Monday, October 25, 2004

NRA, PETA to Merge
OFGS News Service
Fairfax, VA - Declaring a "sweeping, new synergy," the National Rifle Association and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will merge, both organizations confirmed today. The new, combined organization will be known as NRAPETA.

The announcement caught many analysts off guard. "This is a shocker," admitted Pinky Westerberg, executive director of Oklahoma City-based Women With Weapons, a group that lobbies Capitol Hill on Second Amendment issues. "But it might be just crazy enough to work."

Despite a history of promoting causes at odds with one another, both PETA and the NRA hope to further their goals by working together. PETA officials hope to tap into the NRA's formula for making extremist positions palatable to the American mainstream, while NRA officials hope to target one of the few remaining American subcultures not likely to wallow openly in its love for guns: animal lovers.

NRAPETA (pronounced N-Rape-eta) assistant director Debbie Leahy explained the merger in an e-mail message to PETA members, saying, "By merging with the NRA, PETA will learn how a fanatical organization has been successful in getting complete buy-in from average Americans. It's mind-boggling: thousands of Americans die every year from gun violence and yet Americans have no interest in regulating even military-style assault weapons. And most states reject commonsense measures like background checks and waiting periods. How does the NRA do it? Quite frankly, they have some ammunition we need."

"Meanwhile," she pointed out, "PETA struggles to drum up any interest in the ubiquitous mistreatment of animals in this country. Face it, KFC representatives could probably go on TV and bludgeon live chickens with staplers and nobody would care."

Leahy's e-mail went on to tout NRA accomplishments that have left PETA members envious, including the recent expiration of the assault-weapons ban and the complete absence of a meaningful dialog about gun violence during the current presidential campaign. "Even John Kerry seems to be packing heat practically every time you see him," she pointed out. "Both candidates have tried to out-macho each other in a manner that is... well, to be honest, a little hot."

Chris Cox, chief lobbyist for the NRA, concurred. "Look, the goal of any extremist organization is to promote an agenda way beyond anything any reasonable person would expect. Then, popular opinion can meet it halfway. But the NRA has blown past the constitution to give even the most criminally insane Americans easy access to all manner of firearms, including military-style assault rifles! To be honest, it's a little scary, even to us. But hey, if PETA had that kind of success, 90% of Americans would be eating seitan and wearing hemp sandals!"

What's in the merger for the NRA? Cox explained, "Thanks to our tireless efforts to identify and track every gun owner in America, we've also identified all Americans who do not own and shoot guns joyously from their front porches or automobiles on a regular basis. When we crunched those numbers, a trend emerged: The only people in America who are not gun lovers are also PETA members. So we figure we've hit the bull's eye with this merger. This might be our only shot at getting the remainder of America in the crosshairs." He then pointed his finger at an imaginary barrel of fish and said, "Pow. It's like shooting fish in a barrel! Pow pow pow pow pow powpowpowpowpowpowpow! Datdatdatdatdatdat! Ahn a datta datta datta datta datta datta datta dat! An an an an an an an an anna ant! Ka-blowie! Ka-blam!"

Leahy lamented the fact that America has so thoroughly embraced a culture of bloodlust, but stressed that hunting issues aren't even on the table any more. "When guns are discussed in America nowadays, nobody is talking about restricting weapons used in hunting, so animals aren't really on the NRA's radar," she pointed out. These weapons are for killing humans. And humans are the very people who are treating animals unethically, so from our perspective, it was win-win."

Cox rolled his eyes, shrugged his shoulders and reluctantly agreed. "It's true we're mainly focusing our efforts on the AK-47, the Uzi, and the Tec-9 automatic weapons, which really have no use in hunting -- or any sporting endeavor for that matter," he admitted. "Shoot one of those babies at a deer and there's not much left to eat, let alone mount over the fireplace. That's one thing all NRAPETA members can agree on. I mean, ewww."

Not all observers expressed high hopes for the success of the merger, however. "I think it's a shot in the dark," said Wolf Disembowelski, a professor of marketing/communications at Oberlin College. "It might work from a marketing and list-exchange point of view, but there are still a lot of issues to be worked out. For instance, what happens if an Uzi blast goes right through some humans and then kills an animal on the other side?"

When asked to comment, Leahy said, "Hey, yeah, he's right..." but then was immediately shot to death by Cox. No animals were harmed in the incident.

Monday, October 18, 2004

[This Oh, For God's Sake originally appeared on October 18, 1979 - editor]

Can I Really Be Falling In Love With A Chick Who's Into Journey?
Can I really be in falling in love with a chick who's into Journey? I know it's superficial to let a rock band keep me from falling in love, but I just never thought I'd go for a girl who liked Journey. I mean, "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'?" Come ON!

Other than Journey, Mary's record collection is impeccable: She's got Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, CSN, Crosby, Crosby & Nash, Stills, Stills & Young, and Young. And fuckin' Journey. Ugh. I mean, I'm crazy about her but she actually likes "When the Lights Go Down in the City."

I'm sorry, but their best lyric is "na na na na na na na na na na na."

And don't get me started on Steve Perry. His voice is like fingernails on a chalkboard. And he's butt-fugly: the hair, the schnoz, the skin-tight leather pants. Jesus Christ. OK, rock stars are supposed to be scary looking but this is going too far. Can Mary really like this guy? While also liking me?

Sure, we all own records we're not proud of. I'll admit to owning a Kansas album and, OK, Styx' Equinox. But they're in, like, mint condition. I probably listened to them twice.

So here's the thing: we're in her dorm room and we get to talking and the hours just fly by. Her roommate Yvette is at work and we have the room to ourselves and we are completing each other's sentences and shit. It's just incredible.

We have the same philosophy class -- ol' Dr. Matthews' Philosophy of Man. And we get to tripping over his secular proof of the existence of God. It's intense! And so we're talking about it and figuring it out and I'm, like, all down with the Causal argument and the Causer of Causes and how everything had to be caused and shit and then she goes all Bertrand Russell on me -- GOD, it's just SO adorable how her brow gets all serious but her nose and lips are just as cute and relaxed and inviting as ever -- and she goes, "...but then who caused God?"

Hell if I know, but whoever caused Mary was an artist. Anyway, so while we're talking, we're playing albums and Fogelberg's Souvenirs ends and I get up to put on a new record and I start flipping through her albums and wham! there it is: Journey. Infinity. And the thing is, it's, like, totally worn out! She must have played that dog a thousand times. So I hurriedly flip past and put on some Stephen Stills and we get back to philosophy but frankly I am a little shaken.

And then I get to thinking that maybe it's Yvette's album and it just ended up in Mary's stack. I know I shouldn't but I ask, all casual, "So, whose Journey album?" and that's when she confesses to loving "Lights." Next week, ol' Dr. Matthews is going to prove an oyster has a soul, I keep telling myself over and over to get Journey out of my mind. Journey! Not many bands can bludgeon the lost-love rock ballad and completely fail to rock out, all while still mysteriously exuding bombast. Their music would be a minor miracle if it didn't Suck. So. Bad.

I mean, I know it's crazy. It's not like she's into something monstrous like Ronald Reagan or Gene Snyder or Marble Hill or Jerry Falwell or disco. It IS just Journey. And so I start to think of everything great she's got going on, how she's really perfect in every way, how she's so pretty and smart and funny and how her hair is like the sun shining on autumn itself (plus it smells so great like Flex shampoo mixed with patchouli incense on top of an underlying scent of Maryness) and how we can't stop kissing, and even Stephen Stills' backup singers are going

do do do do do do do do
do do do do do do do do
do do do do do do do do
do do do
do do do
Love the one you're with

And so I guess yes, I am totally in love with a chick who's into Journey.

I do, however, draw the line at Boston.

[It worked out. -editor]

Monday, October 11, 2004

A Handy Voting Worksheet For Undecided Christians
Attention followers of Jesus Christ! Trying to decide how to vote in the upcoming presidential election? Maybe you like John Kerry but have been told that Jesus is a Republican. Or maybe you like George W. Bush but you're worried about that pesky war and how he hates the poor and people of different faiths. To help you decide, here's a handy worksheet, courtesy of your friends here at Oh, For God's Sake! Just answer these 17 easy questions to find out which candidate deserves your vote.

1. Do you believe God prefers one candidate to another? If so, please continue to question 2. If not, please skip to question 8.

2. Do you believe God wants you to vote for George Bush because John Kerry is pro-choice? If so, please continue to question 3. If not, please proceed to question 8.

3. George Bush ran on a "pro-life" platform in 2000, yet abortion is still legal. Do you believe God therefore wants you to vote for John Kerry? If so, vote for John Kerry. If not, please continue to question 4.

4. Despite Republican control of the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, most state governorships, AM radio and many major news outlets, America is still pro-choice. In fact, it kinda seems like the Republicans are full of shit about abortion. Could they be lying about abortion just to get your vote? Does God therefore want you to vote for John Kerry? If you agree, vote for John Kerry. If you disagree, please continue to question 5.

5. True or false: If abortion is outlawed, only outlaws will have abortions. If you agree, vote for John Kerry. If you disagree, please proceed to question 6.

6. Imagine this scenario: You're God. You're having some friends from the office over for Thanksgiving dinner. Allah's there; Yahweh too. Vishnu came late and insisted on Tofurkey (geez, it's always something with that guy). Halfway through the meal, Jesus comes in looking a little rough. (He's still in his missing years.) At the table, he blurts out that when he was following Phish around the country last summer, he got in some trouble outside Detroit when some gangbangers slipped him some crystal meth and he got totally jacked and ended up getting this girl pregnant. Turns out she's only 16, mildly retarded and addicted to crack and if he doesn't pony up abortion money, her mom's going to the Enquirer, stat. Do you quietly take him aside and slip him some Benjamins in exchange for making himself scarce? If so, vote for John Kerry. If not, proceed to question 7.

7. Abortion continues to be legal no matter who's president but as many as 15,000 people have died gruesome deaths in Iraq because of a war fought based upon false information from George W. Bush. Do you think God therefore wants you to vote for John Kerry? If yes, vote for John Kerry. If no, please continue to question 8.

8. Do you believe it matters whether you follow the example set by Jesus Christ when you vote for president of the United States? If not, skip to question 12. If yes, continue to question 9.

9. When Jesus Christ said, "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do unto me," do you think he meant all people, even brown people and homosexuals? If yes, vote for John Kerry. If no, continue to question 10.

10. Imagine this scenario: You're Jesus. You decide to take a little holiday, so you IM Mohammed and the two of you agree to jet off to the Bay Area to take in the night life. In San Francisco, you and the Big M grab some sashimi at Kyo-Ya and catch The Lion King at the Orpheum and you're really having a great vacation but something keeps nagging at you: What is the deal with all these homeless people? They seem to be everywhere and the whole city quite frankly smells a little like pee. So back at the Ritz you fire up your iBook and you google "homeless" and you keep Mohammed up all night obsessing about what you learn: that 850,000 Americans are homeless every night in the US; that 45 million people in the US have no health insurance; that since Bush took office in 2001, 4.3 million people have fallen below the poverty line; that 35.9 million -- or 12.5% of the population -- live in poverty; and that George W. Bush spent $150 billion (and climbing, with no end in sight) on the war in Iraq, while cutting taxes for the richest Americans. You look at your bracelet and ask yourself, "What Would I Do?" If your answer is "vote for John Kerry," vote for John Kerry. If it is not, proceed to question 11.

11. When Jesus said, "My house will be called a house of prayer, but you're turning it into a gathering place for thieves," do you think he meant Southeast Christian Church? If so, vote for John Kerry . If not, continue to question 12.

12. Are you worried that if gay marriage were legalized, people of your own gender might seem more attractive to you? If not, vote for John Kerry. If so, proceed to question 13.

13. Do you think the Commandment "Thou shall not kill" applies to the death penalty? If so, vote for John Kerry. If not, continue to question 14.

14. Imagine this scenario: That cute little kid down the street wants to know why it's wrong to borrow his dad's .357 and waste that pain-in-the-ass Jeremy Hamilton in his third-period social studies class, when it's not wrong for the government to execute prisoners or wage a preemptive war on false pretenses in which thousands die. If you can look that kid in the eye and mumble something about a dangerous world and Merrican freedom and democracy, proceed to question 15. If you cannot, vote for John Kerry.

15. Do you believe that one of the greatest problems facing this nation is that its richest people are not rich enough? If you do, continue to question 16. If not, vote for John Kerry.

16. Do you know anybody who suffers from Parkinson's or Alzheimer's or is gay or is a male of draft age or has ever used a condom? If so, vote for John Kerry. If not, proceed to question 17.

17. Think about Jesus' lesson to love our enemies. Now, conjure an image of George W. Bush. What is your reaction? If you laugh out loud, vote for John Kerry. If you weep inconsolably, vote for John Kerry. If you do neither, proceed to question 1.

The issues in this year's presidential election are complex. But one thing's for certain: God is going to damn millions of Americans to hell for voting for the wrong candidate. We here at Oh, For God's Sake! would hate to see that happen to you. Please tell all the Christians you know about this convenient worksheet so they, too, may avoid eternal hellfire!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Arresting Art
At long last, two Metro Louisville Council members have quit pussyfooting around and come up with a plan to take strong action against the number one problem plaguing our community: graffiti. It's about time.

Graffiti is a blight on our city, from the clumsy artistic renderings to the bewildering symbolism to the atrocious spelling. But my beef with graffiti isn't that it exists; it's that it's so bad. I mean, c'mon, kids. Show a little pride!

The ideal solution would be to enroll all graffiti artists and graffiti-artist wannabes in art and spelling classes. (No Child Left Behind, are you listening?) Imagine talented art teachers supervising graffiti "taggers," ensuring that our interstate pillars bear some decent art -- art that represents our local culture and says something meaningful about the human condition. Better yet: employ art therapists to work with these children. Not only would it beautify our city, it would also heal the little cretins' souls. What a bargain!

But since we as a people can't afford to educate our children (sorry kids - we spent it all on prisons), two metro council members came up with the next best solution: they want to make it illegal for kids under 18 to buy permanent markers and spray paint. This, I am sure, will work. Because, after all, making it illegal for kids under 18 to buy cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs has completely eradicated those substances from our streets. How could a similar approach not work for graffiti?

The proposed ordinance, sponsored by Councilmen Dan Johnson (R-Mars) and Glen Stuckel (R-Neptune), would prohibit juveniles from possessing paint and markers and prohibit anyone from possessing those items if they intend to deface property. This intent, I'm guessing, would be based on the honor system:

Cop: I couldn't help but notice you've got a can of spray paint there. Do you possess it with intent to deface public property?

Tagger: Why, yes sir, as a matter of fact, I do.

Cop: Come along, then.

The ordinance would also prohibit businesses from selling those items to kids, thereby creating a whole new black market for fake IDs. What's more, private property owners whose property has been "tagged," must remove the graffiti or allow metro government to do it. (This provision gives me pause. What if I agree with the message spray-painted on my property? Sure, I'm going to remove hate messages, but what about "KILL YOUR TV?")

My concern is that the proposed law isn't tough enough. Kids are resourceful, at least when it comes to mischief. Take away the markers and the spray paint and they'll just turn to some other medium. To be completely graffiti free, we should outlaw pencils, pens, crayons, scented markers, sidewalk chalk, charcoal, and anything bearing the image of Dora the Explorer (not because of graffiti; I'm just weary of Dora).

Because the kids might get peeved and turn on us, we should also ban any office-supply items that might be used as weapons. Paper clips, staples, and scissors are all awfully sharp and pointy. Clearly, the time has come to outlaw all school supplies for our youth. Office Depot and Office Max should employ bouncers and check IDs at the door.

And the proposed punishment -- up to a $500 fine -- is inadequate. Heck, money is no problem for kids; they'll just go online and embezzle it from somebody's 401(k). What good would that do? No, we need tough penalties for taggers, applied on a sliding scale according to the severity of the violation. For the relatively mild offense -- say, "minor in possession of a Sharpie," Timeout. (Kids hate timeout.) For a minor in possession of spray paint, no chicken fingers for a week. That ought to send a message. But for more serious offenses, like a minor in possession of paint or markers with intent to deface public property, we should impose a tougher sentence: 30 hours of watching C-SPAN. A minor whose graffiti displays both sloppy art and misspelled words should be tarred and feathered. And a repeat offender who shows a history of ugly, poorly spelled graffiti and is in possession of a Dora the Explorer scented marker should be drawn and quartered.

Only by sending a strong message to these ne'er do wells will we restore our city to its untagged glory, where once again we can enjoy the unobstructed views of elevated interstates, scenic junkyards and informative billboards.

Finally, one last suggestion for the Metro Council: make the Kennedy bridge exempt from the anti-graffiti law. That might be our only hope for getting it painted.