Category Archives: satire

Katie deserves Oscar nom for five-year run as Mrs Tom Cruise


English: Cropped image of Tom Cruise and Katie...

I feel a little bad for Tom Cruise getting served with divorce papers only a few days before turning 50.  Especially, since, according to tabloid headlines, he was completely blindsided by it.  Only days earlier he and Katie were holding hands walking around the streets of Iceland.

Apparently the reality of being married to Tom did not live up to Katie’s teen-age fantasy of marrying one of the most famous movie stars of our generation.    But the breakup may have less to do with Tom as husband and father than of his adherence to the practice of Scientology.   We don’t know that, but let’s look at the facts, such as they are.  Which is to say we have no idea what we are talking about.  The facts as we know them are pure speculation based on what we read in the tabloids.

We do know for a fact that Katie managed to stay in for 5 years.  I have to wonder how long she had been thinking about calling it quits?  Her father had time to hatch and carry out a plan that involved firing all the help who might have made her exit “problematic” (the Scientology police?) and replace them with people loyal to Katie.  That had to take a few months to put together!  And whose idea was it?   Did it start with her, or did her parents pull a sort of intervention to get her to admit she wanted out?

One tabloid headline suggested Katie was not the happy-go-lucky young woman her parents knew she had been 5 years earlier and they apparently blamed marriage to Tom for her emotional decline.  That her exit from the marriage required the staff to be replaced seems like a move out of the textbook on how to de-program people caught up in religious cults.   Not that I am suggesting Scientology is a cult.  I am not suggesting this, but certain entire countries in Europe have, more or less officially, suggested it.  Such as France.  Not that we are naming names.

The Cruises rented a home in Pittsburgh this past year while Tom was filming Ghost Protocol, and were photographed in various locations enjoying some good times as a family.  Tom took Suri ice skating.  The whole family went shopping for fresh produce at a local farm market.  The three of them are some of the most genetically lucky people I know in the good looks department.  The perfect family.   So full of hope.

But the question lingering in my mind is, when did Katie know she had to get out?  Five years isn’t that long.  She needed at least a year to pull off the legal stuff with her dad, get a place to live, change her cell number, and schedule the moving van.  So that’s year four.  She would have to admit to herself it was over way before that — but even once she got that gut feeling she probably didn’t say the words out loud until around year 3.

My guess is she knew it was over before she got pregnant with Suri (mid-way through year one) and once she had her daughter it just got complicated.

A Google search of the number of years women stay in a marriage after they have decided to divorce was no help at all — even Google Scholar didn’t have an answer to that question.  If anyone knows the SEO terms for this concept, I’d be obliged if you’d send me the keywords or the links to the articles!

What I did learn from my search was that 90 percent of women who think about divorce never go through with getting one.  And if you have been married at least 10 years, you are nearly 70 percent more likely to stay married to that person.   If you want the link to those stats, you can Google it.

Huffington Post has an entire department devoted to the topic of divorce.  Check out the comments there to this question posed to readers.  Complete this sentence: “The moment I knew (my marriage was over) … ”  If you needed any more evidence of man’s inhumanity to man — and I am speaking, of course, in the inclusive voice here — you will find it in those responses!   As one might expect, infidelity was a frequent cause but in other stories there were actually weapons involved!  The saddest cases were those involving people who were seriously ill and their spouses reacted with callous indifference.

My point is, even the fairy-tale marriage isn’t guaranteed to succeed.  Remember these famous marriages that everyone said would last forever?  John and Elizabeth Edwards.  Al and Tipper Gore.   Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley…

Lest you think I have forgotten that most tragic and fractured fairy-tale couple of our time  — Prince Charles and Lady Diana — I say, well duh.  But should we not look beyond our love and devotion to Diana and consider that the fairy-tale-come-true was really Camilla’s eventual marriage to Charles?  No. We should not.  Even if it probably is.

At long last, we come to the moral of the story, which is that neither wealth, good looks, great teeth, being able to fit into a size 3 dress, diamond tiaras, fame, or a particular faith — whether orthodox or un — guarantees a successful run at marriage.

My parents recently celebrated seventy years of marriage.  Seven-O.  They are 90 and 93 years old.  I never heard them say an angry word to one another.  My dad always gave my mom a peck on the lips and a hug when he came home from work.  Then he sat down in his arm-chair until supper with the newspaper, after which he returned to his chair and read the paper and watched TV until bedtime.  He changed the oil in his cars, kept them polished, mowed the lawn, and paid the bills.  Mom fixed the meals and kept the house, only working outside the home a few years when things were tight.   They would be lost without each other.   When asked how they lasted this long they just shrug.  Something about mutual respect and never considering the alternative.

So if you have been in a successful relationship for longer than 10 years, hang in there.  It’s nothing to sneeze at.  Don’t screw it up.  You are our role models.

And we need more role models.  Like Bill and Hillary Clinton.  Seriously.  If a relationship so publicly violated as that between Hillary and Bill Clinton can survive, there is hope for us all.

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Filed under celebrity, Family, parenting, Pittsburgh, Relationships, Religion, satire, Society, Women

Dear Newt: Will there finally be healthcare for all on the Moon?


Who will win the race for Moon Colony Healthcare Provider?

Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich promises to colonize the Moon if he is elected. I guess he will let the hard questions be answered by NASA, but I suspect he hasn’t really thought this through.

For instance, are we claiming the Moon as a territory of the United States? We ARE the only ones who have been there, so I suppose that’s just as good a reason as any. Hard to believe we’re considering taking a place over that no one else wants… what do we know about the Moon that other governments don’t?

Many questions need to be answered before I become a Moon colonist. For instance, if the Moon becomes American territory, can its residents vote? And can Moon children grow up to become president some day? But the important question for me, as a mother and a person destined to become old, is, “What will my Moon citizen health care options will be?”

Let’s say your family volunteers to help populate the Moon. On the way there your child comes down with the flu. You cannot receive medical benefits until you complete your mandatory six-month quarantine period. And besides, the medical plan considers this a “pre-existing condition” since it happened before you landed on Lunar soil. Luckily, you discover that Moon dust actually deters the development of the flu virus and your child gets well quickly. You have dodged a bullet this time!

See, this whole Moon colony idea is just a wee bit premature. If we take a few decades and get some really smart people with no presidential aspirations whatsoever together to plan this brave new world, we might be able to fix a few things that aren’t working so well down here on the mother planet. This could be our one chance at a “do-over.”

That will never happen.

I suspect that what the government will do is set up some of their cronies in various industries with exclusive rights to provide services to the Moon colonization project. There will be a race to be the first bank, the first casino, the first Moonrover dealership, and the first health care provider.

I would not be surprised to learn there is already a bidding war between Highmark and UPMC over who gets that first health care contract. Those two not-for-profit healthcare systems are already duking it out for total control of the market. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the first highly produced commercials for their Moon Medicine Research team rolled out during the Super Bowl this year.

No, there will be no improvements in how things run on the Moon. Because we still don’t have consensus down here about what’s broken, and the really smart people who know how to fix things are staying away from politics in droves.

We are going to start a new society up there and we’re going to screw that one up too.

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Is Tim Tebow the Messiah?


Tim Tebow giving God the glory

Here’s the thing.  If God wanted to get the attention of as many Americans as possible right now, how would he do it?

Would he start small by appearing to a few people and asking them to spread the word that he’s back?  That worked pretty well last time around, except it took a few centuries to really take hold and quite a few people got martyred as a result.

With the internet, the word could spread immediately with posts on Facebook.  What are you doing?  “OMG I saw Jesus today and he said to tell you all he’s back and wants everyone to meet next Saturday night at Mile High Stadium to prepare for the rapture.  Please post this on your wall and ask everyone you know to do the same.” 

But the shelf life of a Facebook post is kind of short.   Twitter might be able to drum up a pretty good crowd for Jesus in Denver with a flash mob shout-out from Ellen Degeneres.  IF she offered a couple grand in cash to the person who could point out Jesus in the crowd.

How is Jesus going to get our attention?  How will we KNOW its really him? I mean, there are so many distractions right now –is it really a good time for Jesus to return?

We’re trying to pick another president for crying out loud!  The Republican Primary is in full swing and has become a platform for discussions of morality and pondering the question of whether certain religions are “true” Christian religions, and, whether, if you commit adultery but are very, very sorry about it, that’s good enough to qualify you as the favorite candidate of true believers.

This is all probably Satan’s doing, of course.  Satan operates not unlike Rupert Murdoch in putting out disinformation that is tantalizing enough to keep us distracted from the truth.  We can’t handle the truth.  It’s just not that interesting.  The primaries are only interesting because they are like a reality show.  On this show, we watch the players scheme to eliminate the other candidates before we get the chance to vote them off the ballot.   Maybe if we got to text our votes in November, more people would play along at home?

What of those who are not paying attention to politics?  They are likely distracted from the news that “Jesus is back in the building” because they have no jobs and fear they will soon be homeless.  Or they are living in fear that their kids will put them out to die on a rapidly melting iceberg (curse you, global warming!) because they can’t afford a proper nursing home.  Actually, that last one might not be so bad — from what I’ve seen, the iceberg might be preferable to the nursing home.

But I digress.

Ok, we have a lot going on in our lives, and we’re pretty focused on day-to-day survival.  But we still have the one simple distraction from our misery that is open to all economic groups, races, cultures, ages, and genders.  And that is sports.  Sports fandom to be exact.  It gives us hope when there often is none.  Where I live, it’s one particular sport: Football.

Enter Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos v. the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Who wouldda thunk it?” said one of the commentators after the six-time Superbowl Champion Steelers lost in overtime because of a Tim Tebow pass that was taken all the way to the end zone.   Improbable.  But it happened.  Incredible.  Tim Tebow is either the luckiest stiff in the NFL or he truly has God on his side.

Our guys pray too.  They go to church.  They talk about their personal relationships with Jesus Christ too.  But Tebow!  He’s OUT there.  Like it or not, he has created world-wide buzz about his commitment to Jesus Christ not just because he talks about it, and not just because he takes a knee on the gridiron, but because the man just keeps coming through when he has to.

The Broncos could have won that game in overtime by moving the ball steadily down the field yard by yard and then kicking for the 3 points.  But no.  The so-called “inconsistent” passer puts it right in the hands of the receiver and the Steelers’ diminished defensive line is powerless to stop him.  Season over.  Just like that.

The only reason I can find for Tim Tebow’s success is that he actually IS Jesus Christ incarnate.   He’s just enough human to fumble a few now and then and he’s just enough God to deliver when it really counts.  His witness on the field and off is unapologetically directed at drawing attention to God.

If you want to get the American public’s attention, you have to go where they are.  And where they are on Sunday is at the football game — in the stands or in front of the TV.   Tim Tebow is news, and because of last week’s game even MORE people know about him and are talking about his faith and wondering — is God really answering his prayers?  Will he answer mine too?

So there you have it.  There is no other explanation.  Tim Tebow is the Messiah.

See you all in Denver for the rapture!  Dress warm — you won’t need to pack for this trip.  It’s one way.

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Filed under celebrity, Humor, Pittsburgh, Politics, Religion, satire, Sports

“It is what it is? Whatever!”


“It is what it is.”  The cliché of the decade — not just of 2004 when USA Today voted it the #1 cliché of the year. It is the grown-up version of the popular teen retort “Whatever.”  A total cop-out.

I’m hearing this phrase so often now that I cringe when someone says it.  It is as if the world suddenly discovered if we just say those five little words we’re off the hook.  

When you say it is what it is, you are also closing the door on the discussion.  And you cannot argue with the logic nor the convenience it affords us to deflect blame or to shift blame to others. 

I want to reply to this phrase “Ok, but what it IS is not acceptable.  What was it SUPPOSED to be and how are YOU/WE going to make that happen?”

 Employee: “We could not meet the deadline in time.  No one is at fault.  It is what it is.”

 Supervisor: “The company lost the contract because you didn’t meet the deadline.  You’re fired.  Nothing personal.  It is what it is.”

On the domestic front, the phrase works for both parents AND kids:

Parent: “You left the trash cans on the curb a second day in a row.”

Youth: “Don’t stroke out over it, it is what it is.  I’ll do it in the morning.”

Parent:  “Then you may refer to your iPod as ‘it was what it was’ in the morning.”

It seems to me that the phrase reveals a fatalistic and defeatist attitude.  What you MEAN when you use it is that nothing can be done to change the situation.  And someone else has to take responsibility.  It’s an excuse for poor performance, or its a reflection on the boss’s decisions.  Which may be true.  But you can’t say “The boss couldn’t lead their way out of a paper bag with a GPS and a flashlight” out loud at the water cooler.  You just have to take it for what “it is.”

At first, when I learned this handy phrase, I used it often.  I felt it helped me fit in. Now I’m sick of it. 

So I believe I have found my New Year’s Resolution.  To stamp out the use of “it is what it is” from the American lexicon.  I will make any person I supervise memorize this promise and repeat it, hand over heart, each morning as we all stand in a circle before our group hug:  “I shall accept blame if I perform poorly, and strive to fulfill my obligations beyond expectations and without excuses for coming up short.”  I will create posters for the office bulletin board that declare the space an excuse free zone.   I will stick my fingers in my ears and waggle them while repeating “blah blah blah blah blah” to drown out the offensive words.  I will do a “spit take” with my coffee when someone uses the phrase – aiming directly at the offending person. 

These measures are sure to be effective in eradicating the phrase.   They will also likely get me fired.   Unless I worked at Dunder Mifflin.  Or were a member of Congress.

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Magic Oil Spill Dispersant: Blow up the TV, throw away the paper


Is there a stronger word than disaster for what is happening in the Gulf?  Because there have been a lot of disasters around the world in recent months, but this one seems to rise above the rest.  The word requires additional adjectives to drive home the point – after 50 days of spewing oil what we have is a cataclismic, life-altering, deadly, preventable disaster.  And that is still an understatement.

Disasters are a dime a dozen these days.  Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, sink holes, yadda yadda yadda. I mean, how many “disasters” can the inhabitants of this planet take before we all crawl into our bunkers to retreat into denial, eyes shut tight, fingers in our ears, babbling “la la la la la la la” to block out reality?  When the pictures of oil soaked pelicans and globs of unrefined oil get to be too much, why suffer?  If it isn’t on the Tee Vee it isn’t real, so just turn it off and go about your business. What you don’t know won’t hurt you, right?

Words cannot describe what is happening in the Gulf nor the long-term effect it will have on everyone living and those not yet born.  And the visuals have not done it justice – wait for the pictures from space to get some perspective. 

It is as if someone severed our planetary jugular vein.  Earth will not “bleed out” and die, but the “blood” that is gushing from inside her is killing her slowly anyway.   Oil has no natural coagulant to stop the flow.  Earth does not grow new skin to cover its wounds.  

I heard a song on an alternative radio station tonight asking the question “What if God smokes cannabis?”  If I were God, I would be smoking cannabis now.  I created it, right?  So why not make use of it? Now seems as good a time as any.  Because if I were God, I would seriously be rethinking the design flaws in the planet and the human race and wishing I had run the specs past a few angelic focus groups and tested the prototype before I rolled out the final version.   I think God erred in assigning too few brain cells to whatever hemisphere allows us to care for something besides our own interests.  Is there an app for that?

And what if we ARE the prototype?

I hope God gets it right with the upgrade.

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A “Difficult Economy” Christmas Story Part 2


A “Difficult Economy” Christmas Story Part 2  It’s 2009 and Ralphie is all grown up with a family of his own to support.

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