a gift certificate."

Also, we got approximately $70 worth of coffee. I harbor no ill will toward the beverage, and my wife did vote for John Kerry, but where did that come from? Are we "coffee people" all of a sudden? Is this an intervention by proxy?

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On a related note, who made the rules as to what groceries can be gifts? Sausage and cheese is a gift basket staple. Coffee, cakes, coffee-cakes... All fair game. But buy someone a bag of Tostitos and watch the awkward silence emerge. Apples and oranges are all good, but don't you dare buy me potatoes or yams. Who is making the rules here?

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Since when did it become cool to just have a wedding whenever? We've gone from weekends to Friday nights, to Friday dinner hour... I half expect to get an invitiation to a wedding held at 1:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. Just because it's your special little day doesn't mean you should want everyone to hate you. Just sayin'...

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas tidings from a nominally religious presidential candidate

Hello,

It's that time of year. A time for reindeer and candy canes, when children ride their sleds from the hilltops to the wintery abyss below. It's Christmas, and what better time to address you than right now while I happen to be sitting in front of my seasonally appropriate tree?

This Christmas, I want us all to remember the real reason for the season. Little baby Jesus came to bring peace on earth and to help the "least of these". That's why I am urging congress to pass SCHIP legislation, to provide all the girls and boys with the one Christmas present they so urgently need.

But more than anything, Christmas is about strong families. As a presidential candidate I take for granted the assertion that families are the building block of our democracy. That's why I helped author the stronger families bill, which provides funding to family initatives across the country.

Did I say that Christmas was about families more than anything, thus implying that families are more important than Christ? If so, I misspoke. Nothing is more important than baby Jesus in my life, and I want to make that absolutely clear. I'm probably even a Methodist.

Jesus was a peacemaker. That's why, if elected, I will forge a plan to bring our troops home while maintaining stability in Iraq. That's what Jesus would do. I am the only candidate who cares enough about Jesus to make that happen.

Look at that. Did you notice how my family appeared behind me? Aren't my children robust and healthy? Jesus cared about his family deeply. That is why I am urging Congress to reform the Alternative Minimum Tax, so that middle class families across America can find much needed tax relief in their stocking.

If Christ were to observe the peculiarities in our tax code, he would be overturning the tables. He was consumed with zeal for God's house... And Senate.

So this Christmas, pour a little egg nog, say a prayer for our troops, hug your children a little harder, and remember what matters most. And if you're gay, Jewish, or otherwise different, feel free to visit my special campaign microsite: www.mycandidacy.com/justforyoupeople .

I'm a nominally religious presidential candidate, and I approve this message. So does Jesus.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An interview with Mike Huckabee

Every now and then, my blog affords me the opportunity to interview various newsmakers. Recent polls indicate a strong surge, and perhaps even front-runner status for Mike Huckabee, former pastor and Governor of Arkansas. Without any further adieu, Governor Huckabee, welcome to TPWK.

Gov. Huckabee: Thanks. Beautiful day today. Thank God for this wonderful weather.

TPWK: Yeah, well, if 20 degress and flurries is your thing...

Huckabee: I was just at your church on Sunday. Your pastor says high.

TPWK: My church meets on Friday.

Huckabee: I'm at your church everyday.

TPWK: We meet in an elementary school.

Huckabee: That's beside the point. What I really want to talk about is the importance of religion in American politics, and how all religions are necessary to make the tapestry of life we call America.

TPWK: How magnanimous.

Huckabee: Religion matters, though.

TPWK: Clearly. I think your cell phone is ringing.

Huckabee: Oh, hold on... Hello? Oh, hi, I didn't think you had my number.

TPWK: You're pretending to take a cell phone call from God again, aren't you?

Huckabee: What's that? Oh, he's here... Yeah, but we're all sinners. What's that? You like the blog,, you read it every day, but don't blog about mortgage companies or Nick Coleman anymore. Okay, I'll tell him.

TPWK: This is very condescending.

Huckabee: It's not really God on the phone.

TPWK: Willikers!

Huckabee: It's really Chuck Norris.

TPWK: Well, that's a value add.

Huckabee: I'll put him on speaker. Chuck, say hi to The Problem With Kevin.

Chuck Norris: What the hell is your blog about anyway.

TPWK: Just miscellany, this or that, nothing too important.

Chuck Norris: It's utterly banal.

Huckabee: I think it's funny.

TPWK: So, Chuck, what moved you to endorse Huckabee so early in his campaign?

Chuck Norris: Duh, I'm Chuck friggin' Norris.

Huckabee: He's Chuck friggin' Norris.

TPWK: Clearly. Now, Governor, you have taken some heat in conservative circles for your recent article in Foreign Affairs magazine. Some found it to be lacking in sophistication, while others...

Huckabee: Chuck Norris wrote it.

Chuck Norris: I ghost write and you like it.

TPWK: Right...

Huckabee: ...

Chuck Norris: ...

TPWK: I should probably make a roundhouse kicking joke now.

Chuck Norris: Sure, and why don't you make a Charro joke while you're at it, Captain Relevant.

Huckabee: Now, Chuck.

Chuck Norris: You hackneyed slut.

Huckabee: He meant to say that Jesus loves you.

TPWK: That's all the time that we have. I'd like to thank Mike Huckabee and Chuck Norris for stopping by.

Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks Mike Huckabee.

Chuck Norris: Now I'm president.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Musings

It's Monday. In 15 minutes, I'll be in hell. Let's do this thing.


Joe Lieberman has endorsed John McCain for the presidency. While this is unlikely to enhance his standing among those who are simply going to vote for the candidate who takes the most cell phone calls from God, this should be a clarion call for those who believe this election is about vision and leadership. Lieberman here has expressed a willingness to set aside even ideology in his support of the right man to conduct the war on terror. If Republicans miss their opportunity here, then shame on them.

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My wife received an over-produced holiday card from our local Ford dealership. The card included a "gift" in the form of $10 off their so-called "quick lane" service. Suffice to say, this stretches the definition of the term beyond all meaning. A gift ought not require anything of the recipient.

Rather, this is simply an invitation to purchase more goods and services. We have a term for such a thing. It is a coupon, and we call coupons "coupons" for the precise reason that they are, in fact, coupons, and not at all gifts.

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Had a chance to watch "No Country for Old Men" today. I may review it more fully later in the season, so I am assigning it as homework now. It is simply a masterpiece. Along with "Fargo" and "Blood Simple", it rates as the Coen brothers' best work.

Oh, and there is a new Paul Thomas Anderson film coming out, starring Daniel Day Lewis, based upon the novel "Oil!" by Upton Sinclair. I am as giddy as an ugly schoolgirl castigating her Barbies for their frivolity.

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Yes, yes, I like "The Big Lebowski" and "Raising Arizona" too, calm down. However, I'll not hear defenses of the hyper-indulgent "O Brother Where Art Thou?"

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What the hell ever happened to Bananas in Pajamas? Seemed a pleasant enough concept. Are they available on DVD?

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I'm going to cut this round short. My wife is bussing her way home, and demands further transportation from yours truly. Ah, the life of a female breadwinner.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Top Ten Fridays: Steroids Edition

After Sen. George Mitchells' revelatory pronouncement that certain major league baseball players have used steroids, fans are understandably shocked and betrayed that their favorite athletes are using illegal substances. Naturally, fans will want to vent by way of cleverly dismissive, insulting versions of the athletes names so that they can berate them publicly and privately. For those fans, TPWK is here for you. Here are some samples for this week's top ten.

10. Andy Pesteroids

9. Jason "Steroids" Giambi

8. Jeremy "Steroids" Giambi

7. Steroidsy Sheffield

6. Chuck Knobetrayedourtrustbyusingsteroids

5. Miguel Steroids

4. Roger "Roger Clemens" Clemens

3. Bristeroids Robsteroidsertssteroids

2. Cheating jackass

1. Barry

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Looking for employment

If anybody has some, I'll take it. At present, I don't have it. Long story, which, believe me, I'd love to blog about, cause it's the sort of "this shit only happens to me" stuff that you'll usually find here. However, I'll employ (no pun intended) the more tactful route.

But, in the interim, I would simply ask my readers to employ me.

Not you, Buchanan... First off, I have no experience running a kennel, and neither do I have the desire.... No, I don't think that makes me lazy, and how many people in Nebraska really need a long-term care solution for unorthodox pets? It's sad how irrelevant you have become.

Stop crying, Buchanan. Stop that right now. You deserved that tongue-lashing. Did you just??? Yeah, you just... You just scratched me. That is unbelievable. I am flabberghasted.

But seriously, people. Employ me. I'll sort your CDs or something. How about a cheeseburger? No, sorry, that was too weird. I'm sorry. It's uncomfortable now. I regret saying that. Can we, maybe split the cheeseburger and I'll do your laundry?

How about I fetch a box of Crispix cereal, we'll eat some Crispix together, and I'll vacuum your car.

Why are you all walking away, shaking your heads? I don't see what about this is sad or alienating at all. This is reality. This is the Bush econonmy! I am the credit crunch personified! My demise has a beautiful, almost lyrical quality to it!

........

So, Buchanan, wanna get high?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Musings (B-Day edition!)

It’s my birthday! I am a blogger, nonetheless. Birthday musings it is.


Mike Huckabee is surging in the polls! Are the Republicans really going to nominate a Bush clone (one who draws arbitrary distinctions with Bush at that) who also has a Willie Horton problem? Hillary is clicking her heels… And sharpening her claws.

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Western Michigan socialite, noted guru of all things collectible, and mother of one malcontented blogger, is now, herself, blogging. Specifically, she is photoblogging. Go see. No nudes.

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Saw this headline in the Strib today:

“iPod use caused fatal accident, investigator says”

According to the article, the teenager was driving, using a cell phone, and operating the iPod at the same time. I suppose it would be decidedly un-PC to suggest the title read “Dumbass teenager’s dumbassness results in dead dumbasses,” but… Either way, how does the iPod get the negative pub here? The kid had two hands. It’s just that she chose to operate a motor vehicle with neither one.

But, alas, we’ll be hearing the inevitable calls for taking iPods out of cars… The parents will sue Apple, which is obviously at fault for making such an intuitive music player.

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Mitt Romney gave his “JFK” speech last week, effectively leveraging his religion to stage a press event in order to lecture us on why religion ought not matter. In his defense, Romney cited America’s symphony of religion, prompting NRO’s Mark Hemingway to quip:

“If we have a symphony of faith, I'm not sure I'd want box seats as the Scientologist on the oboe is always a quarter-tone sharp and somebody needs to let militant Islam know that we definitely don't need more cowbell.”

Moreso, I think Romney should just come out and say “look, I am nominally a Mormon, but I could really care less about my faith. It’s not a big part of me life, and I’m as cognizant as anyone that it has it’s loony bits.”

It would be, I suspect, the truth. It would also be more effective than he might think.

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What’s with Colorado and shooting rampages? They should alter their state flag to feature a sad geek in a trenchcoat typing a suicide not onto his MySpace.

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Tragic as the church shootings were, props to the security guard for offing the second guy. WWJD? Beat him to death with his fists, but this was a nice second best. Take that, NT Wright.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I got nothin'

I have nothing left to give you people. At least, not today. So here are some links to my recent reviews of a cappella albums. That's right, I review a cappella albums. I think that's a pretty normal hobby.

So here you go. This is what I call taking my readership for granted.

http://www.rarb.org/reviews/779.html#

http://www.rarb.org/reviews/785.html#

And if you think reviewing a cappella is lame, you should see the angry RESPONSES my review of the latter received on the message board.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

On John McCain

A couple of months ago, I was sitting at a bar with an acquaintance who works in Washington. He was dismissing John McCain’s chances for the presidency. The table was curious, so he elaborated. The story was convoluted, but apparently, on this or that training mission, McCain damaged a plane, and conjured a story to cover it up. In this particular gentleman’s view, this made McCain vulnerable to “swift boating”. For the first time since in this presidential campaign, I felt impassioned, indignant even. But why?

I am by no means a McCain groupie. I thought the 2000 “straight talk express” was about as heaping a pile of smartly effective PR bullshit as had ever been conjured. I found his anti-conservative stance nauseating. Why was he rejecting the very political apparatus that made his candidacy possible? I wasn’t the only conservative making this calculation. McCain became the first of three formidable candidates to lose to the decidedly (and intentionally) non-formidable George W. Bush.

But if there is one aspect of McCain’s life that is beyond reproach, it is his military service. You’ve heard the story, but it bears repeating. McCain entered Vietnam the son of a decorated admiral. After his plane was shot down (breaking several of his limbs), a mob beat McCain (breaking several more) and he was essentially left for dead. Again and again, he refused to meet with anti-war groups, refused to take the leave offered him on account of his birthright.

For more than five years, John McCain suffered myriad indignities, not the least of which were the intentional breaking of more limbs. All on behalf of an “unpopular” war with which the worst generation in American history had grown bored.

My fire was lit, so I interjected. I asked how any sort of Rovian effort (the swift-boating wasn’t Rove’s deal in the first place, but I digress) could call into question McCain’s military service, of all things. The fellow looked at me like he had never been asked that question before. This was his talking point, his incendiary tidbit of “insider” information with which he could impress the otherwise uninterested. He had no response.

See, John McCain did something for this country. Not only that, the thing he did had a tangible impact on the lives of other Americans. He stayed in a POW camp voluntarily. Doing so brought to light the conditions of that camp. He didn't just lay down his lives for others, as his position commanded, he suffered endlessly on their behalf.

And now, McCain has staked his political life on another unpopular war, again actively opposed by the worst generation, only now accompanied by their preachy, unbearable offspring (blogging from the basements owned by the former). While our servicemen risk their lives on the line in a desperate effort to make something of the malignant puzzle that is the Middle East, our college graduates are inspidly shouting “no war for oil!”

Such is the absurdity of the electoral landscape that the latter voice seems to be winning the day.

And so John McCain runs athwart the prevailing political malaise. He was for the war, has long rejected Rumsfeld’s “small army” tactics, and supported the surge. To date, the Iraq narrative has validated McCain’s policy stances. In other words, he has been right all along.

Then there is all the rest. McCain is pro-life. He used his political savvy deliver several circuit court justices (including likely Supreme Court nominee Janice Rogers Brown) by forming the “Gang of 14”. Though decried by Dobson and his band of quixotic absolutists, this compromise laid the groundwork for the confirmations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

Of course, McCain is one of the few who has actually done anything about the larger problem facing Republicans, namely a pork system that led to the scandals that removed them from power. While McCain’s initial overtures represented bad policy (see; McCain-Feingold), they at least represented the wrong solution to the real problem. McCain is sincerely interested in a more sincere Washington.

And that’s just it. There is something in McCain’s own narrative, something in those five years in the “Hanoi Hilton”, that speak to his leadership. His POW status didn’t just happen to him. At any point, he could have had his “do you know who I am?” moment, and ended the misery. The “Straight Talk Express” was the brainchild of an overpaid strategist, but McCain is, nonetheless, a straight talker. If John McCain were a phony, this fact would have been revealed decades ago.

Is his candidacy imperfect? Of course. Does he have impeccable conservative credentials? Nobody knows what that means any more. Is what John McCain wants for this country, ultimately, good? Yes, unless you are very liberal (a cursory glance at his platform answers this question). So let's ask the relevant question. Can he be trusted to do what he says he'll do, or is he a phony?

Make no mistake, we cannot afford a phony. It has been said that this election is about competence. I would argue that it is about focus and integrity, without which competence is merely the efficient execution of the abominable. We cannot afford to swoon over this or that candidate who says this or that about God, or abortion, or who the hell knows. Ideology aside, we need someone who is willing to stake his life, political or otherwise, in the defense of our country.

As such, I cannot come to any other conclusion. TPWK officially endorses Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for the presidency of the United States.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday Musings

It’s Monday, my wife cooked a breakfast with no hog, and I have yet to use my AK, though I do have to go to the Phillips neighborhood today, change in a heartbeat. Let’s roll.


Come to think of it, why didn’t he want hog? I remember hearing that song, then watching Pulp Fiction, where Samuel L. Jackson’s character informs John Travolta that he doesn’t “dig on swine”. Do black people not like bacon, or was there a time in the 1990s when it wasn’t cool for black people to eat bacon? I’m so racist right now. Somebody hold me.

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Good news in Venezuela, at least temporarily. Hugo Chavez’s ambitious plan to become president for life and transform Venezuela into a dictatorship has failed. This in spite of the fact that the government forbade pollsters from publishing unfavorable public opinion data, coordinated a state-funded PR campaign to promote the measure, and even had copies of the new Constitution printed ahead of time.

Make no mistake, Chavez will eventually impose his will on Venezuela. But it appears he will be unable to do so under the guise of Democracy.

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Here is a stupid sentence, from the CNN article…

“In Venezuela, the poor receive free health care and education, much like in Cuba, which is under the rule of Chavez's friend and mentor, President Fidel Castro.”

Yep. Just like Cuba. Not like, for example, America or even Britain, nations that provide not only entitlements but LIBERTIES to the poor. I know, Chavez wants a Cuban-style dictatorship, but had the sentence ended "...much like in America, which is governed by Chavez's longtime opponent, President George W. Bush." It would have been no less true, but practically subversive.

Fortunately, subversive elements remain in Venezuela, and they have won this day.

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Ohio St. vs. LSU for the whole college football enchilada. I am disappointed for this reason. Last week, the powers that be were looking at the very real possibility of a Missouri-West Virginia championship. For the first time, their precious little BCS system would have furnished a result that hit them in the only place that seems to resonate… Their pocketbooks.
Instead, two high-profile, status-quo teams will duke it out in a battle of the status quo. Ad revenues will be generated. We’ll hear the “in the end, the BCS got it right” canard ad infinitum, and everyone will forget that the NCAA sent two mediocre teams to a one-off for the championship.

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On a related note, my old a cappella group is delighted to have been selected to play Eastern Delaware (6-5-1) in the Pannekoeken Bowl on December 28th.

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If anyone is looking to buy a Jaguar, I happen to know a guy.