Happy: June 2002 Archives

Yup, just satire, but even Einbildungenschadenfreude makes us happy for a moment.

El Paso, Texas (SatireWire.com) — Unwilling to wait for their eventual indictments, the 10,000 remaining CEOs of public U.S. companies made a break for it yesterday, heading for the Mexican border, plundering towns and villages along the way, and writing the entire rampage off as a marketing expense.

Is this for real? The Paper of Record actually published this letter, supposedly defending SUV's, in today's edition. [I'm putting it under "Happy," because I can only find it ludicrous, definitely not serious enough for any other category.]

The fuel cost is borne entirely by me, and though this makes the United States more dependent on foreign oil, it is also the most powerful method of introducing capitalism and democracy into corrupt oil-producing nations.
Have you no shame, Mr. Mullen?

Ok, time for a humor break. Let us return to a simpler time, when things did not look as bad as they do today, now that we've shown the world the stuff we're made of.

The Onion 26 September 2001
Attack On America

Yea! The eagles are back in Manhttan, reintroduced into our only remaining swath of virgin forest.

Yesterday afternoon a group of Urban Park Service workers toted them down a trail to a 20-foot wooden platform, topped by two green boxes: the eagles' new home. As car alarms blared faintly in the distance, the boxes were hoisted up on ropes and placed in the cages. Once safely inside the cages, the eagles were released and had identifying bands attached to their legs.

They looked — well, surprised. Spreading their mottled brown wings and pecking at the biologists around them, the birds glanced anxiously out at a spectacular view of the Harlem River and Manhattan buildings.

Ok, this should be the last log item coming out of the New Festival screenings, but it's a real winner! "Boychik" is a magical little film which was part of the most excellent Growing Pains shorts program.

It's tough recommending a short, since we're not likely to see it advertised at the multiplex, but follow your index finger (the reference will be clear to those who manage to see it) if you ever discover it on a program.

Japan has again shown off one of its greatest innovations - square watermelons.
Where do we get them? Our little ("compact") apartment refrigerator has never seen an entire watermelon, and I'm afraid it would probably have a compressor attack if it did. Over the years I've become expert at buying and arranging almost everything I need it to work with, but, until now, watermelons were just not a consideration. At the prices in Japan however, it's a wonder any watermelon was a consideration for anyone, even when they only came round! Fifty dollars for a watermelon?
Each melon sells for 10,000 yen, equivalent to about $83. It is almost double, or even triple, that of a normal watermelon.

My curiosity has been fed, but not satisfied, by an interesting item in today's NYTimes "Sports Monday" section.

Americans are reacting with queasiness to the ancient soccer tradition of exchanging shirts after a game — not just trading the shirts, mind you, but promptly pulling them on, sweat and all.

[Speak for yourselves, guys; some of us have other reactions.]
Wearing somebody else's clammy gear seems downright unhygienic. There is also a barbaric touch to seeing a player wearing opposing colors, almost the way Dark Ages warriors walked off the battlefield displaying enemy trophies.

Perhaps trying to assuage some fans' objections, an American player contributed, "Besides, you're already sweaty."

Whoa! You mean we don't always have to race around and complain? Marguerite Stanford will outlive us all.

People on non-rush-hour buses talk to each other. I walk when I'm able, but bus riding is truly enjoyable. Most things are; it just depends on your point of view.

Part of the fun is getting there!

I was aware of the risk of misrepresentation when I first read the story about a gift of cows to the U.S., but I still don't believe we need to pretend that there is only one way to portray an entire people. One critic of the media story however makes his point in today's NYTimes.

We asked the Italian waiter tonight about the title of a Verdi opera on a vintage LP used as part of the restaurant's decor. He looked down and pointed at the (slash war) symbol on my shirt and said that in consideration of my, "How you say it?" to which I answered, "button," that I might want to translate the title, I Masnadieri, meaning "the robbers," as "Roomsfeld and Bussch!"

Schiller would be pleased.

In an article about the lack of systems for accessing information either to avoid disasters or to recover from disasters, we are given a peek at how one group of people managed to overcome the obstacles in a very human way after September 11.

Manhattan financial traders' plans for recovering computer data in case of disaster were of no use after September 11, because so many had died, including those who knew the backup systems and the passwords.

So the traders, [one corporate executive] said, tried to guess: "They talked about where they went on vacation, what their kids' names were, what their wives' names were, what their dogs' names were, you know, every imaginable thing about their personal life." The traders did it: they broke into the ID's and into the necessary systems, and were ready when the bond market opened a few days later. "No one said, `Our technology saved us,' or `Our plan really worked,' the executive said. "To a person, they said, `It was people.' "

Today the NYTimes provided a follow-up to the item I posted on June 3 about the Masai gift to the people of the United States. In spite of earlier reports, the cows may be on their way here after all.

"If we can get 80,000 men and machines into Afghanistan, we can get 14 cows out of Kenya," [a Washington Times columnist] wrote. Others, too, want the cows to come home. One woman suggested they go to the Bronx Zoo. Another imagined putting them out to pasture — in Central Park.

Sometimes it's refreshing to know that the world is not sitting in the same living room. In Kenya, some of the Masai needed to hear about September 11 in a way that that was most human to them.

Most Masai had learned of the attacks from the radio soon after they occurred. But the horrible television images passed by many Masai, who got electricity in their village only shortly before the attacks. In the oral tradition they rely on, Mr. Naiyomah sat them down and told them stories that stunned them.

Through his tales, Sept. 11 became real. The Masai felt sadness. They felt relief that Mr. Naiyomah was unscathed. They wanted to do something.

Sometimes a cellphone is just not a cellphone, as we learn from a NYTimes reader.

As an avid Central Park birder, I'm always on the lookout for the unusual. Recently, after two hours of early-morning birding, I reluctantly headed from the park when my ears caught the sound of a cellphone ringing.

I looked into the bushes where the sound was coming from but saw no one.

Then my eye caught a perky little catbird running through its repertory of bird songs. Knowing that it is a mimic, I listened carefully, trying to pick out the different songs. I heard it imitate a white-throated sparrow, a house finch, a song sparrow, and then the clear ring of a cellphone. My mouth dropped open in disbelief. I listened again and, sure enough, heard the catbird repeat bird song, bird song, cellphone and on and on. The little guy made my day.

This page is an archive of entries in the Happy category from June 2002.

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