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It's the most wonderful time of the year. And a large part of what makes it so goldarn fabulous is the festive array of idiosyncratic traditions each family imprints on their holiday gene map like a candy cane tattoo on the soft flesh behind your knee.
Bullies love fear. And once they sniff its smoke, the real pros know how to fuel and exploit it.
Be still your beating hearts, because the agonizing wait is over. Wake the kids. Rake the leaves. Fake speaking in tongues. Yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year, when the eagerly awaited list of Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2015 is finally, mercifully released. Yoke an ox. Toke some skunk. Poke Uncle Bud to make sure he's still ambulatory.
Get out the big black Sharpie and pull down the official Presidential Campaign Manual because its time to redact the rules. Reality television star Donald Trump has altered the way politics is played to an extent that is game-changing. Judged on a scale of one to ten, think somewhere in the mid five figures.
We've spent such a large portion of the past year cringing at the prospect of potential disasters crouching behind every bush: ISIS, Putin, Trump, Belicheck, lion-killing dentists, that a national holiday right about now is a blessed respite. For one 24-hour period, the whole country can focus on something benign. Unless, you're a Black Friday shopper. But those are self-inflicted injuries.
Prepare for earth-shattering news - immigration has become a key issue in the race for the Republican nomination.
It's like a train wreck. Fascinating, repellant, and loud, all at the same time. Talking about the American presidential sweepstakes.
Q. Isn't Benghazi the guy who used to pal around with John Cassavetes back in the '60s? A. No. That was Ben Gazzara.
If the disappointment of everyone expecting fireworks at the first Democratic debate exhibited itself as perspiration, we could declare the California drought over. A few soggy matches might have been lit but that was it. Heavy on the smoke, non-existent on the flame.
It's been awfully fun to watch the different branches of government quiver like Aspen trees in a force 5 tornado arguing the pros and cons of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.
Get this, and get it straight - Gordon Gekko was wrong. Greed is not good. Greed is bad.
To the one thirteenth of all Americans who watched the latest GOP debate, congratulations on surviving the political equivalent of the 24 hours of Le Mans. You just climbed Campaign Everest. Strapped to a pair of debates. Or to be more precise; a pair of mind-numbing, marathon, four and a half hour, endurance-test, butt-fall-asleep debates.
Time to yodel a big old welcome back to the same old grind from our too brief summer respite. And yes, that does include the umpteen-gazillion presidential candidates returning from their home districts with batteries and bank accounts recharged. With an emphasis on the moolah.
It's easy to tell the end of summer the year before a presidential election is nigh, because that bothersome quadrennial buzzing noise is back. And no, we're not talking about candidates riding the Tilt-A-Whirl at the Iowa State Fair after eating pork on a stick.
It's a race to the outside. Avoid the middle like the plague. The goal is to not be one with the pack.
Yeah, I hear what you're saying. "For all you political comics, Donald Trump must be a dream come true. Manna from heaven. Slam-dunking from a step-ladder. Swimming in a sea of beer."
Get to high ground everybody. Our nation is in danger of being inundated by a candidate tsunami of 17 Republicans. The Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed Plus One. Seventeen Shades of Grey. If they used a designated pitcher they could split up into two teams and play softball against each other. No hardball allowed.
I've got to congratulate Donald Trump for how fast he's become more annoying to the Republican Party than a mouse in an air conditioning unit. He's like that popcorn husk that gets stuck in the back of your molars and you can't pry it out with a cord of toothpicks. He's almost as grating as the Kars for Kids commercial.
For all those bemoaning the lack of noise in the Republican presidential sweepstakes, it's time to get down on our knees and give thanks to Donald Trump because whatever that man touches turns to loud. He's the gift that keeps on blaring. Has all the delicate innuendo of concrete curtain rods. Not just a loose cannon, more like a loose aircraft carrier.
Every year, it's with a gleeful relief we embrace Independence Day, which marks the beginning of dead solid summer. The Fourth of July is a red, white and blue arrow to the bulls-eye of patriotism when we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our country by packing together in crowds, drinking a lot of beer and blowing stuff up real good.