Random Shots: Kampfer’s Armageddon Now

Against the Current, No. 72, January/February 1998

R.F. Kampfer

TO AVOID SCREWING up all the computers, the year 2000 has been temporarily postponed. We will go from 1999 to 1999a, 1999b, etc. until they get it right, at which point we will go directly to 2003 or whatever. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Who could forget the millennium-eve talk-show exchange in “Strange Days”? Caller: “Jesus is coming back at midnight.” Host: “Will that be West Coast, Eastern Standard or Greenwich Meridian time?”

The MIR is quite a comedown from the orbital Hilton we saw in “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Give Me Money

Al Gore’s financial irregularities scandal may actually help his electoral ambitions. It makes him look more presidential.

Guess we’ll have to wait for Oliver Stone to tell us what really happened during the Teamster election.

Michigan Governor John Engler has called his welfare “reform” program To Serve Michigan Families. Critics say TSMF stands for Engler’s real message to the jobless: Tough S___, Mother F_____.

The debate over introducing a common European currency is overlooking the obvious: During and after World War II, American cigarettes were universally accepted all over Europe for any kind of transaction. Another advantage of the “ciggy” is that its value increases during any kind of crisis, be it inflation or depression, or war. Maybe we ought to hang on to those tobacco stocks?

Life -tyle Notes

ONE SIDE EFFECT of recreational drugs is to cause paranoia—in people who don’t use them.

Kampfer got a deer this year. Note will be taken of whomever fails to taste it.

If land mines are banned, an exception should be made for hikers and campers who are assaulted by ORVs.

Once again, some kind of big cat has been seen but not captured in the suburbs near Detroit. Solution: Just put a white velour couch out in the field, and it will climb aboard and start shedding.

Since the editor has imposed a strict quota of one (1) bad Marv Albert joke, here it is. Since his sportscasting career seems to be over for a while, Marv Albert is trying to get back with the Tijuana Brass. He always did like “A Taste of Honey.” Marv cheered up a bit when he heard that NBC was giving him a pink slip.

Pop anthropologists tend to think that nomadic people enjoy a high degree of personal freedom because they aren’t tied down to one patch of ground. Actually, their lack of common territory means that social coherence is maintained by the most detailed rituals and taboos governing every aspect of behavior. Thus, among the Mongols stepping on the threshold of the yurt, or spilling milk on the ground, was punished by death. (See also Biblical injunctions on penalties for violating the Sabbath.)

Footnotes to History

KING THIBAW OF Burma, around 1820, ordered his army to invade India, send back the British Governor-General in chains, and march on to capture London “if necessary.” It’s because of things like this that Thais are fond of telling Burmese Jokes.

“Demonstrate before the palaces of the rich: Demand work. If they do not find you work, demand bread. If they deny you both, take bread. It is your sacred right.”—Emma Goldman, in a speech for which she was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment.

George Orwell wrote, in 1946: “One might almost invent a new game called Uno, to be played in enlightened homes where the parents do not want their children to grow up with a militaristic outlook.” Someone must have been paying attention.

ATC 72, January-February 1998