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Sigh. This is a depressing inauguration. Does anyone still Hope for Change? Obama obviously lacks the political skills of, say, a Bill Clinton, and he also lacks the steadfastness of a crusader. And the other side! Seems like I can't talk to my conservative friends these days without hearing such idiotic claptrap as "Obama is a Communist!" or "They're going to try to confiscate our guns, and then there's going to be a civil war!" Maybe there should be a civil war. We can beat their asses for good this time, and--hey!--make slaves of them! In this age of irony, wouldn't that be the ironist? Ah, fuck it. We're doomed. That's why I made a new Pud.


The other day a friend advised me not to get into a pissing contest with someone. I was stunned. I had no idea there were such contests, and I knew nothing about them: were there entry fees? Who was going to judge it? What kinds of prizes were there?--that kind of thing. Upon reflection, though, I realized that I would do very very badly in such a contest. I'm what you would call a leisurely practitioner, as opposed to these testostemen who stride up to the urinal and let go as if they were a Southern sheriff aiming a firehose at peace marchers. I can envision being in the midst of competition and having a referee tap me on the shoulder. "Shake a leg, grandpop! We've got to set up for the freestyle competition." So I will definitely rule out entering pissing contests, and will content myself with the knowledge that this other person, whom I've always thought of as a hateful bastard, engages in public urination for prizes.


I know, I repeated the same headline twice. This is for SEO reasons, and if you don't know what SEO means, then I can only pity you. Let me patiently explain it to you, as if to a child: doing this will help my blog to show up when someone does a search for "interesting objects viewed without glasses." The other reason SEO is valuable is that it provides people with marginal skills the opportunity to pose as "experts" in a field for which there is no expertise, just as there is no expertise in picking up discarded paper cups with a pointed stick and depositing them in trash cans. But people will pay such experts significant amounts of money to avail themselves of their expertise, which gains them nothing. And isn't that what capitalism is all about? I'm going to take a moment now and put my hand over my heart and think about how many people consider Ronald Reagan a great president. It brings a tear to my eye. Just like poking it with a pointed stick used to pick up paper cups would.


You know how you wake up in the middle of the night with a terrific, earthshaking idea, and you sleepily scramble for a pen and a scrap of paper to write it down because you know otherwise you'll never remember it in the morning? And then you get back under the covers and realize you have to pee--well, forget that part. This happened to me last night, and when I woke up this morning and saw the drug store receipt with scrawling on the back of it, I suddenly remembered having done it. I eagerly reached for my glasses and read the idea that was bound to bring me riches and fame. On the paper it said, "buy shoelace." What a disappointment! You can't even buy one shoelace. I mean, you could buy a pair and throw one of them away, but where's the genius in that? Buy shoelace. Better get used to the Campbell's soup, I guess.


I research these topics so you people don't have to. So you can go ahead and take acting lessons or have a butt wax or learn to speak Finnish or have skin harvested from your thigh or watch a Scooby Doo marathon or build a Van der Graaf generator from popsicle sticks or try out for the Green Bay Packers or wear a ball gag or embed a year's worth of your fingernail clippings in clear gelatin or make yourself sick imagining there's a naked man in your attic or learn to imitate your computer's alert sounds or discover a new imaginary vegetable or have your name legally changed to a picture of Chinese food or make one of your enemies the executor of your estate just to annoy them or attend a meeting wearing a mouth guard or hand everyone you meet a cigarette or I don't know, do I have to think of everything?


Some cartoons are consequential. I'm thinking of the Family Circus panel in 2002 that caused the vote of no confidence in the Japanese Prime Minister and brought down the government. That Jeffy! Sylvia Plath claimed in her suicide note that it was a New Yorker cartoon that she didn't understand that tipped her over the edge. This cartoon, however, is without consequence. No one will--oh, I'm sorry, I'm being distracted by the opening moments of the World Cup match between the Netherlands and Uruguay. One of the most entertaining moments of these things is the singing of their national anthems. Evidently one quality that sets apart world-class futbollers is their total inability to carry a tune. But in the case of Uruguay, who could blame them? Their national anthem sounds like a frothy little Gilbert & Sullivan piece as interpreted by Frank Zappa. The players are gamely trying to handle it, but they're coming off sounding like a West Virginia snake-handling congregation bursting into spontaneous speaking-in-tongues behavior. Ooh, I hope this entry doesn't cause political unrest in Uruguay. At least it won't have been the cartoon.