Sunday, November 26, 2006

So, I'm Not A News Junkie.

Actually, that's understating it. I abhor the news, especially as I get older and grumpier, and begin to wonder just why I'm being told most of the stuff that passes for news. It's a long way from the Jeffersonian ideal of producing an informed electorate to "actual footage of a car in flames after hitting a lamppost."

Much of my news comes through unreliable filters. Doonesbury is not a bad source, especially for something that takes about six weeks of production and so is invariably behind. Sure, I listen to NPR in the car--SINCE I DON'T HAVE AN IPOD--but there's a great deal of opinion and essay involved in hour long discussions about anything.

So, today, my dose of news came via Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me. I love this show. Even not keeping up with news, I manage to answer some of the quiz questions so it makes me feel smart. And, like Jon Stewart, Peter Segal makes fun of the people who most deserve it. So, why don't I listen every week? Why isn't it on my list of bookmarks so I can check in frequently? Excuse me, I have some computer organizing to do....

....hmmm, hmmm hmm...

...Okay I'm back. Anyway, how can you not love this little factoid--a tasty little amuse bouche that I just want to tuck into my cheek pockets and pull out to ruminate at leisure.

They should have known he was up to something when Bush told Camp David guests "I'm going to read." [Pause for disbelieving laughter from the audience] Now thatwas a Hutline political newletter that suggests the Bush's cabinet should have figured out that he was really going to go...where?

The answer, of course, was "to Iraq." The top secret whirlwind trip to Iraq was apparently "disguised" as a trip to the library. And we all know how fond Bush is of reading. After all, when you've got a book you are absolutely dying to get back to, don't you say "Farewell, guests. I'm going to read." It's just a clunker. Nobody who really reads says "I'm going to read."

Imagine the scene. Interior, Camp David cabin. A fire is roaring in the fireplace. Dick Cheney is cleaning his shotgun, and the rest of the Cabinet is as far away as they can get. Condi Rice and Alberto Gonzales are playing liars' poker with Donald Rumsfeld and Michael Chertoff, using Treasury notes provided by Henry Paulson. They are decorated with unflattering pictures of Ben Bernanke. The other Cabinet members are playing "guess who I am" with their real names. Bush is standing by the fire, his hands in his pockets, rocking up and down on his toes.

"Jesus, Dubya, will you quit fidgeting? You're making me nervous," orders Dick Cheney, as Bush sneaks another look at his wristwatch.

"Is that really the right time, Turd Blossom? Do you think my watch has stopped?" Karl Rove looks up from some cryptic notes he's making to glare at the President. He narrows his eyes and says "I'm sure it's fine."

Laughter erupts from the poker table as Condi Rice announces her hand "I've got a pair of twos, a pair of fives, and a stockpile of WMD!" Gonzales asks "Where's this salsa from? New York City?"

Everyone is wearing their "Camp David Tartan" flannel shirts, which they received on arrival. Everyone but the President. He's got a tailored blue suit, freshly pressed white shirt and red tie. His oxfords are polished to a mirror like sheen. Time is passing slowly for the President. He looks at his watch again, then announces to the room,"It sure is good to get away like this, isn't it. To just get away and relax." Up on his toes, and down. Up on his toes, and down.

Chertoff is out of the poker hand. He tried to bluff using bottled water and duct tape, and now he's looking over Condi's shoulder.

Cheney's got a good one. "So, I guy with no arms walks into a bar, and he come up to the bartender, and he says 'Can you help me out? I gotta go...'"

"Speaking of gotta go," Bush interrupts, looking at his watch, "I gotta go. Gotta I'm going to go read. I'll see you all later, when I get back. Back from reading. Um, yes, it's reading time."

Yeah, I'm guessing they figured out that something was up. But since they've gotten so good at pretending to believe everything else he says, that I'm sure he thought he'd fooled them.

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