Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stevie Joe Reaching Some Common Ground

Back down at Prudy's Junebug Cafe and Internet Lounge, I'm beginning to feel a bit more at ease. I've regained my confidence, and the local citizenry have been assured that I am not, indeed, losing my mind. Conversation is once again flowing smoothly.

With Election Day less than a week away, our daily discourse has once again turned to politics. Normally, one approaches this season with a great deal of trepidation. Calm and polite discussion can quickly escalate to red-faced, spittle-spewing emotional contests. I will not hesitate to take some of the blame for these occurrences. There is a child-like joy in winding up Dickie Jensen and setting him loose. It's too damn easy.

Yet, the political talk over the past few days has remained subdued. The mood has been sour. It is quite possible that the tone of political advertising in the US of A has reached a new low. No longer does a candidate stand forth to announce his or her stance on the issues of the day. Rather, strategists have determined that the most effective means to garner votes is to paint a picture of one's opponent as a monster intent on destroying our beloved country. Any joy we once had in participating in the electoral process has been drowned with negativity.

Yesterday, I set about furthering the sciences by conducting a little study down at Prudy's. While the regular crowd sat back to watch Ellen on the big screen, I counted the number of political advertisements during the show. I also made a note of how many were "issue" ads.

There were a grand total of 16 advertisements from both Republican and Democratic candidates seeking office at the county, state, and federal levels. Of these, a total of zero were about actual legislative issues. That's right. Every single one of them suckers was nothing but name calling.

If a visitor from another planet were to plop down and examine this year's election, they would come to the conclusion that the planet is about to be infested by criminally psychopathic elected officials and, as a result, is on the verge of social, economic, and environmental collapse.

By the end of an otherwise stellar Ellen, the gang could take no more. In a rare moment of solidarity, it was decided to turn off the damn TV. Silence filled the room while we all collected our thoughts and pondered what to do next. Dickie said that he just got his disability check in the mail today and maybe he and Junior should set about getting it cashed and buying themselves a case of beer. And all was back to normal in the Holler.

I'm Stevie Joe Parker, and I Approve This Here Blog

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stevie Joe and the Chilean Miners

I believe that my long journey back to some sort of normalcy is nearly complete. The former Mrs. Stevie Joe is gone for good, and I'm OK with that now. I have regained much of my confidence and feel ready to tackle the world once again. I feel good.

So, in the past couple of weeks, I've rejoined the regular gang down at the Junebug Cafe and Internet Lounge. Several days ago, the topic du jour was the on-going rescue of the Chilean miners. It was up on the TV above the main counter, and all eyes were affixed. I was a bit confused by all the attention. Then, Juanita began to cry. She was followed by Prudy, Dickie Jensen, and Junior. However, I'm pretty sure Junior just bit his tongue while trying to eat his Denver omelet.

So, I asked, "What are all you crying at?"

Prudy answered, "Well, look! They pulled up another miner! Isn't it just fantastic?"

"Aren't you getting a bit carried away?"

Dickie's face carried a look of shock that slowly changed to anger. "It's a damn miracle, Stevie Joe! A triumph of the human spirit!"

"But you don't even know those folks! How are you getting so emotional about people you never heard of before and will forget again in a month?"

Juanita jumped in, "They are human beings, Stevie Joe."

"You don't really care though. You're crying like you would watching Brian's Song. It's not a real connection. If those folks died down in that mine, you'd just flip the channel over to Jeopardy!" I declared.

"Oh, we would not. That would be a real tragedy, Stevie Joe. We have feelings. We're human," Prudy replied.

I knew I had them now. I was ready to turn it right around on them. Gosh, I missed this stuff. "Then, why aren't you crying about the 20,000 Chinese miners that die every year? They are dying for you! They are dying for that fancy, high-definition television set up there!"

Dickie was just getting madder, "Oh, what the hell are you talking about, Stevie Joe?"

"Simple economics, Dickie. See, we Americans are just addicted to cheap Chinese goods. Can't get enough of 'em. They keep building more and more factories to keep up with the demands. The problem, however, is that can't provide enough electricity to keep all these factories running. So, they built up a bunch of new, coal-fired power plants. Now, remember, they got to keep this cheap. So, those power plants can burn the dirtiest, cheapest coal, and they don't have any extra equipment to help them run clean. They get the coal out of hastily-planned coal mines that rely on cheap human labor rather than expensive machinery. No environmental safeguards. No labor safety standards. So, 20,000 of those poor folks get killed every damn year! Where are your tears for them?"

Just around that point in my rather eloquent verbal volley, the group began to stare at me sternly. It was then kindly suggested that I was not quite ready to return to polite Junebug Holler society.

Maybe they have a point. Usually, I am a bit more subtle with my repartee. This was more of a rant, and a preachy one at that. Perhaps, I should retreat for a while. Perhaps, I should spend more time sharpening my wit.

Hell no. I'm back baby!

Living Large Once Again,
Stevie Joe Parker