Posts Tagged ‘Mark Twain’

Calbuzz Classic: Mega Thanks From Your Turkeys

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Tom Meyer’s mandatory Thanksgiving turkey cartoon, featuring a big bird ogre whose cranium is festooned with hatchets, not only sheds a frightening bright light on the cartooning Calbuzzer’s just-below-the-surface sociopathic tendencies (which some day will likely result in us being quoted as telling some know-it-all, whippersnapper reporter that Meyer “was always a quiet loner”) but also offers a scary glimpse at the terrifying political threat that California’s  not-so-jolly giant budget deficit represents to Jerry Brown, who will have to  slay the awful monster if history is to judge as a success his gubernatorial second act.

And for those keeping score at home, that’s a crisp, three-year-old 100-word lede, three times as long as the traditional MSM  industry standard to which New Media over-the-hill guys thankfully no longer must adhere. But we digress.

Not since the Fifth Labor of Hercules, when another son of a famous political family was assigned to muck out the dung produced by a herd of immortal cows chewing their cuds in the Augean Stables, has a public figure faced such a daunting task as Brown. Even in a state familiar with chronic deficits — and with chronic, gimmick-laden “solutions” to them — the latest red ink estimate of $25.4 billion sent chills through denizens of the Capitol.

As a brilliant political analyst recently noted, Governor-elect Krusty will begin his term with policy options that are straitjacketed, both by a host of long-standing restrictions imposed by initiatives, and by a whole new batch of ballot measures just voted in by California’s have-it-both-ways voters – More services! Less taxes! – including Props 22, 24 and 26.

Add to that the disappearance of federal stimulus money, not to mention the pig-headed intransigence of Republicans to even rational new revenue ideas, and you’re left wondering why in the world Brown ever thought moving back to Sacramento would be a good idea at the ripe old age of 72.

During his campaign, Gandalf made few proposals to fix the budget, beyond a fuzzy promise to convene bipartisan kumbaya meetings, where sweet reason will allegedly replace the bitter ideological gridlock that grips the Capitol. Good luck with that.

“This will take all the know-how that I said I had,” Brown said the day after election, “and all the luck of the Irish as I go forward.” Indeed.


Pilgrims rout Indians – lead series 2-1: As we approach the end of our second full year of publishing, our Department of Green Eyeshade Performance Based Measureables and Obscene Year-End Executive Bonuses reports that our page view total is certain to exceed the number of votes won by Meg Whitman.

Given that our little enterprise seems in much better shape than her out-of-business campaign, and that we’ve managed this feat by spending a teeny bit less on expenses than her, we feel entitled to celebrate by indulging ourselves in that hoariest of journalism practices – reprinting our annual Thanksgiving message to readers. Herewith a slightly updated version:

As Calbuzz joins in our annual national celebration of gratitude and gluttony, we recall Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous words of blessing for this special holiday:

“I love Thanksgiving turkey. It’s the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts.”

With humble hearts and heaping helpings of snark, we want to thank the Calbuzz online community for all your support, encouragement, boorish comments and vicious critiques. We look forward to the next year, and hope you’ll stay with us for an exciting and entertaining ride with Gandalf  the Wizard, Prince Gavin, Lady Difi and all the other colorful characters who populate the ever-entertaining court of California politics.

Beyond that, we sincerely hope that on this joyous day, you’ll click on our ads a whole bunch of times, and that you won’t get a wishbone lodged in your throat while stuffing your pie hole. Also: take the Saints, give the points, and bet the under.

Our Department of Living History and Living Wills tells us that it was Abe Lincoln, not Miles Standish, who jump started this whole Thanksgiving thing.

Nonetheless, Calbuzzers of a certain age remember with fondness the Thanksgiving school pageants of years gone by, when pilgrim hats made of folded black construction paper oozed gooey globs of white paste at the seams, and Pocahontas was played by the smart girl in the front row who always had her hand up, and who ended up living in Newport Beach, botoxed to the max.

We leave you with our favorite commentary on that historic period, courtesy of Calbuzzer emeritus Mark Twain:

Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for – annually, not oftener – if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months, instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians.

Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man’s side, consequently on the Lord’s side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.

Happy Turkey Day.


Jerry Retreats, Wally Fumbles, Bruce Cashes In

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

jerryseminaryHoly Cow! We cried, when we read in the Times of London that Jerry Brown “said that he will retreat to a monastery over the next few weeks to ‘consider my options and what it would mean for me, my family and the state of California.’”

While we knew, of course, that Jerry took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience while he was at the Sacred Heart Novitiate from 1956-1960, it was news to us that he was still hanging with the monks.

As it turns out, however, Brown spends a day or two every now and then at the Abbey of New Clairveaux, a Trappist-Cistercian Monastery in Vina which offers accommodations for visitors.  The Abby’s website explains:

retreat_r4_c1“A guest, whether he or she remains but for a few hours or makes a private retreat of several days, can expect to experience a degree of silence and solitude, separation from the world’s busyness [sic] and distractions, and the daily monastic rhythm between communal and personal prayer, and work. This often makes possible a more effective movement into the interior of one’s heart.”

Hmmm. You don’t imagine a British paper, wanting to make Brown sound quirky and odd, oversold the whole “retreat” deal, do you? So we asked Crusty about it ourselves.

“It’s a place I’ve been to many times,” Brown said, noting that he’ll likely go for a day or two. “I’m not ready to make a decision (about running for governor) until I’ve thought this through and all the consequences that flow from it.”

Calbuzz is outraged –- outraged we say! – that a political figure would spend time “thinking” about whether he wants to run for office. What next? Reading the bills? Active listening? The mind boggles.

Retreat Update: We are informed by the SF Chronicle’s Carla “Whirling Dervish” Marinucci that it was she, not the Sunday Times, which first reported Jerry Brown’s planned foray to a monastery.


Wally Herger

A not-so-great American: Since his long-ago days in the Assembly, Rep. Wally Herger has been a genial, no-account cipher who represents more cows than people and whose greatest political value is as an argument for term limits. So it’s hard to imagine a less likely figure to ignite a national controversy over terrorism and the limits of the First Amendment.

But as the whole world now knows, Herger did exactly that during one of those annoyingly titled “town hall meetings” about health care in his district. In his 15 minutes of You Tube fame, Herger responded “Amen, God bless you, there’s a great American,” after a constituent named Bert Stead had delivered an anti-government screed including the statement that he – Stead – is a “proud right-wing terrorist.” (On Monday, he said he meant to say “extremist,” not “terrorist.”)

At which point the hysterical left, led by the increasingly over-bearing Keith Olbermann, went nuts, accusing Herger and the Republican party of aiding and abetting enemies of America while also managing to turn the whole thing into a political fundraising bonanza.

As all erudite Calbuzzers know, Webster defines “unctuous” as “characterized by affected, exaggerated or insincere earnestness,” and the D’s reaction to the Herger video must be judged as a case of extreme unction.

They knew, or should have known, that Stead’s comment — intended or not — was a vamp on a recent statement by Indiana congressman Baron Hill – a Democrat – who was the first to throw around the T word, when he told the Post’s Peter Slevin why he wouldn’t hold a public meeting about health care: “What I don’t want to do is create an opportunity for the people who are political terrorists to blow up the meeting and not try to answer thoughtful questions.”

But when has context ever mattered in the politics of unctuousness?

That said, the Dems do have a legitimate beef in complaining about the massive double standard with which the O’Reilly-Limbaugh-Hannity right-wing sleaze machine deals with such matters: One can only imagine the phony outrage with which they would greet such a comment by a liberal Democrat – let alone what they would have done with footage of guys carrying guns, fercrineoutloud, to an event featuring President W.


Bruce Malkenhorst

Remember this name: With the latest projections of state deficits far, far into the future it seems clear that regardless of the issue du jour in Sacramento – Early release of felons! Water! Offshore oil! – the core issue of the 2010 campaign for governor must surely be the sorry-ass state of the state’s finances.

Woe to the political consultants working on the race, who make more money than Calbuzz, if you can imagine that. Where in the world are they to find vivid symbols and sound bites to package into powerful emotional messages that sum up the demagoguery of their candidates in such a complicated, confusing and boring policy issue?

No worries – that’s why God made Bruce Malkenhorst.

Malkenhorst is the former administrator of Vernon, Ca, the smallest city in Southern California, who has a pension of $499,674.84, ranking him number one on the list of nearly 5,000 CalPERS retirees who get more than $100,000 a year. (He’s also been indicted for embezzling city funds, but that’s a story for another day).

With reporters and anti-tax groups around the state filing blizzards of public records requests to divulge the names of those cashing in on the pension Big Casino – look here, here and here for a few examples – the issue of sweetheart retirement packages represents pure gold for campaign message mongers trying to harness free-floating voter outrage at government.

Dr. H predicts: 2010’s most popular drinking game – man up every time you hear the name “Malkenhorst.”

mark twain

Mark Twain

Oh, never mind: It was just a few weeks ago that parched Central Valley denizens and wildfire weary Southern Californians were cheered by predictions that meteorologists were projecting a drenching El Nino fall and winter. Now comes weather egghead Bill Patzert to call the whole thing off.

Never ones to pass up un cliché juste, Calbuzz at this point in the item was prepared to chuckle warmly and recall that Mark Twain said, “Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.” Unfortunately, as with many famous things Mark Twain said, he didn’t say it. So we’re calling that off too.