Three cheers for the House morons

Al Edwards: Democratic donkey or bipartisan jackass? Posted by Hello

No attempt I can make at absurdity can match the stellar heights of ridiculousness reached Tuesday night by the Texas House of Representatives. A vote of 65-56 passed a bill that would ban cheerleaders from performing in sexually suggestive ways. That state legislative body has fast-tracked itself past what was once merely a governmental chamber of petty thievery and buffoonery to establishing itself as the Texas House of Imbeciles.

Rep. Al Edwards, D-Houston, the grand wazoo of House imbeciles and author of the bill, apparently believes butt-shaking high school cheerleaders constitute a major threat to Texas society. I guess one thing cheerleaders can be thankful for is the bill would only ban such routines. Edwards has sponsored legislation in the past that called for whacking off fingers of drug dealers.

Definition of what constitutes such offensive displays would be derived from the approach used by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart to define obscenity in a landmark 1964 ruling. Stewart said, and I am paraphrasing here, he couldn’t tell obscenity from Oreos. “But I know it when I see it,” he said, meaning obscenity. I don’t know that we’ve actually succeeded in appointing a justice to the Supreme Court who is too stupid to know what an Oreo is. But I digress and am sure some would argue the point.

It isn’t a sure bet the Texas Senate will pass Edwards’ bill. Although that body also has its problems, the Senate does not normally go to such extreme lengths to exhibit pride in doltishness. But I’m sure even some of the Senate’s members will give it the old college try.

Money for nothing, dictators for free

Win Mobutu’s money! Posted by Hello

I’m not wistful or complaining or anything, but I haven’t been getting e-mails from my African friends lately.

I am speaking of what has long been called the “419 Scam” or the “Nigerian 419 Scam.” These are a variety of schemes under what is basically an advanced fee ruse that started through unsolicited snail mail and quickly adapted to the electronic age. Many of the letters are downright creative, often relaying some tale of woe either at the hands of ruthless African dictators or the story coming from someone claiming to be a relative of a deposed strongman. Those who write always want to give you money. The problem is you have to pay for it first, such as in some sort of transaction fees. As if there is some honor among thieves, many of these scam artists quite often are courteous enough to have the subject of the e-mail (most often the text as well)in all capital letters.

Here is an example found on the excellent fraud education site Quataloos that purportedly comes from Nzanga Joseph Desire Mobutu, who claims to be the son of deposed, exiled and now dead Zaire (Congo Republic) dictator Joseph Mobutu.

I got your contact during my search for a stranger that can cooperate with me in this mutual transaction. I want you to note that this business will benefit both of us. However, you must confirm your ability to handle this because it involves a large amount of money. The money (50 million US DOLLARS is my share of my father’s estate. I boxed and shipped the money to a security company abroad at the peak of the war/political crisis that rocked my country few years ago. Now the crisis has ended and I need a trustworthy person like you to proceed to the place of the security company in order to clear the fund and invest on my behalf as I don’t want my name to be used for now.

Well, a couple of things Joe, or should I call you Nzanga? First of all, your letter makes it seem as if you went down to the local liquor store and asked for empty boxes in which you could ship off the 50 million US DOLLARS. I would almost pay just to see someone box up 50 million US DOLLARS. Secondly, you don’t know me and you say you need a ‘trustworthy’ person like me to help clear the fund? Hell’s bells! Even the mention of 50 million US DOLLARS gives me untrustworthy, not to mention impure and evil thoughts.

Finally, Nzanga Joe, if that is indeed your real name, we have a saying over here in the United States: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” If Mobutu was (and I’m assuming he really wasn’t) your father, I don’t think I would particularly become business partners with someone whose father was a supporter of the Hutu fanatics who were responsible for the genocide in Rwanda. I know that I shouldn’t judge you by your dad (fake dad most likely), but it just doesn’t appear to be great business sense to partner up with the son of a dictator caught up in a genocide. Sorry. But on a lighter note, your pops did look kind of snazzy in leopard-skin get-ups. I don’t suppose they were faux fur?

The art of stupidity

Take me to the Taliban, says Wilbanks Posted by Hello

I have done some pretty stupid things in my life. These instances started at an early age. An example is at age 5, when only a sliver of skin held the top of my right index finger together after I tried to stop a table saw fanbelt from turning round-and-round. Of course, the fanbelt won. I remarkably still have a finger, though a funky looking one. I’ve committed more stupid acts than the law allows. Sometimes, the law didn’t allow it.

But Jennifer Wilbanks–wow, she takes freaking out and stupidity then creates them into a full-blow media-event art form. Wilbanks skipped her wedding in Georgia then called her husband to tell him she had been abducted. She showed up in New Mexico, allegedly lied at first to authorities, then confessed to the FBI her disappearance had all been one big case of cold feet.

Her husband has told the press he still wants her as his wife. Authorities are considering how they might punish her for her stupidity, which no doubt included a lot of police overtime while searching back in Georgia for the woman.

I can only say, Jennifer, you really did a bone-headed, inconceivably stupid act of selfishness based upon self-doubt and a case of pre-wedding jitters. Does this make you a bad person? No. Does this make you someone I would want to marry? No. But I am also able to look upon the act of stupidity from an artistic point of view. And from that vantage point it was truly art, the art of screwing up.

Like a painting on some cosmic canvas, the art of screwing up is an act in which someone does something hideously stupid and that act lives on either through local lore or national media attention. Having your proposal on the Jumbotron at the baseball game turned down with your intended fiance throwing a beer in your face? Nah, that’s just a little bad luck. Getting drunk and running your car through the front doors of the police station? Yeah, that’s screwing up pretty big-time and is consequently art.

I can’t say any of my screw-ups merit classification as art. Knowing my friends, they will remind me if I did have any such moments of artistry. As for Jennifer, oh Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer. Move somewhere. Get a job. If your groom-to-be has a sense of humor and appreciation of the art you created, then marry the dude and live happily ever after. Hopefully, in a few years, after you pay off all the money that was spent looking for you during your “episode,” you will be able to laugh about it. The TV cameras and celebrity will be long gone. But you can say: “Wow, THAT was a work of art.”

Can you smell that smell?

Jesus, did you do that? Posted by Hello

A friend sent by e-mail yesterday an alert from a local TV station in her area about an upcoming report that night on the “smells of the Savior.”

Apparently, a craft shop in Vidor, Texas, called “Adalene’s,” is selling candles called “His Essence” that claim to smell like Jesus. Now just how Jesus smells is the next logical question. The company that manufactures His Essence says the fragrance was derived through the Bible (what else? I’m sure Jesus left no marketing brochures or scratch-and-sniff samples upon his disappearance). The South Dakota company that makes the scent describes it this way:

This 14-ounce wax jar candle is hand poured with a hand set paper core wick. The scent was inspired by Psalm 45:8 – “All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia…”. The candle will burn for 80 to 100 hours emitting the pleasant and gentle fragrance. Each purchase will receive an attractive and informative His EssenceTM bookmark.

The bookmark is a nice touch. Will your books all smell like Jesus as well?

I do not claim to be a theologian. And I am certainly not a Jesus, although I played one as a little kid. But I have my doubts about what Jesus smelled like during those days before Right Guard and Old Spice. And if you were truly the Messiah, why would you even care how you smelled? I suppose it wouldn’t be pleasant for Jesus to hear people were saying behind his back: “Here comes the stinky Savior.” But if you’re God why give a damn? It’s not like B.O. is going to lose you an election as Savior to George W. Bush, unless in the unlikely event Karl Rove somehow gets to Heaven.

Also, I think the TM is kind of lame: “His Essence.” Maybe it’s even a bit on the pornographic side if you get my drift. And what other types of Jesus products might we expect? Jesus pen sets? Page Christ on your Holy BlackBerry? God, I Can’t Believe This is Butter? Where does it all end?

Laura, the one-woman show

Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see, Laura asks correspondents. Posted by Hello

Laura Bush was reportedly funny Saturday evening at the White House Correspondent’s Association dinner in Washington. That bunch — the correspondents — are just a regular bunch of cut-ups anyway. I’m sure they would laugh at just about anything that will feed them.

She first read the book Brown bear, Brown bear, What do you see? to correspondents. I heard that afterwards they were clamoring for transcripts of the children’s book.

Apparently the remarks she made after reading to the reporters were hilarious. She made a reference to the ABC-TV hit “Desperate Housewives,” which most of the White House correspondents had never heard of, much less seen.

It was only after when Mrs. Bush began “flying around the stage like Tinkerbell” did the reporters notice it was not going to be any ordinary correspondent’s dinner. She then picked Sam Donaldson out of the audience, asked the now ancient reporter to come up to the stage and told him to get down on all fours. Laura grabbed a lasso from under the dais and jumped upon Donaldson’s back, and screamed: “Yeeee Hawwwww.”

Secret Service agents had to gingerly disengage the rope from her hand once the lasso flew onto her husband’s neck as she apparently was going to use him for calf-roping practice.

The first lady then began to sing and play air guitar to Gretchen Wilson’s “I’m Here for the Party.”

All in all, it was a pretty eye-opening night for the mostly reserved first lady as well as for some of the lugs in the press corps. Said one correspondent as he was leaving: “Damn, I wish I could get me a woman like that.”