Monday, October 17, 2011

Imagine Herman Cain

[The following has nothing to do with politics in a traditional sense, either mine, yours or Mr. Cain's. It's more about how people make major decisions in their lives.]

Herman Cain is a great story, but we all know he will not get the nomination, let alone the presidency. He will never fit the mold of expected conventionality the way Perry, Romney, or even Obama does.

It's too bad for Cain's sake that he does not have someone with once-in-a-generation bravery and imagination working for him, because the video below - back when Cain worked for the pizza industry, is goofy, inoffensive, and funny, but more than that, holds the one small sliver of out-of-the-box thinking that might get Cain to "stick" in people's minds the way that is necessary to get elected in the new world.

I am telling you with 100% sincerity that Herman Cain should start singing at all his campaign appearances. It would defy everything we know. It would make him a laughingstock, a source of constant late-night derision, angst and troubling echoes to a sordid racially charged past for American Entertainment and politics.

And it just might make Herman Cain the next president.

I know, you don't agree with me. I barely agree with me, and I'm a genius.  It's so counter-intuitive that it's almost impossible to wrap your head around.

People, the president is not your Mommy. He's not your Daddy, though that's what people seem to think, what they hope for. The president has never had the control over the Economy that people think. Read the Constitution: it's not even in his job description.

If the past 20 years have taught us nothing else - and they haven't - it's that the president cannot solve your problems, no matter how much you want him to. At some point people will grasp this on an unconscious level, even if they do not agree.

So what does that leave?

In the modern world, people need their president to give them something else, something different, not forced down their throats on the advice of marketing experts, but a part of who they are, a part that sticks out, gives people something else to think about. This is why the myriad low-grade controversies that followed Clinton actually helped him, they made him memorable and interesting. People don't want to consider the idea that they pick their president in the same way that they pick what to watch on Thursday Night TV, but they do.

Whatever politics and priorities a candidate says he has change once he becomes president, and is forced to deal with the reality, not the theory of his lofty goals. Whatever is left gets compromised - sometimes out of recognition, with his opponents, with the changing needs of the country and public zeitgeist, and that which does get put into Law never acts according to how it was drawn up.

In other words, the practical, real-world relationship a person has with their president is by far most influenced by the quality of the four-year reality show that the modern presidency is. The jokes. The family. The controversies. The scandals. The Fashion. The president's hobbies, his hopes, his tone of voice. How he ages in front of us, how he handles the big moments, how he handles disappointment, how he is able to surprise us, stir us, and simply stay on our minds.

Herman Cain could be that man. He won't do it and who could blame him? He wants what every candidate wants, to be taken seriously. No one running for president, particularly an African American, wants to be seen as a sideshow, Tonight's Entertainment.

But ironically, whether they admit it or not, that's what people are looking for. Imagine that.

Lyrics to Herman Cain's Pizza Beatles montage:

Imagine there's no pizza
I couldn't if I tried
Eating only tacos
Or Kentucky Fried
Imagine only burgers
It's frightening and sad

You're lucky you have pizza
To feed for kids for you
Only frosting or cookies
And no dishes you must do
Imagine eating pizza
Each and every day

You may say that it's junk food
But to me it's so much more
It gives my life its meaning
And it makes a lot of dough

Imagine mozzarella
Anchovies on the side
And maybe, pepperoni
Rounds out your pizza pie
Imagine getting pizza
Delivered to your door

You don't have to give up now
On my skateboard I will go
I'll be back in 30 minutes
I just bought Dominoes

All I am saying
Is give pizza a chance
All I am saying
Give pizza a chance!
All I am saying
Is give pizza a chance
All I am saying
You've got to, got to give pizza a chance!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

3rd String Humor

This is excerpted from a post on my Fantasy Football Message Board, the only place I write anything anymore, it would seem. In a few places I have added end-notes to explain what would otherwise be lost out-of-context.

Cletus [someone in the League: all names have been changed] has a friend named Ponyboy, whom I'm convinced Cletus keeps around for the sole contingency of one day needing someone to frame for Murder.

A few years  ago Cletus fiendishly engineered the events of my life to lead to a point where I was forced to spend a large amount of time with Ponyboy, in what I can only figure was scientific experiment to see how far someone (me) could be pushhed before snapping and going on a 12-state killing spree.

But that's a story for another day. The reason Ponyboy sprang to mind vis a vis this debate(*1) is the one funny moment I ever experienced around Ponyboy (at least the one funny moment that didn't involve him getting hustled for $400 by a long-in-the-tooth stripper and then asking for a partial refund when he proved unable to achieve full tumescence, but I digress), involved his basketball career.

He told me that in Middle School he'd been on the basketball team and was a few rungs below a Cullen Brother(*2)  on the Ability Ladder. (Don't try to picture this metaphorical ladder. M.C. Escher would drive himself mad trying to create it.)

Ponyboy's coach was one of those overbearing redfaced glory-of-war types (somewhere Bear is thinking, "I bet HE wouldn't care about a thousand dollars on the line in his fantasy league!"(*3)) who took the games very seriously.  The coach had nothing but antipathy for his less-than-skilled players, and if you remember back to your Middle School Days (which in the case of Papa Akers might necessitate a rotogravure(*4)), you will recall that there were very few "athletes' who had developed much skill.

Consequently, the Coach loathed everyone but his starters (and even then, his feelings about his starting Center were akin to those of a man whose daughter is dating a line cook from Applebees, but "only until his band Redheaded Stepmonkey(*5) gets signed to a record deal which they totally will because they are so amazing, Daddy, you should hear them I bet you would really like them!"). Coach had little or no use for his second team, and would derisively call them "The Pylons" - a tribute to their inability to move on Defense (or Offense, or out of a huddle, for that matter); a clever name that would in no way stick to an unimpressionable hard-as-nails seventh grader.(*6)

Ponyboy, as he told me, was in the third-string, a motley bunch with the collective skil level considerably below even the second team.

One might imagine the self-esteem of a Girls Gone Wild Reunion Tour(*7), but Ponyboy confided this wasn't the case. The boys knew they were bad, and in all likelihood did not really want to play, and were only doing so to please a father, etc. And where the Coach needled the second team relentlessly, he at least had the action-plan that perhaps the second-stringers would be motivated by his mockery and become better players. But the coach saw the third string as so far beneath even the second-stringers that he wouldn't even spare them the energy of a withering glare. As far as the coach was concerned they didn't exist, which suited them just fine.

Ponyboy told me that the 3rd string had even developed a gallows humor cameraderie of sorts.  The second string was so bad (according to the Coach) that they were The Pylons - what did that make the 3rd string?  The name they develped for themselves was "The Pylons' Replacements."

As much as I hated that man, you gotta admit, that's pretty damn funny.

*1 I cut all that out; you couldn't possibly care about it; involved the morality of benching a player on Monday Night if you already had your week's match-up won and didn't want to risk negative points.

*2 Not the Vampire family, although now that I've renamed them for anonymity's sake, I wish we DID call them the Cullen Brothers

*3 This refers to the cut-our morality debate

*4  I was trying to use a reference that would jokingly call him old (he's the oldest guy in our league, being the commissioner's father), but I didn't do a great job there.

*5 Redheaded Stepmonkey would make a really great band name.

*6  This is sarcasm, in case you're totally lost by my random writing stylingz, or are Australian and genetically incapable of understanding it.

*7 If you can't figure out why the girls in Girls Gone Wild videos likely have low self-esteem then you're probably stupid. Send me a picture of yourself topless and I will help you feel smart and good about yourself. (Offer does not apply to dudes, Cletus.)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Giant Weasel

I am NOT a weasel, but if I Was a weasel, I would be a Giant Weasel, as opposed to a tiny weasel.  Why? 

One should never trust the lesser of two weasels.