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William and Kate, A Royal Headache

27 Apr

 This weekend the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Catherine Middleton will command enormous attention here in the United States.  The Hangover asks, “Why?”

 It’s easy to understand why the entirety of the United Kingdom will be enthralled by the proceedings.  After all, this is their heritage, from King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table to Queen Victoria to Roger the Shrubber.  But even the most dim-witted of Americans must realize that the revolution that formed our country was an attempt to rid us of fops like King George and the Royal Family.  Despite saying goodbye to all that back in 1783 and then again in 1812, modern Americans seem smitten with English Royalty—this despite two hundred-plus years of “All men are created equal.”

When Prince Charles married Diana Spencer in 1981, United States media coverage would have suggested it was the third biggest event of the last century, following only the moon landing and OJ and Al Cowlings in the white Bronco.  Americans continued to adore Diana, even after she became, in the words of Mojo Nixon, a “drunk-divorced floozie.”  (Before you take offense, consider what you would call your neighbor’s ex-wife if she ran off with your town’s handsome local hero and sped around night-clubbing, drinking, and snorting blow.  “Your Highness” isn’t it; well, not unless you’re fond of ironic puns.)

 In the coming days, America will be again drowned in Katrina-like coverage of the upcoming Royal wedding.  The Hangover wishes the happy couple well. 

But what does our fascination with the event tell us about ourselves?    

Is it that: 

 a)  We no longer need to value “all men being equal” now that just about every American can afford high definition television.

 b)  We’ve become so ingrained with fairy tales and Disney Princesses that we just want the chance to imagine ourselves in the role.  After all, it’s only a matter of time before one of these Royal Highnesses will sweep into our Burger King, pull us from the flame broiler, and whisk us away to a McMansion in the clouds.

 c)  Americans are sheep.  We (at least those with cable) would watch Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie read the Los Angeles phone book if Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, The New York Times, and the Today Show deemed that it was an “event.”

d)  The less relevant something is to the reality of our everyday lives, the more it interests Americans.  This would explain the nation palpatating over Bret Favre’s emailed junk, the Octo-mom, John and Kate, Michelle Bachmann, and those teenage girls having babies on MTV.

 e)  All of the above.

 Enjoy the festivities.  Maybe the Newlyweds will even be so kind as to hop into a white Bronco as they head to the reception.  Wouldn’t that be ecstasy?

Stick a fork in (the) US, Democracy is Cooked

22 Jan

With the Supreme Court ruling that the government cannot regulate or limit political spending by corporations, a bullet has been put through the head of a suffering democracy.   It was a mercy killing.  For years now, Americans have been pathetically clinging to the idea that their votes meant something.  Well, they don’t have to worry about that anymore.  Thanks to the Supreme Court, it’s now all special interests, all the time.  

It would be a mistake, however, to say that Americans’ votes will be worthless.  In a political version of American Idol, we will be given the honor of deciding which corporate-sponsored politician will be able to become a highly respected, suit-and-tie-wearing marionette.  And then we will live happily ever after, basking in the illusion of democracy. 

In the decision’s simplest terms, Exxon, Citibank, Pfizer, General Electric, etc..,. will now be able to gush money toward any candidate they feel deserving, meaning one who will support their interests.  Sure, you may be outraged that a Canadian can pay $5 for medication that costs you $40.  You might even be so incensed that you exercise your right as an American citizen and call your Senator, urging them to support lower cost prescription drugs.  But who do you think they are going to listen to:  you or the lobbyist from Johnson and Johnson who just dropped $500,000 into the making of a campaign advertisement supporting that Senator? Good luck with that.

If you want to see how this money-in-politics dynamic works on a small scale, read what The Hangover learned while talking to Susan Collins’ office.  Or if you would really like to be educated on the topic, check out Who Rules America?by G. William Domhoff.

It was Thomas Jefferson who said:  

“The end of democracy, and the defeat of the American revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of the lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”

Consider the revolution over.

Goose Rocks Beachfront Owners Sue Kennebunkport (and try to screw the rest of us)

10 Nov

A cabal of Goose Rocks Beach homeowners is suing the town of Kennebunkport, claiming that they own the actual beach down to the low water mark.  The Hangover’s first inclination is to consider this class warfare, a case of the “have’s” versus the “have not’s.”   However, this cannot be the case, as the nature of the suit clearly indicates that these homeowners have no class at all.   Still, as a public service The Hangover has decided to explore the nature of the impending litigation. 

Newspaper reports state that the fat cat homeowners are primarily concerned with overcrowding at Goose Rocks.  This is odd.  There are a limited number of parking spaces at Goose Rocks, thereby limiting the number of visitors who can actually reach the beach.   In middle of the summer, the designated “public beach” is not ever close to being overrun.  Areas of the “private beach” are sparsely populated at their most hectic.   Even at high tide, there is always room for a family (perhaps the beachfront owners are expecting the Manson’s) to spread out and enjoy themselves.   Hampton Beach in New Hampshire is a crowded beach.  In July and  August a gnat cannot find enough room there to lay down a blanket.  This is far from the case at  Goose Rocks.

If the overcrowding issue is a smoke screen, there must be other reasons for the homeowners’ desires to keep people off a beach that has been used by the public for hundreds of years.  Here are some possible explanations:

Revenge:  As residents of Kennebunkport are well aware, there was a property tax revaluation undertaken this past year.  This resulted in property taxes rising substantially for those with beachfront and waterfront homes.  Perhaps these privileged landowners are angered by the fact that for the first time in 20 years they now have to pay their fair share of taxes.  They are extracting their revenge by taking it out on the town and those residents whose taxes were reduced.

Self-Loathing:  Twenty-five years ago, Goose Rocks was a mostly middle class enclave with the majority of its residents coming from the suburbs surrounding Boston and southern New England.  The small cottages that marked the beach then have (for the most part) been torn down, rebuilt, and expanded.  Many of these “new and improved” homeowners are from–as luck would have it–the suburbs surrounding Boston and southern New England.  Coincidentally, many people visiting the beach also come from these regions.  Perhaps the beachfront owners just don’t want to be reminded of the humble origins from which they slithered.

Health:  Everyone knows that tourists emanate from anomie-infested suburbs and angst-ridden cities.  They are mentally unclean and tainted.  Their presence on the beach could undo the serenity brought about by rolling waves and gliding sea gulls.  The horror, the horror.  Those soiled must be kept away. 

Wanna-be-ness:  The lawsuit could be a simple case of celebrity envy.  By aping various asinine celebrity behaviors, these homeowners could be hoping to view themselves as important and privileged.  In 1999, Jim Belushi sued when a house painter had the audacity to walk across the beach adjoining his property.   (Belushi lost in court.)  Entertainment industry icon David Geffen fought public access to beaches in Malibu.  He also lost.  But he did get some headlines.  Perhaps this could be a feeble attempt for 15 minutes of fame.    Maybe these landowners are hoping to be ridiculed in Doonesbury just like “The Dark Leader” Geffen.

General Snobbery:  Could it be that these homeowner’s are just your average run-of-the-mill snobs who don’t wish to associate with “neighbors” who can’t afford beachfront dwellings?  This would be an ugly reality.  That people so tremendously boring and base could actually exist in Kennebunkport would be embarrassing for the rest of us–and thus, we are doubly injured.

InAction As Action

One response to the suit would be to let the beachfront owners have the beach.   We have to consider the future.  The town would then have reason to ignore the homeowner’s  pleas for help as the beach continues to erode–and erode it has over the past ten years.   Picture a town manager smirking across his or her desk:  “Hey, it’s your beach.  You do something about it.”

Then there’s global warming and rising sea levels.  As reported by National Geographic and thousands of other reputable scientific authorities, global warming will eventually cause sea levels to rise:  “A one-meter sea level rise would wreak particular havoc on the Gulf Coast and eastern Seaboard of the United States.”   Presumably, this includes King’s Highway and Sand Point.  These homes could eventually land “below” the low tide mark.  The Hangover wonders if that wouldn’t place them in the public domain.  Certainly, the beachfront homeowners would see the justice in that. 

(It’s interesting to note that should the beach even slightly flood this winter, these same landowners will likely call the fire department to come pump out their soaked basements.  Neighbors in the form of volunteer fire fighters, although not allowed to cross their beach, would be actually allowed in the houses themselves.  The fire fighters will surely be grateful.)   

Action

On the other hand, if one is inclined to act, The Hangover is all for non-violent, civil disobedient protest.  When Tony Soprano needed to extricate himself from the purchase of a waterfront property from a high faultin’ neighbor, he didn’t call for a hit.  He brought in the music.  He had associates anchor his yacht just off shore from the would-be seller’s house and play a steady stream of Dean Martin: Live at the Sands Hotel.   After several hours of Deano, the seller cracked and the deal was off.  

This could work here.   While many of us can’t afford a waterfront manse, we do have boats and boom boxes.   Picture a pristine Memorial Day Saturday.  The Hangover envisions a fleet of 100 Boston Whalers, dinghies, sunfish, and runabouts anchored just outside the low water mark of Goose Rocks Beach.  Only instead of the sultry crooning of Martin, selected beachfront homeowners are bombarded with the non-stop punk-guitar crunch of  The Clash.  An afternoon and evening of Should I Stay Or Should I Go just might work here:

Stonehill’s Stone Age Thinking Condom-ened

6 Mar

Catholic Stonehill College recently prohibited students from distributing free condoms in student dormitories,  as reported in the Boston Globe.  A group of students had collected the condoms from family planning agencies and placed boxes of them in residences on campus.   However, when the “higher-ups” at the Catholic college found out about the birth control and sexually-transmitted-disease preventatives, they were confiscated.   Hopefully, no students were burned at the stake for the transgression. 

So, is it Stonehill or Catholics in general who don’t believe in birth control or disease prevention?  But that is a negative positing of the issue.  Perhaps Catholics are simply in favor of spreading life-threatening disease and unwanted pregnancies. 

Stonehill Spokesman Martin McGovern said, “We’re a private Catholic college.  We make no secret of our religious affiliation, and our belief system is fairly straightforward. We don’t expect everyone on campus to agree with our beliefs, but we would ask people, and students in particular, to respect them.”   What is it about religion that makes supposedly educated people act like imbeciles?   Is the study of evolution also prohibited there?

Common sense and experience tells us:

  • College students have sex.
  • Unprotected sex can result in unwanted pregnancies.
  • Unprotected sex can spread STD’s, of which AIDS can be fatal.
  • Condoms can help prevent the transimission of said diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

Apparently, Stonehill finds it more important (and morally ethical) to operate under an antiquated, lets-produce-more-Catholics policy than to allow students to look out for the welfare of their peers.  The Hangover is no Biblical scholar, but caring for your fellow man was one of Jesus’s messages.  In unison, the Catholic church and the educators at Stonehill have goose-stepped away from that tenet.  It is the height of hypocrisy. 

Examine the following scenario:  There’s a fellow who studies hard, carefully examining his favorite subject, religion, on every level.  However, he’s a social type and a binge drinker of wine.  All his cavorting leads him into a relationship with a young woman of loose morals; some might call her a whore.  At this point, nothing can stop them from having sexual relations.  One would think that even the Pope would want young Jesus to wrap his rascal when getting down with Mary Magdalene–if only to preclude the work of Dan Brown.   It would seem that the Catholic church has enough problems without crusading against the students at its universities.

Kurt Warner Misses Jesus at Super Bowl

2 Feb

After the NFC Championship game, Kurt Warner thanked Jesus for his performance and the Arizona Cardinals’ win. In yesterday’s Super Bowl, Warner was nearly great, throwing for 377 yards and three touchdowns.  But he also gakked up a game-changing interception for a Steeler TD at the end of the first half and then fumbled in the closing seconds when heaving a Hail Mary to god-like wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald could have provided victory.  In post-game remarks, Kurt did not thank Jesus for this lesson in humility.

The question remains, why would Jesus abandon one of his biggest supporters in his time of need?  Perhaps Jesus was worn out from nefariously influencing NBC executives into banning PETA’s harmless “Vegetarians Have Better Sex” commercial.   While NBC’s shows are populated with hot actresses (the awesome Friday Night Lights anyone?), apparently they are not allowed on-screen with broccoli, asparagus, and pumpkins.  Irregardless, the Hangover hopes that the meat-eating, having-lousy-sex citizens of Pittsburgh are enjoying themselves.   

As for the rest of us, time to start ordering salads:

The Hangover’s 2008 Person of the Year: Tina Fey

28 Dec
2008 Woman of the Year

Tina Fey: 2008 Woman of the Year

Nobody had a better year than Tina Fey (including President-Elect Barack Obama, whose reward will be the opportunity to clean up the ever-deepening mess left by his predecessor).   Fey surpassed all known standards in just how successful an entertainer could be with brilliant comedic performances that crackled with social and poitical commentary.

Fey is the creative force behind NBC’s 30 Rock, a show both popular  and critically acclaimed.  Her character, Liz Lemon, is an achieving woman attempting to manage a nearly unmanageable “Saturday Night Live” conceit.  As played by Fey, Lemon is sharp and compassionate, as well as confused and insightful.  Lemon carries a realistic acceptance of her position on constantly shifting ground.  She is an icon for women juggling professional success and personal chaos.   Liz Lemon makes no apologies for who she is.  In a high school reunion episode, “The Revenge of the Wrath of the Nerd,” Lemon bids farewell to her former White Haven classmates with,  “You know what? Suck it, you whittling IHOP monkeys.”

That would seem to be enough for one woman.  But then came Sarah Palin.   Fey’s impersonation of Palin on various episodes of Saturday Night Live marked some of the greatest comedy in the show’s storied history.  At times, Fey was indistinguishable from Palin.   Through a fusion of comic genius and comic existentialism, Fey effectively parodied a woman who was a parody in and of herself.  No easy task, and one worthy of recognition in the form of The Hangover’s Person of the Year.

If you don’t believe it, see for yourself:

Budweiser: The Great Belgian-American Beer

18 Jul

The business world has been saturated like a rug at a keg party with the news of Belgian brewing giant InBev acquiring all-American Anheuser-Busch.  While this brings us that much closer to a “Rollerball world  where society is dominated and run by a few behemoth corporations, the real question lies in what this means to American Bud drinkers, of which The Hangover is one.

Will Bud taste the same as it does now?  Yes.  Will we still get to watch commercials of Clydesdales playing football in the fall?  Yes.  Will Bud and Bud Light still be brewed regionally? Likely.  Will Bud still be marketed as “The Great American Lager?”  Yes, even though it will be owned by Belgians.

But Americans have no reason to fear Belgian ownership.  Here’s why:  Belgians are great people.  Twenty years ago, The Hangover and one of his associates spent a few nights in a Biarritz casino that could have been a James Bond set.  Our first evening there we cleaned up playing blackjack, winning hand after hand, hooping and hollering and guzzling beer.  While most of the clientele was in suits, we were dressed in jeans and leather jackets; we felt like the Cartwrights cutting loose in Virginia city. 

However, on the following night, our luck wasn’t so great.  Despite the bartenders having our first round arrive at our table just as we did, we started losing.  It got to the point that we were playing hand-to-hand.  A few more bad cards and we were done. 

An older gentleman was seated next to us.  He’d also been at our table the previous evening.   

     “You guys aren’t doing so great tonight,” he said.

     “No, it’s a rough one,” I replied.  We lost a hand just as one of the bartenders came over to see if we needed another round.  We didn’t have the money.

     “Let me buy you guys a beer,” the gentleman said.  “You know, you really got everyone all upset last night.”

     “We were just having a good time,” my associate said.

     “I enjoyed it,” the gentleman said.  “Whenever you can piss off these French assholes, go ahead and do it.”

      “I take it you’re not French,” I said.

     “The hell with that,” he said, smiling.  “I’m from Belgium.”

As soon as the beer the Belgian bought us arrived at the table, our luck changed.  We went on a winning streak that recouped our losses and then surpassed our winnings of the night before.  We owed it all to the kindness of the Belgian spirit. 

The Hangover will continue to support and enjoy Budweiser.  And when the InBev-Anheuser Busch deal is finalized, The Hangover fully expects his first “Belgian” Budweiser will bring him more than just a buzz.

[Editors note:  Rollerball, as a movie, is a good one with compelling characters, action, and suspense.  It was filmed in 1975 based on a storyby William Harrison.  However, if viewed today, the movie reveals itself to be eerily prescient social commentary.  You’d have to be stone drunk on American-Belgian Budweiser to miss the connections between the sci-fi world of the film and the one you actually live in.]