Random Shots: New and Old Millenia

R.F. Kampfer

KAMPFER PREPARED FOR Y2K by stockpiling ammunition. He figured that would get him anything else he needed.

The siege of Grozny shows us that the Russian General Staff has forgotten the hard-won lessons of Stalingrad (not to mention Moscow in 1812, as Boris Kagarlitsky explains elsewhere in this issue).

Before the modern car-alarm, there was a device advertised in pulp magazines that would deliver a powerful electric shock to anyone who touched your ride.

I can imagine how my grandfather would have reacted to the idea of buying bottled water when you could get it out of the tap.

George Orwell, in 1945, wrote to deplore the fact that the number of daily newspapers published in London had been reduced to twelve.

The Passing Scene

WE USED TO assume that our parents looked unhappy most of the time because they were worried about something big, like war, Depression or their hoodlum children. Now we know that it was probably just that their feet hurt.

At some of George W. Bush’s campaign rallies they’ve been playing “Cat’s in the Cradle,” Harry Chapin’s song about a boy who grows up to be just like his father. If they’d paid attention to the lyrics, they might have noticed that the father was an insensitive jerk.

If we are going to defeat the World Trade Organization, we need to figure out whether it represents an attempt by the governments of the great powers to take over the world economy—or the multinationals’ effort to take over the world’s governments. (Maybe both?—ed.)

Chrysler has been buying stock in the Detroit casinos. They want to get their profit-sharing checks back.

The latest urban legend is that Kentucky Fried Chicken had to change its name to KFC because it is not serving chickens, but headless and featherless genetic mutants grown in vats.

In his 1953 story, “Enough Rope,” Poul Anderson describes a very familiar society: “Monopoly capitalism, partly controlled by the state and partly controlling the state.” He also shows us how such a state can be destroyed by pushing it in the direction it wants to go.

We can guess what Clinton wanted for Xmas, and we can be pretty sure that he didn’t get any.

The problem with having so many no-smoking zones is that you feel compelled to light up as soon as you leave one.

When Kampfer was in the Army, he saw people a lot older than Nathaniel Abraham behave recklessly with loaded firearms. None of them got charged with first-degree murder.

The Atlanta Braves’ John Rocker shows us that baseball players haven’t evolved much since the infamous Ty Cobb.

ATC 85, March-April 2000