Thursday, March 4, 2010

What ever happened to Barbara Mao?

“Trading Barbs with China — of tires, chickens and unintended consequences”

— recent headline in the WSJ

Like most Americans, I’ve been forced to drastically cut back. While I still subscribe to The Wall Street Journal, times have been so tough, I’ve been only able to read the headlines.

I was more than discouraged to glance at the above WSJ banner from February 10, 2010: “Trading Barbs With China.”


Why are we shipping our Barbs overseas?

Being a smidge to the right of Attila, I’d have no problem swapping Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Pasadena Doo Dah Parade) for Barbara tse Tung, Mao’s long-lost identical twin sister.

While fighting elbow-to-elbow with Chairman Mao Zedong for the control of the Mainland in post-World War II China, Barbie Z mysterious disappeared after a heated and sometimes publicly violent debate with her brother over the color of the jumpsuits the billion-plus Chinese would some day wear. Barbara, who had cornered China’s mauve dye industry by 1948, wanted that indefinable “not pink, not red, not purple, not brown” hue to be China’s official color for the People’s Zombie Pajamas. Mao felt it was demeaning to call jumpsuits “pajamas” and trotted his sibling into a concentration camp to “…ahem, think more about Feng shui until the next Ice Age.” For decades, Barbara tse Tung was tied to a chair and subjected to hours of daily torture. Military intelligence officers showed her Sherman-Williams samples containing only one swash, “The People’s Dark Ravishing Avocado,” Mao’s favorite color, while asking: “Gosh. I can’t decide. Which one do you like — this one or this one?”

The roots of the feud between Mao and his sister went much deeper. Dr. Holly Peño, a fellow from the Washington-based Bob’s Prestigious Sino Research Center penned The New York Times bestseller, “China, Bad — The Latest 9,000-Page Snoozefest About How Asia Will Sit On Then Eat Us.” Mrs. P noted: “Perhaps the greatest slap to the face of Chairman Mao occurred when his sworn enemy, Taiwan strongman Chiang Kai-shek married his interior decorator, Zazu Pitts (no relation to the zany actress of the 1940s). The couple swore their vows in matching mauve jumpsuits with pleats that Mao’s sister Barb herself designed,” wrote Dr. Peño.

“Mauve is just not a happy color,” Mao said, in his famous 1952 speech at Zhongnanhai while a billion Chinese tried not to roll their eyes and snicker. Until his death in 1976, Mao was well aware that his unasked-for nickname of “Chairman” meant “82-pound head with a bad haircut” in the Sinitic languages.

Now 117, Chairman Mao’s sis recently emerged from a commie brain detox center (outsourced in Alabama) sporting a permanent and disinterested Zoolander stare at some distant horizon, not unlike our very president.

As far as one Barb trade goes, exchanging a libertine goat-slaughtering devil worshipping United States senator for a 64-pound centenarian commie intellectual whose only contribution to the world was to introduce the thigh pocket is a no-brainer. Besides fitting in at the home of the Boxer Rebellion, if the West Coast senator were banished to China, it would result in a special California election where someone more conservative, like Sean Penn or Alec Baldwin would be able to serve. Granted. While neither Mr. Penn nor Mr. Baldwin are conservative, they are master craftsmen in their field and can at least act conservative.

But that’s just one Barb.

But what about trading others?

What about Barbara Feldon, that leggy and wisecracking straightwoman from that classic TV series and solemn tribute to the CIA, “Get Smart?” What sort of Barb would we get in return for this national treasure? Who will China ante up when we boat over the likes of Barbara Bush, Barbra Streisand, Barbra Mandrell, Barbara Park, author of the beloved Junie B. Jones series or Barbara Walters, journalism’s answer to Elmer Fudd?

Are we expected to give up Barbara Eden, a completely unutilized national defense icon who, with the mere crossing of the arms and blinking could neutralize Iran’s entire and burgeoning nuclear weapons facilities? What will we get? Barbara Smyth-Wang: homeopathic clerk from the population center formerly known as Peking?

What are other unforeseen ramifications in this U.S.-China exchange of Barbs?

Will Mr. Obama create yet another useless layer of administration by appointing a Barbara Czar, followed by sub-Barb Czars, under-Barb Czars and Barb Czar support staff housed in some billion-dollar building, all spending merry days overseeing the proper counting, weighing, molar inspecting, tricep-pinching, bar-coding, shipping and handling of our beloved Barbs?

We must not trust the Chinese.

Too dim is our memory of the 1950s debacle in which China faced a crippling shortage of Debutante Balls. Secretly, the U.S. traded Debs with China. We were almost ready to send an armada filled with Debbie Reynolds, Deborah Kerr, Deborah Harry (she’s actually 83 today) and Debbie Nixon (Richard M.’s long-lost identical twin sister who disappeared after being used in the federal government’s “X-Files” experiments involving testing of a poison lipstick to assassinate Argentina’s Evita Peron). Dumb luck, just before the trade, U.S. intelligence discovered that China was shipping us women who were not actually named “Debbie.”

Let us stop the madness. Trading Barbs with China is a bad and lopsided arrangement. I’d much rather wake to WSJ headline: “U.S. Trades Michelles With China.”

That, indeed, would be good business.

Like some benign goddess, the First Lady could wander the Mainland, stamping out childhood obesity with but the wave of an asparagus wand and twittering admonition: “I declare thee thin-thin-thin!” In return, the United States would be blessed with Michelle tse Tung, Mao’s great-granddaughter and sizzling haute couture icon who invented Dark Fox Purple, which, as you know, is touted as the hot new jumpsuit color for China’s fall fashion lineup.

(c) 2010 by John Boston

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Honey. I Did Not Sleep with Michelle Obama.

“Dream as if you’ll live forever.

Live as if you’ll die today.”

— James Dean

I’ve noticed something. Men are different than women. Bow. Smile wanly. Bow some more. Accept roses. Wave. Thank you. I now will stand on stage at Oslo, Norway and accept my Nobel Prize for being a Brain Scientist.

Women possess boundless qualities and if not achieving sainthood they certainly flirt with it. But we men spend our lives wading in dark, unfamiliar waters of womanhood, churning with little wiggly nuances, riptides and bitey creatures from the deep. There are days I feel one gender is from the chromium-based atmosphere of the planet Rigel N-13 in a galaxy yet-to-be-discovered and the other gender is from Earth.

Being firmly entwined in a loving, nurturing, supporting and ever-growing relationship with my Viking goddess beauty queen, I’ll never cop to which gender lives on Earth and which gender paints their face, tries to appear taller than they actually are and has cooties and I’m not talking about Anabaptists.

I am loved exceptionally well by a tall, sexy, debilitatingly beautiful Teutonic blonde who is so sexy she’s Three-tonic. She’s funny, affectionate, kind, considerate and, most fortunately for me, chronically near-sighted. Bonus, she’s one hotsy-totsy curvy woman. I love her. Something’s been bothering her.

I know because for the past week, I’ve asked: “Is something bothering you?” and she, like the opera protagonist Camille says, “No.” Maybe not today, but soon, a low-pressure front will merge with a high-pressure gradient and create a planet-ending storm.

The other evening, we’re out to dinner. Being a woman, she has The Gift. With impeccable timing, she waits until my mouth is full so I can spit out 12 pounds of salad after she quietly accuses: “So. Who’s Theresa?”

Why did that make me panic?

All guys have been there. For one fleeting moment in our mangy dog lives, we’re innocent. Life’s a warm swim. Then, your softer counterpart lets slip a seemingly innocuous Spanish Inquisition query light years beyond Left Field.

I stopped chewing. Every guy in the restaurant stopped chewing. It’s like that silence right before a million wildebeest stampede at the watering hole.

My show-stopping girlfriend dabs her mouth. There’s a neutral, bureaucratic chill to her voice, like she’s a cop laconically going over notes before asking: “We found a dead body in the trunk of your car. Don’t insult our intelligence.” She slides a yellow legal pad across the table. “Write it out. You’ll feel better. John.” She cups my hand with hers. “You can leave prison still a young man. C’mon, pal. Play ball. Who’s ‘Theresa?’”

I’m breathing through my mouth.

And what did I do with Theresa’s corpse?

My mind races, like a Rol-o-Dex on steroids. Or — for the benefit of new demographic of younger, gender oppressed Internet-friendly males in a relationship — like an iPhone on mocha latte half-half with 16 hits of espresso.

DO I know a Theresa?

There’s my long-missing half-sister, Teresa, without the “H.” I think she’s dead. There’s Mother Teresa. Likewise, dead and sans “H.” There’s Casa Teresa, the home for pregnant unwed mothers 18 and older in Orange County, California. I hide the panic. Did my eyes dilate? Sweet merciful saints. WHY do I know that? Calm down, damn you, you’re a comedy writer. You’re supposed to know stuff like that. I make a mental note to never, ever scream “Casa Teresa!!” in my sleep. My leggy partner chews slowly, in feigned, Oh-No.-I’m-Not-Peeved-At-You-Sweetheart way only women and serial killers can pull off.

“No, John,” she says, tossing her hair out of her face and laughing ice cubes. “Theresa. With an ‘H.’ An ‘H,’ John. Like the ‘H’ — in ‘Ho.’”

J’accuse. She didn’t mean 33 percent of Santa’s chuckle.

I know they don’t have dramatic radio mystery bass “Boom-boom-boom” organ music piped into the Soup Plantation. But I heard it anyway. A waiter sped by, mouthing, with a Spanish accent: “¡Que muerta! Be careful how you answer, amigo...”

“Honey...” My hand cuts the air with small rolling gestures. “I don’t know a THHHH-ree-sa,” I sputter, like Sylvester the Cat. “I don’t know a Four-ree-sa, a Five-ree-sa or a Reesa’s Peanut Butter Cup, for that matter.”

I smile. I blink.

Crickets blow ice clouds into their tiny hands. Unless you’re starring in a James Bond movie, never attempt humor while a woman is interrogating you.

A long moment passes. She’s the stern principal. In our booth, I’m feeling my trousers shrink into little boy shorts and my feet no longer reach the floor.

“OK. Fine. What.” I finally ask, too tired to insert a question mark.

We stare at one another for five minutes. Her posture is erect, superior, confident, as if she is about to deliver the case-solving evidence at the 58th minute of “Law & Order.”

“So,” she says, the “Puny Earth Male” silent but implied, “You’re telling me you do not know a woman named Theresa...”

I stare forlornly at sprawling buffet. My chili. My baked potato. My corn bread. Colder than Mother MacBeth. We could just as well be holding this Women’s Deduction Clinic about the lovely and talented Michelle Obama.

“John. Do you know OF Michelle Obama?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Do you and Michelle Obama occupy the same continental land mass?”
“Yes, Your Honor.”

“Therefore, it is this court’s findings that, three oughts-are-ought, carry-the-one, you KNOW— like in a woman taken in adultery Biblical sense — Michelle Obama. Ladies of the jury. I submit my boyfriend had sex with the First Lady and ask...” lowers her head for dramatic intensity “...for the Death Penalty.”

Gavel bangs. Defendant Guilty. Women cheer. Guy Court is over.

My cell phone rings.

Dear Comrade Boston:

While it is not normally within the realm of the Oval Office to stick its ever-expanding nose into the private lives of citizens, I couldn’t help but notice that you mentioned my wife in one of your infantile fantasies.

Let me say this unto you now: That was very, very, very stupid of you in a stupid-stupid sort of way and by golly rief, I’m going to do everything within my power to make sure you’re the only guy in America without health coverage. And then I’m going to send over Nancy Pelosi with her goo-goo-googly eyes and have her crush you with her ample thighs, the rhyme unintentional.


Barack Obama

President of These United States.

P.S. My handlers have informed me that possibly, I may yet again have framed my consideration of a choice of words in a direction along the compass toward an incorrect horizon. Although, if it’s any consolation, John, sometimes, at night, and I’m mad at her? I call the missus ‘Ma-bama’ while she’s sleeping. Get real close to her face and mouth the word. Hey listen. Me, Hugo Chavez, that flea-bitten goat-boinking mufti who runs Iran whose name escapes me, the Tea Party, Asia and the growing unemployed are getting together later to have a beer and apologize to one another. Six work for you? And sorry about the length of this text message. As president, I just have a really big cell phone screen the size of a plywood sheet and get carried away.

Being a Republican and passive aggressive, I punch in: “6:20’s better” and turn back to my sweetie.

“Let me level with you. MY species —” I overtly gesture, Indian style, “— to YOUR species. I — am a guy.”

She’s disinterested already.

“Honey. I think about things like: ‘Hey. I wonder what the beet crop will be like this year?’ Or: ‘Why in the heck would the entire Green Bay Packers get suspended four games for taking diet pills? Isn’t it in their best interest as NFL players to stay big as the budget?’”

“I don’t know. Honey.”

When woman banishes the word, ‘Honey’ alone, to the end of a sentence, it does not mean, ‘Honey.’ It means, ‘Asshole.’

I tilt my head. I look at her reassuringly. I have no idea what I just said. I’m certainly not inferring that, with women, like with dogs, it’s the tone of your voice that counts, along with slightly tilting your head to the left while raising a paw. She folds her arms, as if considering if she can ever trust me again.

“I had a dream,” she finally confesses.

I did not blurt out in the crowded restaurant: “Oh HOLY MARTIN LUTHER KING cripes I HAD A DREAM and EGYPTIAN midgets without their underwear IS THIS WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT?!?!”


I’m a 21st century guy.

I inhale a jagged breath through my nostrils.




Psycho-anthropologists speak of faraway rainforest shamans who recognize no differentiation from the sleeping state and real world. Apparently, ditto with women. My appetite’s gone but my sweetheart digs heartily into her dinner. The story unfolded. In my beloved’s dream, she was building a house. Me, The Mr. Man, was not helping. I was with the M.D.T.

That would stand for Mystery Dream Tramp. In this episode, it’s the MDP is Theresa.

And that, ladies and gentlemen was the whole damn dream.

I didn’t even get the benefit of any tawdry and steamy details.

“So I take it in your dream that Theresa didn’t even scream: ‘It’s the rapture! I’m cross-eyed for life! John, you’re the entire Chatsworth porn industry and a six-pack of Dr. Pepper!”

Not even looking at me now, my date chewed and shook her head. No. The dream only lasted four seconds. “And Theresa was homely. And a brunette.” She seemed to take some great moral victory over the hair color.

In her dream, my honey “just knew (squint, pursed lips) I was up to something.”

And that was it. I’ve been in semi-trouble for a week. Semi, because she makes it all better by smiling at me.

If I had a disturbing dream about the president, I wouldn’t throw a drink in his face or sock him. And perhaps the only time in print I’ll use the phrase, “Bless Barack Obama’s heart,” I’m sure if the commander-in-chief had a disturbing dream about me, he wouldn’t give the cold shoulder until he unveiled himself on MSNBC as the antichrist. In fact, if either one of us were to have a dream about the other, we would have the manly resolve to jolly well not mention it.

You know why?

Because we’re guys

From Planet Earth, gosh darn it.

Or at least it’s ours until Michelle and my sweetheart from the chromium-based atmosphere of Rigel R-13 waltz back into the room, squinting at the two of us over some imaginary thing we did to them in a moment of private REM repose.

Monday, January 18, 2010

No Gorilla Eyes Shall See These Fair Breasts...

“No animal should ever jump up on the dining-room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation.”

— Fran Lebowitz

A while ago, three women sued their former boss. Why? She wanted them to expose their breasts to a gorilla.

I know. Makes you just blink and go, “What?”

This banana-throwing case started when two women quit the Gorilla Foundation. Founded in 1976 to preserve, understand and promote things gorilla-ish, it’s based in Northern California, up in Woodside.

It seems the women’s supervisor — a woman herself — asked the gals to lift their softball jerseys in sororal spirit so that Koko, a girl gorilla, could see their breasts.

Koko is the world-famous gorilla who is smarter than both houses of Congress and all of Obama’s czars and has a larger vocabulary than Al Gore. The creature can communicate using more than 1,000 different signs.

Francine Patterson — and dear me, I hope it’s not my attorney’s sister — is the president of GF. She was accused of repeatedly telling workers Nancy Alperin and Kendra Keller to let their womanhood flap unfettered in the cool NorCal breeze. The reason? Koko asked them to. Later, Koko allegedly asked a third woman worker, Iris Rivera, to show off her Hostess Snowballs. The boss said the gesture would help the women bond better with the 300-pound gorilla-ette.

Boy. Could I have used that line in high school.

“Show me your breasts. It will help us bond.”

Blur of cheerleader fist. Blood spurting out my nose 15-feet in the air in Sam Peckinpah slow motion. Room spinning. Everything goes dark.

What makes none of this work is that there is not a guy anywhere to be seen.

You could run wild with chauvinism, sexist, male lout jokes.

But no.

We’re dealing with four women and a girl gorilla. Five females. Ten nipples. There’s no place to go. A woman asks three other women to show their breasts to yet another woman. And the latter is a few rungs down the evolutionary ladder. Well. Not counting the politically correct in the Muslim nation of Sweden or the entire population of Palmdale.

I’d like to say I’m mystified why the three women didn’t just take the rare, higher, common sense route instead of suing.

Maybe this is just me, but if someone asked me to show my breasts or anything else projecting from my body to a big hairy giant ape, I’d probably consider the request for a moment, blink, then respond:


I surely wouldn’t start flailing about, back of my hand velcroed to forehead, knocking over mail boxes and pretending to be mentally damaged beyond all repair because the King Kong version of Jane Goodall elbowed me and suggested: “Flash the monkey.”

I’ve got a few friends who are not “hearing challenged.”

They’re deaf.

Next time I see them, I’m going to ask:

“How do you say, ‘Show me your pompons’ in sign language?”

You never can tell. Next time you’re at the gorilla cage, or at a deaf cheerleader convention, it could come in handy.

John Boston was named Best Humor Columnist in America by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Again. This goes along with his 117 other major national, regional and California awards for writing excellence. Look for his new web page,, coming soon.