More Summer News


I love it when the news cooperates!  Sometimes being a writer is hard work, but every once in a while, the news just falls into your lap like a half-eaten hotdog squirting out of the bun.  It’s messy, it’s not very nice, but everybody who sees it thinks it’s funny.

It turns out yet another US president got played like a cheap violin.  Diplomats all over the world have been duping US presidents since Woodrow Wilson got his ass handed to him by Georges Clemenceau at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.  This latest fiasco happened at the Donald Trump/Kim Jong-un Summit last month.  Everybody walked away all smiles and chuckles, but come to find out, the only country that got what they wanted was China — a diminished US military presence in Northeast Asia.  Plus ça change!

Some lions in South Africa got pissed off and ate a couple of poachers.  These guys probably had friends and families, but I’m pretty sure most of the world is cheering for the lions.  Just goes to show you that our compassion for the tragic loss of human life is actually on a sliding scale.

According to the UN, a bunch of Syrians have returned home after a de-escalation in the fighting between – uh – God only knows.  (Figuring out who’s fighting who in Syria is like doing a Rubik Cube blindfolded — good luck!)  The point is, however, why?  I’ve seen Syria on TV, and it looks to me as if those people haven’t seen a tree, a bush or a blade of grass in a coupla hundred years.  I can’t imagine how returning home is the best option for anybody who actually managed to get the hell outta there.  But home is where the heart is – I guess!

And finally:

Scarlett Johansson is getting beaten up on Twitter – again.  This time, she’s been cast as a transgender woman/man in a movie.  Apparently (according to Twitter, anyway) only transgender people should portray transgender people in movies.  Oddly, Ms. Johansson, an American from New York, was not criticized for portraying a 16th century English aristocrat (The Other Boleyn Girl) a 17th Dutch servant (Girl With A Pearl Earring) a Russian assassin (all the Marvel movies) a computer (Her) an alien (Under The Skin) or a snake (The Jungle Book.)  Call me old-fashioned, but I’m pretty sure the entire (and only) purpose of “acting” is to “act” like the character you’re trying to portray — and if you do a good job, they give you tons of money and a bunch of awards.  I realize Twitter logic is an oxymoron, but this kinda thinking actually defeats the whole point of the profession.

Syria: An Optimist’s View

syriaIt might be September, but Silly Season isn’t over.  This is the weirdest thing I have ever seen.

Last week, the Syrian Ministry of Tourism released a number of videos on YouTube.  Entitled Syria: Always Beatiful, (note the spelling) they’re promoting tourism to Syria.  SYRIA!  War-torn, bombed-out, poison-gassed, ripped-to-ratshit Syria!  It’s not exactly the place that comes to mind when one thinks: tourist destination.  Especially since the people who already live there are fleeing for their lives.  Rumour has it that U.S. Navy Seals don’t even go to there — it’s just too dangerous.

Frankly, I’m amazed Syria even has a Ministry of Tourism.  Why bother?  I haven’t tried, but I doubt very much if you can even get there from here — or from anywhere.  However, let’s just think for a moment about the genius who thought a couple of YouTube videos might possibly convince somebody (anybody) to book a flight to Damascus.  Whoever he was, he’s got to be the world’s biggest optimist.

And the video itself is a hoot.  It’s taken at “Fast Forward” from the air, and it looks as if an Obama observation drone got loose and is being chased by a Russian bomber.  One particular scene could almost be a strafing run from a J.J. Abrams movie.  And the entire video is just the same seaside resort, filmed from a number of different angles — like nobody’s going to notice that.  Then the whole thing is backed up by some really awful discount DJ music from before the turn of the century.

Anyway, good luck, folks!  I can’t imagine what your slogan is going to be: “Come see Syria.  You won’t get killed. We promise.”

The Huckleberry Hounds of War

autumn2As Bugs Bunny once said to Yosemite Sam, “Of course, you know this means war.”  Yeah, I’m talking about the comic book opera being played out between London, Washington, Congress and Damascus.  Don’t get me wrong. I’m the first guy in line to see a smartass like al-Assad get slapped.  However, let’s put things into perspective: there isn’t a schoolboy alive who hasn’t seen this playground scenario a hundred times.  Some kid thinks he can get away with murder (in this case, literally) and some other kid says, “No, you can’t.”  Good luck trying to talk that one out over a juice box.

But I’m also declaring war on all those wishful thinkers out there who wouldn’t recognize reality if it dropped an Acme anvil on their heads.  Get the message, you wily coyotes: the hard truth is, you’re never going to catch the roadrunner and bullies exist.  They’ve been living on our planet since Fred Flintstone had to defend himself against the Neanderthal hillbillies, two caves over, who kept stealing his fire and peeing in the water supply.  From that primeval moment until the present day, human history has been a running battle between those of us who want to be left alone to grunt and scratch as we see fit and a bunch of scuzzy buggers who never seem to see it that way.  Wake up and smell the Sarin, people!  Bashar al Assad is one of those guys who thinks the rules don’t apply to him.  We all know these folks; we’ve met them a million times.  He and his Ba’ath Party buddies are simply pumped-up versions of those morons from grade school who got their kicks beating up the little kids.  They’re bullies, and no amount of pink shirts is going to change that.

However, it’s not actually the bullies of our world who are the problem.  They’re easy to spot: just follow the blood stains.  Our real problem is those misguided Good Samaritans who are controlling the agenda.  They are somehow under the delusion that we’re just one honest dialogue away from a political solution with Bashar and his ilk.  They are convinced that reasonable people can reason with a guy nasty enough to spray paint an unsuspecting population with poison gas.  It boggles the mind.  Unfortunately, these pie-in-the-sky debaters are part of the problem not the solution.  And, let’s be clear, this isn’t just the Barack Obama’s Sylvester and Tweety Show.  I’m looking at you venerable Parliament of the UK.  Remember what happened the last time the British decided not to take action over “… a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing.”  You Brits ought to be ashamed of yourselves.  My point is, as we theorize and chatter about who did what to whom and how many dictators can dance on the head of a bloated corpse, the bad guys are taking time to reread their ruthless manual and reload.  Then, when, invariably, push comes to shove in Syria, it’s going to take twice as much time, three times as much energy, and four times the body count to finally get rid of these clowns.  Regime change on the ten year plan isn’t pretty; just ask the marines in Afghanistan.

The fact is, the Pollyannas of our time, and their abhorrence of history are condemning our children and/or our grandchildren to eventually die in that same “far away country.”  Their abject ignorance is just as deadly as al-Assad’s poison gas.  Therefore, let it be known, that I, for one, am no longer willing to let you off the hook just because you’re dumber than the average bear.  After all, Yogi never got it right even when Boo Boo pointed it out to him.  So, get out of the way, or, as the man said, I will “Cry havoc and loose the Huckleberry Hounds of war.”