I have to admit that losing the universe was a trifle depressing.
It's like, that sentence doesn't even make sense... I've read
hundreds of books where the universe was "saved" by the intrepid
thinking and quick fists of Captain Knowitall. They're always
talking about "saving" the universe. So we "lost" it instead.
What's the universe going to do now, put an ad in Craigslist?
Lost: One universe--puny humans failed to save it. If found, contact Galactic Overlords 322-232-5679 ex. 327. Well, anyway, it's not my problem anymore...
I finally came to the conclusion that those alien overminds were
exaggerating, just tweaking us a bit to try and win their bet.
I mean, how could anything that we humans do affect the whole
Having thus successfully dodged that
existential bullet, I decided to brighten the corner where I was, so to
speak, by running for President. Running for president is a bit
like saving the Universe--the job sounds too big for anyone to handle,
so you've just got to try it and see. The current president is
reported to have used more vacation time than any previous presidents,
so if things get sticky, I'll probably just go on vacation.
Of course my decision to run was influenced by the media. Right
after the 2004 election, they started reporting on the 2008 election,
since presidential elections are what reporters live and die for.
The 2006 election upped the excitement to fever pitch, and some
of the less steady journalistic hands are already touting the 2012
election, so, as far as I can tell, any time is as good as any other to
jump in. This is especially true since I have no major party
affiliation, just a strong new coalition for America called the Let's
Party, based on the acronym made from combining the constituents of Law Enforcement, Teachers, and Schools.
I'm still working on my slogan. I kind of like "I'm for America,"
but having figured out whether the tag should be "Who's for Phil
Steen?" or "So vote for me." It did seem like if the
bumper sticker didn't have my name on it, people might think "I'm for
America, Vote for Me," was about the person driving the car, instead of
me--Phil Steen. There's a lot of thinking like that, that goes
into a do-it-yourself campaign.
Being from a
small town in a backwater state makes it a little harder to be a viable
presidential candidate. I was in the running for a couple weeks
before my wife even found out about it. She was put off a bit,
saying usually candidates consult with their wives before making these
kind of decisions. I pointed out that it wouldn't look good for
my leadership abilities if I had to consult with my wife on every
little detail. So it was a bit of a rocky start on the home
front. She did make me pledge not to spend any money on "this
malarkey" as she put it, which turned out to be a brilliant bit of
campaign strategy for me. I made it a point of honor that I would
accept no donations, nor spend any money on this campaign, since there
were plenty of free ways to get my message across. This has
immediately given me the unassailable moral high ground over my
competitors. My wife did explain to me that donations would have
been okay, and are regarded by most people as the usual way to do these
things, but I'm glad I set my goals high from the beginning.
It turns out that "Let's Party!" is apparently the slogan of choice
among my younger constituents. It just shows that if you build a
strong new coalition for America out of universally respected authority
figures such as police and teachers, people young and old will flock to
it. In fact, thanks to the popularity of my video appeals, I was
invited to attend a "Let's Party Convention" in the woods behind
Lavendar Falls Community College, sponsored by the Gamma Nu Pi
fraternity and the Alpha Alpha sorority. Although some of the
students had clearly overindulged, their enthusiasm was refreshing.
They had painted some signs on sheets, such as "Steam (sic) for
President," although the effectiveness of this as advertising was
diminished by the fact that the people that had worn the sheets were
now streaking about nude in a quite distracting manner, drawing more
attention than my campaign. Both the students and I are on
a learning curve, and the important thing in class and life is not to fail...
At some point in this campaign, I'm probably going to be asked the
tough questions about things like Iraq, and domestic policy (whatever
that is), and health insurance. No one has bothered yet.
But I've already got my position secured on the "issues."
If I am elected president, I will make the important decisions as
they are presented to me. I'm a quick learner, and if necessary,
I'll find out the difference between Iraq and Iran (besides the q and
the n). But I don't want to get bogged down with issues on the
campaign trail. As it is, I won't have time to read the
papers, so my first act as president will be to catch up on the
news from 2007 and 8, and then I'll be up to speed and ready to
govern. This may take a fair amount of time off of 2009, during
which I'll be accumulating papers again, so by 2010 I'll be ready to
lead the free world. At some point after that I intend to learn all the Internet information age stuff as well...
I'm continuing to work on a slogan. I'd like to be all things to
all people (and beloved pets as well). I've decided there's a
large demographic that's being ignored by most presidential candidates,
that I've tapped into with my Youtube campaign. It's actually
two groups-- youth under 18, and internationals, sometimes under 18 as
well. While they don't actually get to vote, their exuberance on
my behalf would be welcome if it occurred. So in keeping with my
target demographic, I'm now thinking the slogan should be the short,
pithy--"Whatever!" I will be and do WHATEVER is needed to pull
our country together. What will I do about the trade gap, the housing
market crisis? WHATEVER... But maybe it does need name
recognition attached, so a longer version would be: "Steen? I'm
One of the problems with
the Let's Party is trying to get any business accomplished at our
conventions. They seem to be heavier on the balloons and
champagne than the other political parties (which is saying a lot),
with less talk time at the podium, and more bands. I'm not really
complaining. I love the irrational exuberance. It's
just that we need to pick a vice presidential candidate, and no one
seems to care... So I've started to put out feelers via email to
everyone on my email list. If you get one, and are a convicted
felon or don't reside in the United States, feel free to delete it...
Otherwise let me know if you're willing to run for Vice
After a few nerve wracking days, I've got my Vice Presidential
candidate: My brother-in-law, Jack, acting as his agent, wrote me the
I have been in contact with Irvin R. Feldbrook, Jr. Gen. USA Retired
and am happy to say that he is willing to be your running mate in your
quest for the presidency as long as he does not have to appear other
than in the Vice-Presidential Debates. Also I have promised him some
financial support and he is willing add my contribution to his
resources and back your campaign to the maximum of $16.98.
It seems to me a small price to pay to become Vice President of the United States...
I wrote back:
This will add a definite air of legitimacy to my campaign. In checking
my notes for vice presidential candidates, I notice I specified that
the Vice Presidential candidate be shorter than me. I haven't wanted
to ask such a personal question of Gen. Feldbrook, but if he's taller,
do you think he'd object to a cosmetic surgery to "fit the part," so to
letter of yesterday has thrown me into an ethical quagmire.
Unbeknownst to Gen. Feldbrook, I had pledged to accept no
donations for the campaign. However, I guess there's a loophole
in that I never said my Vice Presidential candidate couldn't accept
donations. So PAC's and wealthy individuals and corporations
contact Gen. Feldbrook--unmarked bills preferred.
Also, he responded to my request: I have consulted with the General and he suggests that you get the cosmetic surgery.
This shows an astuteness on part of Gen. Feldbrook, which gives me a
reason to explain why I chose him as my running mate. It's true
that no one else was willing, but besides that, Gen. Feldbrook
holds opposite opinions on all the issues I hold near and dear. I
chose him to help balance the ticket. No matter what the issue,
voters can feel free to support us, since one of us shares their
opinions, and there's always the chance I may die and the General would
then get his chance to implement his misguided policies...
I hate to discuss those pesky issues, but I will say that America could
do without income taxes. The joy experienced in a mid April
without the tax deadline would probably make up in irrational
exuberance for any minor lack of funds for the treasury. We
could all pass the hat daily at work to keep the government solvent.
This hand-to-mouth existence might help keep government officials
more humble. Any days where there is smog, an extra hat would be
passed for environmental quality. Southern California alone could
pay for a lot of environment patching. And any day where it's
over 80 outside, the air conditioning could be shut off by law until
some serious global warming cash is produced. The toll ways have
already figured out this hat-passing approach. It might work, in
a more proactive fashion, with sewers. If the toilet won't flush
till you put a quarter in it, someone's going to put in a quarter
sooner rather than later...
Eventually someone is bound to ask me, "Steen, are you a compassionate
conservative or a fiscally responsible liberal?" What do those
terms even mean? Rather than waste my time researching someone
else's political labels, I'm going with my own--Polkian Fundamentalist.
Yes, I adhere to the ideals of President James K. Polk, a man
distant enough to be obscure to many, a dark horse in his own time.
Like me, any issues he supported are probably not relevant in
today's world, so we can easily dismiss the whole issues foofaraw. It's
character that counts. Polk had character, and I am a character
in my own right (not to demean the left). "What about the
"Fundamentalist" label?" you might ask, although no one has even
noticed I'm running for president, let alone asked me anything...
I added the Fundamental part to show I know 4 syllable words, and
I stick to fundamentals because advanced concepts are frankly
confusing, thus to be avoided at all costs.
"Yes, but what are you FOR?" I hear you telepathetically screaming at
me. I'm for the Cabinet. I'm for Health and Human Services.
The Treasury sounds good. Agriculture: It's what's
for dinner... Transportation is good, teleportation better...
Housing is a good idea, but I don't know that a Cabinet post for
Interior Decoration is really necessary. I don't see a cabinet
position for Mom and Apple Pie, so there may be additions if I'm
elected. In the meantime I've decided to wear a special helmet
made of aluminum foil to help block out your telepathic questions that
are beginning to bug me.
began as reminiscences of my life as an alien abducted banjo salesman
has turned into a campaign blog stuck in the present tense.
Everything I think I write down, and it's getting to me!
The aluminum foil is thinner than it used to be, so I'm not sure
all the zeton rays are being stopped by it. It's a good thing
it's early in the election cycle, or I might have trouble with the town
meetings by the end... I've developed several additional
personalities to help me get through the boring times on the bus when
there's no one to talk to. So everything is okay, and I really
hope you'll vote for Phil Steen whenever the mood strikes you.
I can't believe it. An attack ad
has been aired against me. I thought everyone loved me. How
could I be so blind? Well, they're probably mistaken. I'll
have to respond to this, or the campaign is in danger of foundering.
I guess it's par for the course. There's hardly a
presidential candidate out there there who isn't busy shooting himself
or some other candidate in the foot about something... But I want
everyone to love me...
Okay, I've made my
rebuttal to that terrorist group that viciously attacked me. When
elected President, I'll respond more forcefully, probably with the Army
or Navy or something. For now, this will have to do.
This is Naztor speaking, who Phil thinks is an additional personality,
but I am actually the reincarnation of a Babylonian warrior prince, and
it took this election to get Phil in touch with his mystic side--part
of the vision thing. Anyway I'm excited about his candidacy, and
have signed on to help Phil out with the election as his campaign
manager. The first question you might be asking is, do I want to
support a candidate who is wearing an aluminum foil hat and clearly
insane? And the answer is, how can you not? Do I need to
point out how insensitive it would be of you to discriminate in this
way against the mentally ill? Already the criminally insane have
had a tough enough go of it in the movies and other popular culture. There's hardly a spy
movie where there isn't some nut trying to take over the world.
At least we're up front about it. I've talked to Phil about
it, and he's agreed that, if elected, he'll let the V.P. carry the
phone with the "button" since Gen. Feldbrook's the sanest person Phil's
ever met, and it will help Phil control his compulsions in that area.
"Hey dude bad boy here. Naztor something Phil made up. Me real
stuff killer beast inside Phil head. Vote Phil president or bad
boy mad. bad boy stomp, bad boy chew.
WHAT? Oh, the press conference! Yes, good afternoon
and thank you all for coming. I was just warming up the mic
there... Since no one showed up in person, we'll limit comments
to the virtual press conference on the web. No, be quiet, Naztor,
I said web only! Uh, 33Slinkster, you have a question?
No, I don't know where to get free legal downloads of first run movies.
It sounds like a good idea, though. Uh, COLONEL_AGAT?
That's an amazing story of the wealth you wish to get out of Nigeria,
but I'll have to leave foreign affairs to General Feldbrook. I'll
give you his email address later.
no one is asking about the tinfoil hat I'm wearing. I want to
encourage everyone to wear them, partially to show your support for me,
but more importantly to block the zeton rays that cloud your minds.
By conservative estimates, I'm thinking 30 % better when wearing
this hat. So if you'll send me a photo of yourself wearing
an aluminum foil hat, I'll put it on the Steen4President web page.
Thank you, and watch out for aliens--they're out to get you more
than you think!"
there, fellow Americans. This is Naztor speaking, Phil Steen's
campaign manager. While it's true that Phil has been outed as the
source of the video which scurrilously attacks his campaign, there's a
very good reason for it to have happened. I admit that mistakes
have been made, because it sounds better than if I said I had made
them. Phil and I sensed there was a lack of controversy in Phil's
campaign, mostly because we've been below the radar screen of the major
networks. So please see Phil's donning a tinfoil hat and vicious
self attacks as a plea for help, and send your good thoughts to us both
as we enter rehab. Rest assured the Steen/Feldbrook candidacy
remains right on track. And remember to send your contributions
and legislative requests to Gen. Feldbrook, who has never once complained
about floridated water or vital bodily fluids.
Use this chart to find the next of the cartoons (first 47 entries) or the stories (starting with 1 A River Too Far 5 rows below week 8)