Friday, April 04, 2008

I see you are familiar with the falling-down-on-the-floor ploy.

Happy Friday! Here's the second chapter of my murder mystery--

Chapter Two: Death Punches Back on the Clock

Homicide Detective Sean O’Hallahan was staring at the weirdest crime scene he’d ever seen.

An hour ago he was blissfully asleep. He’d been enjoying a particularly pleasurable dream in which Katherine McPhee was feeding him grapes when his ringing cell phone rudely dragged him into consciousness. The last thing he remembered thinking to himself as he watched McPhee fade out of his vision was “what kind of idiot has a job which would call you at three in the morning?”

He was that idiot.

What made it even worse is that it couldn’t have been the desk sergeant or dispatch but had to be Captain Chancey himself on the other end of the line. Captain Chancey only had one mode of communicating: yelling. He yelled at his boss. He yelled at his subordinates. He yelled at his wife, kids and goldfish. Now he was yelling at O’Hallahan.

“I need you to get your ass out to the Ponderosa estate!” he screamed. “Dead heiress. You're up!”

“Who tagged it homicide?” O’Hallahan asked.

“McGrue,” replied Chancey. “Now get your ass down there now!”

O’Hallahan sighed. Officer Mike McGrue was actually nicknamed “Officer Magoo” by the rest of the cops. He was unquestionably the worst policeman on the force. Magoo was notorious for an off-duty incident in which he completed a personal deposit during an armed bank robbery without noticing anything irregular, least of all the three guys waving Uzis around the place. It was only when he walked out the front door and into a ring of squad cars and shotguns pointed at him that he realized something wasn’t quite right.

Now Magoo was the reason O’Hallahan was standing in an enormous foyer staring at this bizarre death scene and wishing he was still in bed. There was no justice in the world.

By the looks of things Mrs. Ponderosa had taken quite a fall down the bulk of the long stairway and landed squarely on top of the baby grand piano at the foot of the stairs. The impact of her fall had crushed the piano with the piano returning the favor.

O’Hallahan couldn’t help but darkly observe that with her large polka-dotted feet sticking out of the wrecked piano it reminded him of the Wizard of Oz only this time the Wicked Witch of the East fell on Dorothy’s house and not the other way around.

The bespectacled officer Magoo was on the other of the piano standing next to a statue of Venus. O’Hallahan wondered if Magoo didn’t realize it wasn’t real and was trying to chat her up. Might as well get this over with. He shambled over to Magoo.

“Mike,” muttered O’Hallahan. “Whataya got?”

Magoo snapped to attention, startled. “Just a second, baby,” he whispered to the statue. He grabbed O’Hallahan’s arm and led him closer to the body of dumpy heiress.

“Notice anything funny about the belt?” he asked O’Hallahan.

O’Hallahan immediately felt himself turning red. He knew it. He’d been dragged down here in the middle of the night for some bullshit reason. Of course this was lost on Magoo, who continued babbling out his theory.

“The belt. It’s a Sashay but the print is all wrong,” said Magoo. “They don’t do a zebra-skin.”

O’Hallahan realized there was a whole hell of a lot he didn’t know about Magoo and for that he was thankful.

“Not only that, but check out the flange on the buckle. It’s aluminum, which is ridiculous on this style, and it’s been bent.”

O’Hallahan looked closely at the belt. He may not understand fashion as well as Magoo but he did get an "A" in metal shop in high school. Sure enough the buckle was discolored and bent in an unnatural fashion.

“Are you saying somebody tampered with her belt?” O’Hallahan asked.

Magoo was triumphant. “That’s exactly what I’m saying. This woman was murdered.”

It dawned on O’Hallahan as he watched Magoo move back over to the statue of Venus and sheepishly put his arm around it that, for the first time in his career as a police officer, Magoo may actually be right about something.

Charisma Ponderosa, heiress to the Ponderosa Kitty Litter Corporation fortune, had been murdered.

Chapter One: Charisma Hits the Dance Floor.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Hey, maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events, but we just got our asses kicked, pal!

One of my favorite lines the last couple of months as the issue of gender has entered the presidential primary is to say we'd have a woman as president right now if congress did their damn jobs. I firmly believe this to be true. If congress was following their own constitutionally mandated role of oversight of the Executive Branch then I have no doubt that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would currently be working in the Oval Office.

The immediate reaction of realists when they consider that statement is to dismiss it outright. Simple math makes the idea that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney could be impeached and removed from office absurd. In the first place- the numbers aren't there for a conviction in the Senate. The whole thing would be an exercise in futility from the start.

It seems to me that this unfortunate reaction to my oft-repeated quip that if congress was doing their job Pelosi would be the president is based on the idea that I am attacking our Democratic leadership in congress in making that statement. In fact - I'm only partly attacking our Democratic leadership. I'm also attacking every other warm body in a suit on capitol hill, Democrats and Republicans, who refuse to accept their constitutionally mandated role in our federal government. Those that put the needs of their party or, more often, their own political careers ahead of the need of their country.

It also seems to me that the assertion of powerlessness of congressional Democrats in the face of a slim majority in the Senate as an excuse (and let's be honest an excuse is exactly what it is) towards inaction is also a tacit admission of the of the real problem facing us. Think about the above calculation on conviction and see if you can determine anything other than our leaders will not push for impeachment because, regardless of evidence, facts or public sentiment, Senate Republicans (and Lieberman) will vote in a block against conviction. Recognition of this reality may be rational, but acceptance of it is as a simple fact of life is beyond absurd.

This collective acquiescence to the true partisans in our government is what drives progressives like myself absolutely nuts. For over thirty years now we've watched as Democrats have continued to meet vicious attacks from Republicans by effectively rolling over and tucking their tail between their legs. We've watched as our constitution was subverted through Iran Contra or abused as it was through the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton. Probably the worst thing we've had to endure is to watch that constitution be simply ignored as this President used a horrible tragedy as an excuse to consolidate power in the Executive not granted to it under our constitutional framework. Again and again our elected representatives in congress refused to acknowledge what they're we're up against.

I would ask the realists to consider this mathematical formulation: 61-39. That is the absolute minimum margin the next Democratic president will have to have in the Senate in order to get anything done. It doesn't matter if it's president Clinton II or Obama. NOTHING of any consequence will make it through the Senate without a Democratic majority of at least 61 Senators. Not health care reform. Not tax reform. Certainly not any progressive Supreme Court Judges. Republican Senators will block it all. They'll do it because they can.

God forbid the Democrats don't lose the House and/ or Senate while a Democratic president is in office, because that day in January that they swear that new congress in will be the day impeachment proceedings begin against that man or woman. They'll do it because they can.

Because they can. Because Democrats don't fight. Because Democrats continue to try and get along with these people or meet them half-way when all they'd rather do to the Democrats in return is put 'em in a bus and drive 'em off a cliff.

I understand the question of what impeachment would accomplish (and it it's really a moot question this late in Bush's term.) My honest answer is that I just don't know.

But I also know what NOT impeaching Bush has gotten us. Not to mention NOT forcing Senators to filibuster or NOT using the congressional powers of Inherent Contempt to really bring the hammer down on John Bolton and Harriet Meiers and a whole list of powers inherent to, but unused by, congressional Democrats which are too numerous to list here. It hasn't led to victory, legislative success or even compromise. It's led to one big GOP middle-finger in our direction.

If we're truly serious about the kind of country we want this to be then we need to bend that finger back until in breaks.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

You're gonna eat lightnin' and you're gonna crap thunder!

Tooling around the net yesterday made me feel a little silly with my lame attempt at an April Fool's joke. At least I wasn't the only one taking a stab at it. There were a ton of sites that tried throwing their readers for a loop. Most of the stuff was lamer than mine so I got that going for me. It wasn't a good day on the interwebs.

Some of the stuff on my mind and in no particular order-

At Swinebread's suggestion I just finished reading Alan Moore's "The Watchmen." Better late than never, eh? It's an amazingly layered piece of art that really transcends it's genre. Perhaps "transcends" isn't the right word. It elevates it's genre and shows what's possible.

I am concerned that there's so damn much there it may be unfilmable but, like Swinebread, I'm now excited to find out. If it's successful it might kill superhero movies for a while. There's going to be no way the other that's come out will be able to match the psychological depth of the characters in this story.

Jess Wundrun won a story contest where she's going to get to go to California and eat at that "Hell's Kitchen" guy's restaurant. If you haven't read her story it's pretty good. It's sort of Michael Jackson meets Martha Stewart.

I'm not sure Hillary Clinton picked the best metaphor for her campaign with "Rocky." If you remember the end of the original movie you'll know what I'm talking about.

Oh, and Mash did a nice tribute to journalist Dith Pran who died this week. I had a pretty right wing buddy in high school that was always dragging me to movies like "Invasion America USA" and "Red Dawn." He took me to see the "Killing Fields" and it really had a profound effect on my thinking about governments and totalitarianism. Pran was a very brave soul.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

And don't anyone say 'April Fools' again or I'll rip them apart!

This certainly comes as no surprise.

Although I assumed that Laura would at least wait until she was out of office to leave president Cuckoo Bananas. It's only a few more months.

I guess the big louse really is impossible to live with. Couldn't happen to a nicer couple.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Intuitive improvisation is the secret of genius.

Today's the birthday of one of our greatest Americans: Christopher Walken. Thanks for all the yuks, Chris.

I think I've posted this video before but I don't care. Nothing says "Walken" like him dancing through a posh hotel to a Fatboy Slim song.