BY CHARLES MEMMINGER – I’m taking off the rest of the year to mentally prepare for 2012. Here are some amusing, insightful and breathtakingly vapid observations that appeared in Charleyworld in 2011. Have a Merry Christmas and Relatively Crime Free New Year!

Feb. 9: On Taxing the Virtuous:

As governments struggle to balance budgets during hard times, they predictably try to put the hurt to “the usual suspects” to generate revenue: the boozers, the cigarette fiends, the gamblers, the French fry-eaters and the dope smokers. They call these heartless revenue streams “sin taxes”. My suggestion to lawmakers looking for a quick buck to feed government coffers is to leave the sinners alone and tax the virtuous. The virtuous are in much better shape physically and psychologically to have their pockets picked for the alleged good of the public. The virtuous will live a lot longer than the decrepit and so they are a better vessel in which to pour the hopes of long-term financial stability in than the leaky cistern of the self-debauched.

March 16: On Airport Screeners:

Being a big fan of irony, I was amused to learn of the arrest of a Transportation Safety Administration screener caught stealing money right out of the wallets of Japanese tourists while they were being screened at the Kona airport. You’d think that the national agency whose main duty it is to screen people getting on airplanes to make sure they aren’t carrying bombs would be able to screen its own screeners to make sure they aren’t thieves.

March 24: On ‘What’s Happening In Libya is Not a War, It’s a Kinetic Engagement’:

Other famous “non-wars” in history:

The “Kinetic Naval Engagement of 1812.;  The “World Kinetic Military Hostility I and World Kinetic Military Hostility II”; “The Kinetic Unpleasantness of the Roses”; “The 100-Year Kinetic Thingy” and “America’s Civil Messed Up Kinetic Disagreement.” Since our country’s  Cold War with the Soviet Union was cold, I guess it was not kinetic. Maybe it should have been called the “The Interminable Lethargic Non-Kinetic Peace-Resembling Snit.”

April 14: On Let Them Pump Gas:

I don’t know much about economics but one thing has become abundantly clear in the past few weeks: gas that costs more than four bucks a gallon burns up a lot faster than three-buck-a-gallon gas. Man, my truck is like a boozer on a binge, sucking up gas like a wino sucks up Muscatel. (Muscatel, by the way, has remained steady at about $4.45 per gallon and, while it reeks hell on human internal organs, it makes an internal combustion engine purr like a cat.)

May 4: On Saving the Earth:

There are those – how do you say – idiots – who believe that Mother Earth can take care of herself. When one form of life gets too uppity and starts thinking that it owns the planet, Mother Earth has a way of taking care of the problem. Seen any dinosaurs lately?

But those people are just wrong. Only an alliance of largely uneducated people with good intentions and no scientific training looking to get a handout from various United Nations climate change commissions and guilt-tripping prosperous countries into paying them to go away can save Mother Earth. And I, for one, will be looking to get my share.

May 26: On Legalizing Prostitution:

In most places around the world, prostitution is against the law. I think it’s silly to make it illegal for one consenting adult to give another consenting adult money for sex. Why is that the government’s business? Besides, men have been paying women for sex forever. There’s a special word for it: Marriage. Do you think Donald Trump didn’t pay big bucks to enjoy the temporary company and sexual favors of the various beautiful blondes he married and then dumped? Trump’s exes did exceedingly okay in the money department. When it comes to financial success, Ivana Trump makes Heidi Fleiss look like a piker.

July 13: On Putting Kids to Work:

There are many, many American children who do not even have one job. Gone are the days when cute, sooty-faced youngsters contributed to society and made an honest living toiling in coal mines. And there wasn’t a fat kid among them. Today, parents coddle their children, stuffing them with Big Macs and soft drinks  while letting the little shirkers do nothing but play video games all day while being “home schooled.” Home schooled … are you kidding me? There’s no schooling going on.  I know a home-schooling couple who have a child who must be nearly one year old and the feeble-minded creature doesn’t even speak English.

Aug. 24: On Presidential Vacations:

President Obama’s vacation in Martha’s Vineyard has been criticized for coming at the same time the stock market dove like a Blue-footed Booby with its butt feathers on fire and wars rage around the globe. But Obama got a bit of a reprieve when Libyan rebels backed by NATO jets sent Col. Muammar Gaddafi into hiding, proving that it is possible to oversee the overthrow of a country from a golf cart at the Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs, Mass.

Obama actually has taken far fewer vacation days than President George W. Bush. But when you consider the choice of vacation venues, George Bush’s 180 days of brush clearing in dry, dusty, hot Crawford, Texas was more like a prison work release program than a vacation.

Aug. 31: On the Hysterical TV coverage of Hurricane Irene:

Hurricane Irene was barely even a hurricane. It started out as a “Category 3” hurricane but was downgraded by Standard and Poors to a “Category 1.5.”

Even CNN anchor Candy Crowley chose to stage her Sunday show outdoors, her hair looking fetchingly windblown. By the way, if that poor woman keeps packing on the pounds she’s going to have to change her name to Roast Beef Crowley. I thought I saw emergency rescue personnel urging residents to move into a safe building or at least seek shelter on the leeward side of Candy Crowley.

Sept. 14: On Fat Customers and Fast Food Restaurants:

A 290-pound New York man is suing the White Castle fast food chain for not having seats big enough to accommodate his bulk. Now, you would think that when you are too fat to actually fit into a seat at burger joint maybe it’s time to step away from the burgers for a while. On the other beefy hand, where does a place that sells millions of little burgers by the sack-full get off on not providing their target customers (i.e. people who eat burgers by the sack-full) a comfy place to sit down?

Nov. 16: On the Some Members Occupy Wall Street Movement:

President John F. Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what YOU can do for your country.”  The motto for many of the whiny, spoiled Occupiers seems to be “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what has it done for you lately.”

(Some Items Were Edited For Space)

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