First, the Future 

Then, the past

First, let me tell you what to look forward to on this page in the coming weeks. It's something I hope to do more of: that is, warn you ahead of time what I intend to write about. That way, if you don't think you're going to like what you think I'm going to say, you can make plans in advance to avoid reading it. And listen, if you can't bear to hear some of my coming opinions, don't apologize. Believe me, I'll get along just fine without you.

So ... in development is a column on how the Legislature should most definitely make animal abuse a felony. I will argue how Idaho ranks down with Guatemala and the Borg when it comes to showing respect and compassion for other creatures, and after I have laid out my case as convincingly as I can, I will insist that if the law passes, the governor should be taken into custody and tried as a sadist should he ever take a lasso to another calf. (As you know, Butch recently damaged himself during an orgy of something called "team roping.") Many of you—in particular those cowpokes who never outgrew the itch to be cowpokes—will object to my position, I'm sure. So I suggest you keep your eyes open and when you see the headline, "Aging Governor Still Tortures Terrified Doggies," you might want to spend that day curled up with some cowboy poetry.

Also ... I mean to remind all those bitter local ankle-biters who can't get beyond the fact that our president is a product of Illinois, and that Illinois is a well-publicized incubation chamber for corruption, that the only difference between a place like Illinois and a place like Idaho is that in Illinois, crooks actually get caught now and then. For those who believe Idaho is somehow exempt from political favoritism, nepotism and backroom deals, better skip that one.

Also ... at some point in the near future, I am definitely going to compose a column around a George Bernard Shaw quote I ran across. It is, "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it," and even though I have as yet no idea what the rest of the column will be about, the quote is simply way too cool to not use. So be forewarned: If you don't like cynicism, G.B. Shaw or writers who inflate their own stuff with famous-people quotes, stay clear.

Also ... I have in mind a humorous piece on how this column is being recalled because it has been found to contain a peanut butter byproduct. If you've come down with a dose of salmonella anytime lately, you might not think it's so damn funny.

OK, now that you know what to look forward to, I'd like to take what space remains to address some criticism of recent columns. As those who have followed my opinions for long will already know, I don't normally respond to letters or comments—my operational philosophy being: "Who gives a sh** what you think?"

Let me assure you, I have not abandoned that attitude. But occasionally, somebody says something that represents a more pervasive presence of abject ignorance, and I am compelled to turn the moment into what school teachers and prison guards would call a "learning opportunity."

In the first example, a number of readers commented on how appalled they were that I spent a month on the subject of mincemeat pies ("Mmm, Mmm, Pie: Parts I, II, III and IV"). Truly, I received a lot of criticism for those columns, but I also received three mincemeat pies out of the deal, generously donated by kind and lovely ladies who were thrilled somebody was, at long last, paying proper attention to their holiday specialty. So to any who felt they had to let me know how bored they were with the subject, tough luck for them, as I plan on rerunning the series next Christmas and every other Christmas until I either die or a doctor tells me I have to cut back on pies.

And ladies, thank you, thank you. They were yummy.

On a more troubling subject, there were at least two readers who took exception to the last in the series of articles I wrote bidding George Bush goodbye, the one in which I called Bush an immoral fool. As you may have read in BW 's Mail section two weeks ago, Mike Young wrote that I failed to "address real issues, but rather focused on an 'off with his head' liberal fascist mentality ... very elitist, pathological, arrogant, immature and weak."

In another letter—which may never be published because of the length, so I won't give the writer's real name (though if he feels like responding to my response, and figures out how to write a 200-word message in something less than 800 words, he's welcome to do so)—defends Bush with the statement, "President Bush witnessed three major events; 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the fall of our economy ... (Bush) did what he felt was right with the information that he was given. No one can say otherwise and no one can do any better."

Understand, I can live with being called pathological and weak. Hell, that's nothing. You ought to hear what the guys on the bowling team call me when I pop out a 120.

What troubles me about both gentlemen's letters is how totally unaware the writers seem of the reality that Bush's presidency has been examined, extensively, both from the inside and from without, and by wide and general agreement, has come out of it looking like doggy doo. Mr. Wordy, in particular, appears to be oblivious to the deeply chronicled evidence that Bush and his team might well have prevented 9/11 had they been bright enough to heed the sound of numerous alarms, had no good reasons to invade Iraq other than the ones they made up, and facilitated the economic collapse through their dogmatic deregulatory policies. In this respect, he represents well that sad contingent of Bush apologists who will likely spend their remaining years trying to sculpt a heroic figure out of all that dog sh**.

As to Mr. Young's claim that I didn't "address real issues": Pal, those issues have been addressed, re-addressed and re-re-addressed. I don't have time nor patience to re-itemize eight years of Bush's malfeasance every time I write a 1,000-word column about the dope. If you and Mr. Wordy don't know what others have known for years, don't blame me if you can't keep up. Furthermore, you can't outrun the truth with banal brain farts like "liberal fascist." Sooner or later, you, me and Bush are going to be gone, but the truth is here to stay.

Also ... you might want to be on the lookout for a future column that includes the words "Bush" and "War Criminal" in the title. That may be one you'll want to miss.

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