Saturday, December 29, 2007

Stevie Joe Defines "Davenport"

Apparently, my use of the term "davenport" confused many. Here's the poop:

Main Entry: dav·en·port
Function: noun
Pronunciation: \ˈda-vən-ˌport, ˈda-vəm-\Etymology: probably from the name Davenport
Date: 1853
1
: a small compact writing desk
2
: a large upholstered sofa often convertible into a bed

Also, more detail can be found here.

What you sit on in the parlor,
Stevie Joe Parker

Friday, December 28, 2007

Stevie Joe Talks Socialized Medicine

So, another Christmas has come and gone in Junebug Holler. Snow is finally on the ground which means that our busted up old Junior is even less mobile than usual. As a result, the impression his butt makes in my davenport is getting deeper and deeper. Junior's dog, Junior Junior, has taken to following along. He's even taught himself how to let himself in the house when Junior is not around or just too inebriated to operate the door knob.

Not much is new in town. For once, there has been a welcome silence from the citizenry. Perhaps, it is just a reaction to the saga of our mysterious stranger. Now, I realize that you haven't heard much about him in quite some time. I will continue that story shortly, and the reason for my silence will become apparent. Let me just say for now that we all need a little rest.

Now, to the topic at hand: our American health care system. If you haven't heard, it's broke. I mean, it just plain sucks on many levels. Everyone seems to agree on this point, but there is great disagreement on what to do about it. Many of our current candidates propose offering "universal health care." None are very clear about what this means except that more people will have access to medical care, and it may or may not cost a bit less than today. Despite using the term "universal," most of these plans fail to provide coverage for everyone.

Then there is Dennis Kucinich, that guy from Ohio with the big ears. Now, Americans are a little hesitant about short, big-eared, quirky presidential candidates after Ross Perot (even though he entertained me so), and Kucinich has about the same shot at the nomination as Ron Paul. However, it's worth taking a closer look at his health care proposal: a single-payer, non-profit system.

Many folks have chosen to label such plans as "socialized medicine" and then offer less-than-enthusiastic descriptions of similar European systems (despite the fact that these countries have better health care statistics than the US across the board). I want to look at the phrase "socialized medicine."

This phrase implies that we now have some sort of free-market system. Well, it certainly is for-profit since a number of folks make themselves very wealthy from it. However, where is the consumer choice? In most towns, especially small ones like Junebug Holler, you get a choice of one hospital for most of your care.

Yes, America has a number of top medical facilities where the care is second to none. The problem is that regular folks like you and me usually can't get in. We sure as heck can't afford it on our own, and your dang lucky if you can get your insurance company to pay for it. For most folks, the local hospital is it.

When it comes to doctors, it's true that we often do have a choice. However, how do you compare? Doctors aren't exactly printing their prices in the Sunday paper. The same is true for prescription drugs. When the Doc says you need Medicine A, you go buy it. Rarely do you have the chance to compare prices and effectiveness with Medicine B. If the patent has expired, you can get the generic version, but many docs want to prescribe the latest and greatest cost be damned. So, where does that free market come into play?

The answer: it doesn't. It's a rigged system, and the folks making the dough make the rules. The largest health insurance company in the US is UnitedHealth Group. In 2005, they paid their CEO $122.7 million. The salary paid to one man could provide health insurance for 34,000 people.

It's pretty ironic that when common wisdom tells us that government is wasteful and private business is thrifty when the opposite is true in the health care industry. The operating overhead for Medicare is less than 3%. The overhead for private insurers is 15-30%.

According to Mr. Kucinich, 31% of the money we currently spend on health care goes to the cost of administering the system. Having hundreds of insurers and thousands of plans means a lot of bookkeeping. On top of that is the enormous profit being made by insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies.

I don't know if Mr. Kucinich's plan is the best way to go. I do know, however, that what we have today is not a free-market system. It's a system where a small number of privileged folks get obscenely rich while the rest of us get substandard care. It seems like a no-brainer to change it.

Now, if I can just get one particular no-brainer off of my davenport,
Stevie Joe Parker

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Stevie Joe, JC, and Mike Huckabee

As regular readers of the Stevie Joe Parker's Guide to Life Know, I am pretty tight with JC. I'm not exactly a Bible-thumper, but I'm close to the Big Guy. So, I take notice when folks express a similar interest. Like Mike Huckabee. Mike is using JC in his latest political ads (not sure if he is being paid an appearance fee). So, I wanted to see how Mike's stand on various political issues stacked up with my impression of Jesus' teaching. A little What Would Mike Do (WWMD) versus What Would Jesus Do (WWJD):

War in Iraq/War on Terror
WWMD:
• "Iraq is a battle in our generational, ideological war on terror."
• "I believe that we are currently engaged in a world war. This war is not a conventional war, and these terrorists are not a conventional enemy."

WWJD:
• "Blessed are the peacemakers."
• "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar."
• "Put your sword back in its place for all who take the sword will die by the sword."
• "My command is this: love each other as I have loved you."

Cuba
WWMD:
• "As President, I will oppose any efforts to lift trade and travel restrictions on the Cuban dictatorship and will veto any legislation seeking to lift these restrictions . . ."

WWJD:
• "Love thy neighbor."
• "Love your enemies."

Immigration
WWMD:
• "Securing our borders must be our top priority and has reached the level of a national emergency."
• "I oppose and will never allow amnesty."
• "I oppose and will not tolerate sanctuaries for illegals."

WWJD:
• “…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me…. Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”"
• “There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
• "Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it."

[Of course, JC himself was an undocumented immigrant and refugee.]

Death Penalty
WWMD:
• "I believe there is a place for a death penalty. Some crimes are so heinous, so horrible that the only response that we, as a civilized nation, have for a most uncivil action is not only to try to deter that person from ever committing that crime again, but also as a warning to others that some crimes truly are beyond any other capacity for us to fix."

WWJD:
• "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."
• "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first."
• "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse... Repay no one evil for evil... do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I Will repay,' says the Lord."

Somebody say, "Amen!"
Stevie Joe Parker

Saturday, December 15, 2007

How to be Smart Like Stevie Joe

People write me all the time and ask, "Can I be a genius just like you, Stevie Joe?" The answer is "probably not," but you can become smarter than you are right now. One fellow asked recently how to do just that, and I told him to Google "Mortimer Adler."

Mortimer Adler is a damn genius himself and perhaps the most important education theorist of the 20th century. If you work in the field of education and do not know Mortimer Adler, either resign right now or get on the ball.

Your study of Mortimer Adler should begin with the book How to Read a Book. In fact, if all you want to do is read a book, read this first. It is not only a guide to getting the most out of a book, but to how to make learning a life-long affair. You cannot become as smart as me and Mort if you stop learning once you leave school.

Mortimer Adler developed the Great Books program at the University of Chicago. You may have heard of this. It is the study of particular subjects as discussed various authors through the course of written history. For example, if one wants to study the proper role of government in society or the ideal form of government, one might begin with Plato's Republic. From there, one might read some Aristotle, Cicero, Machiavelli, Locke, and Mill.

You read Plato not because he is inherently right or wrong but because many other great minds took what he wrote and expounded, elaborated, disagreed, and debated. The Great Books provide a front row seat to the greatest discourse in Western civilization. As such, they provide quite the training in critical thinking as well as the subjects under consideration.

In a similar vein, today we are blessed with something called the TED Conference. As the TED website explains:

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

The best part for those of us unable to attend or participate in these meetings is that the presentations have been recorded and placed on the internet. Again, there is an opportunity to listen in to some of the world's great discourse. You can find out more here.

So, I've given you a start. It is no guarantee that you will become a damn genius like me or Mr. Adler, but it'll get you going in the right direction. Have some fun!

Your philosopher-king,
Stevie Joe Parker

Friday, December 14, 2007

Some of Stevie Joe's Favorite HST Quotes

I don't know why, but I just love Hunter S Thompson. Here are some of my favorites quotes:

Buy the ticket, take the ride.

If you're going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you're going to be locked up.

The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.

In a nation run by swine, all pigs are upward-mobile and the rest of us are fucked until we can put our acts together: Not necessarily to Win, but mainly to keep from Losing Completely.

There is a huge body of evidence to support the notion that me and the police were put on this earth to do extremely different things and never to mingle professionally with each other, except at official functions, when we all wear ties and drink heavily and whoop it up like the natural, good-humored wild boys that we know in our hearts that we are..These occasions are rare, but they happen — despite the forked tongue of fate that has put us forever on different paths...

So much for Objective Journalism. Don't bother to look for it here — not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.

The Rumsfeld-Cheney axis has self-destructed right in front of our eyes, along with the once-proud Perle-Wolfowitz bund that is turning to wax. They somehow managed to blow it all, like a gang of kids on a looting spree, between January and July, or even less. It is genuinely incredible. The U.S. Treasury is empty, we are losing that stupid, fraudulent chickencrap War in Iraq, and every country in the world except a handful of Corrupt Brits despises us. We are losers, and that is the one unforgivable sin in America.

We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world, a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us. No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we'll kill you. Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush? They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us; they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them.

We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear — fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy, fear of getting evicted for bad debts, or suddenly getting locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges of being a Terrorist sympathizer.

And my all-time favorite opening lines:

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like "I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive . . ." And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: "Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?"

Then it was quiet again. My attorney had taken his shirt off and was pouring beer on his chest to facilitate the tanning process. "What the hell are you yelling about?" he muttered, staring up at the sun with his eyes closed and covered with wraparound Spanish sunglasses. "Never mind," I said. "It's your turn to drive." I hit the brakes and aimed the Great Red Shark toward the shoulder of the highway. No point mentioning those bats, I thought. The poor bastard will see them soon enough.

The possibility of complete mental and physical collapse is now very real,
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stevie Joe is Free of Junior

So, Junior got his smaller casts, and he is no longer recuperating at Chez Parker. For the good of both Junior and the community, I have hidden his bottle of Vicodin. However, that ain't going to stop Junior. Nosiree. He hobbled on home, grabbed some cash, and began his long, painful journey to the Holler News and Booze. He was intent on getting some kind of inebriant in him no matter what.

Junior, not being as smart as your average Yorkshire terrier, decided to buy himself a case of beer. One of the stock boys helped him get it outside, but then he had to sit and ponder how he was going to get it home what with him having two broken legs, a pair of crutches, and a dislocated shoulder.

About this time, Dickie Jensen had wandered by. He stopped and silently looked Junior up and down. Then, while staring at the case of beer, he came to realize Junior's predicament. Now, a true friend would have helped poor, old Junior take his beer home. Unfortunately for Junior, Dickie ain't such a friend to Junior or anybody else. So, as you might have already predicted, Dickie grabbed a handful of beers for himself and continued on down the road. While Junior got mighty irate and cussed Dickie out good, he was powerless to prevent the theft.

Finally, Junior came upon the idea of putting the beer into a shopping cart which he then could push home by bumping it with his chest as he hobbled along. Tired, sore, and with a newly bruised sternum, Junior arrived home inspired to begin a round of therapy. I can hear him next door right now, singing along with "Cisco Kid" by War. The medication must be taking effect.

"Eat the salted peanuts out of can,"
Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Stevie Joe Ponders All of Our Stuff

Ever wonder about "stuff?" Most folks don't give it any thought beyond the George Carlin routine. I've been pondering it lately, and this website has some excellent material on the matter.

Trying to make do with less,
Stevie Joe Parker

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Where the Heck is Stevie Joe?

Everyone has been writing asking where the heck I've been since Thanksgiving. Busy, that's where. And it all started on Turkey Day.

As with most Thanksgivings, the local residents of Junebug Holler dined with their respective families and/or in the church basement then traveled over to my house to watch the TV. Since I own the town's only High Definition Widescreen Television complete with satellite dish and Surround Sound system, I get quite a crowd for major televised events like NFL Football, tournament bass fishing, or swamp buggy races.

It so happened that Mayor Barney and Anne-Marie Bohansen were both guests on that fateful day. If you are a regular reader of the Stevie Joe Parker's Guide to Life, then you know Mayor Barney. However, I don't believe I have written about poor Anne-Marie. Anne-Marie moved to Junebug Holler about twenty years ago. As a result, she is viewed amongst the natural born population as a newcomer and outsider. Just recently, she purchased a lot from Mayor Barney and built a house upon it.

I know what you are thinking. You think she bought a lot in Mayor Barney's Mudslide Estates, but she did not. Instead, she bought a lot smack in the middle of town. See, Junebug Holler is kind of crescent shaped. There is a big section right near the downtown that has never been built upon. This section is right in the crook of the crescent where Anne-Marie built her home. Folks who grew up here know this area as the former location of the Junebug Cement Mines which closed up over a hundred years ago. Every kid around explored these mine caves until the state said they were unsafe and filled in the entrances about forty years back.

The thing is, these mines are very shallow. Most passages are within 20 feet of the surface. Now you know why nobody has built on them before and why Mayor Barney got the land so cheap.

So, you must be thinking, what does this have to do with why we haven't heard anything from Stevie Joe in three weeks? Well, just before Thanksgiving, Anne-Marie's brand-new house decided to develop itself a new basement. A big sinkhole opened up and cracked her foundation. Having heard from a few other residents about the mine and Mayor Barney's knowledge of it, she had become a bit irate it would seem.

So, when she spied old Mayor Barney in my parlor, she ran up and gave him a big old shove. Just then, Dickie Jensen was speeding down the hallway riding upon my wheeled ottoman. Mayor Barney fell onto Dickie and said ottoman thus altering their course. The two men and ottoman then plowed into the back of Junior as he was standing in the foyer sipping a beer and eyeing Juanita through the pass-through to the kitchen.

The result was two broken legs and a dislocated shoulder for Junior. Since, the fool has nobody to care for him, he has been parked in my barcalounger ever since. He is effectively immobile, meaning that I have to be his damn nurse. This is a full-time job since Junior will indeed find his way to his bottle of Vicodin and/or my liquor cabinet given the opportunity. I have to be on my toes to prevent an overdose of one sort or another.

On Monday, the doc might put him in some less restrictive casts. If so, he'll be able to get around, sort of, on crutches, and I can get him out of here. Hopefully, I can post more then.

Get me a 100 cc's of Jack Daniels, stat!
Stevie Joe Parker

Saturday, November 17, 2007

More from Stevie Joe on Immigration

I'll get back to the mystery visitor shortly. However, first I'd like to share another thought on immigration. As I have mentioned here before, me and JC are quite close. So, I pondered whether Jesus would build a fence along the border or try to keep anyone out. It only took me a few seconds to come up with an answer that I was pretty confident with. How about you? What do you think JC would do?

Praise Jeebus!
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Stevie Joe, The Pinkyshow, and Immigration

I've been meaning to write some about immigration, but then I found a great video that sort of wraps it all up nicely. Remember, cartoon cats don't lie.



Adios!
Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stevie Joe and Ray - Part 3

Still Sunday, November 4, 2007 – Part 3

I knew that if I wanted to discover the identity of Fanny’s mystery guest, I was going to have to get myself inside of the Home in the Holler Bed and Breakfast. While I suppose that as a lodging establishment that it is indeed a public place, Fanny would be under no obligation to let me in. She has been known to lock the front door upon seeing me coming up her walk, especially if Junior was with me. That Fanny can be more than a bit moody.

After church and the resulting coffee hour, I was sitting on the front stoop pondering a plan to gain entrance to Fanny’s place. It was just then that I saw Junior’s dog, Junior Junior, trotting down the sidewalk with Junior’s Sunday trousers in his mouth. The thought of a trouser-less Junior wreaking havoc on the fine citizenry of Junebug Holler on such a lovely Sunday afternoon was frightening indeed. Suddenly, the mystery of Fanny’s guest took a backseat to the mystery of Junior’s trousers. Given his history, any number of events could have resulted in the loss of britches. However, most of these events involve alcohol, and Junior had seemed sober enough at the recent coffee hour. Not even Junior could get plastered that quickly on a Sunday afternoon.

Dickie Jensen, on the other hand, can down a few shots and be running nekkid through town screaming at the top of his lungs within minutes. Sometimes, he doesn’t even need the alcohol. His streaking and hollering are often precipitated by nothing more than an especially inflammatory edition of the O’Reilly Factor.

As I sat in deep concentration attempting to solve the riddle of Junior’s trousers, Dickie himself came running down the street carrying a fire extinguisher high above his head. He was hollering as usual, but I couldn’t understand a word of it. It was quite possible that he was speaking in tongues.

Damn! This is one helluva fun place to live,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe and Ray - Part 2

Sunday, November 4, 2007 – Part 2

Since I am not one to be deterred, I continued my quest to determine the identity of Fanny’s mystery guest. At church today, murmurs floated throughout the congregation. Hardly a person could maintain focus on poor Pastor Luke’s sermon, which was about some New Testament thing or another. All in attendance, except for Fanny, were waiting with great anticipation for Coffee Hour when rumors would fly and theories would be tested.

Nearly before the doughnut boxes were opened, the various theories began to fly. Jimmy pondered, “Maybe, it’s Donald Trump scouting locations for a new casino.”

Juanita disagreed, “Why would Donald Trump drive such a crappy car?”

“Maybe, he’s traveling incognito,” Jimmy replied.

This caused Dickie Jensen to perk right up. “Possibly, but a man traveling incognito could also be a government agent, perhaps someone checking into the un-American activities of Stevie Joe over there,” he said with a finger pointing in my direction.

Junior jumped in with his own bit of detective work. “Ooh! Maybe, it’s Vincent Price! He’s mysterious.” Nobody was quite sure whether to inform Junior that Vincent Price was dead or to just ignore him. Dickie took the middle road and called him an idiot.

It had become apparent to me that nobody present, save Miss Fanny, had any clue whatsoever about the identity of our visitor. I was going to have to work on Fanny herself and possibly even infiltrate the Home-In-The-Holler Bed and Breakfast in order to solve this one.

More Stevie Joe and Ray is right around the bend,
Stevie Joe Parker

More Pondering Quotes from Stevie Joe

Now, I am a religious man. Me and JC are tight. We talk all the time. However, some folks tend to get a bug up their rears about mixing government and religion. These two quotes from a couple of Founders might clarify the matter a bit:

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

--Thomas Jefferson, 1874

"The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian Doctrine."

--George Washington

Amen,
Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Stevie Joe and Ray - Part 1

Big things are afoot in Junebug Holler. So big, in fact, that I’m going to have to break this story down into smaller bits. Please bear with me.

Saturday, November 3, 2007 – Part 1

Fall is in full swing her in Junebug Holler. The leaves are all bright and yellow and crimson, and Junior has taken to passing out indoors. So, after a rousing breakfast of dry wheat toast and decaf coffee over at the Junebug Café and Internet Lounge, I elected to take a leisurely stroll through our sometimes-lovely little town.

I was not alone in my desire to spend some time outdoors on such a nice day. Jimmy and Juanita were watching the comings and goings of our local citizenry while sitting out on the bench down in front of the post office. Dickie Jensen was smartly dressed and carrying his “Bomb Iran Now!” sign whilst marching right down the main drag. Even Mrs. Stevie Joe got into the act by walking, rather than driving, down to Emma’s Beauty Parlor. As Mrs. Stevie Joe is not normally known for great physical activity, this was the rare sight indeed.

Right on the edge of town, just before you get to Mitchell’s Grove, is Fanny Frenchak’s Home in the Holler Bed and Breakfast, and what a beautiful place it is. Fanny has great talent in interior decorating, and the rooms at her place are something to see. Each has a unique theme from the Jungle Room to the Streetcar Named Desire Suite. Unfortunately, Junebug Holler is not exactly a tourist mecca. Fanny only gets a dozen or so guests a year which is a darned shame given the effort that she puts into the place.

Yet, on this fine fall day, there was indeed a car parked right in front of Fanny’s place. Looking to all of Junebug Holler like a spaceship from Mars was a beat-up old black Porsche 911 with New Mexico plates. Well, I figured that folks were going to notice that.

Naturally, I had to run back over to Trudy’s to get the latest gossip. If anyone in town was going to know what was going on, it would be Trudy. As proprietress of the Junebug Café and Internet Lounge, Trudy hears all the best rumors. While the information may not always be reliable, it’s always good.

So, back at the scene of the morning’s dry wheat toast, I asked Trudy, “What say ye?”

To which she replied, “What say me about what?”

“Why, the mysterious stranger in town, of course! What’s the poop?” I asked her.

“Still a mystery. Fanny ain’t talking.”

“Ain’t talking? Fanny? Are you sure? It’s not like her to keep quiet about anything,” I insisted.

“Well, you can ask her yourself because she’s walking right in the door.”

I turned to see plump little Fanny Frenchak squeeze through the door, look up to see me, spin on her heels, and walk right back out without missing a step.

“Now, wait here just a minute, Fanny!” I cried after her, but it was no use. She was gone, and it was quite clear that she was not up to sharing gossip.


More to come soon,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe and the Cost of Healthcare

Largest Health Insurer in the US: UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group's CEO Pay in 2005: $122.7 Million

Number of people his salary could insure: 34,000

Not feeling so well,
Stevie Joe Parker

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stevie Joe and Nutrition

Time is catching up with ol' Stevie Joe, and his blood pressure is slowly but surely rising. Not wanting to hooked on a bunch of medications, I've been reading up on healthy diets. This is not new territory for me as I was once quite the nutritional role model. However, once you get started on the Denver omelets down at the Junebug Cafe and Internet Lounge, it's hard to stop.

Anyhoo, I pulled out my favorite 80s era vegetarian cookbook, Laurel's Kitchen. You Birkenstock-wearing free-love folks will know what I'm talking about. I made my favorite dish from that book, the Spanish rice. It was just as I remembered except instead of drinking red wine with it, I sipped some fruit juice (seeing as how red wine gets my migraines going). Now, when I ran out of fruit juice, I slipped into my old bad habits and cracked open a sodi-pop. You know what? That sodi-pop tasted just awful with the Spanish rice and vice versa.

That got me to thinking about processed foods. Maybe processed drinks, like sodi-pop, go better with processed foods, like just about everything at a supermarket today. If you are like me and your blood pressure is creeping up, you are probably scanning nutritional labels looking for salt and sodium. The bad news is just about every processed food is loaded with them (even so-called "heart healthy" frozen dinners).

So, if you want to reduce the sodium in your diet, you're going to have to start cooking stuff from scratch just like Grandma used to. Let me tell you, this takes some work. Shopping and cooking just got a lot more complicated. However, the benefits are great. Once you get the processed food monkey off of your back, you start dumping a lot more than sodium from your diet. Just take a look at some of those labels!

Go to your big chain supermarket and pick up a loaf of "fresh-baked" bread from their "bakery." Read the label. See a bunch of stuff you can't pronounce? That's because the dough is probably made elsewhere and shipped to your local store to be heated up. See? Not so fresh. Gonna need some preservatives in there. Make some bread from scratch (really not so hard), and it's going to taste better and be better for you. That's the way Stevie Joe rolls.

More nutritional tips soon . . .

Stevie Joe Parker Living™

More Stuff to Think On From Stevie Joe

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all."

--HL Mencken

Liking the word "scoundrel,"
Stevie Joe Parker

Monday, October 29, 2007

More Words to Think On From Stevie Joe

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

--Patrick Henry

Sock it to 'em, Pat,
Stevie Joe Parker

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stevie Joe Has Some Words to Think On

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty."

--Thomas Jefferson

Right on, Tom!
Stevie Joe Parker

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Stevie Joe and the FBI Cover-Up

Looks like another case of the gov'mint using claims of national security to cover up embarrassing scandals. Check it out here.

Shame!
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Stevie Joe Says "I'm Back"

Well, Mrs. Stevie Joe has discovered the wide, wide world of scrapbooking on the internet. She is a certified scrapbooking nut - the kind of person who actually travels to scrapbooking conventions and "crop fests." Unfortunately, her discovery of online resources to support her addiction meant that ol' Stevie Joe couldn't get anywhere near the computer for the past couple of weeks.

Since her hysteria has died down just a touch, I'm able to get back to the Stevie Joe Parker's Guide to Life. Fortunately, not much has happened in Junebug Holler recently. So, you haven't missed anything.

I will write soon about proper nutrition. Not only is this an important component of any Guide to Life, but it can be a profitable one as well. Those darned diet books sell by the millions, and most of the folks writing them are complete morons. Imagine if a genius like Stevie Joe got into the act!

Meanwhile, I found a funny site for fans of Charles Bukowski. I can't share it with anyone here in Junebug Holler because nobody knows who he is, but I figure the bright folks who read the Guide to Life would appreciate it. Check it out here.

Good grief,
Stevie Joe Parker

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stevie Joe and the Unpatriotic Cowards

I forgot to report on how my Interfaith Fast went on Monday. I'm sure that you will find it no surprise that I was the only Junebug Holler resident fasting. However, while I watched the rest of the gang chow down on omelets and bacon at the Junebug Cafe and Internet Lounge, a discussion of Iraq began. So, in that sense, the fast was successful. Discussion is always a good thing, even when it's with folks like Junior and Dickie Jensen.

See, the topic turned to torture since President Numbnuts had once again declared that "the US does not torture." I suggested that not a person alive believes it when he says this. As expected, this drew a rise out of Dickie Jensen. Most conservatives usually pause for a moment to play the how-do-you-define-torture game and then jump right in to defending just about any kind of torture you can imagine. Dickie doesn't bother to pause. He goes right to "torture is good."

It's an old argument. A hypothetical situation is used. Would you use torture to get information from somebody that could prevent another 9/11 or, worse, a nuclear attack on the US of A? Even Democratic presidential candidates have a hard time answering this one, but let me show you how it's done.

The hypothetical question assumes that torture equals preventing the attack. Yet, it's plain to see that this isn't true. At best, torturing someone has the possibility of preventing an attack. In order to be successful, the person being tortured has to:

1) actually be the person you think he or she is,
2) have the information necessary to prevent the attack, and
3) speak truthfully.

Number 3 is probably a 50/50 proposition at best. When you look at all three ingredients, the chance of success falls even lower.

So, the question is, "How sure do we need to be that torture will result in the prevention of an attack in order for the torture to be justified?" 50% sure? 10% sure? 1% sure? 0.1% sure? Should we just grab random people and torture them just in case they know something that could help?

My point is that we don't have an either-or choice. The choice is whether to torture someone based on the probability that doing so will prevent an attack. Once you are willing to torture based upon probability, it gets pretty easy to change what is an acceptable level of probability. When that happens, you start torturing all sorts of folks.

Aside from all that, Stevie Joe believes that torture is just plain wrong no matter what the circumstance. We are supposed to be better than that. When we stoop to things like torture and giving up our civil liberties, we are saying that a little bit of safety is more important than any other value that we stand for.

The US of A was founded on the brave idea that values such as freedom and equality were of paramount importance. How brave was it? You only need to look to the quote, "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death."

Today, such bravery seems rare. The slogan of the day appears to be, "Go Ahead and Take My Liberty, Just Don't Kill Me." That's awfully cowardly. Personally, I am willing to forgo a little perceived security in order to keep my liberties. If that means that I am more at risk of dying in a terrorist attack (and I really don't believe that it does), then so be it.

Patriotically yours,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe and Mark Twain



Right on, Brother Sam!
Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Stevie Joe's Fast

As chair (and possibly the only member) of the Peace and Social Justice Committee down at the Junebug Holler Community Church of the Righteous Shepherd, I have been investigating various peace and social justice-type activities in which the local parishioners can participate. I'm a little late on this one, but tomorrow, Monday, October 8, is the Interfaith Fast to End the War in Iraq. This is a nationwide event to raise awareness of the spiritual importance of peace in Iraq.

I discussed this during coffee hour after services today and did not get much support from the congregation. See, folks in Junebug Holler like to eat. A lot. The fast only lasts from sunrise to sunset, but that's still a long time for local folks even if it's only for one day. Of course, some tried to cite concern for the health of the Junebug Cafe and Internet Lounge as their reason for not participating. Without all those Denver omelets, Trudy might just go under. Never mind the fact that Trudy herself was in favor of the fast.

Well, eat or don't eat, but try to spend a little time on Monday thinking about a peaceful world. That's gotta be worth something.

Mmmmm, omelets . . .
Stevie Joe Parker

Friday, October 5, 2007

Stevie Joe and Peace Day

Just missed it. Keep it in mind for next year.



Peace,
Stevie Joe Parker

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Stevie Joe to Boycott Beijing Olympics

There has been a lot of discussion lately about China's actions both at home and in Sudan. There aren't too may ways to cut it: China has a brutal, repressive government. So, as my own form of protest, I will not seek a spot on the US team at the 2008 Summer Games. I will not participate in any Olympic qualifiers nor will I entertain any offers from the selection committee.

If we want freedom and justice in this world, we sometimes must make personal sacrifices. I am ready to make mine today.

Citius, Altius, Fortius,
Stevie Joe Parker

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Stevie Joe, The Good Professor, Alan Greenspan, and Adam Smith

It appears that the Good Professor from Edinburgh has indeed responded to old Stevie Joe, but he did not do so by name. Check out his post here to see the details. Here is one quote of interest:
. . . some acknowledge their ‘errors’ but as brazenly declare they will continue with their attributions because that is what the modern profession has decided to do, and it’s now ‘irreversible’ (a strange stance for scholars) . . .
This might be a strange stance for scholars if said scholars were addressing other academics in the field of economics (this is an excellent spectator sport, but I choose not to be a participant). However, old Stevie Joe is addressing the entire world here and must deal with how most folks perceive Adam Smith whether or not this perception is accurate.

Just to show, however, that Stevie Joe is not alone, check out this post by the Good Professor. Here, he argues that Alan Greenspan doesn't really understand Adam Smith either. Here's a quote:
. . .he [Greenspan] does not seem to be acquainted with his Works to any degree. His image of Adam Smith is firmly stuck in the Chicago model of Adam Smith, which has little acquaintance with the man from Kirkcaldy.
I know for a fact that both Stevie Joe and Mr. Greenspan are damn geniuses. Professor Kennedy makes no attempt to explain how we both could be wrong about this. After all, I know a lot about everything, and Alan Greenspan would appear to know a lot about economics. I say this round goes to the geniuses.

Thinking of Groundskeeper Willie,
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Stevie Joe Has More on the Wall Street Journal

I found another blogger that is discussing the "Jonah's Dilemma" column. He appears to be Don Clark, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal (original publisher of the column). Surprisingly, Don agrees with Mikey and Marky, but I've added my own two bits in the comments section of Mr. Clark's blog. We'll see if and how he replies.

Speaking of the WSJ, my super high-tech tracking service says that someone there has been reading ol' Stevie Joe's thoughts about the Jonah column. I've also picked up a few fans in Israel and the federal government. Well, Stevie Joe just wants to say "Howdy!" to all y'all!

Speaking the truth,
Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Stevie Joe Blows the Lid on the Wall Street Journal

This week, there was a column in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Jonah's Dilemma." Now, most folks know the story about how Jonah was swallowed by the whale. However, there is a bit more to it. If you find reading the Bible to be a bit tiresome, I recommend watching the Veggie Tales version starring Archibald the Asparagus as Jonah. Bible story, animated vegetables, and a bit of Gilbert & Sullivan-style whimsy - what's not to like?

Anyway, Jonah was the reluctant prophet. One day, God commands Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell the folks there to wise up and repent or prepare for some smiting. Jonah sees this as a no-win situation for himself. If they repent and nothing happens, they'll think ol' Jonah was pulling their legs. If they don't repent and God goes medieval on them, then Jonah has failed in his mission.

So, the two WSJ geniuses who wrote the column, Michael B. Oren and Mark Gerson, compare the story of Jonah to the decisions that must be made by today's world leaders. For example, Churchill predicted the threat posed by Nazi Germany. Had he decided to strike first, he might have been accused of starting an unnecessary war rather than preventing an even larger conflict. Since he did not strike first, World War Two resulted.

Mikey and Marky then carry the analogy to President Numbnuts and the Iraq War. Damned if he attacks, damned if he doesn't. Poor ol' George. No matter what he does, the liberals are going to criticize him.

Now, here's where these two Bozos go wrong. They are offering a false choice. They present the dilemma of today's world leaders as a choice between launching a war or doing nothing. However, it does not take a genius like Stevie Joe to see that there are many more choices than that. In fact, any leader who chooses such a simplified view of crisis management is inherently unfit for the job!

So, what exactly is behind this poor attempt to justify the war in Iraq? To find out, we have to take a closer look at Mikey and Marky.

Mikey is a fellow at the Shalem Center. According to their website, they are "a Jerusalem-based research and educational institute dedicated to developing and transmitting ideas in the areas most crucial to the intellectual and public life of the Jewish people." Mikey himself lives in Jerusalem and served as an officer in the Israeli army. He fought in the first and second Lebanon Wars and was a liaison to the US during the first Gulf War. So, he's not exactly a disinterested party.

What about Marky? According to the WSJ, he is co-founder and chairman of the Gerson Lehman Group. What do they do, you ask? They provide access for their clients to over 150,000 "subject-matter experts." Sounds innocent enough although I'm not sure how that qualifies him to discuss either the Bible or foreign policy.

But wait, there's more! A little searching shows that Marky is part of the Project for a New American Century, the neoconservative think-tank that was the driving force behind President Numbnut's foreign policy. The PNAC was founded by a real group of sweethearts including Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Don Rumsfeld, Scooter Libby, Dan Quayle, Elliot Abrams, Bill Bennett, and Steve Forbes.

So, why isn't the WSJ up front about this? Why hide the fact that this column was written by an Israeli army officer and a mouthpiece for the Bush administration? Is this your idea of editorial integrity? Shame on you, WSJ!

Oh, snap!
Stevie Joe Parker

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stevie Joe's Mideast Update

Just checking the news of the week to see how things are going over in the Middle East:

- Osama bin Laden declares war on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, his government, and his army. Bin Laden encourages all Muslims of Pakistan to revolt. If he is successful in toppling Musharraf, he may gain control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

- Iran prepares plans to bomb Israel.

- Israel bombs Syria, possibly because the Syrians are receiving weapons from North Korea. In the process, Israel also violates Turkish airspace.

- Israel declares the Gaza Strip a "hostile entity" and cuts off fuel, electricity, and water to the area.

Interesting week, eh?

Peace,
Stevie Joe Parker

Monday, September 17, 2007

Stevie Joe's Message to the Domers

I realize that there are a lot of Notre Dame fans out there. There are also a lot of us who are not Notre Dame fans. We have a message for our friends, the Domers: "We Don't Care."

So, the Fighting Irish have lost three games straight. Big whoop. People who cheer for other teams are quite used to this. It happens all the time. Ask any Cub fan!

We also don't want to hear endless stories about your glory years at Notre Dame. We don't want to know what you think about the new coach, quarterback, point guard, or cheerleader. We don't want to go on your Notre Dame alumni golf outing. Some of us don't even like golf although I understand that this is a required activity for Domers.

I'll let you in on a little secret. Sometimes, when a Notre Dame team loses, some of us actually like it! We actually cheer for the other team! As much as it hurt us to hope for a Michigan victory, we did it.

Hey, we can still be friends. We like you guys most of the time. It just gets a little tiring hearing about that damn school. So, next time we're out for beers, let's just talk about the Cubs, OK? Misery loves company.

p.s.
Q: How many Domers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 25. One to screw it in and 24 to reminisce about it.

Sorry. I couldn't help it.

Let's get some runs!
Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Stevie Joe Ponders Peace and Social Justice

Apparently, Pastor Luke was impressed by our recent Peace Vigil despite the lackluster results. Today, after services, he asked me to head the church's Peace and Social Justice Committee. As far as I know, I am the only member of this committee, but everything has to start somewhere, right?

Anyway, this got me to thinking. Just what the heck does "social justice" mean? It seems sort of an ambiguous term. Perhaps, it refers to justice in the general sense. If you just said "justice," folks might assume that you mean it in the legal sense. However, there sure seems to be more to the concept of justice than the laws enacted by government.

It also seems that peace and justice are somehow linked. Folks tend to get pretty steamed when they think they have been wronged. Now, I'm not saying that people aren't starting wars out of greed or a lust for power. I just think that those folks are in the minority. They people toting the rifles around can't be motivated by just that. They are motivated by a sense of injustice.

So, maybe Osama bin Laden hates the decadent lifestyle of the West and is driven by some sense of moral outrage. However, I think the folks who are fighting for him are doing so because they perceive that their people have somehow been wronged. Whether they are right or wrong about that perception isn't really the issue. If they believe it to be true, they will fight.

So, it appears to ol' Stevie Joe that getting a handle on this social justice thing should be a pretty high priority if we want to have some peace. Well, I'll get to work on it, and let you know what I come up with.

Peace out,
Stevie Joe Parker

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Stevie Joe and the Good Professor

As I indicated in my last post, I have been attacked by the Professor Gavin Kennedy on his blog, Adam Smith's Lost Legacy. I posted a reply and have been waiting to hear from the Good Professor. If you scan the rest of his blog, you will see that he does indeed engage in debate with fellow scholars and his posts are quite frequent. Yet, Professor Kennedy has ignored poor old Stevie Joe.

Since the attempt to denigrate my good name was done without any notice or opportunity to respond, I can only assume that the Good Professor has read the Stevie Joe Parker's Guide to Life, realized that I am a damn genius, and is afraid of a direct confrontation with a superior intelligence. I have tried to be nice and even offered to buy him a Bud down at the Junebug Tap. However, I cannot let his assault upon my reputation stand.

Professor Kennedy, I'm hereby callin' you out!
Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Stevie Joe Gets Bushwhacked by the Intellectual Elite!

Regular readers of the Stevie Joe Parker's Guide to Life will know that I have been writing for some time about free market economics. At times, I have referred to Mr. Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith. Well, this caught the attention of leading Smith scholar, Gavin Kennedy, of Edinburgh, Scotland. Professor Kennedy is the author of Adam Smith's Lost Legacy and is apparently a really smart guy.

Anyway, the Good Professor took it upon himself to publish an online criticism of my writing. I happened to stumble upon it recently, and you can now read my response in the comments section of his blog.

And a Good Day to You, Sir!
Stevie Joe Parker

Friday, September 7, 2007

Stevie Joe and Fred Thompson

Stevie Joe has been listening to Fred Thompson (R-Hollywood) lately and trying to figure out where he stands on stuff. All I know for sure is that he has a hot trophy wife. Then, I heard him say that the US must "do what is necessary to prevail not only in Iraq but in the worldwide conflict that lies beyond Iraq."

My problem is with the phrase "do what is necessary." What the heck does that mean? This is a pretty big statement. Does it means spending a couple of trillion dollars? Does it mean raising taxes? Does it mean bringing back the draft? Does it mean the use of nuclear weapons? When you say "do what is necessary," you're leaving an awful lot of stuff on the table. Sure, it sounds good in stump speeches, but is he really ready to "do what is necessary" if it turns out that one or more of those things becomes our only means to prevail?

Confused in Junebug Holler,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe's Peace Vigil

Hey! Long time, no blog. Sorry about that, but Stevie Joe's been a little busy. Over the Labor Day weekend, I put together a candlelight peace vigil right in downtown Junebug Holler. Unfortunately, despite my long hours of preparation and planning, the event did not go over well.

The only official attendees were Prudy (from the Junebug Cafe and Internet Lounge), Pastor Luke (who will sign up for just about anything with candles), and myself. There was, however, a sizable "war vigil" organized by Junior and Dickie Jensen. They got a bunch of folks to come downtown with the false promise of free beer. What attendees received instead was a water pistol or super-soaker.

Angry mob with squirt guns and three peaceniks with candles. You do the math.

Anyway, I was wearing my new "I'm Already Against the Next War" t-shirt, and how appropriate it was. It seems that the White House and Pentagon are working out a plan to bomb the tarnation out of Iran over a 3-day period. Sounds good. What possibly could go wrong?


Peace out,
Stevie Joe Parker

Monday, August 27, 2007

Stevie Joe and Robert Cray

I need someone to testify. Speak truth to me, Mr. Cray.



Amen,
Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Stevie Joe Wages Peace

War is the result of a lack of creativity. Many have argued that not only is war avoidable, but that every war has been avoidable. Peaceful means to resolve conflicts, including stopping genocidal dictators, are available and effective. Yet, many leaders do not have the patience to explore these and resort to the crude tool of violence.

It takes courage and strength to follow a peaceful path. How does one deal with today's world without resorting to violence? There is no easy answer. That's what makes it difficult. Extraordinary leadership is required to truly pursue peace.

John Lennon and Yoko One used to encourage folks to "declare peace." Today, the American Friends Service Committee challenges us to "wage peace." They have some interesting thoughts on the matter. Check them out.

From the AFSC exhibit Eyes Wide Open

Peace out,
Stevie Joe Parker

Friday, August 24, 2007

Stevie Joe and the Dog Days of Summer

It is HOT in the Holler. As Neil Simon put it, it's Africa-hot. It's too-hot-for-Tarzan-hot. Of course, the heat is periodically interrupted by thunderstorms so severe that you start thinking about building an ark. So, we've got heat, and then we've got humidity. When you step outside from an air-conditioned building, your glasses steam up immediately.

Now, I generally prefer the heat over the cold, but this is getting a little out of hand. The local citizenry, which is not exactly stable in good times, is going completely bonkers. A lynch mob is on the hunt for Mayor Barney now that his Mudslide Estates is living up to its nickname. While no homes have gone completely downstream or anything, it is still not good news when the ridge of your roof starts to sag. This indicates that the foundation has gone mobile.

Over at the Junebug Cafe and Internet Lounge, folks haven't been interested in the usual fare of coffee and omelets as they don't exactly mesh well with the weather. So, Prudy has added iced coffee to the menu. She adds a bit of chocolate syrup and whipped cream, and, let me tell you, it is delicious. Unfortunately, it is so good that folks have been drinking them non-stop. Adding caffeine and sugar on top of the regular heat-induced lunacy is not helping matters.

As you might imagine, Junior and Dickie Jensen have gone completely nuts. Today, they decided to have a brat grilling race. You might think that this is a contest of cooking skill and speed, but you would be wrong. This race entails grilling some brats on a couple of those three-legged, kettle-style Weber charcoal grills while pushing them from one end of town to the other. The grills don't roll easily as only two of the legs have wheels. One hand must be used for lifting the stationary leg while the other is occupied with food preparation.

I don't think I am spoiling any surprises by telling you that neither knucklehead made it all the way across town, food was spilled, and flesh was burned. In other words, a good time was had by all.

Feelin' hot, hot, hot,
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Stevie Joe and the Latest Nutball Theory

Some right-wing "think tank" posted an article (and then took it right back down) suggesting that everything would be so much better if Bush was President-for-life and/or dictator and could just nuke whoever he wanted. Evidence here.

Good lord!
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe and the Coal Miners

While America holds its breath waiting to learn of the fate of six coal miners trapped underground in Utah, China faces the possible loss of 181 miners in a single mine disaster. Unfortunately, this is not news in China. On average, over 6,000 miners a year die there.

This is caused by both the need for cheap energy to fuel China's economic boom and the minimal safety standards protecting workers. These are the hidden costs of the cheap consumer goods that flood American stores.

I would like to think that the American people would never stand for US mines to have such a safety record. Yet, it is our insatiable desire for material possessions that causes it to happen elsewhere. When our most important value is price, then other values, such as environmental protection, workplace safety, and worker rights, will take a backseat.

What are you willing to pay for?

Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Stevie Joe Apologizes to Republicans

I've fallen into my own trap. After preaching about kinder politics, I went and said something nasty about Republicans. I recently posted a note about how Tony Snow intends to leave the White House because he can't make ends meet on $168K a year. In that post, I commented that only a Republican could have that problem.

That was wrong, and I'm sorry. I'm sure that there are some fine Republicans around somewhere, and there are probably some Democrats who cannot live frugally. I still maintain, however, that SnowJob is a nut. And Dickie Jensen is downright certifiable.

Mea Culpa,
Stevie Joe Parker

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Stevie Joe and More of What the World Needs

What the world needs now
Is a new John Lennon.

Givin' peace a chance,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe and Poor Republicans

Only a Republican can fail to make ends meet on $168,000 a year. Tony Snow announced that he will be leaving the Bush administration sometime soon. "I will not be able to make until the end of this administration, just financially," Snow said. Poor baby.

Suck it up, T,
Stevie Joe Parker

Friday, August 17, 2007

Stevie Joe Knows What The World Needs

What the world needs now is
A new Joe Strummer,
A new Joey Ramone,
And ten more Chuck Ds.

Apologies to Mr. Lowery, but it had to be said,
Stevie Joe Parker

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stevie Joe Has a Message for Dickie

Hey Dickie (if that was you who actually wrote that), watch this:



Now, who's sucking what?
Stevie Joe Parker

Dickie Jensen Says Goodbye to Karl Rove, an American Patriot

The following is a guest post by Dickie Jensen

It figures that as a member of the liberal media elite, Stevie Joe wouldn't give poor Karl Rove a fair shake. He claims that Mr. Rove used dirty tricks to elect conservative candidates such as the President of the United States, Mr. George W. Bush. If Stevie Joe were actually as smart as he thinks he is, he would know that such tactics became necessary because of the extreme liberal bias present in the US press.

In order to get the message of true patriots out to the American people, sometimes drastic measures must be taken. It is the only way that underprivileged Republicans can attempt to level the playing field. Like America herself, Karl Rove is a winner. He was able to defeat the leftist conspiracy so the American people could be properly served rather than cheated.

We won. You lost. So, to you, Stevie Joe, I say: suck it.

God Bless America,
Dickie Jensen

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stevie Joe Says Goodbye to Turd Blossom

Karl Rove is going to resign. This makes me happy. It also makes me think that it's just another one of his fiendish plots.

Seriously, my dislike of the man doesn't really have to do with the fact that he helped put President Numbnuts in office. My problem stems from the methods that he used to do so. Mr. Blossom has made an art form of campaign dirty tricks. He began his evil ways as president of the national College Republicans in the early 1970s. There, he developed an arsenal of nasty tactics that are widely used by both parties today.

Spreading false rumors about an opponent and confusing voters with misinformation about polling dates and places are two favorite techniques that were developed and refined by Turd. Maybe I'm just naive, but I like to believe that democracy works best when well-informed citizens vote for candidates based on qualifications for office. Unfortunately, Mr. Blossom and others like him are trying to do something else. They don't really care what is best for the country. They just want their side to win, and that's wrong in my book.

God Bless America,
Stevie Joe Parker

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Stevie Joe and the Poets of Junebug Holler

As you may already know, I regard most of the local citizenry as insane. However, I still love them. The lastest proof of their insanity is the poetry craze that is now sweeping the Holler. I recently posted some thoughts about poetry on the Stevie Joe Parker's Guide to Life. Before long, Junior, hobbled by sobriety, wrote some of his own. Now, Dickie Jensen joins in. Here's the latest:

GOODNIGHT JUNEBUG MOON
by Dickie Jensen


In the great beer room

There was a pickle jar

And a stuffed raccoon

And a picture of—


A fat guy shooting the moon

And there were three drunken fools sitting on stools


And two girly posters

And a pizza toaster


And a slot machine

And two drunk teens


And a Swede, a Canuck, and a room full of schmucks

And a cranky old lady who was yelling, “fuck!”


Goodnight room


Goodnight moon

Goodnight fat guy shooting the moon


Goodnight jar

And the stuffed raccoon


Goodnight fools

Goodnight stools


Goodnight posters

And goodnight toaster


Goodnight flakes

And urinal cakes


Goodnight slot machine

And goodnight teens


Goodnight Swede

And goodnight Canuck


Goodnight nobody

Goodnight schmucks


And goodnight to the old lady yelling, “fuck!”


Goodnight barf


Goodnight chair


Goodnight cougars everywhere


Adieu,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe and Robot Chicken

I'd like to thank Jimmy for steering me in the direction of some fine Robot Chicken videos on the interwebs. Sure is funny!







May the Force be with you,
Stevie Joe Parker

Friday, August 3, 2007

Stevie Joe and the Killer Robots

OK, I've written about this before. The robots are planning to take over, and now we are arming them with machine guns and rocket launchers. What could go wrong?

Here is one possibility:



Affirmative,
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Stevie Joe Has To Clarify Something

Some readers have apparently gotten confused. So, here's the deal: Junior is a person. He's a real, live human being. Junior Junior is a dog as in "woof woof." In fact, he's Junior's dog.

Also, Junior, the person, and NOT Junior Junior, the dog, wrote the poetry. Knowing both of them, I find that hard to believe, but it's true. Here's some more:
Romance chances
Furtive glances
Cupid's glee

I think a wink
It's not a blink
None for me
Furtive?
Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Stevie Joe Discovers Junior the Poet

Well, we finally arrived home, and Junior got to come along for the ride. This is a bigger deal than it sounds. See, normally, Junior can only go for so long before he passes out. However, without alcohol in the equation, he is a non-stop blab machine. Turns out that lack of booze makes him more miserable than ever, and, boy, did he want to talk about it!

After telling him to shut the hell up for the 400th time, Mrs. Stevie Joe finally threatened physical violence. If anyone can put the fear of God in you, it's an angry Mrs. Stevie Joe. So, Junior took to writing his thoughts on paper. I didn't even know he could read! Here is a selection:
My face of rage
Flying fists come
No control

I feel the shame
Can't face the truth
Hurt myself
Whaddya know. A regular poet. Maybe, he's like Charles Bukowski, except stupid.

Hiding all the sharp objects,
Stevie Joe Parker

Saturday, July 28, 2007

More with Stevie Joe on Vacation

Junior Junior has been the ideal houseguest. He is funny and charming. Plus, he cleans up after himself. He's all the things that Junior isn't. This is why Junior Junior is allowed in the cabin while Junior stays on the porch.

By the way, if you haven't read about Junior Junior before, let me fill you in. He's Junior's dog.

Junior Junior has made friends with a local blue heron that we named Elmer. Elmer gently glides over Junior Junior's head all around the lakefront. Junior Junior chases after him, but Elmer is a little too crafty to get caught. Anyway, they've been doing this for four days now. So, I guess they enjoy it.

Junior, on the other hand, had gone missing. Apparently, some fool told Junior that there was a bar on Lake Barkley that served alcohol. Now, we are on Kentucky Lake, but you can get to Lake Barkley via a one mile canal. The lack of alcohol in Marshall County drove poor Junior to stealing my rented fishing boat, and he went in search of the bar. While he was able to make it all the way to Lake Barkley, he did not find the bar as he ran out of gas in the middle of the lake.

The boat eventually drifted over to the west side of the lake which is all park land. That means no bars, no houses, no telephones, no nothing. Junior, being as dumb as he is, had no idea what to do. He walked on and on for a couple of days before a park ranger arrested him for showing up at a Boy Scout campground nekkid. He has no explanation for his nekkidness, and neither do I.

As I write this, Junior is once again on the porch, and Junior Junior is enjoying the air conditioning of the cabin. Mrs. Stevie Joe and I are going home tomorrow, and we are taking Junior Junior with us. Whether we take Junior is still open for debate.

I don't think there is a merit badge for that,
Stevie Joe Parker

Monday, July 23, 2007

Stevie Joe Finds a House Guest

This morning, I was sitting on the porch of the cabin at Kentucky Lake enjoying a cup of coffee when a horrible sight appeared before me. It was Junior's dog, Junior Junior, and he was staring me straight in the eye. He let out a single bark and then began trotting around the corner. I followed only to find Junior himself curled up asleep under a tree behind the cabin.

After I woke his sorry ass up, he explained that Jimmy had offered to drop him off at the lake. Of course, Jimmy figured it would be well worth the effort to get rid of Junior for the week. Now, Junior had no money, no food, and no place to stay. He was not going to get in the cabin, but I said he could sleep on the porch. This angered Mrs. Stevie Joe to no end, but I didn't see how it could be my fault. It's not like I forgot to lock his cage or something.

At the moment, I'm trying to figure out how to tell him that this is a dry county. Wish me luck.

The weather is great, wish you were here,
Stevie Joe Parker

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Stevie Joe Goes on Vacation

I'm sitting here on the porch of a cabin on Kentucky Lake, and it's damn beautiful. Mrs. Stevie Joe and I are on our first vacation in many years. Frankly, I needed the time away from the folks in Junebug Holler. I love 'em and all, but they do wear on you at times.

By the way, I'm writing this on my nifty new iPhone, but don't tell Mrs. Stevie Joe. She thinks it's one of those pocket poker games.

All for now,
Stevie Joe Parker

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stevie Joe Watches the Constitution Slowly Whither Away

First, Alberto "Crazy Al" Gonzales said that the US Constitution does not grant US citizens the right to Habeus Corpus. Now, President Numbnuts is attacking the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

On July 17, El Presidente issued Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq. What this means is that if you are a person inside the US, citizen or not, and you either commit and act of violence or pose a significant risk of committing an act of violence that undermines US efforts to stabilize Iraq, then the government can seize all your property and assets. Oh, by the way, they can do this without any prior notice, and you will have no legal recourse.

The Fourth Amendment guards against unreasonable search and seizure and requires a warrant with probable cause supported by oath or affirmation for any reasonable seizure.

The Fifth Amendment says that you cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

So, what does this all mean? Any provision that strips away such Constitutional safeguards is subject to abuse. So, theoretically, the President might decide that a person who is planning to attend an anti-war rally where there might be a clash with police falls under this order, and that person's property and assets can be taken without notice and without any legal recourse. In fact, the government could use a loose interpretation of this order to block all anti-war activities. Since the order specifies that there is no legal recourse, it might be difficult to challenge such an interpretation.

In either case, the order clearly violates both Amendments, and it is a shock that any President would issue such a thing.

Also, check out Section 4. If you look up the US Code referenced in the order, you'll find that Section 4 of the Executive Order prohibits any donation of "articles, such as food, clothing, and medicine, intended to be used to relieve human suffering" to the person whose property was seized. That means after President Numbnuts takes away everything owned by your friend planning to attend the anti-war rally, it will be illegal for you to give him or her any food, clothing, or medicine. Nice.

It was fun while it lasted,
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Stevie Joe Watches the Local Follies

Last night was the meeting of the Junebug Holler Mensa Club, also known as the village council. During the meeting, it was decided to buy a storage building to house the village's various plows and tractors. Sounds fairly straightforward, doesn't it? Not in Junebug Holler.

About 3 years ago, Mayor Barney built that storage building himself for about 120 grand. He then leased it to the village on a monthly basis. Even in Junebug Holler this can raise some eyebrows. So, a year or so ago, he sold it to a mysterious, out-of-town corporation for about $150K, and they continued to lease it to the village. Now, this corporation is selling it for $240K. That's fairly fine appreciation for one year's ownership.

Fortunately for the local residents, our state representative Pooter Hoskins (don't ask how he got that name) was able to secure a state grant to cover most of the cost of the building. So far, so good, except for the price.

At the meeting, councilman Jimmy, possibly the only one with half a brain, made a motion that the village get the building appraised before committing to buy it at the $240K price. Mayor Barney carefully explained that the building would never appraise that high so getting an appraisal would be a waste of time. He actually said this - out loud - at a public meeting.

Obviously, something here smells awfully funny. Yet, the motion died for lack of a second, and the gathered citizenry went home to watch the TV. Today, there was no mention of the comment in the paper, and my head is just about ready to explode.

Lord help me!
Stevie Joe Parker

Friday, July 13, 2007

Stevie Joe's Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer haven't hit Junebug Holler yet, but they soon will. In preparation, I've moved the lawn chairs from the driveway to the front porch to get 'em out of the sun. The dog days are heading to Iraq, too. In preparation there, the Iraqi parliament has decided to take the month off. According to White House spokesweasel Tony Snow explained, "You know, it's 130 degrees in Baghdad in August." Plus, Baghdad only has six hours of electricity a day. So, you know - limited air conditioning. It's probably just better for them to wait out August on the Riviera.

Then again, as you know, I'm a big supporter of our soldiers. According to Mr. Snow, they are not going to take the month of August off. I imagine that it's 130 degress for them, too. Probably more considering the body armor. Given the fact the part of the US military mission is to provide the Iraqi people enough time to come up with a political solution, the parlimentary holiday seems a wee bit inappropriate, but maybe that's just me.

In other news, Junior is also taking off the month of August. Just like every other month.

Adios,
Stevie Joe Parker

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Stevie Joe's Movin' Kinda Slow at the Holler, Junebug Holler

Things have been pretty slow in Junebug Holler lately. The summer heat has kept some indoors and others sticking to the pavement. I've been spending my time reading some poetry (which is bound to make me an outcast at the Junebug Cafe and Internet Lounge as soon as someone catches a whiff of it).

And you know what? There's some pretty darned good poetry out there! Sandburg, Plath, Ginsberg, etc. Maybe I'll post some here for folks to read and ponder. And maybe, just maybe, I'll write some of my own. I promise that it won't start, "There once was a man from Nantucket."

Adieu,
Stevie Joe Parker

Monday, July 9, 2007

Stevie Joe Witnesses End of the Twins Caper

This morning down at the Junebug Cafe and Internet Lounge, Junior and Dickie Jensen arrived as themselves and not their identical twin alter-egos. They finally confessed that, yes, they had indeed made up the whole thing.

Apparently, Dickie had been reading the internet again (which is always a dangerous proposition). He found a website that explained how to continue receiving welfare benefits after yours had run out. Unfortunately, our two numbskulls failed to comprehend the finer points of identity theft.

Oh, by the way, Prudy was not in on this caper. Trudy actually is her identical twin sister. Both of them were at the cafe this morning, and it did not appear to be an optical illusion.

What a long, strange trip it's been,
Stevie Joe Parker

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Stevie Joe Supports Our Soldiers

I got into a little argument today with Jimmy about the war in Iraq. Since Dickie is still pretending to be his own twin brother, Jimmy is our designated right-winger down at the Junebug Cafe and Internet Lounge. Now, I am not in favor of US military operations in Iraq, and this has caused Jimmy to accuse me of both being unpatriotic and not supporting our troops.

So, here is a list of what I consider to be the right way to support our troops (and none of these include putting a decal on your car):

#1 - Trying to keep our soldiers from getting shot or blowed up.

#2 - To help with #1, getting them all body armor.

#3 - To help even more with #1, getting armor on the Humvees.

#4 - Again with the #1, bringing in more Cougars, Cheetahs, and Buffaloes, all armored vehicles that are much safer than the Humvee (whether armored or not).

#5 - Provide the best possible medical care for our armed forces.

#6 - Provide the best possible mental health care for our armed forces.

#7 - Provide ample compensation, benefits, and pension for our armed forces.

Now, those folks in Washington who talk big about "supporting the troops" all have the power to make good on every item on this list. Yet, they don't.

I'm a little sick of being told that I don't support the troops when what they really need is not being provided by our own government. Support the troops with your deeds, not words.

Get it done!
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

More Free Market Ramblings from Stevie Joe

As I pointed out in my last post, corporations have an obligation to their shareholders to maximize profit. The number one value is money. So, what happens when you apply that value system in a free market economy?

Many corporations have discovered that a surefire means to increase profitability is to lower production costs. Hence, we have a race to the bottom. If you manufacture in China, wages are low, the government keeps the workers in line, and there are essentially no safety or environmental regulations. So, you can make a big profit.

In this model, how do you establish and protect fair wages, a clean and safe environment, and workers' rights? Remember, the corporation's primary goal is to make money, not to promote these other values.

The free market economists say, naturally, that the market itself will correct this as consumers demand these things. So, in order to maintain sales volume and profitability, corporations will have to clean up their acts. However, this argument makes two big assumptions. First, it assumes that consumers are aware of the issues and have the information necessary to make an informed choice when shopping.

Second, the free market economists argue, à la Adam Smith, that all problems are resolved when people act in their own interest. If so, why would consumers choose products made by socially responsible corporations? Perhaps a clean environment would be a concern, but how will shoppers decide that supporting fair wages, workers' rights, and a safe workplace advance their own interest better than low price?

So, if these other values are important, how do you protect and promote them? One answer is, of course, government regulation. While the free market economists hate this answer, it has worked where it has been applied while their own model has failed. The problem we face now is how to encourage countries like China to follow our path. The free market economists want "free trade," but while our trade with China might be "free," it is not fair. The playing field is lopsided, and, as a result, workers and our environment lose.

Take That, Mr. Smith!
Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Stevie Joe and Free Market Philosophy

Jonas Salk never sought a patent for his polio vaccine. He said, "Who owns my polio vaccine? The people! Could you patent the sun?"

Adam Smith and his "invisible hand" of the free market created the concept that acting in our own self-interest was the most efficient way to promote the public good. Instead of donating $20,000 to charity to assist struggling families, I can buy a $20,000 car and provide jobs at the factory, health insurance, and other social benefits. Plus, I get to keep the car. Adam Smith made it okay to be selfish.

So, what's wrong with this view of the world? Maybe a few things. First, it promotes a consumerism that is not necessarily environmentally sustainable, and it places a higher value on things than anything else. Unfortunately, we often learn through experience that happiness does not come from our things.

Second, Smith's view suggests that selfishness is not only okay but it is desirable. While this might be good economically in the short-term, it doesn't do much to help the people of the world co-exist peacefully.

Third, sometimes Adam Smith is just plain wrong. If Jonas Salk acted in his own interest, he would have patented his vaccine instead of giving it away. He could have raised the price and become a very rich man. However, the result would have been the suffering of thousands who could not afford his vaccine.

Salk valued something higher than money. He valued human life. Today, pharmaceutical corporations control the development of drugs, and the managers of those corporations have a legal responsibility to their shareholders to maximize profit. If they were to value something higher than money, they could find themselves the target of a shareholder lawsuit. So, HIV medications and other life-saving drugs are patented and sold at high profit margin. Thousands suffer while a few get rich.

Of course, the problem isn't limited to the drug industry. It's a philosophy that pervades our society. It is the belief that it is virtuous to be selfish. Or, a Gordon Gekko once put it, "Greed is good."

I'm not buying it,
Stevie Joe Parker

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stevie Joe Gets Afraid of Robots

Looks like the robots are well on their way to world domination. Scary story here. Watch for Arnold Schwarzenegger to arrive from the future at any moment. What? He's already here? Everyone panic!

I'm hiding,
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Stevie Joe Questions Whether History is Repeating

See what happens when you trust that the government won't do bad things in the name of "national security?" The CIA talks about the "family jewels."

What's that clicking sound on my phone?
Stevie Joe Parker

Monday, June 25, 2007

Stevie Joe Takes on Darth Cheney

Now, hang on with me for just a minute. Dick "Dick" Cheney has got to go, but it ain't that simple. See, as soon as you say something like that, eyes roll, and people accuse you of being partisan. That is the fault of those who promote a partisan approach to politics, not Stevie Joe.

With all the bickering between the two parties, it's often hard to get a good, objective look at what's going on. Is Dick up to no good, or are the liberals just spinning it that way? Let's take a closer look and see why Stevie Joe thinks it's time for the VP to go.

If you haven't heard the story yet, Darth Cheney has apparently declared that he is not subject to a presidential executive order because his office is "not an entity within the executive branch." Details are in my post of a few days ago. This immediately begs the question, "Well, what branch is it in?" Dick has not yet answered that one, but the speculation is that he will argue that as President of the Senate, the Vice President is actually part of the legislative branch. This is, of course, a bunch of bull-puckey, but let's hear him out.

If the VP is part of the Senate, then it seems reasonable that his office is then subject to the rules and laws governing that body. However, I don't get the impression that Dick intends to go along with that either since he hasn't done it yet. Instead, it seems that this maneuver is intended to avoid any oversight. Yes, it looks like Darth Cheney is attempting to build a fourth branch of government that does not have to answer to anyone. If so, we have ourselves a major constitutional crisis.

Unless the Vice President can agree to abide by the laws and rules that govern the rest of Washington, D.C., then impeachment might be the only recourse. He is disobeying a presidential executive order and refusing to comply with the safeguards that protect documents pertaining to our national security. Nobody can be above the law, and if Darth Cheney cannot comply, then he must be removed from office.

This has nothing to do with policy. It has nothing to do with the political right or left. It has only to do with upholding our Constitution and rule of law. Any Vice President, Republican or Democrat, must be held to the same standard.

I'm Stevie Joe Parker, and I approve this message,
Stevie Joe Parker


Friday, June 22, 2007

Stevie Joe's Recap of the Twin Situation

Some folks have had a little trouble following all of the claimed identical twins floating around Junebug Holler. I know how you feel. I'm a bit confused myself. So, here it goes:

* Junior's claimed twin is Bob. He looks just like Junior complete with shaved head but has a goatee. He's a bit more gregarious than Junior.

* Dickie Jensen's claimed twin is Matthew. He looks just like Dickie with a goatee, and he is a born-again, bible-clutching Christian.

*Prudy's claimed twin is Trudy. She looks just like Prudy, and she has no goatee.

So far, that's it. The 3 twins are still around, and the 3 "originals" have not been seen. No explanation of this twin invasion has been offered.

The Truth is Out There,
Stevie Joe Parker

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Darth Cheney About to Push Stevie Joe Over the Edge

Now, I know that some folks (Dickie) don't like when I discuss political issues, and I've talked about a few lately. However, this is different, and I just have to get it out of my system. Yesterday, Justice Scalia (aka "Tony Scales" or "Tony the Fish") set me up for Dick "Dick" Cheney's spike today.

It appears that the office of the Vice President (aka "the Death Star) feels that it is not required to cooperate with the Information Security Oversight Office, an agency charged with protecting national security information. This is despite a presidential executive order that requires all executive branch agencies to do so. The reason? According to the office of the VP, it is because it is not "an entity within the executive branch." Details here, here, and here.

Oh, so what branch of government are they in? Maybe, Mr. Cheney is the chief executive of his own sovereign government. I swear this stuff is going to cause me to stroke out.

Aaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh!
Stevie Joe Parker

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Justice Scalia is Frightening Stevie Joe

Jimmy found this story, too. Maybe he should get his own blog.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (aka "Tony Scales" and "Tony the Fish") publicly defends Jack Bauer's use of torture on the Fox show 24. It's one thing when Dickie Jensen jumps up on the couch and whoops it up when Jack Bauer shoots someone in the thigh, it's another when one of the people assigned to defend the Constitution does it.

I'm going to go down and hide in the cellar for a while now.

"Tell me where the bomb is or I will kill your son,"
Stevie Joe Parker