Karla Keffer

Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Michele Bachmann: How Very “INterestinnnnnnnnnggggggggggg!”

In Uncategorized on April 29, 2009 at 7:33 pm

I’m still wrestling with a blog post that I may or may not finish about my grandpa’s memorial party, and how I’m still feeling wobbly and seasick without him, but it’s quite difficult from both a technical and emotional standpoint. I’m not too good at conveying grief and insecurity without going completely over the top, which I don’t want to do with that piece, and when I sit down and mine my soul, so to speak, it takes me at least half a day to recover, and then I fail to clean out the cat box or mail my tuition check for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts’ summer Shakespeare intensive. And since this has been a leitmotif throughout my thirty-two years, I’m not too keen to dig deep at the moment. Thankfully, my friend The Pirate sent me this distraction from the Huffington Post:

Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, following Rush Limbaugh’s cue, suggested on Tuesday that President Obama was to blame for the swine flu crisis. She went even farther than the talk show host, implying that swine flu epidemics are a Democratic phenomenon that dates back to President Carter.

“I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.”

Unfortunately, Bachmann’s facts are a little off. As Glenn Thrush notes, Republican President Gerald Ford, not Carter, led the country during the last outbreak of the virus.

You know, if you’re going to posit such a ludicrous hypothesis, you might should oughta make some use of the intertubes and brush up on your history. Even sci-fi/speculative/magical realist fiction has some basis in reality, and a whole bunch of those authors didn’t have Google at their immediate, fact-checking disposal.

Also, if you’re going to attempt to curry suspicion among the unwashed masses, might I suggest employing a phrase a wee tad bit more inventive and less blatantly underhanded than “I find it interesting”? Do you really think most of us haven’t been on the ass end of many thinly disguised insults involving that word or we haven’t employed it ourselves?

I have to cop to some sexism here, because I read the article before I watched the MSNBC video clip, and I was expecting Bachmann to give a stereotypical performance of the disingenuous alpha female, complete with the wide eyes and overblown emphasis. (That’s been my experience with women, and men, who run the “I find it interesting” racket – lots of raised eyebrows and amateurish feigned innocence.) But nope, there she is, and pretty damn deadpan to boot, although I did get the impression that she doesn’t entirely believe in this particular kernel of bullshit. But as we learned from Ronald Reagan and the Case of the Nonexistent Welfare Queen, if it’s a good story, and it makes the point, what’s the big deal? (Actually, Al Franken solidified that concept for me – make that SENATOR Al Franken, dawgz! – in Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations. Thanks and mazol tov, Senator!)

As for what Michele Bachmann thinks…gah. Unnnggghhh. I’ve been picking my brain literally all goddamn day, which is more painful than mining my soul, and guess what? I still failed to clean up after the cats and mail my tuition check. I can’t even come up with a decent armchair shrink diagnosis for her, but since I can’t quite bring myself to file her under “batshit crazy” and be done with her, I will posit my own ludicrous hypothesis. (Hey, at least I’m honest.) Based on my, ahem, exhaustive study of “The Bachmann Blast: The DCCC is After Me Again,” I submit to you, dear reader, that Michele Bachmann is a joint creative robot effort between Comedy Central and the SciFi Channel, because I’m constitutionally incapable of believing that a human being can be that blatant about his or her insanity and hold public office. Christ, even Nixon took the time to stash his tapes. There. Now, if someone would like to whip up a sci-fi/speculative/magical realist scenario involving The Washington Times’ recent claim that Obama’s approval ratings are “in the cellar,” then whip it, and whip it good, because I need a drink. Hey, I’m only human. Leave the Michele “Robot” Bachmann plot for me, though.

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BEER! YEAH! WHOO! YEAH! PARTAY!

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Oh, the times, they are a-changin’. In Iowa and Vermont, it’s all about the gay marriage. In Pennsylvania, it’s all about the beer. Yep, indeed – it appears that Harrisburg area residents will be able to, at long last, walk into their local Wegmans and pick up a six-pack of Yuengling just like everyone else in America. I’m not holding my breath that they’ll amend state or local sodomy laws any time soon, but it’s right nice to think perhaps sometime in the not too distant future, I can jog down to 7-11 and pick up a liter of Colt .45 to share with my dad. Not that that’s how I spend my visits home or anything. I mean, Colt .45? Gack. It’s the principle of the thing on which I’m grooving.

A brief(ish)(esque) tutorial for those fortunate enough to escape the fate of a Pennsylvania upbringing: until recently, if one wished to procure a keg for one’s backyard barbecue, one had to drive to an institution known as a beer distributor. Beer distributors are often housed in mammoth cinder-block warehouses between an auto parts store and a Seventh Day Adventist church. In addition to various brands and configurations of beer, they also sell that which I’ve seen termed “beer supplies.” I thought this meant home bootlegging equipment, but my infinitely wiser parent maintains this means potato chips. (Utz Potato Chips, thank you very much. It’s very rare that I take some sort of jingoistic pride in the great metropolis that spawned me, but Utz Chips kick ass and take names, so don’t you even try to pawn off that Frito-Lay crap on me. Later for your schmancy organic snak-paks too, man. Utz cooks up chips the way they was meant to be cooked up – in oceans of 100% pure cottonseed oil! Thanks to the very friendly lady at Utz – I think her name was Stephanie – for letting me know that the wave pool of rendered fat I observed on a fourth grade field trip to the Utz factory was not, in point of fact, beef tallow. However, if you prefer your crisps soaked in lard, the Grandma Utz’s line can hook you up.)

This I tell you, brother...

This I tell you, brother...


...you can't have one without the other.

...you can't have one without the other.

Now, if you live in PA and want to buy a bottle of Riunite or Jose Cuervo, you can’t just pop over to Beer World and swing on home all set and ready to whip up spritzers and/or margaritas. For wine and hard liquor, you have to go to that which is known colloquially as a “state store.” State liquor stores are typically smaller and cleaner than beer distributors. They tend to make their homes in strip malls, nestling between a Hallmark shoppe and a vacant storefront. (Last month it was a pseudo-head shop. Three months before that, it was a chiropractor’s office. They should just install an auto parts store or a Seventh Day Adventist church there and call it a night. If you want to make a killing in the Harrisburg retail market, might I suggest opening up an Auto Parts Beer World Megachurch, with self-serve gas pumps in front? I’d do it myself, but I blew that pop stand years ago, and I ain’t going back even under threat of prolonged tickling.)

You also have the option of satisfying your liquid bread jones by stopping by a local bar and picking up a case or two, but beware – you may not transport more than two six-packs per person to your vehicle. That’s right – if you walk into a bar solo and you need to buy three six-packs, you have to carry two to your car and go back for the third, or else get some agreeable barfly to carry it for you. A few Fourths of July ago, my friend Ruth and I stopped by a local dive to get five six-packs of Heineken. I took three; she took two. The bartender and the patrons kept saying, “You can’t carry all those to your car.” Studs that we were/are, we insisted we were cool. Again, “You girls can’t carry all those to your car.” No, we can, man! We’re city girls! We haul twenty pounds of groceries home on foot three times a week! Finally, an agreeable barfly broke it down for us. In case the cops came by, and apparently the cops frequently did just that, it would behoove us to let a third party haul the remaining six-pack to Ruth’s car, lest we wished to incur a $150 fine. I’m sure there was a meth lab all ripe for the raiding a couple of lots down, but that would have required a warrant, and rather than navigate the sticky, labyrinthine inner workings of the PA state legal system, it’s simpler and cheaper to hit up everyday drinking folk on local blue law violations.

And no, I have no idea how many cases of beer you’re allowed to lug to your car before local law enforcement nabs you. I can manage but one. Maybe. With a back brace.

Cheers and na zdrowie, everybody!

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Part One

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Aw, man. You’d think after thirty-two years (of physical, if not strictly mental/spiritual presence) on this planet, I’d have learned that what looks swell on the page does not necessarily translate on the stage. The six inch chicken teriyaki sandwich that looks relatively appetizing in the Subway commercials tastes like a remoulade of fructose and plastic; the cute little gauzy, sleeveless top that appears a luxuriant shade of chocolate brown on the Urban Outfitters website is, in real time, the shape and color of a hippie Hardees uniform; and the Fairytopia Barbie that bears a slight, charming resemblance to Tori Amos on Target.com turns out to resemble nothing so much as a slutty virgin* teenager trying to sex it up by dyeing her hair road cone orange. Nerts.

Clearly the poor lass needs a makeover. I can’t stomach the thought of pawning her off on someone else simply because I think she looks like a hoe. What kind of precedent would that set, if I were to chuck her in a Toys For Tots bin? That’s about as charitable as bringing a can of Pathmark No-Frills creamed corn to a food drive. I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, and I don’t care how goddamn hungry I am. Yes, I suppose I’d eat it if it were a matter of life and death, but really, the starving and indigent deserve better than that which we would not ingest except on the day after the Apocalypse. To wit:

To wit.

If anybody can offer up some Barbie doll hair dyeing tips, please, please do so. Should I strip it first? Will nail polish remover get rid of the tacky eye makeup? What’s a good paint for vinyl? (And yes, I’m on the case too. Just, you know, if you know something, say something.)

And please don’t take canned cream corn to your next food drive, for the love of cats. I recommend low sodium minestrone soup. Progresso’s is my favorite.

*um, except for, like, blowjobs ‘n stuff? But that’s, um, not really sex, y’know, so can I still wear my purity ring?