Vintage Vagaries, an Escape from Reality

June 24, 2006 · Print This Article · Email This Post

Ethanol or Bust Patriotic Postcard

Sometimes, watching the news is akin to being stuck in a bad Kafka novel of unknown duration, each Byzantine twist and turn more bizarre than the last. So far in the last two days, we have FBI Director Robert Mueller being interviewed on Larry King Live and lo! the show is interrupted for breaking news regarding an alleged terrorist plot in Miami by what so far appears to be a motley crew who perhaps inhaled too many paint fumes and who had no money or other visible means of support to blow up Disney World, much less the Sears Tower. . .handily relegating the news that U.S. banking records have been secretly scrutinized since 9/11 to a distant second place in daily news and eliciting the astonishing comment by mercifully outgoing Treasury Secretary John W. Snow that banking surveillance is “government at its best.”

Patsy Ramsey, mother of slain child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, died this morning in Atlanta of ovarian cancer, reviving not-so-warm-and-fuzzy memories of the mysterious, unsolved 1996 murder. . .German and English World Cup soccer fans are rioting (again) and crushing and beating one another (again) in drunken excess (again) in Stuttgart, Germany, in the usual display of sportsmanship at its finest. . .Saddam Hussein went on the world’s shortest hunger strike (one meal) to protest the offing of yet another of his attorneys. . .the World Health Organization reports that, in Indonesia, bird flu mutated in at least one instance to provide human-to-human transmission of the disease but we shouldn’t worry. . .Harriet the Turtle, the world’s oldest living animal, expired at age 176 in Brisbane, Australia. . .and Aaron Spelling, who brought us such excesses as Charlie’s Angels and Melrose Place, succumbed yesterday to stroke sequelae. His cast of characters pales in comparison to the news.

Anna Nicole Smith Gets LuckyGreat news for Anna Nicole Smith, though! Her ship may, at last, have come in, as her nemesis of the last 10 years, E. Pierce Marshall, 67, who battled her for 10 years over sugar daddy J. Howard Marshall II’s multi-millions, died unexpectedly this morning in Houston, Texas.

Alice in WonderlandAnd, suddenly, the improbable patriotic image of an ear of corn being used as transportation, a strange precursor in its own way to the present interest in ethanol, seems not quite so strange after all in a 1907-1915 embossed vintage postcard, with one child waving a patriotic American flag while the other perches on an ear of corn as if poised for rocket launch. “ ‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).”

Read another post about current events, and the improbable adventures of Condoleezza Rice.

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