Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pre-VP Debate Pub Crawl

Huge pre-debate crowd this evening at Ishmael's, the cozy yet seedy bar just around the corner from the global headquarters of RW Enterprises, LLC. Innkeeper Peter Coffin has Depression-era cocktails on half-price special tonight, his clever effort to capitalize on the crisis in the financial markets. There's (Half-)Baked Alaska on the dessert menu in honor of Governor Sarah Palin, and if our crack team of culinary researchers had been able to turn up any evidence that Senator Biden's home state of Delaware had ever contributed anything worth eating, we'd have put it on the appetizer menu. Best we could come up with was the winner of a 1997 contest for the best crab cake recipe, but that won't do. Roxie's World is in Maryland, people. We ain't puttin' no damn Delaware crab cakes on the bar menu!

The crowd is settling in. Peter's got the new plasma TVs turned on to Ugly Betty because none of the regulars can stand Keith Olbermann. There's a lot going on. One group is huddled around a laptop playing a lively game of Palin Bingo:

(Image Credit:, via GlassPen)

In the back room, where there's a rickety old stage, a bunch of grad students (the moody kids in dark glasses, as Peter thinks of them) are holding a poetry slam. They are doing choral readings of The Poetry of Sarah Palin, a stunning new collection put together by noted literary scholar Hart Seely and published just yesterday in Slate (H/T to Eitan). Seely pored over the transcripts of Palin's recent interviews and discovered therein some of the most extraordinary found poetry since somebody opened Emily Dickinson's desk drawer. (Goose would object to this comparison, but she is out of town tonight, so there.) The grad students don't have Tina Fey's gift for mimicking Palin's voice, but they've got a feeling for the poetry and a teacher's passion for reading aloud, so imagine their stirring performances of Palin's "poems" (as compiled by Seely):

"On Good and Evil"

It is obvious to me
Who the good guys are in this one
And who the bad guys are.
The bad guys are the ones
Who say Israel is a stinking corpse,
And should be wiped off
The face of the earth.

That's not a good guy.

(To K. Couric, CBS News, Sept. 25, 2008)

"You Can't Blink"

You can't blink.
You have to be wired
In a way of being
So committed to the mission,

The mission that we're on,
Reform of this country,
And victory in the war,
You can't blink.

So I didn't blink.

(To C. Gibson, ABC News, Sept. 11, 2008)

You really must run over to Slate and read the rest of Palin's poems. "Small Mayors" will make you weep from the intensity of compressed emotion and meaning. I defy you to get through it without shedding a tear. Moose is going to try to talk Goose and the Candy Man into doing a special seminar on the collection once the election is over.

Finally, Moose and Mark Twain are deep in conversation at the bar, trying to formulate rules for the drinking game they'll be running during the debate. They've come up with a few, but we invite you all to add more in comments. Consider this an open thread, kids. We're not clever enough to live-blog, but if we all hang out here together, won't that amount to pretty much the same thing?

Rules of the VP Debate Drinking Game:

1. Every time Palin drops a "g" on the end of a word, drink -- but just take a tiny sip or you will end up with alcohol poisonin' before all is said and done.

2. Every time somebody says "Hillary Clinton," take a healthy swig and raise your glass to the girl who almost made it.

3. Every time Joe Biden smiles so big you think his face is going to crack right open, take two drinks and tell Peter you really wish he had crab cakes on the menu.

4. Every time somebody mentions George Bush in a positive context, take the biggest drink of your life, because it may be your only chance.

5. Every time somebody mentions feeling the pain of single moms and middle-class homeowners and parents trying to get their kids through college, use one hand to raise your glass and another to cover your wallet, because you'll be the one paying for that bailout. Even if you'd rather say "thanks, but no thanks" to it.

Your turn, kids. Send us your rules, and tell us what your drinkin'. Peter is ready to serve.


  1. boy Roxie, drinking on #5 has me still loopy.

  2. Love the Poetry of Sarah Palin, Rox!

    You ROCK -- thanks for finding that one. Glad I didn't see #3 before I was watching the debate. . .the folks in the bar here in New Brunswick, NJ, kept talking about Joe's BIG TEETH.

    much love,

  3. Yep, rules 1, 3, & 5 woulda got you good and loaded; 2 & 4, not so much. Maybe next time I'll host a post-debate pub crawl. I think my readers are too darned tuned in to actual events to talk to me while things are happening. Dog bless them, they are good, old-fashioned single-taskers.

  4. At one point during the debate, I could have sworn that Palin was about to say "boy howdy!" I kinda wished that she had.

  5. no doubt Geoffrey. Her folksy bit is just FAR TOO MUCH to take.

  6. Anonymous8:46 PM EDT

    "Small Mayors" is indeed a work of genius. I wish I had had it in hand while teaching Dickinson yesterday!

  7. Well, yes -- One sees a bold prolepsis of "Small Mayors" in ED's "A solemn thing -- it was -- I said --." Here is Dickinson at her most Palinesque:

    And then -- the size of this "small" life --
    The Sages -- call it small --
    Swelled -- like Horizons -- in my vest --
    And I sneered -- softly -- "small"!

    The lineation will probably be mucked up, but you catch the drift. You can read the whole poem here.

    As you might have suspected, Goose is still out of town. Thus, we are free to say any crazy thing we want about Emily Dickinson!

  8. OK, it's a couple of days later, and Goose is no longer out of town. And though no one may read this comment, I just have to say that comparing the poems of Sarah Palin to those of Emily Dickinson would make the latter wink from beyond her grave, smirking "gotcha again." Ole Em has a wicked, wicked sense of humor. . . .

    always your


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.