Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny: February 2007

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.

Monday, February 26, 2007

What Has Four Boobs and Lap Dances for Jesus?

I saw people defending the practice of having multiple wives by pointing to a painting they claimed portrays Jesus with two wives. This struck me as wild: people basing their sexual practices on the basis of a painting. Therefore, I am commissioning a painting of Jesus getting a lap dance from a woman wearing a French maid outfit.

I took a cab recently and overheard those words that a passenger never wants to hear a dispatcher say to the driver: “you know you aren’t supposed to be driving when you haven’t taken your medication.” This got scarier as the cab driver told me how he did time in prison for killing a man. But he reassured me he has his problem under control: with medication.

My uncle had to take cabs. I wouldn’t say he had a drinking problem: people could quickly learn that on their own. My uncle had a permanent condition that prohibited him from driving: he had permanent double vision, which doctors attribute to his permanent alcoholism. He stopped driving on his own when he realized it had become a dangerous problem: he had closed his eyes, floored the gas pedal, and let whatever happen occur. Fortunately, a police officer quickly came to his side and asked him: “why are sitting on the sidewalk with your eyes closed?” My uncle then realized he had to give up either drinking or driving: and driving won. My uncle said he’d consider giving up drinking, but that he just got too much enjoyment from looking at four boobed women.

Someone actually stole my uncle’s identity to attempt to get an illegal driver’s license. Never steal a driver’s license of someone with such a poor driving record as my uncle. The poor identity thief never even made it out of the licensing bureau office before a SWAT team had been put in place.

If you’re arguing with another guy who has the cuter girl friend, and your argument is that your blow up doll is a newer model, it may be time to reexamine your life. If you think your blow up doll has four boobs, you’re my uncle.

Book Review: "Fighting for Life"

“Fighting for Life” is a unique book of alternating stories connecting one person. One story is that of a man facing a fatal disease, undergoing and surviving a rare heart and liver transplant, and returning to productive life. The other is the story of a man who facing adversities reaching his goal of becoming Governor and, on his fourth attempt, is elected and serves two terms. Both stories are of the late Governor Robert P. Casey, and this book is his autobiography.

The one intermingled story is of Bob Casey’s fight against Appalachian familial amyloidosis, a rare disease found only in a few people of Irish descent in Kentucky, West Virginia, Chicago, and then Pennsylvania. (Ironically, a similar disease would later prove fatal to both the Mayors of Pittsburgh and Erie.) It would be his Auditor General successor Catherine Baker Knoll who would get Bob Casey to read a book on transplants by Dr. Tom Starzl that would later lead Dr. Starzl to successfully perform this rare two organ transplant. This is a story of incredible medical work and a fighting patient who survived these procedures and not only would be only be return to work as Governor but continue to become a national leader on several issues.

The other story is that of Bob Casey, the State Senator, Auditor General, and then Governor. Bob Casey would arise from political death after losing three races for Governor. In his first race, he won the endorsement of the Democratic State Committee, failed to respond to his opponent’s “man against the machine” campaign, and discovered too late the mistake in not answering the charges as that slogan helped defeat him. In his second race, he distanced himself from the political machines, only to discover the political machines such as that of Mayor Jim Tate’s in Philadelphia, who then distanced themselves from Casey. In his third race, he was hampered by the inclusion of other Caseys running on the ballot which may have cost him some votes in the confusion.

Still, the name “Bob Casey” held some political magic, even if not initially for Robert P. Casey. Robert Casey, no related to the future Governor, was elected State Treasurer on the basis of having the same name. (Indeed, the Treasurer candidate avoided campaigning to allow the confusion over the two names to build.) Another non-relative named Robert Casey won the Democratic primary for Lt. Governor. Thus, when Robert P. ran for Governor the fourth time, he advertised himself as the “Real Bob Casey”.

Bob Casey is to be credited with upgrading the office of Auditor General. Prior to Casey’s tenure as Auditor General, it was mostly a lesser functioning row office usually held by a relatively inactive politician. Bob Casey turned the office into an aggressive auditor, not only of government finances, but of government functions. This not only provided a more powerful check on executive branch functions, but it also prepared Bob Casey to learn how to become a good Governor.

Finally, on his fourth try in 1986, Bob Casey hired Jim Carville, who had never managed a winning campaign, to be his campaign manager, believing that people who have tried hard without winning would work harder for victory. This proved to be the case as Casey finally won elected as Governor. Jim Carville went on to manage the successful Presidential campaign of Bill Clinton.

As Governor, Bob Casey writes that he is proud that he put “family formation” on a similar perspective as “capital formation”. His Administration fought dead beat dads and made Pennsylvania the top state in child support collections. He fought for and won passage of laws making it tougher to get abortions. He stopped efforts at bringing legalized gambling to Pennsylvania. He created a program that eradicated water borne diseases that had plagued parts of Pennsylvania, providing us all with safe drinking water that today we all take for granted.

This book summarizes Bob Casey, the politician, and Bob Casey, the man struggling against a rare disease. This is a terrific autobiography that brings together Bob Casey, the person.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Nastassja Kinski Destroys Benjamin Franklin

Speaker Ben was delighted to meet Dauphin County’s own William Sanderson. William explained to Ben that he is on a television show called “Deadwood”. Ben is impressed that television is airing a series about some of the employees in a few of the agencies around the Capitol. Ben heard William used to have two brothers named Darryl who didn’t speak. Ben hopes both Darryls run for public office.

Ben’s ego was crushed when he met Nastassja Kinksi and she stated she had never heard of Benjamin Franklin. Ben then realized that American history is not taught in German schools, where Nastassja grew up. Ben, though, now believes there is no electricity in Germany and thinks that’s why some people of German descent in Lancaster County don’t use electricity. Ben hopes to go to Germany someday and tell them about electricity.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Death is the First Day of Missing the Upcoming Baseball Season

Forget “today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Today is the last day of the good old days. It’s downhill from here.

When talking to yourself in public, it is good every so often to say something like “you’re breaking up” so people around you will think you’re talking on a cell phone.

I hate the expression “I hope you’ll be my last.” What, you’re already thinking about my death? What if you die first: I can’t date anymore. Or, are you planning something about my death?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Maxwell Trailer Home Coffee

Did anyone see the ad for the birth control ad that advises women not to take the pill while pregnant? Huh? Isn’t it kind of late by then? Look, the product didn’t work then, and it’s too late now.

There is a new coffee for low income consumers. It’s called Maxwell Trailer Home.

Monday, February 05, 2007

How to Tell if You Have a Gambling Problem, and Whether God Really Does Love You or Not

A woman gave birth on an Atlantic City casino floor recently. If you’re so addicted to gambling that you can’t stop putting quarters into a machine while you’re having a baby come out of you, you might have a gambling problem.

I not only believe that God serves all creatures, but that He is very loyal to His favorite flu bugs.

Of course, God must really love pigs. It is claimed pigs have 30 minute orgasms, which proves my previous point.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Apathy Leads to Bossism Leading to Whiskey Taxes

If there is one book that can be called “the definitive” word on Pennsylvania politics, this book by Paul Beers is it. Although printed in 1980 (thus missing events since then), this book captures the state’s history to that point. It is filled with anecdotes, biographies, and the often entertaining stories of what happened amongst generations of Pennsylvania’s politicians.

The author describes Pennsylvania as a state that throughout history has been composed of many diverse people spread out in disconnected communities that it is difficult to politically categorize what it a “Pennsylvania voter” is. Yet, in general, the Pennsylvania electoral throughout time has striven towards political moderation. Further, Pennsylvanians have more generally more apathetic about public policies than residents of other states. The times show Pennsylvania as a state where ethnic politics once had strong influences, political bosses arose, and where general apathy, bossism, and cautious moderation led to a bland political cultural where we gave the nation relatively few prominent national figures.

For Pennsylvania political enthusiasts, it may be discouraging to learn that a public poll found that 91% of Pennsylvanians surveyed did not know which political party controlled the State House and State Senate. This lack of general interest is credited with explaining why reform movements that swept other states never gained footholds in Pennsylvania. Indeed, the author questions the political sensibilities of Pennsylvania voters at times, noting that 831,355 Pennsylvanians voted against a referendum question to legally allow the capitol to be moved from Harrisburg should Harrisburg be destroyed by an atomic attack. (Nah, have the legislature keep meeting in the radioactive crater.)

Taxes, though, are what, throughout history, have gotten Pennsylvania riled-up. From the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, when President George Washington had to send troops to calm irate western Pennsylvanians who protested a tax on distilled rye, to Pennsylvania being one of the last states in enact an income tax, Pennsylvanians have seem to most awaken to public controversy when taxes were involved.

The long era of corrupt Republican bosses in Pennsylvania is partly to explain for Pennsylvania’s inability to great many political leaders. The bosses sought compliant backbenchers as leaders. The political machine of Matt Quay followed by Boies Penrose stretched beyond state politics and included control of many local offices and patronage positions. They formed alliances with businesses and with the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association (PMA) that, in some sessions, was able to produce laws favorable to the businesses and to PMA members who, in return, financially supported the Republicans. New York industrialist John D. Rockefeller noted in 1880 that “Mr. Quay might be of great use to us in the state, but he is fearfully expensive.”

The Republican machines began breaking down after the death of Boies Penrose in 1929. Penrose had no successor prepared and the factions of the Republican Party split apart. The Vare brothers machine of Philadelphia proven untrustworthy and some political deals fell apart. (Nor was the Vare machine known for their electoral honesty, as noted when voters complained the Vare machine had literally stuffed the ballots so much that legitimate voters had trouble forcing their ballots into the ballot box.) Gifford Pinchot was elected as a progressive candidate, although his first victory for Governor was in a patronage alliance with PMA where his progressivism did not extend to increasing manufacturing regulations or higher corporate taxes. Ironically, Pinchot, who had gained fame as a forester, even cut the budget for forestry development while Governor. This followed a period where business leaders such as members of the Mellon banking family and the Annenberg publishing family supported candidates with whom they agreed, yet they were not as directly involved in politics as were prior business leaders. Franklin Roosevelt brought a national political realignment which also made Pennsylvania more of a two party state. Democrats such as Governors George Earle and George Leader made state government more active in job creation, environmental protection, and making it easier for unions to engage in collective bargaining while Republicans such as Governor Arthur James worked to undo what the Democrats had previously done while progressive Republicans such as Governor Jim Duff defended some of these reform initiatives. Republican Governor Raymond Shafer failed to reach agreement with his own party’s legislative leaders which led to serious budget crises (one budget passed only with a dying legislator voting in absentia) which was finally resolved with the passage of an income tax under Democratic Governor Milton Shapp. Shapp, though, had his own problems with the state legislature. In a century prior to Shapp, the legislature had only overridden a Governor’s veto just once and that was at the Governor’s own request in order to make a change a mistake. The legislature overrode 15 of Shapp’s vetoes.

Legislative specialists will enjoy reading many of the legislative machinations through the ages. Insurgents reconvened a House session in 1921 and seized control of the House to push through $21 million in additional funds for the Governor. Bribes for $4 appropriations went for $1,000 per legislator in 1879. Boies Penrose used to create what he called “squeeze bills”, which was legislation he did not favor but had introduced in order to obtain contributions from interests who wanted him to then kill the bills. During the Depression in 1933, the legislature, in a very rare action, cut its own pay. Governor George Earle once tore up legislation, earning him a lecture from Chief Clerk Richard Heagy who told him “Governor, you may sign a bill or you may veto it, but you may not tear it up.” Honus Wagner, a famous Pittsburgh Pirate baseball player, afterwards worked as a legislative staffer. The 50 State Senators had two lobbyists who were so powerful that Sun Oil lobbyist Harry Princeton Davis was called the “51st Senator” while Pennsylvania Railroad lobbyist William Reiter was called the “52nd Senator”.

This is a history that deserves to be remembers. This book captures that history.

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