Friday, June 2, 2017

Going down.

I wish to hell this thing had an emergency call box in it. Or head cushions - that would be nice. Not to mention some kind of shock absorbing device on the bottom. Am I being to engineer-y? Sorry.

Well, our mad science advisor Mitch Macaphee has unveiled his concept gondola. He's calling it the "Giardiniera Twelve", but it beats the hell out of me why. I think that's what he had for lunch last Thursday. He's got some kind of naming system going, that's all I know. In any case, it's kind of a cramped little thing, taller than it is wide, cylindrical, made of some unnamed shiny metal that I will refer to as inobtanium. In all frankness, it kind of looks like an air drop bomb of some kind, without the tail fins. Coincidence?

Anyhow, there's a pocket door on one side. The idea is that you climb into this thing, you lower it down the hole, and when you line up with some interesting subterranean stratum, the door slides open and you step out to take a look. Sounds simple enough, right? Ride down to level 47, open the portal, and start looking for gigs. What could possibly go wrong? Okay, that's a thing.Marvin (my personal robot assistant) will actually take the helm of the Giardiniera Twelve (or G12, for brevity's sake), sitting in the cockpit like a crane operator, pulling levers and waving his claw over art nouveau-looking glass lights that pulse in response. Very futuristic.

Christ on a bike, after all this crazy talk about urban gondolas, who on Earth would have imagined that we would be the first to actually implement one? Like so much in life, innovation is driven by circumstance. Hey, we've got a hole to the center of the Earth. We've got this thing and it's golden - we're not giving it away for nothing! That is to say, we may as well make the best of an odd situation. And if Mitch thinks we can make money by jumping into a glorified tin can and dropping to the Earth's core, that's good enough for me. Sort of. (Talk me out of it.)

Bombs and debt.

As I begin to write this, I am hearing a TV commentator quoting David Brooks in writing that Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner is someone worthy "of some sympathy." You read that correctly - the impossibly wealthy protege of our phony-ass billionaire president, a man with zero qualifications or apparent ability to perform even one of the many portfolios handed to him over the past few months ... that man is worthy of sympathy. THAT'S the kind of week this has been.

Nevertheless, I am not going to grab the low-hanging fruit of writing about the Trumpster fire, even though the fucker pulled out of the Paris Accords this week. I'll deal with his ass next time around.

Yeah, they owe us, right?Talk about ungrateful. I heard a story this week on NPR about a loan the government of Cambodia owes to the United States, in the amount of about $500 million. There were a couple of remarkable points about this story. For one, the piece actually acknowledges that some scholars think the massive bombing of Cambodia may have contributed to the rise to power of the Khmer Rouge. That's a pretty big step forward for mainstream media, which usually follows the line that Cambodia was a peaceful, happy country before the arrival of Pol Pot. They also mention the bombing itself - another practical miracle. What they leave out is that the loan in question was made to a coup regime installed with the full support of the United States. Slight omission there, right?

My favorite part is the quote from U.S. Embassy spokesperson Jay Raman saying that (1) we've given Cambodia close to a billion dollars in aid since the 1990s and (2) we "lack the legal authority to write off debts for countries that are able but unwilling to pay." Really? The loan was supposedly to pay for food to replace crops destroyed by years of carpet bombing - bombing that began well before the 1970 U.S. invasion, by the way. What legal authority did we have to terror bomb them in the first place? What legal authority did we have to push a coup regime on them, or to invade them in 1970?

Don't tell me this is beyond our ability. We owe the Cambodian people a hell of a lot more than the amount of this odious debt.

luv u,