A new day is dawning in a place called Bizarreland

You’ll have to excuse me for a moment while I dab the drops of blood that are running down my cheeks.

Coda • GREG BEAN Coda • GREG BEAN My eyeballs have been bleeding nonstop since the other night when I saw indicted former Republican Rep. Tom “The Hammer” DeLay cutting a rug on “Dancing With the Stars.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as frightening and surreal as that on network television, and it appears to have thrown a monkey wrench at the molecular level into my body’s ability to retain precious fluids.

Tom DeLay dancing to “Wild Thing” will do that to you. Letting Tom dance in prime time — with his spray-on tan, eyes so squinty he must have had some “work” done, and movements suggesting he may have been the victim of a CIA nerve gas experiment — violates a cardinal rule of polite behavior: “Do anything you want, just don’t frighten the horses.” I wish the show had come with a disclaimer to warn people with squeamish constitutions to switch channels before it’s too late.

At first, I thought it had to be a joke, some bizarre trick of video manipulation. The Democrats have finally gone too far, I thought.

There was The Hammer — dressed in a brown polyester get-up that Elvis might have worn, if he got his clothes at a ’70s costume shop, or salvaged the material from an old couch — lip-synching to the Troggs classic hit and making goo-goo eyes at his dance partner, who was wearing some kind of harem outfit that included a red bra. (Politicians these days shouldn’t put themselves in any situation that suggests sexual situations with people they aren’t married to. Didn’t Tom get the memo?)

But finally, as the creepy routine went on, and on, and as my eyebobs started leaking blood, I realized it was really happening.

What’s next? Dick Cheney lurping around the dance floor to “Ticket to Ride?” Newt Gingrich and partner dancing to “Yummy Yummy Yummy I Got Love in My Tummy?” Donald Rumsfeld boogying to “We Gotta Get Outa This Place?” John Edwards soft-shoeing to “She’s Having My Baby?”

The nightmarish possibilities are virtually endless. To protect my family, I’m going to use the parental block function on my cable to prevent anything from playing on television at our house but “Antiques Road Show.”


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Speaking of political blunders, who’s producing the campaign ads for Jon Corzine and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg this year, Adam Sandler?

Take, for example, the Corzine commercial that shows the dynamic governor in a poorly lit room looking blankly at his computer screen, as if that’s a qualification for being the state’s chief executive. Wouldn’t you love to know what’s on his screen? Is he playingTetris? Watching YouTube? Internet porn?

If the guy spends his daylight hours, presumably on a work day, by himself in the near dark staring at his computer, that’s a good reason to vote for him, right?


At least another part of the commercial shows him walking somewhere, although his destination is unclear. Maybe he’s going to buy a couple of light bulbs for his dark office, or a For Sale sign for the Turnpike.

Or how about that Bloomberg commercial where the announcer says that being the mayor of New York City is “the second toughest job in America?”

Oh, really?

I’m sure that will come as a surprise to every emergency room trauma surgeon or nurse, or almost every soldier dodging bullets in Iraq or Afghanistan, or every cop responding to a robbery with weapons involved, or every firefighter going into a burning building to rescue a family.

It’ll sure come as a surprise to every single mom working not one, but two or three jobs to keep food on the table, while she hopes no one gets sick because she has no health insurance.

It’ll surely come as a surprise to Joe Biden, but he’s a big boy and can take care of himself. (In a throw-down between those two, my money would be on Joe, even though the vice pres flunked his military physical during the Vietnam era because of asthma. Joe Biden is 6 feet tall, and while Bloomberg sometimes claims he’s 5 feet 7 inches, he’s actually between 5-foot-5 and 5-foot-6. I’m not making fun of short people, but Hizzoner is kinda shrimpy. All Biden would have to do is fall on him, and it would all be over but the shoutin’.)

I just can’t believe the arrogance of Michael Bloomberg. The second toughest job in America? It ain’t even in the Top 50, pal. So what do you suppose Bloomberg thinks is The Toughest Job in America? The job he wants, of course. He wants to be a plumber.


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And finally this week, we turn our attention to James Wasser, the superintendent of the Freehold Regional High School District, whose credibility tanked last year when it was revealed that he obtained his doctoral degree from Breyer State University, an unaccredited online diploma mill.

Wasser had been using the ginned-up degree to lord it over everyone and get extra money from the district, but even after his shameful charade was exposed, he refused to do the right thing, and resign. And the school board refused to do the right thing by the taxpayers and fire him.

Recently, Wasser, who knew he’d never get his contract renewed in 2011, cut a deal with the district in which he’d keep his salary of over $200,000 a year until his contract was set to expire, but he’d step down as superintendent and take a lesser position. The board agreed and gave him a make-work job as something called the “administrator of special projects,” which is a fancy title and a big price tag for a job nobody wanted or needs. He’ll get his annual raises and cash in a year of accumulated sick leave when he finally leaves.

I can’t imagine why the board agreed to this monstrosity, but the real losers are the taxpayers of the district, who’ll not only have to pay Wasser’s salary, but the salary of a new superintendent as well.

Wasser and the board ought to hang their heads in shame and apologize. I’m sure that will happen next week.


Gregory Bean is the former executive editor of Greater Media Newspapers. You can reach him at gbean@gmnews.com.