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Kissing Squids Feeding Squirrels & Getting Squewed

Kissing Squids, Feeding Squirrels And Getting Squewed

By Mark Drolette

“The Squid Hickeys.”

Great name for a band, huh? I found out about them from a reader named Steve (who, to preserve his anonymity, shall henceforth be called: “Steve”). He suggested I might want to get out more after perusing a recent column in which I described my unmistakable lurch (more like a “totter”) toward old manhood by going to the park specifically to feed the squirrels. (Update: Bucky now takes peanuts straight from the hand, and Chipper is not so jumpy.) Steve’s son, Bryan (to whom, from now on, we shall refer as: “Bryan”), happens to be The Squid Hickeys’ drummer, which is really quite a coincidence, when you think about it.

Anyway, The Squid Hickeys play here in the Sacramento area, and Steve sent me the band’s LINK so I could catch their next show. (I just hope I’m not expected to hurl live cephalopods [or dead ones, even], replete with curiously red-spotted tentacles, onto the stage during the performance. I know it’s not obvious, but I haven’t been to a club in a long time.)

I’m no musician (my banjo instructor of six years could confirm this), but I assume it’s not easy for one to craft a good band moniker. I am a political columnist, though, and have encountered my own difficulty trying to devise a pithy label for the Bush administration and its fellow fascists. (The preceding has already been nominated for most questionable segue of the year, so, please, hold onto your ballots.)

Here are a few tags I’ve seen: Busheviks, Bushitters, Bushpigs, neoconpoops, neoconvicts, Rethuglicans, Repiglicans, Reptilicans, or, my personal favorite, Evil Rat Bastards (which, I know, involves no wordplay but gets extremely high marks for accuracy).

Though some of the above are clever, none comes even remotely close to conveying the true depth of the Bushies’ depravity. Still, it’s almost easier coming up with a wittily appropriate name for the Bushmonsters than deciding which vile action of theirs to next tackle column-wise.

Given the extraordinary volume of their misdeeds (although, frankly, calling their heinous actions “misdeeds” is like saying Hitler “made some mistakes”), it might seem all one has to do is throw a dart and voila! (that’s like a small cello), there’s your next topic.

But Bushco has wreaked such overwhelming havoc, it’s almost too much from which to choose, sorta like when I was in college and didn’t know who to date next because there were all these lovely young coeds vying for my attention and…snarff-blurk...huh? Sorry, dozed off there for a second. (I was having the greatest dream, too.)

Where were we? Oh, yeah, picking a topic for picking on Dubya and accompanying thugs. So, yes, there is a stinking stream of effluent constantly emitted by the execrable Bushies, a steady supply of steaming poop du jour upon which columnists can, um, pile on. (Sorry, I’m usually not this scatological; then again, I’ve never seen an administration this shitty.) The trick, then, is to sift through it all and select a single nugget (ee-yeww!). (Again, no action necessary: this has already been declared the early winner for crappiest analogy of 2005.)

Next comes the angle angle, a slant upon which a writer can hinge a column. (Me, I don’t start with an angle, explaining why, I guess, some of my writings may appear unhinged.)

Usually what happens, of course, and has ever since commentators were first invented, is that many of us end up dissecting the same subject, the moment’s hot story. Such saturation isn’t a bad thing; if we writers are worth our salt (which is a seasoning more than my remuneration), each can add something unique to the dialogue.

An unfortunate side effect, though, is that important stories get shorted. (I’m discussing the alternative press. Forget the whoreporate media; they sold out long ago and ain’t coming back.) Right now, we’re all agog over Plamegate, which makes total sense considering how we’ve ached for years now for karma to go to bat against the Bushwhackers. (Caution: Don’t unfurl the gonfalon just yet.)

So, in no particular order, here are just a very few very newsworthy currently off-to-the-side items about which too much could never be written:

Remember the memo!: Leaked classified British government documents, a.k.a. the Downing Street Minutes, irrevocably prove the Bushies lied us into war (for those who, mystifyingly, had any doubt) and couldn’t be more damning than if they’d actually declared, for example, that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

Oh, wait…

Bloody blatant British baloney in Basra: What do you get when you take two British operatives dressed as Arabs driving a car in Iraq packed with explosives, their arrest by Iraqi cops, a subsequent assault on said cops’ station by the British military (our allies) to break out the operatives, killing Iraqis (our friends) in the process, and an investigator assigned to the case to dig out the truth about the whole sordid mess?

That’s right: a dead investigator.

Fraggin’ the friggin’ press: Per Al Goodman of CNN, a Spanish judge presiding over a case investigating the killing of Telecinco journalist Jose Couso at Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel in April 2003 by a U.S. tank issued an international arrest warrant for the three American soldiers composing its crew, charging them with “murder” and “a crime against the international community.” The warrant cited “no judicial cooperation” by the U.S. (imagine). (Taras Protsyuk, a cameraman for Reuters, also died in the attack on the hotel, which the U.S. military knew housed international media.)

No fewer than 10[*] additional journalists (or media employees) have been killed directly or indirectly by American fire in Iraq. Two* others (at least) are likely U.S. sniper victims. And, in March, American troops wounded Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena and killed Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari after Sgrena’s release by “kidnappers.”

Then-CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan caused an uproar in January when he reportedly asserted 12 journalists had been specifically targeted and done in by the U.S. in Iraq. Though his actual remarks remain in dispute, what’s not to believe? One month prior, I’d attended the memorial service for Gary Webb, whose career as a brilliant investigative reporter had been vaporized by a classic disinformation campaign after his 1996 three-part series in the San Jose Mercury News had detailed the CIA/Contra cocaine connection during the Reagan years. He’d nailed the story, and consequently, the powers he’d implicated nailed him. He ended up broke and disillusioned and supposedly finally shot himself in despair. Twice.

The message from our government to journalists is clear: Embed, or be dead.

So, while everyone speculates about whether “Scooter” Libby (that indictment should’ve included a sixth count: possessing an irredeemably stupid nickname) will roll over and kick the ball higher, it’s worth mentioning the stories above if for no other reason than to, uh, mention them.

Hey, it ain’t much, but it’s better than nothin’, and nothin' don't mean nothin' hon' if it ain't…whoops, sorry, drifted off again. (Man, feeding squirrels and now this; can a walker be far behind?)

Anyway, we all, writers and readers alike, presumably have the same goal: to eviscerate Bushco and save the republic. (Unless, of course, you’re a freeper, in which case: what are you doing have someone read you this column? Why aren’t you out setting fires or something?)

I’ve previously opined that, no matter the Plame endgame, much blood will have to be spilled before the neocons’ death grip on America is loosened. ‘Course, I could be wrong and, besides, what am I gonna in the meantime: not write? Hence, to unwind some and try to retain what little sanity I have left, I plan to partake soon of the musical charms of The Squid Hickeys who, according to Steve, sound somewhat “Jackson Browneish.”

This is good news on two fronts: a) I like Jackson Browne and b) it means I probably won’t have to stock up on multi-appendaged sea creatures before heading out for the evening.

P.S. I’m off to Costa Rica for a bit. See you in a few weeks!

* The ten: Mazen Dana, Ali Abdelaziz, Ali al-Khatib, Maha Ibrahim, Ahmed Wael Bakri, Tarek Ayoub, Asaad Khadim, Kamaran Abdurazaq Muhamed (a BBC translator), Frederic Nerac and Mazen Tomeizi. The two: Dhia Najim and Yasser Salihee. (This is in no way meant to be a comprehensive list.)


Copyright © 2005 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.

Bio: Mark Drolette is a political humorist/commentator who lives in Sacramento, California. His e-mail address is If he takes longer than usual to respond, he’s probably still in the land of Pura Vida, sipping coconut water and listening to howler monkeys.

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