The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Friday, October 09, 2009

NOBELMEN AND THE REVOLTING MASSES: News has arrived here from Norway that the former junior Senator from Illinois has, for reasons I am sure sounded better in Norwegian than they would in English, won the Nobel Peace Prize, thereby causing one of the many attacks of cognitive dissonance I seem to be suffering from these days. As I understand the traditional purpose of this award, one needs to have actually done something to promote peace and harmony amongst the warring peoples of the Earth in order to receive it; yes, even Jimmy Carter actually brokered an Israeli—Egyptian peace treaty to get his Peace Prize; and as far as I can tell, the former junior Senator hasn’t done anything to promote world peace except show up at conferences and give speeches. I have nothing against showing up—Woody Allen once pointed out that 80% of success is just showing up—but just showing up, in and of itself, is not much of an accomplishment. If it were, then the Peace Prize would more properly go to the former junior Senator’s appointments secretary than to him, with honorable mentions going to the Secret Service and the staff of Air Force One. This then brings up the inevitable question of why he is getting a Nobel Peace Prize in the first place. I can’t be entirely sure about this, but I am reasonably certain that he is getting it for his perfect attendance record and because he plays well with others, which are very important attributes, no doubt about it, and ones guaranteed to impress your average totalitarian despot no end.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

WAFFLING ALONG: GeneralStan is in trouble, boys and girls, there’s no two ways about that. He’s got the Speaker of the House sniffing haughtily, although that may just be her breathing regularly nowadays, what with the Botox overload and all, and a good many lefties bringing up Truman’s firing of MacArthur, which may only prove that some of these guys still have the crib notes their girl friends wrote for them in college on David McCullough’s Truman stuck in a file cabinet somewhere, and columnists like the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson suggesting that what GeneralStan really needs to do is shut the hell up and to do so quickly, the better to keep the electorate from realizing that the largest empty suit in the land is wearing no clothes. I’m sure that all of this must come as a big shock to GeneralStan, who, no doubt, was simply asking for the troops necessary to carry out what was, until a few short weeks ago, the publicly stated policy of the former junior Senator from Illinois, and did not realize that he had interrupted this administration’s hunt for the perfect waffle.

Yes, waffles. This administration craves a really good waffle, but importing them from Belgium is politically out of the question nowadays. Importing Belgian waffles would offend the more radical members of the United Waffle Workers, who want to keep those foreign waffles out of this country altogether and doesn’t care if this our Great Republic has to start a trade war with Belgium in order to keep them out. The former junior Senator from Illinois received a huge amount of support from the U.W.W. and he isn’t likely to forget that help any time soon; there’s more than one amendment in the cap and trade bill that would protect the jobs of American waffle workers come hell or high dudgeon. But, in a classic case of how the mighty have fallen, the Belgian waffle is no longer the world’s standard when it comes to waffling, despite the waffle’s long pedigree in that country. No, we are the world’s greatest wafflers and Afghanistan is where all our best wafflers want to waffle. I am not sure why this is, but I am certain it must have something to do with Afghanistan’s wonderful climate and the hot Afghan women.

It was not always thus, of course; so few things are, you know. Once upon a time in America, no one would think of waffling, waffling being a pernicious vice like masturbation or being a Red Sox fan. Waffling was a loathsome foreign habit that undermined American youth and American morals, and undercut the philosophical foundations of American government. After a known waffler shot President McKinley in 1901, an outraged Congress demanded that the Immigration Bureau turn back any immigrant at Ellis Island whom they even suspected of having waffling or anarchist sympathies, and the Bureau rigorously enforced the rule: immigration from Belgium virtually dried up as it was almost impossible to find a Belgian, whether they were Flemish or Walloon in origin, who hadn’t waffled at some point in their life. For many who did make it through Ellis Island, the charge of waffling was a career ender; having someone call you a Communist was an easier fate to deal with than having the whole neighborhood know that you were a waffler. Everyone knew about the vile crimes the Waffle SS committed during World War II and no honest true-blue American citizen wanted to associate with such a person. People pointed the accused waffler out in the street and talked about them in cautious whispers, and frightened mothers pulled their children away from the accused waffler, lest the odious wretch contaminate their precious offspring with waffling and bad breath.

All of this changed in the 1960’s, when waffling became hip and the governing classes in this country took to waffling like nobody’s business. Congress organized fact-finding junkets to Brussels every other week as the people’s tribunes searched the length and breadth of that city looking for the perfect waffle, despite their knowing that J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI kept track of their waffling and the ages and sexes of those our lawmakers waffled with. Waffling became big business, leading to the rise of the U.W. W. out of the ashes of the old Brotherhood of Pancake Makers. The waffling spirit now animates the present administration, which draws its ideological strength from that period and is not going to allow someone wants to get on with his business interrupt the great waffle hunt. So GeneralStan must wait for his troops while the administration thinks of new ways to make the perfect waffle and the leaders of Congress debate whether that waffle should have blueberries in it, or whether the blueberry waffle drenched with butter and real maple syrup would constitute too much of a stretch for the political sensibilities of the American people and hurt these guys’ chances of keeping their seats in the next election.

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