February 25, 2003 edition
desert delirium; and
study finds snow responsible for insanity
It has been a weird week in the news. Very weird. And The War hasn’t even started yet. Out of the plethora of news insanity, three stories rise to the top of the vessel to form this week’s floating film of pond scum.
Turbulent waters in the wake of the south Chicago nightclub stampede hadn’t even calmed when another tragic gin mill story broke, this time in the working class town of West Warwick, Rhode Island. It was another stampede, but this one was sparked by fire and not the promiscuous spraying of mace.
The immediacy and magnitude of the tragedy has ebbed, and now the order of the day is identifying the remains of the dead; finger pointing back and forth between Great White lead vocalist Jack Russell and club owners Jeff and Michael Derderian; and the town of West Warwick, Rhode Island pandering Washington, D.C. for “disaster status” and the federal money that follows attaining such status.
DIALING FOR DOLLARS. The mayor of West Warwick Rhode Island has been on the phone with (p)Resident Dubya, no doubt crying the blues and kissing up in the hope for some dinero in the form of Federal Disaster Relief funds. Granted that unexpected costs were incurred as a result of the tragedy, though this was no World Trade Center or Hurricane Gloria in disaster magnitude – it was a single old roadhouse that burned to the ground.
Should federal dollars be wired from the U.S. Treasury to the town of West Warwick for this disaster, an interesting precedent would be set. Every time a pothole needs to be filled with some cold patch, cities and towns will be lining up and crying poverty to Uncle.
DON’T LOOK AT ME: I DIDN’T DO IT. It’s obvious that the real estate on which the charred remains of The Station sits will go through yet another in a string of changes: from nightclub to derelict property to crime scene. The big question is whether permission had been granted for the pyrotechnics display that night. Search warrants have been issued, evidence is being collected as the hounds’ howls echo in the darkness of the night.
One thing is for certain in the days, weeks and months ahead. There are going to be a lot of lawyers circling both the band Great White and club owners Jeff and Michael Derderian, as both the band and the club owners carry the burden of responsibility for what happened that fateful Friday night in West Warwick. Don’t be surprised if the state’s Fire Marshall and his department aren’t on the lawyers’ menu, too. The sharks will be fed. Stay tuned for the fury of this feeding frenzy.
Last night on the evening news, Dan Rather performed yet another act of shameless media masturbation hawking his recent meeting with none other than Saddam Hussein. CBS and Rather got a scoop, and Hussein got the attention of the American television viewing public: a circle-jerk of incredible magnitude.
Hussein used this obviously landmark opportunity to propose that he and (p)Resident Dubya have a world-televised debate on the situation between the United States and Iraq. American government officials say “no way” to this proposal, which comes as no surprise. But the proposal is worthy of serious consideration. A debate between those two would take the idea of televised “town meeting” to a new level. If it were only practical and an accurate reading could be taken, it would be interesting to track public opinion before and after such a debate and then let the world audience decide just who is the bad guy in this escalating middle east disaster in cue.
The sad thing is that if the United States does engage Hussein in military battle, there will be American blood spilled on the faraway sands of Iraq. That very American blood will drip down onto and into the sand, be sucked into the earth of our Earth, only to be sucked back out into crude oil holding tanks and be pumped into tankers, then domestic refineries and ultimately into tanks of SUVs carrying groceries back to the Monuments to Greed.
A news story out of Philadelphia is almost too bizarre for even television viewers anesthetized by “reality TV.” A girl is walking home from school, passes some other children having a snowball fight and gets hit in the face with a snowball. Sounds like winter, childhood and higher latitude North America so far, right?
The girl’s father, Joseph Best, 32, gets into a fight with the mother of one other children and the police are called to break up the altercation. He returns several hours later and fires at least five shots at the hooligans that were throwing snowballs. 10-year-old Ebony Smith caught one of the slugs with her head and remains hospitalized in critical condition. It turns out that Ebony was not one of the children involved in the snowball fight. Go figure.
Now do you see how wars start?
Take the three news stories and put them in a blender. Give the blender a couple of blasts in pulse mode and pour the contents out on the table. Here’s what you get:
Hans Blix and his band of UN Weapons inspectors get pulled from duty in Iraq and are flown to the United States for two tasks. One is to help in the investigation of the West Warwick nightclub fire. The other is to work with federal, state and local officials in the detection, inspection and certification of all pyrotechnics shows throughout the nation.
Owners of West Warwick’s The Station nightclub, members of the pyrotechnics crew for Great White, and Philadelphia snowball fight vigilante Joseph Best are all sentenced to replace UN weapons inspectors in Iraq. Their mission will be to sniff out manufacturing facilities and stockpile sites for Iraqi nerve gas and biological weaponry. Let there be no stone left unturned.
And finally: The confrontation between the United States and Iraq will require no military personnel or equipment. The showdown will be between the very leaders of these two nations and comprise of a snowball duel to be held on the streets of Philadelphia. The duel will be a live, world-televised event and be judged by the fully recovered Ebony Smith.
Gentlemen: please stand back to back. Walk out ten paces, turn and throw. No face or head shots, please, and may the best arm win.
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Text - Copyright © 2003 Jeff Bauer
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Revised - Friday, September 9, 2005