vrijdag, februari 07, 2003

Friday's Mailbag

Since Desultory Turgescence hasn't bothered to answer any of the mail, death threats, slanders and hosannas of praise piling up in the mailroom these last few weeks, it's time to begin a semi-annual tradition of The Reading of the Mailbag:

The first letter comes from a 6 year old named Montgomery in Topeka, Kansas:

Dear DT: Is it just me or is there a frightening absence of McDonalds franchises in the Axis of Evil nations? And if so, what relation does this have with America's current foreign policy objectives?

Well Montgomery, come to think of it, you're right. None of the three countries which make up the Axis of Evil, (Iran, Iraq and North Korea) have any McDonalds franchises. In the Arab nations, all McDonald's restaurants are locally owned and operated by Arab entrepreneurs. The first restaurant in the region opened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on December 8th, 1993; then Jeddah, KSA on January 19th, 1994; Oman in March 1994; Kuwait in June 1994; Bahrain on December 15th, 1994; the UAE on December 22nd, 1994; and Qatar in December 1995. Nothing in Iran or Iraq.

And of course, as everyone knows, South Korea has more than 270 McDonalds restaurants. It is interesting to note that McDonalds cleverly attempts to obfuscate the fact that ALL 270 restaurants are in South Korea and ZERO are in North Korea by simply lumping them both together under the heading of simply, "Korea", as if a big war had never been fought there at all and there was no division between the two countries.

In answer to the second part of your question Montgomery, I had to do a little more research. It seems that one of the best measurements of a society and its culture's adherence to the principles of our democratic system is the proliferation of McDonalds restaurants through their countrysides and urban areas. As Dwight Eisenhower noted in his 1961 Military-Industrial complex speech:

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

What you should understand, Montgomery, is that Iraq, Iran and North Korea are all evil because they, unlike the rest of the democracy-loving free world, do not allow any McDonalds restaurants in their country. You see Monty, if I may call you that, this war against Iraq for example, is NOT about Iraq sitting on the world's second largest oil reserves, it is about the fact that Saddam Hussein does not allow any McDonalds restaurants in his country. That is why he is evil by the way, and why we should do everything in our power to force a regime change in Iraq because without regime change Monty, you can forget about having any Big Macs in Baghdad.

The second letter comes from Pyong Pat who asks:

I've been hearing alot lately about an increasingly belligerent North Korea warning of "total war" with the United States and predicting it would develop into the horror scenario of a nuclear conflict. What I'd like to know is, will this have any affect on the 2003 Major League Baseball season or should I go ahead and start researching my rotisserie league roster?

Pyong, rest assured that unlike 1918 when the season was shortened by a month due to World War I and and the World War II years between 1942-1945 when the Major Leagues lost almost 95 percent of their rosters due to the draft, the 2003 season should go on without a hitch and without a significant reduction in quality players available.

For those of you who have already suffered the premature cancellation of the Venezuelan baseball season due to their own anarchistic situation down there, I would however, recommend staying away from the Nippon Professional Baseball season if for no other reason that Tokyo is just a short rocket launch away from Pyongyang.

The third letter, which is the last one I have time to open, comes from Sinbad who wants to know:

Isn't being the funniest man alive enough? What does Russell Simmons have that I don't have?

This is a difficult question Sinbad. For one thing, Simmons has the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network to back him and support his righteous agenda. Those guys are suing people left and right, up and down, and back and forth to get their message out. And they have the balls to take on a giant corporation like Pepsi-Cola. They don't mess around Sinbad. They have declared that if Pepsi-Cola does not meet their demands within the next six days, next Thursday (February 13) the organization will initiate the Campaign For Respect. The campaign will call for a boycott of all Pepsi products and those of its subsidiaries by hip-hop artists and supporters of the hip-hop community.

Let me tell you something Sinbad, if you had any idea how much freakin Pepsi products these Hip Hop people consume, your head would spin. Believe me, Pepsi-Cola is going to crack. The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network is going to bring Pepsi-Cola to their knees. They can't just buy off a guy like Russell Simmons. As Mr. Simmons even says himself: "I'm not for sale. This organization represents young people in hip-hop and it's about their respect."

Frankly, when you examine your impact on culture and society Sinbad, Necessary Roughness and A Different World isn't going to cut it. You need to get a little angrier and a little more self-righteous so you can start suing big corporations and bringing the beverage industry CEOs to their knees. Otherwise, you're going to wallow in the same pitiful puddle of obscurity that you've inhabited for the last two decades.

As for the rest of you readers who sent letters in, please be advised that due to severe time constraints, weather conditions and the fact that the game of cat and mouse with Saddam is over according to Resident Bush, I will not be able to answer you in a timely fashion. Please be advised that should additional time be made available, your letters, postcards, emails, passport photos and DNA strands will be answered in the order they were received.

Until then, in light of the serene snowfall last night and today:

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep

But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.

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