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Sun

20

Jan

2008

Enjoy Every Sandwich
Sunday, 20 January 2008 12:26
by Ed Naha

Here’s a new definition of the word “irony.” While political pundits have been pompously prattling about the presidential primaries and debates, on the news sidelines 22 American troops have been killed in Iraq in 17 days, 22 American bald eagles have died from eating tainted fish guts in Alaska, we’ve committed 3,000 more troops to play catch-up in Afghanistan, Bush is considering slowing or stopping plans to bring home more troops from Iraq, and our President has declared:
“I’m sure people view me as a warmonger and I view myself as peacemaker.”
If there truly is a God in Heaven, He probably bears more than a passing resemblance to Moe Howard and is currently reaching for a lightning bolt while muttering “Why I oughtta…”

A lot of folks ask me how it’s possible to maintain a skewered sense of humor during Bush’s reign in Amerika. Actually, it’s my wife who usually asks me this. My dogs would, but they’re too busy angling for praise for crapping on cue – a trait they’ve probably picked up from Republican politicians.

Whenever the humor question comes up, I refer to one of my most beloved fallen heroes; singer-songwriter Warren Zevon. Faced with a diagnosis of three months to live, he was asked if his illness gave him any new insights. Zevon shrugged and said he didn’t think so, “Not unless I know how much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich.”

Now, I’ve always interpreted that statement as meaning that, in today’s Bizarro World, you have to take the time to exhale, focus on what you’re doing, who and what you love and acknowledge the positive things in your life whenever possible. If not, the cacophony from the manufactured reality surrounding us will make your head explode. Or, worse yet, turn you into Chris Matthews.

Anyone without a sense of humor has probably imploded already due to the MSM’s bombastic braying about the presidential primaries. It’s politics ala Paris Hilton. All sound bites, no substance.

Is Hilary a racist? Is Obama an anti-Semite? Has Edwards seen “All the Kings Men?” Is Kucinich from Ork? Has Mike Gravel agreed to guest star on “Without A Trace?”

It’s even funnier on the Republican side. Is Romney an android? Can Huckabee really raise the dead? If so, can he do something about Fred Thompson? Is Giuliani nuts? Strike that. HOW nuts is Giuliani? Is Ron Paul Walter Brennan’s love child? Why is Duncan Hunter only seen on milk cartons? (You know the Republicans are in Rod Serling territory when Huckabee seeks to soften up South Carolina voters by telling them about the time when, in college, he ate fried squirrel cooked on a corn popper, ‘cause they wuz too poor to have a proper pan. Wee doggies.)

The Media reached the zenith of its nadirs when, after the “upset” in New Hampshire, stunned pundits interviewed equally puzzled pollsters for thirty-six hours straight. This was roughly akin to Mortimer Snerd interviewing Charlie McCarthy without Edgar Bergen being around. It was also in violation of the Geneva conventions.

As I write this, I swear to Moe, several cable screaming heads are referring to the upcoming “Super Tuesday” as “Tsunami Tuesday.” What? Was “Totally Terrific Tippy-Top Tuesday” already taken?

With breathless babble bubbling all around us, we are being encouraged to think that the primary battles are the be-all and end-all of news. Nothing else is going on!

Were that only the case.

While the shiny tin foil balls were rolling across our TV screens, our Lambaster-in-Chief was off on a magical misery tour of the Middle East (excluding Iraq, of course), photo-opping his ass off carrying swords, dancing with kids and, generally, looking like a pre-schooler surrounded by adults.

He also, unfortunately, spoke quite a bit. He disavowed the recent NIE and insisted that Iran was still the most dangerous threat in the world, asking leaders to join with him in slapping it down. He declared that there would be a peaceful settlement in the Israeli/Palestinian region by year’s end. He begged Saudis for oil after tossing a $20 billion arms package their way. And, showing a great understanding of history, gazed at aerial photos of Auschwitz and declared, “We should have bombed it.”

He also gave several interviews wherein he talked about himself in the third person in terms of his legacy. “I can predict that the historians will say that George W. Bush recognized the threats of the 21st century,” Bush stated, “clearly defined them, and had great faith in the capacity of liberty to transform hopelessness to hope, and laid the foundation for peace by making some awfully difficult decisions.”

Speaking of Bush in another interview, Bush said: “When he needed to be tough, he acted strong, and when he needed to have vision, he understood the power of freedom to be transformative.”

Now, I’m no psychologist, but if Ed Naha talked about Ed Naha in the third person, I’m sure Ed Naha’s family and friends would shoot Ed Naha with some sort of elephant tranquilizer and get Ed Naha into a room with rubber padding wherein Ed Naha could bounce around while talking about Ed Naha without actually hurting Ed Naha. But that’s just Ed Naha talking.

While Bush was off playing the diplomator, two polls were released stateside showing that 79% of Americans want the next president to run as far away from Bush’s policies as possible. When informed of the polls, Bush replied: “What am I supposed to do, go into a fetal position because of your polls?”

Couldn’t hurt.

Also lost in the primary news blitz were some interesting findings about the direction the world is heading in. As all Bush supporters know, global warming is a myth. Apparently, no one has bothered to clue Mother Earth in on this fact, however, and she’s behaving quite badly.

2007 saw some of the weirdest weather in history. January was the warmest first month on record worldwide - 1.53 degrees above normal. It was the first time since record-keeping began in 1880 that the globe’s average temperature has been so far above the norm for any month of the year.

And as 2007 drew to a close, it was also shaping up to be the hottest year on record in the Northern Hemisphere.

U.S. weather stations broke or tied 263 all-time high temperature records, according to an Associated Press analysis of U.S. weather data. England had the warmest April in 348 years of record-keeping there, shattering the record set in 1865 by more than 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the U.S., New York was hit by a tornado and New Mexico had record snow.

More than 60 percent of the United States was either abnormally dry or suffering from drought in August. In November, Atlanta’s main water source, Lake Lanier, shrank to an all-time low. Lake Okeechobee, crucial to south Florida, hit its lowest level in recorded history in May, exposing muck and debris not seen for decades. Lake Superior, the biggest and deepest of the Great Lakes, dropped to its lowest August and September levels in history.

Los Angeles hit its driest year on record. Lakes fed by the Colorado River and which help supply water for more than 20 million Westerners, were only half full.

In the northeast states, many followers of fall foliage got a shock last year. Most trees just turned brown, their leaves dropping off sans rainbow hues because of the high temperatures. Trees on the West Coast took a similar hit. “I suspect as things get warmer, we’ll start seeing sequoias just die on their feet where their foliage turns brown,” said Nate Stephenson, a U.S. Geological Survey ecologist who is studying the effects of climate change in the Sierra Nevada. “Even if they don’t die of drought stress, just think of the wildfires. If you dry out that vegetation, they’re going to be so much more flammable.”

Minnesota got the worst of everything: a devastating June and July drought followed by record August rainfall. In one March day, Southern California got torrential downpours, hail, snow and fierce winds. Then, in the fall, came devastating fires driven by Santa Ana winds.

(Two weeks ago, out here in California, we had red flag fire alerts and high wind advisories on a Wednesday. By Friday, we had flash flood warnings and torrential rains. Today? 75 mph wind gusts. Hotcha.)

Australia, already a dry continent, suffered its worst drought in a century, making global warming an election issue. The drought is still so bad that venomous snakes in search of moisture are now making their way into major cities, increasing the number of attacks on people. On the other extreme, record rains fell in China, England and Wales last year.

In the Alps, snow is melting so quickly that Alpine resorts, not being able to guarantee skiing, are planning on building golf courses.

New studies by the EU-funded Eden project foresee global warming in Europe bumping up the occurrences of fatal diseases, including malaria (the ultimate buzz kill) and the plague (oh, rats).

Another bi-product of global warming is the rise of megafires across the world. In the U.S., over 9.6 million acres were burned last year. Twenty years ago, fires burning over 5,000 acres were rare.

Somehow, none of these findings made their way into the headlines during the Hillary-Obama “No, I ditn’t – yes, you did” carnival or the Huckabee “God told me to” tent meetings.

On the plus side, Bush and his cronies did turn their attention to the environment recently. Earlier this week, the White House acknowledged recycling its backup computer tapes of all official e-mails before 2003, stymieing several ongoing investigations, including the CIA leak case. It’s not easy being green, coppers.

Bush also decided to exempt the Navy from an environmental law prohibiting the use of uber-sonar in its training off the California Coast; a practice that transforms dolphins and whales into the aquatic equivalent of Helen Keller.

Screw it. I mean, whales don’t caucus.

And, so, boys and girls, as the primaries limp on, Tim Russert offers up philosophical farts, Chris Matthews spews and George W. Bush continues to gnaw at the Constitution, let’s all pull a Zevon. Let’s all take a deep breath and remember to enjoy every sandwich.

If we don’t, then surely we will lose our lunch every time Bush says something along the lines of: “I can press when there needs to be pressed. I can hold hands when there needs to be – hold hands.”

You want fries with that?
 
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