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Member since: Sat Nov 30, 2013, 05:06 AM
Number of posts: 16,298

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Beethoven, Symphony no. 9 (the Freude one)

I've been doing a lot of last minute shopping for the New Year's holiday today, and here in Japan Beethoven's 9th is very popular at this time of year. Beethoven has been following me around all day. I love this:

Garrison Keillor's Christmas Dinner from "Leaving Home."

Al Franken touched someone's waist, Garrison Keillor touched someone's back. End of career. I think Garrison will leave the U.S. and I don't blame him one bit.

"Christmas. The exiles were home. It was pretty quiet, though you could hear the gritting of teeth, and there was a moment of poisoned silence at the Clarence Bunsen home that rang like a fire bell. Before the blessing, as they sat around the table and admired the work in front of them, a still-life Christmas Dinner by Arlene, before they ate the art, their daughter, Donna, in town from San Diego, said, 'What a wonderful Christmas!' and her husband, Rick, said, 'Well, if Democrats had their way, it'd be the last one.' Silence. ... He is her son-in-law and she doesn't know why. He is not raising her grandchildren right, he comes to Minnesota and talks too much about the advantages of southern California, he wears silly clothes, he makes fun of Norwegians, he makes fun of women including his own wife, and he says 'agenda' in place of 'plan' or 'idea' -- 'Did you have a different agenda?' he says. 'Let's get our agenda straight.' 'I sense a hidden agenda here.'

"He piled a plate with Christmas agenda and chomped a big bite of it. He said, 'Mom, this is the best dinner I ever ate. I really mean that.' She smiled her brightest smile, the smile she has used all her life on people she'd like to slap silly. She'd like to give him a piece of her mind, but she can't because he has hostages, her grandchildren. So she kills him with kindness. She stuffs him like a turkey. Fresh caramel rolls for breakfast, a pound of bacon and smoked sausage and scrambled eggs, and two hours later pot roast for lunch and big slabs of banana cream pie. He has gained four pounds since Tuesday. Her goal is twelve. All day he sits dazed by food. 'Fudge bars, Rick? I made them just for you. Here, I'll put the plate right beside you, where you can reach them.' 'Oh Mom ...' She's found the crack in his armor, and it's his mouth. His Achilles mouth. Her agenda is stuffing him so he becomes weak and pliable and goes into a calorie coma, and she takes the little boy and the girl for walks and tells them about our great presidents, our great Democratic presidents. And did you know they were all Norwegian? Yes, they were, a little bit, on their mother's side, and that little bit was enough to make them great."

The Republican tax scam reminds me of Al Franken's 2003 play, "The Waitress and the Lawyer."

The waitress says she likes Bush because "he cut my taxes a hundred percent." The lawyer explains that although the waitress only paid $365 in income taxes before, she'll pay much more after the tax cut because the government programs she now uses will be defunded: special education classes for her child with learning disabilities, after-school programs, subsidized housing, child care provided by Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, reduced eligibility in the SCHIP program (no more health care), cutting public transit funding and abandoning upgrading buses to cut down on toxic emissions ("Debbie does get asthma on bad smog days" ).

The lawyer says, "So, let's see. After-school -- $700. Medicaid -- $2,896. Housing -- $1,464. So, less your $365 tax cut, you're down $4,695." At least.
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