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3d man giving speechTry as I may to dampen my glee, Thursday’s first debate on Fox News among the Republican presidential candidates has me genuinely excited. And it’s not just because it will be in Cleveland, though that is breathtaking.

For those of you who have had trouble tracking the skitterings of 17 GOP candidates vying to take back their country and White House vegetable garden from Barack Obama’s Kenyan-Marxist, Mom-jean-wearing, Muslim-Alinsky, Chamberlain-Hitler, gun-grabbin’-socialist, weakling, jackbooted dictatorship, I offer these suggestions.

  •  If you have anything better to do — be it taking an evening stroll through Monterey in hopes of taking the thousandth picture of the city’s awesome albino doe or sorting out all the odd-sized washers in your hardware bins — by all means, do it. There will be other debates, which may be easier to follow after many of the 17 candidates find that their bankrollers are just not that into them. Some billionaire donors are already hedging their bets. Also the election isn’t for 15 months, so it’s probably wise to take a few more months before pondering why Chris Christie wants to punch so many people.
  • If you do watch, make sure to catch the preliminary bout with the seven candidates whose abysmal poll standings prevented them from being involved in the main bout with the Nine and The Donald. It stands to be a first-rate pity party, and I’m intrigued by the notion of seeing Christie sitting at “the kids’ table” without reducing it to “the kids’ splinters.” (UPDATE: Christie will be on the main stage, so the tykes’ furniture should escape unharmed.)
  • Do not engage in any drinking games, which require you to chug alcohol every time certain words or phrases are used by the candidates such as: Reagan, Reagan, Reagan, waste and fraud, Planned Parenthood or boots on the ground. You will be sicker than a dog without health insurance before the first round of questioning is over. In this condition, the sight of the Trump’s hair could induce follicular depression, comb-over control loss or furrier fatigue syndrome.
  • Pay close attention to Carly Fiorina, former Silicon Valley executive and no-term senator, for she is the lone woman in the pack of 17. She enters the debate very low in the polls. But with the entire weight on her shoulders to convince American women that the GOP has the best interests of women at heart, Fiorina faces an awesome task as the anti-Hillary. If she pulls it off, she could be rewarded with a whole, half-percentage bump in the polls. (UPDATE: Fiorina failed to make the main debate, Watch the preliminary to see her flex her I AM GOP WOMAN muscles.)
  • Be careful not to swallow your tongue if the moderators actually ask a hardball question — e.g., How quickly do you want to turn over trillions in Social Security funds to Wall Street, in six days, six weeks or six months? — amid such softballs as “Is Obama really, really, really bad?” and “Are polar bears really losers who deserve to lose that cozy little Arctic ice cap?”
  • The format — one minute for answers and 30 seconds to respond to personal digs — ensures the debate won’t be bogged down with thoughtful, nuanced, insightful responses, you know, any boring answers. Look for The Trump to shine if he gets many opportunities for 30-second responses to any disparagement of his long record of public service as a real estate developer, reality TV star, beauty pageant promoter, golf resort owner and underwriter of searches for presidential birth certificates. The infallible one doesn’t take criticism well. Critics are losers.
  • Stakes are highest for the other front-runners trailing Trump, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. Expect to hear many allusions to miracles in Madison and Tallahassee, which greatly improved the lives of millions but for Barack Obama, big government and, for old times sake, Eric Holder, ACORN, the New Black Panther Party and Whitewater.
  • Skip the post-debate analyses. This is how they will go. Conservative pundits will say, “It doesn’t matter who won the debate because the big winner tonight, my friends, was America.” Liberal pundits, slurring their words, will say, “We never should have played that stupid drinking game! Who knew The Trump would say #onlyclassylivesmatter so many times?”

Check your local listings for coverage of the debate. I could have included the times and the channels, but figured 99 percent of you can figure that out for yourselves. The others can call local media outlets, where they likely will be greeted by the question, “What debate?”

Lovely girl and little pony

Contrarian Larry Parsons wants people to remember that a vote against Monterey Downs is a vote against ponies

It’s one of the glorious days when possible subjects to write about are falling from the sky like so many stars in a Jimi Hendrix song.

First, there are all advance quotes from former Vice President Dick Cheney’s interview in the upcoming issue of Playboy in which he — major SPOILER alert — calls President Obama the worst president of all time and space.

This from the guy who never saw an oil well or potential Middle Eastern war without feeling lust in his heart. Cue the Jimmy Carter canoe-and-cannibal-rabbit story, and juxtapose it with the time Cheney was bitten by a floppy-eared werewolf.

Another subject, naturally, is Starbucks’ harebrained push for employees to engage customers in conversations about racial relations in the United States. People much higher in their pay grades in politics, pulpits, the media and corporate board rooms should be having these conversations — not $10-an-hour baristas, for pity’s sake.

“Reparations, race cards, rap music!!! Just give me caffeine, for #!?%’s sake.” Oh, the sound of America healing.

And there is the Hillary problem — that amorphous, media-fed tidal wave carrying the flotsam of secret emails, cattle futures, travel bookings, botched health-care plans and being-married-to-Bill again to the shores of our presidential politics. But there will be time, oh, there will be time, to wear out the fingers blogging about this. It never will go away, and the mighty Wurlitzer is just getting tuned up.

Then I spotted a story from the right side of the media world that seemed especially piquant. A blogger for the Daily Caller, the conservative web site run by Peter Pan frat boy Tucker Carlson, quit when Tucker spiked a column critical of Fox News. Seems you can criticize everything under the sun but Fox News — Imperial Death Star of right-wing confabulation — at the Daily Caller.

The writer was unhappy that Fox lately has dropped threat-level 7 stories about the scourge of unauthorized immigration and Obama amnesty plans to pad Democratic voter lists. Apparently, Fox is hitting harder at the scourge of all things Muslim and the terrible fact that American troops are no longer dying in sufficient numbers in the Middle East because the last two wars went so well.

This falling-out among fevered founts of Fox fabulism got me thinking. I’d best watch my step, or something similar could upset the equilibrium here the Monterey Bay Partisan.

In my notebook, I found a few ideas I’d been kicking around for columns that I realize might run afoul of what could be called the Partisan party line. Rest assured they will never see the light of day, or I, too, would have to take the high road and resign in a righteous huff from this comfortable and prestigious sinecure. I will share a few, but this is strictly between me and you. Totally off the record, very hush-hush.

1. Sure Cal Am hasn’t produced a major water project for the Peninsula to save the Carmel River for almost 40 years and the multinational utility takes profits out of the community and passes on all sorts of questionable costs to customers who spend a good part of each day getting thorns and needles out of their hides from their prickly xeriscape gardens, but the water company isn’t all bad. I saw a crew fixing a water line one day, and the guy with the jack hammer smiled, or looked like he was trying to smile as his face jiggled like Jello …

2. We can agree that the undeveloped land at Fort Ord is pretty unsurpassed in coastal country beauty, but just a teensy bit could be tastefully destroyed to make room for the charming, little Monterey Downs horsolopolis. Think of all the jobs. You remember, Hercules got his start mucking out stables. And if there were horses, there would be ponies. So there will be pony rides for all the children, and we must think of the children …

3. OK, the Ferrini Ranch subdivision will dump hundreds of more vehicles each day on Highway 68, making the stop-and-go commute between Salinas and Monterey a lot more stoppy than goey. But there are a lot of good audio books that can be very instructive when you spend more than two hours a day listening to them in frozen traffic. And some folks, who must take Highway 68 to get to the two or three jobs they juggle to make ends meet, may decide to eat and sleep in their cars during peak congestion. This could ease the horrible shortage of affordable housing in Monterey County. Moreover, the slower traffic pace will allow travelers more time to enjoy the rustic beauty of the old red-and-white fence near Laguna Seca …

Seriously, these jottings, I promise, will never see the light of day at this blog.

Meanwhile, I look forward to the upcoming Cheney issue of Playboy. I’m interested in whether the Playboy editors have ever found a Playboy Party Joke that is funny. Like this one:

Trimalchio: I attended an orgy last night with the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

Encolpius: Ooh, sounds nasty. Was it fun?

Trimalchio: For a while, but then Mike Huckabee arrived.