Friday, February 22, 2008

What's Alive in You Today?

"Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which flows into you as life, place yourself in the full center of that flood, then you are without effort impelled to truth, to right, and a perfect contentment."

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Serious Issues Seriously

Solving Serious Problems Seriously
Serious Trivial Pursuits

I’ve recently been accused of trivializing serious social, economic, religious, political and personal issues. Because I’m a flaming co-dependent seriously eager to please every Tom, Dick and Harry, I will now seriously tackle the serious issues of religion, politics and health care.
I know this is a misquote, but still, Bill Shakespeare said it best, “First kill all the doctors.” That was easy.

With the health care crisis solved, let us tackle the dismal economy of Superior. The news repeatedly clamors that there are not enough high paying jobs in Superior. The solution? Everyone retire. Teenagers? Retire. Middle aged bureaucrats hooking up in airports? Retire. Pastors serving their congregations? Retire. If everyone retires then nobody has to work for low pay. Everyone wins.

With the jobs crisis tended to, let us turn to religion. Now that Jerry Falwell is out of the way, the world religious mess needs tidying up. The Pope, Rick Warren and all the Imams need to be neutralized. Taking the Pope out is easy. All that is needed is a room full of retired alter boys and an electric chair. Poof! No more Benedictions from Rome. As far as Rick Warren goes, he should give his 53-kazillion dollar royalty fortune to the poor, move from his mansion to Darfur and start rebuilding people’s shacks. The Imams? They should cut off those long ugly beards and donate the hair to the Chinese pillow factory in charge of manufacturing faux down pillows for WalMart. Then they should strap on a few pounds of C-4 and donate the detonators to the amputee wards of the Veterans Hospitals.

Now, about the environment. Saving the environment is a no-brainer. Enact a law that says, “In America, no car shall be driven more than 55 miles per year. Anyone exceeding the 55-mile-per-year limit shall be executed summarily in the town square. How cool would that be? Cool enough to reverse global warming pretty much instantly. And think how much goodwill Nooner executions would garner with Saudi Arabia.

Okay, next is the serious problem of hyperbole. There’s entirely too much hyperbole going around in this big, sad, worrisome world of woe during these halcyon days of seminal injustice.
For instance, I heard a man call in to Wisconsin Public Radio and say he was “devastated” because the last episode of the Sopranos had aired. Devastated? Such hyperbole is utterly unacceptable. The solution? Anyone who exaggerates a situation to make a point shall be drawn and quartered in the public square at noon the day following their exaggeration. That would shut up at least one humor columnist and about five billion people instantly.

I would like to see what drawing and quartering actually is. I assume that the criminal is asked to draw a picture with a dull Crayola and then is paid a quarter for his/her efforts. Like “the news” says, there’s just entirely too many low paying jobs these days.

Okay, it is now time to fix the problem of politics. How about we round up all the politicians and make them build roads with hand tools? If every single politician in America had to leave Washington D.C. and all the state capitols, and if they had to pick up a shovel or pick-ax, if they had to dig for a living, they would all be too tired (or dead from heart attacks) to flock like lemmings to that new political Mecca in the Minneapolis airport. Plus, the roads would be in such terrible condition that people might drive only 55 miles a year.

Lawyers. Mustn’t forget lawyers. How about if every lawyer in the world had to stay home tomorrow and change baby diapers all day. No phone calls. No faxes. No emails. No subpoenas. (Whoever thought up the spelling of subpoena should be drawn and quartered at noon along with the hyperbole felons.) No trial dates. No writs of hiyabusa corpuscular mundi. And I think lawyers could learn a lot from baby poop.

Okay, while I’m fixing things…about this Presidential election…please, please, PLEASE, get it over with and elect Dennis Kucinich. All I need to know is that his first lady would be the first First Lady with a tongue stud. That, my friends, makes Kucinich eminently qualified to be the next President of the E.U. Knighted States; I don’t care if he is two feet shorter than his trophy bride.

Okay, there. I’ve done it. I dealt seriously with serious issues. I’ve faced down my critics and shown them that I, humble humor columnist from Superior, Wisconsin, can enunciate grave and solemn solutions to doggedly difficult social and political conundrums.

Now, if you want to write me in for President, feel free. If nominated I promise to get the roads fixed, start executing people who deserve killin’, provide trophy wives for every man over 62, give those lazy buggers at Wisconsin Public Television the benefit of the doubt and, if elected, I WILL serve Jim’s Meat Market venison sausage at the inaugural ball.

Life’s good. Let’s make it better. I’m Mike Savage, and I’m done.

Friday, February 15, 2008


The First Annual Fourth Rate
Savage Press/Daily Telegram
Wisconsin Book Awards

A Welshman named Stan Barstow, who wrote eleven pretty good books once said, “The world may be full of fourth-rate writers but it’s also full of fourth-rate readers.”

The old saying, “Everyone has a book in them,” was never truer than today when desktop publishing and Internet publishing make it easy to get a book (be it good or bad) published. This plethora of publications makes the pretty good, fourth rate book award a positively pregnant possibility. So, here we go…

The number one best nonfiction book of 2007 that was read by me was: The History of Sniping and Sharpshooting by John Plaster. This big bazooka of a book is in the “big” category because it weighs about 11 pounds and was published by a big-time outfit from Boulder, Colorado called Paladin Press.

BTW, the gigantic trophy for best nonfiction book of the year will not be sent to Mr. Plaster. As this is the first year of the awards, there is no budget for trophies yet. But in the coming years as the Mike Savage/Daily Telegram Fourth Rate Wisconsin Book Award becomes immensely popular…and well funded, a plaque or trophy may well become a possibility… if there’s any cash left over from the month-long luxury book cruise to the Caribbean that will afford me the time to read all the submissions.

Also, another BTW, the Autobiography of Ulysses S. Grant was a very close second and could have won first place easily, but I deferred to a local writer for the top slot. If you have any interest in reading a true anti-war book, read Grant’s autobiography. For the sheer massive scope of mayhem, the catastrophic carnage and boundless bloodletting on a colossal scale, Grant’s descriptions of his Civil War experiences are impossible to forget.

The number one best LOCAL nonfiction book of the year, as read by me, was Patrick Dorin’s, Great Lakes Ore Docks and Ore Cars. A genius little book that is quirky enough to be truly unique, but straightforward enough to be educational and entertaining simultaneously.

Ellen Baker’s, keeping the house clearly has to be the winner for BEST FICTION. I call this the “Big Fiction” award, because it is a big book, written by a big-time writer and published by a big-time New York publisher, Random House.

The best “small fiction” award goes to Joe Reasbeck for his, Nearfall. I had some quibbles with the book, but all in all, it was the best “local” fiction by a smaller press and a not-quite-ready-for-prime-time author who knows how to spin a dang good yarn.

Second place in small-time fiction goes to Enkay D. Durand for her book Moonstruck. Again, I had some issues with the quality of publication, but, all in all, it deserves a “pretty good book” award.

The clear winner in the Children’s book category is Storm Codes by Tracy Nelson Maurer. Illustrated by Christina Rodriquez, I call this succulent work of art, “the-little-ore-boat-book-that-could” because it manages to convey both emotion and information equally powerfully.
The Best Picture Book Award goes to Lonnie Dupre for his stunning Greenland Expedition, Where Ice Is Born book. Ya can’t get better than stunning, so, ‘nuff said.

The, BEST BOOK AS YET UNPUBLISHED award goes to Mark Hobson of Madison, Wisconsin, a writer of staggering virtuosity whose book, Fire Team about the misadventures of a bunch of drugged out Vietnam soldiers gone AWOL in the jungle to get rich quick, is one of the best wartime adventure novels I’ve ever read. Hobson’s other two books, The Marksman and L5 are simply delicious too. Hobson is as good as any writer on the planet.

That’s it folks. The short happy life of the First Annual Fourth Rate Wisconsin Book Awards is over. If you know of any Hemingway wannabes out there who want to submit their tomes to the rigors of the 2008 competition, send them to me in care of the Daily Telegram and I’ll be sure to at least open the envelope please.
Life is good. Books are important. I’m Mike Savage, and I’m done.