Orange, Blue and Red 

Cope's empty chair talks back

Let us leave aside politics and presidential campaigns for a day, as I wish to extend a helpful hand to some fellow journalists, living right here amongst us in the City of Trees, who I believe are suffering from some hideous form of writers' block (WB). It is the most debilitating strain of WB, as far as I'm concerned, for instead of being unable to think of anything at all to write (as in the standard cases of WB), these poor souls are afflicted with a mutation that forces them to employ the same word, over and over and over.

I'm talking about whomever it is covering local college football down at the indigenous daily newspaper. Perhaps you've noticed, too, that they can't seem to type out the word "Bronco" without following it with the word "Blitz." It must be painful, to be mired down in such a Pavlovian sump, and I simply cannot stand to see other writers suffer. So my intention on this day is to throw them a lifeline with which they might extricate themselves from this sinkhole of one-note hyperbole. I will remind them that there are indeed other words that might go with "Bronco," and hopefully, one or more of the alternatives I offer up will shake them loose from their condition.

I list the words alphabetically for easy access and continuing in the spirit of alliteration--that enticing Lorelei of writers' frivolity that I suspect lured them into this dark entanglement in the first place--I will restrict my suggestions to those that begin with the letter "B."

Here goes. Gosh, I sure hope they are listening. Babble ... bagged ... bail ... balderdash ... banal ... bellyache ... bilge ...

"Cope!" I got more bone to pick wit' you."

"Shhhhh! Not now, Red. Can't you see I'm busy? I'll call you later, OK?"

"Nosiree, you talk wit' me right now. Forget whate'er you're doin' an' explain to me what reason you got for letting all them Dem'crats off'n the hook for what lies they told at their big hoopdeedoo."

"What are you talking about, Red? I didn't hear any lies at their convention."

"You heard lies when the 'Publicans had their hoopdeedoo, dintcha?"

"Oooooh, yeah. Plenty and plenty and plenty of lies."

"Wull dem Dem'crats are politicians, too, ya' know. And ever'body knows how that's what politicians do ... is to lie. You plain ain't being fair and balancinated when you go on 'n on about how one bunch lies, but don't say jackcrap 'bout how the other bunch lies."

"There's your mistake, Red. You've swallowed the biggest lie the Republicans tell ... that since they will say anything it takes to win an election, it means the other side must be doing it as well. It's what's called "false equivalency," Red, that all politicians and all politics are equal. It's based on the misbegotten conviction that goes something like ... 'Well, since I'm a rotten sonofabitch, then everybody must be a rotten sonofabitch.' Now look, buddy, I'm trying to bring some local newspaper people back from the brink, so you go away and come back next week. Uh, where was I? Bilious ... blab ... bland ... blather ... blithering ..."

"First of all, Cope, that Paul Ryan feller might o' got a couple 'r three of his facts bungled up, but that don't mean all 'Publicans are as big a fibber as him. And second ... did you jus' call me a rotten sum'bitch?"

"No no no, Red. You're not a rotten sonofabitch. But you are a little too quick to believe real rotten sonofabitchs whenever they're saying whatever it is you want to hear. And besides, Ryan's lies are just the latest in a long tradition of Republican whoppers. Remember how Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster and dumped his body in a park?"

"Oh yeah. I almost forget 'bout that. How'd that turn out, anyway? Hows come Hillary di'n't have to go to prison over it?"

"Because it never happened, that's why. Just like it never happened that Michael Dukakis' wife burned an American flag like some Republicans were claiming she did. Just like it never happened that John Kerry was a coward in Vietnam instead of a hero, or that Richard Nixon was not a crook, or that Jimmy Carter was a weakling because some helicopters crashed in an Iranian sandstorm, or that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and hates America, or that the State Department was crawling with Commies in the '50s, or that John McCain fathered an illegitimate black baby like Karl Rove said he did just so George W. Bush could beat him in 2000, or that Ronald Reagan had no knowledge of the Iran-Contra crimes, or that Mitt Romney's taxes are nobody's business, or that ..."

"Gull durn, shut up, Cope! Yous wearing me out. You sayin' that no Dem'crat ain't never told no lies?"

"Of course Democrats tell lies. 'I did not have sex with that woman' comes to mind. But here's the difference, Red. When a Democrat tells a lie, it's not turned into party ideology. The Romney bunch jiggers an Obama comment into something he never said ... like turning 'You didn't build that bridge or school or sewer system,' into 'You didn't build your business' ... and makes it into a central theme of their campaign. Lies, lies and more lies. Without them, Romney wouldn't have a damn thing to run on. Now get lost. Pleeeeeze. I've got to get this done before next weekend's sports section comes out. Blunderous ... boast ... bollocks ... boonies ... botch ... braggadocio ... bumble ..."

"Whats ya' doin' anyway, Cope? Thinkin' up words what go with 'Bill?' Ha! I's got one for ya'. 'Bronco.' Like in 'Bronco Billy' ... get it?"

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