Saturday, February 23, 43 A.B.

Of Baby Fish, Bare Feet, And Maniacal Marionettes

In recent days I've been lying as low and as absolutely still as possible, hoping against hope to stay out of the twin hurricane winds of time and nonsense which seem so prevalent these days.

Of course these winds found me regardless.

Here's just one of the stories they blew - SMACK! - right into my mind:

"BANGKOK, THAILAND - The widow of a Thai prince was sentenced yesterday to six years in prison for poisoning him with insecticide so she could run off with a chestnut peddler.  Chalasai Yugala, 29, was sentenced to nine years in prison for causing harm that led to the death of her 60-year-old husband, Prince Thitiphan Yugala, in 1995.  The sentence was commuted to six years as Chalasai - also known as Luk Pla, or Baby Fish - pleaded guilty during the investigation, a court official said."

One can read this story on many levels, but I personally get motion sick just reading it in my chair.

I mean to say, I find it deeply disturbing.  As in deeply disturbing.  It just raises so many questions in my mind - and good answers refuse to be found.

----- How come insecticide works on princes but it never seems to work on my spiders?
----- If a 60-year-old prince can't hang on to his 29-year-old wife when a chestnut peddler comes along, what chance does an almost-jester have of hanging on to a 29-year-old wife when he's 60 and she sees a passing squirrel?
----- How did the prince manage to avoid dying of embarrassment on the first day of school when the other kids asked him "WHAT did you say your first name is again?!"
----- Is it even physically possible to make a living peddling chestnuts?
----- Why was Chalasai known as "Baby Fish" of all things?  WHY???
----- How come she got nine years for murdering a prince and Father John Geoghan  got about the same for fondling the butt of boy?  In what sense are these two crimes comparable?
-----  How is it that her confession merits a 33% reduction in her sentence?  Shouldn't sentences be increased once we're sure we have the right person??

Ok, ok....  Deep breath.  I made it through Vietnam and Watergate... I can make it through this.

Time and nonsense sure don't make it easy, however, when they blow a second story like this one - SMACK! - right into my mind:

COLUMBUS, OHIO - A man is suing the Columbus Metropolitan Library for not allowing him to visit in his bare feet.  The man claims that going barefoot is a constitutionally protected statement.  When others see his unadorned toes, he says, they get the message.  What message?  That bare feet are allowed in public buildings as constitutionally protected free speech.

The Library people disagree.  They say they aren't trying to censor anyone - let alone violate the Constitution. They're merely trying to protect toes from falling books.

Nonsense, the man replies.  Only about 20 books fall in the library per year.  He's willing to take his chances in order to safeguard the Bill of Rights.

Ahh, but there are other dangers, the Library people revealed in a true Perry Mason moment.  Broken glass, blood, feces, and semen are also to be found on the floors!

The judge now appears to be on the verge of throwing the man's suit out of court.

And I appear to be on the verge of buying myself a Haz-Mat suit before going into the library ever again....

FOOTNOTE: The man did NOT appear in court naked from the pants' cuffs down.  "As I said in my affidavit," the man explained, "I wear shoes on formal occasions, and it doesn't get much more formal than this."

Personally, I think he was simply afraid of the powerful insecticide exhibits one can find in courtrooms these days....

Ok, time for me to get back to lying as low and as still as possible.  Even though that didn't help protect me at all before, maybe it was only because I was doing it wrong.  Maybe practice WILL make perfect for once.  If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  After all, quitters never win and winners never quit.

I'd say more - but what's the point?

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(©Now by DJ Birtcher just to see if his new Haz-Mat suit
can also protect him from toxic blather)


BONUS NONSENSE STORY: I recently finished reading Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II.  Partly because it tells a story anyone pretending to be well-educated like I am ought to know, and partly because it's a great antidote to the idea that the attack on the World Trade Center was one of the worst things that has ever happened in all of human history.  The Japanese killed perhaps 300,000 people in Nanking in some of the most horrible ways imaginable.  That's almost the equivalent of 100 Sept. 11s - yet who remembers that today?  The next time someone slips back into "Oh, poor us!" mode, I think I'll casually ask their mother to read to them from this book....

Anyway, that's not the BONUS NONSENSE STORY I promised.  That story involves a Japanese general's defense of what happened in Nanking.  The Japanese hadn't really been at war with China, he basically explained.  It was merely a little quarrel between brothers in which the older, smarter brother was trying to convince his younger, idiot sibling to undergo a bit of self-reflection for his own good.  That general's exact words:  "We do not do this because we hate them, but on the contrary we love them too much."

Yep, that's right - this Japanese general (Matsui Iwane) defended the brutal murder of 300,000 people in almost exactly the same terms O.J. Simpson used to explain his "hypothetical" murder of Nicole.  ("IF I killed her, it could only have been because I loved her too much.")

And you know, I hear the Japanese really love to play golf, too.

Kinda makes you stop and think, doesn't it?

BONUS NONSENSE STORY #2: Today is the 62nd anniversary of the release of Disney's Pinocchio film.  You remember - that's the one in which a funny little talking cricket warns a wooden boy of the error of his ways.  In the movie, this cricket ends up being vindicated, but I just learned that in the original 1882 book -

Well, I was going to tell you that in the original 1882 book, Pinocchio ends up going berserk and kills the funny little talking cricket with a wooden mallet, but I'm afraid I'm no longer in the mood.

Maybe tomorrow?