Random Shots: Idle Idylls of Old Idols

Against the Current, No. 101, November/December 2002

R.F. Kampfer

ONE HAS TO wonder how far the immortal Janis Joplin would have gotten on “American Idol.” Ever notice that the winners of the weekly votes cried more than the losers?

A TV commentator noted that this might be the last chance for the top contenders to win the U.S. Open men’s tennis championship because of their near-retirement age, 30 and 31 (coincidentally, the number of Kampfer’s years in the auto plant prior to his own retirement).

The mayor of Moscow is calling for the statue of the arch-chekist Felix Dzerzhinski to be returned to its pedestal. It’s pleasant to speculate about how “Iron Felix” would deal with the current Russian leadership.

Levelling on Iraq

DUBYA HASN’T BEEN able to catch Osama Bin Laden, so he’s going after Saddam Hussein. Much like the guy who gets chewed out by his boss, and goes home to kick the cat.

Some of Iraq’s strongest defenders are the nations to whom Saddam owes money. They still have hopes of getting paid back.

Dubya apparently governs by the old Texas motto: “Blessed be he whose cause is just. Thrice blessed be he who pulls the trigger fust.”

Not content with levelling Iraq to liberate it, Dubya says he has to destroy the national forests in order to save them. Like those Vietnamese villages.

Traditionalists Beware

STEVE EARLE WARNS us that the cap-and-ball Colt (“shoots quick as lightning but slow to reload”), will “get you into trouble, but won’t get you out.” Steve’s new CD “Jerusalem” is worth buying just to annoy the patriots.

True history: When British manufacturers began to get competition from German imports, they pushed a law through parliament requiring all imported goods to be marked with the country of origin. Unfortunately, they found that their customers regarded “Made in Germany” as a badge of high quality. Accordingly, they had the identification changed to “Foreign Made.”

We used to criticize the UAW leadership by comparing them to Walter Reuther. Actually, they weren’t that much worse than he was.

Bones of Wisdom

“MEAT IS BETTER than bones, but bones are better than nothing.”–Isaac Babel

Florida elections, the neverending story.

Crop circles — wading pools of the gods?

In response to 9/11, the heimatpolezei (that’s security police, for you Germanically challenged readers) have outlawed taking pictures of bridges and tunnels. Of course, one can always buy the postcards — or download the blueprints.

India and Pakistan have one point of agreement about Kashmir. It will not get its independence.

ATC 101, November-December 2002