LIMBO and his “Whale” of Lies

There are some people who are so inappropriate that they’ve made a career of it.  Usually they’re comedians who are intentionally funny at someone else‘s expense.  I‘m about to do it now, but at Rush Limbaugh‘s EXPANSE.  Rush is vying for the title of most reprehensible, moronic slob in the universe, by going on the attack over Michelle Obama’s healthy eating and exercise initiative for children and all Americans – HE accused HER of being a poor role model – by criticizing the First Lady’s weight, figure and fashions. 

Whoa there JUMBO-Limbo…!!!  Wait one friggin’ minute… 

Michelle Obama is a beautiful woman with a healthy, fit build.  She’s a 47 year old mother with 2 children – AND she works out on a daily basis.  Mrs. Obama is not a slave to the anorexic, unhealthy trend of bony-assed heroin-chic runway models who grace the covers of women’s magazines – resulting in normal women feeling bad about themselves because they don’t wear a size ZERO.  Limbaugh, among other disgusting and tasteless comments, said “Our First Lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.”  Like he belongs on the cover of Men’s Fitness…?!!!

To attack an intelligent, warm and successful person trying to bring about positive change in this world is Limbaugh’s specialty.  Limbaugh’s a fat, grotesque, cigar-smoking billionaire bigot, who can purchase serial-monogamy loveless supermodel-wives.  He wouldn’t know anything about a healthy, loving relationship, let alone LIFESTYLE.  He should go pop another illegally gotten, constipating Oxycodone, and wash it back with 12 year old single-malt scotch.  His attack against Michelle Obama has more to say about his own fragile self-esteem than anything concerning her courage and dedication to draw attention to what has become America’s national obesity epidemic. 

Had Laura Bush taken the same stance, Limbaugh might not have changed his drug-laden, smoke-filled fatty lifestyle, but he wouldn’t have called her out on it either.  The man is merely looking for ways to create faux controversies to put himself back into the highly competitive (and growing) spotlight of ‘lunatic crazies’ vying for extreme right-wing attention.  At lease Laura Bush had the courage to speak-out against drunk-driving, as the former First Lady holds the singular distinction of being the only wife of a president to kill anyone.  Granted, she was a drunken teenager at the time, and mowed-down a boy (shooting him 80 feet in the air) when she saw him on Lover’s Lane with a girl who wasn’t HER.  But Laura is white and her Texas records have been expunged.  If a black teenage girl had done the same thing, that teen would have rotted in a Texas prison for the rest of her life – or Laura’s own husband, Georgie might have signed the death warrant when he was Texas’ governor.  Limbaugh would have been the first one to have applauded from the peanut gallery.

Limbaugh is a blatant racist who’s sole objective is to whip-up gullible fools into a frenzy of bigotry and hate.  The man doesn’t even believe the things he, himself says – he says those things for ratings and dollars – and for the chance to spread his personal brand of venom.  So here’s some back at him:  Picture one night when Jumbo-Limbo comes home and presses his repulsive gut and smoke-filled breath against his exceedingly YOUNGER current Bimbo (who’s skin has GOT to be crawling at his touch) while he suffers a stroke or heart attack after glutting himself on the same barbecued spare ribs he criticizes Michelle Obama for eating.  It’s hard to picture the physical geometry involved in Rush having intercourse, but if Limbo’s trophy wife even lets him near her, the thought of that cardio-vascular workout just might one day lead him to meet his maker – or pacemaker.  Imagine the ‘Almighty Lord of Crisco and Bullshit’ being lowered into the ground in a Steinway concert-grand packing crate – upholstered with a fine tissue of his own FAT lies.

Be Careful What You Vote for, You Just Might Get It.

We have to trim our budget.  Federal, state and local.  Everyone agrees, but not as to HOW.  When 2% of the country controls 87% of the nation’s wealth, something is out of whack.  In the same breath, Americans like to buy inexpensive goods, so corporations send jobs abroad where the work-force is not unknown to slave-labor, prison-labor and child-labor – all things we purport to abhor in the United States of America.  We don’t stop to think about the 3rd world child chained to a cobbler’s bench making Nike soccer balls or Kmart clothes produced in Chinese prisons.

Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, is a very ‘green’ politician – but not in the good way – he’s clueless.  The man’s a green-Tea Party politician with family in high and convenient places who wants to remove collective union bargaining from the table, effectively breaking-up unions and disrupting vital services he’s too dimwitted to comprehend.  Actions like his would further divide the huge gap between the over-privileged and the hard-working – giving labor far less voice in their own rights, lives and futures.  And while no one thinks union bosses are always among the most admirable of people – Wall Street bankers and corporations, along with the politicians they carry around in their pockets have far more to answer-for as to the country’s fiscal crisis on all levels of government than anything they’re trying to pin on the card-carrying,  blue-collar labor unions. 

Where else have we fiscally gone wrong?  Look no further than the senseless wars brought about by the Bush Administration.  Afghanistan should have been an international police action and not a war – every sensible thinking person knew that.  And the Iraq War is completely indefensible – nothing more than a corporate/government gas station robbery costing countless lives, not to mention financial resource.  So if you’re wondering where all our nation’s wealth went – it went to illegal and mismanaged wars, congressional and corporate corruption and the extension of the Bush tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans – many of whom further benefit from corporate welfare.  WHY are we subsidizing the oil companies, when all 6 of the top earning corporations in the WORLD are oil companies?

Personal family wealth in most cases, is accumulated generationally, passed along – and there it stays handed down with protective inheritance laws that are far too generous to the spoiled-rotten trust-fund babies who only know about their own comfort.  Talk about entitlements…!!!  

We need to rethink the tax-codes for inherited wealth AND on-going accumulation of wealth back to where it had been during the Clinton years.  End the offshore corporate tax loops and subsidies for companies who ship jobs overseas, and STOP BEING war-mongers.  Then there just might be enough to go around so all our nation’s people have a fair chance to attain the American dream that gets John Boehner all weepy-eyed about his own good fortune.  He needs to start crying-a-river over the plight of the people who strive to attain the same American dream for themselves.  And when Boehner’s “young-gun” crony, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin says the people of Wisconsin are “going all Cairo on us” – THAT to me implies that Republican Governor Scott Walker is being unwittingly compared to former Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak.  

Well voters, be careful what you vote for, you just might get it.  Hopefully voters will someday at least understand the value of their vote and stop pulling levers for candidates who act counter to their own best interests. People also need to start paying attention to midterm elections.  Not that I go in for sports metaphors, but the younger voters, black voters and liberal voters did not have their ‘star’ player’s back when he needed them most – right before halftime. 

Love and Other Venerial Diseases

Love is not a subject on which I can speak with any authority – at least not where ‘happily ever after’ is concerned.  I’m a complete washout in the romance department.  You wanna hear about love gone wrong, I’ll talk your ear off – but not right now.  My choices of paramours reads like the ‘at large and un-apprehended’ list from America’s Most Wanted.  Always handsome, and someone else always wants them.  And someone else usually gets them too.  Not that I’m bitter, mind you – hehehe.  

OK, I’m not bitter anymore – but I am a confirmed bachelor who’s set in his ways.

If madness is defined by doing the same thing over and over and over again expecting different results – then I am CURED.

I intend to spend this Valentines Day crawling past the windows doing barely audible breathing and avoiding bars, clubs and other places where lonely hearts might linger in lust for victims.

At the ripe old age of 60, while taking blood-pressure medicine and rubbing a testosterone supplement faithfully on my shoulders every morning to no avail, or suffering the unpleasant blushing-blue-light side effects of Viagra, I have thrown in the towel.

For those of you still either young enough, lucky enough or hopeful enough to still be in love, I salute you.  And I wish you the very happiest of Valentine’s Days.  I, on the other hand will be hiding under a pile of collapsed boards in my basement until the whole ordeal is over.

Good luck kids, and use protection.

Happy Birthday Sarah Palin…?

I am continually amazed to find ostensibly intelligent people buying right-wing psycho-babble.  It is especially disheartening when it comes from animal rights advocates.  I expect more from animal rights advocates, but there is a sub sect of animal rights people who have absolutely no compassion for human beings, but will weep themselves silly over animal cruelty.  I see the two, cruelty to animals and cruelty to people as entwined branches of the same dead-souled ignorance.”

I was stunned today to see several people with whom I work in animal causes, celebrating Sarah Palin’s birthday on their Facebook pages.  How does one get that detached?  I’ve seen Palin beat a halibut to death on TV purely for ratings.  I’ve seen her blow the bloody head off a caribou, again for ratings.  She’s flying in choppers picking-off wolves with her high-powered rifle and it’s famous “cross-hairs.” I’ve seen her sofa draped with dead animal pelts, purely out of a misguided sense of interior design.  I know more about that idiotic woman and her sordid life than I’d ever have cared to.  You can’t get away from her.  Palin is no animal advocate, but on the peculiar side, Rush Limbaugh IS.  Well, he’s also a drug addict and an old lecher, so he’s hardly a sterling example of anything.

But Palin’s animal killings have nothing to do with “sport” – nor does that of most primitive thinkers.  It’s the pleasure of the kill, pure and simple.

How does this brain-disconnect with regard to compassion take place? 

Perhaps it’s easier to show empathy for animals, while detaching from the plights of people(?)  This seems like a kind of transference to me – especially on the part of wealthy white republicans.  The underprivileged are somehow to be held accountable for their own lack of good fortune, whereas animals and small children are not.  Well some small children.  I’ve actually heard people express revulsion at how only third world children are featured in ads for UNICEF or the ‘Save the Children Fund‘.  Worse yet, I’ve heard people say “they’re so cute while they’re still little” as if to say those children cease to be human once they’re no longer “adorable” in the eyes of the thoughtless.  It should surprise me how hyper-Christian so many of these people claim to be, but it doesn’t.

I suppose there’s no explaining or understanding the widespread lack of human empathy.  Some people simply don’t think very deeply, and I guess I’ll have to leave it at that. 

Grandma Betty Remembered

My mother, Grandma Betty passed away a week ago this past Saturday.  Grandma Betty was a force to recon with in her day, and to a large extent tried to control her world even after her strength had left her.  Grandma Betty believed in an afterlife.  I don’t think it occurred to her it might be on a political blog as part of a cartoon series, but here she is…  There will be a rich vein of material about her and her life’s observations lurking in the reaches of my memory for so long as I, myself am living.

So no one said Grandma Betty wasn’t returning to WinnieToons.  She’s merely on temporary leave to have a word with the Lord where-upon she will report back sometimes as herself, sometimes trans-channeled through Duck.  You don’t get rid of Grandma Betty that easy.

I picked-up her ashes last weekend.  The roads here are full of snow, and I was on my way to a dinner party in deep South Philadelphia when I got a call from the funeral parlor telling me her ashes were ready.  Since the funeral parlor was right around the corner from the party, so I had the cabbie stop while I collected her.  Subsequently she was taken to a very, very gay dinner-party where she was toasted as the quest of honor.  When I went to leave, I said to my host, Kevin “I hope you didn’t mind my bringing my mother tonight.”  He replied “She was no trouble at all.”  (For the first time actually.) 

We’re going to inter Grandmaq Betty’s ashes with my father and my grandparents sometime in Spring.  Her last words to me were “You need a haircut.”  Which I have since done.  The following account was written a couple weeks before she died:

*       *       *       *       *

Hurricane Betty ©WTW 2011
by William Whiting

In trying to best recall my mother as a young woman, I’m more than a little distracted by my most recent memory of seeing her this past weekend.  She was laying on a convertible hospital gurney with her mouth open and her eyes out of focus.  She’s on hospice now.  She confuses easily and speaks with labored effort when she’s even able to complete her thoughts.

But my mother as a young woman was a force to reckon with.  She turned 30 the year I was born and was a few years older than most of my friends’ moms.  My friends considered my mother domineering and didn’t like to come to our house to play since mom demonstrated an overly protective interference that made playmates uncomfortable.  “What are you kids doing in there” she’d bellow if my bedroom door was closed.  Generally speaking, we were up to nothing worse than a clutter of toys and art supplies but her concern made me feel like I lived in a fishbowl.  “I won’t have you making any messes in this house” was another frequent complaint.  Other kid’s moms seemed to roll with the punches, while my mother was continually convinced there was something wrong with my playmates by referring to them as “bad influences.” She’s always been a perpetual worrier.  Mom was happiest with me when I was practicing the piano or doing homework.  I loved playing the piano.  I was never genuinely all that good at it, but I made up for my lack of skill by playing louder than required.  That meant even if my mother was doing laundry in the basement she knew what I was up to and was assured that my hands weren’t messing up her perpetually “straightened-up” house.  She never liked anything out of place.

My grandmother lived with us while we were in the old Victorian double-house on Second Street.  When we moved to the ‘L’-shaped’ rancher on a lake-lot in a new suburban development called “Valley Stream,” my grandmother had just begun to fail.  In hindsight, a lot of my mother’s tensions and crabbiness could probably be traced to the heart-wrenching task of taking care of her elderly mother.  My mom was one of 7 surviving siblings, several of whom were far more affluent than my parents, but Grandma Nanny came to live with us.  Mom cleaned bed-pans and administered medicines, changed soiled sheets and bore the brunt of the burden.  Dad was always on the road for business, so she was effectively going it alone.  I was about 11 or 12 at the time, and as useless as any other pre-adolescent.  My mother’s sisters were continually critical of how mom took care of Nanny but you didn’t see any of them stepping forward to help either.  They criticized my mother unmercifully when a decision was made to put Nanny into a nursing home – still, there wasn’t a ‘show of hands’ when it came to taking Nanny into their own homes.  My mother’s back had gone out several times lifting Nanny and so it became too much for her.  Dad traveled, and my brother was college-age by this point (there’s 8 ½ years between us).  And I was young, unfocused and of little substantial help.

The way I got my own bedroom was a result of my grandmother being placed in a nursing home and dying shortly thereafter.  I felt guilty about how I had come by my own room, but I was glad to have the room nevertheless.  I painted it colors my mother didn’t care for and I trash-picked chairs and cool junk from the curb to fill my room which my mother viewed as socially embarrassing.  I also COVERED the walls with movie posters which were an endless source of contention.  My mother claimed all those pushpin holes in the drywall would be impossible to cover-over and might affect the value of the house if we ever were to sell.

My mother eventually won the decorations battle of my room – painting it ‘soft earth-tones’ and filling it with traditional Windsor chairs with hooked seat-covers depicting American eagles and other patriotic ‘faux’ colonial themes.  There was a Wedgwood blue chenille bedspread and a slant-top clerk’s desk topped by a reproduction light designed to look as if it had once been a whale-oil hurricane lamp.  Below my window-wall was placed an antique spinning wheel converted into a philodendron planter which mom dutifully watered.  Now the door to my room could be left open when we had company, but it wasn’t really mine anymore.  I just slept there, and got scolded if I left underwear and socks on the floor.

I had a sizable collection of movie posters and still-frame production photos.  I’d gotten them from an old gentleman named Reds who worked for The National Screen Advertising Service.  Thinking back, I suspect my parents viewed Reds as a potential molestation risk.  I already had a history of experimentation with other little boys.  I still think Reds was harmless, in spite of him being an effeminate sort of man.  He gave me tons of stuff from classic films like ‘Casablanca‘, ‘Gone With the Wind’ and ‘To Catch a Thief’.  Reds never touched me inappropriately but my dad insisted on going with me one time after Reds had called the house to tell me he had more posters he wanted me to have.  Dad had answered the phone.  After that visit to collect the posters, I was told not to have anything more to do with Reds.  He and my dad had a private conversation while I sat in the car admiring my prized ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys’ posters and stills.  I was, and remain, a great admirer of Audrey Hepburn, both as a performer and as a person.  The posters sat in drawers where I would take them out only to look at them – then fold them-up and put them away again.  Some were rolled in tubes.

With my bedroom ‘faux-colonialized’ to my mother’s own tastes, I insisted on being given a small unfinished section of basement to make-over into my own “MAN-CAVE”.   We had 2 pianos in the house, the maple spinet in the living room and an old turn-of-the-century golden oak upright in the basement. My dad had gotten a deal on a Victorian pool table, and the fancy old upright piano was thrown-in with the deal.  That was all part of my Dad’s and brother’s ‘Man Cave’.  They had shuffleboard, a punching bag and all sorts of butch-stuff which didn’t interest me.  However I LOVED the old upright-piano.  I put thumb-tacks in all the felt-hammers so when they struck the strings the piano had a tinny, old fashioned sound.  My childhood friend Luther and I used to show 8mm silent movies in the basement while I accompanied with honky-tonk piano.  We’d charge the other kids a nickel a head.  Ragtime was the only kind of piano music that I ever came close to mastering.

One section of the basement was my dad’s table saw and tools.  Another section was the washer and drier with the utility sink (where I often raised baby ducks I’d bought / slash / rescued) from the Franklin Five and Dime on Main Street.  I kept these little birds alive to the best of my abilities waiting for the disturbing lavender Easter-egg die to wear-off or drop-out with the new coat of feathers.  Once they got their white feathers, I’d set them free on the bank of the lake that defined the end of our property line.

Our first encounter with baby ducks didn’t go so well.  They smelled-up the house, and my mother, Betty, insisted I wash the little birds with Fels-Naptha soap and set them loose in the lake at once.  They all sank to the bottom and drowned except for 2 which I was able to fish out from under the waters and save.  Neither Betty nor I realized ducks secrete a waxy-oil that allows them to be buoyant.  I hated Betty for making me do that and kept the rescued ducks in a large tub within a pen in the basement, from which they learned to escape, often chasing Betty from pillar to post when she tried to do the laundry.  I wonder if ducks hold a grudge?  I got ducks other seasons that followed, and while Betty still continued to complain, she never made me wash any of them ever after that.

Again I’ve wandered off the track. 

I started to talk about my adolescent “Man Cave.”  There was one small unclaimed, unfinished section of the basement with no windows.  I collected old pillows and sofa-cushions from trash-night to toss around on the floor.  I taped-up my posters all over the walls.  I found an old shelving unit (also from the trash) to display my favorite sentimental toys.  As the years melted into the mid-1960’s I cordoned-off the room with HUGE free-standing cardboard movie displays thrown out from behind the local movie theater — but you had to be fast because other kids wanted them too.  I started adding beaded curtains and fluorescent posters for ‘peace and love’ illuminated with a black-light — eventually burning incense which I‘d heard was a cool thing to do.  That really set Betty ‘off‘.  If I was burning incense then I must be smoking pot, which I wasn’t.  But if I was going to be punished for something I wasn’t doing, then I figured I might as well go ahead and give it a try.  After all, I was paid-forward with punishments.  So I started hanging out at the church annex where the kids really WERE smoking pot.  Mom was delighted that I was spending more time at church.  My ‘Man Cave’ was no longer permitted to be closed-off — therefore it was no longer a private space, and hence less appealing to me.  Everything was in full view.  With no privacy, I lost interest in it.

One day after an extended time ignoring the space, I noticed all my toys were gone.  Mom had given them away to the Salvation Army.  After a strenuous argument about the posters, which my mother considered unsightly and a fire-hazard, I was pressured to get rid of them.  Easily defeated, I called friends and let them take whatever they wanted.  I’ve since seen some of my old toys AND vintage movie posters on ‘Antiques Roadshow.’’  Perhaps not the very same ones — but their duplicates.  Prior to the most recent economic crash, if I still had that collection to sell on eBay, I could have paid-off the house I’m living-in.

It wasn’t pressure however, or giving away posters that brought-down my ‘Man Cave’.  It was a virulent hurricane which caused lake water to back-up into our basement.  I can’t, for the life of me remember the name of that storm, ‘Donna’ perhaps, but it was back when hurricanes always had female names.  Brother Bob was away either at college or post-grad (I forget).  Dad was still traveling for business.  So mom and I had to unhook all the appliances, turn off the electrical and put whatever we could lift onto saw-horses and make-shift high-ground.  There were countless trips up and down the stairs relocating things to the first floor.  In no time we had close to a foot of water in the basement.  The veneer on the Victorian pool table started to peel and some of the applied carvings were floating on the surface.  Betty, in total hysteria, was running around like a wild-woman with a saucepan in hand ‘bailing’ water out an open window. This effort, in my eyes, was beyond useless and against all logical odds.  But she was a woman possessed.  I flatly refused to participate in her futile exercise and sat myself down at the old tinny upright piano and started to play and play and play…  I started out with “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” and worked my way up to “Maple Leaf Rag”.  All I could think was, tomorrow my favorite trusty old piano was going to have a warped sounding-board and rotting inner pedal mechanisms.  So with pant legs rolled up to my knees, I continued to sit there and play every piece I’d ever committed to memory, like honoring a treasured old friend, giving the instrument a stylish send-off in the moments before it would go silent forever.

I ignored Betty’s desperate pleas for me to assist her in the ridiculous effort to hand-bailout a foot of water (and rising) as the wind and rain pounded down all around our “L” shaped rancher on the lake lot.

Betty’s face reddened with rage and the veins at her temples throbbing with frustration — my mother reached deep down inside herself to find the harshest criticism she could conceivably hurl my way.  “YOU… YOU… YOU… YOU’RE no better than NERO…!!!”, she flared. 

“Nero was the fat one who played the fiddle while Rome burned”, I laughed, “And you’re on the Titanic trying to bail-out with a saucepan.“  I started to laugh so hard, I had to stop playing, when the opening chords of “Nearer My God to Thee“ fell from my fingertips.  The more I laughed, the more bewildered Betty became, until she started to laugh too.  We laughed together ‘til we both nearly cried.  “Shut-up and shove-over you traitor, you!” she said as she joined me on the piano bench.  She played the treble while I played the base in the best rendition of ‘Heart and Soul’ ever performed with no one but the two of us listening.  We did a duet of “Peg ‘O My Heart” and transitioned into an improvisational boogie-woogie — and ended our jam only when the piano itself began to choke and jam – we forced out a few chords now missing notes, and played and laughed until the water reached the cushion of the piano bench giving us both soggy-bottoms.  In triumph and defeat we retreated to the upstairs to higher, dryer ground.   My mother, reacting in the way she always eventually does, burst out into tears, and I comforted her.  I closed the basement door.  The house was gonna stink for months.

This past weekend I sat by my mother’s rolling-cot trying to decide what I would write about by way of my recollections of her as a younger woman.  I studied her aged features as she lay there with her mouth open like one of my long-gone baby ducks.  Her eyes were nearly glued shut by the secretions forever needing wiping from her eyes.  It’s very difficult to understand her tiny-little voice.  Once booming, it’s now not much more than a squeak and a whisper.  She was moving her mouth, and I bent in closer to hear what she was trying to say.  “I love you so much” she said.  “I think you’re beautiful.”

Robert Napier Whiting Sr., 1912 – 1999, Elizabeth Millman Whiting , 1920 – 2011