Thursday, August 16, 2007

Max Roach-R.I.P.

Thanks, Max, for getting me through many nights.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Snarky Sports: NASCAR & The Baby Jesus

Snarky Boy loves NASCAR. Yep. Deal with it. It’s the best comedy going, folks. It’s unapologetic, unvarnished, and un-fucking-believably American. And around and around they go. And so I loved the news last week that NASCAR’s favorite outlaw, Tony Stewart (#20), was admonished and fined by racing officials for saying the word “bullshit” while being interviewed on national television. According to ESPN, “NASCAR called the language inappropriate and said Stewart’s actions were detrimental to stock-car racing.”

See what I mean? That’s funny. And since bullshit is a two-syllable word, I doubt that many NASCAR fans even understood what Stewart was saying. But, seriously, if you’ve ever been to a NASCAR race – I have – you’ll know that bullshit is one of the more family friendly words being uttered in the grandstands. But in the new world of sports marketing, everyone’s got to pretend to be pure – even NASCAR. Now THAT’S bullshit.

So click here and let’s pray together.

Snarky Mail Time!

Okay, okay, let’s get to the Snarky mail. You folks have been busy – filling my box with all kinds of quips, tips and those lovely little missives involving the infliction of pain to certain Snarky Boy body parts. Ouch. But at least you’re reading.

First up, Mr. Mark Johnson again. He’s now declared that he’s done whining to the Snarkmaster. Whew. Now let’s hope he readjusts his sense of humor and, better yet, begins to extend his reach beyond the same old politicians and same old advertisers as his guests. He remains the king of Vermont radio in Snarky’s book but we’d like to see his playful side a bit more often. His declaration to stop whining about this blog is a good step in the right direction. Now let’s re-open those talks about a snarky co-host. I think I know just the guy…

I’ve also been inundated with ninny missives about local Dems, particularly those seven Dems who nest over at Odumb’s Green Mountain Daily site. Please, people, how many times do I have to tell you: Odumb’s an idiot underachiever who would rather eat cotton candy than process a coherent thought. Hell, he can’t even trust his seven Dem dwarfs over there, since several of them are secretly emailing Snarky Boy begging me to continue taking whacks at him in the hopes that he’ll pull the high-drama card again (yawn) and quit. Sorry, but whacking Odumb is like kicking kittens. It’s just not fair – or fun. Just let him keep suckling on the partisan teats of Dem-witted nonsense and he won’t bother or inspire anyone except those seven irrelevant dopes who apparently have nothing better to do but continue their little circle jerk. Whatever. Note to the GMDers who want me to jump in again: Fight your own fights. Or, better yet, get a life.

Even though I’m now an office-sort-of-guy, I’ve still got my boots on the ground when it comes to the blue-collar tips. Consider, for example, the nugget I got last week from a Barre town employee who told me that the mainstream media got the July flood story all wrong. As you’ll recall, the Times Argus and others ran with the story that the flash flooding that sent six-feet of water into the downtown streets was the result of the new development going on up on the hillside. Well, according to my source, that’s only a small part of the problem. The bigger problem is that Barre’s storm drains have been hopelessly neglected, leaving them plugged and unable to handle the amount of water they were designed to handle. But the folks in City Hall, led by the smarmy Mayor Thom Lauzon, have successfully diverted the media from the real story of the neglected storm drains, thus saving their own asses from the embarrassment and culpability of their infrastructure neglect. Yo Mayor Thom, how about some truth?

Speaking of infrastructure neglect, let’s talk bridges. As many of you know, the Minneapolis story hit home with Snarky Boy because, well, I drive on bridges. Gotcha there, huh? You gotta love how politicians all over the country – including our own Howdy Doody Douglas – are rushing to look like they’ve got the bridge situation under control. But Republicans like Douglas shouldn’t be allowed to wipe the egg from their faces quite so quickly. They do, after all, run every election on the mantra of slashing the big, evil central government. You know, that evil empire that does things like...oh…maintain our national infrastructure. And then a neglected bridge pancakes its passengers and the political whores deny their budget slashing ways as fast as you can say “liar, liar, pants on fire.”

Taste this delicious intro to yesterday’s New York Times piece on the bridge collapse:

In the past two ears, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota twice vetoed legislation to raise the state’s gas tax to pay for transportation needs.

Now, with at least five people dead in the collapse of the Interstate I-35W bridge here, Mr. Pawlenty, a Republican, appears to have a change of heart.

“He’s open to that,” Brian McClung, a spokesman for the governor, said Monday of a higher gas tax.

That, my friends, is what’s called a whiplash-inducing flip-flop. You just gotta love it when Republicans crank up the tax to save their own ass. Because we all know they don’t really hate taxes, they just hate taxes that don’t either line the pockets of their friends or get them re-elected. Principles? Fuck that.

And let’s not let the Dems off the hook, either. They’re whoring themselves on this issue, too. Surprise, surprise. While there’s a convenient Republican in the center of this storm, the Dems are in full cahoots in the game of transportation earmarks that are leaving bridges like the one in Minneapolis is deep, deep jeopardy. As the Times reported yesterday, the game of transportation earmarks – those not-so-little financial gifts congress members get for their districts – are almost always designated for “sexy” new projects, rarely for repair and simple upkeep. Don’t believe me? How many times have you seen Leahy or Sanders stand in front of an ugly old bridge and hear them declare than they just got the federal loot to repair it? ECHO Centers are better for the political ego, my friends.

Speaking of political ego, let’s get back to Vermont’s Republicans. If, like me, you’re a bit nervous about crossing certain Vermont bridges in the wake of the Minnesota tragedy, well, you should be. Because guess who’s in control of Vermont’s Department of Transportation? An engineer? Nope. A transportation expert? Nope. A seasoned highway safety professional. No way. Think politics, baby. As in: Neale Lunderville, Governor Douglas’ former campaign manager and the former director of the Vermont Republican Party. Barely a decade beyond being legally able to sit next to me at Charlie O’s, Lunderville’s running the Vermont’s DOT for exactly two reasons: political payback and to remain in the Douglas political circle. Yep, as in: political science, Lunderville’s major way back in the – oh – late nineties. Here’s another way to look at it: The 32-year old Lunderville is eight years younger than the Minneapolis bridge that collapsed. And to think they’re calling the bridge young. But, please, I’ve got nothing against young fellas, I’ve just got a beef with young fellas taking jobs they have absolutely no experience with, especially when it may impact the likelihood that I’m still alive after crossing a fucking bridge. But notice, dear readers, that Vermont’s mainstream media – including 7 Daze – won’t touch this part of the story. Instead, we’re getting one bullshit piece after another that features young Neale reassuring us that everything’s a-okay in Vermont. Lap it up, folks.

Finally, thanks to the Snarky reader who sent me this story about bloggers unionizing. Sounds good to me. Now if I could just find a blogging boss I’d be all set. Anyone looking to plunk down about 30K for your very own snarky wordsmith? First come, first served. I promise. (Memo to my current boss: I love you.)

Thanks for playing, folks. It wouldn’t be the state’s most popular blog without your tips and quips. Keep ‘em coming to me at

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Driving with Mr. Bill

There’s nothing really funny about Senator Bill Doyle playing crash ‘em up derby in the parking lot of a car dealership. Or is there? Yeah, there is. Lots, in fact. We all know him. We’ve all seen him. So it’s not real hard to imagine. The real shocker is that he hasn’t done it before. But the best part of the story is the excuse Old Bill gave to the Times Argus: “Doyle said the brake and accelerator pedals were located more closely together on the Impreza than in the larger vehicles. And he noted that his shoe size is unusually wide, making it more difficult to negotiate the pedal system.” Yeah right, Bill. Whatever you say.

Okay, let’s let Old Bill get away with that excuse. But now let’s look a little deeper into the story. Here, again, is an excerpt from the Times Argus story this morning: “Doyle said he was having lunch with his wife, Olene, on Thursday, and decided to test drive cars. The senator did not have his driver’s license with him, and was told by the Twin City sales staff that he could only drive vehicles on the dealership lot, not out on the road.”

Hmm, he had to be told that he couldn’t take a car for a spin without a driver’s license? Lawmakers should know that kind of thing, no?

Forget worrying about the goddamn bridges. I’m keeping my eye out for Old Bill behind the wheel.

Give it up, Bill. Your license, that is. And now.

Thanks, Iggy

I needed that. And You? Wake the fuck up, Vermont.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Thanks to Mark Johnson, I'm Back

Oh hell, I fell off the goddamn merry-go-round again, didn’t I? And you greedy little readers certainly let me know about it, too. Whatever. Forget about the excuses this time. Let’s just say life interrupted art. Yeah, that’s it.

Thanks to all who inquired about by whereabouts. And special thanks to the equal number of folks who shared their morbid dreams that the Snarky One had disappeared for good. Sorry, no such luck. I’ve tried to shed my snarky side for years, dear readers, but then the man I pay weekly to listen to me – some call him a therapist – announced more than a year ago that it would be best if I just worked this shit out in public. So, you see, I have no choice. Doctor’s orders. And so I blog. And you? What the hell’s your excuse for being here?

Oh damn, I’m already digressing. Let’s get back to the mail. First up is the first-ever official Snarky Boy correction. Yep, just like in the New York Times, I’m about to declare that within all the bullshit buried within this electronic endeavor there contains an item in need of a correction. The irony, of course, is that to offer such a correction requires the gigantic leap of faith that the rest of the stuff printed here is beyond factual reproach. Gotta love it. I guess it’s kind of like declaring that Rudolph’s nose really isn’t red but leaving the whole Santa thing unquestioned.

But when Mark Johnson whines, you gotta listen. And boy can he whine. I guess he didn’t get a long enough vacation at Shore Acres Inn, huh? Specifically, Mr. Johnson of WDEV fame took Mr. Snarky to task for running with two tips I got that his trip to China earlier this summer was partially subsidized by members of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. Johnson cried foul. I did some checking with my now former sources and, sure enough, there was no specific funding of Johnson’s trip from anyone except Johnson and his boss, Ken Squier.

So listen up, Mark: Snarky Boy was incorrect in publishing this accusation and the entire Snarky enterprise consisting of one lame bastard now publicly offers our – um, my -- sincere apologies for what – according to your emails – caused you much consternation. There. Whew. That was weird. But he insisted.

Now let’s revisit Mark’s great China adventure. Sure, as proven above, Mark didn’t receive a dime for his trip, but he did get led around like a fish on a hook by the Chamber of Commerce folks while there. They were setting the agenda and making the arrangements for where Mark would be and what Mark would see – including his well-publicized run-ins with Governor Douglas, whereby Mark crooned about the importance of it all. For those wondering at home, this is what they refer to as “embedded journalism.” But, let me repeat, Mark paid for the airfare.

Oh wait, I’m now getting an important bulletin over the Snarky News Wire. Hmm, it turns out that a certain Mark Johnson is now demanding that the creators of The Simpsons issue an apology to its fans for not declaring that the whole endeavor is rather cartoonish. You go, Mark. Justice for all!

Oops, gotta run. Boss is lurking. Keep those emails coming, folks. As you know, you can reach me at:

Thanks for playing. Yes, playing.