A Place of My Own

I can hear it only if I am very quiet and very selective. The first thing to go is the bass thumping of C's stereo. It's easy to identify and easy to mute. Slowly pull down the slider control in my mind, and it fades away to nothing. In the next room the quiet tinkle and occasional pop of M's cleaning falls away just as easily. A slight adjustment and it is gone. Harder, but not impossible, are the occasional footfalls on our carpeted floors. They are indistinct and difficult to isolate - but they are there - and when I find them, they fall away too. Here, in this room, the soft whir of the computer and the annoying clatter of the keyboard needs to be blended, compressed, and tuned away with a more deft touch. The hardest of all is the dog's quiet breathing. A soft snore, barely perceptible, but still there. I struggle with it for a long time before it too fades away with all the other sounds.

And suddenly, there it is. An almost imperceptible white noise. Not really a sizzle, but rather a soft tap, performed by millions of tiny fingers pummeling the roof like a masseuse. Mixed in with the sound of the rain are occasional tings as first one drop, and then another, falls down the gutter. It is the ancient sound of water on metal. A human touch in the otherwise natural setting. There are rhythmic splats too, when a few wayward drops fall from the eaves to the sodden ground below. The damp earth cushions their fall, but they are still there, as persistent as the sounds of my own heartbeat and my breathing - natural counterpoints to the man-made tings in the gutter.

It's easier to see. I only need to turn to the window and look. On the glass the sounds mix into a vibrant, but subtle vision. Tiny horizontal slashes appear alternately with fat, wet drops on the glass. During the heavier outbursts they combine into a kind of wavy sheet that crawls down the window in a never-ending, but infinitely interesting, loop.

The effect is quite dramatic. The water blurs the colors and the shapes, not nearly enough to completely obscure them, but just enough to offer the scene a gauzy color and texture. It looks like an old notebook, left too long in the rain. The water has entered the very fabric of the paper and changed the clearly inked words into soft emotional portraits of suffused pink and blue. If you squint hard you can still make out the words, but their look and feel are somehow changed by the wash of the raindrops. If the rain goes on long enough, nothing of the words will be left. The pages will be white and the only trace of the words will be some stiffness as the paper dries and warps into soft and crumbling parchment.

To me, the combination of the spare sounds and watery and rippling window are like music. Technonerds might even call it multimedia - sound and light, vision and emotion, all wrapped into one. I am sure Bill Gates would figure out a way to sell it if he could, but the simple fact of merchandising it changes it from one thing into quite another.

When I was in college I shared a house with a few close friends. We named it Bijou Manor and fancied ourselves a world apart. There were many things that made that place special, surely too many to write here, but one of them was my room.

Not long after moving in, I moved from one of the traditional bedrooms on the ground floor to a room at the top of the attic stairs. It was a small space, just big enough for a bed, a small chest of drawers, and a homemade writing desk and bed that doubled as a sleeper and a chair for the desk. The floor slanted slightly toward the overgrown backyard and every board in the place creaked. The walls were paneled with ancient tongue and groove wood, permanently stained almost black from age and many coats of varnish. I fashioned a faux-fancy lamp shade to cover the bare light bulb that hung in the stairwell by enclosing it in a castoff bird cage. Inside lived a model bird, hand carved and insanely colorful. It was done by an anonymous third world craftsman and picked up for a buck at a local import store. Over in the corner was a gas fire - so ancient you needed to light it with a match. It was poorly vented and probably a deathtrap, but it always glows rose and orange in my memories.

The small space looked so much larger because it was glass on three sides. Two of the windows had three or more inch gaps at the bottoms where they hung square to the tilted and settling walls. I never attempted to cover the windows in anyway. I merely turned off the lights when I wanted privacy from the neighbors. It was a curious arrangement that left the place light a greenhouse. Very tropical on sunny days and cold and insular when it rained.

I liked the rainy days the best. Like today's rain, it ran in intricate patterns over all that glass and into the gutters on the roof outside. Out there in the back of the house I never had to strain out noise. I was permanently isolated. All I could hear was the womblike sound of the rain and all I could see were the wonderful paintings it made of my windows. I could spend entire days there - reading, and writing, and listening to the rain.

My roommates almost never came up the stairs. In fact, many times I am sure they might not have even noticed if I was home. It was a place of invisibility punctuated by the views out my ever-changing windows. It was deathly boring and intensely exciting all at once. It was a place that very few people are fortunate enough to have - a place of their own, on their own terms, inhabited by what pleased them the most, and infinitely variable - it was space and time; an entire universe compressed into a 10 x 8 foot box.

That place is very dear to me now. It was a place of comfort during an almost intolerably uncomfortable time in my life. It held me, and pleased me, and gave me time to think. That small place taught me many things. It was the place where I sorted out my feelings and explored emotions, both troubling and serene. It was a place of safety and a place of danger and a place to sleep, and eat, and dream. When I emerged from it after almost two years, I felt reborn. The rain had washed terrible weights off my shoulders and though I was still young, still afraid, and still confused, it gave me the courage to keep trying. It was the place where I began to heal and from there I went out into a new world.

I am more than 20 years away from that room now. But every time it rains - every time I take the care to concentrate - I can still hear the rain and feel warm and free all over again.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Saturday, December 31, 2005

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On Being a Man

Note: We continued this week's breather from saving the world with a little piece we wrote as part of a letter several years ago. We don't remember what it was that got us thinking, but still seems applicable. Enjoy.

I sat down today to write a story about what is like to be a man. It seemed like such a simple and clear idea when it came to me that I thought it would be a piece of cake. I'd write about the trials and tribulations, the coming of age, the conflicting signals that a young boy gets as he slowly turns into a man. But the more I thought of it, the harder it became. I'd seen the same story a thousand times in other places. How could I have anything fresh to say about a topic that has been around as long as there have been men?

I made a few abortive attempts. They came off preachy, or macho, or full of the self important angst that underscores those Robert Bly drumathons. I thought to myself that there must be more than that. I listed some of the statistical nuggets in my head. I threw in a couple of one-liners that seemed to sum up one particular aspect or another of being a man. In the end I realized one essential truth - that being a man is usually not much like a story. Being a man is more like the list itself - full of statistics and one liners and particularly of contradictions.

So here is my list, in all of its testosterone-infused glory:
  • Being a man is having women assume that you have accrued societal power and prestige by the simple virtue of having external plumbing.
  • Being a man is having women tell you that you should be more like them and less like yourself.
  • Being a man is acting as the punchline in every sitcom with a domestic setting.
  • Being a man is being told to be more sensitive and caring while simultaneously being encouraged to be strong and silent.
  • Being a man is having to pay for dinner...always.
  • Being a man is sometimes being a Dad and showing your children - male or female - what men can be.
  • Being a man is always having to make the first move.
  • Being a man is facing the assumption that all men are alike.
  • Being a man is having a shorter life span.
  • Being a man means sometimes having to fight something that you neither started nor want.
  • Being a man means being invisible during pregnancies, but sticking with it anyway.
  • Being a man is always having to put the toilet seat down when women never bother to leave it up for you.
  • Being a man is politely holding a door for anyone, but being accused by many female recipients of the kindness of being condescending.
  • Being a man is being expected to watch sports, whether you want to or not.
  • Being a man is being defined by what you do rather than who you are.
But most of all, being a man means facing all those things, and more, for yourself rather than for anyone else. Being a man is having strength in all its forms - with all it's rewards and its drawbacks. In the end, men and women are completely different at the same time they are nearly the same.

And that is not something that is bad or good, it just is.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Friday, December 30, 2005

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Growing Up in the South - The Morning Swim

Note: Part Two of our Growing Up in the South package. As you can see, the south of my childhood wasn't all honeysuckle and ham. There were evil elements afoot - though I was quite well protected from them in a suburban sort of way. The newspapers still carried separate classified advertisements for "colored" and "white", though the segregated water fountains disappeared before I was old enough to remember them. Over the years I've retained that peculiar southern ability to selectively remember good things while filing unpleasant episodes away in a special place. In that place they are accessible enough for tempering of character, but far enough below the surface to save umefrom being psychologically scarred. Of course, there were episodes of honeysuckle and ham as well. Despite all of its shortcomings, the South could be a wonderful place to wake up in the morning.

The first sunlight focused on a small spot directly between my eyes. It wasn't unpleasant at all, but warm and inviting. It caressed my head and made me feel sleepy and content. I lay there - eyes closed - and felt my body awake part by part.

I could hear a mourning dove far in the distance. A plaintive hoot as it called for its mate. I could hear the breeze in the pines, all soft rush and whispering. The smell of pine mixed honeysuckle and eggs, bacon, and coffee from the house next door. Over in the corner, a small fan turned gently, puffing sporadic breezes my way. It felt cool on my sweaty back. I sat up slowly and looked to the East. The sun was well past the horizon though it was early. It was going to be a scorcher.

I walked barefoot and cutoff-clad to the dock behind the house, sat down and dangled my feet in the murky lake water. Small schools of crappie swarmed around and nibbled hello to my toes. I slowly slid into the water. It was that perfect temperature where you can't be sure where skin ends and water begins. Not too hot, not too cold, just right.

Diving under, I went into a different world. I felt weightless and alive. I swam about like a happy porpoise, slowly kicking my legs more to move water past my skin than to propel myself to any particular destination. It was so quiet I could hear nothing but my heartbeat in my ears. I slowly drifted to the surface and took a breath of air, annoyed at this particular drawback of mammalian design.

With my lungs filled, I crossed my legs and sank slowly toward the bottom. A few feet down I passed through the temperature layer so common in muddy Southern lakes. Near the surface the water is warm and inviting, a few feet down it turns prickly cold. Arriving at the bottom I came to rest in some cool, soft mud. I could feel it around my feet and legs.

I tilted my head up and opened my eyes. Through the green murk I could make out the color of the early morning sun. Just as my lungs began to ache for a return to the surface I saw a shadow pass over. Still wondering what it was, I began a slow rise to the surface. Just as I reached the temperature layer I heard a loud splash and looked up to see a rapidly diminishing movement. Kicking hard I reached the surface and looked skyward. There, heading into the morning sun, I saw an Osprey with a fish dangling from its talons.

It's been a long time and I still find myself missing the low salt marshes and pines. It seems a magical place now, though I don't remember it being anything but hot and boring when I lived there. I suppose it is just more of that peculiar Southern ability making itself known to me.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Thursday, December 29, 2005

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Growing Up in the South - Bad People

Note: Here is another little snippet of true story to show what it was like to grow up in the South. This is the bad side. Tomorrow, the good.

Dad and I had gone to the shopping center to drop Sis off for her accordion lessons. She went inside, crammed into a tiny practice room with a cranky old geezer named Mr. Sylvestro. I remember from my own music lessons that he made coffee from tepid tap water and instant coffee. He usually stirred a small pinch of Bromo Seltzer in with each cup. The stuff bubbled and fizzed and formed a horrible frothy, brown scum on top.

We walked around to kill time while we waited for Sis. We strolled past the windows at Rice's department store, into the Woolworth's, and back out into the sweaty midday sun. I raced ahead from store to store, hiding in building recesses and jumping out each time Dad reached me, screaming BOO! at the top of my lungs. As I rounded the corner at the Fanny Farmer candy store (always a favorite stop), I saw something I'd never seem before. Hundreds of people were walking through the parking lot carrying signs and wearing white sheets. Each person wore a tall pointed hat with a hood over the face.

I stood in front of the candy store in awe. Was it a parade? Why were those people wearing costumes? Why were they surrounded by a police escort? If it was a parade, why did people run in front of them in a hushed and hurried effort to get out of the way?

I stared up at Dad in slack-jawed fascination. I felt his grip tighten on my tiny shoulder and felt him gently pushing me toward Farmer's. Under his breath I heard him whisper, "the Klan," more to himself than to me. I asked him who those people were and he suggested we go into Farmer's to get some chocolate, something he never was of a mind to do before.

Inside the cool, white-tiled store I drank in the heady aroma of chocolate and peered into the tidy cases. He encouraged me to take my time shopping, again quite out of character. I finally chose my prize and watched through the glass of the counter as the white-sheeted procession went into the Woolworth's we'd just left.

"Time to go get Sis," he said. We hurried to retrieve her from Mr. Sylvestro, trundled her big black accordion case into the car, and drove off. I sucked at my candy prize and watched through the back window of the car as the procession came out of Woolworth's and went back to their cars under the watchful eyes of the police.

When I asked Dad again who they were, he said simply, "Bad people."

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Wednesday, December 28, 2005

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Going to the Movies With Garbo

Note: We're presenting here a story about a real incident that happened to us when we were young and not yet omnipotent. We'll warn you right here, this is not our usual fare - for one thing, it is written in the first person. So if you read a little and it isn't your cup of tea, there is no reason to feel obliged to stick around. If you like it, you're more than welcome to stay.

There are events in everyone's life that sometimes take on an emotional importance spectacularly out of proportion to their physical limits. When they happen, they start as innocent affairs, sneaking up on you without the slightest warning.

Sometimes they begin with a look, sometimes a feeling, sometimes a smell or sound or stray thought. They sit there in the cob webby back corner of your mind, unimportant and nearly intangible, before suddenly blossoming into something very important. It happens frightfully fast like one of those time lapse photographs of a flower suddenly blooming in the bright spring sun. They start with a wonderful tingling sensation at the back of your neck and end with the certainty that this is a moment, a memory, that will stick with you until you die.

For me, most of those moments seemed to have come when I was in my twenties. Perhaps they require a nimbleness of mind and presence of emotion that becomes dulled by the passing of time. But, there are one or two that I remember to this day as clear and as fresh as the day they happened. Whenever I feel low, I pull them out and live them again. And for a time, feel renewed.

In my early twenties I was a student at the University of Kentucky. I was a burly guy, old beyond my years, with a great shaggy beard and shoulder length hair. I was markedly out of step with the svelte disco kings and queens - resplendent in polyester and teetering on six inch heels - who were beginning to replace the old line hippies on American campuses. I took a wide variety of courses, from biology to journalism law to philosophy. Though the world was moving toward an emphasis on specialization, I was steadfastly plodding along in the other direction. My curriculum was heavy with courses in literature, film, and political science. All subjects that I enjoyed and could excel at without really trying. I avoided, whenever possible, the sciences or any other courses that relied on rote and memorization. Though I had some intellectual interest in them, I mostly hated them and ditched them at every opportunity.

One of my favorite courses was a film criticism class. It was taught by a pompous graduate of that bastion of film criticism, the University of Alberta. His critical method was to watch a film over and over until every moment was imprinted indelibly on his mind. Then, like a cross-eyed man squinting too close to a mirror, he would concoct a completely new reality of what he saw.

He conjured up the most amazing critical theories. Every one was obviously a complete fantasy, but enjoyable if you took them for the harmless fictions they were. My favorite pastime was to invent incredible theories of my own and introduce them to the discussions in his class. Without fail, he seized upon them and took off like a shot, inflating them with his own overwrought ideas and expanding them until they collapsed of their own faux intellectual weight. I was having the time of my life.

One of the movies assigned that semester was Anna Karenina. It was playing in a large auditorium classroom late on a cold winter Wednesday. As usual, I found a stage-center seat against the back wall of the auditorium. I sank down into my uncomfortable institutional seat, pulled out my notebook, and began to watch without the slightest intention of actually taking the first note.

The film was glorious, the first of the season that I truly enjoyed. Each time Greta Garbo filled the screen she reflected an intense white glow that bathed me in the astonishingly cold water from a Russian mountain lake. It took my breath away. As I was going down for the third time I glanced forward and to the right two rows. There, bathed in the same incredible white glow, I saw the luminescent outline of a woman's face. It seemed to glow with the same fantastic intensity of Garbo's. It framed her soft cheeks and eyes and made the highlights of her long dark hair sparkle like so many diamonds. I spent the rest of the film staring down two rows and to the right. To this day, Anna Karenina ends for me with a kiss between Fredric March and Greta Garbo somewhere in the middle of the film.

As the film ended, I watched closely trying to get a look at the woman whom I had spent so much time staring at. When the house lights came up, I was quite surprised. Instead of a cool, Teutonic beauty ala Garbo, I saw a woman with long shoulder length brown hair. She was not beautiful in the conventional sense, but somehow combined several features that would best be described as "pleasant". Yet, I was entranced. Those plain features and that soft brown hair seemed almost more than I could bear. I angled for the exit, trying to place myself somewhere close to her.

We both stepped out into a bitterly cold wind, tearing at our clothes and bringing tears to our eyes. But inside, I was somehow warm and comfortable and she seemed the same. We started out across the campus, her in the lead and me just a few steps behind. Snow crunched softly under our feet. Our breath combined into a big swirling cloud of steam. I stole glances her way at every chance and suddenly realized that she was doing the same. She looked back occasionally with a tiny perfect smile and I realized that in that split second I had fallen in love.

Like a bumbling schoolboy, I thrilled at being near while secretly fretting that I had no words for her. Her delicate smiles must certainly have been invitations, yet I was at a near panic trying to come up with something, anything, to say.

We walked on for a while in silence, my panic slowly subsiding into an unusual sort of happiness. Our paths took us the long way round to no place of particular importance. Somehow walking to nowhere, while electricity crackled between us, seemed just enough.

As if in some weird movie script, she stopped, slowly turned to me, and said, "Good night."

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Tuesday, December 27, 2005

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Tagging and Chain Letters Must End

We were tagged by Spork in the Drawer several days ago. The invitation came along with a plea that we not "hate" them for tagging us. While our first impulse when we see tags and chain letters is to mutter about nutcases and vow not to comply with them for spite, we were asked nicely and they did throw themselves on our omnipotent mercy.

Just remember, THIS IS AN EXCEPTION! So don't anyone else feel free to tag us because we're omnipotent, and dammit, we have other things to do.

That last bit isn't literally true, but let's just keep that between you and me.

Herewith, our seven:

Seven Things To Do Before I Die
  1. Come up with an air-tight plan to cheat death.
  2. Make enough money to take over a large multinational corporation and fire the CEO for the hell of it.
  3. Win the lottery. See number 2.
  4. Think of a fourth thing to do before we die.
  5. Retire.
  6. Get a really cool electric train.
  7. Meet Dubya in person to see if he is really as stupid in real life as he seems.
Seven Things I Cannot Do
  1. Be stable.
  2. Sing.
  3. Vote Republican.
  4. Eat parsnips or liver.
  5. Follow a recipe.
  6. Be wise.
  7. Convert base metal into gold.
  8. Restrict ourself to a list of only seven things we cannot do.
Seven Things That Attract Me to...Blogging
  1. We can say anything we want - no matter how daft, offensive, or stupid.
  2. It gets us out of the virtual house and keeps us off the virtual street where we would surely be stirring up more trouble than necessary if given the chance.
  3. The opportunity to meet people who are dumber than us, thereby giving us the opportunity to feel superior.
  4. The opportunity to meet people who are much smarter than us, thereby giving us the opportunity to be in awe. See our blogroll on the right for confirmation.
  5. It is something one can do with a minimum of talent and a maximum of impact.
  6. It's a funny word. Think about it..."blogging"? Come on!
  7. It's free and we're cheap.
Seven Things I Say Most Often
  1. "Oh shit".
  2. "Asshole".
  3. "Asshat".
  4. "Dill hole".
  5. "Dick With Ears".
  6. "Ass wipe".
  7. "Where's the goddamn number for the Tourette Syndrome Association"?
Seven Books That I Love
  1. Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck.
  2. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Walter Isaacson
  3. The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, Carlos Cataneda
  4. Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga, Hunter S. Thompson
  5. The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary, James S. Kunen
  6. First Person Plural: My Life as a Multiple, Cameron West
  7. The Fermata, Nicholson Baker
Seven Movies That I Watch Over and Over Again
  1. King of Hearts
  2. My Man Godfrey
  3. In Like Flint
  4. Gallipoli
  5. Operation Petticoat
  6. The Big Sleep
  7. African Queen
Seven People I Want To Join In Too
  1. Anyone who would like to volunteer.
  2. Anyone who has ever sent a chain letter.
  3. Anyone who has ever been associated in any way with Amway.
  4. All former, current, and future members of the Church of Scientology because they need something to get their minds off L. Ron Hubbard.
  5. Scooter Libby.
  6. God.
  7. Anyone with a morbid fear of the number seven.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Monday, December 26, 2005

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Merry Thingamajig & Happy Watchamacallit!

Murry ChrismusSeason's Greetings From the First Lady
The Twelve Days of Christmas Compassionate Conservative Style
Santa Dispatches From the Field
Unless They're Unionized, Santa's Elves Never Get Christmas Off

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Saturday, December 24, 2005

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Hurricane George Measures a Category 10

Of all the gross incompetence shown by The Commandant of Failure, the KatRita disaster was surely the ugliest. While Brownie was busy demonstrating his vast command of equine reproduction and sartorial decision making, thousands died or ended up homeless. The investigations into the disaster have dissolved into a miasma of inertia, with no political body seemingly able to do more than bring a blushing Brownie and a host of others to Capitol Hill to take their much deserved spankings.

In true Bushonian fashion, there have been no real attempts to hold anyone accountable. Brownie "resigned" and was rewarded with a job as a "disaster consultant" - something that he unfortunately has world-class credentials for. Michael "Skeletor" Chertoff still reigns over the Department of Homeland Security roost even though scathing reports on homeland security "progress" rewarded him with grades that would make a drunken frat boy blush - except of course, the one that lives in the White House. Last week it was revealed that the Corps of Engineers used levy inspections as an excuse to take a nice drive and go have lunch on the public dime. While they were chewing a nice prime rib the levies that were supposedly built to Cat 3 hurricane standards turned out to be weaker than designed and were already being undermined.

Meanwhile, the piles of rubble are still there. Residents of the storm-ravaged area make up a diaspora of the disadvantaged, scattered around the country and looking for permanent housing before FEMA cuts them off in February. Lives have not just been intterupted, but ruined in the process.

Unfortunately, BushCo has been able to depend on the short memories of the voting public. The new scandals of the day, from illegal spying to the Mess-in-Potamia (tip o'the hat to Jon Stewart) are front and center. This is what happens when you have an administration that has an unending string of serial failures to help them cover their well-apportioned asses. In effect, Dubya gets a pass on some issues because there are still more out there than we can comprehend. The effect on reasoned people is similar to that suffered by a homeowner in Biloxi. They stand in the middle of the rubble and look around hopelessly, trying to figure out where to start because the devastation is so total. Hurricane George has been no less than a Cat 10.

The political season has been just as bad as the just-ended hurricane season, but unlike the hurricane season we can't depend on the calendar to help stop the damage. Looking into 2006, there seem to be plenty of storm clouds on the horizon. We'd take cover, but we're still waiting for George to carry through on fixing the problems instead of taking his holiday - oops, excuse us - Christmas, back at the ranch.

Put some coal in the Cowboy's stockin', will ya?

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Friday, December 23, 2005

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As We See It - Version 14.0

Impeachment - What's Good for the Goose is Good For The Gander

The Annual Halloween Party at the NSA

It MUST Be a Democracy, They Have Voting "Irregularities" Too

Bush: That Con-Stah-Too-Shun-a-Mo-Thang's Jess Too Hard Ta Deal With

Bush and Nixon - Solid Conservative Republican Values

Damn! Thought We Had 'Em There Fer a Minute

Donald Rumsfeld Nominated for Nobel Prize in Advanced Wartime Calculus


We Wouldn't Want to Wake Up the Populace Now Would We?

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Thursday, December 22, 2005

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Mea Culpa Update

As promised in my posting yesterday, we submitted the "Goddamn piece of paper" quote to both Snopes and Capitol Hill Blue.

Snopes returned a nice automated e-mail saying they will read the mail, but not promising an answer. Our take is that we most likely won't get an answer, but one can always hope.

The editors at Blue replied in less than 24 hours, which in this day and age of poor service and carelessness, is quite remarkable. This is their reply verbatim:

"If the story were not true we would not have published. We a’re a news site, not a fiction one, a blog or a bulletin board.

Our sources requested anonymity and we do not burn our sources.

Thanks for writing."

So there you have it. They stand by the quote. We have no specific reason to doubt them, but neither have we been able to confirm via an independent source.

We're going to thank the editors at Blue for replying so quickly, but we'll stick to our retraction now in case we are wrong. We'd rather err on the side of truth than to smear people at the drop of a hat like the Bushies. I would encourage them to do the same in the future, although I have little reason to believe they will.

Thanks to everyone for their support. Hopefully, we suceeded in taking the high road by copping to a possible mistake. It's nice to see that many of you believe that road is the right one.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Thursday, December 22, 2005

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A Great Big Cup of Mea Culpa

Junior Poobah Gabriel Zolman, from The Amen Corner, made an interesting comment about our recent rant on Bush calling the US Constitution a, "goddamn piece of paper". Gabe said, "I hate to say it, but I suspect this "goddamned piece of paper" non-scandal is going to turn out to be a bust - an urban legend at best. If there was even a hint of truth to it, the Bush Corporate Guard would have tried to stomp this story out already, and the larger liberal press would have latched onto it in defiance. Someone, somewhere, knows better."

It got us thinking. We asked ourself the same questions when we ran across the story. So, why did we quote it anyway?

The truth is, there is no defensible reason to run it and many reasons to suspect it:
  • It quotes multiple unnamed sources.
  • Some quick research shows that at least some people distrust Capitol Hill Blue as a source, rightly or wrongly.
  • Gabe is probably right that there would have been a tizzy of activity trying to quash the story if it were true, much like how Newsweek reports that the Bushies tried to stop the new Snoopgate story.
  • In our quick searches we cannot find anyone else as an original source for the story. All posts we can find point back to Capitol Hill Blue. Never a good sign that something is truthful.
So giving the benefit of the doubt, should we have run with it?

The clear and unambiguous answer is quite simply no.

In hindsight, it is something we wish we hadn't run with. We could use lots of excuses like saying it hasn't been proved true. We could claim we have no resources to independently verify it. We could say that, while the story may not be true, it's certainly believable. We could transer blame by saying that links to the original source gave people the opportunity to verify the story for themselves (referred to as the caveat emptor defense). All of those things are true, but they are ultimately excuses.

We've certainly taken our fair share of shots at Fox News and plenty of other info outlets (we use that term because we believe we are all members of "the media") when they've reported untruths or partial truths, so we can't avoid taking ourselves to the woodshed now, can we?

So here is our apology:

  • Mr. Bush, were are sorry if we have reported something that is untrue about you (unless it is obviously a satire, which is fair game we think). You have a shitty job. Granted, we don't think you're doing it well, but it is still a shitty job.
  • Readers, we are sorry we may have mislead you. You deserve better, especially from someone who is omnipotent and should know better.
  • We're also sorry for those who went on to write similar posts themselves, even if they were beautifully written and contained sentiments that, like our post, were justified.
  • To atone, we have sent the comment to Snopes to see if they can get to the bottom of it and have asked for verification from the editors at Capitol Hill Blue. We'll keep you posted about what we find.
So dear readers, we hope we haven't irreparably damaged our relationship with you. We treasure it mightily and we would like it to continue. We can assure you that we'll try harder in the future and we have already decided we will never take payola for writing something untrue (mostly because no one would be crazy enough to offer anyway). We may be omnipotent, but we ain't flawless or stupid.

But we do take personal responsibility for our mistakes and that is what we hope we are doing here. Mea culpa.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Wednesday, December 21, 2005

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Bush Twins Arrested in Wiretap Probe

Washington, DC (Omnipotent Poobah Omnimedia) - A secret wiretap placed on the cell phone of the President's daughter, Jenna Bush, has revealed connections between her, her twin sister Barbara, and a terrorist group called the Young Republicans Against Democracy and for Hard Partying (YRADHP). As a result of the investigation, the twins were arrested last night at a Georgetown bar where they were buying cocaine and drinking heavily.

The White House immediately went on the defensive. Presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said in a brief statement, "Clearly this wiretap was obtained illegally and cannot, and will not, be used in court to malign the President's two beautiful daughters. Everyone can plainly see that any information about the twins is completely untrue, plainly political, a threat to our troops in harm's way, and personally hurtful to the Surgeon General. It's also an attempt to play the blame game and aid those who are constantly trying to undermine our country. At this time, we believe that Rep. Jack Murtha may have been responsible for starting these vicious, untrue rumors."

When asked why the twins had been detained, McClellan said, "The CIA provided us with flawed intelligence resulting in the arrests. We were told, and every single democrat in both houses of congress agreed, that the twins might be in possession of WMD. Heads are going to roll over this. No one, but no one, criticizes this administration without fearing the vengeful rath of a loving God. We plan to speak to reverend Pat Robertson immediately after this news conference and ask him to pray that all democrats be stuck down by lightning."

The twin's arrest came at a time when the Administration was already under fire for placing wiretaps on the phones of US citizens without a court order. Bush has argued that his obtaining of taps without warrants is justified as "a powerful tool in the War on Terror and is just good, clean fun."

"I've got to do everything I can to relieve the the crushing weight of civil rights on the backs of fine, Chirstian Americans. It's high time that strict, activist Constitutional constructionalists understand that they cannot rewrite history. After all, the Constitution is only a goddamned piece of paper. I am the President and my word is the supreme law of the land," Bush said as he emerged from a broom closet where a meeting with foreign ministers from the "Coalition of the Willing" was being held.

Some observers were stunned that the President's daughters turned up in a wire tapping probe. "The President has vowed that the wiretaps would only be used against terrorists and really, really bad people," said Hiram Keith, a senior fellow at the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation. "Clearly he didn't mean for his decision to be applied to his two young daughters and they should be released immediately. I believe the President is completely within his powers to fairly apply law only to people he dislikes. That is the way things have been done in this country for at least the past five years and the way they should continue to be done."

It was also not completely clear how the wiretap was applied to the twins even though the President had left explicit instructions that his family, his closest supporters, lobbyists, and multinational businessmen, should never be directly targetted. Early investigations revealed that the taps may have been obtained because of a, "small, inconsequential breakdown in communications" according to one highly placed White House source who wished to be identified by his Secret Service codename, Turd Blossom.

"The President has been upfront about how he intended to use the law. The taps were apparently okayed by a White House gardner when the President was taking a vacation and could not be reached by telephone. Possibly because of a language barrier, the FBI believed that the President had actually answered the phone and had given them permission for the taps to proceed," Blossom said. "We'll be looking into how we may avoid these types of things in the future, but this minor incident has absolutely no bearing on how the law will be applied after the twins are released."

The arrests will be sure to fuel the fire over controversial provisions of the Patriot Act currently held up in Congress. The act was established after 9/11 to make it easier for the Administration to spy with a clear conscience. Although they apparently have never actually used the law, both President Bush and Vice President Cheney have roundly criticised lawmakers whenever the act is mentioned. "We usually just go ahead and spy," Cheney recently said. "that Patriot Act stuff is just a nicety for when we've got our tit caught in the ringer.

"These damned pussy-assed democrats are always trying to undo the fine work that the President and I have done since this Administration has been at the helm. I say let them get the hell out of the country if they don't agree with us. That, and torturing people, is the American way," Cheney said. "Arrguh! Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum," he added.

The dust-up is expectded to end as soon as the two women make bail and leave the celebrity drunk tank at the Georgetown Country Club. "As soon as I get those girls home, I'm going to give them a stern talking to," a visibly shaken Laura Bush said. "They need the fear of God put into them. I may even put them on a 15-minute time out and make them read the Bible if they're not careful."

Her mother-in-law and the President's mother, Barbara Bush, said, "I just can't waste my beautiful mind on such things. Millie! Stop shitting on the floor! We just had those parquet floors redone," she said while fingering a set of pearls given to her by Barbara Billingsley, the woman who played the mother on the hit 60's TV show Leave It To Beaver.

"Damn dog! I need a drink," she said.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Tuesday, December 20, 2005

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O' The Things We've Learned

What's He Need the Patriot Act For?
As an omnipotent being, we love to give advice. We'd do one of those Bible things, but it taes too long to write one and we'd miss our favorite reruns of Gilligan's Island. Since we were immaculately conceived in 1955, we've learned much as a Deity and we're honor-bound to pass some of that wisdom along to you - unlike those other well-known deities who just let you flounder around with some vague scripture that can apply to anything and nothing all at the same time.

The most important things we've learned over the past half-century:
  • It doesn't matter what a person's perception is, it only matters that they have it.
  • The best man doesn't always win, but people always get what they deserve.
  • It takes many small voices to make a great roar.
  • To listen to others is a virtue, to talk over others a crime. Did you hear that Bill O'Reilly?
  • Fill a bucket with water, swish it around with your hand and walk away for 15 minutes. When you return, the water in the bucket shows you just how important you are in the vast scheme of things.
  • All the rational arguments in the world will never stop an irrational act.
  • Never do today what you can do tomorrow.
  • The trick is not knowing when to come in out of the rain, it's deciding not to go out into the rain to begin with.
  • It's not so important to love thy neighbor as thyself. It's important not to mistreat your neighbor as you've been mistreated.
  • A picture doesn't speak a thousand words, it provides damn good evidence when you go to trial.
  • Of course the emperor has no clothes - you try getting dressed in the dark.
  • Religion is a powerful force, but whether it is a force of good or evil depends on the person practicing it.
  • Arguing about using the word Christmas or Holiday serves no one, least of all a Christian.
  • Never anger the Gods, because...well, have you SEEN an angry God?
  • Censorship is always the last refuge of the stupid.
  • If you feed a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he'll have a hobby for life.
  • Any person who depends on a single source for their view of the world is a fool.
  • A vengeful God will never triumph over a loving one.
  • It's perfectly OK to covet your neighbor's wife, just don't steal her.
  • Even the biggest fool has a good idea sometime.
  • A man is always legally innocent until proven guilty, but that doesn't mean he didn't do anything wrong.
  • The proof that the media is basically unbiased is borne out by the fact they are equally loathed by both the left and the right.
  • The worst invention of mankind is work.
  • Life isn't always fair and all the whining in the world won't stop that.
  • If you make a comment, stand up proudly for it.
  • All people should be allowed to retire until they are 65 before going to work. That way they're young enough to enjoy the retirement and it occupies all the old folks complaining about having nothing to do.
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Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Sunday, December 18, 2005

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Welcome New Jr. Poobahs

We've been flattered by all the attention we've seen of late and we just wanted to return the favor for the following fine writers who have become Jr. Poobahs as of today. Visit them, and some of the rest of the linkage over there on the right. We work hard to bring you the best and we'd like you to take advantage of what these fine folks have to offer:

  • Lingo Slinger - She slings language with the best of 'em.
  • Howl @ The Moon - He says he is, "politically incorrect and randomly insane". We prefer, "Politically Astute and Consistently Correct".
  • My Amusement Park - More fun than the midway at a county fair. Rides galore!
  • Miz BoheMia's Rhapsody - The sound of her voice is truly a rhapsody.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Saturday, December 17, 2005

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It's Just a Goddamned Piece of Paper

We read a blog comment about the passing of Eugene McCarthy the other day that posed the question, "Where are the McCarthys of today?" One response might be, "Do you mean Gene or Joe?" Of course, it's extremely sad there is no modern day Gene, but even sadder that we seem to have a whole boatload of modern day Joe's over at the White House.

In a rare case of good sense overcoming the odds, the Senate today dealt a blow to an extension of the Patriot Act. The Act - which in a Bushorwellian feat of doublespeak is about as unpatriotic as they come - has been a pox upon our country since Bushco ramrodded it through Congress shortly after the 9/11 disaster. The usual Constitutional checks and balances fell far too easily as Congress handed Bush and the terrorists a victory by passing it. In the intervening four years it has done little to protect us and much to harm us. But, it's still heartening seeing common sense take hold again. At least we've stepped back from the steps of the beer hall before the real putch began.

It's also heartening to see the truth is finally trickling out about Georgie having more intelligence than he originally claimed about invading Iraq. Despite his many claims that Congress had "the same intelligence", it now appears otherwise. His protests of "they voted for it too" are now giving way to, "the intelligence was wrong, but I was still right." It seems in Bushylvania the Emperor can do no wrong.

The administration's penchant for secrecy and collecting information began with Cheney's infamous - and still poorly understood - Energy Task Force and continues today with revelations that Pentagon databases contain information on US citizens along with Bush's signing of an executive order allowing the NSA to do some snooping on some folks on the home front.

Bush's contempt for the Constitution is obvious. Encouraging spying and torture and avoiding due process for the detainees are just a few of the examples we're aware of. Listen to this little exchange that took place in a room full of Republicans meeting with the president as they worked out their strategy for dealing with the Patriot Act:

Republican Aide: "Mr. President, there is a valid case that the provisions of this law (the Patriot Act) undermine the Constitution."

The President, who swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution: "Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"

Well Mr. President, it IS just a goddamned piece of paper, but it is also more. It is the document that you claim our soldiers in Iraq are dying to defend. Mr. President? Can you tell me how you, and a good number of your supporters, have the unmitigated gall to call those who oppose you traitors and cowards when they are doing so with the expressed approval of the Constitution? Something that decidedly cannot be said of your actions. If those soldiers are not dying to protect that "goddamned piece of paper", what then ARE they fighting for?

What are you the President of Mr. Bush? The Crawford, Texas Chapter of the Benedict Arnold Fan Club?

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Friday, December 16, 2005

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Of Dishonesty and War

That Tom Does a Heckuva Job Gittin' Mah' Bills Through That There Congressatorium

"Democracy Comes to Iraq"


Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Thursday, December 15, 2005

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Give or Ye Shall Recieve...An Ass-Kicking

Poobah's Note: We're going to write a little about the holidays and Christmas today. If you are offended by our use of either or neither word, now is the time to turn to another channel. Quite frankly, if you are that politically correct, everything we say probably annoys you anyway.

As far as we're concerned, the giving spirit should be something woven into your being. It shouldn't be something you only think of at Christmas, try to make into a political statement, or must be guilt-tripped into displaying. The fact is that there are way more people who need help in the world than there are people in positions to do a hell of a lot about it. Still, that shouldn't mean that we haves shouldn't try to help the have nots as much as possible.

What most disturbs us at this time of year is the colossal hypocrisy of some folks. Take, for example, this WaPo report on conservative Christians advocating cuts in poverty programs. It asks a very provocative question, "Why have conservative Christians asserted their influence on efforts to relieve Third World debt, AIDS in Africa, strife in Sudan, and international sex trafficking - but remained on the sidelines while liberal Christians protest domestic spending cuts?"

Their answer, it seems, is a question of "priorities".

"It's not a question of the poor not being important or that meeting their needs is not important," said a spokesman for James Dobson's Focus on the Family. "But whether or not a baby is killed in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, that is less important than help for the poor? We would respectfully disagree with that."

Well, we'd disagree with you too, and not so respectfully. Your action on reproductive rights as a higher priority than poverty fails on two counts. First, people who are here already are hungry and homeless now. Who helps them? And secondly, your "priority" only exagerates the problem by adding many people to the population who will eventually become hungry and homeless. A viscious cycle to be sure.

One conservative Christian in the story even added, religious conservatives "know that the government is not really capable of love." That may be true, but they sure have the power to help people get their lives under control so that the love you find less important than tax cuts for churches has room to grow.

The government sometimes fails in its duty to protect citizens through sheer incompetence. But non-governmental charities don't always fare any better. This is inexcusable and should be punished, but the point is, everyone (government and non-government) needs to do their part and the goverment seems to be lagging these days.

Numerous studies have shown a strong correlation between those who make less money and those who give freely to charity. The same thing can't be said for many BushCo friends, like Ken Delay, who are too busy asking people to bail their sorry asses out of troubleto be concerned with the impact their thievery has had on society in general and their now-jobless former employees in particular. We shouldn't be satisfied that Kenny Boy will get his due when he's turned away from the pearly gates, we should be exacting justice and finding ways to prevent assholes like him from doing it again now.

Hell, our Bubble-in-Chief can't even be bothered to help the men and women that he sent so cavalierly off to war. They serve in Iraq at great humanitarian and economic cost, while many of their families squeek by on welfare and support from their families at home. It's true the government is not legally obligated to do more for them, but we think they should be able to do better than running an online telethon to help them out. Mr. Bush, support for the troops means more than making speeches and excuses. It means actually supporting them and their families with adequate salaries, giving them sufficient armor, and a plan to get them home that is better than the one you used to take them there.

To those conservatives who have given and continue to help, we commend you. We're sure your chosen Deity is also justifiably proud. You chose not just to be good, but also to do good and that is an important commodity there is just too little of.

To the evil, odious assbuckets like Bush, Dobson, Robertson, and Falwell, we say, "be ashamed". Be ashamed that you have forgotten the primary reason that one should follow a religion - the opportunity to give of yourself and help your fellow man. You can redeem yourselves by teaching your children to cast aside the quest for commercialism and to concentrate on that which should be holy - the common sense and good graces to help others.

May the Lord be with you, because if He isn't, you're doomed.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Wednesday, December 14, 2005

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The Oldest Young Person Ever

"Activist Judges" Impose Compassion on Conservatives

We were once told by our stepmother that we were the oldest young person she ever met. That conversation took place nearly 20 years ago. She'd cringe if she was around to see us now.

At 50, we find ourself on the cusp of senior citizenship. Our mailbox quickly fills with invitations to join AARP. We go to the doctor every three months and take pills. Lots of them. Occasionally - like today - we see a specialist like our cardiologist, whom we haven't seen since recovering from a heart bypass four years ago. At each meeting, we feel ashamed for not taking better care of ourself, but apparently not shamed enough to learn the error of our ways.

Must...exercise...just...a...few...more...minutes...UGH!

We've had a lifelong distaste for going to the doctor. As a young, omnipotent child we caught every childhood disease imaginable. If polio had recently been whipped, we'd probably have gotten that too. We were always being poked and prodded and we spent interminable amounts of time in our doctor's office in the company of a giant sailfish he caught on a vacation to the Bahamas. Damn shiny, blue bastard (the fish, not the doc)!

It seemed as if we got some sort of shot each week. Maybe the memory is exaggerated because this was in the day of non-disposable needles. If you're too young to remember, they were occasionally dull or had burrs on the ends from sharpening. I learned to hate the doc's office and learned to scream and cry any time we drove down the same street the office was on. We were a fervent believer in the prophylactic benefits of screaming away the doctor and his awful needles, but sometimes we were wrong and got poked (and screamed) anyway. Science is sometimes like that.

So today, we find ourselves feeling a bit old. Old because our body is wearing out well before the warranty says it should. Old because we feel weak at depending on pills to regulate our blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and daily mood. Old because we sometimes forget things. Old because sometimes we can't forget things. Old because we are reentering a prime demographic after several years spent in the useless 31-49 group. Old because we are apparently skipping middle age. Just where the hell is the midlife convertible and pneumatic blond arm candy anyhow?

We'd like to say that we're leaving the world in better shape than we found it, but there's scant evidence of that. We trying. We wheedle and write bombast, but the sad truth is we have to depend too much on morons and charlatans for the heavy lifting.

Now some of you might be wondering what has gotten into the Poobah. The answer is nothing. We feel this way quite often, probably in much the same way that those other deities feel about their creations from time to time. Disappointed, but not so bad they have to abandon them.

So, we'll throw a few lightning bolts, ruffle a few feathers, and repair to the Little Omnipotents' Room for a quick washup. We'll emerge fresh and clean, ready to exercise and eat right, and able to take on the stupidity of the world once more.

Watch out Cowboy George! Us and the posse's comin' after ya as soon as we can get rid of this crick in our omnipotent neck.

And the first thing we're gonna demand?

Universal health care and a fully funded Social Security because, dag nabbit, people oughta be able to grow old comfortably and without worry. We may be old, but we ain't dead. There are still some fights to fight.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Tuesday, December 13, 2005

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2005: One BAD Year

We'll See About That

That's right, 365 days and not a minute more. Gads! We'll be so happy when this year is over. The leading economic indicators - strife, terror, and woe - are up again this year so it will end not a moment too soon for our omnipotent self.

Why?

Just look (and this is just from this week):

Boy in the Bubble, Meet Reality Man - The Bushster has so tired of the relentlessly bad news he now apparently has himself hermetically sealed before making an appearance. This is quite a change for a guy so gregarious that he can get away with giving people nicknames like "Fart Blossom". The man of the people has apparently now become the man afraid of the people.

It's a Success! No, It's a Failure! I'm Not Touching You, I'm Not Touching You - The "I Can't Remember What It's Name Is This Week" War still bumbles and mumbles along, trying to find closure, but feeling more like a bandaid ripped off a crusted-over wound. Of course, Donald "Baghdad Bob" Rumsfeld claims the place is heaven on Earth, "Look over there Toto! It's the Emerald City!" Reporters aren't quite so sure based on this news:
  • The Iraqis must have gotten an A on the torture finals. They can't seem to learn how to run an army, but they sure picked up quick on that attaching electrodes to the genitals trick that Lindy England taught them. Imagine what they could have learned if someone higher-ranking than a developmentally-challenged Private tutored them?
  • The "Big Satan" movement is still alive and well, even if it's the Iraqis instead of the Iranians who hate us now. However, we gotta agree with the extremists on this point - Dubya really is the Anti-Christ, er, Anti-Prophet. We mean, what else would you call someone who can't balance the national checkbook, but can estimate he has killed 32,140 people and refer to it as "an image issue"? Enron Accountant perhaps?
  • And how best to deal with this "image issue"? Why, buy fake news stories of course. It seems to us that the fakest thing about this arrangement is the claim they are producing "believable stories".
Jurassic Park Was Really Jurassic Ark - A fundamentalist Mom in Georgia recently seized on her kid's love of dinosaurs as the newest threat to the Republic. Mom said her son was, "...really into Jurassic Park. The trouble was we kept reading over and over that millions and millions of years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth. And that's where I said, Hmm - wait a second."

Her solution in search of a problem? Parental warning stickers on evolution textbooks - a move equating Fred Flintstone's Dino with gangsta rappers. And she thinks the Darwinists are the crazy ones?

That's it. Stick a fork in us, we can't talk about this anymore. Go read some good news for a change. It'll be boring enough to send you on a little trip to Dreamytown.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Monday, December 12, 2005

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The Prophecy Has Come to Be

And So It Came to Pass*
*(Stick with this link. It's long, but worth it.)


Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Sunday, December 11, 2005

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As We See It: Version 13.0

A One Gallon Brain in a Ten Gallon Hat

Six Pack Abs, But an Empty Can for a Brain

It's All About His Empathy for the Common Man

He's Honored?

Smilin' Dick's Position on Torture: It's Cool If You Don't Get Caught

United We Stand, Divided We Suck

All Hat, No Cattle, and Damn Little Sense

Condi Rice: Winning Friends and Influencing People


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Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Saturday, December 10, 2005

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