Tax Day Speech (TEA Party)

Aquarian Weekly 4/21/10 REALITY CHECK

TAX DAY SPEECH 2010
NJ TEA Party Coalition Rally

The following is a transcript of a speech given by the author at the First Anniversary of the NJTPC on 4/15/2010 at 4:30 pm on the Hackensack Green, Hackensack, NJ.

Good day.

I’d like to begin by pointing out that you people are idiots. And by that I mean stupid, since I am assuming, as idiots, your vocabulary is limited. Please forgive me if you are not an idiot or by chance are an idiot but not so much as to need the “stupid” qualifier. It’s just that my only exposure to Tea Party enthusiasts and their paid speakers and media sounding boards are usually manipulated by main stream corporate news organizations; and I have to tell you this half-assed “movement” of yours is very often displayed as an agonizingly long line of inarticulate goobers with little to no grasp of the King’s English or of the nation in which they are trying to reconstruct. Seriously. I have abused my fair share of narcotics in the past and basically mainline French absinthe on weekends, but it is difficult for me to reconcile this kind of behavior to the appropriate chemical stimuli.

Please keep your boos and caterwauling until I am finished. We have a lot to get to before we bring out the usual parade of slobbering slogan jockeys. But don’t panic; in order to make the reality medicine go down smoother, I have agreed to throw in the occasional fist-pumper every paragraph or so, like “Death to the Weird!” and “Go George Washington!”

Now at this point you might rightfully ask yourself; why would the NJTPC invite this asshole to deride us so viciously before uttering a single word that soothes our sense of isolation and fabricated angst against a massive and uncaring government that wishes to steal our hard-earned money and control everything we do? Fear not! What stands before you is a tried-and-true rebel. I have fought this battle in a dark vacuum of spite without all the flavor-of-the-month fanfare you posers enjoy.

You see, long before you decided what level of government over-reach would motivate you to waste a perfectly good workday waving grammatically-challenged signs dressed in American Revolution regalia, I was the founder and chief officer of the AAPGF, or as it is known in the fringe group industry; Artists Against Puritan Goat Fuckers.

The AAPGF, to which a fancy logo and a detailed manifesto have been available for over a decade on-line, is a turn-of-the-century brainchild of great independent thinkers, whose ranks today number in the thousands. We believe without compromise, that the authority and power of our governing bodies have gone far enough. Many Republicans here today who are ironically tying to piggyback this “movement” actually fought against its unyielding principle of individual liberty by using bullshit arguments about children, obscenity, God, the greater good of society and other tyrannical gibberish.

Ah, thank you. I see I’ve hit upon your buzzword. Good to see some of you are still awake. The special Kool-Aid will be administered shortly.

“Up with people!”

My founding of the AAPGF aside, what ultimately garnered my invite to your gathering today is my repeated and thus far thwarted attempt to secede my meager stretch of land from the Union, much of my tribulation is well documented on my web site, so I shan’t belabor it here.

But believe me when I tell you; I’m a lifer. This is not a hobby for me, nor is it a calculated attempt at politics or middle-aged outrage, as what appears to be the case for an overwhelming number of you soft-bellied small-timers. I’ve been to the edge and back with government; federal, local, you name it. And I’m here to say the entire thing is fucked and must be broken down and rebuilt from scratch. It is flawed and screwed, and its atavistic foundation, cobbled haphazardly as it was under cannon fire during a heat wave two hundred and forty or so years ago, while still the best example of governance in the history of human civilization, is nothing more than out-dated Euro-Trash.

I’m talking about heavy lifting people. Voting another group in over the group that came before has kept The System growing and its expansion widening for most of these two hundred years. This is why I’ll assume you guys are waving the Don’t Tread On Me flag. I’ve proudly unfurled one of those on every property I’ve inhabited for three decades. It is the only flag that should fly. The American version is tainted and besmirched and until there is justice for all should be our pariah.

“No more free lunch!”

So what are we trying to accomplish; you know beyond the awkward social ineptitude and yelling?

Well, I decided, that instead of sharing my fairly radical and somewhat scarily reasoned ideas today, I wish only to breakdown what it is your aim and to point out as succinctly as possible its utterly ill-conceived and badly fostered platform.

I have in my hand the NJTPC’s Core Principles. It’s Mission Statement, and I paraphrase, is “to restore and protect the founding principles of our nation”, which, as already stated, for a “movement” is silly. You’re supposed to reject a system that isn’t working, not make specious claims that its origins were bastardized. What is this; the Russian Revolution meets the dawning of Christianity? All philosophies are bastardized.

“Down with pie charts!”

Okay, now onto your thirteen principles, and by the way; nice under-grad symbolism with the original thirteen colonies. I dig that.

1. Rights are endowed by God. Governments are instituted by men.

The musket and the sword endow rights. The people choose democratic governments. And while I understand this mocks the very notion of a Tea Party in the sense that our present construct provides taxation with representation, these are the facts; and although you are entitled to your opinion, not so much the facts.

2. Support for U.S. Constitution.

The original or the amended version? If it is the former, then all women and minorities will be asked to please leave; along with those with limited land ownership. You’re all excluded. These are your principles, not mine. I only wish to deconstruct them.

3. Support of the Tenth Amendment – states sovereignty.

If we are going to adhere to the original founding principles, then there are no states. Therefore these “principles” – which are defined as immutable and handed down by an invisible deity – are rendered null and void.

4. Rejection of global governance and the ignoring of the laws bound by the Constitution are punishable as treason.

Who are you guys going to elect that will not be bound by global governance and won’t challenge the authority of the constitution, because you cannot name one president and hardly any single legislative branch member who hasn’t engaged in this activity.

5. Only the founding fathers original interpretation of the constitutional is valid.

Once again, women, minorities and lower middle classes exit stage left.

6. Rejection of all tax laws.

Any group that considers taxes as a form of slavery really wouldn’t embrace prison. I would wipe this off the list myself, but that’s just me.

7. Free Market over any government regulation.

For more information on how this has been an abject failure and led to the most socialist laws known to this republic, please see the Roaring Twenties. When you have sufficiently been educated on the recorded disasters of an unchecked Free Market, then we can talk. Until then, please stop giving me the finger. You need to blame your parents and the shitty school system for your frightening level of ignorance.

8. Rejection of tyranny.

Agreed, but most of the language in your principles sound a bit authoritative, like “We only accept the original form of the constitution.”

9. Rejection of usurping the checks-and-balances of governance.

I will respectfully leave this alone, for its populist sentiment is at its basest form a “All puppies are cute” kind of thing.

10. The government is at service to the people.

Well, I thought we were Free Market. There is no government service without the people, and if the people are going to “be” as opposed to “being represented by” the government, then Principle #10 directly refutes Principle #7 and turns this thing into a pseudo-Bolshevik rally, and I did not bring my notes for that one.

11. Reserve the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

What the hell are you doing in Hackensack?

12. Reserve the right to remove our consent to be governed.

Please see an earlier principle for the jail solution. I think many of you would likely benefit from incarceration of some kind, but again, I wouldn’t recommend it.

13. We only support candidates from whatever party that adheres to these principles.

Good luck.

Okay, so in conclusion, I offer my sincerest wishes of fortune on your meaningless journey to nowhere, as I will conclude with the same slice of wisdom I offered to an anti-war rally four years ago, when similar mud-brains thought by electing new guys to the same System would end the fifteen wars we’ve got going.

Do yourselves a favor; ignore the ugliness of the big picture; get laid and have a beer. Better people than you have given up far more for less. Write it off as a loss and try and be happy. It could be worse, you could be gay and pay all the taxes for half the rights.

Thank you and God bless me and everything I stand for, and god damn the rest of it.

“Happy Tax Day!”

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The Total Eclipse Of McCain

Aquarian Weekly 9/17/08 REALITY CHECK

THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF MCCAIN Palin Plan Plagiarizes Change Mantra Into Driver’s Seat

President PalinThere is no point ignoring it any longer; John McCain’s brief stint as the focal point of the Republican ticket for president of the United States is over. Sarah Palin is in charge now. The polls, the press, the people, and the opposition party’s obsession with confronting her at every turn have spoken; it is all Palin all the time. McCain is simply in the way now. It was a magnificently forgettable few weeks, but his party didn’t want him in the first place, and this crazy idea that he even represented the slightest reflection of change was always taken as a mild pun anyway. The whole shebang was silly and pathetic and no one bought it and probably weren’t going to, which is why Palin is being paraded like a trophy wife across Marshal McLuhan’s roadmap. It is Palin, the New Generation Part II, whom we crave. It is Palin we want to see at rallies, hear in interviews, to challenge her resume, her experience and her policies. McCain’s role from here on in is nothing more than expensive chaperone.

This is where most columnists would squeeze in the odd I Told You So sentence; but you’ll get none of that here. We simply point out once more that this election from Day One has never been about Race, Gender, Economics, War, Poverty, Healthcare, Security, or any other banal subject usually tossed about during these things. It has been and will be, and right now is officially all about generation.

Palin, 44, is the GOP’s answer to the nineteen-month birthing of Change emanating from 47 year-old Barack Obama’s movement. All of that arduous battling against the Boomer Clinton hordes and entrenched Washington lifers merely set the stage for the quick-fix alternative; the New Coke for the giddy Pepsi Generation: The Monkees for The Beatles, Desperate House Wives for Sex In The City, Spin for Rolling Stone.

Remember a few weeks ago when the McCain Campaign ran that goofy ad portraying Obama as a fabricated amalgam of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears? Well now they have their own Lindsay Lohan/Christina Aguilera model, and suddenly being the sound, conventional, safer choice is dumped with the bath water.

But this could all turn out to be a colossal blunder. Although it tends to get dazzled for the short term, the American voter almost always chooses the entrenched historical imperative of Conservative/Military/White Guy over Liberal/Northern/New Guy (never mind black guy). Palin throes a rusty wrench into all of that, not the least of which is replacing “guy” with “gal”, and not to mention putting the Real Deal back into this wishy-washy, flip-flopping, fraudulent load of feces the previous candidate offered up. John McCain used to stand for a sound combination of moderate to social liberalism combined with an interesting dollop of conservative economic restraint, but has since traded the whole mess for a photo-op and a headline. But did it ultimately cost him the presidency?

It is Palin, the New Generation Part II, whom we crave. It is Palin we want to see at rallies, hear in interviews, to challenge her resume, her experience and her policies. McCain’s role from here on in is nothing more than expensive chaperone.

Loose Canon McCain, who was almost certainly the frontrunner when the dust settled in November even if he had picked a Buick as a running mate, was apparently not exciting enough for those Republicans who were still voting for Mike Huckabee weeks after he bowed out of the race. They needed a newer slice of the Wow. What they got was a whirlwind of equally doled-out manic press exuberance and disdain, celebrity clamoring and Flavor Of The Month histrionics.

But never mind the Longview, this is a quick-fix nation, and for now Palin is its perfect candidate. She didn’t have to survive months of vicious attacks from opponents, win/lose a series of tired primaries or bother to speak to actual reporters to defend vacillating positions. Instead she appears out of nowhere smiling facedly, spouting cute aphorisms, and playing the willing victim to Leftist-driven jealous rages and misinterpreted asides. All the while she is impervious to any of it. Florenz Ziegfeld, godfather of American cabaret, once mused, “When you’re rolling, Fame & Infamy stand side by side.” In other words, “Say what you want, just print a picture and spell my name right” — the oldest PR axiom in the book.

To Wit: Palin has lied repeatedly and unabashedly about halting the infamous Alaskan Bridge To Nowhere project against which her current running mate once led a crusade, yet by all accounts, including a three-day investigative report by the ultra-Right Wall Street Journal, Palin not only failed to oppose it, she championed it. And by all evidence since, the state she runs has yet to return the nearly $300 million of federal taxes used to pay for what is now universally depicted as a monumental boondoggle.

None of this matters one iota. She is the new Teflon Queen, a Bill Clinton V.2, unable to be impeded by mere rumor or evidence. In fact, like Clinton, as each dart fails to penetrate her armor she grows stronger and more appealing, almost robotically fierce.

But no matter how you slice the Palin phenomenon, John McCain’s sad shuffle into the shadows is complete. Watching him smile restively behind his proposed vice president as she laps up the limelight recalls a famous Life magazine photograph of Dean Martin working his way through a mediocre standard while Jerry Lewis is frantically camping it up out front; the older, less-talented Italian crooner expressing both relief and envy that a much younger, far more engaging character was carrying the day. It is the same look Hillary Clinton had those final weeks of the primaries when she was living in a bizarre fantasyland of comebacks. The only difference here is Clinton is yesterday’s news and McCain could very well still be president, while Sarah Palin is going to a ribbon cutting at a federal library opening.

And this is wrong, because according to most everyone with a pen and a microphone this puppy is Palin’s to win or lose. You can count me among them. There is no turning back for McCain now. He is our wrinkled Garfunkel. Tell me you won’t bristle with disappointment when he and not the Gun-Toting, Bible-Thumping Annie Oakley shows up for those debates with Obama.

A candidacy that David Gergen recently described as “bizarre to the point of absurd” has somehow trumped the illusion that Obama could actually run the Electoral map in the ultra-polarized puritanical fop that is the greater United States. Somewhere in the depths of the Republican psyche having the lily white, military vet, was not cutting it. Campaign czar, Steve Schmidt, a Karl Rove lackey — without all the Gin Martini abuse and chronic masturbation — concluded that this media blitz from Juneau was the elixir. History will eventually record that it was Schmidt’s bright idea to yank the first term governor of the fourth least-populated state in the union; pushing what can best be described as a complete novice on a ticket with a 72 year-old war veteran with an ambiguous medical history.

Some will say that its better to be interesting than good, better to have star power than a sure thing.

Problem is sure things win elections.

Star power goes on the lecture circuit.

That is until this improbable year of historical firsts when at least one Star is on its way to Pennsylvania Avenue.

 

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The Gueem – 1997 – 2006

Aquarian Weekly 5/31/06 REALITY CHECK

THE GUEEM – 1997-2006

Let me drink from the waters where the mountain streams flowLet the smell of wild flowers flow free through my blood Let me sleep in your meadows with your green grassy leaves Let me walk down the highway with my brothers in peace. Let me die in my footsteps Before I go down under the ground.

– Bob Dylan

He likes to… Because he is a… – Erin D. Moore

The GueemMay 24, 2006

We buried our cat this morning. The wife and I – me, mostly silent, she, mostly weeping – maybe a word or two about what could have happened. But what really does happen? Life happens. Life and death. That is the deal here. We knew it. The Gueem didn’t. I’m pretty sure he was convinced he was in for the long haul, although no one enjoyed sucking the marrow from the day or the night like The Gueem. He was a furious hedonist. He grabbed every day by the balls and hung on. Then he slept for 18 hours to rest up. So maybe he knew his days were numbered. Maybe he knew this wasn’t any fancy rehearsal. It was all or nothing. He had no savings. He sought no health insurance. He left no will, nor any explanations. He bought the ticket, and took the ride.

His given name was Phoenix, but everyone called him The Gueem. We’re not sure why – because they loved him, maybe. We loved him. I named a publishing concern after him. My wife treated him far better than me or any human she’s known. That’s why he was the coolest cat around, ’cause my wife is the coolest woman around. He was the finest of mammals, affectionate, daring, and carefree. That’s what got him in the end, I think, freedom. He was a roamer and a rambler, and some nights, like last night, he didn’t come home at all – like his long, lost brother and pal, Mr. Kitty, a petulant black male brooder, slayer of all living things, who decided to take a stroll in the Vernon woods five years ago, never to be heard from again.

But Gueem did make it home, barely. He made it as far as the front steps of our porch. That’s where we found him. Not a scratch on him. Mysterious demise. But that’s the way The Gueem liked it, mysterious. He had places to go, dangerous places. This was his instinct, to stroll on the wild side, to poke and prod and climb and tunnel. And he faced it unbowed, all the way to the end. Not the bitter end, not for Gueem. He was all about the adventure and the party. He shied from nothing. He didn’t know he was supposed to be cautious and skittish like a cat, because he was no mere cat, he was The Gueem.

Curiosity is sure as hell going to get me, so it makes sense it got him. But it did not matter. Gueem lived, and so, Gueem died.

Gueem loved cars, so maybe a car got him. He loved kids, so maybe some brat got him. He also had this odd penchant for letting other critters approach him, hoping for a rare glimpse of the other side. He got that trait hanging with me. The Gueem was a journalist at heart. Curiosity is sure as hell going to get me, so it makes sense it got him. But it did not matter. Gueem lived, and so, Gueem died.

Not sure why I find the need to take up column space on this, other than The Gueem deserved it. He brought daily joy to this cynical old shit heel of a scribe. He knew I was a crank, but he seemed to love me anyway. I could see him some nights out of the corner of my eye looking me over, wondering what it is I was doing pounding on these keys, trying to make sense of life’s little insanities. “Why bother?” I can almost hear him say, and then he’d lick his groin and yawn. He had that great cat yawn, you know? Satisfaction. Pure bliss. I never had one of those yawns. You ever have one of those yawns? Never mind that, you ever lick your groin?

It’s hard to believe he’s gone. The wife and I don’t know what it’s like to be together without him. He was a lifer around here. I suppose she’ll divorce me now. I’m always wondering what kept her around in the first place, then I’d see her sleeping over on the couch with The Gueem and I’d sigh confidently – as long as that damn cat is breathing, I think I’ve got a shot to keep her. She doesn’t want to move the little bastard to some new digs, with some other guy. Now, let’s face it, the watch is on. It’s the sole reason I’ll be bolting out of here when I’m done with this and find the best feline vitamins for our female cat, Mazzy. If she goes, I’m toast.

But The Gueem was more than just a marriage councilor; he was the best subject for song and story. Some nights around here you’d think he’d traversed the Matterhorn or passed through the more gripping parts of The Iliad. And as much as it seems like the prattle of a “cat person”, I was sure Gueem loved to hear about himself in these stories. There was an imagination within him, like when he’d follow me to the lake and we’d sit out and let the sun catch our faces at the right angle and the wind swept across our half-shut eyelids. I could write about it, but the Gueem lived it. He had no time for bullshit like writing. He was busy living.

The Gueem was especially unique because he was the only cat I know of who got in the shower with you. He did. Right in the shower. He liked the water, but he liked to eat more. He could eat, boy. Most likely his cholesterol was through the roof. He wasn’t fat, more like thick, but he never came near a salad bar. Food could have done him in, but, trust me, he wouldn’t mind. And The Gueem could snore. No kidding. My wife was always going on and on about how cute and sweet he was, but she was asleep by 10:00 pm, and then, man, when Gueem got going, you’d have sworn some 300 pound drunken teamster had wandered into the bedroom for some shut-eye. Then you’d realize it was The Gueem. He had nightmares – all sorts of mice and chipmunks and things getting away, or a bear chasing him into the woods. Then I’d wake him, and he’d look up at me and yawn, always that beautiful yawn, as if he were the king of the world, and we were paying rent.

Damn, I’ll miss that yawn. Not the snoring. I will not miss any of that creepy shit.

So we say good-bye to our friend, our compatriot, our brother in arms here at the Clemens Estate. He taught us a great deal about living, how to enjoy every moment, and not worry about the small things, because one day you’re out taking in a spring night, basking in the glow of fleeting youth, and then it’s over.

I can hear The Gueem now: Play hard. Fight hard. Love hard. No Excuse. No Surrender. And when they put you in the ground wrapped in a garbage bag, you will rest easy.

Rest easy, little man.

We all loved ya.

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Speed Generation

Aquarian Weekly 5/17/06 REALITY CHECK

SPEED GENERATION All Day, All Night, All Right

Red BullHigh-octane living. That is what we’re about now. No more Turn On/Tune In/Drop Out, no more experimental Kool-Aid-Cheerios-Converse-Pop-Rocks-Freeform-Do-What-Feels-Good-Me-Decade or Voodoo Economics or Roaring Flappers or Over There. This is the Speed Generation – the ultra-caffeine, triple-shot of espresso, double-frappuccino, long-lasting, nighttime-crushing, dawn-stealing, success-driving, ball-busting sprint for sprint’s sake. Higher workforce, focused producers, motivated consumers, and multi-tasking marauders fueled on the best stuff science can cook.

Stimuli.

Yeah.

I’m into big-time energy: Rocket blaster sort of eye-twitching, teeth-grinding, hand-shaking, blood-thinning, heart-pounding speed. I’m speeding right now. Can’t you tell? Can’t you…tell? Jesus, man, catch up. Fast. That’s how I ride. Not ride. Cruise. Not cruise. Burn. I burn. Burning. Racing. Grabbing mine. Grabbing before the other guy grabs. Grab. Grab. Grab. No more lagging. No more lollygagging. No more sitting around watching the wheels and smelling the goddamn roses, bitch! Quickness is in. Quickness and bulk.

We are a nation of fat people who move! Heart-taxing, fast food chompers who double as world-class speed freaks. We eat fast and we work fast and we play hard, really hard – all-night-fucking-long kinda hard. The heart MUST deal. Stop us. I dare you. Stop us.

Death Race 2006.

Bitch.

Give us something that picks us up, gets us going, rides the lightning, brings the pain…IS IT IN YOU?

I have a necklace sponge drenched with some Asian shit call XanGo. They tell me it’s pure gelatinized equine adrenaline glands. I suck on it hourly all day long. It’s a kick, let me tell you, like electroshock therapy without the odious ember scents.

It’s in me, big time. All at once: Red Bull, Venom, Adrenaline Rush, 180, ISO Sprint, and Whoopass. Gallons of Whoopass, chased with Mountain Dew Amp. I dig on an absinthe smoothie laced with Kabbalah and Steven Seagal’s Lightening Bolt. Last week I soaked a headband in a liquid concoction called Tunguska Blast, but made the crucial mistake of boiling Cherry Charge and spiking it with something Anheuser Busch is calling “Energy Beer”. Unfortunately I was forced to throw up for six hours straight. I’ll tell you though, dehydration is a wicked rush.

Hey, I’m like you. I started off with a pedestrian amount of coffee, some Dunkin’ Donuts, some Soy Lattes at Starbucks. Recreational usage. Occasional weekend warrior. I used to think that gave me the shakes, spiced up my REM sleep. Then I did some Red Bull and gin, and then vodka, and tequila, whatever. Better, but not best. Until nothing could sustain anymore. Endurance. That’s the ticket. You MUST ride, man. So it was onto dangerous mixtures of questionably legal cocktails for me, until…face it, I’m a human chemical spill – like Barry fuckin’ Bonds, without all the nasty head growth. Strong. Stronger. Strongest.

Got Ephedrine…Guarana…Ginseng?

Viva la Internet. You can buy anything online. Mail Order Brides, Plutonium, Holy relics blessed by Sukiis, fresh placenta, torpedo launchers, diamond cock rings, Indonesian child slave labor, 1952 NY Yankees World Series Trophy, free range lemurs, anthrax poster board, Allen Ginsburg’s skull, you name it.

And you can buy bloated vats of perfectly legal speed.

I have a necklace sponge drenched with some Asian shit call XanGo. They tell me it’s pure gelatinized equine adrenaline glands. I suck on it hourly all day long. It’s a kick, let me tell you, like electroshock therapy without the odious ember scents.

I also make it a point to bathe in Hansen Purified Energy Water. I rub it on my genitals all the time. Try it. I dare you.

You ever spread pure authentic South African Hoodia Gordonii all over a raw steak, then throw it in a blender at high speeds and suck it through a straw? Energy drink? It’s Energy Squared with a protein infusion that causes your brain to bend slightly off kilter. Tibetan monks call this state “living in the in-between.” I call it morning. The resultant effect is that of hugging a torturous mountain turn on a badly tuned motorcycle with bald tires at 100 MPH. Now you have some idea of what kind of kick 130-proof Hoodia can offer your nervous system.

Now we’re talking.

I can write 10,000 words in 40 minutes on Bally Blast sports energy shakes, although this stuff gets right on top of me. I’m not sure if I’m writing or taking dictation from The Voices. Flowing along swimmingly, pounding out the good stuff, and the next thing you know I’m spitting out guttural brays like a wounded kookaburra, a haunting sound at 2 am for any adult human to make. Have you ever heard that kind of noise and expect to just roll over and go back to sleep? Not with a head full of liquid crank and a weak grip on the senses. It’s a little scary, like force-feeding a kindergarten class PCP. It’s a serious shock for sure, but a welcomed shock nonetheless.

Of course none of the work is coherent or usable, but much of it ends up in this space. Sorry. No time to edit. No time at all. Let those paid for that kind of patience take care of it. Rearview mirrors are for suckers, rearview mirrors and brakes.

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ALCO Pet Control Screwed Me

Aquarian Weekly 7/13/05 REALITY CHECK

EMINENT DOMAIN & THE SAGA OF ZANDER THE BAT

Zander“John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” – President Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was one of the 19th century’s grandest crazed monsters, and a serviceable model for the American President for decades. His mass genocide and forced extrication of Native Americans in the face of a Civil Rights Supreme Court ruling in 1831 rendered the pure meaning of Absolute Power and gave rise to beautifully prescient quotes like Richard Nixon’s “If the president wills it, it can’t be illegal.” Jackson, ever the progressive, vehemently disagreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling that his government was ignoring clearly framed treaties and proceeded to slaughter and/or evict American Indians from their land.

And it is that enviably defiant American Spirit and blind Manifest Destiny to which I turn to in order to outwardly challenge the federal government’s right to expunge me from my land on the grounds of Eminent Domain or Clear Public Use. The Supreme Court has made its decision, now let the U.S. Government enforce it. Jackson was brain damaged, but he had to be right. He’s on the $20 bill. We celebrate his madness. So pass all the Property Seizure laws or Flag Burning Amendments you want, you still have to enforce it. Good luck. I’m burning a flag right now as I write this.

This is why there is a preponderance of lawyers in this country. There are so many stupid laws, and alongside, the brave souls who wish to refute them with extreme prejudice. But you won’t find me among them. Except for my preternatural lust to burn flags, I am an upstanding citizen of these United States living quietly in my bucolic splendor, and as such I look to the Bill of Rights to respectfully refuse compliance to asinine rulings of this or any court. I have a wife and two cats, a few homeless chipmunks and a confused bat to protect and support. They need a roof over their heads. This roof. And before I surrender it, there will be blood and guts, believe me.

To be fair, I did try and extricate the bat. It was hard to handle, and even less feasible to feed. It took to swooping nervously in and out of our living room and back into the greenhouse. The wife was caught up in the NBA Finals and decided it best to don a blanket and yell expletives at it. “Zander, damn it! Stop hitting the fucking television! The Pistons are making a fourth quarter surge! Damn it, Zander!”

I have a wife and two cats, a few homeless chipmunks and a confused bat to protect and support. They need a roof over their heads. This roof. And before I surrender it, there will be blood and guts, believe me.

The wife likes to officially dub all spastically frightened rodents trapped in our house Zander. They remind her of a psychopathic photographer from Westchester, NY named Peter Zander, whom she served under as an assistant for a little less than a year and whose violent mood swings and pained jabbering from the alleged eruptions of brain bubbles caused her alarm. It wasn’t so much that she feared him, but it was, as she put it once, “infuriating to endure the struggle of the mentally challenged”. Fed up, most times she would try whacking Zander on the back of the head with the business end of an enlarger, but that only caused the poor bastard to flail his arms about uncontrollably. She told him the best thing for it was excessive masturbation, but he said he couldn’t jack off. Turns out he was unable to achieve an erection unless berating those in his employ, so she walked. “No sense trying to help that dickless ass,” she told me. “At least no more of his mutated genes will infect the species.”

And as much as I hated to admit it, I vividly recalled her terrible musings on the insanity of Zander when she continued to scream at the poor defenseless bat as it repeatedly crashed into the candle stand and bounced off the fireplace mantel. I tried to baby it, make it my own, but it did not work. The bat, I have read, responses better to tough love, especially with its metabolism running at frenzied levels. Zander was no different than his namesake. He too appeared to have the brain bubbles, and professional help was needed.

I rightly figured Zander the Bat a refugee from last year’s relocation plan, when a conniving little shit heel called Alan Constantino sandbagged me. From my experience with him, Constantino seems to run a highly focused con fronted by an Animal & Pest Control concern. Last summer his ALCO organization took two weeks to install a working one-way tunnel outside of my attic and guaranteed it for at least five years. This bogus “guarantee” lasted less than a year, at which time the arrival of the confused bat named Zander prompted my repeated telephoned pleas to Mr. Constantino that went unanswered. Although that’s not completely true. He smartly returned one about six weeks ago when we caught a little baby bat bouncing into the hallway upstairs, but he used our request for help to claim absentia due to a serious car accident, despite the sound of Hawaiian music and the titters of bar matrons in the background.

This, I decided, would not stand. Zander the Bat was losing its battle with my drapes. The ASPCA was apparently unconcerned. I had to act. But several of my desperately aggressive messages to his office had apparently caused Constantino to weep, answering my tenth such call with a girlishly whiny, “If you continue to leave nasty messages at this office, Jesus Christ would have a better chance to come out there than us.”

He was shaken. I could tell by the cracks in his voice. I tried to offer him therapy, but what do you say when a grown man is simpering like a child while a bat is hanging precariously over your head. Just because his mommy failed him does not give him the right to renege on a deal. “Get a hold of yourself, Alan!” I screamed at him. “Stand by your shoddy work, or I’ll have the district attorney after you!” But he could not contain his fear and hung up. He knew I was onto his scam: Half-ass the rube, how will he know I’ve ripped him off? He can’t even rehabilitate a flying rodent, could he really tell we threw up some cheap chicken wire and collected on the bill with no real compunction to honor it. Sucker!

Ah, but the ALCO fuckers and Zander the Bat and the Supreme Court have underestimated the rugged guile of our resolve. They have nothing on the hearty souls here at Clemens Estate. We don’t go in for the cheap thrills. It’s all or nothing here. We have the power of the press and the grit to see it through. This is all that may be left of The Law as we know it, but it is a call to arms, and we shall answer it.

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Parker Posey Stole My Car

Aquarian Weekly 4/13/05 REALITY CHECK

PARKER POSEY STOLE MY CAR The Hazards of This Gig Come Home To Roost

Parker PoseyMost times I do not take this column seriously. Some of you have noticed. Others get angry and call me names in print, which I relish. The best and the brightest get hammered in print. Ask Tom Delay. He was vilified in this space two weeks ago. I sent the damn thing to his office. No response. When I followed up they said something about spending all their time keeping him out of prison. I understood implicitly. “We spend half our time getting into things and the other half getting out,” I said. It was loaded wisdom. They agreed and excused themselves, and I told them to add the joke where it fits.

Anyway, we have fun here. I like it. They pay me. Then other times it becomes serious, personal. Like last month when an Arab doctor’s lawyer contacts my Webmaster threatening lawsuits if some madness written about him wasn’t removed from the Sound-Off page of my web site. Sure, like I had any idea what was going on there, the usual stuff: overt racism, violent overtones, sex bating, and general stupidity. We had to take the whole thing down. I’d like to publicly thank Chief Wonka for jumping into action to save the day.

Needless to say, I am sick of being sued or defending the first amendment in court. I just want to write, cash the check and go home to my wife and cats. Is that too much to ask?

Take, for instance, last Thursday, when I was doing research for a piece I’d been commissioned to write for New Jersey Monthly on independent filmmaking. I’m lazy, so I usually begin by picking the brains of acquaintances in whatever business I’m covering. Sometimes you get great stuff, inside info, because you don’t have to pry with friends. Other times you get taken advantage of, hoodwinked, sandbagged. This was one of those times.

So, the thing is, I missed my deadline for this paper last week because of the mishaps that resulted from this “assignment”. It wasn’t even a column that was late to press. I was submitting the poorly edited rants you people send in the guise of “reader mail”. But I could not get it in on time because my car was stolen on Second Avenue. Stolen by an actress. You may have heard of her, Parker Posey.

She’s been in some things. She was in “House of Yes” and she had a part in “You’ve Got Mail” and the lead in a few others. She’s in that Christopher Guest troop that does all those great satires on acting and folk music and dog shows. Anyway, she’s an acquaintance; some with lesser credentials might call a friend. But she is my enemy now. And if she doesn’t do jail time for this there will be trouble. I have friends in higher places than Hollywood. The hammer will have to come down.

Posey is loaded. Come on. How much do you think she’s worth? Got to be a couple of million, minimum. Why would she need to pinch my Toyota RAV 4?

At first, as in most cases with me, I figured the whole ordeal an oversight. She said she couldn’t find a cab. This is not news. People often say these things in Manhattan. They say them all the time. But then your car doesn’t usually disappear. I write “usually” because in the 1980s’ your car disappeared quite a bit. I lost two of them to chop shops and one rental to the brownies. But this is the new era in NYC. Lock down. The car, by all measures of logic should have been there.

Now, my wife claims I told Posey to “have it back by two”, as in two in the am, which is nonsense, because at this juncture for me to make it past eleven is pushing it these days. I wake up in cold sweats at 6:30 every morning, so burning late nights is out of the question.

Not to mention, Posey is loaded. Come on. How much do you think she’s worth? Got to be a couple of million, minimum. Why would she need to pinch my Toyota RAV 4? I could tell she admired it. Although she had no problem spitting her sunflower seeds all over the floor and barking to me, “Why don’t you have this car cleaned, Campion?” It was a fair question, but hardly worth using in court as an admission of guilt. “I like black mini-SUV’s” she noted later. I remember that. Once again, initially, I thought it the kind of things friends say. Idle compliment. Meanwhile, it turns out, she’d been eyeing the thing for years.

“Parker Posey?” the cop told me later that night. “She’s a huge car jacker.”

“What is this, some kind of Winona Ryder thing?” I asked him.

“Worse,” he laughed. “She won’t break down and weep and beg for mercy. She once whipped the keys of a bailiff’s Ford Explorer off the chest of a judge in Dade County, Florida.

“Isn’t that where they busted The Lizard King for flashing his pecker on stage?”

“Please, one loon at a time,” he chuckled. “At least there wasn’t a kid in there.”

I knew better than to report this. Insurance fraud pays heavy penalties in this state. It was a difficult claim. Actress asked to borrow my car, and the next thing I know I’m checking into the Park Central at quarter to three in the morning with my wife standing on the lobby sofa demanding to see a vegan chef.

Good thing for the venerable crooner from Brooklyn, Buzz. He saved my ass. Hired a car service, from which I phoned the editor of this periodical and got the letters in eventually. Sorry, Terry. Couldn’t be helped. I believe the excuse I used was mayhem. Now you know.

Finally, I received my car late Sunday. It was missing about 240 miles. The interior smelled of stale beer and the faint embers of soot. There was a note on the dashboard written in red lipstick. CLEAN THIS FUCKING CAR. I swear on the living soul of our holy mother of god, this is not over.

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Axis of Evil is Money, Money, Money

Aquarian Weekly 1/29/03 REALITY CHECK

SELECTIVE HEROISM A Few Random Truths About The Inevitable War

How’s that war against al Qaeda going? We done over in Afghanistan? How’s that working out for ya? Buried the angst of 9/11 yet? Hey, before I’m done asking questions; where’s Osama bin Laden? When’s the trial start?

The economy is in the toilet. Even Bush apologists are finally copping to that. Stimulus package, tax cutting, Republican government, no matter. People are being sacked left and right. Businesses are folding. The president is popular, though. Polls tells us that. Polls tell us a lot of things. Polls told us we loved Bill Clinton’s lying. Polls told us we loved that slavery. Polls told us we weren’t keen on women voting, or helping the Jews in Europe all that much.

You know what the Axis of Evil is?

Money. Money. Money.

And big dicks.

Another recent poll has Americans reticent to get involved with another war with no end. This war has been more or less going on since 1989. Weapons inspectors, coalition, UN resolutions aside; it keeps going. Not going to stop.

Here’s why: Too many big dick egos on the line now. This is a Bush legacy mess. First one got us in. This one has to see it through. At least he realizes the whole thing stands there like the proverbial white elephant. This was beyond the last administration. But it’s a big dick thing. Believe me. Oil has its place. Promises made to the enormous campaign finance teat. But that is only part of the story.

Note to protestors: Put down the fucking signs about oil. Get with the program.

Here’s the program: This country trades, dances, prances and pussyfoots around with China. There is no more dangerous, corrupt, human atrocity than China. We can’t be bothered looking into that. Bigger dick. Truly bigger dick, with tons of consumers. Money. Money. Money.

That’s what keeps big dicks erect. That’s what keeps Germany, France and Russia crying about the US warmonger. Money. Money. Money. France and Germany get nearly 70% of their oil supply from the Iraqi region. Saddam Hussein is into Russia for around eight billion dollars. Dead lunatic is bad for business in Europe. So don’t buy any of their human rights, right to sovereignty bullshit.

Money. Money. Money.

And big dicks.

North Korea is a goddamn powder keg. Those crazy fuckers running things over there have serious weaponry and aim to use it for giggles. Hatred for the US is palpable. Been going on for half a century. We see fit to negotiate and ponder diplomatic solutions. Strong words are exchanged, but no military build-up or maneuvers. No handy patriotic rhetoric. China wouldn’t stand for it. Neither would the UN, whatever the hell that is these days.

Selective heroism.

Today its Iraq, tomorrow, who knows? War used to be good for the economy, but five simultaneous wars? No end in sight. Nothing finished. Half-assed military policy all over the globe. Stock market is doomed. Unemployment rate rising. Homeland Security sucking the well dry.

You think our president would like to have his “Axis of Evil” comments back?

You know what the Axis of Evil is?

Money. Money. Money.

And big…

Got it?

Dust off those yellow ribbons and slap old glory on the window of that SUV, we’re going in.

Again.

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R.I.P. Woodstock – Pop Culture author, James Campion slams Woodstock 1999.

Reality Check Classics 7/28/99

R.I.P. WOODSTOCK

Like all things attached to aberrations and miracles, the legacy of Woodstock must be allowed to rest in peace. It has become sadly apparent that to revive its memory only unearths actions barely resembling anything to do with the word peace.

Glaring examples of capitalism run amok in the form of 90s’ sponsorship, and potential record sales eclipse any homage to a time and place so rare it defies explanation even now. For if Joni Mitchell had been walking down the road to Rome, New York on the weekend of July 24, 1999, it is more likely she would have seen less a child of God, than a Baby Boomer fallout.

Whatever those who put together Woodstock ’99 might have thought—or offered up as an excuse, following three days of disgusting accommodations, ridiculous overpricing, lewd and abusive behavior, blatant acts of violence, looting, and arson—it can simply be summed up as the day the piper came looking for his check. Somewhere between MTV, pay-per-view, and ultra-hip.com, the ripped-off, starving, unwashed, poser revolutionaries who were bilked by this sham enacted their vengeance on what surely has to be the last of these hapless revivals.

By the time the miscreants began looting the evil money lenders and setting fires, Woodstock, as we have come to know and love it, became just another example of humans misinterpreting compassion for luck.

Thirty years ago, a couple of rich kids got lucky. All they wanted was to make a few bucks on a burgeoning music culture born out of a Summer of Love and a stockpile of recreational drugs. The small town known as Woodstock, nestled in the mountains of Sullivan County, New York seemed as good a place as any to have what was fast being known as a music festival.

Home to artists for most of the century, and by the Summer of ‘69, host to musicians including the patriarchal Bob Dylan, the town of Woodstock served as a mini-nirvana for those starved for an image to summon the crude, but sometimes charming lifestyle begun in the streets of the East Village in NYC and Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. The Woodstock Music and Art Festival didn’t turn out like the rich kids planned (Actually, it didn’t even take place in Woodstock, NY, but in nearby Bethel), but it could’ve been a whole hell of a lot worse.

Nearly three decades later, other rich folk, coupled with corporate America and the record industry, decided to press the odds. A 25th Anniversary weekend went relatively well a few towns south in Saugerties, NY five years ago, and now it would take place a few miles southeast. But it was more than decades and miles which separated the 350,00 lost souls who descended on Max Yasgur’s farmland in the Summer of the moon landing and the Amazin’ Mets, and nearly 230,000 suckers crammed into an abandoned Air Force base last month. That was a distance made but for one element: luck.

It should always be noted that the original Woodstock festival was supposed to be a profit venture. Sadly, for the rich kids financing it, the thing turned into a financial bath before the end of day-one. More than half the kids who piled into the festival waltzed over downed fences. As a result of the unchecked influx of flower children there wasn’t nearly enough toilets, water, or space. The New York Thruway, a winding stretch of road as long as the Mississippi River, was closed. Humanity outweighed the blue print ten times over. Then came the torrential downpours and random dissemination of tainted LSD.

But something significant, some might offer magnificent, happened over those three miserable days. Through it all, the people survived. Better yet, they thrived. What originally was supposed to exploit them, deteriorated into something which transformed them. For all their antisocial rhetoric, the hippie generation formed a mini-society which laughed in the face of convention by embracing its most ardent qualities. This was the story plastered on the front of the New York Times on the Monday morning after. Crazy kids with heads full of drugs and hardly a stitch of clothing or a dollar to spare supported each other for three days of “peace and music.”

Like Kennedy’s Camelot, Woodstock has been retrospectively lifted to epic lore. But for those who found themselves there it was nothing short of a disaster area. The Who’s Pete Townshend still speaks of it in horrific terms. Filmmaker Martin Scorcese, who worked the sound for the award-winning movie, has often described it as surviving war. Bad acid, bad weather, bad well water, and creeping sickness turned fields around the stage into Gettysburg without the rifles.

Yet, the world continued to wonder if those hearty souls showed the rest of us a thing or two about the glow of the human spirit., where behind the myopic harangue of civilization there is a ring of collective truth about brotherhood, caring, and the simple, but significant, act of lifting the person next to you out of the mud and back on stride.

The world knows now it was nothing but dumbass luck.

People would love to blame the senseless violence and looting of this year’s version of Woodstock on the music, the artists, the culture, or those empty-headed youngsters whose only sense of self-respect and responsibility eludes them. But if you find yourself in Limp Bizkit or Korn right now, a few months, maybe years, from eating stale bread in your no-heat apartments, you’re taking any gig, especially a high-paying, high-profile one. And if you need to scream and yell about how much life sucks to a rapid-fire beat and three chords to make a buck, may the good Lord bless and keep you.

Ironically, many feel that the acts not allowed to perform during the original Woodstock allowed for the vibe to float rather than sink. There was a reason why the Doors, with their radical calls for the break down of reality barriers and invisible social casts, were left off the bill.

When the rebellious Satan clan known as the Rolling Stones were told not to come, Mick Jagger decided to host his own festival on the hills of San Francisco which resulted in the blood bath forever known as Altamont.

But in reality the music didn’t have as much to do with the tragedy of Altamont as the fascist violence of the Hell’s Angels and the hippie mismanagement which inevitably led to infamous killings and another type of bell which tolled for the Baby Boomer peace and love era.

All of this had been conveniently forgotten until the pathetic display of raging capitalism, apathy, and finally violence in Rome last month. Only this time ignorance cannot be used as an excuse. As the weekend unfolded it seemed far more attention was paid to draining patrons of their cash than providing decent camp areas, ample toilets, showers, or any presence of security. The hundreds crushed in mosh pits could have been prevented. The overflow of human secretions hindered somewhat.

By the time the miscreants began looting the evil money lenders and setting fires, Woodstock, as we have come to know and love it, became just another example of humans misinterpreting compassion for luck. Those stumbling into a wonderful mistake and sliding through relatively unscathed 30 years ago achieved a level of fortune rarely reached in the annals of humanity.

The luck ran out in August of 1969. For the rest of us there is only an empty vessel of suffering at $169 a pop.

First Published on 8/11/99 in The Aquarian Weekly. It is included with many others in jc’s new book, Fear No Art available now on jamescampion.com!

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Bill Clinton – An Appreciation – President’s mia culpa revisited by political satirist, James Campion

Reality Check Classics 8/19/98

BILL CLINTON – AN APPRECIATION

By my count Bill Clinton has now surpassed Ronald Reagan for most speeches filled with monumental dog crap. His address to the nation on August 17, although not quite as pathetic as Ronnie’s “I didn’t know anything about any Irna-Contra thing” babble or certainly no match for the all-time disingenuous pap of then vice president, Richard Nixon’s pathetic Checker’s Speech, was nonetheless an historical moment in the presidency. Officially, after 220 years this country has not produced a better liar than William Jefferson Clinton. For your dancing and listening pleasure here is that speech with defining comments parenthetically inserted.

Good evening. (hello suckers) This afternoon in this room, from this chair, I testified before the Office of Independent Counsel and the grand jury. (I’m shoveling the crap from here for three minutes so you won’t be needing to hear the nearly five hours of embarrassing and incriminating testimony I spewed under the guise of federal law) I answered their questions truthfully, (sort of) about my private life, (blow jobs from government employees) questions no American citizen would ever want to answer. (Of course no American citizen has a rent-free airplane, limos, and hundreds of armed guards)

Still, I must take full responsibility for all my actions, (7 months and $40 million of your dollars later) both public and private. (blow jobs in the rent-free White House) And that’s why I’m speaking to you tonight. (ran out of legal options) As you know, in a deposition in January (when I thought I could beat this rap) I was asked questions about my relationship with Monica Lewinsky. While my answers were legally accurate. (legally O.J. Simpson is innocent) I did not volunteer information. (pretty much the definition of perjury)

Indeed I did have a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was inappropriate. (inappropriate is an ambiguous term for kinky shit) In fact, it was wrong. (it was fine until I heard the word DNA) It constituted a critical lapse in judgment (fucked up) and a personal failure on my part (key words are “personal” and “my” – tell you why later) for which I am solely (key word) and completely (another key word) responsible. But I told the grand jury today, and I say to you now, that at no time did I ask anyone to lie, to hide or destroy evidence or to take any other unlawful action. (I’m using the words “personal”, “my”, “solely”, and “completely responsible” so you’ll buy this new and improved lie about obstruction of justice)

I know that my public comments (“Listen to me, I did not have sexual relations with that woman”) and my silence about this matter gave a false impression (more fancy verbiage for lied) I misled people, (politically correct way to say lied) including my wife (you know, what’s her name) I deeply regret that. (I’m pissed she found out) I can only tell you (because you buy most of my bullshit) I was motivated by many factors. First my desire to protect myself from embarrassment of my own conduct. (I’m out of control) I was also very concerned about protecting my family. (the sympathy props)

The fact that these questions were being asked in a politically inspired lawsuit (those bastards want to bring your beloved president down) which has been dismissed, (if it wasn’t for my damn penis I’d be scott free) was a consideration, too. In addition, I had real and serious concerns about an independent counsel investigation that began with private business dealing (illegal land scams) 20 years ago (I was young and stupid give me some slack), dealings (crimes) I might add, about which an independent federal agency (this Ken Starr guy you’ll be seeing trying to impeach your beloved president) found no evidence of any wrongdoing (guy couldn’t find Godzilla in a corn field) by me or my wife over two years ago. (its been awhile, give it up)

The independent counsel investigation (I’m off the blow job/lie thing and on the attack – follow me now) moved on to my staff and friends (more suckers I bilked) then into my private life (you know, the kinky in the rent-free federal office) And now the investigation itself is under investigation (they’re bad too – two wrongs equal innocence, use your imagination, like, my father beat me so I have to rape you stuff – you’re catching on!) This has gone on too long (if it weren’t for cum stains it would still be rolling) cost too much (my fault) and hurt too many people. (my fault again)

Now, this matter is between me, the two people I love most – my wife and our daughter – and our God. (those two can’t impeach me and I’ve got to throw God in here somewhere, don’t I?) I must put it right, and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to do so. (I’ll be redefining that hyperbole later) Nothing is more important to me personally (are you getting my third grade attempt at telling you that I can handle this thing – there is no use in putting me on trial, I’ll handle this – me, the guy who lied) But it is private (get it?); and I intend to reclaim my family life for my family (redundant but slick) It’s nobody’s business but ours. (something I borrowed from Al Capone) Even presidents have private lives. (and cats have whiskers boys and girls)

It is time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and prying into private lives and get on with our national life. (national life? Made that up – like it?) Our country has been distracted by this matter for too long. (driving it home, baby) and I take responsibility for my part in all this (that’s what this charade is about) This is all I can do. (didn’t I just spew some garbage about doing whatever it takes, guess this three minute thing is “whatever it takes”)

Now it is time – in fact, it is past time – (driving it home mamma) to move on. (I admitted stealing the eraser, so no one should have to stay after class) We have important work to do (more chicks) real opportunities to seize (IRS investigations of all my enemies) real problems to solve (Paula Jones will be making a comeback after this) And so tonight, I ask you to turn away from the spectacle of the past seven months (I say its past and you will ignore it – damn it – you love me!) to repair the fabric of our national discourse (made that up too, dig my cryptic jive – yeah!) and return our attention to all the challenges and all the promise of the next American century. (how do I sleep at night?)

Thanking you for watching. And good night. (The brainwashing is done, go back to Jerry Springer and professional wrestling and leave me alone)

First published on 9/1/98 in The Aquarian Weekly. It is included with many others in jc’s new book, Fear No Art available now on jamescampion.com!

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NY Toll Madness – Pop Culture satirist and author, James Campion slams the EZ-Pass.

Reality Check Classics 11/18/97

NY TOLL MADNESS

A ’79 Mercury Cougar, a six pack of Bud cans, warm raspberry Margaritas, three $12 cigars, and an EZ-Pass; for two long hours it was all we had, my burly friend, Willie and myself. We were stuck in a major traffic jam on the approach to the Whitestone Bridge against a backdrop of snow flurries and an angry Mexican on our tail laying on his horn as if a battle ship were about to ram him. It was an education in patience and the art of the swerve. We did not surrender our wits, but sold the better part of our senses to the highest bidder, and it was not the Transit Police.

“Goddammit!” Willie yelled over the pumping radio noise. “What is the fucking point of this EZ-Pass if we have to sit here like trapped rats?!” He had conveniently forgotten he was the one who insisted on driving earlier that day. “You have no cassette deck,” was his reasoning. I did not argue.

“We might as well start on the beer,” I suggested, following closely the agitated tone in Willie’s voice and carefully placing it within the parameters of my own growing rancor.

Yes, of course, drink beer in a traffic jam. This seemed like the right thing to do at the time. It was just a bridge, and, after all, we were crawling. There was little we could do in the way of real damage.

Yes, of course, drink beer in a traffic jam. This seemed like the right thing to do at the time. It was just a bridge, and, after all, we were crawling. There was little we could do in the way of real damage. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The only problem, I was to learn, was that Willie did not handle pressure like the rest of us weary New York travelers.

That’s when we decided to hit the tepid Margaritas.

The Mexican was still leaning down on his horn. Willie rolled down his window. I can still hear its droning squeak. “How about I get out of this car and cram that fucking horn up your ass?!” Willie screamed. The Mexican could not hear him over the horn and the distortion blaring from the overworked speakers in our dashboard. Unfortunately, two sharply dressed black guys in the left lane heard him. They jerked back, immediately thinking the expletive-driven tirade was directed toward them. Down came their window.

By now a yellow-haired woman with thick glasses, driving a blood red Toyota of some kind, began waving her EZ-Pass at us, and started to edge her way in front of the Cougar. Willie did not see her. He had other concerns. “What did you say, fat boy?” the black guy in the passenger seat yelled as steam rose from his gritting teeth. “I’m not talking to you, asshole!” Willie yelled back, flailing his arms and causing his beer to spill about the front seat. I quietly sipped my Margarita, chased it with a cold shot of Bud, and sparked a cigar for us both. It was becoming painfully apparent we were not moving toward any bridge.

“Willie?” I called.

“What?” he blurted, refusing to take his eyes from the two angered black guys. “What do you think that woman’s doing up there?”

Eyeing the woman in the Toyota slipping ahead just inches from our bumper, Willie was incensed. Just as I asked the question, his head turned to watch the wave of her EZ-Pass in thanks for letting her in. It was then that events became hazy.

It took the Mexican 45 minutes to stop blowing his horn, but far less for one of the black guys to exit his car and start pounding on our roof. By now Willie’s bravado had peaked and appeared to take on the mellowing effect of mainlined Prozac. The two of them must have discussed the “asshole” thing and decided it needed physical restitution. But by the looks of the man’s face it would not be without the sacrifice of pain on someone’s part. My cigar was almost done, and through a slight afternoon buzz, I could not think of one solid reason for saving Willie from his own stupid anger. And, most importantly, I could not help but think why in hell we needed an EZ-Pass in the first place?

Willie offered the riled black guy a beer if he’d smack the Mexican, who was back to leaning on his horn.

He accepted.

Willie smiled.

It was time for another Margarita and one last drag on my $12 cigar. I didn’t know anything about an EZ-Pass, but there was nothing hard about this.

First published on 12/1/97 in The Aquarian Weekly. It is included with many others in jc’s new book, Fear No Art available now on jamescampion.com!

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