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What Little That's Left Of My Soul Is For Sale. Again.

Figures. Just as I launch my annual $6.5 billion C&J fundraiser to try and get by on candy corn and mac & cheese for another year, Harvard decides to announce their own $6.5 billion money-vacuuming operation. Well, thank you very much, The Intelligentsia. Love, the Fart Joke Institute for Lower Learning, aka me.

Treasure chest with light coming out of it
My soul is kept in this chest
with my toys and may be
viewed by appointment.
(Caution: May melt face.)
For those of you who are new'ish here: I started writing C&J almost ten years ago in my spare time. Six years ago my boss called from his yacht in Florida and informed me that my services writing commercials for products that didn’t kill people (most of the time) were no longer needed. Job search looming, I posted a "Ta Ta for Now" note here. The Daily Kos community took to the news like Grover Norquist to a bathtub full of governments not drowning

The next day, "you people" took up a collection and, in Kos's words, "bought my soul." You've leased my Essence 'd Billeh for six orbits now, and I'm thinking that Kosorcisms are awful messy business so why not kick this old can down the road for another year and save us all the trouble? It's what Congress would do, and they're up to, what, nine percent approval now? What could go wrong???

Now that another year has gone by, I think it's appropriate that I  review my accomplishments on your behalf in the hopes that you will consider continuing to pump me full of liquidity. So here, in detail, is my report of the last twelve months of C&J as I remember it:


Bill in Portland Maine doing silverware trick at a meetup.
I'll also do this trick at your next party!
(Disclaimer: trick only works 30% of the time.)
I promise to deliver more of the same in the coming twelve months. The snark, the Molly Ivins Moments, the puppy pics, the polls, the drunken posting of entire articles in violation of copyright laws in twelve star systems, the Wednesday Rapture Index, the five-year flashback (which, starting next year, will be mercifully free from the stench of the Bush presidency), a free orangesicle with any fill-up, and liveblogging my descent into madness as I careen between navigating Obamacare and turning 50.

Six years ago Kos set up PayPal accounts for both one-time donations and recurring monthly donations. The monthly subscriptions are hugely helpful for minimizing the total needed during this annual "pledge week," and I can't thank you enough for supporting C&J throughout the year. This year we're looking to raise just $15k in donations, in part because I feel bad that I might be stealing some of Harvard's $6.5 billion mojo. Here's the linkys:

One time contribution: click here.

$5 monthly contribution: click here

$10 monthly contribution: click here

$20 monthly contribution: click here

To send a donation via snail mail, the address is: Bill Harnsberger, 16 Pitt Street, Portland, ME, 04103.

If you're already a C&J subscriber through PayPal and you want to continue, you don’t have to do anything but feel good about your investment. If you donate $50 or more, I'll see to it that semi-retired grifter Mitt Romney visits your town to make sure your trees are the right height. Donate $100 or more and I'll see to it that he doesn't.

I never imagined when I started writing C&J out of sheer Dilbert-like boredom nine years ago that it would grow to be what it is today---a mental pressure-relief valve for many, a safe space free of pie fights where new Kossacks can get their feet wet and, above all, a place where we can snork at the lunacy---political and otherwise---that swirls around us like a swarm of drunken, ill-mannered cicadas wearing American-flag lapel pins. If you're up for another year of it, then...

[Pours stiff drink] am I.

Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Cheers and Jeers for Monday, September 23, 2013

Note: If you're walking along and you happen to trip over a stray hydrogen bomb, please place it in the nearest mailbox.  Return postage is guaranteed.  ---General J.B. Butterfingers


17 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til Jimmy Carter's 89th birthday: 8
Days 'til the Suffolk Peanut Festival in Virginia: 17
Increase in the Conference Board's index of leading indicators between July and August: 0.7%
Percent of 886 employees surveyed who prefer a traditional 9-to-5 workday: 54%
(Source: USA Today)
Amount Alaskans will each receive as part of the state's oil payout program, which is based on a five-year average of worldwide market prices : $900
Amount they got in 2008, the highest payout yet: $2,069
(Source: AP)
Current estimated death toll in the Nairobi mall massacre: 69


Puppy Pic of the Day:  Photobomb…er, dump


CHEERS to a tough job done well.  Maybe my memory's fuzzy, but I don’t remember any president having to comfort gun-massacre survivors with the frequency President Obama has.  Yesterday he spoke about the Washington Navy Yard shooting with his usual eloquence:

President Obama Speaks at a Memorial for Victims of the Navy Yard Shooting  Sept. 22, 2013.
President Obama speaks
on gun violence. Again.
"I fear there's a creeping resignation that this is somehow the new normal," Obama said. "It ought to obsess us, it ought to lead to some sort of transformation." … Obama said “these mass shootings occur against a backdrop of daily shootings,” come “about because of decisions we make or fail to make.”  He said gun murders in the United States are 10 times more prevalent than they are in other developed nations.

“What’s different in America is that it’s easy to get your hand on a gun,” he said.

And now, for an opposing opinion….

JEERS to people who make it too easy to get your hand on a %!!#!& gun!  Wayne LaPierre The Gun Industry got the velvet-glove treatment on Meet the Press Yesterday, during which he it changed his its line from "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun" to "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is 'enough' good guys with guns."  Personally, I see a third way: the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with enough guns.  As soon as we figure out how to grow extra appendages with itchy trigger fingers, we're golden.

CHEERS to great moments in naval warfare.  On September 23, 1779---during our War of Independence---Commodore John Paul George Ringo Jones, aboard the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard (named as a tribute to Ben Franklin) engaged the British man-of-war Serapis in the North Sea.  It was during this battle that Jones uttered the immortal words, "I have not yet begun to fight!"  Less known was the response from one of his crew: "Lemme guess: you're in management."

JEERS to Pope Francis: merry prankster.  What a sneaky little bait-and-switcher he turned out to be.  Last Thursday he made headlines when he said that Catholics shouldn’t be so gol'durned fixated on (along with gays and contraception) abortion.  Then, less than a day later, he was all like, "Abortion THIS, abortion THAT, you'll die and go to hell if you even think about abortion!  Ooogus Boogus Maximus!!!"  Sounds to me like Benedict is back in the speech-writing business.

CHEERS to hands-on leadership.  On September 23, 1889, a playing-card game company called "Nintendo Koppai" was founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi.  The company later became known simply as Nintendo and the rest, as they say, is history.  Sadly, last week Yamauchi's grandson, Hiroshi (Japanese for "Luigi") died at 85:

Donkey Kong game by Nintendo
I run this course every
night in my dreams.
"He understood the social value of play, and economic potential of electronic gaming. Most importantly he steered Nintendo on its own course and was unconcerned by the actions of his competitors. He was a true visionary."

Rob Crossley, associate editor of Computer and Video Games magazine, told the BBC: "You cannot overestimate the influence the man had on the games industry.  He spearheaded Nintendo as they moved into the arcade business, with hits such as Donkey Kong.  This man was the president of Nintendo during the NES, the SNES, the N64 and the Gamecube---the first two were transformative pieces of electronic entertainment."

Yamauchi's fortune was worth $2.1 billion.  Half of it in quarters.

CHEERS to the Emmy Awards.  Pleasant but overstuffed (and therefore boring), winners last night for excellence in stuff you watch on your phone included The Colbert Report (x 2), Louis C.K. (again), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (again) for Veep, and series Modern Family (again) and Breaking Bad (first time yay!).  This tweet from Joe.My.God after Behind the Candelabra beat The Bible for best TV movie is priceless:

Oh, and Bob Newhart (winner, guest actor, for Big Bang Theory) got his long-overdue standing ovation.  And all is right in the universe.

JEERS to the pooch who saved Tricky Dick.  On this date in 1952, Ike's veep candidate Richard Nixon delivered a milestone in televised ass-covering when he gave his famous Checkers speech on national TV.  Talk about laying it on thick:

Richard Nixon with his dog Checkers
"They impeach
your ass yet?"
I should say this, that Pat doesn't have a mink coat. But she does have a respectable Republican cloth coat, and I always tell her she would look good in anything.

One other thing I probably should tell you, because if I don't they will probably be saying this about me, too.  We did get something, a gift, after the election.

A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog and, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore, saying they had a package for us.  We went down to get it.  You know what it was?  It was a little cocker spaniel dog, in a crate that he had sent all the way from Texas---black and white, spotted, and our little girl Tricia, the six year old, named it Checkers.

And you know, the kids, like all kids, loved the dog, and I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we are going to keep it.

Noting his blatant disregard for the law, the FEC hauled his ass off to jail, where he languished for 40 years.  [Poof!!!]  Whoa.  I just had the coolest dream.


Five years ago in C&J: September 23, 2008

ZAP! BIFF! POW! to the "Rumble in the Temple Beth Elungle."  Incumbent Maine Senator Susan "Nail Eater" Collins and her challenger, Congressman Tom "Mad Dog" Allen, met for their first no-holds-barred debate Sunday morning.  Collins came out swinging with a mild rebuke of Wall Street!  Allen hit back hard with a gentle disagreement on the Iraq War!  Collins responded with a slow-motion finger wag.  Allen SLAMMED Collins by staring at her without blinking for 45 seconds.  The crowd responded with a resounding, "What, no doughnuts?"  It got so crazy the security guard almost woke up.

JEERS to not-so-fond-farewells.  Yesterday President el Ducko Lame-o George Bush traveled to the United Nations to show his disdain for the organization one last time.  Among other things, he said that rainbow-powered chariots would soon deliver bags of gold coins to all the peoples of all the lands, courtesy of the American taxpayer.  And I got to thinking: the president of the United States will talk to the U.N. about the bailout, but he won’t talk to us about it?  Lucky us.


And just one more…

CHEERS to making a grand entrance.  At 4:44 ET yesterday afternoon, Autumn officially kicked summer's ass to the curb.  At C&J we once again twittered our fingertips down to the nub keeping the world on the edge of its seat during the countdown. Here's how it went down:

15 minutes 'til autumn. I'm mulling cider. (Yes! Double entendre! Nailed it!!!)
10 minutes 'til Autumn!!! (Unless the universe has other plans...)

Autumn scene
Grab a rake.
9 minutes 'til Autumn. The flowers are busy writing out their wills and saying goodbye.
8 minutes 'til Autumn. The mums don't really give a shit yet. (Of course, they always think they're invincible...)
7 minutes 'til Autumn and I don't have a THING to wear but this tiny maple leaf.
6 minutes 'til Autumn. This is where the autumn livetweeting gets sorta boring.
5 minutes 'til Autumn!!! And New England from full color to a warm sepia tone.
4 minutes 'til Autumn. Bleh. The livetweeting just got boring again.
3 minutes 'til Autumn. I just set out cookies and milk for when Autumn Claus comes down the chimney.
2 minutes 'til Autumn. The acetate platter of "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" is on the Victrola.
1 minute 'til Autumn, and I'd just like to say to summer: You are SO outta here.
[Fwoomp!!!] HAPPY AUTUMN!!!!!
And you know what that means, right?  Only 90 days 'til winter!  Let the countdown begin…

Have a nice Monday, and thanks again for supporting this little oasis on the internet with your rare $50,000 bills.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?


Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

The Cambrian explosion, the evolutionary "big bang" that led to the emergence of a trove of complex life forms, was caused by Bill in Portland Maine, researchers argue.


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