Merry damn Christmas. I'm sorry, but the holiday season is a stresser for me. I never have enough time to make the perfect gift picks for the significant people in my life.
Then right behind that comes the new year, and I feel pressured to straighten out my life with meaningful resolutions. Sure, I'm going to cop a 'tude,' so shut up and let's get started.
First, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk. The hero of my faith. What do you give a man who walks with kings but pleads no contest to criminal charges against his diocese? I got him a gift certificate for a degree in psychology at Xavier University. He still thinks those child abusers he sent off to therapy years ago were curable. He told me that not long ago in a news conference.
No one, I repeat, no one believes that today. So he needs to sit in some modern psychology classes and get some common sense.
What about his public relations guy, Dan Andriacco? Dude, that guy has a harder job than Baghdad Bob. I gave him a jumbo bottle of Advil to keep next to the telephone. Can't you picture the twitching, the neck tick and the slumping shoulders every time his secretary says, "Mr. Andriacco, his Excellency wants to see you in his office"?
Bob Goin, the athletic director over at the University of Cincinnati, has the same problem. So I got him a nice gift, too, because every time his phone rings, he thinks it's the duty officer down at the Justice Center. I got him an honorary membership with the Fraternal Order of Police.
Saddam Hussein. The man who once had everything. Living in a spider hole. A pocket full of Snickers bars. A urine jar in the corner. And people whining about a humiliating lice exam on international television? Rape rooms and mass graves should warrant this guy a live, three-camera prostate exam on cable TV. So I'm buying airtime on VH-1. You know, Saddam gets punked ... and probed.
Chris Monzel. The Chris-ta-na-tor. Chris-man. The Monzel-a-dude. Got his ass smacked by Cincinnati voters in the council race. Rejection. Gift? Work his butt again, this time in the upcoming commissioner's race. Chris, see ya.
Now, for Police Chief Thomas Streicher, well, that was no leave-the-engine-running-in-front-of-the-store quick purchase. He's nationally known. CNN and Fox News have his personal cell phone number. He's already bigger than life, but he works too hard at keeping Cincinnati all full of drama. So I got him season tickets at the Aronoff in one of those boxes off to the side. And I bought tickets in the same box for all the members of the Black Fist. That should be fun.
Valerie Lemmie, the city manager? Word is she's a biker. Rides a big old Honda. I got her a Harley Davidson Low Rider. It's loud, proud and American. Val, we ride on Sundays. Meet at Hooters on Beechmont.
Speaking of motorcycles, attorney Ken Lawson rides the baddest bike in town. It's an Indian Chief. The Terminator special edition. Chrome everywhere, custom paint, drag pipes with no baffles. You know when Ken arrives. I'm giving him a free lunch at the Beehive in Augusta, Ky., just so I can ride along and be seen.
Cincinnati City Councilwoman Laketa Cole is also a biker. She rides a sport bike. You know, they pass you in a blur on the right, rider and iron blended into a state of Zen. I'm giving her a thunderous ovation for shocking Cincinnati with a top-tier finish in her recent election to city council.
Pat DeWine politically got what he deserved: a drop in his position, only one other Republican with him — and he'll probably vote more with Democrats than with him — and virtually no real power on city council. He's got everything I wanted him to have, so no gift for Pat.
I'm giving Lincoln Ware, the morning talking man on WDBZ (1230 AM), a nomination for a Marconi Award. He deserves the prized radio trophy. He's the best radio talk show host in Cincinnati and beyond. Humor, attitude, insight, guts: He's got it all. And he never stoops to rudeness and insensitivity.
Marvin Lewis was easy. He's flat out a football man. I got him the key to Mike Brown's office. Brown, get lost.
What have I got? What have I got? Hold on. I'm digging deep into the bag, maybe I'll recycle some old loser gifts that people have given me.
Let's see. I've done Monzel, DeWine. Oh, yeah. Rush Limbaugh. Actually, I didn't get Rush anything. He's already got everything: maids, a mansion, jet plane, more money than Jerry Springer and so many illegal drugs they made him deaf. So I'm giving his gift to his millions of listeners. Here, everybody, take this hypocrisy and shove it straight up your ditto heads.
Whew, this gift stuff wears me out. I've only got 190 words left to fill my monthly news hole and I haven't committed to one New Year's resolution. Watch how tight I can write.
I resolve the following: No more sarcasm. No more lame stabs at humor. No more radio shows with my brother, Jerry. The airwaves are to be respected, not wasted by two self-absorbed narcissists. By the way, we're on at 10 p.m. every Sunday night WVXU (91.7 FM).
I resolve to respect Peter Bronson and all ordained priests. I will not spew populist rhetoric in this newspaper. I will learn to like the way Ann Coulter looks.
I will never again call Bill Cunningham a racist punk. I will stop saying that Cincinnati — and all other cities for that matter — are corporate oligarchies. I will learn to love, respect and feel sorry for Convergys, Saks and Kroger.
I will, I will — oh, who am I kidding? I'm a liberal, yellow-dog Democrat. I watch the Jerry Springer show. (Although I think it's fake.) I'm going to vote for Howard Dean. I don't fit. I'm a sinner.
But you know what? I don't give a rat's ass. Deal with it.
PUTTIN' OUT THE BONE appears monthly.