Sunday, April 10, 2005

Small Notations

Once more, the season of short, sharp points is upon your humble correspondent. I really should try to turn one or more of these into a full-blown column, but the blank page defies easy taming, and I have a few other pages to tame in the meantime. Mea culpa.

Having John Bolton sit as the American ambassador to a body that he not only despises, but wants to do away with entirely, is hardly likely to make the United Nations any better. Then again, I’m hard pressed to see how it could get worse. I’m still hoping his nomination gets torpedoed, though.

People really need to just get over the fact that Prince Charles was cheating on Diana with the lady he’s how gotten married to. Not only is it extremely old news, but a look at British history shows that Kings and Queens were not always the best-behaved of individuals-sometimes with disastrous consequences, and high bodycounts. If all Charles has really done wrong as heir to the throne was have a long-term affair with the woman he really should have married in the first place, then he’ll hardly be the worst King in their history.

Did I say ‘people?’ Maybe I really should say ‘The British Press.’ It seems they’re the ones who were stirring up every little molehill about the impending nuptials into a new mountain to proclaim from. I realize that’s par for the course for that country’s unique brand of journalism, but it’d be nice if they could lead by example-for once-and just deal with it.

It doesn’t bother me that Christian Identity bomber Eric Rudolph is most likely going to get consecutive life sentences rather than the death penalty, as this keeps him from becoming a real martyr to their sick and depraved cause. What bothers me is how this highlights the hypocrisy of the use-America Right, who are still demanding that “Islam” deliver an apology for 9/11. If Muslims around the world who have nothing to do with Al-Qaeda have to apologize for the actions of that tiny, sick-minded minority to ever be trusted again, do Christians around the world who have nothing to do with Christian Identity have to apologize for them, too? Or do we have to wait until - Goddess forbid - those Identity freaks perform an act of terrorism comparable to 9/11 to get one?

If you want a snapshot of how full of hot air the Blogosphere can be, check the rightward blogs’ reaction to the discovery that the now-infamous Schiavo memo was for real after all. The shorthand is that they don’t want to own up to having freaked out over nothing, and apologies and retractions are very slow in coming. There’s crow aplenty, here, for those wondrous defenders of “real journalism,” but lets remember that Congressional memos are the stuff of ill-gained legend on both sides of the aisle.

Speaking of hot air, it appears that I may have helped contribute some to a story. Remember the “Zombie Teen” case I talked about back in February? Well, in the meantime, we’ve learned from the Prosecutors that the story which got him in trouble wasn’t about zombies, was not a class assignment, and was actually reason for concern. He was released on bond, but is back in jail after visiting the school, against orders.

More importantly: in that same article, his grandparents state that they hope he gets help because he’s been “diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and often refuses to take his medicine.” Why the hell didn’t that little detail about Mr. Poole bubble to the surface back in February? From where I’m standing, that could help explain a few things...

The Pope’s funeral was a study in uncomfortable manners. The odd seating arrangements had countries that aren’t on good terms with one another sitting right next to one another, and part of the ceremony called for people to shake hands with their neighbors. We’re told that Tony Blair actually fled the scene when he realized he’d have to sit next to Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, who he’s had a cold war with for some time now. This left poor Prince Charles to hold down the fort, and he couldn’t escape a polite handshake with the man, who invited Charles to come down and be a guest anytime he wanted. We’re also informed that Israel’s President got a handshake from both Syria’s Assad and Iran’s Khatami, but the Iranians later hotly denied that the handshake ever took place, calling it a trick of the “Zionist media.”

The post office wants more of your money, again: the 1 class stamp is set to jump from 37 to 39 cents, with all other rates sliding on up around 5.4% as well. This will, of course, be accompanied by a 5.4% decrease in friendliness, timeliness and overall quality of service. Sooner or later it will cost five dollars to send a letter across town, and the postal clerks will be allowed to throw dodgeballs at your head as you approach the desk, so as to not have their morning coffee, doughnuts and email interrupted by actually having to work.

Speaking of price increases: gasoline might go up to four dollars a gallon if op-ed columnist Thomas Friedman has his way. His solution to the coming problem of far too many cars on the road, and the current problem of democracy deficits in the Middle East, is to hike gas up so far that no one can really afford it. That way, the icebergs won’t melt, and all the oil-rich countries will be forced to diversify their economy, women will have to be put to work, and their citizens will demand - and get - political and social reform. Friedman calls this strategy “geo-con,” and there’s a con in there, alright - especially if he thinks Americans are going to sit still for having their livelihoods disrupted any worse, just to reap benefits for countries who really don’t like us all that much. I guess it’s just as well President Bush doesn’t read newspapers, and is unlikely to be exposed to that whopper.

In even more ludicrous news, Cookie Monster is going to go on a diet. Well, not exactly, but he is going to be smacked upside the head with the notion that cookies are a “sometimes food.” This is being done to try and combat obesity amongst children, and instill better eating habits into them. Maybe they should just turn off the TV, go outside and play then - leave my Cookie alone!

And finally: we’ve learned, thanks to a recent reprinting of his pioneering dictionary, that Samuel Johnson’s definition of a rant was "high-sounding language unsupported by dignity of thought."

We try, Mr. Johnson. We try..


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