Monday, August 28, 2006

Why we'd all be safer in airplanes if they made dynamite sticks small enough to stick up your nose.

I just got back from a vacation in Europe. I ate like a pig.

More about that in a future post. For now, I want to talk about airline security. I mean, I’m as much in favor of pat-downs, taking off your shoes and posing for nude x-rays as the next guy. It’s the truly weird stuff that has me wondering.

I flew home to Newark Airport via Frankfurt. The security folks in Frankfurt Airport were super touchy that day. Some security guard straight out of Central Casting for Ilse Koch, Sexy Blonde Sadist of the SS, opened my carryon bag, felt up my dirty underwear, and then triumphantly lifted out a plastic Ziploc bag in which I packed my prescription meds. Jawhol!

I mean, I’m an old fart. Most of my meds are for blood pressure and an enlarged prostate. But nevermind that. She made an even more triumphant find – a tiny spray bottle of Nasacort, an Rx nasal steroid my doctor gave me to control congestion from allergies.

"Zis cannot go with you," she said.

I explained that it was prescription medicine. I showed her the prescription pasted on the side of the bottle. (The bottle contains maybe an ounce of fluid, if that.)

"Zen squirt zis in your nose," she demanded.

I told her I'm only supposed to use it once a day and didn't relish the idea of overdosing.

"You vill squirt zis in your nose," she ordered.

Well whaddya do in a high tension situation when you’re trying to get on an airplane and some busty blonde security sadist is telling you to stick it up your nose or go to Buchenwald?

You stick it up your nose, that’s what you do.

Following the instructions on the side of the prescription bottle, I started to shake well. Suddenly, she jumped back, as if the balding, overweight, klutzy 66 year old guy with a suitcase full of dirty underwear and old fart's meds was a suicide bomber and the tiny shaking bottle of Nasacort was going to explode in my hand and take out the Frankfurt airport.

Fortunately, before she blew any whistles I squirted the stuff up one nostril. She looked relieved. I started to squirt the other nostril.

"No no, you vill only squirt one nostril," she ordered. So now we've got German airport security guards revising doctors’ instructions for taking prescription medications.

Well anyway, one nostril she wanted, one nostril she got. The rest of the flight was uneventful. When I arrived at Newark Airport nobody had any interest in checking my bags, or my customs declaration. The story ought to end there, but like all weird stories, it doesn’t.

A couple of hours later, the news on the radio was all about a guy they caught at Newark who had just arrived in the U.S. with a stick of dynamite in his carryon bag. (True story.) His excuse was that he “found it” on a construction site and decided to pack it as a souvenir.

I want to know why they don’t trust a guy to fly with a teensy bottle of nasal spray unless he squirts it up his nose – but walking on board an airplane with a stick of dynamite in your bag is perfectly cool.

I guess the theory is, if you can't stick it up your nose, it can't bring down a plane. Which is why we’d all be safer if there were a law limiting the size of dynamite sticks to what could comfortably fit in the average man’s left nostril.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Chew this over until Labor Day: The New York Crank’s secret plan to end the war in Iraq.

I haven’t wanted to reveal this. I’ve been waiting for some candidate for President to call me in as a consultant and pay me a zillion dollars a day to explain this idea, but it doesn’t look as if that’s going to happen. Besides, I’m about to go on vacation until Labor Day, so the hell with it. I’m donating my peace plan to the world. Free.

I simply have to. I mean, George Bush is essentially saying, “I don’t know how to clean up the mess I made, let the next guy do it.” Hillary is talking out of both sides of her mouth – she’s for the war but against the war, fine-tuning her strategy to the latest polls. Flippity-flop, flippity-flop. Forget her. John McCain? Pro war. Maybe that lump on the side of his face went to his brain.

Joe Lieberman is for the war. Go figure, because he’s a Democrat. Also, his stance is about to get him unelected, or de-elected, or whatever you call a U.S. Senator who’s about to walk face-first into an electoral weed whacker at the polling booths. Serves him right for wanting to send young Americans off to get killed and maimed in a stupid and useless war. You can keep perusing the list of possible presidential candidates on either side and all you get are people hopelessly impossible end-the-war plans, hopelessly impossible candidates, or nut job declarations to stay the course.

Most of the Get Out Of The War plans are based on one of three things:

1. We set a date and leave by it. That would get us out – and turn Iraq over to religious zealots who saw off heads and would blow up the U.S. in a blink of an ICBM. No thanks.

2. We “stay the course.” Yeah, that’ll get us out. At the end of eternity.

3. We partition Iraq into three parts: The Sunni Part, the Shiite Part and the Kurdish Part. That might work in Iraq. Unfortunately that also would raise hell for our good friend and NATO ally, Turkey. The Turkish Kurds would probably want to secede from Turkey and join Kurdistan. Boom! Another Middle East explosion, this time endangering the Turks.


The only human being in the last 65 years who was able to slam the lid down on Iraq and sit on it so hard that no enraged dissident could get out was Saddam Hussein. He was a brutal thug of a ruthless dictator (the redundant characterization of Saddam is called for).That was exactly what the feuding, insurgency-breeding, civil war fighting, bomb throwing Iraqis have demonstrated they deserve.

So let’s speed up Saddam Hussein’s trial, sentence him to death, cut out the appeals process, put a rope around his neck and stand him on a stool. Then, just as we’re about to kick the stool out from under him, say this:

“Okay, Saddam, we’ll cut you a deal. We’ll take the rope off your neck if you take back your country and run it for us.”

It’s a brutal approach, but giving Saddam the choice of taking back Iraq or dying at the end of a rope is probably the only way we could make him run the country again.

As a sweetener we could even toss him some foreign aid to put his Swiss bank account.

That’s all for a while, folks. I'll be back around Labor Day. Be sure to check here then. For now, pass this article along to your friends by clicking on the envelope icon below. Comments are also welcome, either below or by e-mailing me at But remember that I won’t be around to post them until I get home. I’m off to Europe on a – What is it those junketing Republicans call it? – oh yeah, a “fact finding mission.”
c) 2006

Friday, August 04, 2006

Mike Bloomberg for President on the Democrat ticket? Gimme a break! The guy’s civil rights record could make you vomit

According to the New York Times, New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering a run for President.

It’s not yet clear whether he’s planning to run as an independent, which would make him a perfect spoiler splitting the Democrat vote in support of the next George Bush clone; or as a far right Republican, which he most certainly is despite his image; or as a Democrat. But if it’s a last of those three choices, Democrats around the country had better be warned.

Bloomberg’s record on civil rights would do a 1960s Mississippi sheriff proud. Take it from a New Yorker who’s been watching him for a while.

No, I’m not talking about racism (although his sexist attitudes toward women at Bloomberg News were notorious prior to his election.) I’m talking about First Amendment stuff like the right to assemble to seek redress.

It all begins with the last Republican presidential convention, which was held here in New York, and an arguably unruly (and often unkempt-looking) group called Times Up, which demonstrates with noisy mass bicycle rides, sometimes deliberately blocking traffic with a sea of rolling protestors as it rides through intersections.


When the scruffy Times-Uppers tried to demonstrate during the Republican Conventionm there was a a major scuffle and a considerable number of police busts. Even bicycles got busted – uh, confiscated – by the New York Police Department.

This led to some courtroom confrontations, during which the city attorney got his nose rubbed in the First Amendment.

You’d think enough would be enough, sort of like a mass duel in which everybody fires his blunderbuss in the air and then goes home grumpily claiming satisfaction. But no.

The Mayor’s anti-civil rights proxy, Deputy Police Commissioner Bruce Smolka, has begun coming down on virtually anybody on a bicycle (except for messengers and delivery boys who routinely ride the wrong way on one way streets, or tear along sidewalks nearly mowing down passsers-by.)


So that Bloomberg won’t appear discriminatory against cyclists, the Mayor’s little minions have been pressing for a law that would prohibit any group of three or more people to “parade” without a permit. "Paraders," for example, might include a group of friends going for a bike ride. Or even for a walk.

Technically, walkers or riders in groups of three or more can be busted and hauled into a city jail holding cell overnight and then into court – where no doubt, after they post bail and go to considerable legal expense, the case will get thrown out.

Besides, since when to American citizens need the permission of their government to protest against the government?

Well, the sotto voce word getting whispered by political operatives around town is that this law would only be applied against you-know-who – those political demonstrators the mayor doesn’t like.

Folks, that’s how communist and fascist dictators work. They pass a law that lets them arrest anybody, and then arrest only the people they don’t like. Siberia’s economy was built on laws like that. Students got mowed down by tanks in Peking for that.


So far, Mayor Bloomberg has been letting the cops take the heat, while he hides under Bruce Smolka’s skirts. But Smoka reports to New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who serves at the Mayor’s pleasure.

So if Bloomberg wanted the totalitarianism to stop, it would stop in ten seconds. But don't hold your breath.

Pass it on. E-mail this story to your friends. Get the word out. Other blogs: feel free to copy or link.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Public what? You’re on my private cell phone, you jerk. And furthermore you’re an obnoxious little snot.

So I’m sitting on the bus on the way home from my office last night, staring out the window at all the well kept women walking by on Madison Avenue, when my cell phone rang.

I didn’t recognize the number that was calling. Maybe it was business. Maybe a long lost friend. So I clicked on – and there on the other end was some guy whose voice instantly told you he was obnoxious, self-satisfied, young and a creep.

He was from the Public Theater in lower Manhattan, he told me, and he just wanted to inform me of of all the exciting new…

A sales call?

I interrupted him. “Listen sonny boy, you’re calling my cell phone,” I told him. “This phone is on a do-not-call-list and it’s costing me money to listen to your sales pitch so...”

“Well, I’m sorry,” he huffed, not so apologetically, “but this is the number YOU gave us.” Click! And he was gone.

Yeah, I gave them my number. I was ordering tickets for something, and as part of the transaction, I was asked for a phone number. I assumed it was to verify the transaction, not to make me a victim of junk phone calls.

But I couldn’t tell him that, because by the time I opened my mouth, he was annoying somebody else by telephone.

Catch me ever buying tickets for anything – I mean ANY damn thing – ever playing at the Public Theater again. Or if I do order anything from anybody, the only number I’ll give them is (212) 487-4270.

That’s the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs.