The Rant 

Okay. I have had it with the climbers. They are eating away a piece of my soul. I saw the other day that yet another group of people made the brilliant decision to make the difficult trek up Mount Hood in Oregon in a blinding snowstorm. Maybe it wasn't snowing when they started their climb. And maybe the

snow wasn't even predicted. I don't know. But, damn it, it is WINTER, and it snows in winter, and when you get on that mountain, as we've seen in recent months, it can snow, and if you are climbing, you are screwed. But no. This other group made the climb, one of them fell off a cliff, the others got banged up, they almost froze to death, and rescue teams had to spend who knows how much money and manpower to rescue them. Well, they are idiots. And instead of being told that by the media, they were heralded as heroes for surviving, and they spent a great amount of time on television being interviewed about what it was like to be stranded on the mountain in the snow. I wish I had been the one interviewing them so I could have asked them why they were stupid enough to climb the mountain in the snow and why they couldn't just spend their time sitting in a bar and smoking like normal people. I almost said that to someone from Los Angeles visiting Memphis recently. She asked the age-old obnoxious out-of-towner question in that really whiny, horrible tone of voice: "Where are all the people in Memphis? Why aren't people out walking everywhere?" I was having to be nice, so I bit my tongue. I really wanted to say, "Shut up! They're all in bars smoking and eating cheeseburgers like real people. Put your freaking BlackBerry down, get off of your cellphone, and shut up about people not being on the street walking! And they're not out climbing a mountain in a freaking zero-visibility blizzard! They're probably at home watching American Idol and wondering why Paula Abdul looks like she spent the show's season break somewhere in a jungle subsisting on nothing more than plants whose makeup includes some incredibly hallucinogenic properties that haven't worn off yet. Her inexplicably bad facial work does not really help, either, not to mention that appearance on a television news broadcast out of Seattle during which she appeared to have robbed a pharmacy. Oh, how I wish I had been with her, because she was obviously feeling no pain whatsoever. If so, those bangs of hers would be killing her face. People here are not out walking because they are at home drinking and smoking and watching the latest news on Anna Nicole Smith, so just shut up!" Speaking of which, I have not been following that saga, but I do wonder if they have buried her body yet. And I swear I did look up at the television the other morning and saw a judge-turned-news-analyst and I KNEW HER. Ah, the six degrees of separation or Kevin Bacon -- or whatever it is. I hope she doesn't know George Bush or Dick Cheney, because that would mean I know someone who knows them and that would make me queasy. Is George Bush still even the president? I think, other than mentioning him here, and I don't know why I am doing that, I have pretty much successfully forgotten all about him. I did catch part of a press conference a few weeks ago, and I do believe that his eyes have gotten even more close together and monkey-like than they were the last time I saw him. And he still crosses them when someone asks him a question he doesn't want to answer, either because he doesn't understand it or have an answer or because it's a question with only one answer and it's one that's going to make him appear to be even more stupid than he usually appears. If that is even possible at this point. But who cares anymore? He's probably on vacation anyway. Maybe he will get off that mountain bike and go climb Mount Hood in a blizzard. One can only dream. In the meantime, I have to go catch the latest on Anna Nicole because I am actually the father of her baby.

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