Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Reporter in the Closet

Mack Hall

The Reporter in the Closet

In a masterful, post-dawn kinetic journalism action strike, Vice-President Joe-the-Tank-Engine Biden’s henchminions made the world just a little bit safer for the most open administration in American history by confining a reporter in a closet and posting a Sergeant Schultz outside the door.

Amtrak Joe was a guest last week at Winter Falls, the Florida mansion of a developer and philanthropist who was hosting a fundraiser for Senator Bill Nelson. The pool reporter for the event was the Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Powers, who upon arrival was Colonel Klinked to a closet lest he contaminate the $500-a-plate faux nobility with the presence of his wretched, ink-stained self.

And certainly there were plenty of closets from which to choose; Winter Falls was designed with all the understated elegance of an oil-sheik-princess’s concept of a shopping mall, bridging the architectural and aesthetic gap between Hello Kitty and an airport.

After an hour or so Mr. Powers was given a brief parole to listen passively to the speeches given (for a price) by the champions of the workin’ folks, and then escorted back to The Cooler without being given a chance to ask any questions of the elected members of the government or talk with any of the Great Washed.

Mr. P wasn’t permitted to refresh himself at the buffet, even in silence. According to the Orlando Sentinel the pre-prandial snacks for the guests (no scriveners need apply) included caprese crustini. I don’t know what caprese crustini is, but then I’m not a welder, miner, or truck driver. The caprese crustini was topped off with oven-dried mozzarella and basil, and I’m not sure how Basil felt about that. Lunch featured Chicken Caesar (no comment) and vegetable wraps.

Vegetables – does this call for a legume change?

The next time I visit the truck stop cafĂ©’ I’m going to try the caprese crustini in solidarity with The People.

All Mr. Powers got for sustenance was a bottle of water, and nothing was said about how radioactive it might have been.

Mr. Powers was not imprisoned, as some have alleged; surely he could have demanded that he be released, but then he would have missed out on a good joke worth a couple of good columns, some publicity for his paper, and a notch in his resume’. Mr. P sent his editor a picture of the closet via his Blackberry, and so could have dialed 911. A false imprisonment charge, unlike the wings of an angel, wouldn’t fly.

Still, this is not pretty for the President who, for reasons best known to himself and perhaps The Voices, has ordered the military to drop bombs on Libya. The first bomb he dropped, though, was on himself, two years ago, by allowing his grey eminences to pair him with a vice-president who makes PeeWee Herman look positively statesmanlike.

The homeowner, to his credit, later telephoned Mr. Powers to apologize for the enclosetment, maintaining that, like Sergeant Shultz, he knew nothing. Perhaps he sent Jeeves over to the Orlando Sentinel offices with a takeout plate and a festive selection of new typewriter ribbons.

So who is this great nation bombing next week? Canada, maybe? Or Luxembourg? Perhaps the Principality of Liechtenstein? But the President doesn’t need to bomb Liechtenstein; it’s small and harmless and so can be stuffed into a closet for any reason or for no reason at all.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Technology -- EEK!

Mack Hall

Technology – EEK!

If an individual were to awaken from a winter of hibernation and read the news today he would conclude from the limited information given that the deaths and destruction in Japan these last two weeks are the result of a nuclear explosion.

There have certainly been explosions enough, hydrogen gas explosions, but there has been no nuclear explosion because a nuclear power plant cannot explode. Our hypothetical reader would also be surprised to learn that the deaths and destruction, including the wreckage of a power plant, are in reality the result of a powerful earthquake and resulting wave action.

Contemporary ideology works within a philosophical framework posited in the grounding myth that all bad things are human in origin, and that the prime cause of evil is that man is a self-actuated tool-maker, not a wretched, hungry hunter-gatherer. In reporting the disasters in Japan, the earthquakes and tsunami are not simply underreported in favor of the it’s-all-some-man’s-fault thesis, they appear now not to be mentioned at all, rather like Hurricanes Rita and Ike.

Japan, with more cause than any other nation to be sensitive to the negative possibilities of nuclear power, is gridded with nuclear power plants, and these power plants have for years operated with great benefit to the Japanese people and economy by producing cheap electricity and warm water. The warm water, by the way, makes for improved sport fishing at the outlets. To the fish in the cold northern Pacific, shivering in their little designer parkas, the waters cycling out of a nuclear reactor are as a dream cruise in the Caribbean to you and me.

To say that nuclear power is dangerous is a truism equal to stating that storing containers of gasoline in one’s living room is dangerous or that building a campfire during a drought is dangerous. Most human activities – welding, bicycling, mowing the yard, building fences, fishing, milking cows, playing baseball -- contain some element of danger. Shall we thus simply cease living? We humans have frontal lobes, and generally know not to give 6-year-olds the keys to the car or allow newly-commissioned lieutenants access to weapons or sharp objects.

As of this writing, not one person has been killed because of the wrecked nuclear plant in Japan.

Further, the American ships that have sailed to Japan with generous gifts of American food and American water and American blankets and American medical care are powered by nuclear power plants. For over fifty years American submarines and large warships have been powered by the atom, and our sailors and Marines don’t come home glowing in the dark and giving birth to children with three eyes. The solution to nuclear safety issues seems to be building nuclear reactors just like those used by the United States Navy.

Finally, while short-term exposure to radiation is dangerous, the long-term implications are less alarming. In 1945, before the bomb was dropped, 419,000 people lived in Hiroshima; now some 1.6 million prosper there. 212,000 folks lived in Nagasaki in 1945; now there are 446,000.

At this point some twit will tweet, indignantly and with two fingers, “So what u sayin is bombin cities is good uh.” No, I’m not saying that at all; the conversation is about nuclear power used wisely for the good of all people.

In an aside we may note that Detroit, which hasn’t suffered combat since the French and Indian War, boasted a population of 1.5 million in 1945; now some 910,000 exist in the ruins of a once-great city.

Nuclear power is good; abandoning humanity to starve in the cold because of Greenist ideology is bad.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Reverend Charlie Sheen

Mack Hall

Reverend Charlie Sheen

An organization styling itself Family Radio declareth unto us that the world is going to end on the 21st of May. There are several reasonable responses:

“What? The world is ending? Again?”

“Oh, no! Can’t the end of the world wait until after graduation?”

“It was on the ‘net, so it must be true.”

“But I haven’t finished reading all my vampire books yet.”

“Well, okay, I guess I won’t have the lawnmower serviced.”

There are few among us these days who aren’t ministers, priests, priestesses, or preachers. Indeed, there are so many churches, ministries, outreaches, fellowships, temples, assemblies, assemblages, and what-nots that soon each one of us will be his or her own The Bright Light Free Will Four Square Full Gospel Missionary Temple of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Lamb Holiness Sanctified of the Infallible Me, Me, Me, complete with a website and an official tee-shirt.

The leader of Family Radio is Harold Camping, who calculated the end through pushing together lots of numbers in a loosey-goosey spasm of numerology that would embarrass even Pope Mel Gibson, grounding the base numbers in dates which aren’t in any of the hundreds of versions of the Bible, but maintaining their (and his) inerrancy anyway.

Oh, yeah, we gotta follow this man.

The Family Radio website ( features a button for online donations. Now if the world is going to end in two months, why would Family Radio need your money? They could close out the holy checking account and use the cash for milk and fresh bread, eat out of the pantry and freezer, and not sweat the utility bills. After all, are they going to need money when they’re beamed up to the Hale-Bopp YK2 and KY Mother Ship? It’s not as if there’s going to be a baggage fee.

True believers have left families to travel around the country in caravans of SUVs to advise folks that the very few who are to be saved will be teleported up on the 21st of May and that the rest of us are going to live in a totally Charlie Sheen / Fred Phelps world until October, at which point the cosmic plug will be pulled.

One of the site’s “Caravan Letters” reports from San Antonio, but the photograph accompanying the letter (as of last Saturday) is of the state capitol building in Austin. If these folks don’t know the way to San Antonio, what are their chances of directing you to Heaven?

While The End is only two months away, there’s plenty of time for all of us to start our own churches and then start sneering at each other as unscriptural. Friends have suggested the Cowboy Happy Trails End-Times Ministry, the Truckers’ Last Jump-Start Fellowship, and the Certified Public Accountants for Jesus (Your Number’s Up), but I think I’ll begin The Official Massey-Ferguson Three-Point Hitch Bible Fellowship and Gallery of Collectibles, joining the many who have found the Holy Spirit to have been off-task for the past 2,000 years.

Oh, and where will the Family Radio whatever folks be on The Day? Jerusalem? The Bermuda Triangle? Captain Kirk’s house? Nope. The end of the world takes place in Flagstaff, Arizona, the City of Salvation and jumping-off point for the Planet Krypton. Hey, see ya there, okay? But go ahead and send me your bank account and credit card numbers and your car title. It’s all for the Lord’s work.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

The World's Largest Shopping Mall and Noodle Cart

Mack Hall

The World’s Largest Shopping Mall and Noodle Cart

The world’s largest shopping mall is open for business, but the business isn’t there.

The New South China Mall (is there an Old South China?) features 2,350 spaces for lease, but only about fifty are taken.

With so much empty spaces, mall rats in the New South China Mall really are rats, squeaking about in loneliness along the kilometers of empty hallways.

There is no Target store, of course, for in the glorious People’s Republic of China anyone who disagrees with The People becomes the target. It’s sort of like dealing with the American Department of Justice, a division of the S.E.I.U..

The good part about an empty mall is that finding a parking space is no problem.

And Chinese food? “Hey, kids, we’ll meet at the food court at eleven.”

“But Dad, where’s the food court?”

“Oh, about two miles thataway you’ll find Mrs. Chin’s noodle cart. You can’t miss it; just look for the one light bulb in the mall that’s switched on.”

Organizing a rave would be a problem, though: “This is Sino-Dude evr 1 meet by the Xtreem Jeans Outlet Depot that duznt xist for a r8ve.”

“This is Shanghai Lil over by Cheap Plastic Extreeme Sneaker City that also doesn’t exist. Where is Xtreem Jeans Outlet Depot since there izzn 1?”

“Yeh, guys, this is Beijing Bomber Boy at Xtreem Snail and Eel Kitchen Express which never moved in. Where are y’all?”

“Help! I’m at Old New Jersey Exteeeeeme Cell Phone Outfitters Supply Company Xpress which is empty and all I see is some old guy with bad breath who tells me I need to get right with Buddha. Help! Find me!”

Given the lack of customers, the one book store is named Books-a-Dozen.

Coffee is available at RedStarbuck’s, and there is a HallMarxist store specializing in sympathy cards for political prisoners:

Dear (former) Comrade Sister,
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Hu Jin-Tao’s
Got a death sentence for you

Dear (former) Cousin Comrade Chang,
I detest
Your protest arrest
But I warned you, dude,
And I wasn’t rude
You know our laws
And all their flaws
Surely you cannot
Think it so odd
That due process in China
Is a firing squad

The New South China Mall might be empty because instead of shopping some of the Chinese people are busy working 16-hour days in unsafe factories for poor wages and others are occupied in conquering Asia and in stripping Africa of her mineral wealth. Given this, new uses of the near-empty shopping mall could be dreamed up. Since China is densely populated, perhaps individuals wishing to be alone for a few hours could to go to their local shopping mall and pay for the privilege of solitude.