Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Let's Get Ready to Rumble, Comrade

In today's post we examine the upcoming Senatorial race

in Connecticut where Linda McMahon, who is the wife of World Wrestling Entertainment owner Vince McMahon, is seeking the Republican nomination to replace retiring Democrat Chris Dodd. In keeping with our policy of sparing no effort or expense to give our readers the best information possible, we've arranged for a computer-generated artist's conception of a typical day in Congress if McMahon, seen in the photo on the right in a policy conference with famed intellectual "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, is elected.

Ok, so it's not really Congress. Dammit. It is, as you no doubt know by now, the Ukrainian parliament's idea of debate, in which the "filibuster" is replaced by the "head-buster". (Most people have probably watched this already, or at least heard about it, but since it's the funniest thing I've seen in a long time, I thought it was worth another mention.) Kind of makes the American Congress (which, for overseas readers, is divided into two houses, Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal), seem like high tea. As evidenced by the video, it didn't take long for debate and compromise to devolve into eggs and smoke bombs. (Accounts vary as to whether the projectile-debating included tomatoes, but you get the idea.) You could ask why the members of Parliament had eggs and smoke bombs with them in the first place, but then you'd miss the real fun that came after. It was a riot. Literally.

The news media, as usual, have presented all of this out of context. The real story is that Ukrainian officials, upon separating from the former Soviet Union, sought to model their new government after our American democracy, and so decided to watch C-Span. Cable stations being different in the Ukraine than in the U.S., they ended up watching the MSG network instead and saw Rangers hockey fans up in the blue seats just after beer sales were cut off. Not knowing very much English, the Ukrainians never reali zed the mistake, and an unfortunate misunderstanding - not to mention several viral videos - were the result. Can't we all just get along?

Semi-Related Item: Speaking of People in Mysterious Faraway Places Behaving Badly...

This week, the government of the sovereign nation of Ari
zona (which shares a somewhat porous border with Mexico) passed a law that, in effect, allows Arizona police to ask anyone they think could possibly be an illegal immigrant for proof of citizenship and, if they can't produce it on the spot, take them into custody. While that does sound a bit like some World War II B-movie where a jack-booted brownshirt demands to see "your papers!", I don't think civil libertarians here need to be too concerned. Arizona law enforcement has stated very clearly that they will not use the new law as an opportunity to profile Hispanics. You believe them, don't you? The law is no doubt intended to have them stopping people with blond hair and blue eyes, in an effort to prosecute illegal Swedes who are flooding the market with bootleg Abba cd's. (I can hear the drums, Fernando...)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

How I Spent My Sunday

Just the usual. Went to church, then the supermarket. Later on a memorial service. And, oh yeah, I made my first foray into video blogging. What do you think?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easy Rider

Just back from taking my new set of wheels for their first spin. It seemed like the right time to replace my old bike, considering a) I bought the old bike nearly thirty years ago and b) it was stolen last fall. After looking at several models I decided on a 7-speed Kent Glendale. (I was eying up a lovely 21-speed Schwinn for a bit more money, but since I'd never figured out what to do with three speeds back in the old days, it would have just seemed like a waste of good machinery.) I actually bought the new bike last week but today was my first opportunity to inflate the tires, adjust the brakes, attach the water bottle and the dorky reflector stickers and, most importantly, figure out if there really is anything to that expression about how something you never forget how to do is like riding a bike.

Happy to report it went great. I live near the bottom of a moderately steep hill and, as a young man, I was generally unable to bike to the top of the hill wi
thout stopping to rest. Having now advanced to the age when I have children who are older than I was in those "can't do the hill" days, it was no small triumph to make it to the top, slowly at times but without stopping. (I admit reading the manual about how to use speed settings helped some.) It ended up being a three and a half mile round trip along a main boulevard. I felt so good about my newly-restored healthy lifestyle I stopped along the way for a celebratory hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut. (The garlic in the sauerkraut is, after all, very good for you.)

Everything went so well that, upon my return, I felt compelled to pose for a photo. (It's amazing what yo
u can accomplish nowadays with some photo editing software and a camera-phone propped up on a trash can.) After taking it, though, I did start wondering if it was uncomfortably close to another "take a picture of me posing" photo...

Unrelated Topic: Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel from an Airplane

"No administration in America's history would, I think, ever have considered such a step that we just found out President Obama is supporting today. It's kinda like getting out there on a playground, a bunch of kids, getting ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, 'Go ahead, punch me in the face and I'm not going to retaliate. Go ahead and do what you want to with me.' (Sarah Palin on Sean Hannity's Fox "News" program, April 7, 2010)

What's the difference between Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle?

All together now: "Lipstick!"

As much as I don't want this journal to be reduced to a series of "Sarah Palin Says the Darnedest Things" essays, sometimes she just makes it too easy. (For my readers across the pond, Sarah Palin is something like our version of Prince Harry.) Palin, who still insists that interview debacle was Katie Couric's fault (as opposed to those hard-hitting questions people like Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Fox's other Palin-lapdogs throw at her), and who is considered to have done well in her VP debate simply because she avoided saying anything too laughable, is now the republican party's elder-statesperson on nuclear proliferation as it relates to foreign policy.

I'll pause a moment while you finish laughing.

The treaty which, according to Palin, has us saying "go ahead and do what you want to with me" calls for both the US and Russia each to
reduce their nuclear arsenals from 2,200 deployed warheads to 1,550 over seven years, and their long-range missiles and launchers to 700. If she thinks those numbers leave us unarmed, it makes one wonder about a number of things, not the least of which is how large a weapons cache is stored her garage.

Perhaps my starting this by comparing Palin to Dan Quayle wasn't fair. At least Quayle eventually caught onto the fact that he was coming off like a fool and stopped issuing public statements.