Most people don’t understand the importance of today; they think of it as Veterans’ Day—which is a fine thing, I suppose—but it’s not quite the same thing as Armistice Day. What’s worse, is the people who are celebrating tonight simply because the date lines up like so: 11-11-11.
Well … so what? Last year it was 10-10-10; the year before that we had 09-09-09. Numerology is a stupid waste of time, even when it’s used as a lame excuse to get drunk. (After all, who needs an excuse?)
In 1973, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. wrote a book called Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday; it was a fiftieth birthday present to himself. In it, he wrote:
I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.
So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.
What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.
And all music is.
So, today is Armistice Day; it would also have been Mr. Vonnegut’s eighty-ninth birthday, had he not died on April 11, 2007. Too bad, because Kurt Vonnegut was a fine writer; he was good friends with another of my favorite authors, John Irving.
And so much for that.
Before I go any further, I would like to welcome Michael Priv to our team. I’ve included some of Mr. Priv’s work here on our site—look for it in The Latest News—and I will be adding more over the next couple of days. Let me know if you’d like to contribute something to Secret Laboratory—just go to our Submissions page for details.
President Obama called the co-chairs of the deficit reduction supercommittee today to whine, bitch, and plead with them to strike a “balanced” deal this weekend. Unfortunately, Republicans show no signs of budging when it comes to new revenue; instead, they want to lower the individual tax rate to 28% and are demanding that Democrats offer them their throats.
A Democratic aide, speaking of the party’s offer of a package to eliminate $2.3 trillion from the deficit, said, “We put cuts to entitlements on the table, we put more cuts to discretionary spending on the table, we put cuts to Medicaid, we put serious things on the table along with revenue. These guys put their ideological wish list on the table. Maybe that makes us bad negotiators? I think it makes us people that are serious about getting something done.”
Well … shucks. I’ve been saying since August that they won’t reach an agreement by their November 23 deadline—and I haven’t seen anything lately to make me change my mind.
Meanwhile, Herman Cain just can’t get past this pesky sexual harassment business. When the stories first broke, the candidate thought that he could shrug them off and then roll on to victory—but then reality set in. You see, I don’t give a damn if a politician has an affair—it’s nothing new—but when you start talking about someone who allegedly abuses their power to a despicable degree (and that someone wants to be the most powerful man on Earth) … well … that’s a problem.
Hmmm. Actually, Herman Cain doesn’t really want to be the president, but let’s pretend that he does.
When two of the women, Sharon Bialek and Karen Kraushaar, started talking about holding a press conference, Mr. Cain ran out and hired himself a high-profile defamation lawyer named Lin Wood and held a press conference of his own.
“Mr. Cain is being tried in the court of public opinion based on accusations that are improbable and vague,” Atlanta attorney Lin Wood told The Associated Press. “The media—bless your heart—you turn our system of justice into one of guilt by accusation.”
The two women have since cancelled—or perhaps postponed?—their plan on going public after hearing Mr. Wood say that anyone ought to “think twice” before attempting to defame the revered Mr. Cain.
Asked to respond to Wood’s “think twice” comment, Kraushaar’s lawyer, Joel Bennett, said: “I have not heard his statement, but statements of that nature could intimidate or discourage women from reporting sexual harassment.”
Herman Cain, for his money, has “absolutely no regrets”—which might be true, because when someone else (Romney, I’m betting) is nominated next year, he will walk away with exactly what he came for: publicity.
Fuck Herman Cain. He’s on his way out. In fact, just today a couple of new polls show Newt Gingrich beating out all of his competition and steadily gaining on Mitt Romney.
Wait a minute—that can’t be right. Newt Gingrich? Jesus God. First it was Michele Bachmann, then Herman Cain, and now Newt. Mitt Romney has been the decided-upon nominee from the very start; everyone else is just taking their turns riding his coattails.
Mr. Gingrich is reportedly so excited by his recent jump in the polls that he’s already had a series of minor heart attacks; brushing that aside, the candidate is planning big and talking about how he’s going to defeat Obama. Propped up by his wife and mopping his brow, the sweaty flush-cheeked Gingrich announced, “I will allow the White House to become my scheduler and wherever Barack Obama goes, I will show up 4 hours later and I will methodically take apart his speeches and I will do it, by the way, without notes.”
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney has called Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by year’s end an “enormous mistake” and a “failure.”
Really? For my money, I’d categorize the decision to ever launch that ill-fated sideshow a failure. I can’t believe that anyone—let alone a supposedly serious presidential candidate—is still suggesting that any good can come from having our troops in Iraq.
Right. Welcome to the weekend.
Here’s your wisdom: