Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny: June 2005

Is this where I put in key words such as sex, lesbians, vampires, Christopher Lloyd and others things to which this blog do not pertain, but by putting them here, I may get hits from all the Christoper Lloyd lesbian vampire fans (and you know who you are)? This is the primarily humorous and occasionally rambling writings of Leon Tchaikovsky, humor writer. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Defense Department is a Subversive Plot

Just a few days after Karl Rove stated that anyone who says the war in Iraq is not going well is being unpatriotic, Donald Rumsfeld stated the war is not going as well as expected and that we may be there far longer than originally expected. Thus, may I now presume that the Defense Secretary is, in fact, unpatriotic?

Humor is pointing out the contradictions of life and brain’s reconciling the contradictions with laughter. We learn this at an early age from our parents, who go to extremes to protect their children from harm, and after all these protections, torture their children. I want to tell you one repressed memory that I recall from babyhood: in fact, I remember pledging that someday when I grow up I would get a blog and warn the world, on behalf of babies everywhere: stop blowing bubbles on babies tummies. You think babiesenjoy it, but believe me, that is a tortuous laughter. Just quit it.

I hate to admit it, but we viewers do stereotype actors. I’m sorry, Gilbert Godfrey, but I don’t see you doing Shakespeare in Central Park, although, frankly, I think that would be a grand idea. I recently saw the movie “Julius Caesar”, and I realized that viewers were thinking, “that’s not Julius Caesar, that’s the weird guy from “Six Feet Under”, you know, the guy who wants to sleep with his sister.” Maybe, instead of portraying Julius Caesar, he should have been portraying Caligula.

I remember one of my earlier adventures in Washington, D.C. Now, D.C. locals may quickly realize our mistake, but remember, we were naïve out-of-towners. I was staying at the Mayflower Hotel, as well another out-of-towner politico hitting D.C. pretty much for the first time. We decided to go out and get something to drink. Now, we assumed that, just because the Mayflower Hotel is an elegant hotel, that the surrounding neighborhood all had to be top scale. So, we walked down a block, saw what looked like a fancy bar, and sat down. I was a little embarrassed as the server’s blouse was a little showing, and I suggested that she may want to do pull up her blouse as something was showing. Of course, what she did next was another alternative. We then noticed that all the servers had poor dress habits. Suddenly, we realized that we were two married politicos in a topless bar, and, knowing how our reputations and marriages could be ruined if we were spotted there, we quickly finished our three rounds of drinks and left. We then found an acceptable place with well dressed patrons and extremely well dressed servers and sat down there for drinks. Everyone was so well dressed we presumed there is where the D.C. professionals all hang out. After awhile, my friend asked “have you noticed that there are only men in here?” It had not occurred to me but, again, since D.C. operated on the old boy network, I just presumed this was where the old boy network had some drinks…and discussed politics…and kissed each other, and that’s when we realized we weren’t in Kansas (although, I am certain there are gay bars in Kansas. I wonder what people say there: “we’re not in Greenwich Village anymore?”)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Rove, Rove, Rock the Boat

Karl Rove stated that liberals are people who think terrorists are people who need therapy. I don’t understand this statement at all. What’s the alternative to what he said? Terrorists DON’T need therapy? Frankly, if someone’s career goals are to strap on explosives and kill people and themselves, I think they might be candidates for therapy.

Rove also said that liberals who state the war is not going well are unpatriotic. I didn’t realize all the Generals saying exactly that were unpatriotic. Rove claimed such statements endanger our troops. Actually, I think sending the troops to Iraq might be what is endangering them.

Karl Rove also stated “I love Jeb Bush.” Hey, don’t ask, don’t tell.

Critics of a new book claiming Hillary Clinton is a lesbian note that not one lesbian has stepped forward to claim she ever had sex with Senator Clinton. Bill, though, has offered to arrange for one.

“Star Wars” continues to bother me. Its character of wisdom is someone who can’t even understand the basics of sentence structure.

A scientist involved in studying global warming passed away. There will be no jokes until his body is cold. Which, according to his theory, may be awhile.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Book Review: "Don't Call Me Boss"

David Lawrence, Governor of Pennsylvania from 1959-1963 and longtime Democratic Party leader in Pittsburgh, and to a lesser extent statewide, is the subject of this biography. While he directed the Pittsburgh Democratic Party for decades before serving as Pittsburgh’s Mayor for 13 years and then capping his career as our Governor for four years, the one thing he refused to be called was “boss.” While he was a leader, he refused to be considered by others as a boss, hence the title of this book.

Lawrence literally grew up in politics, volunteering in his first campaign at the age of nine. He performer various, mostly gopher and literature distribution tasks for the Democratic Party during the dark era when the Democratic Party was barely functioning. Lawrence rose to chair the Pittsburgh Democratic Party where he strove to create a political operation. Times were not good for Democrats: they would even lose the minority Jury Commissioner’s seat to an independent candidate. At times, the electoral futility of the local Democrats would lead to calls for a new party chairman. Yet Lawrence held on for an important reason: no one else wanted to spend the amount of time Lawrence did in being the party chairman.

Lawrence brought slow but mixed successes to the Democratic Party. In 1929, he proudly announced that Democrats finally had enough supporters to place poll watchers at every Allegheny County precinct. On the negative side, the number of Democratic Party registrants fell in half while Lawrence was county chairman before it began increasing again. Lawrence even admitted that the Democratic organization frequently cooperated with the dominant Republican Party at times in return for patronage positions. Patronage then was very important, as half of the 5,200 registered Democrats in Allegheny County in the late 1920s held political jobs.

Two important events would shape politics, and with them, Lawrence’s life. First, Republicans even back then were dishonest, as it was exposed that Republicans had illegally registered about 50,000 voters. This led the public to correctly identify the Republican Party as the party of corruption. Second, the election of Franklin Roosevelt and the efforts of Democratic Party’s New Deal social programs to save America from depression transformed American politics. It would help David Lawrence’s career that he was an early FDR supporter and that his work for Democrats won him much regard.

Following Roosevelt’s election in 1932, George Earle became the first Democrat elected Governor in Pennsylvania since 1894. David Lawrence became Democratic State Chairman. In addition, Governor Earle selected Lawrence to serve as Secretary of the Commonwealth, which was a highly influential policy office. It also found Lawrence divided between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, as Lawrence continue to lead the Allegheny County Democrats. Meanwhile, Roosevelt’s WPA program brought $70 million to Allegheny County, of which 80% of that went towards wages, brining many people out of the depression into employment. Soon, Democratic registration surpassed Republican registration in Pittsburgh. Lawrence is credited with building a powerful local Democratic Party organization, and it is noted that Republicans never won a major election in Pittsburgh from 1938 through 1966, when Lawrence died.

In Harrisburg, Lawrence was placed in charge of getting legislative approval of Governor Earle’s Little New Deal proposals. Earle and Lawrence fortunately had cooperative Democratic House legislators, as the House had its first Democratic majority in half a century. Lawrence saw to it that the House Steering Committee consisted of members who supported the Little New Deal. Lawrence attended most House and Senate legislative sessions, sitting at the side with a vacant chair, where he provided his advice, often to a legislator sitting in the no longer vacant chair. Lawrence would call regular legislative caucuses where he would explain the Governor’s, and the Democratic Party’s, positions on issues facing them.

Lawrence, though, not only disliked being called a boss, he did not act like one. Caucus meetings were considered a place of free and open exchange. He allowed dissent, so long as the dissenting legislator had a good reason. Yet, it is noted that Lawrence usually got his way. If there was dissent, a controversial bill was tabled until passage could be secured later. It is noted most of the Earle-Lawrence legislation was passed the House. Yet, most of it was then defeated by the Senate, which still had a Republican majority.

Major legislative battles resulted over how to handle Pennsylvania’s depression-era budget. The Chamber of Commerce projected that state government would require a $326 million budget in 1935-36 with projected revenues of $148 million, leaving a gap of $178 million that was even greater than revenues. Further, the Federal government required state government to provide $120 million in relief in order to continue qualified for Federal assistance. State Senator and Republican State Chairman Harvey Taylor announced that Senate Republicans would agree to only provide the Federal government with $57 million. Long negotiations provided for a 6% tax on corporate income and increased taxes on utilities, gas, cigarettes, and amusements.

Democrats gained control of both legislative chambers in the 1936 elections. The Little New Deal, in what is considered as the greater era of liberal legislative in Pennsylvania’s history, was passed. 365 of Governor Earle’s 371 proposals were enacted with Lawrence’s help. Administration bills would appear in pink folders so legislators would know they came from the Governor. Major legislation allowing collective bargaining, providing teacher tenure, creating a Department of Public Assistance, protecting employee rights, creating the Labor Relations Board, providing slum clearance and public housing, outlawing unfair bank practices, and creating the nation’s first turnpike all became law.

On the negative side, Lawrence began a life-long feud with Attorney General Charles Margiotti. Margiotti accused Lawrence of illegally requiring county Democratic Party organizations to raise funds from patronage workers. Although Lawrence would be found not guilty after the fall elections, the scandal helped the Republicans return to power on election day. Lawrence was removed as Democratic State Chairman.

Personal tragedy would changed Lawrence’s life and career. After two of his sons were killed in an automobile accident, Lawrence threw himself back into his work. He sought and regained his position as Democratic State Committee. While working to keep Democratic factions together, it was discovered the only candidate for Pittsburgh Mayor agreeable to the major factions was himself. Lawrence then ran for, and was elected, Mayor.

Lawrence set up to become a great Mayor. He met privately with New York’s famed Machiavellian local policy maker Robert Moses for ideas on how to succeed. As Mayor, he spent many hours negotiating labor contracts and in dealing with disgruntled council members. He worked hard for flood control programs and lobbied hard for a dam that finally began construction in 1949. He fought the air quality problem by requiring the use of smokeless coal, knowing that this would, and did, cause many voters to turn against him when they were forced to pay more for this coal. Lawrence guided the Lower Hill redevelopment program which, at the time, was the largest such project undertaken although without a past for guidelines, resulted in mixed opinions of success. As Mayor, Lawrence implemented the Civic Unity Council to handle incidences of racial and religious discrimination. While this early Council had limited effectiveness, it was groundbreaking and would lead Lawrence to a later Presidential appointment.

In 1958, David Lawrence was elected Governor. After observing the previous Governor’s struggles with the legislature, Governor Lawrence worked more towards legislative cooperation. For instance, he won legislative approval to increase the sales tax by agreeing to exemptions that legislators wanted. He won successes in balancing the state budget, establishing medical care for low income senior citizens, creating a law that registered and regulated lobbyists, prohibiting billboards besides interstate highways, and strengthening air pollution laws and fair employment laws. Interestingly, Lawrence maintained his Pittsburgh ties and would return to Pittsburgh most weekends to continue serving as Chairman of the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Lawrence was proud that he inherited a state budget deficit and ended his term as Governor with a $16.6 billion surplus in Fiscal Year 1961-62. Yet, to his chagrin, the taxes he raised in order to achieve this became a campaign issue that helped elected Republican Bill Scranton over Democrat Richardson Dilworth as Governor in 1962.

David Lawrence urged John Kennedy to select Lyndon Johnson as his 1960 running mate and even game the nominating speech for Johnson at the Democratic National Convention. In 1963, President Kennedy named Lawrence to chair the President’s Committee on Equal Opportunity in Housing. Lawrence found this work frustrating at times as it would not be until after his death that the anti-discriminatory commercial housing lending practices he argued for would be adopted. In 1966, while campaign for Milton Shapp for Governor, Lawrence collapsed and never regained consciousness.

David Lawrence had a great career of ups and downs throughout several of Pennsylvania’s political eras. In sum, he ranks as one of the great political giants in the state's history. Just don’t say he was a boss.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

How to Make Me, I Mean Yourself, Rich

Today, I received a chain email. I looked at it, and thought: what a great idea. You send $5 to everyone on thist list, put your name on the bottom, eliminate the name of the top, and email this to everyone you know and encourage them to do the same. Soon, you will have thousands of dollars being sent to you. This is fantastic.

So, take out six five dollars bills, send them to the following six people: eliminate the name of the top, move number two to the number one spot, move number three to the number two spot, etc., place your name in the number six spot, and then email away:

1. Leon Tchaikovsky
PO Box 593867
Los Angeles, Ca. 90210

2. L. Tchaivorstein
P.O, Box 46344565
Burbank, Ca. 90210

3. Lenny Tchai
P.O. Box 45667676
Santa Monica, Ca. 90210

4. Leo O’Tchaikovsky
P.O. Box 347643
City of Industry and Then Some, Ca. 90210

5. Leonard DiTchaikovsky
P.O. Box 3567655
Pasadena, Ca. 90210

6. Leon T
P.O. Box T
Anaheim, the happiest place on this lousy earth, Ca. 90210

If you feel generous, feel free to send tens and twenties.

No Nude Photos Here, Either: We're Married

Husbands and wives think differently. If both sides can understand that and learn to accept it, there would be far fewer arguments. For instance, both have different definitions of the term “cruel and unusual punishment.” To wives, this means ever have to wear the same piece of clothing a second time. To husbands, this means throwing out a piece of clothing that has been worn daily over three years that is so full of holes, there isn’t anything left to throw out.

Husbands and wives both will keep a vacuum cleaner for the exact same amount of time: seven years. Wives use a vacuum cleaner daily, change the bag every week, and use it until it wears out after about seven years. Husbands use a vacuum cleaner once a year until, after seven years, the bag is full, and then they throw it out and get a new one.

Husbands and wives have different definitions of the word “faithful”. Wives want to be devoted to the same man. Husbands want to be devoted to the same sports team.

Husbands and wives have different nervous responses when a prostitute comes up to them. The husband is thinking: “my wife is going to kill me if she so much as catches me looking at her.” The wife is thinking “where did she get those shoes?”

Husbands and wives tend to have different attitudes towards gay marriages. Wives tend to favor it, thinking love should be shared by anyone, regardless. Husbands tend to be against gay marriage, thinking “if I can just save one man from this misery…”

Lynn Lowry is making a career comeback and readers should rush out and support her. She will be filming a Dante Tomaselli movie with the working title “The Ocean”, which, of course, will be filmed in the Caribbean instead of in an actual ocean. That’s why it’s called “the movies”, you can’t believe anything you see. I mention this because, somehow, the above jokes were all inspired at the spur of the moment by this exciting news. If this film has vampires and I start getting all you Buffy fans back bothering me on this site, I will probably finally give up and admit: this is becoming some weird vampire hangout. Remember, I actually do own a wooden stake, so I’m prepared.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Buy Hezbollah Products for Your Christmas List

Hezbollah sells items on its website. This intrigues me. I have the following set of questions:
1. Does Hezbollah send orders to the United States?
2. If Hezbollah sends a package to the United States, will U.S. Mail deliver it?
3. If U.S. Mail will deliver a package to me from Hezbollah to me, should I open it?
4. Does Hezbollah take VISA?
5. Do I dare give Hezbollah my VISA number?
6. If I am unhappy with my purchase, will VISA mediate our dispute?
7. Tchaikovsky sounds Jewish. Does Hezbollah sell items to Jewish sounding names?
8. If Hezbollah will not sell to Jews, can this be disputed with VISA?

If instead of buying items for Hezbollah but you are a NASCAR collector, I should forewarn you: if your NASCAR collectible is worth more than your car is worth, you may have a problem.

And now a joke for the Hollywood elite to tell during their tea parties: “Whenever my wife says she’ll be ready in a minute, I just put in a Marcel Ophuls film and wait.”

Sometimes the funniest things are what people honestly say. My intern actually said “isn’t it ironic that Lou Gehrig would die of the same disease they named after him?” I guess he is so used to celebrity diseases that it never occurred to him that there was another possibility. At least we know some celebrities are no likely to get their celebrity ailment. I doubt Sally Struthers will ever starve to death.

I know a couple who are so dumb that, since they want twins, so they use double condoms.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Yes We Have No Nude Photos of Dana Delany

Today, political researchers discovered a startling truth: People are shallow. They vote to vote for the better looking candidate. I find this everywhere in business. For years, I often heard the expression, “you were the best candidate for the position” and then they will add “we found someone better.” The only quality I could see in the “better” candidate was the person looked much nicer than this ugly faced guy. Forget what we were told as children that looks don’t matter: people, very unfortunately, are extremely shallow.

Unfortunately, ugly people are finding some harassment laws work against them. I have noted, if two people at work have an affair, that’s perfectly alright. But if an ugly person asks that same person out, and the person says “no”, then the person who turned the ugly down can complain about harassment. Some harassment procedures seemed designed to keep ugly people away from the beautiful people.

Speaking of beautiful people, I find it amusing that there is a link from a “Dana Delany Nude” site to this site. If you have come here from that site, I am sorry to disappoint you, but there are not nude photos of Dana Delany. Although, I will note that I greatly respect her, both for her talent, and for the fact that she wrote the introduction to Dorothy Swanson’s book, which is perhaps why the links exists. Dorothy Swanson is one example that one determined person with a good cause can make a difference. She led letter writing campaigns to keep quality television shows on the air, and she has several notable successes. Of course, I personally take credit for saving Dana Delany’s TV show “China Beach” as we were an actual Nielsen family and I made certain that the set was tuned to “China Beach.” That was a fantastic show.

I got to meet Dana Delany briefly once. It was at a lunch with Dorothy Swanson. We did not converse much, though. I believe the only things she said to me were things such as “will you please pass the rolls?” “are you going to hog all the rolls?” “why are you drinking my iced tea as well as your own ice tea”, and “why are you eating off my plate?” Other than that, I think we hit it off just fine.

My final comment for today: rappers did not invent speaking out against their economic and social conditions in a spoken form of song. Rap should look at the talking blues as part of rap’s historic roots. John Greenway recorded several fantastic talking blues songs. These primarily were labor and working songs where the singer talked, or rapped, about life and hardships along with music.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Flying While Flying

Pennsylvania is moving towards creating the crime of flying an airplane while under the influence. This I’d like to see: state trooper pilots pulling over airplanes that are swerving in non-turbulent skies. “You were doing 370 in a 355 zone.” The sobriety test would be easy. If you ask the pilot to get out of the airplane to try to walk a straight line, and the pilot does it, the pilot is drunk.

There is one ghastly portrait found in Pennsylvania. I recall a tourist mentioning what a nice painting it was. Unfortunately it wasn’t a painting, it was a photograph.

Why don’t people admit that many of these new coffee drinks essentially are candy bars with coffee poured over them? If you are ordering a mint new fudge chocolate coffee with whipped cream and sprinkles, I think you no longer are drinking something that should be called “coffee”.

I saw a trash can with a sign on it that reads “Watch Your Step”. How many people go walking inside a trash can?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Why the Government Is Not Out to Get You, Honest, Trust Me

I recently received an email from a female reader who was worried that the government might be tracking who reads this column. After all, we all know comedy is helpful in healing ill people, and terrorists sometimes get ill, and obviously terrorists laugh to become better, and that nine of ten members of leading terrorists recommend this site over hitting your head with a mallet (that tenth terrorist has me really worried). The following is my response to this reader:

You should not be too worried about the government tracking your Internet use. After all, I looked into your use, and frankly, you appear to be a solid citizen, although I do have to ask: don’t you think you have enough shoes? Also, I am certain those “adult” sites you visit were purely for first amendment legal research and your monitoring the Hezbollah website is only for your personal education and in no way indicates you support them. Oh, wait, that’s my printout of websites visited, not yours…

Fortunately, the upside is that few officials have the time and interest to track our Internet use. Besides, even if people look at our emails, they will discover the vast majority of them are for fake mortgage loans, fake pharmaceuticals, fake body parts, and, of course, the occasional warning from my bank that a security check requires me to email them my account numbers and password, a service from bank for which I am very grateful. So, as long as you don’t do anything to attract the attention of the government, such as joining a terrorist group, a peace group, a religion that advocates peace, register as a Democrat, I assure you, the government will have no interest whatsoever in your activities.

Of course, the corporate world is another story. They wish to monitor what you buy over the Internet, and how much you are willing to pay, to see if they can get you to not only become aware of their products but see how much they can get you to overpay for their products.
But, that is the private sector, and this is America, and we believe in separate of the religion of business and government.

I will stop here, because, as much as I know some people seem to appreciate receiving comical letters from me, I learn it seems eventually I will touch a nerve I did not realize existed (come on, how many of my friends really do belong to Hezbollah, and why can’t I make fun of it?) and then people get upset over my humor.

I told a joke once that very few people got, but those who did get it found it quite funny. I told some Sociologists that someday I wish to do the first English translation of the works of Talcott Parsons. Sociologists love this joke because Talcott Parsons wrote in English, although no one had any idea what he was writing about. Yet, no one dared question his writings and admit to others they couldn’t figure out what he was saying. so he has become one of the most respect and famous Sociologists of all time, only because no one wants to admit they haven’t the foggiest idea what he said.

I am also trying to understand Star Wars. We learn that the voice of Verizon is evil, which we knew already because he’s the voice of Verizon, and the princess wears a hairdo that has never been popular at any time in history, and after fighting good and evil (evil is always some ugly creature, because in movies, ugly has no right to live), we learn there is good and evil in all of us, and we good follow the force towards good, in roles played by actors who follow far different forces.

Speaking of evil, statistics indicate that hate crimes continue to increase in France. You realize what this means: even the French hate the French.

Should it bother me that, underneath the Japanese Green Tea I purchased, it reads “product of China”?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Identity of Deep Throat Revealed (Oops, Too Late)

When Bob Woodward wrote, in advance (if you aren’t aware, many celebrity obituaries are written in advance, and it is not unusual to see an obituary written by a writer who predeceased the deceased) the obituary and Gene Weingarten proofread it, thus making Gene one of the few people who knew the identity of Deep Throat, I knew I had to do something. My personal suspicion had been that Deep Throat was Mark Felt. Bob Woodward had stated he would not reveal who Deep Throat was until after he died. So, when I wrote to Gene “Why do people keep asking me how my health is” and signed it “Mark Felt”, and Gene printed it with a laugh, I suspected I had confirmed, in a humorous way that only Washington insiders would get, one of politics’ great mysteries.

Of course, you readers wish I had revealed my theory who Deep Throat was in this blog. Sorry. In time, I will try and find other secrets to reveal, such as which police officer was on the grassy knoll, but no one cares about that…

As for all the political paranoid people who read this, let me also confirm that there used to be a communist under my bed. Fortunately, Aunt Natasha would eventually sober up and crawl out.

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