What’s Your Six-Word Life Story?

SMITH magazine online presents us with a wonderful challenge: Can you tell the story of your life in six words? Some examples from the Six-Word Memoir contest:

*Pork Chops Searching for My Applesauce.

*Caller i.d. helps keep me lonely.

*Not Quite What I Was Planning.

What’s my six-word memoir? Well, I hate to offer something that isn’t as witty or profound as it probably could be; and I hate to sound indecisive. But I also don’t want to put myself out there as some kind of writing expert. But I do feel a real pressure now to come up with something since I brought up the darn topic. So, at this time (and reserving the right to edit this post later on) I’ll have to go with:

*Pretty Sure This Could Be Improved.

I’ll let you know if I come up with something better, OK? unsecured business loans fine

Al Smith Saves the Presidential Race

Finally. Something good to say about the presidential race. At the Al Smith dinner in New York Thursday night, Barack Obama and John McCain showed their best. They came together at the same table, “without preconditions,” as Obama said, and each showed why they are their party’s nominees. And they reassured me that this is a great country, or what.

Humor salves the wounds of eight years of an atrocious president, of way too many months of sordid campaigning, of my fear that hope would miss its rendezvous with our destiny. McCain and Obama gave 15-minute talks that were funny and gracious and biting and wonderful. Take a look, if you haven’t seen this. Watch it again if you have. This YouTube clip is just the beginning of McCain’s talk — go to YouTube and watch it all, McCain first, then Obama. Just search “Al Smith dinner.”

McCain was the man I admired in the 2000 race. He was witty and charming and gracious to Obama while skewering him. At the end, he paid tribute to this country that is seriously considering, finally, a black candidate for president. McCain’s timing and facial expressions were fabulous. And Obama was having a ball. He laid Sara Palin to rest with a quip about the Russian Tea Room, he laughed at the Ayers crap and at his own middle name, and in the end found the highest ground, as he always does, evoking what America can be.

For at least a half-hour, you can feel good about this endless slog for the White House by watching Obama and McCain show their guts, their giggles and their souls. The affair even made me feel a little tender toward Hillary Clinton — and that takes some doing. Enjoy.
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Blues’ Clues

It looks as if the security perimeter around next week’s Republican National Convention (RNC) is going to make St. Paul’s Excel Energy Center about as publicly accessible as China’s Forbidden City during the Ming Dynasty.

So how are blue bywatchers to know when the Red Man Group arrives in our fair city? A few clues:

Festive Bush and Cheney figurines replace Snoopy and Charlie Brown on streets.
• Airport men’s room sounds like rehearsal for Riverdance.
• McCain offshore drilling proposal expanded to include 10,000 lakes.
• Stretch helicopters brought in to ferry delegates over Pawlenty’s unfunded bridges.
• Electric Fetus targeted for Operation Rescue protest.
• “Mission Accomplished” banner hoisted outside Deja Vu.
• Mickey’s adds foie gras to menu.
• Rove holds press conference to deny leaking location of Winter Carnival medallion.
• Pawlenty actually stays in Minnesota for a couple days.

If one or more of those things happen, there’s a good chance our conservative comrades have arrived.

– Loveland
(Assist from Austin)

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Mullet-Americans Rally Around Pawlenty

Mullet-Americans are “cautiously optimistic” about rumors that mulleted Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty may soon be named Senator John McCain’s vice presidential running mate.

“It would obviously be historic, and it could really balance the ticket, what with McCain’s embarassing lack of hair below the cervical vertebrae,” said mullet-American activist Billy Rae Cyrus.

Still reeling from the political demise of skullet-American Jesse Ventura and fem-mullet-American Hillary Clinton, mulleteers continue to claim Pawlenty as one of their own, despite allegations that he has recently scaled back on the party side of his do.

“Look, we understand that candidates have to ‘run to the middle’ in the general election,” said actress Florence Henderson. “Even I’ve had to moderate under pressure from the mainstream manes running the major studios. But we know Pawlenty will do the right thing once he gets in the White House.”

Mullet-Americans were once a proud and influential group in the 1980s, led by the likes of Ziggy Stardust, MacGyver, Michael Bolton, and Luke from General Hospital. But more recently, an ugly wave of mulletism pushed them into the margins of society.

“Great Clips has actually refused me service, and the ACLU just laughed about it,” said one mullet-American, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, due to fear for his safety. “It’s very emotional to think that some day I might see someone who looks like me attending obscure funerals and being appointed to toothless commissions.”

To understand the tremendous obstacles Pawlenty faces as he attempts to break through what many say is the highest and hardest glass ceiling, consider the hate speech directed at the mulleted minority: “Hockey hair, ten ninety, helmet hair, coupe Longueuil, haircut o’ death, neckwarmer, shorty longback, the 10-90, the Kentucky waterfall, the bi-level, the faded glory, the Ben Franklin, the Missouri Compromise, the Louisiana Purchase, the Camaro crash helmut, the business cut (business in front, party in the back), the LPGA, the soccer flip, the convertible, the Tennessee top hat, the Mississippi mudflap, the Canadian passport, the New Jersey neckwarmer, the Chattanooga choo choo, and the neck blanket.” In perhaps the ultimate insult to Minnesota’s Governor, the proud mullet is sometimes even referred to as “the Wisconsin waterfall.”

Though fossil records prove that homo sapiens with primative mullets have walked the Earth for at least 130,000 years, it was 2001 before the word “mullet” even appeared in dictionaries. The historical implications of a Pawlenty candidacy are not lost on beleaguered ape drape advocates.

“I do get emotional about it,” said Cyrus, whose own hind-heavy tresses have been referred to by mulletist hate groups as The Achy-Breaky Mistakie. “They can call us what they want, but come January, let’s just say there is going to be Pawlenty of hair facing east on the inaugural stage.”

– Loveland

Disarming or Arming Humor?

Humor can be a terrific PR tool for disarming a controversy. Artfully done, it can show the world that you don’t take yourself too seriously and possess humility. It is mea culpa lite, still bringing closure with half the defensiveness of a direct apology. And it can make subsequent criticism seem humorless.

Last night on Jay Leno’s show, Senator Clinton used this time honored tactic in an attempt to disarm criticism of her inaccurate memory of being under fire on an airstrip in Bosnia during a foreign policy trip.

This controversy actually seemed to have died off on it’s own prior to the Leno appearance. This is a very good thing for the Senator. The more you think about her error, the more inexplicable it seems. We all forget things, but being shot at tends to be a pretty memorable event. Still, her opponent wasn’t hitting her on it, and the story didn’t have a lot of legs.

Given all of that, is this use of humor disarming, or arming? (Note: Only the first minute of this clip is relevant.)

– Loveland

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