God knows, there sure as hell was enough weird shit that went down!
We Ohioans went ahead and gave our governor a ticket to Washington, even after those troubling allegations of money-laundering surfaced on Election Eve. And the handful of us who actually made it to the polls voted to let the state's Great White Hunters keep on killing the hapless mourning dove--a sorry development that has turned one of its best-known advocates, Columbus' zookeeper-cum-TV-personality Jack Hanna, into something of a pariah.
New York voters drummed Howard Stern's man, "Mean Al" DiAmato, out of the Senate, at long last--one of several Republican losses that led to the long-overdue resignation of House Speaker "Nasty Newt" Gingrich. And Minnesotans ushered an ex-wrassler, of all people, into the state's highest office.
Now, in the wake of Jesse "The Body" Ventura's surprising victory, his former ring rival Hulk Hogan is threatening to run for president.
The Hulkster certainly couldn't be much worse than our current commander-in-chief, who finally settled up with the woman whose charge of sexual harassment has brought him to the brink of impeachment.
President Pinocchio agreed to pay Paula Jones a whopping $850,000--nearly half of which will come from the insurance company that holds his personal liability policy, and the balance from his Legal Expense Trust--to make that pesky lawsuit go away.
Without admitting guilt, you understand.
But I can't get into any of that stuff now, because something far more important has come up.
I'm referring, of course, to what our hype-crazed news media has taken to calling--with the requisite logos and suitably ominous theme music to introduce each night's reports from the front--"Crisis in the Gulf," "Showdown in Iraq," and the like.
Once again, the draft-dodger who now finds himself, ironically, in the position of this country's commander-in-chief is hell-bent on challenging the Middle East meanie his predecessor characterized as "worse than Hitler" to yet another pissing contest.
The last time this happened, you may remember, was back in January, just after the rock had been lifted on what has come to be known as "the Lewinsky scandal" and Hillary got her husband by the short hairs. Which would lead one to believe that when Clinton has no women to conquer, he turns to that other traditional male outlet for overactive testosterone: aggression.
Last spring Harper's magazine published a most apropos painting by Kenyan artist Joseph Bertiers, which shows our tough-guy president grabbing his perennial nemesis by the shirt and gesturing in the direction of some cooling towers off on the Iraqi horizon. "This is my physical power," he's saying to Saddam. "Show me your nuclear weapons--quick!"
A slightly different perspective was provided recently by Akron Beacon Journal editorial cartoonist Chip Bok, who depicted the Joint Chiefs of Staff standing around a table in the Pentagon on which they've arranged a bunch of toy planes and missiles pointing at a doll labeled "Saddam." And over their shoulders looms the prez, who warns: "Easy--without Newt to kick around anymore, I'd hate to lose him, too!"
On the other hand, the Clinton Administration makes no bones about the fact that it would like to see the guy "taken out."
Talk about your hypocrisy!
Not only are such political assassinations proscribed by a presidential ban that's been in effect since 1975, but it was Saddam's alleged plot to do in our previous president that provided Bomber Bill with the only excuse he needed to rain death and destruction on the people of Baghdad five years ago.
My question is: Where's the "loyal opposition" in all of this warmongering nonsense?
The only dissenting voice I've heard (and that, only secondhand--via John McLaughlin's account on his TV encounter group) has been that of the Pope, who reportedly proclaimed that any military action in response to some threatened--as opposed to actual--aggression by Saddam would be "unspeakably immoral."
Well, amen to that.
I've never put much credence in the moral authority of the Catholic church, but I'm seriously thinking of converting.
So I'm not the only one who thinks those cretins who insist on blasting their bass-heavy Jensens at boil-a-brain decibel level ought to be summarily executed?
The good burghers of Barberton, America's funky-chicken capital, have gone and put some teeth in the city's loud-stereo ordinance. Now, instead of merely receiving a citation, repeat violators stand to lose their vehicles, which henceforth will be considered "contraband"--and thus subject to "seizure and forfeiture."
Squeezing "The Juice"
Hard times for my man O.J., I'm happy to report.
First, a judge in Santa Monica, California, has approved the auction of the former football star's assets, which were seized after he lost a wrongful-death suit brought by the families of his murdered ex-wife and her "friend."
As early as February, we could be hearing the cry: "What am I bid for a battered Heisman Trophy?"
And now comes the ruling of an appellate judge in nearby Santa Ana, overturning the earlier decision that had awarded "Daddy Dearest" custody of the two kids he fathered with Nicole.
"Because the trial court excluded evidence of whether Simpson killed the children's mother," it reads, "and also clearly erred in excluding evidence bearing on the domestic violence issue in the mother's diaries, the case must be remanded for another hearing."
The upside, of course, is that if Justin and Sydney are eventually taken away from him, it'll mean an extra hour on the golf course.
"The Buzzard is not leaving!"
Is that depressing news, or what?
And the saddest thing of all is that the familiar voice delivering it on those stupid TV spots belongs to none other than Len "Boom-Boom" Goldberg.
The last of the breed--a holdover from the big ugly bird's so-called "glory days."
Boom, babe: It's over, OK?
Time to hang up those oversize pipes and exit the damn building, while you can still salvage some small shred of dignity.
Don't believe me? Two words: Larry Morrow.
David Sowd's e-mail address: