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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dr. Schadenfreude Returns!


Those of you who have been reading my scribbles for a few years might remember Dr. Schadenfreude. He showed up on our doorstep during the 2012 presidential clown car of horror, carrying a massive duffel bag, an espresso machine, a white board, and strudel. Being of German heritage, I never turn down strudel, so we let him in. Which might have been a mistake. Because Dr. Schadenfreude is back.

We moved two years ago, and somehow, Dr. Schadenfreude managed to find us. Driving a rented Ford Fiesta, he pulled into the driveway early this morning, fell out of the car under the weight of an ever larger duffel bag, and limped up to the front door. He rang the doorbell approximately 15 times, and when I opened the door, he grinned.

"Erin! Snookums! It's ME!"

"Oh dear God, no...err...hey, Doc, what's up?"

"I'm back, obviously. Help me with this stuff."

Dr. S. tossed a pack of Crayola washable markers, a bag of napkins, and a notebook at me. He shoved his way into the foyer, and said "Hey, nice house. Did your cat get fatter? Where the hell's the dining room?"

Once I directed him to the dining room, he began setting up. Place mats were delegated to the floor as Dr. S. dropped graphs, charts, posters, pens, pencils, and a Harry Potter bobble head on the table.

"Oh, here's my latest publication. This one is really getting a lot of attention. I'll go plug in the espresso machine while you read it."

He wandered off into the kitchen, muttering to himself, while I perused "I'm Not Narcissistic, You Just Suck." I made a mental note to tell Dr. S. he should send a few dozen of these to the Trump campaign. The general message of the pamphlet was if you believe you're better than everyone else, you are. It's beyond me why Harvard has never invited Dr. Schadenfreude to guest lecture.

At this point, our son walked upstairs, and said "I found something on I Funny, but I don't understand it. Do you know a little German?" I nodded. "He's making espresso in the kitchen." Our son looked at me. "What?" I pointed to the kitchen. He turned. "No, I meant...hey is that strudel?"

Finally getting everyone settled (Dr. S. at the head of the table, my husband hiding in the garage, our son hiding in the basement, me trapped in the dining room), the lecture on all that is wrong and weird about American politics began.

"Erin, when last we met, your Republican presidential candidates were-and correct me if I'm wrong-a guy who kept yelling 'NEIN NEIN NEIN,' a woman who believes in the End Times, an old white guy who wants to go back to the gold standard, and someone whose name became a Google reference. I know there were others, but those four stick out in my memory. Fast forward to now.

Now, you have a businessman who wants to deport 11 million people, a former Southern governor who thinks it's perfectly fine to make a 10-year old rape victim give birth to her rapist's baby, at least 3 candidates who think evolution is a myth, and a few more who are all batshit crazy. And understand that when I say batshit crazy, I am not making any sort of reference to actual mental illness, or denigrating the mentally ill. My God, I'm a licensed psychologist. These people are just nuttier than squirrel poo. Even I couldn't help them, not with all the Thorazine in the world."

We took a break at this point, because Dr. Schadenfreude was spitting as he yelled, and I needed to wash my face, hair, the table, and the cat.

After a cup of espresso and some strudel, Dr. S. sat down, calmer and slightly less twitchy. He pulled out a graph, and threw it at me.

"This graph shows what will happen to America's global reputation if one of these GOP cretins is elected president. Look at the red line. DO YOU SEE THE RED LINE? That line represents how Europeans will view your country if Donald Trump or Mike Huckabee is elected. Notice how the red line goes past the bottom of the graph, is continued downward on this other graph, and eventually ends underneath a 1972 Datsun in a New Jersey junkyard. Look at the yellow line. That line represents what Europeans will think of your country if Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio is elected. See where it goes? No? That's because this line fizzles out near a rest stop in Butte, Montana.

The rest of the world, except for Somalia, thinks your GOP candidates are awful. Where are the moderates? Where are the normal, rational Republicans? The ones who don't think creationism is real, who understand letting gay people get married will not be the end of marriage OH AND SPEAKING OF THAT, what is going on with this Ashley Madison crap? Two hardcore, super Christians had accounts with a website whose only purpose is to find you someone to cheat on your spouse with? Isn't adultery a bigger threat to marriage than more marriage? Where was I...oh, the Republicans.

Look, I get it. The GOP hates the idea of a theocracy unless it's a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. The GOP hates internment camps, unless you can put LGBT people in them. Conservatives hate abortion, but they also hate children, which they demonstrated in spades when they wet themselves defending that child molester who was on television with his 400 siblings. Actually, I don't get it. Explain this to me."

I stared at Dr. Schadenfreude, wide-eyed.

"Who, me?"

He glared.

"Yes you. You're sort of a writer, and you are online a lot, probably watching 'Supernatural,' but you must pick up useful information on occasion. Explain the right wing to me."

"I can't. I've tried for years to understand them, to figure out how they keep falling for the same crap, but I can't. I'm sorry."

Dr. S. sighed, sat down, and put his head in his hands.

"You do realize that your next president could be a flaming xenophobe who hates Islam, hates LGBT people, hates minorities, and believes discrimination is a right? Do you get that, Erin?"

I nodded silently.

"What are you going to do about it? What's your plan for keeping one of these hate mongering assholes out of the White House?"

"Writing, sharing the truth, trying to reach folks who might be Republicans, but haven't gone off the deep end. Making sure liberals, Democrats, and anyone else who's not part of the fringe, understand how important next year is."

"And...?"

"Publishing the transcript of your visit."

Dr. Schadenfreude nodded.

"It is key that your 5 readers see this. With my name attached, and your minimal writing skills, you could reach perhaps 100 people. That's a lot, right?"

"More than your pamphlets."

We had reached the awkward silence portion of the visit, where he tries to forget everything he writes ends up being handed out for free in German restrooms. Dr. S. began gathering up his belongings, as I unplugged the espresso machine. I could tell he was tired, drained of energy. I patted him on the back. He shrugged.

"Your politics is exhausting. So many people who hate so many other people, and they want a candidate who hates the same people they do. How you are not drunk all the time is beyond me."

I walked him out to his Fiesta, and helped him load up the back seat. Dr. S. looked deeply into my eyes, then shocked me by wrapping me in a bear hug.

"Be safe, young grasshopper. I'll be back."

Dr. Schadenfreude started the car, and out of the open window, I heard "American Idiot" by Green Day. He backed out of the driveway, waving goodbye and singing.

Stepping back into the house, I thought about Dr. S. and what he told me. How if we don't pay attention, if we revert back to our 2010 apathy, our country will be in deep shit. I wondered if Dr. S. would be okay, given how tired he seemed. I wondered about that Datsun.

I ate a bit of strudel.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Prolife Across America: Go big or go home


As we travel the highways and byways of the Midwest, my husband and I enjoy reading billboards. The ads for a truck stop that refuse to use commas, resulting in what looks like an invitation to eat a truck wash, or real estate agents who probably look perfectly normal in person, but blown up on a 40-foot sign, look a little scary, are our favorites. There are billboards that cause us to yell out the window, or utilize a middle finger, or just growl, and those billboards belong to Pro-Lie Life Across America.

I've debunked the flaming bullshit Pro-Lie Life Across America "sells" on their billboards, using actual medical science. But last night, my husband wondered how PLAA gets away with lying on a billboard. Wouldn't doctors, or scientists, or someone, call them out for doing this? And if they are allowed to lie, why stop with "Daddy's princess had fingerprints 9 weeks after conception!"?

When it comes to lying, go big or go home. If you're going to do, then do it. Fingerprints? Hiccups? Heartbeat? Pfft. Take it to the max, Pro-Lie Life Across America. Put up billboards that make people drive off the road, get out of their cars, and stand, mouths agape, staring at your signs. You want attention? Go big. For example:

*I took my ACT 15 days after conception.

*I registered to vote Republican 5 days after conception.

*My daddy gave me a purity ring 12 days after conception.

*I bagged an 8-point buck 17 days after conception.

*I was accepted to Liberty University 19 days after conception.

*I bought my first handgun from Armslist 8 days after conception.

*My mommy said I took my first selfie 3 days after conception.

Better.

Seriously, Pro-Lie Life Across America, your "science" is crap, your resources are right-to-birth groups, and we want to know how you get away with it. Frankly, if lying on a billboard is perfectly acceptable, I think I will start a fundraiser to put up one of my own. It will read "Being conservative leads to sterility, numbness in the genitals, and hair loss." Or "Cats are taking over the world, how will you resist?" Perhaps something like "Ted Cruz's dad is an android sent from planet Zenon."

Go big or go home. The difference is my ideas are pure snark, and don't hurt anyone. Pro-Lie Life Across America's billboards are medically unsound, dishonest, and insulting. Vulnerable women see these awful ads, and believe them. It's a sham. There's no such thing as "pro-life," unless a person wants to overturn the death penalty, help the poor and suffering, resist war and aggression, and wants to extend low-cost or free healthcare to everyone, cradle to end of life. That's pro-life.

Groups like Pro-Lie Life Across America? They're pro-birth. And pro-lies. Lots and lots of lies.




Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Bachmann Diaries: Who should be the next president other than me?


Dear Diary,

Marcus won't let me run for president. MARCUS WON'T LET ME RUN FOR PRESIDENT. Marcus says it would hurt our family. Marcus says the liberal media is too mean to me. Marcus says I still might go to prison. Marcus says I should stick to starring in Hollywood blockbusters like that shark movie.

The Bible says wives need to be subservient to their husbands, and I am trying to be that perfect wife. I rarely wear slacks, I always look my best, I love to cook, I raised 489 312 290 all those foster children, and I do realize Marcus is the man of the house. Barely. This is so hard, Diary. I would be the greatest president in the history of America, other than Ronald Reagan. I gave up on that whole Godlandia idea, simply because it would be too expensive to change all the money, and we need that money to blow up Iran.

So, since I can't run, every conservative candidate has been hounding me for an endorsement. Obviously, my 6 million Tweeter fans need to know who to vote for, because we all know right wing voters have to be led by the hand everywhere. It takes work and skill to get an entire group of people to vote against their own best interests year after year.

Up until a few days ago, my personal favorite was Ben Carson. He's super smart-a doctor of brains or something, he hates all the right people (liberals, Obama, HOMOS, the poor), and he's the right kind of black. He's not uppity like Obama, he supports police officers, and he is 100% correct when he compares Obama to Hitler. I think that was Ben Carson. I could be wrong; so many people compare Obama to Hitler on a daily basis.

But then Ben Carson went on a news show, where he was asked if the Bible outweighs the Constitution. Now this is a very easy question. The answer, and I should know this since I am a Constitutional/tax lawyer, is YES. YES YES YES. True Christians follow God's law to the letter oh Marcus just brought me his special shrimp salad with fresh dill from the garden. I can't stay mad at him. Anyway, Carson hemmed and hawed, and I was really shocked. Anyone who wants my endorsement for president must realize the Bible is the most important thing in the world.

Then there's Trump. I like Donald, I really do. I still have that "Trump Stamp" he made all of us get last time. But president? Trump doesn't seem to follow the tenets of conservatism to the letter like some other candidates. He says we should provide help and healthcare for the poor, he hasn't met with the Koch brothers once, and he's not a true Christian. He's been married three times, cheated on his first two wives, and I'm pretty sure that thing on his head violates Biblical law.

Scott Walker doesn't do much for me. He's sort of a wimp, he has no chin, and he just seems, I don't know, not bold. He's a Christian, and he hates the poor like we're supposed to, but there's just something about him. Not Walker.

Jeb Bush. No. Just no. He's nothing like his brother, who was an amazing president, keeping us safe from terrorism by invading Iraq after a bunch of Muslim terrorists from Saudi Arabia attacked us on 9/11. I adore GW, Jeb, not so much.

I don't know much about most of the other candidates, which means they would make horrible presidents. Our next president needs to have the courage of his convictions. He needs to support Israel, destroy Palestine, close our borders, put God back in our schools, guns in every hand, get rid of Obamacare and Planned Abortionhood (I made that up-pretty catchy, right?), deport the poor, and put HOMOS in camps, or get Marcus to work his magic on them. Which leaves Mike Huckabee.

I am endorsing Mike Huckabee for president. Governor Huckabee is sweet and kind, he has a loving, Christian family (and who cares what his son did to that dog, the dog probably deserved it), he and Ted Nugent are great friends, he hates HOMOS, abortion, Muslims, and understands David Barton is the greatest historian in America. Mike Huckabee is a hero in my eyes, and I think he would make a fantastic president.

The first debate is tomorrow, and I for one cannot wait to see Governor Huckabee destroy his opponents with his down-home charm, his Christian faith, and his lightning wit. I predict Huckabee will win that debate by a landslide. Or Trump will, just by yelling and talking about himself in the third person. Lord, that's annoying.

Huckabee 2016! Oh please, Jesus, let him win the nomination and ask me to be his VP. Please please please.

Hugs and kisses-Michele with one "L" the way it should be.