I’m Back — With The News

Wanna know how fast our planet is spinning these days?  Check this out!  I stepped away from cyberspace for 5 weeks to write fiction, and by the time I got back – OMG!  Tons of stuff had happened.  Here’s just a sample.

As of Wednesday, there was a spike in unemployment in America when all the political cartoonists, comedians, late night talk show hosts and Alec Baldwin suddenly had nothing to do.

And the brand-new President Biden has a big task ahead of him – fixing the divisions in America.  Meanwhile, Vice President Harris’ job is a little simpler – just wake up every morning and say, “How ya feeling, Joe?”

In other political news, about a week ago, the entire Dutch government resigned.  Yep, you read that right!  Basically, Dutch PM Mark Rutte stood up before God and everybody and said, “Sorry, folks!  We screwed things up, and honestly, we don’t deserve to run the show anymore, so we’re all going to quit.”  Wow!  Some cynics are suggesting this was just a PR move, but think about it!  If this idea catches on, there’s going to be a lot of unemployed politicos in the near future. 

Even though it hasn’t made the news recently, the girls of Belarus are still beating the protest drums in Minsk, and self-proclaimed bad guy President Lukashenko is still beating them up when they do.  But the International Ice Hockey Federation has cancelled a tournament that was supposed to take place there this summer.  That should bring the bastard to his knees!

And speaking of sports, apparently, NBA used-to-be Charles Barkley is convinced that professional athletes should be first in line for the Covid-19 vaccine.  His reasoning is that they pay a lot more taxes than the rest of us do.  I like Sir Charles, but I think he’s kinda lost the plot here.  Given a choice between my doctor and Neal Pionk, a 25-year-old kid from Omaha who plays defence in the NHL, I’m going with Dr. Kathy — every time.

Danish bankers have shot themselves in the foot by offering 20 year home mortgages at 0% interest.  Does that even make any sense?  Meanwhile, money lenders all over the world are saying WTF?  This is the kinda thing that could put local loan sharks out of business permanently.  Oh well, just another casualty of Covid-19, I guess!

Some guy climbed a skyscraper in Hong Kong.  No big deal, right?  Except this guy was in a wheelchair.  I’m all for “be all you can be,” but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why anyone (wheelchair or no) would challenge gravity to a duel over a busy street of unforgiving concrete. (Personally, I hold the banister when I go down stairs.)

And finally:

It was 100 years ago last week that magician PT Selbit first performed the trick of “sawing a woman in half,” and illusionists all over the world celebrated this milestone event.  Actually, I’m totally surprised this one got past the kiddies at Cancel Culture.  After all, it’s got all the elements they love to hate.  First of all, taking a bucksaw to a woman’s torso is definitely inappropriate.  Secondly, this is another example of women doing all the work and men getting all the credit.  Finally, and probably most egregious, magic is fun, and we all know how those grim-faced buggers down at Cancel Culture hate fun.  Call me a little kid, but I still think magic is cool!

Macho News

Well, here we are — still locked in a struggle with … Okay, let’s not bore each other with the details.  None of us can escape Doom Scrolling these days.   Personally, I find the numbers have gotten so big I quit trying to comprehend them — back in September.  However, I’m still planning the party for when we finally strangle the life out of this wicked little virus.  And the first toast is going to go to anyone in the medical profession.

But, despite our current global predicament, apparently no invisible bug can put a stop to macho, that strange phenom that turns normally reasonable people into WWE wrestlers.  But in the real world, they’re half as comical and twice as crazy.  Here are a couple of examples from the current news feed.

1 – For some unknown reason, they’re shooting at each other in some place I can’t pronounce in Central Asia.  Call me a cynic, but when Google’s Auto-correct can’t even find the place, there can’t be that much there to fight over.  Folks, look around you!  The world has problems, and who owns which bit of real estate 100 kilometres south of Tbilisi isn’t one of them.  Mother Nature is killing enough people on her own these days.  You don’t need to add to the carnage!

2 — There are a couple of games of “You-did-not/I-did-so” going on.
The American media reported somebody (read “the Israelis”) killed Al-Qaeda’s #2 man in Tehran.  The Iranians are saying, “No, they didn’t.” But, strangely enough, Abu – uh – (I don’t actually care what his name is) hasn’t showed up for his Suicide Bomber classes since August.  (You decide!)
Meanwhile, allegedly, the Chinese military used microwaves to literally cook the Indian army out of a disputed border area in the Himalayas.  The Indian government says, “No, they didn’t.”  But, given what we’ve recently discovered about Chinese culinary traditions, I wouldn’t be too quick to poo-poo the idea.

3 — In America, they’ve whipped out the lawyers to keep fighting the presidential election that was over several Tuesdays ago.  I’m not surprised: litigation is as American as baseball.  But given the various and sundry lawsuits circling the White House, this is rapidly turning into a 21st century rendition of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?”

And finally:

4 — The folks at Big Pharma are acting like a bunch of schoolboys.  First of all, last week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced their Covid-19 vaccine was 90% effective.  Right after that, Moderna said “Oh, yeah?  Well, our vaccine is 95% effective!”  Then, right after that, Pfizer and BioNTech told everybody their vaccine was 95% effective, too, with no measurable side effects.  Not to be outdone, this week, the researchers at Oxford jumped into the fray and said their vaccine was almost 100% effective for old people.

Hey!  Just stop it!  Instead of dickin’ around, playing my-vaccine-can-beat-up-your-vaccine, how about getting it on the market?   There are 7.8 billion people on this planet who’ve been holding their breath since March, waiting on you.  I mean, thanks and all that, but really!

What Kinda Government?

This week, the world’s second-largest democracy, America, had an election.  Without even looking at the results, I can tell you — categorically — that half the country is now pissed off.  But that’s the nature of democracy: somebody’s gotta lose, and losers are generally vocal about it.  In fact (and it’s a little known fact) the word “democracy’ comes from two words: “demos” (a corruption of “demons”) and “cracy” (a corruption of “crazy.”)  These were the pejorative terms opponents shouted at each other in the Athenian Agora where democracy was born.  However, despite the sophisticated name calling, Greek democracy was very primitive.  For example, not everybody got to vote — or even speak — including slaves, women, Pericles’ mistress Aspasia, convicted felons, tax evaders and anybody named Xerxes.  Nor was democracy universally accepted.  The great philosopher Socrates wasn’t a fan and advocated that only men who wore socks should vote.  When the youth of Athens began wearing socks and sandals, he was put to death.  Some years later, Alexander the Great came along and put Athenian democracy to death — where it lay dormant for about 2000 years.  The democracy we know is a weird evolution of English barons, Boston lawyers, Virginia farm boys, French revolutionaries and John Stuart Mill.  It serves us well, but it’s by no means the only form of government available.  Here are a few other systems of note.

Monarchy – Named for the Monarch butterfly, this is government by glamour with plenty of crowns and gowns to go around.  Monarchy is characterized by over-the-top weddings, footmen, tiaras and glass slippers.  And even though one out of two princes are charming, monarchy has some serious enemies — such as spinning wheels, poison apples and wicked stepmothers.  However, when done properly, Monarchy can result in happily ever after. 

Authoritarianism – Sometimes called “tyranny,” “despotism” or “one-man rule” — whatever it’s called, though, it invariably works the same.   There’s always a short man who didn’t get laid in high school.  He somehow seizes power and spends the next few years acting like a paranoid dick to everybody.  (Hence the name – dictator.)  Dictators are characterized by funny hats, funny haircuts and no sense of humour.  And they don’t like to be called Winnie the Pooh.

Theocracy – No idea what this is, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t some silly-ass notion that religious leaders should run the government!  I mean really!  Nobody’s that stupid!

Tribalism – See Facebook.

Fascism – You get to march a lot, but you have to do as you’re told.

Patriarchy – This is where women do all the work and men sit around talking politics.

Matriarchy – Oddly enough, this is also where women do all the work and men sit around talking politics.

Parliamentarianism – This is a combination of two French words, “parle” which means “to talk” and “merde” which means – uh – google it.  The theory behind government by parliament is if enough elected officials talk enough shit long enough, eventually the problem will simply go away.  The best example of parliamentarianism is Canada where they’ve been talking about poverty, homelessness and unemployment for 50 years.

Anarchy – This looks great on paper but normally ends up with a big, ugly biker drinking beer out of the skull of the college sophomore who thought it was a cool idea.  It’s basically Mad Max meets academia. 

Communism – Sometimes called Soviet Democracy, there’s only one party, and it isn’t very much fun.

Socialism – Favoured by actors, rock stars and other rich people, the single premise of socialism is somebody else (normally called “they”) isn’t paying their fair share.  Socialists are political tourists who drink champagne, ride around in limousines, attend the occasional rally and then retreat to the leafy green suburbs to contemplate their awareness.

Polygamy – Oops!  Wrong blog!

Ochlocracy – This is a fancy word for Mob Rule.  It was made popular during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, and if you still think you’d like a taste of it, open a Twitter account.

Oligarchy – Not to be confused with Russian gangsters, this is where several groups of powerful people get together, hijack the government and do whatever the hell they like because they’re so badass/ruthless, ordinary people are too scared to …. Hey!  Wait a minute!

Meritocracy – A Cloud-cuckoo-land form of government popular with children and Bernie Sanders.

Magocracy – A society ruled by magicians.  It’s hard to explain, but essentially it’s Harry, Hermione and Ron Weasley running the show.

Plutocracy – This is rule by rich people who – I suppose — take their instructions from Pluto.  This form of government has probably fallen into disfavour since a gang of treacherous scientists defrocked the tiny planet.

And finally, two forms of government that are very popular these days:

Kakistocracy – This is where the voting public continually elect the stupidest people possible and then wonder why nothing ever gets done.

Kleptocracy – This is where people vote for the candidate who certainly seems sincere — only to be taken in by these con artists who, once elected, turn out to be nothing more than common thieves.