October 27, 2013

We’ll Blue Cross That Bridge When We Come To It

Good morning and greetings, health care fans. Well, the weather map has been going through some changes, as the dreary coastal fog and ‘NBA Gametime’ have returned to greet me in the morning. The air, like my martinis, has a certain chill to it. Yes, colder weather has moved in and you can be damn sure I didn’t send out an invitation.

Now I can usually tell when there’s climate change around my house, as my wife goes from wearing three layers of clothes to six. I’m no longer basking in the glow from those September and early October days filled with subtropical temperatures and warm breezes, as they are quickly becoming as distant a memory as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ playoff hopes.

There’s an old Chinese proverb, “Three feet of ice does not result from one day of cold weather.” And no soup with to go orders. Now I realize that Jim Rome wasn’t built in a day, but this weather change came around quicker than excuses for the health care website screwup. I want to live in world where all sleeves are short. Or in the words of singer Jimmy Buffet, “The weather is here, wish you were beautiful.

Now last week I wrote about my concerns for my new health insurance premiums, after receiving a letter from the folks at Anthem Clue Cross, explaining to me that my monthly rate was going to be almost doubled if I didn’t change my membership group. I wasn’t thrilled, as I had to wonder how much money I’d have at the end of the month to pay for food, water and HBO.

Now let me give you a little history on this subject. Back in 2010, I received notice from my good friends at Blue Cross that my monthly premium would be going up 39%. I was shocked that they didn’t want 40%. This grossly exorbitant rate request by Anthem led to the passing of a new law by Congress known as the Hopefully Affordable Care Act.

So then a year later, Blue Cross added a little more icing to my health care cake, when I received notice that my premium was going up another 25%. I guess they thought I would be happy with the 14% savings. Even with a huge deductible my monthly premium was now as as high as my home mortgage. But I was relieved when they didn’t ask me to help out with their property taxes.

So not wanting to donate any more organs or my hardly earned money to this wonderful and caring organization, I switched memberships groups at Anthem. But because I switched, I now have to join a new group or pay double. What a wonderful organization. It was the actor Oscar Levant who once said of politicians, “They’ll double cross that bridge when they come to it.” And standing right behind them were a group of insurance company CEO’s.

So when I called my helpful Blue Cross health plan advisor last week, he couldn’t help me as the systems were down until November 1. So I guess it’s hurry up and wait. My concern is that the rate increase on premiums for individuals in California, and particularly the Bay Area, will be astronomically high, and that the argument will be that although they’re more expensive, the new rates are justified.

Listen, when it comes to ‘Justifed,’ the only thing I’m interested in is the performance of Timothy Oliphant, as deputy U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, a federal lawman who dishes out his own brand of justice in Harlan County, Kentucky. This critically acclaimed series returns for its fifth season in January on FX “There is no box.”

So for now, I’ll keep what little faith I have. Everyone deserves affordable health care. But the way things are going, I’m either going to be demoralized or subsidized. Let’s hope it’s the latter.

A man walks into a Doctor’s office. He has a cucumber up his nose, a carrot in his left ear and a banana in his right ear. “What’s the matter with me?” he asks. “You’re not eating properly,” replied the Doctor.

So the last time I checked my Scarlett Johansson calendar, it seems like Halloween was heading fast down the pike. So for today’s photo segment, in honor of this festival of mini-chocolate snacks, we’re going to highlight some fruits of the earth, starting off with rows of orange squash from Rodini Farms up on the North Coast.

We then move over to the Garden Isle of Kauai for photos of some coconuts, papayas, and a young and tender pineapple. And we then finish at home with a double barrel shot of some organic apples, which can be eaten sliced up fresh or made into a sauce. A little water, cinnamon, brown sugar, a touch of vanilla, and bang, homemade applesauce. That, my friends, is a food for the gods and a true fall classic.

On to the late night humor. “The Obamacare website has all these glitches and now tech experts are saying that the only way to fix it is to completely start over and redesign the whole website from scratch. While the guys from the Geek Squad said, ‘Turn it off, wait five seconds, and then plug it back in.’” –Jimmy Fallon “Today there were more problems with the Obamacare website. It seems when you type in your age, it’s confusing because it’s not clear if they want the age you are right now, or the age you’ll be when you finally log in.” –Jay Leno

“It was kind of a rough day today. A friend of mine was given six months by his doctor – not to live, to sign up for Obamacare.” –Jay Leno “Things got screwed up with the healthcare website. So you can wait for them to get the site fixed or you can enroll in medical school, graduate, and then just take care of yourself, which would probably be faster.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Due to system failure today, many people were unable to update their Facebook status. Incidentally, for the several hours Facebook was down we were actually competitive with China. In a speech today President Obama called for a new era of bipartisan cooperation. He said this because Obama likes to start off a speech with a joke.” –Conan O’Brien

“Yesterday John McCain said the government shutdown was worse than the one in ’95. That’s 1795. He was 44 at the time, cleaning a musket for his son. Chris Christie said if one of his children were gay, he would, quote, hug them and tell them I love them. Of course, he said the same thing about the Keebler Elves.” –Conan O’Brien

“Anthony Wiener is back in the news. He said an interesting thing. He said if the Internet didn’t exist he would probably be mayor of New York. Yeah, and I would be flying right now if gravity didn’t exist.” –Jimmy Kimmel “The shutdown cost the economy $24 billion, and caused China to lower our credit rating to A- – or as Chinese parents call it, an F.” –Stephen Colbert

So that’s our last blast for October 2103. It’s a big week, as the 2013-14 NBA season kicks off on Tuesday, with expectations at an all-time high for Golden State Warrior fans. We’ll have to wait and see if they’re justified.

We’ll catch you taking a walk on the wild side. Aloha, mahalo and later, Lou Reed fans.

October 20, 2013

Things Don’t Always A Pier As They Seem To Be

Good morning and greetings, Obamacare fans. Or should I say hopefully Affordable HealthCare Act fans? In late September, I received notice from my current health care provider that the membership group I was part of was being disbanded. They further stated that if I didn’t join a new group by December 15 that the new rate for my insurance premium would be basically be double. Lucky I’m a skirt steak eating vegan or my blood pressure would have gone through the roof.

To say the least, I was not thrilled. Now I’m not going to give away the name of my carrier (Anthem Blue Cross) because that would be wrong, as all insurance companies have the same rights to gouge their customers. I’m just worried about the old double cross.

However, last week I spoke with a woman from ABC (Anthem Blue Cross,) and she assured me that as easy as one, two, three, if I went to their website and put in my information, they would offer me a rate that is not comparable with my monthly home mortgage. What a relief to know I still might be able to afford my NBA League Pass.

I’m going to their site this week in an attempt to obtain what those courageous conservative congressman fought so hard to deny me and the rest of the country, affordable health care. At this point I’m optimistic, as the Taliban have momentarily stopped laughing at us. As the saying goes in the heath insurance marketplace, “Hardly working to help you get covered.”

On a more pleasant note, the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf turned 100 years old on October 13. Now I dig the wharf. I love the fact that I can hear the sea lions barking from their home on the pilings from my abode, which according to the way Sheryl Crow used to fly, is over two and half miles away. Now if I could just hear my wife when she calls me from upstairs. It was the French philosopher Jean de la Bruyere who said, “The sweetest of all sounds is that of the voice of the woman we love.” Obviously, this guy was not a sports fan.

For a photographer, the wharf is a photo paradise, as there is always action up and down the longest wooden pier still standing in the U.S. Whether it’s gulls, pelicans, walruses, seals, sea lions, dolphins, whales or Russian submarines, all can be seen from this spot, where back in 1914 they plunged 2,000 70-foot-tall Douglas fir pilings 21 feet deep into the ocean floor. And I believe it was Jacque Cousteau’s cousin who tweeted, “We all know sponges grow in the ocean, but I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be if that wasn’t the case.”

Depending on who you ask, there have been five or six different wharves built along our shorelines. Our current wharf was built back in the day for steamships to haul goods and surfers in and out Santa Cruz. It’s where the commercial fishing boats brought in their daily hauls from the waters of Monterey Bay. Today there are displayed on ice in the fish markets along the wharf. It’s amazing to see what’s swimming around in the bay. Or to quote the late, great Rodney Dangerfield from the movie classic ‘Caddyshack,’ “The last time I saw a mouth like that it had a hook in it.”

It was in the 1960′s that the wharf started to change and became the tourist attraction that it is today, with restaurants, souvenir stores and more restaurants. Last week I had lunch at Gilda’s, which is owned and run by the original Stagnaro family, who have been serving Santa Cruz since 1879. Being the seafood lover that I am, I had the Wednesday special, the freshly caught prime rib, which comes with soup, bread, potato, vegetables and a view to die for. All for $8.95. And there’s always plenty of free parking and if you’re lucky, you’ll take home a souvenir on your windshield from one of the local gulls.

And speaking of dining, you might want to check out the $8.95 locals special at the Firefish Grill. There’s eight great selections to choose from. My favorite is the freshly caught parmesan crusted chicken, which is a parmesan cheese and parko breaded chicken breast topped with a savory sun dried tomato, wine and butter sauce served over a double portion of mashed potatoes, as my doctor told me to cut back on my ruffage intake. No soup but a tremendous view of the action at Steamer’s Lane.

So for today’s photo lineup, I’m featuring some of my favorite photos of this Santa Cruz landmark. The first two shots are from March of 2006. This multi-colored arc was lighting up the sky at various times throughout the day, and in the late afternoon, I finally timed it right and caught these magical moments of beauty.

The next shot was taken in the early evening, as I was on my way to see Eddie Money perform down at the Boardwalk bandshell. Some baitfish were running in the bay and the pelicans had gathered to take in dinner and a show. Eddie blew the crowd away that night with “Wanna Be A rock ‘N’ Roll Star.” Or as the Money Man told the crowd, and I paraphrase, “I love Santa Cruz. I’ve been coming here since 1970, back when I was snorting South American countries.”

When then move on to the biggest moon of the year rising over the Santa Cruz mountains, before checking out some fantastic thunder clouds. We close with my favorite picture taken from the wharf, of hundreds of sea lions ‘rafting’ alongside the pier. This was the largest group I’d ever seen, and they were just happy relaxing and doing a lot of heavy breathing, much like the detectives during Sharon Stone’s interrogation scene from “Basic Instinct.”

Bottom line, wharf fans, when you can drive out onto the water, park your car, walk 30 feet to a boat landing and sidle up alongside a giant sea lion basking in the morning sun, then life is good. Very, very good.

On to the late night humor. “The government will temporarily reopen until January 15 with the debt ceiling raised until February 7, and then we’ll do this over again. Why do we have a debt ceiling? Why can’t we get rid of the debt ceiling, have a convertible government, and feel the wind in our national hair? It’s day 15 of the government shutdown. President Obama said he was hopeful an agreement would be reached tonight. Part of the problem is that Republicans can’t even agree among themselves on what they want. Which means Obama doesn’t know what to tell them they can’t have.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Because of the government shutdown, the White House is under attack – by squirrels. They’ve invaded the White House garden because the gardeners were laid off. When I first heard the White House was under attack by freaky rodents, I thought, ‘What’s Ann Coulter done now?’ This kind of thing would never have happened under George W. Bush because Dick Cheney would have been on the White House lawn blasting the squirrels with a shotgun.” –Craig Ferguson

“Yesterday John Boehner led a group of 20 Republicans to see President Obama. Unfortunately when they got to the White House, the president was still black. There are these people they’re calling ‘debt ceiling deniers’ – Republicans who have decided that, unlike every economist on the entire planet, maybe defaulting on our debt would be a good thing. First they didn’t believe in evolution, then they didn’t believe in global warming, and now the debt ceiling; what I like to call the ‘moron trifecta.’” –Bill Maher

“President Obama said the day after the budget deal is made he’s going to concentrate on immigration. He says he’ll start by deporting Ted Cruz.” –Conan O’Brien “Nobody’s happy about the government shutdown. In fact, the Taliban just issued a statement where they criticized Congress for putting themselves before everyone else. You know things are bad when Americans are saying, ‘Yeah, gotta go with the Taliban on this one.’” –Jimmy Fallon “Talking to reporters today about the shutdown, John Boehner said, ‘If ands or buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas.’ You know, if they’d get off our butts and quit squeezing our nuts, we could enjoy Christmas.” –Jay Leno

So here’s a thought. Take a moment this week to think about the sacrifice our troops and their families are making. We’re still fighting in a war, folks. And if you have another moment, think about the courage displayed by children and their families who are bravely fighting catastrophic illnesses. Maybe do something nice to make a difference in someone’s life.

We’ll catch you being called up in August and putting together two shutout performances on the mound in the national league playoffs. Aloha, mahalo and later, Mike Wacha fans.

October 13, 2013

I Just Met A Girl Named Sharia

Good morning and greetings, debt ceiling fans. What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on in Washington? When I wrote about the government shut down last week, I figured by this time, some blood had flowed into the brain of the Tea Party boys and that the orange tinted Johnny Boehner would have come to his senses and gotten his party in line to end this embarrassing and costly crisis. I believe it was Paul Revere’s brother who said “Instead of just wringing our hands, we should be wringing some Congressional necks.”

And then on Wednesday, when I thought it couldn’t get any nuttier, those fun-loving Taliban Islamist militants, who we are fighting in the 12th year in the war in Afghanistan, posted comments on their website, taunting Washington over the government shutdown and accusing US politicians of “sucking the blood of their own people.” A spokesman for the American Vampire Party immediately demanded an apology and a retraction of that statement.

Now I would not normally write about a group as evil as these misogynistic tribesman, but the totally lunacy of events in Washington has created an atmosphere of disbelief. As Jay Leno noted last week, “This is unbelievable. The government is shut down. Even Al Queda couldn’t do this.”

This merry band of Pashtun pranksters stated that US institutions were “paralyzed” and “The American people should realize that their politicians play with their destinies as well as the destinies of other oppressed nations for the sake of their personal vested interests.” This from an organization whose members would rather spend quality time with a goat rather than a woman.

These equal rights rebels then closed their statement with a flourish, stating “Instead of sucking the blood of their own people… this money should be utilized for the sake of peace.” And then to celebrate the release of their announcement, these fellows went out and arranged a public lashing of a woman for watching an episode of ‘The Ellen Show’ before courageously burning down a school for girls.

The US embassy press staff in Kabul had no comments on this verbal attack from the Taliban’s website. And I certainly do not like being a mouthpiece for this brutal group of fanatics, who are quite fond of Sharia law, which forbids everything fun except breathing.

Now I don’t want to say these guys are strict, but according to Wikipedia, (and if it’s written there, you know it’s true,) here are some previous lawful activities that the Taliban prohibited while they were in power in Afghanistan from 1996 through 2001.

Eating anything pork, so there go the barbecued spare ribs, wearing anything made from human hair and no wearing baseball hats backwards. No satellite dishes, so no NFL Sunday Ticket, movies, musical instruments, pool tables and the food courts at Costco. No alcohol, no beer at public executions, computers, television, frisbees or anything that promoted sex and music, except MTV, because Taliban leader Mullah Omar was a big fan of “Jersey Shore.”

Wine, lobster, shrimp scampi, nail polish, fireworks, egg rolls, Starbucks, jelly donuts, shaved ice, statues, pictures, Instagram, Snap Chat, Christmas cards and especially mistletoe. Basically, anything that could be characterized as a fun or frivolous activity that would bring a smile to the face of the long-suffering Afghan people.

In addition, under Sharia Law, not to be confused with Jude Law, these Talibaners got rid of employment, so no unemployment benefits, education, sports for all women including beach volleyball, dancing, surfing, clapping during sports events, the wave, kite flying, skate boarding and giggling. And finally, any symbols of living things, including drawings, paintings, photographs, etch-o-sketches, stuffed animals, dolls, hula hoops and especially anything Justin Beiber.

In June 2013, the Taliban opened an office in Doha, Qatar, where they sell posters, t-shirts, sweatshirts and calendars featuring freedom fighters of the month. Now I could drone on and on about what level of insanity we have reached in Washington, as the Tea Party has brought craziness in the nation’s capital to new heights. Bottom line, when a hardline Islamic movement can issue statements about our government that has a ring of truth to it, then something is very, very wrong with this picture.

Transitioning from hard line extremists to the soft pastel colors, today I’m featuring the second night of gorgeous back-to-back September sunsets. Two weeks ago, I showcased the Sunday night action from Labor Day weekend when the sky simply blew up. On a 1 to 10 scale that night, we were hitting close to the decade mark.

Today’s photos are from the following night, and although they didn’t quite blow the doors off my camera lens, the colors were spectacular. I was shooting from Stockton Avenue along West Cliff Drive, and the swirling clouds dipping down from the west gave this night an unusual look. With a warm breeze blowing, the sky proceeded to turn a passionate shade of orange. What a wonderful way to close out a holiday weekend.

On to the late night humor. “A new survey found that 9 percent of Americans have considered giving up their U.S. citizenship because of the constant arguing in Washington. Today, even Obama was like, ‘Are you SURE I wasn’t born in Kenya?’ This government shutdown has been such a big mess that Republicans are looking to Senator John McCain to negotiate a deal to end it. When asked if he could bring them together, McCain said, ‘Hey, I did it with the Pilgrims and the Indians.’” –Jimmy Fallon

Stephen Colbert explains the GOP strategy: “The rules are I go first, and I refuse to take my turn. And you can’t take yours until I’m done. I know you’re upset, but we’re both at fault here, so let’s negotiate. I agree to take my turn if you agree that I win.” “Winner: the Tea Party. It’s always nice to see a vocal minority get their way. You’re like the naked lunatic that gets his own subway car. So congrats on soiling yourself into power.” -Cecily Strong “Winner: Canada. Senator Ted Cruz was born in Canada, so while we were worried about Iran, China, and North Korea, a Canadian shut down the U.S. Government. Well played, Canada.” -Seth Meyers

“A mentally unstable woman tried to ram the barricades in front of the White House yesterday. Apparently she held the delusional belief that she was communicating with Obama, and that they were involved in some sort of back-and-forth. You know, like John Boehner. The Republican who summarized it best was Indiana Republican Marlin Stutzman, who said, ‘We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this, and I don’t even know that is.’ Say what you will about a toddler throwing a tantrum in the grocery store. At least he knows he wants Coco Puffs.” –Bill Maher

“Starbucks is offering something called the duffin. It’s a combination of a donut and a muffin. Who says America has lost its exceptionalism? The duffin is a combination of a donut and a muffin, and if you eat enough of them you get a combination of diabetes and heart disease. After four or five years of eating the duffin, they’ll put you in a cuffin. It’s day nine of the government shutdown. Are you like me? Are you beginning to miss the days when we were ruled by a mad English king?” –David Letterman

So another week of leaping dolphins, breaching whales and baseball playoffs is in the books. We’ll catch you showing people how with everything on the line last week you looked the best pitcher in baseball. Aloha, mahalo and later, Justin Verlander.

October 6, 2013

Stupid Is As Selfish Does

Good morning and greetings, October fans. Word has filtered back to me that our federal government shut down last week. Now I normally try to stay away from writing about these types of subjects, as I want folks to come to this site to get away from the depressing news that pervades our daily lives. But the elephant in this room needs to be diapered.

Now what we have is a certain band of morons, er politicians, who have gotten together to prove just how selfish and removed they are from the reality of the people they are supposed to represent. I will not refer to them by name. Let’s just say I haven’t had a cup of tea since the Carter Administration, and if I had, you can imagine where I’d like to shove those two lumps of sugar.

But who am I to judge?. This small group of taxed enough alreadyers think they are standing up for the little guy. They are holding Congress hostage as we look like a joke to the rest of the world. Who elected these idiots? You know we’re in trouble when the Somali government is laughing at us.

So who is affected by this shutdown? Well, let’s start with employees of the Departments of Defense, Special Teams, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Claire Danes, the Smithsonian Institute, Jamba Juice, the White House, White Castle and National Parks. We’re talking about 800,000 federal employees who are now enjoying unpaid vacations courtesy of their local Club Feds.

Now it’s not all the politicians in Washington who are at fault, just a small group of conservative Republicans who are trying their best to wreak havoc with the American economy in the name of no health care. Or as my favorite philosopher Plato had to say about the people responsible for the shutdown, “Those who are too smart to engage in politics will be punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” Added the diminutive one, Napoleon Bonaparte, “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.”

Now 17 years ago during the last shutdown, or shutout for you sports fans, the stalemate lasted for 20 days. According to my sources inside the NBA, there are tears and fears that this latest lockdown is going to be a doozy and that it could take weeks for certain members of Congress to remember that they were elected to help run the government, not bring it down. This stalemate has the employees of the birth certificate office in Kenya laughing in hysterics.

So let’s bring this situation back home to our Golden State. Last time I checked my GPS, there were no national parks located in Santa Cruz. But if you head northeast, you will run into a lovely little meadow the locals like to call Yosemite National Park. Or as photographer Ansel Adams described it, “Yosemite Valley to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and gold wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.” Where photographers dreams really do come true.

So with no one inside the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon closed due to lunacy, where does that leave our national jewel we call Yosemite?

In a story by Pete Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle, it was reported that there the was no joy in the Sierras, as last Wednesday, tourists, survivalists, employees, squirrels, concession workers and some tule elk left the famous park amid the confusion, delusion and absolution from the disappointment of the first government shutdown in nearly two decades.

Families from all over the world had come to Yosemite to experience the grandeur of this internationally famous park of wonders. Instead, rangers closed the roads to their hearts, shut down the hiking trails and put the kibosh on what should have been an experience of a lifetime that many had traveled thousand of miles to experience. And all because of some fools playing the role of politicians back in our nation’s capitol. Or as the saying goes, “Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.”

So Washington is playing politics and punishing the tourists. Sara Turse, a visitor from Florida, said she had waited a lifetime for this trip. “There are a lot of international travelers here. It’s embarrassing for our country to be so dysfunctional that the government has to shut down the national parks.” All this from a small group who want to prevent health care reform. That sound you hear is the Canadians chuckling.

Yosemite has been closed over the years due to floods, snowstorms, wildfires, political disagreements over appropriations of funds back in Washington and last year’s 49ers’ loss in the Super Bowl. Over the weekend, at least six weddings, bar mitzvahs and toga parties parties were canceled in the park due to the childish and spiteful behavior of these Koch brothers supported individuals.

For the families who had planned these events for months, it was a major inconvenience. However, with the closing of the National Institute of Health, 200 people a week, including 30 children, who were waiting to start new clinical drug trials that will hopefully save their lives, were turned away from these clinical studies due to a lack of funding. I’m sure their cancer will understand.

And with the loss of federal funding, we’re talking no paychecks for workers. But not to worry. When those federally funded foodbank shelves are empty, they’ll just magically refill themselves. No one should go hungry because of politics. Shame on you, Congressman. Or in the words of Henry Cate VII, “The problem with political jokes is they get elected.”

And if you like coincidences, and you know I do, the first day of the government shutdown on Tuesday coincided with Yosemite’s 123rd anniversary. What better way to celebrate and showcase our most famous national treasure by closing it down on its anniversary? The last word on the elected officials wreaking havoc in Washington goes to one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, who so eloquently said, “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” And rest assured, these guys are working overtime.

On a lighter note, my wife Allison has penned her first E-book, entitled “Mothers Have Needs To.” It is available online for sale and would make a lovely Halloween gift. To check it out, go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/363706. Photographs in the book were contributed by yours truly. She is now busy working on her second book, “Fathers Have Needs Too, But Who Cares?”

For today’s photo segment, we are clearing out the showroom floor to make room for the 2013-14′s. This was the last 2012 sunrise remaining in the archives from last season. I didn’t necessarily save the best for last, but this would definitely be one that I wouldn’t mind bringing to the dance.

So from this day forward, all future sunrises and sunsets, will be, in the words of those Jersey boys, Kool and the Gang “fresh, exciting, so inviting to me.” What’s going to be coming down this photo pike is “a celebration to last throughout the year.” The sky’s the limit. And in case you missed it 49er fans, last night’s sunset was fantastic.

On to the late night humor. “People are saying now that before the government shutdown congressmen went out and got drunk – celebrating that they had shut down the government. This is the kind of thing that could damage their 10 percent approval rating. They say it’s a partial government shutdown, and I can remember something similar happened. It was like the government was shut down for eight years when Bush was president. When you sign up for Obamacare you choose between the bronze program, the silver program, the gold program, and the platinum program. If you sign up for the platinum, you actually get to drive the ambulance.” –David Letterman

“People are mad at Congress because of the shutdown. According to a new poll, 69 percent of Americans say that House Republicans are acting like children. I think they may have a point because when asked about it, Republicans said, ‘Ha ha you said 69.’ Because of the government shutdown, President Obama has had to scale back his planned trip to Asia. Now Obama’s just going to cross the street and eat lunch at a Panda Express. People have events in the national parks and they’re canceled because of the shutdown. There was a KKK rally scheduled to be held in a national park that was canceled. This was bad news for the KKK but good news for the park’s black bears.” –Conan O’Brien

“So far the ones hit hardest by the government shutdown are tourists because all the national parks are closed. Where will people go for anonymous sex? We still have the airport bathrooms, but that’s only for Senators, and we can’t all use that.
At least here in America, crucial agencies like the U.S. Border Patrol are still on the job. That’s a good thing. The last thing we need is an influx of Canadians, with their politeness and a government that’s open every day. The shutdown means the national zoo is closed. Who’ll feed the animals? Is anyone even there to lock them up at night? Pretty soon starving lions and tigers could charge out of the zoo. They’d devour the fattest, dumbest people on Capitol Hill. Actually that might be the answer to all of the problems.” –Craig Ferguson

“Scientists in Stockholm say hundreds of jellyfish have shut down a nuclear reactor. Hey, that’s nothing. In this country, a bunch of spineless jellyfish have shut down the entire government. This is unbelievable. The government is shut down. Even Al Qaeda couldn’t do that. Do you realize that?” –Jay Leno “The Los Angeles district attorney has decided not to press charges against Justin Bieber for spitting on his neighbor because it was the neighbor’s word against Bieber’s. The D.A. said, “Frankly, I don’t know who to belieb.” – Conan O’Brien

So enjoy the baseball playoffs. We’ll catch you you giving up just four hits and throwing eight shutout innings in your first-ever postseason game Saturday night. Aloha, mahalo and later, Sonny Gray fans.

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