July 23, 2003

Death of the Demonic Duo, and a Colorado Wrap-up

It's official. I can't go on vacation any more, or, more appropriately, I can't spend extended periods of time away from the Internet. Why? Because shit always keeps happening when I can't access an online computer.

When I first started dating Melissa, I'd go to the cities to spend time with her, at her place, with an antiquated computer that last saw Internet connectivity during the Clinton Administration.

The result? The first weekend, Paul Wellstone goes down in a plane crash. I didn't hear about it until well after the fact. The next time around, the Shuttle Columbia went down, catching me totally unawares until I got back late on a Sunday evening. Then, when Mel and I were in Colorado in March, the whole war in Iraq thing broke out (perhaps you've of it). Again, there I sat without Internet access. *grumble* Finally, this week, as I sat helplessly in Colorado with my family, well away from Internet access, I flip on the television Tuesday morning to see that Qusay and Uday Hussein literally bit the big one. My kingdom for an online computer!

I feel like Jessica Fletcher on Murder She Wrote, except that every time I leave the house I don't have to solve a murder that happens right under her nose. Rather, when I can't go online, something of newsworthy import breaks, and there I sit without being able to log on to Instapundit. I can't take it! I can't take it, I tell you!

That, and the porn available in magazine format is woefully substandard compared to what you can get online.

I mean, I'm just saying.

So anyway, yeah, Uday and Qusay are no longer breathing the same air as the rest of us. The Demonic Duo are no longer capable of hideous acts against humanity. That's a good thing. To say otherwise would expose you as a tinfoil hat wearing nay-sayer with a tenuous grasp on reality. Not surprisingly, there are, apparently, tinfoil hat wearing nay-sayers with tenous grasps on reality. But, I'll get to them in a bit.

As I watched the news unfold, I found myself thinking about the attack and how it played out, and I couldn't help but replay an old Loony Toons bit in my head, with Elmer Fudd being the coalition attackers and Bugs Bunny being the Hussein boys, only this time Bugs didn't don a dress and seduce Elmer and slip away in the process.

ELMER (a.k.a. coalition forces): Come out of there, wabbit, so I can see the color of your spurting bwood!

BUGS (a.k.a. Uday, or Qusay, whichever): My spoiting blood!?

I guess I should feel somewhat bad, seeing that it's considered bad form to celebrate the death of fellow human beings. Somewhere, Mrs. Hussein is mourning, and Saddam is probably somewhere sulking that his sons could be stupid enough get kacked in a villa in Mosul of all places.

But, fans of the Demonic Duo are in the minority. Most people applaud their demise, and they have no qualms about showing glee, because Uday and Qusay long ago gave up all claims to humanity. Their living bodies were no more than empty, soulless vessels inhabited by only the worst impulses of monsters. As monsters they lived and as monsters they died, and I rejoice in their deaths.

Could they have provided a wealth of intelligence to military officials had they been taken alive? Sure, why not. Let's pretend they would have allowed themselves to be captured rather than swallowing coalition or their own bullets (seriously, Uday apparently took a shot to his teeth, which I find hysterical). That's neither here nor there. You take your victories where and when you can in war time, or post-war time as the case may be. We'll get the rest, even without info provided by the sadistic seeds of Saddam Hussein (today we're learning the letter "s").

Which brings us to President Bush and company. This is a victory for the administration, whether your want to admit it or not. But, even as I sat with my parents in their rented Colorado condo, absorbing the news, we couldn't resist a few barbs at the Chief's expense.

There was W, standing with Rumsfeld and Bremer the day after the successful attack. And, Bush thanked Rumsfeld and Bremer for being there. As if they had a CHOICE.

RUMSFELD: Oh, I'm sorry Mr. President, but tonight is bowling league. I can't make it.

BREMER: Yeah, I'll have to cancel too, sir. I stubbed my toe this morning, and I'm limping something fierce.

Beyond that, however, is the deer in the headlights persona Bush still radiates when he's forced to read from the teleprompter on national television. He doesn't want to be there. He never wants to be there (with the exception of his post 9/11 speeches). He always has the look of a five year old trying to read Cat In The Hat for the first time. Lots of pauses. Lots of lip-licking. Lots of brow furrowing. I mentioned this to my father as we watched the news.

"Yeah," said my father. "He has the look of someone who didn't do too well on his Iowa Basics. . . a week ago."

"Or," I quipped, "As Bush calls them. . .Iowa Basicals."

We both laughed heartily, and then my mother, a learned and bright woman, poked her head around the corner and asked, "Did he actually say that?"

Such is the dichotomy of Bush. It's generally accepted that he's not that quick with the cerebral gun, and yet he's credited with everything brilliant or tactically successful that happens at home and abroad. Ah, the Presidency. What a great job.

But, getting back to the tinfoil hat wearing nay-sayers, or the Fiskians as I like to call them. A week ago, they're complaining that we haven't found Saddam or his sons. Now, with the broken bodies of the Demonic Duo in custody, they're complaining that this will simply strengthen the resistance movement. So, which is it? Do they want them at large to destroy, or largely destroyed?

I also find it laughable that people are suggesting that Bush orchestrated the killings to boost his polling numbers, as if he has, at his disposal, a line of buttons marked "kill Hussein sons," or "find WMDs," or "kill Saddam," which he can push at his convenience when he needs to perk up his chances at re-election. Riiigggghhhht.

As for the critics who are calling U.S. marines baby-killers for axing Qusay's 14-year-old son, let me just say: if hot lead is coming at me from a building known to harbor two of the most wanted men in the world, I'm not going to stop and ask whether said hot lead is coming from a minor. Fire away, I say. Fire away, and let my aim be true. . . and maybe I'll hit Uday in the teeth . . . if I'm lucky.

Prime Minister Blair said history will forgive our attack on Iraq. He's right of course, but he missed just a bit, because, to me, the present already has forgiven. In fact, it never blamed.

Mmmmmm, take a breath.

Ah, but you came here for a Colorado wrap-up, didn't you?

What can one say about a trip that was supposed to start at 4:30 in the morning, and yet I woke up at 4:37 a.m.? Let's see, let's try starting the trip with expletives, shall we? fuck-a-duck-a-ding-dong!

I set my alarm for 3 a.m., which would have given me ample time to shave, shower, ponder masturbation, follow through with said pondering, and get to the airport well ahead of the mandatory one hour of security groping and touching and coughing and searching.

Ah, but. . . a power failure dictated that my carefully set alarm clock didn't know what the fuck was going on. I awoke, by a stroke of dumb "I gotta pee" luck, and I saw my clock blinking in that "this ain't the right time, that's why I'm blinking" sort of way.

So, after a hurried packing that would have made O.J. proud, I bolted out the door, got in my car, and proceeded to break every speed limit and run every red light from my door to the airport. I would have felt nervous, but even the cops drinking coffee on the speed traps probably empathized with my plight, and they let me go unhindered. Either that, or they realized that their cars couldn't have attained my speed, which, at last check, was hovering around Mach 4.

You know your timing sucks when you pull into an airport, and you can actually pick out your father in the distance, cursing and checking his watch, and standing with a lawyer writing you out of his will. Seriously, he was scratching his head in that motion of my father that indicates severe stress. Uh oh.

Thankfully, at 5 a.m., the Rochester airport staff had better things to do than raise a stink that I was only 18 minutes ahead of departure, rather than the suggested full hour. Apparently, "better things to do" included looking surly, drinking 80 ounce quenchers of coffee, and talking amongst each other to ensure consciousness.

And now, the Ryan Rhodes Rules of Flying.

RULE #1: The precision with which you packed your back is directly proportional to the liklihood that your bag will be searched by airport security. If your boxer shorts are on top, along with back issues of Maxim magazine, the chances of an in-depth search go up 53 percent. If you have obscure pieces of technology that may be construed as a possible bomb, you will be required to explain, in detail, how said technology works, and you may possibly have to allow airport security personnel to listen to your musical tastes to assuage their fears that your MP3 player is not, in fact, a bomb.

RULE #2: If you choose a window seat, there is an 86 percent chance that the aisle seat and the seat next to it will be occupied when you get on the plane, requiring them to get up out of their seats, mumble under their breath, and allow you to take your seat. After you are seated in your window seat, there is a 94 percent chance that you'll realize you have to either A) pee or B) take a shit. You will try to hold back both impulses for the duration of the flight, with a 54 percent probability of effectively making it the whole way.

RULE #3: If you're dead tired upon boarding a plane, and all you want to do is sleep the moment after take-off, there is a 99.99 percent chance there will be a wailing infant directly ahead of you, behind you, or beside you. It has been scientifically proven that there is a direct corrolation to the number of infants on a plane and your level of exhaustion. Lacking an infant, the probability shifts to the liklihood that the seat directly behind you will be occupied by a toddler who insists on using the tray table attached to your seat as a springboard for his X-Men action figures.

RULE #4: Although the roar of the jet engines will ensure that you can barely understand what the person next to you is saying, you will always, ALWAYS, be able to hear a crying infant, no matter where he or she may be located on the airplane. This is because airplane cabins have been ingeniously accoustically engineered to magnify the wail of a crying infant to sound as though they are sitting right next to you, with their mouth directly in your ear. It's a marvel of modern science.

RULE #5: Airplane food will always suck.

RULE #6: No matter how universally it is accepted that airplane food sucks, there is a 38 percent chance that the person sitting next to you will not believe Rule #5. No, this person, who's body usually spills over into your seat and would probably spill out on to the wing if it weren't for the solid fuselage, believes that airplane food is the sole reason for flying and that the destination is secondary. These folks have turned airplane dining into an art form, and they will jab their elbows into you a minimum of 27 times during the course of the meal.

RULE #7: Somewhere, on the plane, there will be a person sitting still, minding their own business, unaware that their body odor could qualify as a weapon of mass destruction. That person may be you, but usually it's not, and there's a 94 percent chance that, at some point during the flight, the stagnant air will shift just enough in the cabin to ensure you get a massive snootful of Passenger X's foul bodily emanations. After that, there's a 98 percent chance that you'll sniff the air occasionally, testing the environment for the nasty nose assailant, and there's a 100 percent chance you'll find it and wrinkle up your brow in disgust, and then sniff your own armpits just to be sure it isn't you who smell so obnoxiously rotten. Oh, and there's a 4 percent chance it's you.

RULE #8: If, by some miracle, you're able to tune out the wailing infants and the seat kicking X-Men enthusiast behind you, and you manage to fall asleep, there is a 77 percent chance the pilot will click on the public address system to tell the passengers something useless, like you're flying over the Grand Canyon, or some turbulence is expected, or engine #2 went out and you have to make an emergency water landing. The point is, the pilot will wake you up! That's unforgivable in my opinion.

RULE #9: About 30 percent of the people on a plane will feel compelled to do the exact opposite of what the flight attendents or pilots tell them to do. If they are instructed NOT to move about the cabin, they'll form a conga line and move about the cabin. If they are instructed to fasten their seat belts, they'll unfasten their seat belts and go to the bathroom. These people make Rain Man seem like a pretty sharp dude.

RULE #10: There is a 80 percent chance that your flight will be occupied by one or more people who have never flown before, and when they first experience turbulence, there is a 15 percent chance they'll think the plane is going down.

RULE #11: There is a 93 percent chance that the guy who keeps shelling out $4 for beer after beer after beer is a first time flyer experiencing turbulence who thinks the plane is going down. There is a 7 percent chance he's just trying to drink until he can no longer hear the wailing infants.

RULE #12: There is a 75 percent chance that, upon hearing you are about to land and should remain seated for the remainder of the flight, you will have an unprecedented urge to urinate.

Posted by Ryan at July 23, 2003 11:41 PM
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