Monday, May 15, 2006

“Bush’s Brain to Be Removed”


Washington, May 15 -
The White House announced today that President Bush will be undergoing what it terms a “minor surgical procedure” for the removal of Bush’s brain. The surgery is “normal health care maintenance” and “simply a precaution,” said press secretary Tony Snow.

Patrick Fitzgerald, the surgeon heading up the brain removal team, explains that the removal will relieve cranial congestion. “It’s a common mistake,” said Fitzgerald, “to speak of ‘Bush’s brain’ in the singular. The president’s skull actually contains three separate ‘brains’—the brain we will be removing; a second brain, which we call ‘Cheney,’ that exercises enormous control over major presidential functions; and, thirdly, the president’s original or ‘birth brain.’ The second brain will probably expand somewhat as new space becomes available. The original brain is rigid and difficult to penetrate from outside, and we doubt the operation will have much impact on it organically.”

Despite White House descriptions of the procedure as ‘routine,’ Fitzgerald sounds a note of caution about the risks involved.

“The brain we are removing is tricky,” he says. “Surgery will be complicated by the vast number of tentacles the brain has branching throughout the entire system. In addition, the brain has been leaking dirt into the media and infecting the body politic. We have to guard against the possibility that it has undermined not just the president’s political health, but that of our democracy in general.”

Since rumors of the procedure began to circulate, speculation has focused on two questions: Can the president continue to function normally without his brain? and Is it possible for the brain to continue to devise plans for the president and then have them carried out by remote control?

The White House has moved swiftly to address the first question, with his press secretary assuring that the president will be back on the job the day after the removal. “He may feel some minor political discomfort,” said Snow, “but it will not affect his ability to perform his presidential duties.”

Other observers suggest that the president’s brain has long been dysfunctional, and that losing it will result in fewer changes than expected. Charles Liddy, of the Mussolini Society think tank, notes that the brain functioned brilliantly on the political side, seizing control of all the major institutions of government, but was stunningly incompetent when it came to delivering any actual government services.

Liddy goes on to argue that there is, in fact, a direct link between the seizures and the government’s paralysis. “Just look at the way the president has lurched in the polls,” he says. “You can tell a lot from the way a person walks. It’s obvious there’s an issue with his central nervous system. His wiring just hasn’t been working right.”

Opinions are sharply divided as to whether the president’s brain can continue to do his planning from a distance,. Republican senator Trent Lott sees no reason why the brain cannot continue to operate while it roves outside the White House fence. “It’s absurd to think that the brain actually has to be on site. The brain has numerous pathways to transmit its impulses,” he points out.

Post-operation plans for the brain are uncertain, however. No alternative host has stepped forward to request the organ, and it may simply be cooled in a cell until a compatible recipient can be found.

Political hopefuls who are interested in becoming transplant hosts can submit samples of their own brain matter for an issue match.

© Tony Russell, 2006

Saturday, May 13, 2006

“Talking Iranian War Blues”

I was walking home from work and saw our neighbor, Bobby Barefoot, sitting out on his porch, picking a guitar and singing to himself. “Hey, Bobby,” I yelled, “how’s it going?”

“Okay,” he said, “if I could just get this darned song finished. I’ve been fooling around with it and fooling around with it, and I can’t quite get it where I want it. Say, you being a writer and all, would you mind listening to it and see if you’ve got any suggestions?”

“Well, I don’t know if reporting the garden news makes me a writer,” I said, “but I’d be glad to do what I can.” So I perched on the railing and waited for him to start.

“Huhhmmm,” he cleared his throat. “I call it ‘Talkin’ Iranian War Blues’.” Then he began.

Woke up this mornin’, Iran was on my mind.
Yeah I said woke up this mornin’, and Iran was on my mind.
When I hear those drumbeats rollin’,
I know for sure our leader’s lyin’.

‘We’ll give diplomacy a chance,’ that’s what they say.
‘Oh we’ll give diplomacy a chance,’ yeah, so they say.
But you know the plans are drawn up,
And there’ll be bombs fallin’ any day.

Well, a letter from Iran came in the mail,
Yeah yesterday there was a letter in the mail.
Guess they thought we’d bother to answer,
But we’re hell-bent that peace will fail.

Losin’ two wars at a time, let’s try for three.
Oh why are ‘easy’ wars so hard, let’s try for three,
While rivers of other people’s blood
Change into oil for you and me.

Blood into oil, like water into wine,
Yeah I heard that somewhere, water turnin’ into wine.
I just know that blood a-runnin’
Helps Halliburton’s bottom line.

Oil for you and me, and ready cash,
Yeah it’s oil for you and me, and beaucoup cash.
Keep the oil and profits rollin’,
And we’ll have ourselves a bash.

I wonder what it’s like down on the ground,
Oh yeah sometimes I wonder what it’s like down on the ground.
They say there’s people cryin’,
But I just can’t hear a sound.

He played a final chord and then looked up at me. “Well, what do you think?” he asked.

“Uh, the rhythm’s a little rough,” I said, trying to be polite.

“Nah, nah, talkin’ blues you can fudge the rhythm,” he said. “It’s not like scanning a poem. You can phrase it and make it come out all right.”

“What about the perspective?” I said. “It seems to shift a lot.”

“I take sort of a Picasso approach to perspective,” he said.

Then I cut to what was really bothering me. “Do you actually think the administration is so flat-out nuts as to start another war, when we’re already stretched too thin in Iraq and Afghanistan?” I asked. “I mean, the whole premise of your song is that they’re going to do it, and that the real reason isn’t Iran’s nuclear program, it’s oil. You’re taking a pretty cynical attitude, aren’t you?”

“Ace,” he said, “I’m not cynical. I’m trying to be realistic about the most cynical administration in American history. That makes me sound cynical when I describe them.”

“If I believed they were as reckless and as ruthless as you make them out to be,” I said, “I’d be scared out of my britches.”

He hesitated. “In that case,” he said, “I’m glad I didn’t write about what worries me most.”

“Well don’t stop now,” I said.

[Okay, reader, maybe we WILL stop now. What do YOU think is worrying him most?]

© Tony Russell, 2006