Columns » Ranger Rich

Heading for a bad ending



During a brief respite recently while trying to explain how $150,000 worth of clothes from Neiman-Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue somehow found their way into her closet, regular ol' Wal-Mart shopper Sarah Palin said that if she had another baby boy, she would name it Zamboni. Like the ice-rink machine.

Which leads to the obvious question: Is there any chance that we could get Neiman-Marcus and Saks to start handing out condoms?

Anyway, the other day I went to Wal-Mart on North Academy Boulevard, right here in our village (proud town motto: "Not a Wal-Mart On Every Block Yet, But It Ain't Because We Ain't Tryin'") to see what a woman could buy in the clothing department for $150,000. One actual possibility: 30,000 pairs of slinky Chinese-made women's underpants with the word "Superstar" emblazoned on the crotch.

(Advice for men: If you ever encounter a woman wearing undies with "Superstar" on the crotch, go with your basic male instinct. Ask for an autograph.)

Nearly lost in the Wal-Mart/Neiman-Marcus/Saks story was devoted McCain-Palin campaign worker Ashley Todd of Pittsburgh, who claimed last week that an angry black man beat her up when he saw a John McCain sticker on her car. She said the angry black man also scratched a B for "Barack" onto her face.

This was quite a crime story, until Ashley admitted she beat herself and made up the whole thing. A slight tip was the way the letter B was scratched onto her cheek backward. (McCain announced that if he wins, Ashley will get a cabinet post, perhaps as Secretary of Storytelling.)

Although, frankly, there are some hints of late that McCain and Palin might not win on Nov. 4. One indicator, according to political experts, is that no one is going to vote for them.

Not helping this week are the transcripts of a phone call made from McCain's brother, Joe McCain, to a 911 emergency operator outside of Washington, D.C., angrily demanding to know why he's stuck in traffic.

"Sir, are you calling 911 to complain about traffic?"

The younger McCain (born midway through the Pleistocene Era) swore at the operator and hung up.

Meanwhile, according to finance reports, Palin's make-up artist is being paid more than McCain's foreign policy adviser. Amy Strozzi, who also works on the reality show So You Think You Can Dance, was paid $22,800, according to reports, over the first two weeks in October. During the same time, McCain's foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, was paid $12,500. Palin justified the expense by saying that from every island in Alaska you can see the bags under her eyes.

So dire are McCain's chances that Las Vegas is giving 5-2 odds he will lose to Obama, Ralph Nader, Calvin Coolidge and the scary motel clerk in the Verizon phone commercials who warns "the towels are kinda scratchy." And there are clear indications Palin is dragging down the McCain juggernaut. "Her numbers have plummeted in our poll," NBC News political director Chuck Todd said. "Fifty-five percent think she's unqualified to serve as president if the need arises, which is a troublesome number given McCain's age."

On a brighter note, Palin is still strong among more than 90 percent of those who say that within the last 12 months, they have "had a flat tire on our house."

And famous Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts, who is black and therefore may scratch the initials LP onto Ashley Todd's cheek any day now, has had this to say: "Sarah Palin is one of us. And by 'us' I don't mean you, necessarily, or me. I mean the lowest common denominator us, the us of myth and narrative, the us of simple mind, the reactionary, ill-informed, impatient with complexity, utterly shallow us."

As for that Wal-Mart, I found it would be pretty tough to spend $150,000. I discovered a vast array of women's garments in the $10-$28 range, including a leather-looking jacket made, according to the label, from "100% polyurethane." (Bonus: every time you fall in your kitchen, you make your hardwood floor look like new.)

But Palin says that's where she shops, despite reports she's wearing $2,500 Valentino jackets. Valentino, by the way, claims to use "innovative sophisticated detailing, adding his unique taste to the body-conscious silhouettes, shaping the fabrics in a delicate way with laces, chiffons, silk, wool, leather, and suede."

Sarah's Wal-Mart, on the other hand, has a simpler claim: "Most of our stuff has two sleeves. Even our pants."

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