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Gary Horton: The political gumbys of our time

Posted: August 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.

I admire the creative inventors who’ve shaped and created so much of the world in which we now live. Thomas Edison, who, after hundreds of trials and errors, came up with a workable electric light bulb … which, only now is being replaced by LEDs, (most reluctantly so by Republicans who would prefer reverting to candles if building codes would only allow it.) And the Wright Brothers, with their successful invention of a heavier than air flying machine.

But let’s not forget those inventors of lesser status. There’s Fuller Balderdash, inventor of the pet rock. And Isa Richman, creative genius behind the Beanie Baby craze.

Well, I’ve invented a few things too — most falling far short of the light bulb, but just a few pebbles below the pet rock. Today, I’m sharing my latest creation – a set of new, must-have political non-action figures that entertain for hours while allowing us to play politics just like the Super Pacs.

Introducing the brand new right-leaning Romby non-action figure, and his lefty friend Obamby. Romby and Obamby may remind you of the Gumby toys of your youth – only not nearly as fun or beloved. Like Gumby, both Romby and Obamby bend and stretch. In fact they’ll bend to extremes to win votes, yet despite most earnest stretching, these fully flexible toys remain uniquely polarizing figurines, with approximately 50 percent of shoppers preferring Romby while repelled by Obamby, and vice versa to almost the exact same degree.

Romby and Obamby share the same rubbery, unreal consistency of Gumby, but that’s where similarities end.

Romby is manufactured from a super-pliable red hydrocarbon, distilled from the same fracking process that turns tap water into lighter fluid in North Dakota and other Dick Cheney determined expendable states. Obamby’s bendable body initially comes colored in blue, but expediently fades to an indistinguishable hue when exposed to heat and pressure.

Obamby is 100 percent principle-degradable and is manufactured from the dashed hopes of disappointed liberals. Obamby and Romby are both Gumby-flexible, which appeases otherwise reluctant Romby buyers, however Obamby purchasers report disappointment after purchase, having hoped for an action figure sporting more spine.

Romby flexes into improbable and even unbelievable positions to appeal to target customers. Bent upside down, inside out, extremely far right, (but never left,) Romby’s contortions defy physics.

The Romby comes with no memory. It doesn’t remember which way it bent today, yesterday or in any years past. Romby arrives as a thoroughly blank slate upon which purchases can infer their own preferences and ideals.

Buyers should note that there’s no sales tax when purchasing Romby at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom’s and better retail outlets.

Romby tax discounts do not apply at Wal-Mart, Target or any dollar stores where poor folks should have known better than to buy him in the first place.

Some Obambies may appear worn and torn out of the package. Purchasers are assured that all Obamby non-action figures are shipped absolutely fresh from the same Chinese factories that took your job away over the past five years. Many Obamby owners credit the toy with a sense of hopefulness and improved health. Unfortunately, 8.3 percent of target customers desiring hope and improved health the most for are unemployed and can’t afford a new Obamby to claim these benefits.

The Romby comes packaged positioned bent-over-backward, with his head popped out below his bottom, between his knees. He sports a unique forced smile common to plastic figurines.

Obamby is displayed slumped in a puddle at the bottom of the box, gazing victoriously leftward toward who-knows-where. While these are Obamby’s and Romby’s natural positions, most buyers hope for the best and buy them anyway.

Romby comes with a bonus feature. Romby can be inserted atop your car antenna and will spin however the wind blows. Buyers should be cautioned however, that after the product past due date of Nov. 6, your Romby will inexplicably lurch left.

Please note that while both Romby and Obamby cost billions to develop and distribute — all paid by Super Pacs and vested interests — you can have your choice of these political non-action figures for the initial low cost of a trip to the voting booth.

Buyer beware that while the purchase price is low, maintenance costs may be higher than expected. Obamby owners report ever-increasing financial stress, while Romby buyers note sudden deterioration of health and welfare while experiencing increased social agitation. Both non-action figures may cost trillions of dollars more than expected over the life of the products.

Some buyers report dissatisfaction having just two political non-action figures to choose from. Too bad for America that Gumby is staying out of politics, and loved-by-all Pokey can’t run because he’s a horse. But even “Pokey” sounds better than “gridlock” — so maybe there’s an idea here for a more appreciated invention.

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. Full Speed to Port appears Wednesdays in The Signal.


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