September 2008


We have a new member of the family, Ethel, an 11-month-old border collie mix who loves people, hates cars, and loves to walk.  So as you can see, we already have a lot in common.  Sarah and I saw her on Sunday at the SPCA, but when our backs were turned, another couple were with her in the adoption room.  Unable to imagine anyone not adopting her, we left thinking we’d missed our chance.  I returned on Tuesday (they’re closed Mondays) and there she was saying, please, please, please:

Naturally I brought her home.  Here she is out of the slammer:

Note the blurry tail.  It typically wags so forcefully as to throw her off balance.  Ethel was her shelter name, but it suits her, and after I watched the third affectionate volunteer wishing her farewell—Ethel! Ethel! Ethel!—I decided to stick with a name that clearly had such positive associations.

  • Greed is good.
  • The market knows best.
  • Government regulation is bad.
  • Europe should be more like us.
  • What’s good for Wall Street is good for America.

It’s beginning to sound like we’ve got some contenders for Republicans’ biggest whoppers to eclipse “Saddam has WMD’s” and “You’re doing a heckuva job, Brownie!”  We now know that “compassionate conservatism” means a helping hand to the rich.  Capitalism for profits; socialism for losses.  Gotta keep those fundamentals sound.

Adios, investment banks.  Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out! Watch the first step, might be a helluva ways down without a golden parachute.

Ever since the choice of Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate, I’ve been kind of bummed.  I figure if John McCain is in the White House, with everybody in DC packing a gun now, he’s bound to call the wrong person “friend” and Palin’s going to end up President.  I’ve been trying to figure out how this can possibly be a good thing for me or the country and coming up with nothing, when just yesterday I got a very nice fan letter from a young woman who was reading my books out of her local library—about the only place one can find my books these days.  They’re sure not down at the Barne$ & Noble.  Then it dawned on me how a Palin Presidency could be good for me.  She can ban my books!

As most people have heard by now, the famous former mayor of Wasilla asked her town’s librarian if she would be down with, you know, taking a few books off the shelf if the mayor didn’t like them.  No specific books were named.  Palin was just trying to establish the Censor-in-Chief principle involved—that the chief executive’s job is to keep bad books off the shelves.

That got me to thinking about my books this innocent young girl had just read:  a woman turning into a wolf and liking it, reincarnation and blasphemy, clones and virtual immortality, anarchist time travelers.  Shit.  We can’t have that stuff on the shelves, can we, Sarah?  You can’t waffle on your principles!  What’s good for Wasilla’s good for the world, right?  Look what censorship did for Joyce, Salinger, Miller, Burroughs, Vonnegut, Dan the man Brown, for chrissakes.  My career’s in a slump now.  I could use the notoriety.  The  book I’m writing now, Sarah?  Get this:  Lucifer is the hero.  He gets into the dreams of children.  C’mon, Sarah.  You need to get out ahead of this.  You’re for shooting wolves out of planes.  Surely you can shoot Wilderness off the shelves.  Let’s see what you got.  Bring it on.  Go ahead.  Make my day.  I want you to.

How can you help?  The two or three of you who read this blog?  Email Sarah Palin today.  Tell her, “You’ve got to ban this Danvers’ guys books now before he pollutes any more young minds!  And don’t forget Robert Sydney—more evil under another name!”  The way I figure it, some of my stuff might have to come back into print so that people can get copies for the book burnings.  Maybe a few audio books would be nice.  I remember when the Dixie Chicks were being worked over by the Country First crowd, the satisfying crunch those CDs made.  There’s that dreadful movie version of Wilderness… I might toss that on the blaze.  The important thing now is to get behind Sarah Palin, future Censor-in-Chief of America!  C’mon!  Burn baby burn!  Burn baby burn!  Everybody…

I heard this Tom Russell tune on NPR’s Weekend Edition on Sunday.  Check it out here.

Who’s Gonna Build Your Wall?

by Tom Russell

I‘ve got 800 miles of open border
Right outside my door.
There’s minute men in little pick up trucks
Who’ve declared their own damn war.
Now the government wants to build
A barrier like old Berlin 8 feet tall,
But if uncle Sam sends the illegals home,
Who’s gonna build the wall?

Refrain:
Who’s gonna build your wall boys?
Who’s gonna mow your lawn?
Who’s gonna cook your Mexican food
When your Mexican maid is gone?
Who’s gonna wax the floors tonight
Down at the local mall?
Who’s gonna wash your baby‘s face?
Who’s gonna build your wall?

Now I ain’t got no politics
So don’t lay that rap on me
Left wing, right wing, up wing, down wing—
I see strip malls from sea to shining sea.
It’s the fat cat white developer
Who’s created this whole damn squall.
It’s a pyramid scheme of dirty jobs,
And who’s gonna build your wall?

Refrain

We’ve got fundamentalist Muslims.
We’ve got fundamentalist Jews.
We’ve got fundamentalist Christians.
They‘ll blow the whole thing up for you.
But as I travel around this big old world,
There’s one thing that I most fear.
It’s a white man in a golf shirt
With a cell phone in his ear.

Refrain

As many of you know, I like to indulge in a little political satire once in a while.  I was getting pretty psyched leading up to the Republican National Convention, hoping to be inspired.  But how do you satirize something so absurd as McCain’s vp pick and the continuing soap opera to follow?  I just hide and watch waiting for the next revelation.  I love how they keep saying Obama’s got no relevant experience, when he taught constitutional law for twelve years, but seeing how the Republicans have been treating the Constitution lately, they might consider that an impediment.  A good abstinence only education and experience shooting wolves is more important in a world leader after all.