Gringo Manaba

Adventuras y Fantasias or Fantastical Adventures


  • January 2008
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Archive for January, 2008

Barack’s Stardom a Clinton Production

Posted by dowbrigade on 31st January 2008

Somewhere in a well-appointed private suite in a major American downtown hotel, in late 2003, Bill and Hillary Clinton sat over a Pu Pu Platter and plotted out the drama which is currently unfolding on the great American political stage.

A television buzzed in the background, unwatched. “Hill,” the former President polished off a Spring Roll and paused to lick the duck sauce off his fingers, “I think we’ve figured out how to out spend or out maneuver all of the viable alternatives for the nomination. What worries me is the final phase, what with the primaries and all. Now, we both know, and don’t get me wrong darlin’ but you rub a certain percentage of the electorate the wrong way. Opposition is gonna coalesce. In the end it’s goin’ to come down to you and some guy. One guy.”

“So?” Hillary had on her tough and determined look, which intimidated everyone except Bill, “I’ve been shutting down guys since I locked Hugh and Tony in the closet playing hide and go seek.”

“I know Hun, and in a fair fight my money’s on you, But on top of all the people you rub the wrong way, a lot of Americans worry about going to war with a woman commander in chief. All it would take is one bellicose incident right before the convention, and you versus that guy wouldn’t be a fair fight anymore.”

“So that’s it?!” Hillary was as incredulous as she had been the first time she had let Bill score, “We’re going to give up on my half of the plan we swore ourselves to 30 years ago because a skirmish in some Godforsaken backwater is going to push America into the arms of some GUY?”

“Well, Hill,” Bill was simultaneously wiping up General Gao and scouting out the fortune cookies, “I been thinking about that, and I figure the only way we can weather that final stretch is to make sure that last guy is OUR guy. We get the right individual into that final mano a mano leading up to the convention, and you’re a lock. In the general election the Republicans’ll be luck to get out of town free of tar and feathers.”

“Well, what kind of guy do you think we could get? He’s got to be a credible candidate, but on a short leash. What kind of sucker did you have in mind.” Hillary was leaning forward, her breath coming quicker.

“Well, I been thinking about that.” Bill leaned back and fished a toothpick from an inside pocket. “What would you think about some good-looking guy about a 10 years younger than you, wet bejind the ears, with no experience in national politics or foreign relations. Maybe an African American or a dark-skinned Asian. It’d be great to use a foreigner, but then he couldn’t be President, so maybe someone who grew up outside the US.”

Hillary stopped goggling and started giggling. “Be serious!”

“I am serious. I think we could pull it off. Maybe someone with an Arabic-sounding name, and some Islamic family members. And it would be nice if he had some secret flaw only we knew about that we could use as a fail-safe in case our golem threatens to get out of control. Think you could beat up on a guy like that?”

“Of course, silly. But where are you ever going to find someone that perfect, and more to the point, how are we ever going to convince the electorate to take him seriously.”

Bill unbuttoned his vest and put his feet up on the table, earning a scowl from Hillary. “Oh, you never know….”

For over a year the Dowbrigade has been convinced that Barack Obama is a creature and a creation of the Clintons, manufactured from whole cloth to be a straw candidate, a tar baby for contributions and support, a black hole drawing in energy and attention and eclipsing the other real alternatives to Hillary’s inevitability.

Bill Clinton, for all of his flaws and foibles, needs to be recognized as the preeminent political genius of his generation. Hillary may be smarter, in raw mental horsepower, but Bill has the kind of survival instincts and perfect political pitch that can change history. Bill and Hillary forged some kind of Satanic Pact back even before they got married, which is only now playing out on the trail to the Oval Office.

Around the time of our fictional conversation between Bill and Hillary, Barack’s life suddenly became charmed. He was plucked from obscurity in the Illinois State Senate and invited to address the Democratic National Convention and a national, prime time audience. Out of nowhere, the State party super structure selected him to run for US Senate. Like a bolt from the blue his multi-millionaire primary opponent was rocked by a series of scandals. Then, in the general election, his Republican rival, state attorney general Jack Ryan, was swift-boated by charges of sexual cruelty leveled by his photogenic actress ex-wife.

Suddenly, Barack Obama was in the Senate, and instantly a viable Presidential candidate. Do they really expect us to believe this stuff? If the striking writers came up with a plot line like that, they’d never get their jobs back. And yet everybody in the country except the Dowbrigade seemed to eat it right up!

Get real, people! This is all political theater. Barack belongs to the Clintons, he may have already agreed to accept a cabinet position; he’s young, his time will come. In the meantime, he’s playing his role perfectly. He prevented anyone else from gaining traction, his movie star mug attracted all the attention, press coverage and volunteer energy, not to mention money. When it’s time for him to exit, stage left, we are sure he’ll stage a memorable, tear-stained final scene.

The only real danger in the whole scheme is that all this fake success will go to the boy’s head, that he’ll start to think he’s really doing it on his own, and seek to slip the leash. However, we have enough respect for Bill’s foresight and perspicacity to know he kept a hole card for just such an eventuality, a self-destruct button he can press if his sacrificial stalking horse gets out of control.

So enjoy the show, folks, but don’t get carried away. Barack Obama is a figment of our collect imagination and deep seated need for an alternative we aren’t going to get. He is a spunky sparring partner for our girl Hill, making her sweat and look good, foisting some fake suspense onto a foregone, scripted scenario. He is a Republican wet dream. If the Clintons can pull off this masterpiece of political prestidigitation, they deserve a return trip to the White House.

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Toilet Museum Moving to Watertown

Posted by dowbrigade on 28th January 2008


WATERTOWN – The newest addition to Pleasant Street certainly doesn’t stink.

What was once a tourist attraction in Worcester is now heading through the pipelines to Watertown. The American Sanitary Plumbing Museum, aka “the toilet museum,” is moving to the West End with a promise to “bowl” people over.

The largest plumbing contractor in New England, J.C. Cannistraro LLC, has inherited the collection. It plans to expand the museum at the company’s headquarters on Rosedale Road, off the Pleasant Street corridor. The museum will be relocated to a 150-year-old former icehouse located on the property.

John Cannistraro Jr., president of J.C. Cannistraro LLC, said the
visitors in Watertown can expect an expanded display of the collection
— antique commodes, wooden pipes, water heaters, chain-pull toilets and
ornate porcelain thrones dating back to the early 19th century —
portraying a “progression of the industry” from the 1700s through today.

from the Watertown Tab

The Dowbrigade has a long-standing interest in toilets in general and urinals in particular, and so the news that a world-class collection is moving to our own town has filled us with excitement and civic pride. We can’t wait to call our brother-in-law in Flushing, NY to crow.

In fact, we have documented several possible additions to this valuable collection, including the candy-apple red open-mouthed urinal and the anti-drunk driving talking urinal from New Mexico. We definitely will have to give Mr. Cannistraro a call…..

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Posted in business, Friends and Family, Watertown | 13 Comments »

Tantric Master Creates Giant Slushie

Posted by dowbrigade on 28th January 2008


NEW YORK (AP) — A man who calls himself a tantric master broke his own world record by standing engulfed in ice for 72 minutes.

Wim Hof, 48, stood on a Manhattan street in a clear container filled with ice for an hour and 12 minutes Saturday.

Hof said he survives by controlling his body temperature through tantric meditation. Tantra is an Eastern tradition of ritual and meditation said to bring followers closer to their chosen deities.

Hof set the world record for full body ice contact endurance in 2004, when he immersed himself in ice for an hour and eight minutes.

Hof’s feat kicked off BRAINWAVE, a five-month series of events in New York exploring how art, music, and meditation affect the brain.

from AP

Not well, apparently…..

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Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments »

From the Eruption Zone

Posted by dowbrigade on 1st January 2008

Boy, have we ever gotten behind in our postings. But, thats what vacations are for, we guess. Currently in Baños, Ecuador, nested in the skirts of Mt. Tunguragua, an active vocano which is currently acting up; booming and smoking and spraying mile-high plumes of smoke into the air. We have been told that if we hear sirens, its time to evacuate. My, it seems the explosions are getting closer and closer together. Theres one every few minutes now.

Almost 8 pm on New Years Eve. Weve managed to upload a few pictures from the eruption zone. Enjoy the party. Happy New Year everyone.

Baños photo album

Posted in Ecuador, Friends and Family, South America | Comments Off on From the Eruption Zone