Sarah Palin: American Idol?

The other day, Sarah Palin announced that she will be working for Fox News. She said one of the reasons that she is excited about working there is because it is a place "... that so values fair and balanced news." As an opinion columnist, nobody expects me to be "fair and balanced," but news shows were once. But she actually called today's Fox News "fair and balanced?" Obviously, the people at Fox may represent the conservative, right wing viewpoint if they want just as MSNBC presents the left wing, liberal viewpoint. But I certainly wouldn't call either of them "fair and balanced." That would be as silly as saying, "I can see Russia from my house."

Like many people, I couldn't resist watching her debut on the "The O'Reilly Factor." I gave into the "must look at a car accident" impulse. Some of her rambling sentences seemed longer than her job as Alaska's governor. There should have been a button to push to get a simultaneous English translation. She made up words like, "uncomfortableness." But everybody makes little mistakes when they're on TV, so let's not linger on her lack of elementary school grammar. When it came to discussing facts, she seemed to obfuscate the issue (Sarah, if you're reading this, don't be embarrassed to look up "obfuscate"). However, it was clear that she implied that except for her, everyone who was involved in her campaign is lying now. It would be nice to see her take responsibility for something. After all, the buck elk stops with her.

In the past, several people have used television to help make them stronger political candidates. Ronald Reagan is a good example. However, I remember seeing Ronald Reagan on television, and you, Madame, are no Ronald Reagan.

The Fox announcement said that Palin will appear on several shows, rather than merely being on just one program. This got me thinking. If she has an overall contract with Fox, maybe she'll also appear on shows that aren't news programs. "24" has been a guilty pleasure of mine for years, and it would be perfect for Palin. Its lead character doesn't let liberal, wishy-washy things like personal liberties and Constitutional limitations get in his way. "The Simpsons" might be a match for someone that many people consider a cartoon character. "Fringe" probably has the most appropriate title for the former governor. And to many, she is an "American Idol."

Actually, my speculations might not be all that far-fetched. On the same day that Fox announced that Palin would be joining them, they announced that Simon Cowell, the acerbic co-host of "American Idol," will be leaving after this season. Coincidence? Maybe. But don't you think she'd be perfect for the show? It would be a great forum for this millionaire celebrity to continue to push her image as a "just folks, regular person like you and me." Can't you just hear her after someone's singing performance? "We don't have an opera house in Wasilla, but that doesn't mean I don't know good singing when I hear it because, like a lot of real Americans, I still sing in our choir, and your voice reminds me of some of the birds we heard when we went hunting last week and saw a bald eagle that's no longer on the liberal, tree hugging endangered species list. You know what should be on the endangered species list? Middle class Americans who work hard, have kids, pay their bills, and don't want the government to be in their lives except when it comes to Medicare, Social Security, and not paying a penny more than a fair price for all the American flags made in China. And I am 100% pro-life except when it comes to killing innocent animals, but we eat therefore we hunt so I don't think this is the right time to raise taxes, especially on a young woman like you who has the chance to be a singing star in the greatest country in the world."

In another amazing coincidence, on the same page of the newspaper that announced Sarah Palin's signing with Fox News, there was an article that said that scientists have now determined that watching too much TV can actually shorten your life. So, if I didn't have a good enough reason to avoid watching Sarah Palin on television before, I do now.

2008: Not So Great

George Bush isn't the only one who's been a lame duck for the last couple of months of 2008. I have, too. I think all Americans have been lame ducks. We've been in limbo. We've been waiting to see how the financial crisis will be resolved, waiting to see what's going to happen with the automakers, and waiting to see how things will be under President Obama. Like a lame duck, we've been treading water. And time doesn't fly when you're treading water.

I can't be the only person who feels that the end of 2008 has dragged on and on. It seems like 2008 will never end. Doesn't it seem like it's been the longest year ever?

One of the reasons, of course, was because we had an interminable Presidential campaign. And the war continued without any hints of a dramatic ending. And we kept hoping that the bad financial times would be over. So it certainly was not a year's end that zipped by.

And to make it even longer, not only was 2008 a leap year, but scientists added a "leap second" to it. Apparently, they do this every once in a while when they notice that the earth's rotation is slowing down slightly. In case you're interested, the leap second will be added onto December 31st. Let's all make the most of that extra second.

Things that didn't really happen that long ago seem like they happened ages ago. For example, can you believe that John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate only four months ago? Doesn't it seem longer? Were we really able to live our entire lives, minus four months, without Sarah Palin?

Were the Olympics really just this past summer? And were the John Edwards and Eliot Spitzer scandals really this year? They seem like something from a distant, more innocent past. Of course, they have been trumped by year-end scandals, but neither Blagojevich nor Madoff made the time pass more quickly.

Think your memory of 2008 is perfect? Who won the 2008 Super Bowl? Not a sports fan? Who won the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize? (Hint: it wasn't any of the football players from the Super Bowl).

Remember when gas prices were ridiculously high? Remember when houses sold ridiculously fast? Remember when I lost my cell phone? (Okay, that's a hard one).

Remember when the polygamists' ranch was raided? That really happened just this year.

This was a year when some things were all turned around. I don't know about you, but I can remember when people went to banks for money instead of the other way around.

And didn't you think pirates were a thing of the past?

One of the most outrageous Congressional earmarks was $50,000 proposed by California Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon. He felt the money should go to the National Mule and Packers Museum. And they say government doesn't support the arts.

Speaking of four-legged animals, a Norwegian equestrian was stripped of his Olympic bronze medal because his horse had taken a "banned substance." That's right. The horse didn't pass the drug test. With all the publicity about how harmful these drugs are, plus with every newspaper talking about how stringent tests are at the Olympics, how could a horse be so stupid and risk everything by taking drugs? What was he thinking?

The news story that defines 2008 has to do with Burger King. In the beginning of this month, the fast food company came out with a cologne – actually a men's body spray -- that smells like "flame broiled meat." "Who would want to smell like cooked meat?" But isn't this a perfect move for a company to make in 2008? People are worried about not having enough money to buy groceries, and they think that men are going to spend their hard-earned dollars so they'll smell like a hamburger? Maybe they're going for the burger bailout.

If "Flame" – as Burger King's cologne is called -- actually turns out to be a hot product, watch for the banks to follow suit. They could sell "Bucks," a cologne that smells like money. That way, Americans can walk around in 2009 with nothing in their pockets, but at least they'll smell like money.

And if the banks' cologne is successful, I'll bet other fragrances will follow. I just hope those in charge of that mule museum don't get any ideas.

Happy New Year, and have a great 2009.