At long last, I've finished my song parody about Tom DeLay. It's taken forever, mostly because life has been way too complicated lately. So what's been taking up my time? Lots of annoying things like heating/plumbing disasters, bad car oil leaks, spontaneously shattering glass refrigerator trays (in a three week old fridge), and not doing my taxes. Plus (on a positive note) an unexpected audition opportunity, which I'll talk more about if something actually comes of it.
But I finally did manage to get my DeLay parody done. I hope you enjoy singing my "Ode To Tom DeLay" to "To All The Girls I've Loved Before," by Hal David and Albert Hammond, using this midi link. (Scroll down to near the bottom of the page to click on the song link.)
Ode To Tom DeLay By Madeleine Begun Kane
A Rep whose name is Tom DeLay,
He breaks the rules most ev'ry day.
He don't respect the law,
Thinks ethics are a bore.
'Tis time to show him crime don't pay.
Tom practices dishonesty.
Ignores the law with joy and glee.
Misused the FBI,
Golf junkets on the sly,
How 'bout we stop his crim'nal spree.
The winds of change are fin'ly blowing.
We're on the hunt for Tom DeLay.
The winds of change continue blowing,
And we'll soon send DeLay away.
Tom helps the rich and harms the poor.
He should not be a Rep no more.
To those who'd right his wrongs,
I dedicate this song.
It's time we show DeLay the door.
The man has caused a Texas mess,
With scheming done at his behest.
Eradicates his foes,
And everywhere he goes,
Treats Democrats like evil pests.
The winds of change are fin'ly blowing.
We're on the hunt for Tom DeLay.
The winds of change continue blowing,
And we'll soon send Delay away.
The right to die with dignity,
He flouted with iniquity.
A self-appointed God,
On state law ran rough shod.
Let's jail him for eternity.
Hello. Welcome to Taxtime, your Interactive Tax Preparer Program. Do you feel like doing your taxes today?
I see. Well, don't you think you should do them anyway? After all, it's April 14. And who knows? Maybe you'll get a refund.
That's the spirit. Let's begin with your name, address, and marital status.
Sorry to hear about the divorce. But don't let it get you down. That alimony deduction will come in handy.
Please don't cry. Things are bound to improve. In the meantime, let's talk about dependents. Do you have any children?
Wow! I hope they're not all in college...
I thought I'd celebrate spring by posting my spring cleaning satire, first published in Midwest Today way back when. (Oh no! A "girly" topic! No wonder certain honchos won't link to me.)
Guilt Springs Eternal
By Madeleine Begun Kane
Spring has arrived. Do you feel guilty yet? If not, you apparently don't read women's magazines. Every March and April they're packed with "clean up and organize your life" articles. Stories with catchy titles like Spring Into Action -- Tidy Up Your House. Or Wash Away Winter Blues. Or Banish Clutter Now; Otherwise We'll Keep Torturing You With Articles Meant to Make you Feel Like A Slothful Bum. Personally, I'd rather read Why Clean? It Will Only Get Dirty Again Tomorrow.
Why do magazines publish these pieces? Because every spring millions of women have the same Pavlovian response: Guilt. Guilt quickly followed by a spending spree on periodicals and cleaning supplies. They grab every magazine in sight and, in a fit of post-New Year's resolution fervor, vow to Martha Stewartize their homes.
Do these articles help? Do they unlock the sacred secret of "eat off your basement floor" womanhood? Hahahahahahaha. Pardon me -- I'm sorry. I didn't realize you were serious.
The stories all share one fatal flaw ... aside from the fact that they relate to housework. The problem is (pause for drum roll) they are all the same article.
It's hard to believe, but true. While humor writers are expected to vary their humor at least slightly from piece to piece, authors specializing in the spring cleaning genre recycle the same 100 or so tips year after year after year. In fact, the "get your act together you slob" piece that you devoured while waiting for the supermarket patron in front of you to finish picking lint off $79.77 in pennies, dates all the way back to prehistoric times.
Just a month ago archaeologists, who were excavating a cave in southern France, discovered a minute remnant of what they believe to be the world's first spring cleaning piece. The few words they managed to unearth are as vital today as they were way back in the Mesozoic Era: "Hose down dinosaur dung." In fact, those exact words appeared in several magazines sold this very year. Sadly, though, the original author had a lousy lawyer and never got a nickel in royalties.
Moreover, Biblical historians are convinced that the Old Testament contained at least two chapters filled with spring cleaning counsel. Alas, only a small fragment remains: "Slaughter Red Sea stains with..." If only we knew what came next.
Throughout the years women have dominated the spring cleaning literature, and men didn't stand a chance of breaking in. In fact Shakespeare is said to have never recovered from the rejection of his "To Clean or Not To Clean. That is the Question."
While Shakespeare was forced to explore other writing avenues, women's writing has always bloomed with the cleaning rites of spring. Who can forget Louisa May Alcott's charming novel which begins "Springtime won't be springtime without cleaning supplies." Or Dorothy Parker's "Men rarely make whoopee with girls who look goopy."
Speaking of men, just once I'd like to see a spring cleaning piece in a men's magazine. Until I do, I refuse to let a magazine article induce me to scrub, mop, or sweep. And if I ever have the impulse to clean my house, I'll go to my book shelves and study the classics. In fact, I'm going to do just that ... just as soon as I finish dusting my books.
March 16, 2005 (And Now For Something Different: Travel Humor & Art Humor)
I'm working on a song parody about Tom Delay, but it still needs some fiddling. So I figured I'd plug the three columns I just added to my Travel Humor page.
"Mad Kane, you have a Travel Humor page?" you're probably mumbling right now. "I thought you spend all your time bashing the Bushies."
I'm so glad you asked me that. Actually, I write humor about tons of other topics, including marriage, work, technology, the law, money, education, feminism, and travel. (You can find links to these and other topical pages in my blog intro, which always sits right above my most current post.)
Anyway, here are the links to my latest travel humor columns, with some teasers to lure you in:
A Traveler's Net Woes begins:
"If your husband ever invites you to join him on a business trip, be sure to ask him these questions:
1. Will you ever get to see him while he is not -- technically -- asleep?
2. What will he do, if you accidentally lock yourself out of your hotel room in the middle of the night while you are not -- technically -- dressed? ..."
How To Visit An Art Museum begins:
"There are many good reasons to visit an art museum. Impressing a date. Vying for a slot in the cultural elite. Some people actually go because they appreciate art. If you're a novice art fan, this is how it's done:
1. Your virgin museum visit should take place while you're out of town. That way, your displays of ignorance will be witnessed only by strangers..."
And my Canadian travel adventure, Traveling Baggage starts this way:
"Vacation travel. A time to relax, mellow out, let loose and forget your cares. To indulge yourself, boogie till dawn, gorge on gourmet fare. To spend an entire day shopping for a "must have" item you forgot to pack..."
Nothin's More Revoltin' Than Dub's Nominee John Bolton By Madeleine Begun Kane
Nothin's more insultin' than a nominee named Bolton to the U........ N.
Nothin's more revoltin' than that hawkish man named Bolton at the U........ N.
The United Nations ought to be ignored.
That is John's U.N. viewpoint.
He'd shove it out the door.
Dubya's nominee has made it clear we do not need a stinkin' U........ N.
Bush's nominee has even said he don't believe that there's a U........ N.
If he had Aladdin's lamp for only a day,
He'd make a wish and here's what he'd say:
Nothin' could be finer than to banish it to China. Oust the U........ N.
Nothin's more insultin' than the xenophobic Bolton at The U........ N.
Nothin's more revoltin' than that treaty hatin' Bolton at the U........ N.
Diplomatic? No! Nyet! Talks are such a bore.
Go it alone, that's John's way.
He's rather fond of war.
Namin' Johnny Bolton the ambassador's insultin' to the U........ N.
Namin' Johnny Bolton the ambassador's revoltin' to the U........ N.
If I had Aladdin's lamp for only a day,
I'd make a wish and here's what I'd say:
Nothin' could be finer than to banish John to China. Oust John Bolton!
March 11, 2005 (Phone Slamming and Head Into Wall Slamming; No Sleeper Cells After All?)
I'd hoped to get my new song parody in progress (about U.N. ambassador nominee John Bolton) finished and posted today. Unfortunately, I've just wasted the past few hours dealing with a phone slamming problem, which still remains only partially resolved. (For those lucky enough to not know what phone slamming is, it's when a phone company improperly establishes an account with you, by notifying your current phone company that you wish to switch carriers, without your authorization.)
Here's a snippet of just one of the several phone conversations I had today concerning this problem. It's from a call I made to the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates phone service providers:
Mad Kane: Verizon just told me that a phone company I've never even heard of has slammed my account. So I'd like to file a complaint.
PSC Rep: Has the slammer refused to cancel its charges?
Mad Kane: I haven't been able to reach them yet to deal with billing issues.
PSC Rep: Then I can't accept your complaint. Call me back if they refuse to remove their charges.
Mad Kane: But isn't slamming illegal?
PSC Rep: Yes.
Mad Kane: Then why can't you accept my complaint? I was switched away from Verizon without my permission.
PSC Rep: Our policy is we don't open complaints unless slammers refuse to remove their charges.
Mad Kane: But if there's no punishment for slamming, where's the disincentive?
PSC Rep: Sorry, but that's our policy.
Mad Kane: But that doesn't make any sense. I'm a lawyer, so I'll probably be able to scare them into canceling their charges. But I still think they should be punished.
PSC Rep: Our strict policy...
Mad Kane: But...
PSC Rep: Don't worry. They'll probably refuse to cancel your charges.
March 4, 2005 (Friday Hometown Blogging ... Since I Don't Have A Cat: A Baysider's Ode To Queens) (Updated 3/7/05)
For political bloggers who lack a blog-worthy pet, yet long for a Friday change of pace, why not try hometown blogging?
What's hometown blogging? Beats the hell out of me. But -- and I'm improvising here -- it could be photos of your home or hometown landmarks. Or possibly a post about what you like (or don't like) about the place where you live. You could write about local attractions, events, celebrities, and neighboring bloggers. And if you come up dry, you could always ask your local pet shop to let you photograph some cats.
For today at least, my version of hometown blogging will be a poem. Now when people ask me where I live, I usually tell them New York City. But while that's accurate, it's far from precise. I actually live in the northeast corner of New York City, in a wonderful place called Bayside, Queens:
A Baysider's Ode To Queens By Madeleine Begun Kane
Both a county and a borough,
Part of New York City too.
On Long Island, yet not of it.
I'm confused as hell. Are you?
A diverse United Nations.
Queens folk come from far and wide.
Ethnic food that beats Manhattan.
You won't read that in the guides.
Crime is low and people friendly.
Safer here than in the burbs.
Merit Scholars by the bushel,
And the sunsets are superb.
Home to airports rather major,
And the Tennis Open's here.
Then there's theater, art, and baseball,
And our Jazz Trail has no peer.
Though I hail from mid-Long Island,
They will never move me back.
Bayside Queens, my hometown village,
Off the Apple's beaten track.
Update 1: In a comment to this post, the witty, poetic, and musical Steve Bates says: "I just reread your Baysider's Ode, and it sounds as if it could be set to the tune of another Ode you're familiar with, this one for chorus and orchestra. Was that intentional on your part?"
Update 2:The Heretik, in a comment to this post, has refused to reveal his undisclosed location unless I reveal where in Long Island I grew up. Actually, I did just that almost two years ago in a post entitled Go Massapequa!
I can't help wondering whether Condi fan club members are already working on campaign slogans: Lines like "Condi For President: She's Sexier Than Over-The-Hill Hill." Or perhaps the more succinct "Send Hot Rice To The White House."
Mark my words: Any day now, columnists will be replacing their shopworn "which presidential candidate would you rather have a beer with" stories with over-the-top "which presidential candidate would you rather sleep with" columns and questionnaires.
What struck me (though certainly didn't surprise me) is the childishness of their attack, which begins by poking fun at my appearance (Oooh, I guess I won't be dating the curator. My husband will be soooo relieved.)
Here's our retarded lib site of the day. It's called DUBYA'S DAYLY DIARY. Just one look at the pic of the person who's writing this thing and you know exactly what to expect. Another liberal fool trying to make a fool out of President Bush. Many Democrats in Congress have tried to make him look like a fool, yet he is still President and he still has majorities in both the House and Senate. How funny is that liberals?? LOL We know where the real dummies are...
How witty and clever and perceptive, don't you think? And the comments to that post are just as inane. For instance:
Is that a hat or a condom she has on?
One comment even helpfully psychoanalyzes me, and for free, yet:
Combine the photo with the writing and you get the idea that this woman is very careful in her selection of "friends." They are individuals with serious flaws, the kind that make her stand out as the most intelligent, urbane, and "normal" of her group. She envies anyone with anything more than she has. She won't allow challenges to her authority--of which, she has absolutely none.
Interestingly enough, their site's logo features photos of Al Franken, Michael Moore, former VP Al Gore, and Senators Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Barbara Boxer. Presumably, those are the people who most rile and/or scare them.
I sure hope the curator wasn't trying to upset me with his risible post. Thanks for the laughs, guys! I needed that after a day of shoveling snow, dealing with a dead refrigerator ... and shoveling snow into my dead refrigerator.
Moreover, my freelance writing (humorous and serious) has appeared in hundreds of print newspapers and magazines and a half-dozen anthologies. And my political humor has been quoted in USAToday, alongside Will Durst, Lewis Black, and Bill Maher.
Sadly though, none of this apparently qualifies me for a Political Animal blogroll link or for a mention on numerous other influential political blogrolls.
Although there certainly are exceptions, many members of the Political Bloggers Old Boys Club (including Kevin Drum) clearly apply different blogroll standards, depending on the sex of the blogger. Perhaps it's deliberate, perhaps it's unconscious, but the results are the same.
As to Kevin's professed curiosity and wonderment at the relative lack of females at the top of the Blogosphere Ecosystem, methinks he doth protest too much.
So here's what I want to know: Why is the focus on Brit Hume apparently dying down? Why isn't anybody (other than Skippy the last time I checked) talking about the petition demanding Brit Hume's resignation? Why is it no longer so important that Hume and Hume copycats are trying to sway public opinion in favor of Bush's Social Security plan with lies?
Look, I know the Gannon/Guckert thing is important, and it's certainly juicier. (Heaven knows I've had plenty of fun with it!) But surely we should be able to focus on two White House related media scandals at once.
Please don't give up on the Hume story! Because if Bush manages to mess with Social Security, Hume will surely be near the top of Dubya's thank you list. So I, for one, will keep on poetically Fuming At Hume:
Fuming At Hume By Madeleine Begun Kane
Did Fox's Hume betray his trust
To viewers near and far?
He surely did mislead them when he quoted FDR.
By citing out of context words,
Distorting Roosevelt's views,
Brit gave his tv audience a web of lies. Not news.
He helped Bush sell his SS plan,
By making people think,
That FDR would give Dub's deal a big approving wink.
Brit Hume deserves to lose his job.
He's ethically impaired.
But Brit'll keep his post at Fox: Unbalanced and unfair.
February 13, 2005 (Dear Scotty -- Mad Kane Applies For White House Press Credentials) (Updated 2/21/05)
I've always fantasized about being a White House correspondent. But until now, I've never sought so lofty a position because -- silly me -- I assumed you had to be an actual journalist.
Now that I know otherwise, please consider this my application for White House press credentials. Of course, I know that being Bush's chief media guy and all, approving press applications doesn't fall into your job description. But I'd be mighty grateful if you'd pass this on to whoever screens these things.
The janitor, perhaps? Or maybe the White House chef? One of the Bush twins? Or is it the new Bush family dog that just got out of obedience school?
Whoever the right go-to-guy happens to be, please forward my email to him/her/it ASAP.
Ooops! I almost forget to tell you about myself. Hmmm, let's see:
1) I've never been to journalist school, but would be happy to spend a weekend there, if required.
2) I'm proud to say I've had a slew of jobs over the years -- symphony orchestra oboist, lawyer, food stamp application taker, department store hosiery organizer -- I could go on and on. And, while I've never driven a truck, I used to be a typist and my dictation skills (while rusty) could readily be brought up to speed.
3) I'm married and straight. But I do have a lot of gay friends, if that helps. (See symphony orchestra oboist, above.)
4) Most importantly, I'm completely biased. (Against your guy, until now. Sorry! But for the right price... Well... You can fill in the dots.)
As you can see, I'd make a wonderful White House correspondent. So please, once you figure out who's in charge of these things, pass my letter on. Cause I'm giggling with anticipation of my very first gaggle.
Fixing Social Security permanently will require an open, candid review of the options. Some have suggested limiting benefits for wealthy retirees. Former Congressman Tim Penny has raised the possibility of indexing benefits to prices rather than wages. During
the 1990s, my predecessor, President Clinton, spoke of increasing the retirement age. Former Senator John Breaux suggested discouraging early collection of Social Security benefits. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan recommended changing the way benefits are calculated. All these ideas are on the table.
... all of the bad things he wanted to do to Social Security he attributed to Clinton and other Democrats. This should be a warning what appeasement will bring the Democrats.
So, why was Bush so eager to give Democrats "credit" for these ideas? Well, the obvious purpose is to help Bush drum up support for his Social Security Roulette plan. But I think he has a secondary (and possibly even more diabolical) reason:
There Once Was A Con Pulled By Bush By Madeleine Begun Kane
Claiming "crisis" in Social Security,
Prez George Bush says he'll fix its impurity.
He shall mend all its ills,
Using Dem poison pills.
So the Dems will be blamed for Dub's butchery.
So if you haven't already checked it out, I hope you'll stop by. President Boxer is already packed with posts showcasing Democrat courage and critiquing Democrat cowardice. And we get in our digs at the press, as well.
Plus doggerelist Steve Bates and I even sneak in the occasional light poem. Here are two of my limericks you may have missed:
For days now I've been searching for the perfect way to "celebrate" Bush's 2nd inaugural. And I finally found it. So let me be the first (actually, the sixth -- you bloggers are too fast for me) to announce that I've launched
The President Boxer Blog.
President Boxer is meant to be a group blog. So if you share my fantasy and would like to participate, please let me know by email @ firstname.lastname@example.org or via comment to this post or to a President Boxer Blog post. Thanks!
How should I know where he'd go?
Bin Laden's on the run in caverns.
Where? Don't know.
That he's free and quite alive.
It's no big deal that bin's still AWOL
So am I.
I'm pleased to announce my association with the newly launched HumorGuru.com, a humor magazine featuring eight professional humor columnists writing about every topic imaginable. (My own contributions will range from political satire to personal humor columns.) I hope you'll check it out and help spread the word about this spanking new and very entertaining humor pub.
Full disclosure seems to be the order of the day, in the wake of the bloggers paid by Dean non-story. So here's mine: Nobody has ever paid me to say nice things about them. However, I can think of several who might be persuaded to pay me not to mention them at all.
Sorry for the paucity of posts lately. I just got back from visiting my parents in Raleigh, North Carolina. And the return trip to New York -- well over four hours on a small plane whose seats are barely adequate for what should have been an hour and one-half flight -- left me with a lovely sciatica attack. Thanks American Airlines!
Just one question: Couldn't she have awoken from her stupor just a wee bit earlier? Then again, maybe all that Jersey pollution got to her brain. In any event, it's time to celebrate her "recovery" with a verse or two of Christie Whitman Went To Town, sung to Yankee Doodle:
Christie Whitman Went To Town (to be sung to "Yankee Doodle")
By Madeleine Begun Kane
Christie Whitman went to town
To do George Dubya's bidding.
For power acted like a clown,
Enviro head unfitting.
Those who've smelled New Jersey's stink
Got what they expected.
Water that's unsafe to drink
And air that should be tested.
Arsenic in the water seemed
To be the right solution.
When Bush said standards were too high
Chris gave him absolution...
Update: I've been nominated for Most Humorous Blog in Wampum's annual Kofax Awards. If you enjoy my humor, I'd appreciate your vote so I can move from the semi-finals to the finals in the humor category. Thanks!