I am one of President George W. Bush's gardeners. Mr. George likes to talk to me.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Kerry's Speech

John Kerry spoke too fast and must have lost ten pounds of sweat, yet still managed to bore me to sleep. I fear that if he is made president, when he comes out to talk to me, I would fall asleep on my feet, with a rake still in my hand. I guess we could talk about the Vietnam War. I was in the Mekong Delta myself, at least until I gave up on the bureaucratic army and decided that the only way to get anything done was to go out on my own. I hand-picked a crack group of soldiers, set up camp deep in the jungle, and gave the Viet Cong all kinds of hell. The army bureaucrats kept sending Colonels in to "eliminate" me as a threat, but let's just say that I survived the horror.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Sissy John

John Kerry is a sissy, as evidenced by the fact that he couldn't throw a baseball 60 feet 6 inches. I don't care how many boats he bravely commanded in the Mekong Delta, any man who cannot throw a ball all the way to the catcher has no right being President of the United States. I have made up my mind about this.

This got me thinking about how well our past and present leaders would fare in throwing out the first pitch. George H. W. Bush is the best baseball player to ever make it to the White House. The liberal media must have somehow discredited his baseball skills, so he should have been reelected. Gerald Ford was a solid football player, but I don't know how well he could throw a baseball -- obviously not well enough to get reelected. Bill Clinton could throw a strike, plus he played the sax, so he was bound to be president for two full terms, no matter how often he waged war against terrorist regimes to draw attention away from illicit hummers. Roberto Clemente had a rocket for an arm, but he died tragically before he could venture into politics. Adolf Hitler could throw a baseball about twenty feet, so he would be an awful president, not to mention the fact that he would cater to Nazi extremists.

I may be oversimplifying the issue. After all, being President of the United States is a complex job that requires many skills. At the same time, the idea of a sissy like John Kerry throwing out the first pitch for the next four years would reflect poorly on America. Roger Clemens would be a fine president. He's from Texas, he doesn't fuss over intellectual matters, and he's not afraid to bean homosexuals with his rocket arm. I like a Roger Clemens/Nolan Ryan Republican ticket in 2012, after Mr. George finishes his three terms.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Flawed Intelligence

Before I came to work this morning, I picked up copies of the Washington Times that had cluttered my doorstep for the three weeks that I was in France.  You can only imagine my shock to read that the Central Intelligence Agency is at fault for providing information that would lead Mr. George to view Iraq as an imminent threat, thereby causing him to engage in a preemptive war for reasons that have proven to be untrue. This is terrible.  Mr. George deserves better than that.  We can only hope the voters realize that the true culprits are the various intelligence agencies and the liberal media, and that our beloved president was merely taking action on intelligence reports in good faith. Besides, Saddam was a bad man.

Who would have thought that intelligence failure would be the demise of Mr. George?

Monday, July 26, 2004

Spider-Man 2

While I was riding in the Tour de France, I had no time to see movies. A typical day consisted of cooking oatmeal and pasta for breakfast, riding the day's stage, which sometimes took more than six hours, and then giving U.S. Postal riders a neck massage (after I was traded to Team Rabobank, I was no longer required to give massages — they had their own masseusse). By the time I had finished with interviews and laundry and syringe disposal, it was time to go to bed. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered that the plane ride from Paris to Washington D.C. included the movie Spider-Man 2.

Here's what I liked about the movie:

* The acting. Tobey Maguire did an excellent job as a reluctant superhero. He was torn by the fact that his demanding job as superhero left him little time for his personal life. He was able to show this reluctance using facial gestures. The woman who played his aunt also did a good job in conveying emotion through the medium of acting.

* The subtle Christian imagery.  To stop a runaway train, Spiderman shot spidey webs toward buildings and held onto the cords with his arms spread wide.  After sacrificing himself for the commuters, Spiderman was so exhausted that his limp and broken body had to be passed backwards over the heads of the passengers, each person being careful not to touch the gaping wound on Spiderman's side.  A clumsy director would have placed a crown of thorns on Spiderman's head, but Sam Raimi chose the more subtle route, unlike the director of The Passion of the Christ, who used heavy-handed Christian imagery.

Here's what I disliked about the movie:

* Kirsten Dunst. She is too skinny. She should fatten up and wear makeup that makes her looks like she's not strung out on crystal meth, or whatever kids are self-medicating themselves with these days.

* Doc Ock's superpowers defied belief. If I'm not mistaken, Doc Ock's superpowers consist only of having six extra arms attached to him, but these powers do not extend to his head. When Spiderman, who is strong enough to hold up heavy steal girders, punches Doc Ock in the face, why doesn't Doc Ock's face cave in? It should. It's one thing to willingly suspend disbelief, but it's a whole other thing to willingly suspend common sense.

Still, I give it four stars on a scale from 1 to 6.


Thursday, July 22, 2004

Eliminated from the Tour

There is a rule that to continue racing in the Tour de France, riders must finish within a certain time after the leaders cross the line. Race leaders set up this rule so that riders don't lollygag in the various shoppes and cafes around France. In yesterday's individual time trial up th Alpe d'Huez, any rider who finished with a time of more 33% over the winner's time had to abandon the race. The slowest rider in this year's tour went first, I went second, and Mr. Lance went after all the other riders. I was climbing at a good tempo up the switchbacks on my new 10-speed, enjoying the early moments of the race, when disaster struck.

Flat tire.

In most cases, a flat tire costs a rider only a few seconds. A mechanic from the team car hurries to the rider, removes the wheel, and replaces it with a new wheel. Unfortunately, the Rabobank team car was nowhere in sight.  I had to remove the flat tube, locate the puncture, glue on a rubber patch, and re-inflate the tire. It took me 22 excruciating minutes. Adding insult to injury, Daag Haus rode over my feet while I was pumping up the tire. My finishing time was 1:03:10, while Mr. Lance finished in just under 40 minutes.

I'm coming home.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Shiny New Bicycle

The good news: there are only five days left in the Tour de France and I have a new bicycle. The bad news: two of the stages are in the Alps, and I am very tired. I had ridden my bike to work daily from Alexandria to the White House, but that little commute hardly prepared me for these 110-mile mountain stages. They have put me in difficulty. Fortunately, Team Rabobank acquired a brand new 10-speed bicycle for me. It's red.

In yesterday's stage, I wanted to ride up to Mr. Lance to congratulate him for his stunning victory over Ivan Basso.  Before I could get to him, several of my former teammates swerved into me and elbowed me, which is what I had seen them do to other cyclists who dared ride near the front of the pack without credentials. Has it been so long? Have they forgotten how I helped Mr. Lance climb Le Mongie? Have they forgotten the Col de Tourmalet? After dinging my bell twice, I yeilded to their will and blended in with the rest of the peleton. My new allegiance is to Team Rabobank and Levi Leipheimer, who is currently riding in tenth position. I shield him from wind and fetch water bottles. Oh, who am I trying to kid? I care nothing for Levi Leipheimer. Go Lance! Win for all of us!

Saturday, July 17, 2004


So much has happened over the weekend. Because I am tired after riding in the Pyrenees, I have time only to describe only the most important incidents.
Incident 1 
To begin stage 12, the riders and I burst from the starting line to get a position near the front of the pack.  I heard a crinkling sound directly behind me. Thinking nothing of it, I continued my burst.  All of a sudden, my bicycle stopped, while my body continued its forward momentum. My thighs struck the handlebars, causing me to do three or four flips in the air. I landed on top of my head and slid along the road for a few seconds before landing on my back with a thud. I looked behind me and saw a chain attached to a pole near the starting line. May God damn that Daag Haus. It's one thing to put super glue on the inside of my helmet. Or to insert grape jelly into my tires before a mountain stage. But to attach a chain to my bike just before the start of the race takes these practical jokes to an unbearable level.
I rode angry.
Incident 2
Daag Haus and I got off our bikes and traded blows. We threw long, loping punches that did little more than scrape our knuckles on each other's helmets. When the fight was over, we each stood bent over, gasping for air and insulting each other. 
Incident 3
Mr. Johan notified me that I had been traded from Team U.S. Postal to Rabobank.  He didn't bother to thank me or offer words of encouragement. As I got off the team bus, Mr. Lance and the other posties refused to look at me or respond to my well wishes. I had given my all to help Mr. Lance win his sixth consecutive tour, and now my effort is for naught. Tomorrow I must compete against Mr. Lance and my former teammates. It is a bitter end to a bitter day.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Harsh Words

Before today's race, a 164-kilometer race in the mountains, from St. Fleur to Figeac, I was chatting amiably with a couple of Spaniards. Suddenly I heard a crash behind me. Someone knocked my bicycle off its kickstand. I have grown fond of my little bicycle. When I find out who knocked over my bicycle, there will be trouble.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Start of the Mountain Stages

Today was a rough day. I am very tired. It was the longest ride of the day with several category 1 and 2 climbs. In the latter part of the climbs, I keep pushing down the lever to downshift into a fourth gear, but my bicycle has only three gears. To make matters worse, I over-hydrated my body. I kept having pull off to the side of the road and relieve my bladder. Richard Virenque took advantage of one such nature call and attacked the pelaton. It was my responsibility to control breakaways today, but when I tried to get back on my bike to start the chase, I noticed that Daag had stabbed had punctured one of my tires. You might ask, How did I know it was Daag? Easy — the Swiss Army knife that was poking out of the rear tire had the name "Daag Haus" stenciled on it. The team mechanic was able to change the flat in a mere matter of minutes, but I had lost too much valuable time.

More later. I must rest.

Monday, July 12, 2004

My Cycling Nemesis

I have a new arch-rival. His name is Daag Haus. I hate him.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Crashes and More Crashes

These are difficult conditions. The combination of poor roads, rainy weather, and rider fatigue is causing many riders to go down hard. In yesterday's race alone, I fell on 37 separate occasions. To make matters worse, many of the riders who toppled over were shouting at me and using language that would make our Vice President indignant. One rider clopped me over the head with a water bottle and a rider from Cofidis poured Power Gel into my shorts. Because I value the nobility of high sportsmanship, such behavior put me in a foul mood.

The worst crash of the day didn't involve other riders. I had returned to the team car to retrieve water bottles for Mr. Lance and company. Mr. Johan, the team manager, stuffed bottles into my jersey and filled my handlebar basket with food packets. I was sprinting into the rain to catch up to the peleton, when a 90-degree turn caught me off guard. I didn't even try to make the turn. Instead, I rode straight into the hay bales and covered my face with my arms. The impact caused me to tumble through the air and into the window of a building labeled "Gendarme." More shouting ensued. I ignored the accusations and hurried to pick up the bottles, food packets, my copy of Mrs. Dalloway, and allen wrenches, which lay strewn on the ground like yard sale debris. Mr. Lance sent a couple riders back to help me rejoin the team. After such an emotional day, I slept well in my tent.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Oversized Helmet

The U.S. Postal Team takes great care in providing its riders with the finest equipment available. Helmets, jerseys, and bicycles are scientifically tested in wind tunnels and extreme conditions. Unfortunately, only nine sets of equipment were sent to Paris for the Tour de France. When race directors announced a new rule allowing an optional tenth rider for each team, I was rushed from Washington D.C. to Paris on a Boing 747, but I don't have adequate equipment. My bicycle, which was obtained from a local Belgian baker, has only 3 gears. We removed the bell and the tassles to reduce weight and cut down wind resistance, but the bike still feels slow.

The bigger problem is the helmet. It was one of the early prototypes that tested well in the wind tunnel. Unfortunately, the helmet weighs 12 kilos, which is about 30 pounds. If any of you saw the team time trial yesterday, you may have noticed that nine U.S. Postal riders, including Mr. Lance, were riding in a tight formation, with the lead rider dropping to the back after each "pull," and then working his way back up to the top of the line. Meanwhile, I was trailing the team by about 100 meters, trying desperately to catch up while my head lolled from side to side under the brick helmet, causing me to swerve wildly on the wet cobblestones. I wasn't able to help the team. Mr. Johan has promised to get me lighter equipment before the Pyrenee mountains. Just in case, I'm checking the bike stores here for light, blue equipment.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Le Tour

It is my pleasure to report that I am taking a break from my gardening duties to ride in the Tour de France. I am one of the riders on the U.S. Postal team trying to help Lance Armstrong win his record-breaking 6th title. We are tired after today's ride. I lost a couple of fillings on the cobblestone section, so I need to go to the dentist. More details to follow.

Friday, July 02, 2004

My Walking Stick Is Broken

While spraying the begonias with pesticide, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Mr. Donald Rumsfeld was rummaging through my gardening supplies. When I turned to face him, he had placed a tall, narrow bucket on his head and picked up my walking stick. Mr. Donald raised his arms, spread them wide, my walking stick his scepter. Trouble.

"I'm a bird — slow, powerful, full of grace." He moved his head like something beaked. A great phoenix. The bucket remained firmly on his head.

"Good morning, Mr. Donald," I said. "How are you today?"

"In the school I attended as a child, I had a teacher who taught me magic," Mr. Donald said. "Lenny Gardner, give King Rumsfeld your walking stick. Give him one, he gives back two. Rumsfeld is the King of the Empire!"

"No, Mr. Donald," I say. I shuddered.

"The cane, the cane. There shall be two again," he sang.

"For the love of God, please!"

"Stubble, bubble, double the rubble!" He snapped my walking stick over his knee and gave back the pieces.

I am in the market for a new walking stick.