Thursday, January 5, 2017

Wouldn't You Like to Die in My Beautiful Balloon? - column

Lawrence Hall, HSG

Wouldn’t You Like to Die in my Beautiful Balloon?

Last month, on 19 December, the real presidential election was held, and given the choices from a catalogue of less-than-ideal candidates the electors chose, well, a less-than-ideal candidate.

The Constitution, which is more discussed than studied, does not provide for direct election of the President. The legislature of each state appoints electors in proportion to the population, and these electors choose the President. The states are not obligated to give the population a voice in this matter except indirectly in the election of representatives and senators. As it is, they do, and when voting for President the citizen is in fact voting for an elector who says he (the pronoun is gender-neutral) will vote for president according to the popular vote, but in most states, including Texas, he is not obligated to do so.

This is inefficient. It is meant to be so. A tyranny is efficient. A Republic is inefficient, built with laws and other encumbrances so that all the people have a voice, not solely the population centers of the New York-California Axis.

The nation survived James Buchanan; it will survive the coming administration.

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According to Bloomberg and other sources, licensed Texas balloon pilot Alfred “Skip” Nichols was on thirteen different medications, including seven FAA-banned drugs, when he crashed his commercial balloon and killed himself and fifteen passengers last July. Mr. Nichols also had five DWI arrests, three drug-related arrests, and two prison terms for drug and alcohol convictions.

Apparently an FAA balloon pilot’s license ( is easier to maintain than a Texas cosmetology license (, and, generally speaking, your barber or beautician is unable to subject you to a screaming, falling, burning death.

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Hipsterism. It’s over. Burn the stupid hats.

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All I know about Russia comes from reading The Brothers Karamazov, so I don’t know what the lads in Moscow and Saint Petersburg are up to in the 21st century. Several years ago I read that Vlad, who sometimes takes off his shirt and wrestles with tigers, had all the computers in the Moscow kremlin removed and replaced with manual typewriters and trustworthy messengers for internal communications. I think he was on to something. The typewriters, I mean, not taking off his shirt and frightening American presidents with his rippling muscles.

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In Australia, a young man named Luke Moore learned that his bank had inadvertently given him a two million dollar overdraft protection on his checking account.

Oh, yeah.

Yes, he’s going to prison for four years because overdraft protection means you have to say you’re sorry and give it back.

Mr. Moore, a law student, spent the last two years, and two million dollars of overdraft, on sports cars, speed boats, and strippers, according to The Sun.

As W. C. Fields might have said, it’s good to know he didn’t waste the money.

Still, four years in prison.

If the law school in Australia doesn’t save his seat, perhaps he can migrate to the USA and become a licensed balloon pilot.


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