Hello? Anybody here? Hello? Anyone?
Damn, it’s dark in here.
[Holds up lantern and wipes away cobwebs to view faded graffiti on diary wall: "Rage against the lying of the right! ---Maryscott O'Connor." "Pastor Dan dropped the F-bomb here 8/12/04." "Rumsfeld: RESIGN!" "For a good time call 1-900-DOOD ABIDES" "Respect the Shottle!" "Who is Armando?" "Dean '04---YOU have the power!" "Redrum!"]
[Click!] Oh, good---the lights still work.
Gosh, this place ain't changed much: the pies are still stuck to the ceiling. The tip jar is still stuffed with 2s and 3s. The liquor cabinet is still...looted. [Sniff sniff] And it still has that wonderful pool-in-dire-need-of-cleaning smell.
After all these years I'm back in my old diary again. No, I reckon that's not quite right. I'm home again...and just in time to celebrate the seventh anniversary of Cheers and Jeers. So many memories. So much Bacardi under the bridge. December 10, 2003 to December 10, 2010. Two thousand five hundred and fifty six days documenting a world gone mad and getting madder by the week. And to think that my first post got a whopping two comments. Heh, indeedy.
Course, a year and a half later Kos pleaded with me to join his freedom fighters on the front page. I resisted leaving the rolling hills and sunny vistas of Diaryville for the rain-drenched sidewalks and backroom speakeasies of Wide Margin Town, but ultimately gave in to his boyish charm and hypnotic powers of persuasion...by which I mean lasers shooting out of his eyes.
C&J gets a few more comments these days, but its mission is the same as it was fourscore and seven years ago minus the fourscore: mock the mockworthy, praise the praiseworthy, and demonstrate as often as possible that politics and fart jokes are not mutually exclusive but rather inextricably linked. (Inextricably, by the way, is a 29-point Scrabble word. You're welcome.)
Fact is, things aren't exactly rosy in the good old USA at the moment. It's especially not easy being a liberal in a land where the corporate media and politicians from both parties find us to be a more convenient punching bag than sounding board---never mind that our ideas are both more intellectually honest and more beneficial to the country as a whole. So humor becomes an important pressure-release valve and sanity restorer. It's why I started writing this column in the first place---in terms of sheer off-the-rails lunacy, 2003 wins a blue ribbon. My fondest hope is that, whether you read C&J regularly or occasionally, you get some bwoo-ha-ha's out of it.
But enough yammering. Come on downstairs with me for the annual reading of my first C&J, including my exclusive commentary from Older Wiser Billy (v. 20.10) to Younger, Dumber But Smokin' Hot Billy (v. 20.03). And, if we can work it out through the magic of CGI, you might even witness some high-stakes thumbwrastlin' between the two of me. [UPDATE: I've just been informed that, by insisting on making the dual-Billy CGI renderings anatomically correct, the servers at Industrial Light and Magic have crashed. Consider this a raincheck for next year. Damn my huge...thumbs.]
It's good to be home. Here, where it all started seven years ago. And though it's been said many times, many ways: for reading and supporting my little rag day in and day out. I pledge that I will never flame you for being a purist or a pragmatist. Unless it's consensual and we both have a 'safe word.'
Cheers and Jeers goes back to Square One in Diaryphonic Spectacuvision... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
Cheers and Jeers for Friday, December 10, 2010
Note: In 2007 you, the DKos community, put me on your collective---and full-time---payroll, a vote of confidence for which I'm grateful. A couple months ago you put a nice downpayment on another year, and we're only $10k short of our goal for the current year, which runs through October. There's a PayPal account set up for either one-time or recurring monthly donations, as well as a snail-mail address. If you'd like to support C&J, I'd be thrilled to have you join my legion of
tyrannical firm-but-fair bosses. Choose from the options below, with our mega-thanks:
To send a check via snail mail, the address is: Bill Harnsberger, 16 Pitt Street, Portland, ME, 04103.
By the Numbers:
Approximate number of times we've cheered and jeered in C&J since 12/10/03: 12,600
Number of comments in our first ten C&J columns: 39
Date on which C&J became the measuring stick of impact for rating diaries: 4/2/05
Number of people who have emailed me to complain that I altered their quote to make it sound funny for a C&J "Shameless Testimonial"...and to please stop it: 1
Minimum number of C&J-related stories or quips that have been featured on Countdown: 4
Number of emails I've received calling me an asshole and worse because I dared to poke fun of Levi Johnston as Bristol Palin's "Hockey Hunk," and warning me to stop---get this---invading their privacy: 1
Puppy Pic of the Day: My editor since the beginning: Molly, by golly
Here it is---the first-ever C&J from December 10, 2003, with exclusive commentary in parentheses:
Dispatch from THE GREAT STATE OF MAINE...
(Dispatch? What is this, World War I? Was I sending a telegram to President Wilson? I quickly dispensed with dispatch. I also don’t capitalize "the" anymore, mostly for national security reasons that Julian Assange will leak in January.
Note also the lack of our trademark [Swoosh!!] and [Gong!!]. That would appear later as a dig at the philosophy of Fox News that if you can't get your facts right, at least you can create the impression you're a legitimate news organization with ear-numbing music and sound effects. I believe they currently have a minimum requirement of at least 10 window-shattering "Gongs" per hour.)
Cheer's and Jeers (with apologies...but not really...to TV Guide)
(If you look carefully you'll see C&J's very first punctuation error. How nice to know that I couldn’t make it through my first two sentences without fucking up. That's quality!)
CHEERS to Howard Dean for his extraordinary Gore Score. The early endorsement is cherry on top of the whipped cream (union endorsements) on top of the ice cream (grassroots) on top of the cake (Dean). Extra points for upstaging Bush's Medicare sideshow during Monday/Tuesday press cycles.
(I found Daily Kos by following a link through the wormhole from Dean's blog. In many ways Howard's the reason I'm here. This was Dean's high-water mark as a candidate. I had to be peeled off the ceiling I was so ecstatic. Meanwhile, about that 2003 Medicare bill: to show how insane things are today, consider that Bush's "landmark" legislation passed in the Senate 54-44 with 11 Democrats voting in favor and 9 Republicans voting against it. And achieving cloture didn’t seem to be a problem at all. Wow.)
JEERS to the Medicare bill. Democrats asleep at the wheel while Nero (Bush) fiddles. This turkey's as fake as the one in Baghdad mess hall.
(Remember the turkey? That was too funny. The Medicare bill? Not so much. The chief actuary had been threatened with "extremely severe" consequences by the Bush administration if he revealed the plan's true cost to Congress. The plan was so bad that today Montel Williams has to drive a giant bus around America throwing fistfuls of drugs at people. Is this a great country or what?)
CHEERS to John Edwards. Doogie Howser is coming into his own as thoughtful VP possibility. Newsweek column on jury system shows real compassion, pragmatism.
(In future postings, this item will be digitally removed by Industrial Light & Magic.)
CHEERS to Mother Nature. If you're going to live in northern New England in winter, you might as well have lots of snow, and boy did we get it. Bonus: White Xmas is in the bag.
JEERS to people who write Xmas.
(I have since learned that "Xmas" drives Bill O'Reilly nuts. I rescind the jeer.)
JEERS to Joe Lieberman. Credible rumor now pegs his camp as source of Monday's Dean/Gore leak. Were sour grapes pouting all an act?
(Yes. Lieberman was---[yawn]---"shocked, shocked." I still chuckle when I recall that he boasted of being "in a three-way tie for third place" in the New Hampshire primary. In other words: fifth. It's a comforting reminder that, for all his skullduggery, he loses as often as he wins. But if he can hoist the DADT-repeal victory flag next week, he'll get no complaints from me.)
JEERS to Alfred E. Koppel. Gives candidates not named Dean chance to blast Guv at point blank range in NH debate. All those who think he acted like a total dumbass, raise your hand.
CHEERS to Dennis Kucinich for Ted Koppel slapdown. No wonder the broads are coming out of the woodwork for this Ohio hottie (but can they go vegan?)
CHEERS to Carol Moseley Braun, for opting out of the Dean bloodbath at debate. Classy broad, don'tcha know.
(In future postings of this C&J, "broad" will be digitally enhanced by Industrial Light & Magic to read "chick." As for the debate, you might recall that Koppel asked the candidates to "raise your hand if you believe that Governor Dean can beat George W. Bush." Kucinich didn’t play the game, saying, "Let me say, Ted, let me say, that some of the best talent in American politics is on this stage right now. And with all due respect to you, Ted Koppel, who I've admired over the years greatly, to begin this kind of a forum with a question about an endorsement, no matter by who, I think actually trivializes the issues that are before us." [Cheers and applause.] But I'll say this: at least Koppel didn’t badger the candidates about their flag lapel pins.)
JEERS to Dick "Elmer Fudd" Cheney. Slaughters 70 pre-caught game birds on "hunting" expedition. As if we needed more proof that his heart was removed long ago...
(The birds were apparently too much of a challenge so he moved on to lawyers. Today, with literally no pulse, he spends his time hunting credibility while evading a posse of Nigerian deputies who are authorized to throw the bum in jail. And they don't need no stinkin' badges!)
CHEERS to Supremes for upholding parts of McCain/Feingold bill. Sure it's a Band-Aid, but at least now it's got some real stick to it.
(For booting Russ last fall, the entire state of Wisconsin needs a Band-Aid...for its headbone.)
CHEERS and a fond farewell to Senator Paul Simon. Some of the current occupants of The Chamber could take a lesson or two from him...but they're too dumb. Memo to Smithsonian: snag one of those bow ties!
JEERS to George W. Bush's "spontaneous" appearance during Larry King Live show. Walk-on during end of Laura interview reveals hopelessly inarticulate boob. No Red Ryder BB gun for you, pal, until you learn how to say "Merry Christmas" without gritting your teeth.
(Actual exchange: KING: "Your lady has done a wonderful job in this house." G. W. BUSH: "She has. She's doin' a heckuva good job." And he said it right in front of her? What a dis!)
CHEERS to Al Gore for showing true cojones in Dean nod. Veep understands that the only way to break out of Democratic party complacency is to shake, shake, SHAKE things up. Beltway bluster proves he's right on.
(Dean faded and Gore went back into obscurity for awhile. But what's the old saying: he who laughs last...)
CHEERS to the Maine lobster industry. Another banner year is good year for butter industry. And bib makers!
(Today it's not only plentiful, it's still pretty darn cheap. Go ahead and indulge---'tis the season for Sandy Claws.)
(I added that word at the end as a little dig at Drudge. I stopped using it because typing it made me nauseous.)
This concludes season seven. Season eight starts bright and early Monday morning. Have a great weekend! Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?