Random Shots: Skating on Thin Ice

Against the Current, No. 74, May/June 1998

R.F. Kampfer

TOLSTOY TELLS US that the Cossacks strongly objected to Russian troops filling the homes in which they were billeted with tobacco smoke. By the time of the Civil War, some of them were so addicted that they used the family Bibles to roll cigarettes.

Why was Matthew Henson (an African American) the first man to reach the North Pole? Admiral Peary thought the ice looked a little thin.

In case you needed another reason not to go ice fishing, we hear that serious devotees keep their bait warm by storing the worms in their mouth.

Weird and Weirder

WE WERE THRIFTIER in some ways back in the old days, but we didn’t usually bring our leftovers home from restaurants. If we did, we pretended it was for the dog.

We used to say of talkative people that they had been vaccinated with a phonograph needle. This would only confuse the post-smallpox, CD generation.

If school uniforms become mandatory, we predict a significant increase in tattooing, piercing and weird hair.

A recent biography of Ayn Rand reveals that she was dedicated to everybody being totally free to do whatever she (Rand) wanted.

The Canadian Olympic snowboarding team seems to have misunderstood the half-pipe event. Did anybody test the Jamaican bobsled team?

The Mossad (Israeli secret police) has really gone downhill with these botched assassinations. In the old days, if they had been assigned to take out JFK, he would have slipped in the bathtub and nobody would have suspected a thing.

Bad Sex

BACK IN THE old Young Peoples Socialist League, an active sex life was seen as a sign of insufficient devotion to politics. What sex we did have was usually the result of somebody missing the last bus back to Brandeis. [Note: The editor, though slightly younger, has heard enough anecdotal evidence to know that this is a complete lie.&#8212ed.]

[Note from Kampfer: Well, maybe in the Chicago branch.]

It looks like Monica Lewinsky may be getting ready to fall back on a variation of the “didn’t inhale” defense.

Cinematic Notes

IT WILL BE worth catching the new movie “Butcher Boy” just to see Sinead O’Connor as the Virgin Mary.

Every time I hear Jabert in “Les Miserables” lately, I find myself visualizing Kenneth Starr.

Given the amount of money Paul Simon has put into “Capeman” and the reviews it’s been getting (“like watching a mortally wounded animal”), he might think about getting back together with Art Garfunkle after all.

Video buffs will be delighted to learn that “Yojimbo” has finally been reissued in the wide-screen format that Kurosawa emphasized in the movie.

Quote of the Month

“I HAVE SOCIAL friends who are truck drivers. These are people I play racquetball with.” &#8212Jimmy Hoffa, Jr.

Sure you don’t want to spell that with a k, Junior?

ATC 74, May-June 1998