The Rant 

As I write this, the government is on the verge of a shutdown, and I have come to the conclusion that I have no idea how all this came about, what it means, what it says about America, or whether it is going to affect me. And I don't want to know. With my head aching and spinning like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, one of my favorite romantic comedy movies, I just read an article that included 66 answers to 66 questions about the shutdown. Why they came up with 66, I don't know. Might have worked better with 666, the sign of Ted Cruz.

By the way, who the hell is that guy and where did he come from? I'd never heard of him until I saw him on television reading Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham during that embarrassing 21-hour speech he delivered that he wanted so badly to be a filibuster but just couldn't pull it off. Now, what do you think was going through the minds of foreign tourists here in the U.S., who also didn't have a clue who the guy was and saw this on the news? He makes "Freedom Fries" seem logical. I guess the reason I've never paid attention to him is that he is always introduced as a "Texas Republican" and those two words make me become involuntarily hearing- and sight-impaired until I can quickly change the channel and find something more appealing, like a snuff film or something about the Kardashians.

Speaking of watching television and changing channels, I saw something on the news the other morning that completely freaked me out. It was, to my feeble sense of understanding, a woman's ovarian egg being artificially inseminated with her husband's sperm, LIVE. They claimed that viewers had just watched the conception of a child for the first time on LIVE television. The news team members and everyone else were in the room with the woman, wearing surgical masks and standing around her like she was about to have kittens. Ewww. I am all for innovation and change and awe-inspiring scientific advances and all that, but watching the live insemination of that woman's egg made me cringe.

Is nothing private anymore? Do we have to be able to see everything in real time, even something as intimate and personal as this? It also made me uncomfortable because when they showed the egg that would soon become an infant human being, it made me feel like we are not that much different from chickens. We are essentially hatched from eggs, but we are hatched while inside the womb rather than being popped out on some straw and then hatching. I love nothing more than a good roast chicken on a Sunday afternoon, but now I'm not so sure I'm not going to feel like I am eating a cousin. Shiver.

But back to the shutdown. After reading the 66 answers to the 66 questions, I was more confused than ever because there's a big gap in what actually shuts down and what doesn't and how people get paid and all that. Like Cruz will still get a check but soldiers in the military might have to settle for IOUs for a while. Does that seem fair? It doesn't seem fair to me. Not at all. Also, the article pointed out that there have been 17 government shutdowns since 1977. Hmm. I don't remember any of them (most of them must have happened in the late 1970s and who remembers much of anything about that?), which makes me inclined not to worry so much about this one. But not all of those 66 answers answered questions I have about how the shutdown might affect me personally, so I had to do some soul searching about priorities and made my own list of questions:

Will the shutdown affect the operating hours of the Four Way Restaurant? No? Thank goodness the restaurant gets no government funding so it will still be able to serve homemade turkey and dressing, catfish, and meat-less vegetables every day except Mondays, when they are closed. Whew. My satellite office will remain intact.

Will the shutdown affect the Levitt Shell concert series? It better not. This past Saturday night's concert with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra's Opus One ensemble, the Bo-Keys, and Stax Records star John Gary Williams with the rest of his Mad Lads was like a night of pure magic. And I would hate to miss this concert coming up this Sunday, October 6th, with Vaneese Thomas.

Will the shutdown affect this week's episode of Law & Order SVU with a special appearance by Cybill Shepherd? Heck, no! I can't wait for this. Someday, I'm going to land a role on that show, even it is just depicting the dead victim with no speaking lines at the beginning of the show. One of you movers and shakers out there make this happen for me.

Will the shutdown have any effect on Geico Insurance continuing to run its hump-day commercial with the camel calling out, "Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike. What day is it, Mike?" I certainly hope not. Brilliant advertising.

Finally, will the shutdown affect news shows and keep them from showing an ovarian egg being inseminated with sperm and thereby creating the conception of a child live on national television? I hope so. I really don't want to start thinking about the old which-came-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg question. There is no answer to it, just like there is no answer as to why Ted Cruz read Green Eggs and Ham during his anti-Barack Obama speech. Some things are simply too weird to figure out.

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