Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Television's Top Ten Christmas Specials

Will Bing and David make the list?

Do you even care?

We'll see. I feel fairly qualified to build this compilation since I've been watching this stuff for fifty years now (Yeah, still freaking out quite a bit about that number.).

This roster is heavily back loaded with shows from the Sixties and Seventies. It seems like they were more popular back then since we had access to a mere fraction of today's channels and we were afforded one chance to see each show—no VCRs, no DVRs, no TEVO, no Tebow.

I'm not positive about which program I watched first, but I'm thinking it was shown on a Jetsons-type black and white console. My dad, always a proponent of sweet audio/video setups, had perched it in the southwest corner of the living room. I vaguely recall sitting cross-legged on the braided rug, my chubby proboscis glowing in the Zenith's mutating rays.

But anyway, enough about me, let's talk about my list.

Here's how I ranked the top ten Christmas specials, including made-for-TV movies. As always, my opinions are just that—facts, so feel free to reply with your own memories or ego-maiming criticism of this list.

10) The Andy Williams Christmas Specials—not a huge production, just a guy and his family crooning holiday hits in a cozy domestic setting. Fire up the cocoa and put on your dicky.

9) The Bob Hope Christmas Specials—Loved them for one reason: each member of the College Football All-American team would walk individually onto the stage in full uniform, at which time Hope would make a wisecrack. He'd say something like, "Joe here weighs two-hundred-and-seventy pounds. The last time I saw a guy his size wearing tight pants, it turned out to be my mother-in-law in some hip huggers!"

Too bad his mother-in-law would have been about a hundred and sixteen.

8) Santa Claus is Coming to Town—Mickey Rooney provided the voice of Santa. This drama-infused nugget gave us an early glimpse of a young, ginger-haired Kris Kringle and his fiery courtship with Miss Jessica, the future Mrs. Santa Claus. They were crazy about each other from the getgo and as much as we don't like to think about it, I don't think they "waited."

7) Frosty the Snowman—this show made the top ten due solely to the brutal revenge exacted upon evil Professor Hinkle. Delicious.

6) The Bing Crosby Christmas Special—of course this made the list. By the way, this was Crosby's last television appearance, and he had actually died before it aired.

5) A Matter of Principle—I know you've never heard of this Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, but do yourself a favor and check it out. Set in snowy, rural Virginia, it stars Alan Arkin as Flag Purdy, an obstinate and semi-abusive patriarch of a large family who seeks redemption. A young Virginia Madsen plays his independent-minded daughter.

4) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer—come on, admit it—Clarice was hot. Kind of like Betty Rubble is hot in a cartoon human way, Clarice is hot in a cartoon deer way.

3) A Charlie Brown Christmas—I loved all the Charlie Brown specials because kids were the only characters, they faced adult-type problems and solved them without adult assistance.

2) A Christmas Story—Darren McGavin is simply brilliant as the bumbling and cursing, yet warm, father. My family and I quote lines from this movie throughout the year, and by the way, I never thought the meatloaf and mashed potatoes looked all that nasty.

1) How the Grinch Stole Christmas—not the Jim Carrey hack job, but the 1966 animated masterpiece. Dr. Seuss' writing coupled with Chuck Jones' directing was like Joe Montana to Jerry Rice. Genius.

I just realized that since it was made in 1985, A Christmas Story is the most recently produced show on the list. Apparently I'm an old dog, since fresher specials like Fruitcake Boss or Sixteen, Pregnant and Christmas Shopping came along after my holiday soft spot had closed.

Nonetheless, enjoy.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Merry Christmas! Or Else.

"...the second reason I love Christmas season is because it has amazing food. For example, cookies, hot cocoa (technically it's not a food), turkey, ham, peppermint bark, etc. And I love these foods especially because they are filled with butter, cream, fat and sugar. C'mon, let's not act like we are not in love with these ingredients."

-An excerpt from my twelve-year-old daughter's seventh grade expository essay about Christmas. For the record, she will receive each and every food item listed above.

And so, it's time to move on to the main event. Kind of like when you sat through Laverne and Shirley just as a warm up to Happy Days.

Yeah, there's some turkey still left, but it's mostly dark meat and the remaining white meat is either ribboned with brown streaks or hanging in limp strings from thick bands of cartilage. Someone has picked the sausage out of what's left of the stuffing. And one sliver of pumpkin pie has been sliding around in an oversized Tupperware container, absorbing its petroleum essence and rendering it inedible.

And for the the two citizens of my house under the age of forty-eight, Thanksgiving has been over since Thanksgiving.

You see, they've got these rules, and there are lots of them.

Christmas music is strictly prohibited prior to Thanksgiving Day. However, once the first Macy's balloon skims the toupee off the grand marshal's noggin, it's game on. Whether it's in the car or at home on the Pandora, Christmas tunes permeate every nook of our family's together space.

In our luxury Hyundai, the kids listen only to the twenty-four-hour holiday music station. And while most human beings can't physically endure back-to-back numbers by the Michaels (Bolton and Bublé) without presenting shingle-like symptoms, my girls bask in the milky glow of their croaky croons.

Oh, yeah, that reminds me, one positive lesson I've garnered from those two is that the name "Michael" is so much classier than "Mike." So if you don't mind, from here on out, please call me Timothy, maybe even Timothy Andrew. Hey, if it can mean the difference between an Oscar-nominated performer named Phillip Seymour Hoffman and just a chubby actor known as Phil Hoffman, I'd like to pursue this.

Anyway, back to the kids and their rules:

Peppermint hot chocolate can only be consumed during the Thanksgiving to Christmas Yuletide window. In their scientific view, doing otherwise would jinx the season with more fury than would using your brand new Hello Kitty backpack for camping two weeks before school starts.

It's okay to watch television specials with the exception of A Christmas Story, which can only be viewed on Christmas day at Grandma and Grandpa's. Doing otherwise could cause death or dismemberment to untold innocents.

Christmas Eve is the only occasion when shrimp cocktail, crab cakes and Oprah's cheesy mashed potatoes (also known as "Oprahtatoes)" can be eaten. Swarms of rabid locusts lie in wait for the violator.

The tree has to be real. I've been told that fake trees are cousins of fake boobs, and would I want fake boobs in the house?

I'll have to think about that.

Before I became a dad, I giddily anticipated an era where my family and I could create our own set of holiday activities and rituals. My challenge, now that it's come to fruition, is to view these rites as ever solidifying and blossoming traditions, not as mandatory exercises to stave off the screaming banshees of ill fortune.

Let me be the first to wish you a peaceful holiday season. Do what you must to keep it from violently derailing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How Much Might Petraeus Have Leaked?

Author's note: The following disclaimer is intended for the right-leaning reader, who may believe that analyzing the behavior of a highly decorated American military leader is akin to wrapping a healthy Caucasian infant in a gasoline-soaked American flag and setting the bundle aflame...while dressed like a Taliban guy.

My views are focused solely on the behavior of a man outside his workplace. I would never question the sacrifices he bore or the hardships he endured so that I may speak out in this forum.

Oh, and by the way, speaking of sacrifice, should we talk about Mrs. Petraeus, too? Yes, let's, but first a little backstory.

By now, we've all heard the sordid tale of David Petraeus, retired four-star general and driver of the F-150 that spun its tires a few times, but finally dragged a bloodied America out of a swampy, Mesopotamian cesspool.

Petraeus then loaned his rig to a friend with instructions to perform the same task in Afghanistan while the general swapped his canteen for a decoder ring to take over as head spymaster back stateside.

The general apparently decided, after gazing back upon his illustrious career, that maybe we, the inquiring public, might be intrigued by his personal memoir. Well, one thing led to another, and ultimately a woman with really toned arms and a slightly psychotic glare offered to pen his tale.

With benefits.

The book is entitled All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, and it's just criminally easy to write a one-liner about that.

Look, we dudes are weak, I think we all know this. Here are just a few examples of my own shortcomings:

On Saturday, I nearly convinced myself to orally rescue three pristine slices of pizza lying exposed on the gritty Costco parking lot.

The only reason I majored in accounting was because the Business School was the closest building to my fraternity and I only had to miss five minutes of "All My Children" to make it to class on time.

Last Wednesday, I declined a flu immunization because I mistakenly believed Walgreen's offered an oral version in Gummi Bear form.

So yeah, weak, party of one, your table is ready.

But I'm just a simpleton with the same security clearance as my cat. This guy Petraeus knows more secret stuff than a room full of Solo-Audited Operating Thetan Scientoligists, or, you know, a playground full of five-year old girls.

Who can say what the guy barked out in the throes of passion? We may never know exactly what he meant about troop deployments from the south being imminent, but the risk of leaks is inevitable.

I know, such cheap humor. Remember, I'm an irresolute male.

My point is, it's quite disturbing that this man who has exhibited the integrity to lead a nation in two wars and command its intelligence apparatus, has allowed his carnal appetite to compromise the security of many who have placed themselves in harm's way. That's frightening.

And now back to General Patraeus' wife, Holly, a woman who has taken care of business all these years on the home front, living in the wings while her husband climbed the political ladder. While I'm sure she derived some benefit, I wonder if, living somewhere beneath those layers of humiliation, shame and sadness, lies an anger at the injustice of it all.

Through no fault of hers, she's the third face in this scandal. And that really sucks.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Some Thoughts About Death and Dying.

I was sitting at my desk, eating pineapple out of a plastic container when I received an email telling me that my friend John had died in an accident.

We can never predict what thoughts will pierce our consciousness after being blindsided with such traumatic news, and I remember calmly thinking, "From now until the end of my life, pineapple will remind me of John dying."

I clutched the sticky fork and stared at my computer screen. The plastic handle shook in my hand so I put it down. Someone said something to me about a work thing. I don't remember what.

More thoughts invaded: That's crazy, he just posted to Facebook a couple of days ago. Oh, my god. His wife must be devastated. Should I call someone? Should I call my dad since he used to coach John? What should I do? I should do something.

I did nothing.

I sat and lectured myself as different emotions penetrated my consciousness. They came strongly, yet were muted by a foggy curtain of shock and then guilt.

Why hadn't I called him at least once in the past ten years? For God sakes, I was his best man. I could have easily put forth a little more effort than "liking" his photos of martinis and Halloween costumes on Facebook.

I felt so weak.

He had been such a positive spirit in my life. In high school, we discovered the Beatles together, ten years after their breakup. We plastered the locker we shared with stringy-haired photos from their later years, and John and I traveled to Seattle to watch a tribute show entitled "Beatlemania."

We hadn't yet grasped life's fragility. Death was for pets and old people and soldiers in Vietnam on the six o'clock news.

But when John Lennon died that Fall, together we experienced the cold injustice of a life cut short. It was supposed to be just, logical; it had been for our entire lives.

And now, here I was, sitting at work, cradling my head in my hands and feeling the same anger I'd felt thirty years ago.

There's something rich and enduring about relationships which began in childhood, with that small cabal of folks whose brains were percolating and hard wiring themselves right next to you on that bumpy school bus ride. Maybe no one else could relate to you, but by God, who cared? There's an invisible adhesive stronger than cedar pitch which binds you to these people forever.

Back then, my mom told me that death is part of life, and we must carry on.

I never liked that philosophy. Naturally, as biological organisms, we're built to survive and adapt in the face of physical adversity. The debilitating, raw agony must dissipate in order for us to function.

When someone we love goes away forever, life doesn't go on, at least not like it had before. Everything shifts, whether it's the memory of my mom in my daughters' smiles or the taste of pineapple from here on out.

It's a shift that can ache dearly, yet sometimes force a loud chuckle in a quiet room.

You were a good man and a great friend, John. I hope you know.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What Am I Going To Be Like At Her Wedding?

She's twelve-and-a-half.

I know, that whole "and-a-half" thing usually gets jettisoned before a kid's tenth birthday, but in her case, twelve and-a-half is closer to fifteen than it is twelve, know what I mean?

I don't consider my daughter a "tween" anymore; she's a bona fide, one hundred percent, USDA certified teenager. Numbers schmumbers.

We're spending the weekend together, just the two of us, mano e womano, or however the saying goes. My wife and older daughter fled to the windy brushlands of eastern Washington, touring the brick-and-ivy-encrusted campus of Central Washington University along with a friend and her daughter.

It's been a father-daughter Saturday.

If you were to enjoy slightly more than one cup of Sanka in the presence of our nuclear family, you'd understand that our younger daughter must have swum in amniotic fluid stocked with more of my characteristics than there are fat grams at Costco.

We share a love of art, food, drink and music, but not in that order. Food would probably be number one. We're a little too sensitive and we take things a bit too personally. We can sit or lie down for long periods of time, often only shuffling about after our lungs begin retaining fluid.

We like sleeping. Mmm, do we.

But since her road trip to adolescence has reached the Midwestern states, she's become like an ant beneath a magnifying glass. Each school day is a Shakespearean comedy or tragedy. The same friend on Wednesday may play the role of Portia, the plucky and insightful heroine in The Merchant of Venice, yet on Thursday, transform into the betraying Brutus from The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.

Every emotion is raw and intense, and my challenge as her father is to plow a straight line through these sine waves of sensitivity.

This morning, her soccer team lost another hard fought battle. In fact, they've lost every battle this fall; they're zero for autumn. After the game, she broke down. She waited until we had walked safely out of sight of her teammates and their parents, and then opened the floodgates.

"Dad, I'm just so tired of losing. And those girls were so rough and number sixteen played really dirty and I just want to win a game." Tears rolled down her frosty red cheeks.

My first inclination, as usual, was to solve the problem, then and there. I wanted to say, "Look, you guys have improved so much this year. You used to get blown out every week, but now you've been playing everyone so tough. Just hang in there. Good things will happen eventually."

But I didn't. For once, I just listened.

You see, she really wasn't asking Mr. Alpha Male to solve her problems. She just wanted me to shut up and hear her out.

My twelve-and-a-half-year-old vented her frustrations as the car heated up on the drive back home, and by the time we rolled into the driveway, she'd put the soccer game in the rearview mirror.

"Hey," I said, unlocking the mailbox, "how would you like to go see the new James Bond movie?"


"Okay. I'm going to do a little yard work. How about if you take a shower and then we go?"

She calls me Tim on random occasions. "Yeah, Tim. That sounds great!"

The mall parking lot was packed. As the movie time creeped up on us, we still couldn't find a parking spot. Her emotions again ran rampant.

"Dad, I don't even want to see this movie! This is just too stressful!"

"It'll be fine." I tried to reassure her. "The movie doesn't even start until the previews are done, and that's, like, fifteen minutes from now. And if it's already started, we'll just go to the next one."


By the time we'd parked somewhere around Iowa and traipsed into the carpeted lobby of the googolplex cinema, James Bond was one secret agent we realized we wouldn't be seeing. The lines were massive, even for the screening which wouldn't begin for another ninety minutes. We slumped against a brass railing.

"What do you think?" I asked. "How about if we take the money it would have cost to go to the movie and just shop around for something that costs twenty dollars?  Hey," I remembered, "Nordstrom is having their half yearly sale. Maybe we can find something there. We can look in BP."

"Okay, yeah," she said. "Yeah, that's even better than a movie, Tim."

And then she melted me...again. "Dad, thanks for bringing me here. I know you tried. Can I have a hug?"

This young woman is not the hugging sort, so, boy, did I hug her. She didn't even seem to care if the cool police had posted its elite mall surveillance team, but she still had to finally pry me away.

We shopped and talked and smelled stuff at the bath shop. And then, at Nordstrom, she found the prettiest dress which satisfied the twenty dollar requirement—give or take five bucks. I waited as she tried it on, and wondered if she'd actually walk out and show me how it looked, remembering her self-conscious nature.

As I sat outside the dressing room, I felt my phone vibrate and expected it to have been a message from my wife or other daughter.

I slid open my phone and read the message—"What do you think?" I pressed the "OK" button to reveal  a self-portrait of my girl, in front of a three-way mirror a few feet away, wearing the dress and the most beautiful smile I'd ever seen.

"It's fantastic," I punched in. My eyes welled ever so slightly.

 It's been a good day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Am So Sorry, You Guys.

I awakened this morning a citizen of a new era. No longer will people in my state be compelled to marry only those with complimentary plumbing or fake a migraine to score some magic snickerdoodles.

But here's the thing, and I do feel badly. Throughout this tumultuous time, I've been a little too obnoxious, a bit too snarky, for some of my compatriots.

And for that, I must apologize.

What began as a final Facebook appeal to other members of my choir, materialized into a philosophical battle, ending in some hard truths about your humble bloggist.

Monday night, feeling inspired and giddy after a spirited dinner table chat regarding the impending election, I pecked out the following status update:

"Just listened to Romney's '47%' speech with my daughters. I can't believe anyone who has kids or wants to retire someday or serves in the military or thinks someday they may have a costly medical procedure, would vote for this guy. Let's hope he returns to whichever mansion he crawled out of."

Inflammatory? Absolutely. Offensive? Hopefully.

My Facebook universe, like most, is occupied by predominately like-minded thinkers. A cool cloud of agreement settled in over my stance, the smattering of "likes" lighting the blue and white page with those familiar red kibbles of acknowledgment and approval, making me salivate like a Pavlovian Pekingese.

Then this response popped up from an old fraternity brother:

"And your employer is in the 99% correct?" (Please excuse the plethora of spelling and grammatical errors you're about to wade through. He obviously felt the need to expedite his message sans that liberal spell checking entitlement.).

I paused, confused about what my former brother in beer quaffing (I'll call him "Barton") was talking about. The number he threw out concerned the majority of disenfranchised Americans which spurred the "Occupy Wall Street" movement. I was referring to Mitt Romney's comment that forty-seven percent of America doesn't pay income tax and wants lots of free stuff.

Finally, after weighing responses with varying degrees of severity, I replied, "Barton, my employer isn't a person. Apparently, you're confused about the difference."

He exhibited further confusion by including the world's richest individuals as members of the ninety-nine percent, rather than the one percent:

"I'm very grateful that Bill Gates (an individual in the 99%) gives my employer money to help the people in Zambia battle Malaria. There are many others who are in the 99% that give to charity. They don't have to give but they do. And many benefit from the money they make in our capitalist system. Ever heard of the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation. They were all created by individuals who were successful.

"...Walmart Foundation gave 958.9 million in cash in 2011."

Oh, no he didn't mention Walmart. Game on.

Others joined the fray. A high school friend chimed in: "958.9 million? Well that sounds about like 47% of the money they save each year not providing health care for their employees, using third world countries to produce their products in poor working conditions, and not honoring their leases on many of the stores they have closed this year."

Another fraternity brother added, "Your strong character and bravery are apparent as you stand with the strong against the weak. Well done."

Barton doubled down. "Corporations employs human beings and poor people don't employ anyone."

Touche, my English-challenged college graduate.

I snapped a bit. "Dude, how twisted are you? Are you saying corporations are inherently virtuous institutions to which we owe a debt of gratitude? They're responsible for most of society's ills, i.e. Walmart, Union Carbide, Monsanto, big tobacco, etc. People aren't poor in spite of most corporations, they're poor because of them. Holy shit."

He fired back. "Tim, I've been poor growing up in Thailand and to hear you and Chris talk about the poor get's (sic) rather annoying. I don't think you guys  have any idea what being poor is about. I've worked very hard to get where I am and I've been greatful (sic) for the opportunities this country has provided me. I just find it interesting that those who have lived here all their lives don't seem to appreciate what they have."

I rolled back in my chair and stretched, trying to make sense of Barton's views.

As a final salvo, I replied, "My wife teaches fifth grade at a high poverty public elementary school with 87% free and reduced lunch. A lot of the kids are on their own most of the time because their parents work two jobs. Some are actually homeless and eat all three meals at school. We have to buy recess balls and school supplies due to educational budget cuts. Don't patronize me. You don't know my background. Chris and I are sticking up for poor people, but you're not! Conservatives make themselves feel better by convincing themselves that it's a level playing field. It's not."

"Patronize?" he retorted. "I've read your writings. You are the king of condescending essays."

Ouch. Game over. Come to Jesus, Tim.

He's right, and the truth hurts.

I am the exploiter of the weak. I do run roughshod over America's messengers of patriotism, portraying them rather as greedy hypocrites, racist pundits and religious zealots. And it's time to clean the slate, so here goes.

Rush Limbaugh, words can't describe my remorse regarding my attacks on your misogyny and drug dependence. You are a true American and I take back what I said about your wearing an ill-fitting bra. You don't. It's obviously quite expensive and expertly hugs your moon-like terrain of torso folds.

Sarah Palin, I've treated you so unfairly. I promise to make it up to you should you choose to run in 2016. By then, you'll be the hottest great grandma in the lower forty-eight.

Donald Trump, you are a patriot, a sage and you are grossly misunderstood. I pledge my continued support—as soon as you produce some documentation that you've gone back on your daily lithium drips.

And finally, Willard "Mitt" Romney, you fought the good fight. You've endured endless vitriol at the point of my poison pen, and my oath to you rings as sacred as those golden plates translated by Joe Smith just outside of Rochester, which then went missing. Nary another cross word shall grace my page... long as you go the hell away forever. 

At least I'm the king of something.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Let's Re-Elect Barack Obama.

Finally, it's almost time. Good God, are you ready for this thing to be over?

I know I am, but it's my own fault. I mainline so much of this political stuff, I'm having trouble finding a vein these days.

Ever since Chief Justice John Roberts' stammering oath billowed wisps of partisan divisiveness into that frozen January sky, the 2012 election season has burned like a crusty coating of eyelid eczema.

And I've been out of lotion for four years.

Maybe it's because I live in a state where we cast our votes solely through the infrastructure of the United States Postal Service. Perhaps I'm concerned that the extinct ritual of closing the curtain and turning the crank in a room filled with volunteer octogenarians smelling of crock pot chili, will lead would-be voters down a trail of apathy and inaction.

What a shame it would be for those who mail it in to "mail it in," you know what I mean?

So I'm going to try to lay it out one last time, on the oft chance that you haven't yet decided. No judging.

Granted, the differences in presidential candidates are starker than they've ever been, and the only reason I can imagine that you can't make up your mind is that you've been listening to "Dave Matthews, A to Z" on the local classic rock station since March of 2010, and as soon as the extended jam version of "Stay" ends, you'll do a little research.

That's supposed to be around 2:30 on Sunday.

So yeah, let's talk about your choices. Oh, did I just use the word "choice"? Heavens to murgatroyd, what a great segue.

Mitt Romney considers personal liberty and freedom of choice as the cornerstones of his campaign. He reveres the promise of a truly free society with nearly equal vigor as the planet he will someday rule after transcending the veil of death and settling into eternity a mere seventeen light years from God's home planet of Kolob.

And you know that Ann— already taking little campaign side trips to Ikea to buy beds and rugs for when the grandkids finally die and can visit.

Anyway, Romney maintains that maximum choice leads to maximum benefit:

We should be free to choose our kids' schools, and therefore, a government voucher system should be established. Although private schools will then be subsidized, leaving precious little to a public education sector already in crisis, things will somehow work out. A massive undereducated cross section of America will then be free to utilize their talents in manufacturing cheap goods for poverty-level wages. Unemployment will drop drastically.


We should be free to choose our doctors, and by no means should insurance companies be denied the profit motive. Shareholder wealth will seep through the cracks of capitalism, benefiting both the uninsured and those with pre-existing conditions.

Like he said, it's all about choice. Stop smoking and eating fast food, fools. You're free to scarf down fourteen Reese's on Halloween night and wake up with a zit on your forehead that looks like Willy Wonka, but take care of yourselves and you won't need to wait for six hours in a cold emergency room. It's your body, after all.


Oh yeah, except when it comes to reproductive rights. Then it's not your body anymore, it's his—his and those other old, white dudes who use terms like "legitimate rape" and "the rape thing." Those are his buddies, so even though he used to be one hundred percent pro-choice, Romney has decided to weigh in somewhere around ninety-three percent in favor of that whole liberty thing.

Look, things aren't fantastic now, but they're certainly better than they were when Bush left office four years ago. Back in the forties, people branded Roosevelt a socialist when he enacted Social Security. Since then, the poverty rate for the elderly has decreased from forty-eight percent to twelve percent.

Medicare stirred up another commie-baiting shit storm during the 1960s, yet Lyndon Johnson helped reduce the senior poverty rate another seventy-five percent.

Conservative friends, I know you believe that we progressives defer to government to solve all of society's problems. We don't, but this health care thing isn't working. The United States is the only developed nation without a systematic plan to take care of its poorest and sickest citizens.

Romney claims to have a solution, but have you heard it? I haven't. Apparently, it's too long and too complicated to explain, according to Paul Ryan.

Well, here's an idea that's neither long nor complicated—Mitt Romney is the wrong guy for the job.

Let's re-elect Barack Obama.