Monday, June 23, 2008


It was just another day at Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport last Wednesday night. At least, that’s what it seemed to me. Little did I know that while I waited for my 7 p.m. flight to Detroit, a god was soon to touch down amongst the large population of cherry orchards and grotesquely obese women that make this region famous.

‘Twas a June night in TC, when all though the town
not a fat woman was eating, not even Doris the Round
The candy and chips were all stuffed in the cabinets with care
in hopes that St. Simmons soon would be there

I had been waiting patiently in gate 3 for my boarding time to arrive even though my flight was scheduled to leave out of gate 4. As the time got closer and my plane arrived at the gate, I decided I’d better move the fifteen yards from gate 3 to gate 4, lest TSA rendition me to an Afghani torture prison for not waiting for my flight at the assigned terminal lounge.

My carry-on was nestled all snug in my chair,
when visions of genital electrodes straightened my hair

And W. at his ranch and I in my cell

had just settled down for a long day in Hell

As I gathered my things together and got up to move, people started spilling out of the jetway from the flight that had just arrived. I was halfway between the two lounges—directly in front of the jetway—

When in the depths of the tunnel there arose such a clatter
I froze in my steps to see what was the matter
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but none other than Richard Simmons, that miniature queer

He came out of the jetway so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Dick
He was gay as a lark, a right jolly old elf,

and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself

Simmons’s hairdo was reminiscent of Jackie Moon, only more sparse. He was decked out in a splendid uniform consisting of a dark windbreaker over bright red short shorts of the kind that would make even Daisy Duke blush, complemented with white sneakers and heavy white socks pulled halfway up his rather thick calves. From where I was standing, I could have reached out and touched him.

He was dressed in skimpy cotton, from his head to his toe
And he proudly displayed his thinning brown ‘fro
A shiny rainslicker he had flung on his back

while his knickers rode up a bit, just exposing his sack

Simmons took a moment after exiting the jetway to mingle with the common folk. “It was all very clean, very clean!” he said to the gate attendant, gesturing with both hands. “I hope we didn’t destroy the bathroom too badly, hahahaha!!!”

The crowd around the gate stood in awe of the great man as he then proceeded down the terminal flanked by his posse of personal assistants; he was walking in such a way that it seemed as if he were trying to pinch a heavy, greased object where even his native southern California sun doesn’t shine.

He sprang to his luggage, to his team he gave a whistle
and away they all flew like the down of a thistle

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he waddled out of sight,
“A good night to all, and to all eat right!”

Friday, April 25, 2008

Get Outta My Town!

Well I've had it. My quiet town has just been overrun with the return of dag blasted summer people. I've started walking to work because I know that my parking spot is going to be taken and I'll have to park farther away than I live anyhow. Winter was bad enough with the snowmobilers, but these summer people are worse than the snowmobilers! For one thing there's more of them, and at least the snowmobilers don't take my parking spot. Plus I have to wait like twice as long now before I turn the corner in town.

What's worse is that I have to pick a new running route. Can't run through town anymore because the sidewalks are filled with these jokers looking in all the shop windows and oohing and aaahing at all the trinkets and knick knacks, and then they look at me like I'm getting in their way! My coffee shop is now littered with these tittering people, just so happy to be back in town. I'm sure the bar will just be packed every night too and I'll have to wait in line to get served there too. I'm a preferred customer! They know my name and my order! But now I'll have to deal with drunk summer people crowding me at the bar while I try to unwind from working 60 hours a week just to keep this hole going in the first place.

And it's only APRIL! Jeez, one warm day and you can't even breathe in this town. I can't imagine what June, July, and August will bring. Oh, they all come up here with their boats and their campers and they think they own the dang place. Then they have the gall to write these obnoxious letters to the editor that I'm forced to read every week. Actual example: "Don't pave the road, we like to keep the country feel." Yes, the rest of us should live in the 18th century so that after your vacation you can go back to your suburb and tell all your friends about how you roughed it in your "country" million dollar mansion on the lake with all the rubes up north. You can even tell them how you talked with one of the locals and how surprised you were to find he had all his teeth! And they weren't rubbed down at all from all that bark he had to eat all winter! Amazing!

Hey, I know! Let's get rid of all the modern medical equipment too. That way when one of you flatlanders cuts your leg in one a my possum traps we can just apply a tourniquet and cut it off.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Superdelagates, Unite!

If the Democrats are to win the White House in 2008, they need to start acting less like movement conservatives in the way that they stubbornly hold fast to ideological principles despite all the evidence that suggests their sacred ideas are bad ones.

And as a good liberal, I’m worried. I’m worried that the Democrats’ inability to treat their nomination as a practical matter, and not as a sanctified exercise of democracy, will ultimately lead to another Republican administration.

While watching HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” recently, I was discouraged when Mr. Maher acted as if there were no potential consequences of a long nominating process. The votes of all Americans must be counted! That’s what’s most important, right? Not even close.

Democrats, superdelegates especially, need to be reminded that there are real things at stake here, things that supercede philosophical debates about party rules. In all likelihood, the next president will nominate two supreme court justices, inherit a recession, and have the opportunity to reshape our policies in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s a full platter.

I’m horrified by recent polls that suggest Obama and Clinton supporters won’t vote for the other candidate if their first choice does not win. I can understand the disappointment of not having your greatest hopes realized, but now is not the time for pouting on the sidelines.

Instead, unhappy Democrats should just do what my brother advises and “hold your nose.” After all, that seems to be the Republican strategy.

Before Mr. McCain won his party’s nomination, there was widespread speculation that conservatives would not get behind him.

But, eureka! Miraculously, he seems to be enjoying ample support from his base. Perhaps movement conservatives have perfected what liberals should start practicing: considering the alternative.

Republicans have an agenda that they are committed to advancing, and their internal squabbles are quickly forgotten when the big picture comes back into view. Those that fall en route are quickly trampled over as the rest of the group marches toward the One End.

Democrats, on the other hand, squirm endlessly over relative minutia and worry constantly about who might be left behind. In this case, that means agonizing over whether delegates from Michigan and Florida will be seated. Or whether every state will get a chance to cast votes. Or whether pledged delegates or the popular vote is more important. Or whether big states or small states or traditionally blue states or the overall number of states is the most important.

Fueling these pointless hypotheticals is the ideological opposition Democrats have to disenfranchisement — the “will of the people” must be protected at all costs. A noble aspiration, indeed, but no way to win an election. Here, again, Democrats should take a cue from Republicans: worry about ideology after you get elected.

At this point in the Democratic race, it has become obvious that Mrs. Clinton can not overtake Mr. Obama in either the pledged delegate count or in the popular vote. She is sustained only by her own ruthless ambition, which has recently led her to claim that pledged delegates are a “misnomer,” and by superdelegate fence-sitting.

There is no reason for this to continue. It’s time to make a choice before we’re all forced to go down with the ship. If superdelegates are worried about the party’s selection process appearing undemocratic, then they can take heart in the fact that most of them are currently serving a term in Congress, and they got there because people in their state or district elected them to make choices on their behalf.

And if, as a constituent, you don’t like who the persons you voted for are propping up for national office, then there’s an easy, built-in democratic solution: elect someone else to represent you. Or, form your own party, make your own rules, and run yourself. Joe Lieberman did.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Elections 2008: Time for a Change

Editor's Note: This essay originally appeared as an editorial in the Jan. 10, 2008 edition of The Town Meeting.

By Brian Keilen

Ah, 2008 is finally upon us. But from all the talk surrounding this year’s presidential election, it feels as though it’s 2009 and George Bush’s successor is already comfortably situated in the Oval Office.

It certainly is shaping up to be an exciting year, if you can stand all the political commercials for the next 11 months. Come November, we could see our first female or our first black president. Not that Michigan has much say in whether Hillary or Barack even have a shot of replacing the big W.

No, no, we, in extremely uncouth fashion, had to go ahead and “break party rules” and move our primary to Jan. 15. Boo-hoo.

So now I don’t have the chance to vote to give some guy I’ve never met a free trip to Denver so he, in turn, can vote that we can vote for another guy (or gal) in November. I’m sure my extreme disappointment exudes off the page.

But never fear, my fellow Michiganders, we will have the opportunity in November to go to the polls and vote for some more guys to go to Lansing on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December (whenever that is) and vote for who the 44th President of the United States will be. And we’re worried about elections in Pakistan and Iraq.

I, for one, have not missed and will not miss the mudslinging that would have inevitably been taking place at this very moment had we not “broken party rules.”

Speaking of that, since when can “breaking party rules” disenfranchise an entire state? Not that our votes really meant that much to begin with, but still.

It’s funny how every election year the talking heads are always lamenting the low voter turnout in the United States and describing how every other country has such better turnout and then our political parties tell us our votes mean nothing anyway.

I received an e-mail today (Jan. 7) from the Michigan Democratic Party encouraging “fellow” Democrats to vote for Ron Paul in the Republican primary. Will wonders never cease? Democrats encouraging people to vote for Republicans? I’m bound to see cats and dogs playing together on my way home. At least now I have a choice other than “uncommitted.”

The last time I checked, the right to vote was in the Constitution. I can’t find anything in there about Republicans and Democrats (or Whigs or Federalists or any other political parties, for that matter). So how come political parties have such great control over how we vote? When did it become a good idea for the people in the election to determine the rules?

No, my fellow Americans, our system is not perfect, not matter how much Washington wants us to think it is. In a country that touts itself as the bastion of freedom and integrity in the world, it takes no less than four votes to determine our chief executive. This year, a change in who lives in the White House is inevitable. A change in how the next person gets there is needed.

At least Ron Paul’s not complaining.

Brian Keilen is the editor of
The Town Meeting, a weekly newspaper in Elk Rapids, Michigan.