Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Delayed gratitude

An off-topic conversation between the Independent's Rich Tosches, and the independent Ms. Spydra, about the importance of having a spirit of gratitude, and the difference between sophisticated and sophomoric.

Colorado Springs Independent
Ranger Rich
November 25, 2009
Bless this brood
by Rich Tosches

Today is a special day in America, a celebration descended from that brisk autumn of 1621 when the pilgrims of Plymouth sat around a big table with the Wampanoag Indians and hammered out plans to build a casino. They received a lot of helpful and friendly revenue-sharing advice from the Teamsters, who sat at the end of the table cracking their knuckles.

And so on this day, as we pause to remember that first autumn feast, we look toward the azure sky and we say thanks and then we are hit right in the face by giant blocks of ice and snow that are sliding off the steep and magnificent Teflon-coated roof of the new U.S. Olympic Committee building.

And we give thanks.

We are thankful that Ted Haggard is back in town and is about to start a new church in our village because, as you know, we could sure use a few more churches around here.

We are also thankful that Haggard has asked us to submit possible names for his new church and, as we understand it, has narrowed the list to three finalists, including one named after his wife: Our Lady of Total Denial. Also among the finalists is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Erection and, of course, St. Peter. (Newly hired altar boy Mike Jones will be at each service, burning a funny-smelling incense as outside the church a pack of DEA meth-sniffing dogs howl and try to chew through the heavy wooden door.)

We are thankful for the long service of soon-to-be retired Focus on the Family boss James Dobson, who is experiencing health problems stemming in part from his advanced age but mostly from the whiplash he suffered when he violently turned away and ran from old buddy Haggard. (Dobson's neck injury worsened last year when he performed an abrupt about-face on the presidential candidacy of John McCain.)

I'm also thankful that even as Dobson departs, Focus' executive search committee is interviewing Haggard as a possible replacement. Insiders say Pastor Ted's first big change would be to reclaim the recently jettisoned "Love Won Out" gay conversion program and to put it firmly back into Focus' closet.

Seriously, I'm thankful today for the continued presence in our village of Focus on the Profit, I mean Family, which treats each employee like a cherished member of that family. Unless donations from all the nuts, I mean devoted followers, taper off. Then, to protect the all-important executive bonuses, many members of the "family" are fired — just as Jesus himself canceled vacations and overtime and reduced dental benefits for the disciples during the Big Recession of 0022.

I am thankful also that as our village shuts down its parks, pools, museums and senior centers, our firefighters will still be able to extinguish fires the old-fashioned way — by smothering them with their gigantic paychecks.

And I am thankful for our police officers, who, despite the big changes to the village swirling all about them, will continue to boast about skyrocketing mutual fund returns and gold investments as they Taser a madman who was going 36 in a 35-mph zone.

I am thankful, too, that on Dec. 8 Sarah Palin will appear at our Chapel Hills Mall to sign her book and will unveil her new theory that two weeks ago we not only discovered water on the moon but also found the home where President Barack Obama was born — a crater she claims is now guarded by lunar government death squads.

As a writer skilled in the use of sarrcas ... sarrkas ... sahrcazm ... making fun of things, I am thankful for the Mensa Club that is our City Council, which recently appointed to an empty Council seat former Gazette editorial writer Sean Paige (aka Douglas Bruce Jr.), who initially said his candidacy was "a joke." Apparently on us.

And as Thanksgiving ends and we move into winter, I'm thankful we won't have cracked windshields, because the city and county are so broke they can't afford their traditional winter road maintenance blend of sand, magnesium chloride and medium-sized landscape boulders.

Finally, I'd also be thankful if good Christian Ted Haggard would pull me out of my upside-down, burning vehicle whenever I slide off an icy road and into a ditch this winter. I'd be even more thankful if he pulled me by my arms.

— rangerrich@csindy.com



The short-sightedness of your Thanksgiving article has me puzzled; how can you overlook the bounty of good fortune in your life? More importantly, why do you choose to? Because offhand, I can think of plenteous blessings for which your heart should be thankful and gladdened.

For instance, you should be thankful for your fellow former Gazette columnist Milo F. Bryant, whose habit of starting each of his articles with a single-sentence paragraph was like a cavity – tolerable for a while, then grating…and over time, downright unbearable. Evenso, week after stupid week, bicep-brain was paid to keep up his brutal assault on the English language. Each time I came face-to-face with Blockhead Bryant and his blasted paragraph, I would seethe. So, give thanks for Sir Milo of Meathead; next to him, your own weak writing skills seem like the work of sheer genius.

But be not mistaken that yours is a progressive wit, shaken and stirred with a shot of biting satire; it isn’t. Your own style is a mishmash of Barry Noreen’s petulance, Mark Barna’s disbelief, Sue McMillin’s nonchalance, and Matthew Schniper’s ain’t-I-great-ism...all of which amount to tepid. Even the Independent’s myopic lens can do nothing to clarify your consistently ambiguous message: is your intent to shine meaningful light upon your subject, or is writing merely your virtual middle school boys' bathroom wall?

This loose grouping of mild talent, diverse faults and multifaceted mediocrity combine to make one gigantic, haphazard crap quilt. Honestly, in two decades, you’ve succeeded in making me laugh only once. And though I’ve long since forgotten how it was that you came to tickle my funny bone, I remember taking particular note of that singular occasion due to its sheer novelty.

And talk about irrational thinking: that solitary chortle was sufficient cause for me to hope that, beneath the blustery bravado and layers of failed attempts at funny, there might actually dwell a nimble-thinking wise guy who could make me laugh on special occasions. But time has shown you to be a played-out pinhead who, without discernable provocation, does everything he can to insult Christians. Believe it or not, we are not your mortal enemies.

But you have successfully communicated the gist of your message long, long ago…so it’s unnecessary for you to keep repeating yourself like a broken record. Trust me, Rich – we get it already: YOU HATE CHRISTIANS. Roger that. Do you feel better now? Is it safe to move on and possibly cover new ground?

I am curious to learn, for instance:

• if there are any other religions you disparage and rail against; if so, what are they, and why?
• Do you reject God entirely, or just the concepts that strike you as unreasonable, distasteful, at odds with your own personal system, or simply uncool?
• Do you harbor equal disdain for Judaism as you do Christianity? Raelianism? Unitarianism? Wiccanism? Shintoism? Santerianism? How ‘bout Voodun?
• If Atheism is an absence of belief or faith, do you derive comfort from your faithlessness, and if so, how?
• Have you ever met a Christian you didn’t instantly hate?
• To what do you attribute your rejection of the notion of God?
• How will you benefit if it turns out that Christians were wrong all along, and when we die we’re all just dead?
• Why aren’t you satisfied to agree to disagree; what drives you to spread your unbelief and prod everyone into reluctantly agreeing that down is up?
• Is there ever a time when disclosing one’s sexual orientation is inappropriate?
• Is there in the GLBT world different sub-groups, like there often are among races? For instance, a black person is “all black”, as opposed to “mixed” or “light-skinned”; is there a parallel in the GLBT world, i.e., a man could be “pure gay”, or if he’s bi-sexual he could be “mixed gay”?
• Are there possibly some liberals who might benefit from a good old-fashioned public scorning, or is that just reserved for conservatives…or Republicans…or only Sean Paige and Doug Bruce?

I mean, I don’t know - do you? Actually, I’d not even think about the details of someone else’s sexuality or faith under usual conditions – I’ve always been taught that it’s impolite to casually share that sort of intimate information. But since the topic keeps coming up, those are some of the questions I’d like to see answered…and it just seems as though your column could be so much more than just a childish name-calling contest targeting Christians.

I’m sure that it must be the hypocrisy you perceive that’s inherent in religion, but that hypocrisy exists in every one of us. Further, while yours is not an article on religion, like the Gazette’s “The Pulpit,” you do tend to discuss religious issues with such frequency that it’s hard to tell what the true purpose of your column is all about. A little variety, Rick, can spice up even your most bland of pabulum…or is it that you’re fully committed to the confinement of the I-HATE-JESUS box that you can’t seem to think your way outside of?

That your Independent soulmate gives herself away for free and yet keeps cranking out your regular paycheck is a miracle. To pose as and pass for a ginuwine writer for as long as you have – again, a miracle. That you get to do the work that you were born for – that is, perpetuate faith-hatred and heterophobia, all for a good laugh and a sneer – clearly is a miracle. That you get paid money for being so damn unfunny…well, nice work if you can get it, fella – just ask Andrew Dice Clay.

I would think you'd start every morning on your knees thanking God for each and every stroke of dumb luck that you’ve been blessed with. So to read in your own words your irreverence toward your own undeserved success and accolades…I’m sorry, but for me that’s simply the last straw. There is a part inside of us all that longs to believe we are each one of us decent deep down inside, and possess some sort of redeeming quality that makes us uniquely individual and worthwhile. But I’m afraid my hopes that there might ever be a meeting of the minds between the crazy Christian in me, and the Godless freethinker in you are fading fast.

Here’s Gospel: in this day and age, if you rolled your car, and ANYONE had the wherewithal to stop rubber-neck staring at you, and the good conscience to inconvenience themselves by stopping to help…well, that again, my friend, would be a miracle. And when that person asked if you were ok, and called 911, and stayed with you until the ambulance came…well, you wouldn’t give a hot damn if your Good Samaritan was an evangelical priest in civilian clothes, James Dobson dressed in leather, or even a laughable little Christian spider like me.

You’d simply be repeating the same two words over and over: “Thank God.”

Sir Rick of Toe Cheese, I’ve stoically suffered your nanny-nanny-boo-boo balderdash for years…rolling my eyes at your yellow-bellied sucker punches, and tsk-ing disapprovingly at your penchant for going straight for the throat. Have you no finesse? Are you a stranger to subtlety? Like that garish Adam Lambert spectacle that’s already old news, why are you always so eager to explore the very depths of how low you can go?

The unapologetic irreverence of your Thanksgiving 2009 post was a new low, even for you…and the oily catalyst that loosed the sword from the stone. I am not rubber, you are not glue; sticks and stones can break our bones; and most of the times, your words deeply offend me. If you wrote the things you do about Christians about the GLBT community instead, you’d be charged with crimes of hate speech. So, either you’re live and let live, or you’re an extremist determined to force your world view down all our throats.

I’ve enjoyed this opportunity to be frank with you; indeed, judging from your fixation with Ted Haggard, I quite imagine you prefer it. You talk about him so much - alternating between scathing hate and homoerotica - that you’re either sweet on him, or have already run out of things to say. But really, it’s not fair to punish and malign all Christians for your own inability to keep from popping a chubby each time you think of Pastor Ted. I rather think that your juvenile pre-occupation with toilet humor, and proclivity to daydream about snorting speed off of Ted Haggard’s round buttock inside Our Lady of the Immaculate Erection might be cause for your further introspection.

I conclude with the observation that it must be difficult for you to be serious even for a few minutes…and that of course you don’t recognize the blessings that are upon you; how can you count your blessings when you yourself are blind to them?

I already know that you will read and re-read this ireful composition that’s been years in the making; and each time that you do, I pray that you’re stung afresh by the words on this page.


  1. I I I I I....Over-use of the first person inevitably leads to self-indulgent prose, as is seen here. These are the marginally coherent ramblings of a rank beginner too ashamed to sign his/her name.

  2. Spydra, nice work. You even smoked out one of the other leftist mouthpieces in town, old Noreen. I note that he never commented on all of the leftist theft from D11 that you wrote about over the past couple of months, but he had to come running when he saw that his own name was used in other than a positive light in your post. Talk about self indulgent. And rambling? Noreen hasn't written anything coherent or logical in years. He is one of the reasons that the circulation of the Gazette continues to decline.

  3. Unlike Barry Noreen, I thought the comments on Rich's article in the Indy (Spydra) was very well thought out and written. Just remember Spydra there are people out here who support what you're doing for our community. Keep up the good work!!

  4. Spydra, I always enjoy reading your blogs. You not only have a creative way with words; but the words you give us are very informative not only about D=11 but city matters as well. THANK YOU for caring!!! May you and your family have a Very Merry Christmas and a prosperious New Year! And yes folks I'm not afraid to say MERRY CHRISTMAS because I'm not one to be POLITICALLY CORRECT. I don't conform to societys ways, only God's way!