Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Ugliest Holiday

Like the blooming of jonquils, the reappearance of robins, and looming NFL player disputes, the emergence of pastel fashions, kaleidoscopic eggs, and a giant white rabbit who delivers candy to already sugar dependent kids can only mean one thing – Easter is on its way.

I confess – Easter is my least favorite holiday. In fact, Easter is to the holidays what the 70’s were to fashion and good taste.

Thanks to the widespread use of illegal narcotics during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the young adults of the time known as “Hippies” who we now refer to as “stockbrokers,” were the main proponents of loud, garish colors, psychedelic patterns, obnoxious home decor, and exaggerated pant cuffs and shirt collars, all owing to their drug-distorted perception of style, hue, and proportion.

Drugs also played a critical role in the music of the day, influencing such legendary groups as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath (see heroin), the folksy, hallucinogenic musings of The Grateful Dead (see LSD), and eventually the vacuousness and superficiality of disco (see cocaine).

My point is the stylistic hideousness of that period in history can be traced directly to the abuse of illegal and/or controlled substances. Unfortunately, those persons who today embrace the foppery of Easter cannot point to drugs as an excuse.

Let’s face it – when it comes to over-the-top ugliness, Easter takes the proverbial lamb cake.

Whereas Thanksgiving is all about root vegetables, the harvest, turkeys, and Pilgrims inviting Indians to dinner then making them do the dishes, and Christmas all pine scented and cozy with wooden toys and sleigh rides and red bows topping luxury sedans, Easter is what happens when your three year old eats two pounds of jelly beans then pukes on the living room rug.

In the upper Midwest where I live, spring is the rainy part of winter that precedes three hot and humid weeks which occur just before the start of winter.

Spring is as ephemeral to Midwesterners as integrity is to government. More the stuff of legend than an actual tangible climatic event, I learned early on to doubt spring’s existence, considering it a mere trick nature plays to get us to believe the cold weather is finally coming to an end, which it never fully does.

Even so, when the calendar dictates, Midwestern men will dust off their seersucker suits and white patent leather shoes while their women don florid dresses and strap jaunty flower-basket-bonnets to their heads. Then with similarly costumed children in tow, they emerge from their underground burrows and parade about town in a futile attempt to impart some semblance of life and color unto the otherwise bleak landscape.

“Break out the kites, croquet mallets, and badminton racquets, kids! It’s springtime! And don’t forget your boots and mittens. ”

A primary reason Jews never accepted Christ as their savior is because they have too much self respect to denigrate themselves into celebrating such an obnoxiously vibrant holiday. It’s the same reason you never see Muslims dressing like popsicles or Native Americans worshiping white rabbits.

So this year as you dye your eggs, fill your gaudy baskets with polychromatic globs of sugar, and eat your deviled eggs, glazed ham, and hollow chocolate rabbits, pause for a moment to give thanks to those pioneering souls who weren’t afraid to get stoned out of their minds and put on orange paisley peasant shirts, bell bottom jeans, and tuck their long hair under leather headbands, all so you and I can sit back and admire this pastel infused season through our rose tinted shades.

Somebody pass the bong.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Japan Braces As New Threat Looms

Scant weeks since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility was slammed by a mammoth tsunami resulting in a deadly release of radiation, Japan now nervously awaits an even more ominous peril which could threaten the very existence of the beleaguered island nation.

In what Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano regards as “a likely realization of Japan’s greatest collective fear,” Kyodo News reported yesterday that all merchant Japanese fishing vessels were ordered to be on the lookout for a “giant mutant dinosaur with rough, bumpy, charcoal-gray scales, a long powerful tail, and jagged dorsal fins” emerging from the sea near the site of the damaged reactors.

In a national televised address, Prime Minister Naoto Kan stated, “As a nation we have long feared a natural disaster of this magnitude would one day wake our slumbering nemesis.”

The nemesis to which the Prime Minister refers is Godzilla – a legendary creature similar in appearance to a Tyrannosaurus Rex of the Paleozoic Period, but ten stories tall and able to incinerate people and objects with its radioactive “fire breath.”

A hideous consequence of the US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Godzilla is a mutation of a native species of Asian Iguana which has returned to wreak havoc upon the Japanese mainland several times throughout post WWII history.

Buried under tons of rock in the Pacific Ocean and presumed dead, it has been decades since the people of Japan faced annihilation at the albeit tiny hands of this abomination of nature.

Just the same, the Japanese people remain wary of Godzilla’s possible reappearance given the magnitude of the March 11 earthquake and the high levels of radiation in the ocean surrounding the crippled nuclear facility.

“It is not a matter of if, but when,” commented Tokyo resident David Hirohito.

“At this point, we cannot rule anything out,” agreed Secretary Edano. “Godzilla is known to be quite fierce and resilient.”

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito has called upon the international community to send financial aid amid concerns of what many Japanese citizens consider an imminent attack.

“Seriously?” said Marcia McNutt, current Director of USGS. “They suffer an unprecedented seismic event, their country lies in ruins, radiation is leaking into the groundwater and ocean, their food supply is contaminated, and they’re worried about some overgrown lizard? Somebody shoot me.”

Though the creature has not been spotted to date, the Japanese military is bracing for the worst. Key port cities have been fortified – especially Tokyo which has been a favored target of the creature.

Sadly, the extensive military deployment has done little to bolster the spirits of the Japanese people.

“Conventional weaponry has no effect, and nuclear arms only make him stronger,” claimed Godzilla expert, Ishirō Honda. “If he returns, may the gods help us.”

With their options few and disaster relief operations stretched to breaking, the Japanese government has called to arms the most deadly and dangerous weapon in their post-war military arsenal.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Kan consulted with the shōbijin (Japanese for "small beauties") – two tiny fairies who have the ability to summon Mothra, a giant lepidopteron who has been known to get the better of Godzilla in past confrontations

Out of work for decades and woefully overweight, the shōbijin were found living in a tattered shoebox under a trash bin in Tokyo’s red-light district, cheating tourists at Chō-Han Bakuchi.

After exacting a hefty fee from the Japanese government, the shōbijin’s shrill entreaty was sung over radio stations and on public address systems throughout Japan in the hopes Mothra would appear to oppose Godzilla’s return.

“Now we wait,” said Secretary Edano, scanning the western sky. “Now we wait.”

Should the efforts of Mothra fail, Prime Minister Kan plans to seek the aid of a giant mutant simian from Skull Island in the Pacific. Obnoxious film actor Jack Black has been contacted to lead the expedition.