Notes from around the Human Experience…
BACK FROM THE BRINK…FOR NOW: North Korea backed down on its threats to attack evil Guam Tuesday. Maybe North Korean leaders saw the pointlessness of this themselves, or maybe the Chinese ambassador stopped by for a chat, smacked Kim Jong-un around and said:
Look, I know those zany Americans are a hot mess right now, but they can send you – and us for that matter – back to the stone age before their morning coffee is done, so STFU, thank you in advance.
Get Your Notebooks Out, Class Is In Session: It was probably all bluster on their part and we don’t think we were ever particularly close to war, but you never really know, especially when America has a president who does everything off the top of his head and gives daily clinics in Blustering 101.
Gaylon For Congress…Vote Early, Vote Often: Regular readers of this crap know – know! – we are the biggest of peace advocates, both in this column and as candidates for the United States Senate and House of Representatives. We believe in giving every nation the dignity of conducting their affairs without interference from us and that we will not have a peaceful world without a peaceful America.
It’s On: But I believe in defending our country, and if North Korea had so much as thrown a rock at Guam, we would’ve been authorized to retaliate. Threats against us – Guam, Cleveland, it doesn’t matter – must be ended immediately and for good. Now, we don’t have to nuke them, of course. We have enough conventional weapons to do sufficient damage. Heck, I ‘m not entirely convinced some well-trained Boy Scouts couldn’t go in and take Pyongyang.
The Bottom Line: America has a lot to answer for right now, but we’ve still got the biggest sticks on the block. Don’t mess with us.
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH: At least President Trump is consistent.
It wasn’t a bulletin when, in a remark that was witless as it was insensitive, our president said there was enough blame for the Charlottesville tragedy to go around. And it wasn’t a surprise when he later came out and called white supremacists criminals and thugs. And while it was perhaps unprecedented, no one should be scratching their heads after Trump reverted to his original statement, insisting yet again “there is blame on both sides” for a racist plowing a car into a throng of people protesting racists.
Now, in a philosophical, big picture context, Trump has a point. If the protesters had not shown up, if they had let the racists alone to hate by themselves, none of this would have happened. Take away their audience and they are just a bunch of people standing around with nothing to do.
Dry, Technical Matter: However, being contextually correct is not what our country needs from its president right now. We need a president who can and will publicly declare what this country is about. America’s record on race has never been good, but it would have been nice to have a president stand up and say hey, we’re better than this from the start.
Did We Call It, Or What?: We said before last November’s election that Trump would be as embarrassing a president as he was a candidate. He is, and if you think it is going to get any better you are high, legally in some states. We elected an unread man of no particular substance, just like George W Bush. Trump continues to show his only real talent is drawing attention to himself.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: Sports Illustrated publishes its first issue on this date in 1954, with Eddie Matthews of the Milwaukee Braves on the cover.
Long before the advent of cable TV and the Internet, Sports Illustrated, despite being a weekly magazine, was an important source of sports news. And while it’s prominence might be less than it was in its heyday, Sports Illustrated still has over 3 million subscribers, the most of any sports magazine in the country.
A Warm, Personal Remembrance: We can remember bugging Dad to subscribe to SI back when we were kids. The rate was 19 cents an issue in 1975 and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier was on the cover of the first issue delivered to our house. The covers from our Kansas City Royals two World Series championships hang on a wall in our home office.
Great Moments In Falling Out Of The Wild Blue Yonder: US Air Force Captain Joseph Kittinger sets parachuting records for the highest altitude jump, longest freefall and highest speed by a human outside of an airplane above New Mexico on this date in 1960.
Kittinger stepped out of his balloon 102,800 feet up, fell 4 minutes and 36 seconds and achieved a high speed 614 miles per hour. The records stood until 2012, probably because nobody was particularly anxious to beat them.
Thank You For Your Service, Sir: This was part of a varied career for Kittinger. He would later, among other things, fly in the Vietnam War, getting shot down and spending eleven months as a prisoner of war. He retired from the Air Force as a colonel in 1978. Now 87, he lives in Orlando, Florida.
Quotebook: Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only. Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Pope Julius II was the pope who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Today’s Stumper: Who was Sports Illustrated’s first Sportsman of the Year? – Answer next time!