I think I speak for all Americans during this great war on terror when I say nothing strikes fear into our hearts like the thought of a busload of innocent old people, their pockets bulging with coins, being confronted on a high mountain road by everyone's worst nightmare: a crazed, suicide elk with a turban wrapped around his antlers and an IED (Improvised Elk Device) strapped to his chest, making sinister bugling sounds that, in the language of the elk, mean: "Death to Old Americans with Nickels."
And so I was relieved the other day to learn that the brainy super-thinkers who run our Department of Homeland Security feel exactly the same way about this threat. In response, Homeland Security has actually given some $400,000 in anti-terrorist funds to our village's very own Ramblin Express bus service, which mostly takes senior citizens on a ride into the Rocky Mountains to the gambling town of Cripple Creek, where they dump into a slot machine all the money they once intended to leave as an inheritance.
Then they return home, call their grandchildren on the phone, laugh and hang up.
The money which, by the way, used to be our money was awarded to the bus line because the guy who owns the buses asked for it. And, to his credit, he also filled out the application correctly. (Frankly, I believe anyone who has the patience to read, comprehend and fill out any federal government form without screaming and poking a shish-ka-bob skewer into his eye should get $400,000, if not more.)
Footnote: Based on a Ramblin Express story in last week's Gazette (motto: "We'll Take You for a Ride, Too. Just Sign a Classified Ad Contract"), I'm now filling out a Homeland Security grant application asking for $10 million, claiming I need terrorist protection from my neighbor, Russ, who was testing some type of loud terror-related machine the other day and putting a rag-type garment on and around his head. As terrorists tend to do, he insisted that he was just mowing his lawn and sweating. I further suspect Russ of recruiting al Qaeda squirrels that will eventually run from his yard into my yard and deliver an IBL (Improvised Bite on my Leg) before blowing themselves up.
Ramblin Express has received a total of about $381,000, including $184,000 this year alone. That figure was part of the $844 million Homeland Security will FDT (Flush Down the Toilet) on similar bus-line requests this year. Although that figure drops to $834 million if my Application Form 45673-NJL-1, the so-called "suicide squirrel form," is approved.
A major portion of the Ramblin Express money was designated and I am not kidding for GPS systems for the buses, thus allowing the drivers to use our nation's multi-billion dollar array of global-positioning satellites to keep them on course. I think we'd all agree that it would be absolutely ridiculous to expect the bus drivers to take U.S. Highway 24 west for about 22 miles and then turn left on Colorado Highway 67 for the rest of the way to Cripple Creek.
Bus line owner Todd Holland has been too busy to return media phone calls seeking an explanation for how he's spending the Homeland Security money. Word on the street is that Holland is locked away in his garage, working feverishly on a Patriot missile-based system to eliminate the threat of Osama bin Laden-trained stealth raccoons that "come out of nowhere" and dart in front of his buses at night.
Ramblin Express was the only bus company in Colorado to apply for the actual IPA (Infrastructure Protection Activities) grant, which is part of the actual IBSGP (Intercity Bus Security Grant Program). More applications are expected to be filed quickly as other bus company owners begin SHOT (Slapping the Hell Out of Themselves) for BSS (Being So Stupid) and NKAT (Not Knowing About This).
The Ramblin Express application was approved, by the way, by Homeland Security people based right here in Colorado. Their diligent work has not gone unnoticed, as indicated by an inspector general's audit released last December, which stated: "Colorado's homeland security organization was ineffective and provided only minimal assurance that its processes were well controlled or that program funding was allocated in a collaborative and transparent manner to mitigate statewide risks and accomplish the goals and objectives of its homeland security strategy."
And with that plain, easy-to-understand statement, we should all relax, knowing the federal government is in control and not wasting our money.
Although, on a personal note, I'd be slightly more relaxed if that squirrel wasn't charging at me right now. Or if he wasn't wearing that little vest with the firecracker on it.