Why Obama? Well, What Are People Watching on TV?

November 11, 2008


Back in 1826, famed epicure Brillat-Savarin wrote, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” (Actually, he wrote “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es,” but since I don’t speak French, I had to translate.)  This of course has morphed down to the more simplistic “you are what you eat.” But these days, even that has changed. I posit that we no longer are what we eat; instead, we are what we watch on TV.

Given all that’s been written about Obama, and all his shady acquaintances, his inexperience, his liberal voting record, his refusal to admit that the surge worked, and especially how he emerged from a Congress with a lower approval rating than even Dubya, I wondered why America did in fact elect Obama? There are a couple of obvious reasons.

First, America is ready for a black president. (That sort of goes without saying at this point.) Also, anything hyped anti-Bush was a surefire winner. But why Obama? I can see a mandate of the people ushering in Colin Powell – that would make perfect sense… But Obama? So, how can we get even the slightest clue as to where the nation’s “mind is at”?

The indicator I chose was the stuff of the dreaded one-eyed, cable-connected, living room brain bandit – yes, the TV. More accurately, I suffered through the listings for all 800+ cable networks/feeds and in doing so tried to form a “Vulcan Mind Meld” with the American Psyche. Observations…

  • First, this was terribly unscientific and subjective. I’ll grant you that. But at the same time I hope you grant me a bit of insight derived via that painful experiment.
  • Next, somebody owes me big time! There is so much pap on TV that just looking at the listings hurt. Whole lot of wincing was going on.
  • I came up with 25 impromptu categories comprised of 282 networks, and I’ll save you the hassle of dragging through all that muck. Here are just a few of the highlights and lowlights.
    • The good stuff was restricted to: military info (1), news (14), financial news (2), weather (5), history (2), home and garden (9), Science (3), and that’s about it.
    • Beyond the good stuff, there were more or less harmless networks: sports (49, though some may be “dupes”), religion (5), nature (3), fitness (3), children (11), family (5), movie (49, though virtually every one was a stinker), and women’s issues (11)
    • And now we get to the lowlights – the stuff destined to an 8th-grade reading level and a 12th-grade libido (wrestling, soap operas, “reality TV”, insipid game shows, the gross, the mindlessly violent, “music” videos, etc.) (100).
    • Last but not least, there were 10 porn cable networks.

So what does it all break down to? Without applying useless stats, it does indicate one very clear fact – based on my “you are what you watch” hypothesis, a significant chunk of our society is stuck on stupid, to borrow from Gen. Honore. We are what we know we are but afraid to face it – a culture of “Deal or No Deal”, the “Cheetah Girl”, and Britney Spears. We’re Anna Nichole and OJ, and for the most part, we don’t have a clue about math, science, engineering, or even government or civics for that matter. We’re lemmings who actually fawn in packs for pet rocks and the Fonz and disco and rap and grunge. We’re the moral, artistic, and social relativists who are fat enough and secure enough to actually suck up to TV like “Sex in the City”, MTV, BET and call it “good”.

In short, we are a culture miles wide and one-quarter of an inch deep. Doubt it? Turn on your TV and surf. Better yet, consider this: When all was said and done, the very best we could come up with in ’08 was a shiny Obama/Biden and a flat-finish McCain/Palin – two hucksters, a flip flopper and an idiot.

But I hear the rebuttal brewing already…

Get real dude, just look at how they come across on the HD TV…

That’s how Obama got elected.

Alan Speakman

Raging Bull… John McCain

November 4, 2008


deniro22I don’t know how many of you have seen the movie “Raging Bull” with Robert De Niro’s tour de force as Jake La Motta, but this presidential campaign is turning into that sort of a series of brawls. In the movie, De Niro fights Sugar Ray Robinson (and everyone else for that matter); in one fight, he eventually realizes that he can’t beat Sugar Ray. As I recall, it’s a terrible scene in the movie; La Motta is helpless on the ropes, but refuses to fall.

When I started writing this it was 2:40 AM EST, and Sen. McCain was just speaking live from Prescott AZ. McCain had been to seven states and was making his eighth speech that day. Anyone who’s ever done any business travel has just the slightest of a clue of how tough that must be, especially for a 72 year-old.

Anyway, McCain strikes me as a sort of La Motta figure here… Probably a man on the ropes, but one who refuses to give up. And you know what, if ever there was a human who could come from behind (in the polls) and win, it would be John McCain. After all, if memory serves me, La Motta did win one fight with Sugar Ray.

Alan Speakman

Biden: Would You Hire This Man and His Senior Business Partner?

November 3, 2008

It’s a very simple question. If you were running a powerful and very public company, would you hire Biden and whoever is his senior partner?

Now, don’t try to switch the subject and blather about Bush or McCain or Palin. (Though I doubt even Dubya could have messed up counting the number of letters in the word “jobs”.) Anyway, the title of this rant is: “Biden: Would You Hire This Man and His Senior Business Partner?” So just answer the question if you would be so kind.

I don’t know about your corporate background, but mine is pretty extensive. And my answer is, “Not in a million years.”

If you’ve read Grand Rants for any period of time, you know that I’m pretty disgusted with both parties at this point. If I had my way, I’d cancel the elections, make the Democratic ticket Powell/Lieberman, and make the Republican team Rice/Jindal. At least then we’d have someone to vote for. But I don’t have my way.

Look… Maybe I’m asking the wrong question. Let’s try the following four questions, and I’ll put in my answers.

Would you buy a used car from Barack? No way.

Would you buy a used car from Joe? Are you kidding?

Would you buy a used car from John? Yes I would.

Would you buy a used car from Sarah? Maybe.

The positions these people are running for are the most important on earth. I expect decency, honesty, thoughtfulness, clarity of vision, a bit of humility, a rock-solid value system, sobriety, true courage, and the talent for both thinking and learning on the run. But that’s just me.

Ultimately they’ll be working for you and me, and tomorrow we have to hire two of four people. Choose your employees wisely.

Alan Speakman

This just coming in on the news… Barack Obama’s Grandmother has passed. Grand Rants sends out its thoughts and prayers to Mr. Obama and his family.

Who Knew?

November 2, 2008

Who knew John McCain had such a sense of humor, and enough chutzpah to be able to poke fun at himself so graciously. Given the pummeling he’s taken from the Saturday Night Live crew, I’d say he’s a hugely good sport to appear.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A good sport, indeed.


McCain? Obama? Real Candidates? Yes and No Absolutely!

November 1, 2008

Remember those good ol’ Kerry Campaign Days in 2004? You remember, “I was for the war before I was against it…” Those ancient times when “flip flopping” was a bad thing and not something to be taken for granted. Well, those days are long gone.

Consider the June 22, 2008 article by Globe Columnist Joan Vennochi, Obama and McCain – flip-flop, flip-flop

I started this rant as I mulled over all the positions these candidates have taken over the last couple of years and before. Look, these guys are just political weather vanes. No more, and no less. Will Obama find a way to raise everyone’s taxes? Absolutely. (See the WSJ’s Obama’s 95% Illusion.) Even FoxNews is now reporting that 55% of the people polled believe that our taxes will go up regardless of who is elected.

So here’s where I’m at, and you can agree or disagree because I really don’t care… At this point, all I’m looking for from a candidate or an elected official is someone who really believes (and will stand by those beliefs) in simple life and death stuff like illegal immigration, the war on Terror, the economy, social security, etc.

I’ve bottomed out. I’m willing to vote for someone who will look me in the eye and declare that he’ll devote millions of tax dollars looking for Bigfoot. So long as that person takes a quasi-“Planet Earth” stand and actually sticks with it, I’ve found my candidate.

But until then, I’m not even going to vote.

Mad? You bet…

Alan Speakman

Election Thriller – A Halloween Story

October 31, 2008

Fade In.

I’ve cast my vote. I’m heading home from the polls. It’s a dark, forboding night. The cold, late fall air feels especially so as a wind comes in off the lake, chilling everyone in its path to the bone. I could walk the main roads back to my home, but that would take longer than the side streets. But the side streets aren’t as well lit. But what the hey, I’m a big guy, I’ve been called on before to defend myself and prevailed. Besides, no self-respecting criminal would be out WALKING on a night like this.

I choose the shortcut. Yeah, I’m a tough guy, but I have a low tolerance for the biting cold and prefer to risk the dark streets for the shorter walk back to the comfort of my fireplace and the snifter of brandy that waits next to it.

As I turn down Walker St. I hear something in the distance. The pulsing of a bass line and drum. “Hmmph!” I scowl, predicting another gangbanger wannabe in his Honda Civic with the big-ass amplifier and 15″ Subwoofers and big exhaust pipe that just makes an anemic car into an anemic car that has the volume to annoy an entire city block. Isn’t technology great?

I round the corner onto Redrum Avenue and suddenly stop. There, about 200 feet ahead of me is a crowd of people gathered around trash cans with fires burning in them to provide a few BTUs of heat. Sure enough, the source of music is coming from a Honda Civic with its hatch open, subwoofers blasting.

It’s a funny thing about subwoofers… you can hear the rhythm and the pulsing beat long before you can hear the actual melody (if there is one) or the vocals (if there are any lyrics).

The gathering has the essence of a celebration. People are laughing, dancing and, in general, having a great time. “What the hell? I think to myself. “It’s right on the way, and I might enjoy a little bit of that heat.” I walk on, towards the crowd.

About 150 feet away, I start to make out some of the lyrics to the song the crowd is singing together. It’s not clear yet, but I’m able to make out some of lyrics:

“…gonna… world.” I struggle to hear the filler, but the noise of the wind covers the rest.

“…gonna… world.” As I get closer, a tall apartment building blocks the wind, enabling me to make out more the the lyric which the crowd seems to be singing with greater enthusiasm the closer I get.

“change it…

“…gonna… the world.”

“… gonna change the world”

“He’s gonna change it…”

“Obama’s gonna change the world!”

I stop dead in my tracks. The election is still on, but they are already celebrating a victory for Obama. Then I see the banner: “Change!” Clearly, I’ve chosen the wrong road as my shortcut to the warmth and safety of a home I’ve worked hard to pay for. Sometimes shortcuts lead us away from our destination.

I quickly turn to walk back toward the main road. But coming up from behind me is a group of about 100 people. People? To be more accurate, they look like zombies at this distance. They moved in a stilted, herky-jerky manner as if… wait! They ARE! They’re DANCING. But their music is different. It’s haunting. It seems to be coming from all around me, overpowering the music coming from the other crowd. No… now it’s coming from the Honda Civic as well. What the hell? It’s a driving bass line that I’ve heard before. Where the hell am I? OmiGod, I’m IN the music video for THRILLER by Michael Jackson. Even worse, the Zombies have targeted me! Is it because I’m not dead? Is it because I can still think for myself? IS IT BECAUSE I VOTED McCain-Palin??

As they approach me, the lyrics of their song kick in and there’s no problem understanding them:

(To the tune of “Thriller”)

“Yes It’s Obama… ‘Bama now

And nothing you can do will change what’s happening to you!

‘Cause it’s Obama…’ Bama now

You’d better Change or Get out – Get out – Get Out Toniiiight!!!!”

As the arms with rotting flesh thrust towards me, I run as fast as I can down Change Avenue and past Hope Place until I see the steps leading up to my front door and safety from the madness.

I take the steps two at a time until I reach the top. But instead of the front door welcoming me to security, it is blocked by a large imposing figure babbling something I can’t quite understand. But I recognize the voice of Blarney Frank. He stares at me through glowing red eyes as I struggle to break past him into the sanctuary of my home.

I struggle, but it’s of no use! With Blarney Frank blocking my door, I suddenly feel the breath of the beast on the back of my neck. As I turn to face my fate, I suddenly hear the goulish sound of Vincent Price’s voice laughing hysterically as “The One” reaches for me…

As I am about to be taken away to the “Change You Need” Re-education center, I suddenly wake up in a cold sweat in the comfort of my own bed. My dog Cooper lies nest to me looking at me curiously. It’s moments like this I envy the simplicty of a dog’s life. But I can’t take time to savor the moment… I have to get to the polls to cast my vote.

In a bizarre sort of way, I appreciate the nightmare I’ve just gone through, for it makes me realize just how important it is to get out and vote. And with the comfort of consciousness, I walk down the street towards the voting center, secure in my choice. I would drive, but it’s a great morning to be alive and I want to savor every step of the journey, every breath of fresh air and celebrate our Freedom on the way. Because it might not always be this way.

Happy Halloween! Now Get Ready To Get Out And Vote To KEEP OUR FREEDOM! KEEP OUR CONSTITUTION INTACT!

Gerry Ashley

Media Bias and Joe the Plumber

October 24, 2008

I’m sure by now nobody is surprised by the blatant and not-so-blatant bias our very own mainstream media displays so frequently, and at times, so proudly. This time, Joe the Plumber is in the crosshairs.

Recently, someone in Columbus, OH used government computers to access information about Joe Wurzelbacher.  No-one is quite sure who accessed the information, or why, but information about Mr. Wurzelbacher was accessed at least three times by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and at least once from the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency. Accounts used to access the information trace back to the office of the Ohio Attorney General, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency, and the Toledo Police Department.

Seems like somebody is looking for dirt on Mr. Wurzelbacher. I wonder who it could be? Interestingly enough, the Columbus Dispatch report is studiously vague about motives for such snooping, and as for why anyone might be interested in Joe, well, here’s what they have to say:

State and local officials are investigating if state and law-enforcement computer systems were illegally accessed when they were tapped for personal information about “Joe the Plumber.”

Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher became part of the national political lexicon Oct. 15 when Republican presidential candidate John McCain mentioned him frequently during his final debate with Democrat Barack Obama. [emphasis mine]

The 34-year-old from the Toledo suburb of Holland is held out by McCain as an example of an American who would be harmed by Obama’s tax proposals.

Yes, it’s all John McCain’s fault that Joe is in the public eye. Because Joe asked McCain an embarrassing question, and Sen. McCain was just judgementally-impaired enough to give Joe an honest answer, in full view of the press. Oh wait, that wasn’t McCain, it was Obama! What a silly mistake. Anyone could make it, right?

No. It’s just another example of the Fifth Column Fourth Estate trying desperately to re-write history. Don’t let them get away with it.


Schwarzkopf Endorses… Oh Never Mind!

October 21, 2008


I was going to write about the Schwarzkopf endorsement of McCain, and how it coincidentally coincided with Powell’s backing of Barack. Oh, this post was going to be a beauty… I would have dug into Schwarzkopf/Powell differences during the first Gulf War, their geopolitical views of the world, where they really stand now, what the two of them stand to gain from their endorsements, etc. But being a good little blogger, I first checked to see what people wanted to read about. After all, we also serve who sit and type. So anyway, here’s a screen shot of the FOXNews “Most Read” complete with date and time stamp. (And yes, I’ve been working on this a while.)

Sex? Check. Violence? Check. Any signs of intelligent life? Nope! Lest any liberals hop up and down in glee… CNN ain’t no better.

So why bother blogging about Schwarzkopf or anything else of merit for that matter? Seriously, what are we doing here? Those with a clue, with experience, with a real education, and a with real life get it. The opinions may vary, but at least they’re still on planet earth. Everyone else? Not so much, I think.

Alan Speakman

A Winning Strategy For McCain?

October 20, 2008

This Just In From the Tongue-In-Cheek News Service (“TIC”)

By now, it’s fairly obvious to most that ACORN seems to be dedicated to creating as many “extra” voters for Obama as possible to assure him of victory in next month’s Presidential election.

For John McCain, the task before him is enormous. He’s working his tail off to get every legitimate vote while Obama basks in the knowledge that, most likely thanks to ACORN, not only are millions of people going to vote for him, but a lot of dead people too. In fact, I’m pretty sure Obama can count on Mickey Mouse’s vote since the moldy rodent registered in Florida. So did Goofy, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and the rest of the Disney family.

As the FBI investigation widens, however, Obama might just find himself on the wrong end of the ugly stick. Assuming the investigtion digs deep enough to find the real purpose (and use) of that $800,000+ “contribution” to ACORN, Obama might suffer the same fate as Eddie Valiant’s brother in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” If you recall, Valiant bemoaned the fact that his brother was “Done in by a bunch of ‘toons.” The Mickey Mouse voter registration could ultimately make Obama look… well, GOOFY. Ah-hyuck!

Meanwhile, I hear a lot of people complaining, “I just don’t know if I can vote for John McCain… he might DIE in office!” Hey, his mother is in her 90s and, if I’m not mistaken, just signed up on “Match.com.” She recently announced she was going to have to push off the start of her Tae-bo classes until she returns from running in The Boston Marathon. So I think we can assume that John McCain comes from a pretty decent gene pool.

The truth of the matter is that John McCain just looks a lot older because he’s standing next to Sarah Palin. I think the real issue is that John McCain needs a charisma implant. Better yet, maybe he should replace the endings of his TV and Radio ads. Instead of the cliched “I’m John McCain and I approve of this ad,” maybe he should just state: I”m John McCain. I might not be the most exciting candidate running, but I won’t lead you down the path to becoming a socialist state.”

When you think about it, it’s too bad the election is so close. We could use a few extra weeks with a new Campaign Slogan for McCain/Palin that would shake things up a bit. A few suggestions:

1.) “McCain/Palin – Nope, No Terrorists In Our Inner Circle.”

2.) “Vote McCain-Palin for 8 more years of Democracy and Freedom.”

3.) “McCain-Palin: You can say our name 3 times fast. (Go ahead. Try the other guys)”

4.) “McCain-Palin: Something Old and Something New – Saving Democracy For You.”

5.) “Sarah Palin: Ready To Lead When McCain’s Taking His Nap.”

I’m Gerry Ashley and I approve of this rant.

Et Tu, Colin Powell?

October 20, 2008

There comes a point in time when a boxer knows enough not to answer the bell for the next round. When John McCain woke up Sunday morning, he must have felt something like that boxer.  For on Sunday morning, former Bush administration Secretary of State Colin Powell officially announced he was endorsing Barack Obama for President.  The announcement was made on NBC’s Meet The Press.

As McCain points out, he has the endorsements several other secretaries of state. But make no mistake: This one hit McCain hard.

It’s hit me hard also, but more as a point of curiosity: What on earth could have caused Powell to jump to Obama? Have I (and millions of other conservatives) misread Obama?

Maybe we have failed to recognize genious amongst us.

Maybe we have misunderstood the signs of the return of the Messiah.

Maybe Colin Powell had the epiphany that has somehow managed to avoid us.

Maybe Powell sees that Obama IS, in fact, just what this country needs to get back on track, restore our image in the rest of the world and regain our international standing…

Naaahhh…  I just think someone slipped something into Powell’s Metamucil. At least that enables me to think Powell hasn’t completely lost his mind.