A heavy dose of truth, humor, and political activism.

Location: Phila, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, January 04, 2009


A few weeks ago, The Spoon, Full of Truth celebrated its 3rd anniversary of bringing you intelligent news and amusing stories (that’s 21 anniversaries in stupidity years). I hope everyone managed to have a happy, budget holiday season (or extravagant holiday if the economic crisis hasn’t hit your home yet) and a joyous and healthy start to the New Year. There are lots of big things in store for 2009 beginning with President-Elect Barack Obama taking the oath of office in about two weeks. Thanks to those of you who have been loyal readers for the past three years, those who discovered the site along the way, and to you new readers who might even be reading for the first time today. Without you, none of my success with The Spoon would be possible. If you’d like to give me a present, share the link to this site with fifteen people today. It will only take a minute of your time and will most likely lead to an intelligence boost amongst your group of friends. Set the table, bring your appetite, and get ready to dig in to another Spoon, Full of Truth.

It’s true in at least one sense; when it comes to the Presidency or pornography, Bush is out…for now. If one former President has his way, it’s only a time before Bush makes a comeback. In a recent broadcast interview on Fox News, George H.W. Bush was asked about his son Jeb making a potential run at a senate seat or the White House in a future election.
"I'd like to see him run. I'd like to see him be president someday." Bush Sr. responded.
Who knew Jeb Bush and I had so much in common? As it turns out, my father would like to see me be President someday too! And I’m willing to bet (unless you have one of those “aim low so you can never fail” kind of dads) that your father would like to see you be President too. How did Fox News expect him to respond to this powder-puff question? “Well Chris, normally I’d want all of my children to succeed but after the hell that my son George and I have put this country through during our twelve combined years in office, I’d rather Jeb not be President”. I don’t think so.
Aside from cake-walk interviews what else is on tap for Bush senior as his son George spends his final days running our once great nation into the ground?
The former president also plans to go skydiving once again, in June, to mark his 85th birthday. He will make the jump in tandem with an expert. "Just because you're an old guy, you don't need to sit around sucking your thumb drooling in the corner," he said. Obviously those activities (like savings & loan scandals (Neil), drunk driving arrests, draft dodging, cocaine use, unnecessary wars, fixed elections, hanging chads, historically low approval ratings, insider trading (Marvin) and financial crises…to name a few) are best left to his over-achieving children. The Bush brothers: making daddy proud since 1946.

On a recent trip to the News Museum (Newseum) in Washington, DC, I had the chance to read headlines from newspapers all around the world. Although I can’t recall the title of the publication, one headline (from some paper in the U.S.) stuck in my head. Is it the worst headline I’ve ever seen? It’s right up there. The headline read: “Will The Economy Rebound in 2009? Maybe.” Maybe?!? The first job of a headline is to grab your attention and drag the reader in. From the headline alone I know I’m not going to get any definitive information out of the story. Why keep reading? It led me to consider writing personalized headline greeting cards to people I don’t really like. Here are a few ideas I had:

“Extra! Extra! Is Your Girl Friend Cheating On You? Maybe.”
“You Are Potentially the Ugliest One in Your Family”
“Something Sure Smells Bad. It’s Probably You”
“Your Parents Say You Weren’t A Mistake. Are They Lying? Maybe.”

I could scrap the whole greeting card idea and go to work for a major paper armed with my new journalistic tools instead. The articles would practically write themselves.

“Man Shot by Police in Liquor Store Hold up Was Probably Guilty”
“Could You Be Saving Money on Your Bills? I Guess So.”
“Iraq Might Still Have Weapons of Mass Destruction, Somewhere.”
“Gas Prices Drop, But They Could Go Back Up”
“Will Your Child Turn Into a Gremlin If You Feed Them After Midnight? Maybe.”

Come on journalists! We have a reputation to uphold. If you think the economy will rebound, state your case for it. If you think it will continue to decline then present your evidence to that end. Otherwise, should readers not bother with your articles? Most definitely!

A few months ago I was issued a citation from a Philadelphia Police officer for drinking in public. The ticket was for $75. I would have just paid it except I had one issue; I had not been drinking in public. I was told to appear before an administrative hearing officer on Friday, January 2nd. I arrived at the hearing on time and was told to sign in at the desk by a young lady that had trouble finding any record that I should even be there. Eventually after several minutes on her computer, she unearthed the complaint. She handed me a sheet of paper with some general rules on it and told me to go two doors down the hall and have a seat. When I entered the room, it was completely full. The only empty seat was in the last row of chairs next to an older couple. I asked them to stand up so I could maneuver past them into the empty seat and upon sitting, instantly regretted my decision. The old guy next to me instantly turned to me and asked me for the time. He smelled so badly of mildew that I wanted to tell him it was at least quarter past bath time, but I bit my tongue and told him that it was 11:00 AM. He then relayed what I can only assume was the time to his wife in a language I didn’t understand. It sounded like something eastern European. She replied to him but once again, I didn’t understand what she was saying. I hoped she was telling him about his ungodly odor and that he should go stand in the hall. If she did, he ignored her. I settled into my seat, trying my best to breath through my mouth and not my nose, and began the waiting game. My appointment was scheduled for 11:00 AM so it had to be my turn any minute now, right? Wrong. Slowly, one by one, each person in the room was called ahead of me. They were called into a small adjoining room on the other side of a clear glass wall. The man who sat behind a small desk in the second room would just scream the name of the next person through the wall; he made no attempt to stand up and open the door to call them into his office. I watched each person speak with the administrative hearing officer (A.H.O.) for a few moments. I couldn’t hear what they were saying but I could see some of them handing the A.H.O. various papers and most of them seemed to leave the room with a smile on their face. The minutes ticked by. I picked up the sheet of paper and began to peruse the rules. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had figured when I contested the ticket that I would be appearing before a judge but the sheet said I could only request a formal hearing if I was unsatisfied with the findings of the A.H.O.. It seemed like a waste of time to meet with a person that had no real authority but I was already waiting. The next rule stated that the officer who issued the ticket did not need to appear. It argued that, “The ticket issued is proof that the offense occurred”. Uh, what? If I have a certificate that says I’m the best lover in the world it doesn’t make it true. If I have a ticket stub for a movie it isn’t proof that I saw that movie. It really made me mad because I hadn’t been guilty of drinking in public and the officer had issued a ticket anyway. In a criminal case, if the officer who issued the ticket does not show up, the case can be dismissed due to lack of prosecution. Evidently, this was a civil matter and the same rules did not apply. The third rule basically said that unlike in court, you were pretty much guilty until you proved yourself innocent. It said that it was my job to supply the A.H.O. with documents, photos, etc to prove that I was not guilty of the offense in question. Most of the citations they dealt with at this office were property offenses where documents were available. In my case, I didn’t have any proof. My only argument was my own word. It was not given under oath (although if it had been, my story would have been the same…the truth).
Finally, well over an hour later, he finally shouted my name through the glass wall and I entered his office. He had a folder opened on his desk and he instantly asked me if I was a property owner. He’d spent a lot of time prepping for me, I could tell.
“I’m not here for a property dispute,” I told him, “I am here to get a citation dismissed”.
He asked me what the citation was for and I told him that I had been walking down the street, drinking out of a red plastic party cup, when an officer on a bike had stopped me to ask me what I was drinking. Being that I was totally sober (and acting accordingly) he had no right to stop me and inquire about my beverage. Furthermore, when I told the officer who issued the ticket that he was violating my rights he responded by saying that he had just cause because “there is only one thing people drink out of those red party cups”. This made me want to carry a red party cup filled with urine into court and get the officer while he is on the stand.
“If there is only one thing people drink out of red party cups then you will have no problem drinking this cup full of…alcohol, will you officer?”
At least the cop let me finish my juice before issuing me a citation.
The A.H.O. asked what I had been drinking and I told him juice.
“What kind of juice was it?” he asked.
“I don’t remember,”
“Oh come on,” he said, “I think you’re spinning me a tale,”
“Well I’m not,” I responded, “It was several months ago. It was probably grape juice because that’s what I drink when my blood sugar is low; I’m Diabetic. Do you remember what you were drinking on a specific night three months ago?”
He didn’t respond to my question but I knew he had no idea. Who would?
“Do you have proof of being Diabetic?” he asked.
I had my insulin pens with him and I showed him those. He asked if I wore a medic alert but I didn’t and he seemed satisfied with the pens. He continued, “Are you sure you weren’t drinking because the parking lot at 5th and South is where people often park and return to after a night of drinking on South Street,” he told me as if he had his finger squarely on the pulse of twenty-something drinking culture.
I hated to bring him back down to Earth but there were at least three things wrong with his bold statement. 1) The ticket had been issued at 3rd and South. If the officer had said 5th and South, he had lied about the location along with the offense. 2) I lived three blocks from 5th and South and even if I had been out drinking I would have returned to my home and not a parking lot. 3) I don’t own a car.
He obviously thought he had to change tactics to catch me. “What do you do for a living?” he asked.
I told him I did several things but primarily I was a writer.
“So what’s the problem then? You just don’t have the $75?”
“No,” I told him, “I’m not willing to pay any amount of money for something I didn’t do,”
He then changed tactics again and asked me, “Are you a good person?”
I refused to play his intermediary mind-games. How did he want me to answer? Should I tell him that I only derive my happiness from the misery of others? Maybe I should tell him to just hurry the hell up, that I was late for my skin-head fight-club meeting.
“Yes,” I told him matter-of-factly, “I’m a good person,”
He then asked if I was going to write about good things. I didn’t know what he considered a “good” topic to write about but I jumped through his hoop and told him that I would. He smiled, and told me he was going to throw out the $75 fine but there would still be a record of the citation. He then had me sign a form, and told me to see the receptionist for a receipt. I thanked him, shook his hand, and left.
The receptionist gave me my receipt and I left the office. It was a mind numbingly dumb experience. I figure that with all of the insight The Spoon provides, an anecdote of my adventure will balance this post out.

Sometime today, a state election board on will announce that Democrat Al Franken has defeated Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race, according to statements made by state officials to CNN.
The canvassing board will say a recount determined Franken won by 225 votes, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie also told CNN. Great news! Another senate seat for the Democrats!
Coleman's campaign contends that the recount should have included about 650 absentee ballots that it says were improperly rejected in the initial count. They have indicated a challenge to the certification of Franken is imminent.
Hopefully Franken will be seated when the rest of the Senate convenes to be sworn in Tuesday because he’s good enough, he’s smart enough, and dog-gone-it, people like him.

If only the citizens of Tampa, Dallas, and Chicago knew the Heimlich maneuver. They could have used it last week when all three teams choked last week on their way to the playoffs. The Tampa Bay Bucs lost to the lowly Raiders, the Chicago Bears couldn’t beat the Houston Texans to secure a playoff spot, and the Dallas Cowboys were in with a win over the Eagles and lost by almost 40 points. The Eagles handled the Cowboys and locked up the final playoff spot. Take that Tampa Bay! You came into our house in 2002 and beat us in the NFC Championship game, going on to beat the Raiders in the Superbowl. After beating you in the World Series and knocking you out of the NFL Playoffs, I guess we’re even. Chicago, you swept us 4-0 in the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals. 2008 was supposed to be the season the Cubs broke their 100 year curse. Didn’t happen did it? And even though the Bears beat the Eagles during the regular reason, we had fewer losses than you did and snuck in (9-6-1 to 9-7). Dallas…I just hate you. You won three Super Bowls in the 1990’s. At least when we had T.O. we went to the Super Bowl. You can’t seem to win anything with him and Tony “I can’t win a big game” Romo. I hoped you enjoyed sitting at home watching the Eagles win their first round game against the Vikings on Sunday. Maybe T.O. missed it and was busy doing sit-ups in his driveway but I’m sure he’ll catch our game against the Giants next week. With the Eagles making noise in the playoffs and the Flyers in first place, The Phillies World Series victory may have only been the tip of the Philadelphia championship iceberg. Fly Eagles Fly.

That's all I have for today Spoon fans. I hope you learned something new today, had a laugh, and shared the site with some friends (family members, coworkers, and enemies are also acceptable). I hope to have a new post up in a few weeks around the time Obama takes office. In the meantime, feel free to check out old posts and catch up on stories you might have missed (the previous post also has my stand-up comedy video included in it). If you have a few minutes, please click the comment tab (there is one at the bottom of each post) and leave me some anniversary love/feedback. What would you like to see more or less of from the Spoon in 2009? Check back soon, to get your truth straight from The Spoon!

Check out my recent works (four new pieces will be added to the site later this week)