About Southside with You

Southside with You

Shortly after the 2008 Presidential election, South Park aired one of their greatest episodes of all-time, About Last Night. With their usual juvenile yet savvy aplomb, Trey Parker and Matt Stone gleefully eviscerated both sides of the aisle, but their coup de gras was that the entire election was an elaborate jewel heist. Heck, it turned out that Barack and Michele weren’t even married…they were just two crazy kids, who through the course of the heist fell in love. And with DeBussy’s “Clair de Lune” playing over the closing scenes, those two crazy kids decide to give it all…love…marriage…the presidency…a chance.

Even the crudest of satirists could see that the real-life Barack and Michelle were in love. And that love’s first glimmers spark over the course of 84 minutes in writer/director Richard Tanne’s quasi-fictionalized account of one fateful summer day in Chicago in 1989. The compact film is full of small pleasures and big dreams. Small talk and big dialogue.   Continue reading

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The Art of Power and House of Cards

Art of Power - Thomas Jefferson

All too will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind, let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty, and even life itself, are but dreary things. And let us reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance, as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions…but every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all republicans: we are all federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it.  – Thomas Jefferson, 1st inaugural address, 1801

Such measured, unifying, moderate words from the same man who also remarked of his political rivals, the Federalists and Monarchists, “Their leaders are a hospital of incurables and as such are entitled to be protected and taken care of as other insane persons are.”  Sounds like big government socialism to me!  Taking care of the insane, indeed!

These are but a few of the engaging, enlightening, entertaining, astounding words taken straight from Jefferson in Jon Meacham’s masterful biography, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.

I swear to god by the end of this magnificent tome where Meacham describes Jefferson’s granddaughter in a dreamlike state wandering the vast empty rooms of Monticello following her grandfather’s death, I too was swept up in an all encompassing reverie where Terrence Malick was directing the story of Jefferson’s life and the images from Jefferson’s earliest memory of being lifted upon a pillow to a slave on horseback to his final moments with yet another slave dedicated at his bedside – all of his life – flashed before me in a cacophonous stream-of-consciousness scored by Micheal Nyman.

This biography is that intimate…that transportive…full of excerpts from letters, diaries, reports both second and first hand from those closest to him, from family and friends, from foreign diplomats, from rivals and scoundrels, even from his own slaves.  Continue reading

Presidential Debate Drinking Games 2012

Hark, Citizens!

On yonder eve the third of October and subsequent eves henceforth totalling thrice, the electorate will listen and watch with bated breath as…

Sir Willard Mittenton T. Romney IV of the Celestial Kingdom debates…

Lord Barackus T. Hussein Obama Jr. of the Incumbency…

…for the opportunity to serve this great nation in the high office of the Presidency.

And regardless of the victor of these great debates…there is but one truth to illuminate the masses…

IT’S TIME TO GET YOUR DRINK ON!

Consider this, dear compatriots in libations, to be a living document.  Provide at will your best suggestions and most opportune and timely rules to be added to the games in the comments section so that we might all partake in drunken sloppiness and hangovers knowing that in our hearts we played the games to their fullest.

So let the Debate Drinking Games begin!

And may the drinks be forever in your favor. Continue reading

State of the Union Drinking Game V. 2012

Seriously, guys, I have to give this speech...now?

 
If I were President Obama, I wouldn’t want to get on national television on Tuesday night.  The more the media focuses on the current Republican Presidential Primaries, the better he looks.  He’s best out of the spotlight right now, but it is his duty…and tradition…so the show must go on at 9pm EST Tuesday, January 24, 2012.
 
Oh, how we’re all enjoying the dog (Santorum) and pony (Romney) and rabid wolf dog (Newt) and radically libertarian anti-war horse (Ron Paul) show that is the Republican primary season.  Heck, I’ve been so wrapped up in the raucous roller-coaster comedy of miss-manners that I have no idea what Obama is going to talk about this year.  Jobs?  Sure.  Gridlock?  Check.  The economy is in the midst of a mild recovery on paper (unemployment slightly down, job creation slight up) but it’s not enough to change the sentiments of the populace who are still feeling the full aches and pains of the recession.   Or maybe he’ll take about the season finale of his favorite TV show, Homeland?  (Seriously, are you watching that show yet?  The season finale was off the chains, yo!) Continue reading

State of the Union Drinking Game V. 2011

President Obama looks over the speech one last time to see if they can fit in any more allusions to Graham Greene or Terrence Malick to make Dave happy.

In the words of Bob Dylan, the times they are a changing.

It’s amazing what the other party regaining power in Congress and one rousing and comforting speech in the wake of a tragedy can do for a guy’s approval ratings.  After quoting everything from the Bible to the trailer for Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life in his Tuscon Speech (which served as a Hail Mary pass that will be left hanging in the air until 2012), Obama looks to get back down to it with his highly anticipated and much ballyhooed State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, January 25th and 9pm EST.

Gone are the days of crazy-eyed blinking Pelosi, and now sitting next to Biden and his comb-over behind the President will be Sooki-colored blubbering Boehner.  Apparently out on the floor those kooky tea partiers, blue dogs, and bleeding hearts will be mixin’ it up, sittin’ all up in each others’ pieces singin’ kumbaya.  Ah, political theater.  Ain’t it grand?

All eyes will be on the Prez, and there ain’t nuthin’ to do in times likes these but get your drink on. Continue reading

State of the Union Drinking Game V. 2010

"Look...guys, relax...you know I still got this....right?"

Hope…where have ye gone?  Back to Arkansas?  Did you take the Laughter with you, Hope?  Were you shot in the face at the Crawford Ranch?  I sure do miss the good ol’ days of Bubba…and Dubya…when we could all laugh our problems away. 

I wrestled for a long time with putting up a drinking game for the 2010 State of the Union which will air live this Wednesday night, January 27th at 9pm EST. 

The ‘Spin has come a long way from the days of playing “Bush or Chimp” during past States of the Union. 

I feel maybe I’ve grown up some in the past few years…or maybe the country has.  Or maybe politics just aren’t funny these days.  There’s not much to laugh about with an economy still in shambles, wars still ongoing, Tea Parties gaining traction and a non-functioning and totally inept Congress that can’t get anything done. 

But I’d be a fool to overlook the fact that when my 2008 Presidential Debate Drinking Game appeared as a top link on The Huffington Post website, it was the first time The Schleicher Spin was put on the map.  To this day, despite all my literary and film-based blathering, that ridiculous thing remains my most popular post ever.

So, what the hell…if this is the new Great Depression…then consider Prohibition repealed, and let’s make COCO proud… Continue reading

To the Victors the Spoils

World Champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Still to this day it sounds unbelievable…like I’m living in a dream…and just a year ago seemed as unlikely as President Barack Obama. 

In late October of 2008, the newly crystallized reality of the former and the hope of the latter were all that the city of Philadelphia had to hold onto in the wake of Wall Street slitting its throat and flooding the streets of America with blood.  But Philly’s streets were proud to run red, and in early November it turned out American’s hearts beat blue once again as Obama swept into the White House.  My most lasting memory from that time period was walking the quiet autumn painted streets of Society Hill in the swell of Philadelphia’s rising tide towards victory in the playoffs and seeing on every other window in the neighborhood an Obama sign next to a Phillies’ sticker.  The feeling of impending triumph was palpable.  Pardon the cliche, but you could almost taste it.

And now to the victors go the spoils, at least for a short while.  Continue reading

Barack Obama in Greeneland

This tale of a whiskey-priest running from fascists in 1930s Mexico is among mine and Obamas favorite novels.

This tale of a whiskey-priest running from fascists in 1930's Mexico is among my and Obama's favorite novels.

 

So Mr. Obama was sworn in as our 44th President earlier today.

At first, I wasn’t blown away by his speech, but that was until I came home and found an email from my mother stating she read somewhere that among Obama’s favorite books was The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene.  This is what makes the speech so brilliant.  It wasn’t designed for instant applause but for deep thought and as an invitation to learn more.  It wasn’t just a stump-speech, but a grand design for the policies which will follow and a call to arms for Americans to be that change they want to see in the world.

It seems Barack lives in Greeneland, which should make pragmatists rejoice.  Listening back to the endless loops and sound-bites from the speech, I was astounded by how Greene-esque his worldview might be.  Just the fact that he acknowledges or is aware of such a worldview is a refreshing change of pace from the crypto-fascism of the previous White House regime.  What a wonderful thing it is to have a President who has such a great command of language and who knows how to invoke literature and history and create themes and motifs.  Obama is like the frickin’ Graham Greene of politicians.  And how awesome is it that he has read and loves Greene, especially since Greene was so political in his writing.  This points to Obama being even more practical and pragmatic than we thought, which will be great since Bush was stupidly obsessed with fairytales and jihads which crippled our nation and prevented us from succeeding in the real world. 

Graham Greene was always writing about the real world.  His books always spoke to the times and always had characters who crashed and burned when they got too wrapped up in their own heads and internal moral battles and fantasies.  The real world always kept moving in Greeneland and always survived while those foolish characters more often than not perished.  We need a President now more than ever firmly planted in the real world.   Obama’s over-riding theme of, and I am grotesquely paraphrasing here, “the world sucks right now, but slowly and surely we’re gonna overcome it as long as we keep our heads about us and everyone steps up their A-game” really was Greene-esque.  Bush would’ve left it all to God’s hands and prayed about it–he would’ve died in Greeneland by the end of the novel.  Let’s hope Obama inspires us to continue marching on.  Mankind’s innate will to survive can overcome anything and accomplish everything. 

And it seemed like he was speaking not only to those out in the real world wishing to do us harm, those terrorists, those fascists, but also to those who have had their heads stuck in the sand, those Bushes, those mortgage companies, those regulators, those uninvolved…when he said so simply and so firmly…

YOU CAN NOT OUTLAST US.  WE WILL DEFEAT YOU.

Let’s not forget, Graham Greene was fiercely religious, but he often found it difficult to reconcile that with the real world.  This manifested itself in his protagonists who often were blinded by a crisis of faith and rendered impotent against the rising tides of war and change in the real world.  Many felt the British and worldly Greene was staunchly anti-American in his views, so it’s difficult to know how he would’ve thought about our current state of affairs.  Always the skeptic, Greene might’ve been wary of Obama…but as one of Greene’s Catholic nuns might’ve said in some third-world hell on earth in one of his stories, “God answers the prayers of those who move their feet.”

With Obama stepping into the White House, it’s time to move our feet, America.

________________________________________________________

Click here to visit Greeneland .

 

Throngs of people today visited Greeneland with Barack Obama lighting the way.
Throngs of people today visited Greeneland with Barack Obama lighting the way.

Written by David H. Schleicher

Turning THERE NEVER WAS into YES THERE IS

The final votes have yet to be counted, but it is now clear.

America, the greatest nation on earth, has once again turned THERE NEVER WAS into YES THERE IS.

History has been made.

No longer do we need chants of YES WE CAN, because, my friends, YES WE DID.

I am speechless.

And tomorrow, a new day dawns in this great land.

Ladies and gentlemen, your first family:

_____________________________________________________________________________

Congratulations to John McCain for one of the most honest, heartfelt and gracious concession speeches that hopefully will bridge some of the divides still present.

For complete election results, visit:

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/president/

Election Night Drinking Game

Well, folks, Tuesday November 4th is just around the corner, so here’s what all of you Joe the Drinkers have been waiting for:

Your 2008 Election Night Drinking Game Initiative!

The rules for this one are simple and come courtesy of my friends Karen and Diane.

Just follow these 5 easy steps:

1.  VOTE!   (If possible, early and often)

This is the most important step, good citizens.  Remember:

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”  -Plato

2.  Purchase your favorite bottle of vodka.  I recommend sending an olive branch to Palin’s neighbors and buying Stolichnaya. Continue reading