If we are going to hell in a handbasket,* last night I met the basket. When I arrived at the Cedar Rapids airport yesterday afternoon, a TV in the waiting room broadcast Headline News. It was airing Snooki's trial. Yes, Snooki from Jersey Shore. (A show that I have never watched, partly because I forget to, and partly because I don't want to jump in the handbasket.) This is apparently headline news. Granted, it was the entertainment segment of Headline News, but how on earth did we get to a point where a talentless reality "star" trial become entertaining? Worse, there was in depth analysis of the judge comparing Snooki to Lindsay Lohan, and Lohan's mother objecting to the comparison. Maybe Lohan was mad because Snooki and John McCain had some flirtation. Aye. Later that night, my sister mentioned that Jersey Shore was on. She assured me that it was very entertaining, although I admit I did not need much persuading. While we watched it, I learned many new things:

1. Unattractive people who proudly refer to themselves as guidos and guidettes refer to people they find unattractive as "grenades" and possibly "chodes," but something I can't understand their blathering either due to drunken slurring or their crazy Staten Island dialect.

2. Sex is "smooshing." There is a room at their Miami pad set aside for smooshing so the people they share sleeping rooms with are not disturbing by smooshing activities. So disgusting, and yet so considerate.

3. If a woman comes over at 3 am, she is gtf. I decoded this to mean "good to fuck." (Or he may have said dtf, but that would make no sense. Again, drunken slurring and what do I know?) If she arrrives at 6:30 am, it is unclear as to whether she is gtf/dtf. Maybe she just wants orange juice and an omelet, but that's just my speculation.

Our nation's fascination with Jersey Shore helps me understand many things about the decline of the American empire. The show itself makes almost no sense, as it is a string of scenes - sitting at beach or in hot tub, getting ready to go out, going out, dancing/playing pool, bringing a random person home, hooking up and/or smooshing with random person, "working" in gelato shop, repeat - so my brain worked overtime to concoct an actual storyline. I was exhausted by the end of the show. No wonder people can't think straight anymore. Even I might have been susceptible to Glenn Beck's evil natterings in that state.

And yes, I was sucked in. So help us.

*Why in a handbasket, I wondered. Well, it seems that the phrase originated in response to the baskets used to collect a head once it was guillotined off a body. Interesting, huh?