Politics: Pay Me $8 to Stare at Me and I’ll Throw in Lunch

Yep, the end of days must surely be imminent.

Thousands of your cerebrally-challenged neighbors and mine – who evidently don’t believe they’ve been hit hard enough in the wallets by property tax hikes, a rising cost of living, and having to live one paycheck to another – threw frugality (and better judgment) to the wind and plunked down $8 a head this week for the privilege to stare at a strange man standing on a stage facing them.

(And they claim the Miami Beach Convention Center ain’t attracting business!)

The demented and deluded trekked from as far away as California just to spend (waste) up to 8 minutes – a buck a minute – in an MBCC ballroom to gaze upon the face of Braco, a spiritual healer, so his followers and handlers (suckers and scammers) claim.  Whatever the reason – an illness, a broken heart, a personal dilemma, a sore thumb – they believe his calming countenance is the fix-all to what ails them.

(Braco goes by just one name, but he was born in Croatia as Josip Grbavac, one of those unpronounceable names that looks like it’s obviously missing a vowel.  Yes, Pat, I’d like to buy another vowel for the man!)

Braco stood silently on a pedestal and pivoted his head slowly back and forth, his eyes on a roomful of pious pilgrims (fleeced sheep).

Braco isn’t a prophet or religious icon, and “he’s not trying to have followers,” so his spokesman told the Herald.  Not trying to have followers?  Well, if you’d stop circuit-schlepping him around like a freak show, then you wouldn’t have to worry about that anymore, now wouldja?

Okay.  One “non-follower” (how’s that?) reported she felt her bad eye and an unwell ovary “palpitating” in his presence.  And everyone present was cured (a 100% success rate!  Miraculous!)  of the excruciating condition of having to bear the weight in their wallets and purses of eight superfluous dollar bills.  What a pain in the ass that must be!

The fact that Tuesday was Jan. 11 – or 1-11-11 – was a significant numerological coincidence not lost upon Braco’s spokesperson because, as he explained, “Braco’s gaze passes on a strong sense of oneness.”  Man, how deep.  One wonders if this “oneness” would also work on Nov. 1.  Or how about Nov. 11, when there’s an extra one for all that “oneness”?

Sorry, Braco just wouldn’t do it for me.  If I’m gonna shell out eight bucks for a stare-off with somebody, that somebody better be, oh, say, Megan Fox, or Jessica Alba, or any of those Victoria’s Secret models.  In which case – count me in!  I’d even bring my sleeping bag and stake out an early place in line the night before.

Well, that’s all you need, really, isn’t it?  Get this Braco character to book an event here every week and surely there are enough stewpid peepul among us willing to part with their light bill and toilet paper money, sufficient to bankroll for the rest of us a new convention center.

And all without taxpayer funding!  HOT DOG!  Ring up Jorge and Matti, I’ve got a way we can afford the new convention center!

Just think of it:  What a bonanza for the local hospitality trade – all the out-of-town Braco-loonies who will want to book our hotel rooms and dine at our eateries during their Braco-palooza.  As lucrative a draw as Art Basel and Art Deco Weekend!  Maybe more so!

I can’t help but wonder if anywhere else in this country Braco and his handlers might invite investigation by the local authorities, be shut down and run out of town, or be tossed into the local hoosegow.  But here?  Why, sucker-scamming is as common as feral felines depositing hookworm-infested kitty dung among the dunes for barefoot beach-goers to enjoy.

Kitty dung.  Braco dung.  Dung here, dung there – it’s everywhere!  Watch where you step!

Here in Flori-duh, we welcome with open arms (and wallets) the flim-flammer, the swindler, the bamboozler.  (Hell, we just crowned one our governor.)

I wanna make this proposition:  Next time all you stewpid peep- (I mean, Braco-philes) feel the urge to relieve your wallets and purses of some Abe Lincolns and Andy Jacksons, feel free to ring my bell.  You can come over and stare at me and I’ll even throw in lunch, or cook you dinner, or order a pizza.

Did your Braco do that for you?

I’ll even open my mouth and talk to you.  Did he even do that?  Oh, no!  You didn’t get so much as a “Good day” or “How are you?” from him, didja?  For eight bucks, he didn’t utter one measly word.  The prick!

One woman attendee, in response to those who would be skeptics, told the Herald, “The mind works like a parachute.  It only works when it’s open.”

Yes, but some people, ma’am, are free-falling with parachutes whose pull cords are missing.


The current odds-on fave for Best Picture Oscar is a movie about the unlikely friendship of a stuttering British monarch and the speech therapist who trains him to deliver a crucial speech to rally his country on the eve of war.

I wish there was a speech therapist who would have sat our state’s new CEO (Corporate Ethics Obstructionist) down before last week and untwisted his tongue before he went out and delivered one crappy inaugural address.

Politics isn’t the only thing Slick Rick’s new at; he’s evidently new at public speaking.

I had the displeasure to listen to all twenty-some minutes of Slick’s maiden speech as governor, and it was positively dreadful.  Great Communicator – not.  I don’t think there was a sentence anywhere in it that Slick didn’t slip, like a banana peel, on a word and stumble.  His delivery was too rushed, too casual, too sloppy.  Did he even bother to rehearse this beforehand?

More pertinent:  Does this portend the manner of stewardship of state government we can expect from him over the next four years?

A heckler in the far reaches of the State Capitol assemblage had the temerity to interrupt Slick’s speech and yell, “CRIMINAL!” and additional denunciations, but our Slicky Ricky, undeterred, just grinned and resumed his slaughtering of the speech while his private security goons no doubt snagged and dragged the offending parasite off to a secret location and waterboarded him.

The heckler, it is worth noting, turned out to be a better speaker than the guv; he did not slip up on any of his words.


There’s all sorts of heavy-duty concerns for the new Congress to tackle.  From the debt ceiling to tax reform to that pesky annoyance, the national deficit.

But all that had to take a back seat at last week’s convening as Speaker-Turned-Civics-Professor John Boehner led the House chamber in a recitation of the U.S. Constitution.  The abridged version, that is.  With all those discomforting, embarrassing passages relating to slavery and Prohibition conveniently expunged, of course.

One would think our legislators were already enlightened about this document – after all, they swore oaths to support and defend it – but this was not enough for the GOP leadership.

Next week:  Professor Boehner will lead members in reading the New Testament scriptures, leaving out all those verses that demean women as subservient to men, call for the stoning of adulterers, and prescribe the gouging out of eyes if they lead one to sin.


As if we needed yet another reason to regard Rush-to-Judgment Limbaugh as (paraphrasing Al Franken’s 1996 tome, Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot) a Big, Fat Turd (okay, I’ll amend that to Big, Slimmed-Down Turd), here was his jackassical reaction to last weekend’s attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the shootings of 18 others:

“What [the shooter] knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country.  He’s sitting there in jail.  He knows what’s going on, he knows that…the Democrat Party is attempting to find anybody but him to blame.  He knows if he plays his cards right, he’s just a victim.  He’s the latest in a never-ending parade of victims brought about by the unfairness of America.”

Big Turd also blamed the media:  “The media is unnecessarily stirring up the country in ways that don’t merit.”  Whereupon he launched right into – what else? – stirring up the country in ways that “don’t merit.”

You are a part of that media, Big Turd, as am I.  Only I and many others in this one big family wish we could disown you.


Are you ever like me and tire of those encounters with perfect strangers (perfect up to the point when they start hitting you up for a free something for which you’d typically charge even your own blood relatives)?

I’ll share with you some homegrown rejoinders, a couple of which, on occasion, I’ve derived the profound joy of deploying:

“Got a cigarette?”

“Man, if you can’t afford your own vices, don’t expect me to.”  Or, “If you can’t afford your own vice, it’s time to give it up.”

Now, if you happen to be a smoker yourself, and feel within you an urge to profit through price-gouging, you might say, “Sure – one dollar.”  (Or 5 dollars, pick your price.)  If your beggar wants to know why he should have to pay, retort, “Hey!  You think these things grow on trees?” or “You think I got this for free?!”

“Got a lighter?”

“Nope.  But here’s two sticks.  Start rubbing.”

“What time is it?”

“It’s time you went out and got yourself your own watch.”

“Got a dollar / a quarter / change / money you can lend me?”

“What do I look like, you (fill in the blank)?!  An ATM?”

And the one that particularly peeves me:

“Can I borrow your cell phone to make a call?”

“Nah, it’s voice-activated – and it’s trained to recognize only my voice.”  (This, of course, is a lie.  But I love how it throws them totally off.)

Aren’t I cruel?

About Charles Branham-Bailey

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