Random Shots: The Kings of the World

Against the Current, No. 98, May/June 2002

R.F. Kampfer

CARRYING ON A tradition dating back to the Crimean war, they’ve come out with a set of trading cards for the Dubya Crusade. The cards used to come with cigarettes, then bubble gum. Now all you get is paper.

Some scientists have decided that tyrannosaurus rex was too slow to catch any live prey, and had to live on carrion. Are these the same people who proved that the aerodynamic proportions of the bumblebee made it impossible for it to fly?

Maybe the Andersen accountants turned to crime due to the humiliation of being characterized as nerds and geeks all their lives?

The purge of ENRON icons from public places brings back memories of all those Stalin statues being pulled down in 1956.

Heavy Stuff

IT SEEMS LIKE a no-brainer that heavy, bulky or fragile items (like refrigerators or big-screen TVs) should be made with built-in carrying handles.

A movie is being made about the eccentric Collyer brothers, who collected so much junk in their mansion that one was crushed in an avalanche and the other starved to death. Should be required viewing for every teenager.

We are about due for another installment in the “Return of the Seacaucus Seven,” “Big Chill” sagas, this time about the trauma of baby-boomers hitting sixty. Problem is, the actors of that generation have had too much plastic surgery to pass for senior discounts, and those of the generation before lack the mystical bond with the Golden Age of the `60s.

Telemarketers usually open their pitch by asking how you are doing. That sounds like a good excuse to ramble on about your medical problems until they hang up out of frustration.

Miscellaneous Weirdness

AN ANONYMOUS MEMBER of the Green Party has said that getting the Party to do anything was very much like herding cats.

The problem with listening to “Car Talk” is that it makes you worry that those weird noises your car is making might mean something dangerous and/or expensive. (Kampfer deals with weird car noises by turning the radio louder.)

If you think children’s cartoons are too violent, check out the original “Punch and Judy” script.

The last time Michael Jackson appeared on TV, he reminded me of somebody. Couldn’t think of who until I happened to see Jack Nicholson playing the Joker in “Batman.”

The same people who were so upset about collateral damage at Waco find it much more acceptable in Afghanistan. They are also willing to give Ashcroft a lot more power than Reno ever had.

The Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice sounds like something Ashcroft would dream up, but it was actually a Taliban agency.

Regeneration and Degeneration

KAMPFER’S GRANDDAUGHTER, for some reason, is afraid of her mother’s old Oinky the Pig doll. At least it can be used to guard the computer from sticky little fingers.

When we actually revisit the Golden Age of anything, like Hollywood musicals or Mad comics, we find about a third of it was great, a third was OK, and the rest was crap. Our memories just preserve the great stuff.

And then there were two: The Beatles used to sing about turning 64, but none of them have made it yet.

The Detroit police have their own profiling system. Any Michigan drivers who obey the speed limit and traffic signals are suspected of carrying something illegal.

from ATC 98 (May/June 2002)