Found in Translation

The following is a transcript of a meeting that may take place between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.  While the world hopes the unpredictable and mercurial individuals will chart a new course toward peace, most regard the meeting as akin to a pair of gasoline-soaked men engaging in a wood-burning contest.  For that reason, the United Nations made the parties agree to a single interpreter, loyal to the U.N. and not the two leaders, who can use his “creative” skills to temper the conversation and avoid a catastrophe.

TRUMP:  It’s wonderful to finally meet the famous “Rocket Man” face-to-face.  Can I call you “Rocket” for short?  Short?  Get it? Short?  Ha ha ha ha ha.

INTERPRETER:  President Trump is honored to meet you.  He says you are much taller than he realized.

KIM:  Good morning, Mr. President.  You look like a beached whale with a blonde hairpiece decomposing in the sun.

INTERPRETER:  Good morning, Mr. President.  You are the picture of health. Clearly you have gotten some sun.

TRUMP:  Yeah.  I keep in shape playing golf at my luxurious resorts.  You have nothing like them in your country.  Nothing.  That’s why I have a tan. 

INTERPRETER:  I like to exercise outdoors.  That’s why I have a tan.

KIM:  A tan?  You don’t have a tan, you stinking pile of rotting cabbage.  It’s makeup.  You are the color of dung.  It looks like it was applied by a drunken blind painter in an earthquake.

INTERPRETER:  He says he was admiring your tan.

TRUMP:  You should see my resorts.  Unlike you, I don’t have to live in a windowless underground bunker because I’m surrounded by assassins.

INTERPRETER:  The President says, I have been told that your people love you very much.

KIM:  Yes, they do.  I hear that your people love you as well – if you pay them enough.  Ha ha.

INTERPRETER:  You bring riches to your followers.

TRUMP:  By the way, I serve the best food and drink at my resorts.  Best wine.  Best steaks.  The best money can buy.  And I share it with my friends and guests.  What do you serve your guests:  kimchi and gravel?

INTERPRETER:  How do the North Korean people manage to stay so healthy?

KIM:  We fatten up on hatred for you American dogs.  It gives us energy and motivation to despise you.

INTERPRETER:  We try to be like you Americans.

TRUMP:  Like we would ever let you in.  I’ll get you a green card and you can work at Mar-A-Lago.  You’ll blend in with the kitchen staff like you were born there.  We’ll break you in on pots and pans.

INTERPRETER:  The President would love to have you visit his resort in Florida.  He believes you would feel at home there.

KIM:  Throw in the First Lady and it will feel a lot more like home.

INTERPRETER:  He would love to meet the First Lady one of these days.

TRUMP:  I wouldn’t let her get within a thousand miles of a creep like you.

INTERPRETER:  She’d be honored to meet you.

KIM:  On second thought, maybe one of those porn stars you like so much.  They seem nice.  Would any of your other ladies be at the resort?

INTERPRETER:  He hopes to visit America some day and get to know your countrymen better.

TRUMP:  We already have a guest house ready for you.  It’s a resort, too.  We call it Guantanamo.

INTERPRETER:  We will attend to your every need.

KIM:  This is easier than I thought.

INTERPRETER:  He says thank you.

TRUMP:  And what’s with the haircut?  You look like Mo Howard crossed with a mushroom.  Do you get to act like Mo?  Do you get to stick your finger in your Vice-President’s eye?  I’d love to do that.  And the Attorney General.  And that weasel Rosenstein.  And Mueller.  Hell, I might run out of fingers!

INTERPRETER:  Excuse me, who is Mo Howard?

TRUMP:  He was one of the Three Stooges.  Their leader, basically.  Great guy.  Best role model outside of Roy Cohn.

KIM:  Three Stooges?  Did he say Three Stooges?

INTERPRETER:  Uh, yes Sir.  He did.

KIM:  I love the Three Stooges!

INTERPRETER:  He says he loves the Three Stooges.

TRUMP:  Really?  You’re kidding me.  How does a guy running a nothing starving loser of a country know about the Three Stooges?

INTERPRETER:  It is surprising that a leader of such a powerful, sophisticated country has heard of the Three Stooges.

KIM:  Do you like the Three Stooges?

INTERPRETER: (Sheepishly, after a pause) Do you like the Three Stooges?

TRUMP:  Are you kidding?  I wanted to name my kids after them.  That damned Ivana…


KIM: (Tries to poke Trump in the eyes with his fingers)

TRUMP: (Cleverly blocks Kim’s fingers with his right hand)

INTERPRETER: (Covers his eyes)

KIM:  Mr. President, maybe you’re not such a pathetic evil jerk after all.  Perhaps we should talk about the serious matters that brought us here.

INTERPRETER: (Composing himself) Mr. Kim says he likes you.  He says perhaps it is time to talk about the serious matters that brought you here.

TRUMP:  Yeah, good idea.  So, you gonna get rid of your nukes, or what?

INTERPRETER:  Are you going to eliminate your nuclear weapons?

KIM:  Not in a million million eons.

INTERPRETER:  Not at this time.

TRUMP:  I didn’t think so.  Oh well, gave it a hell of try, right?

INTERPRETER:  I will keep negotiating.

KIM:   There’s only one thing left to say.

INTERPRETER:  There’s only one thing left to say.

TRUMP:  What’s that?

INTERPRETER:  What’s that?

KIM:  Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

TRUMP:  Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

© 2018 by Mike Tully


The Sky Is Falling

How many advocates for arming school teachers have seen a teacher go nuts in the classroom?  Not “cut loose and act crazy” nuts, but in the pathological sense.  Show of hands?  Nobody?  Let me tell you about Sister Mary Nowhere.

I call her “Sister Mary Nowhere” to protect her privacy, assuming she’s still around.  She was a real person, a Sister of Charity who taught at a parochial high school.  Her meltdown came in a room filled with nature’s most fidgety, frustrating and unforgiving creatures:  high school sophomores.  Sister Mary Nowhere was thrown to the wolves.

Mental illness can come on gradually and it’s not easy to determine the point at which the ore cart is shoved into the Crazy Mine, but I think I know when Sister Mary Nowhere was shoved:  during Sophomore English class.  She was walking between a row of desks and the outside wall with windows when she spied an object she didn’t recognize in an unoccupied desk.  She reached down, picked it up, turned it over, turned it over again, raised it to a higher angle to get a better look.  She was the only person in the room who didn’t know what it was.  Initially shocked when Sister Mary Nowhere began to physically examine and fondle the object, some students began to giggle.  Most of us did our best to keep from laughing out loud, although we teared up from the strain.  Sister Mary Nowhere detected a disturbance in the force.

Wanting to get to the bottom of things, she asked the one student she knew would give her an honest answer:  yours truly.  I was on board with racing to the bottom if that’s what it took to release the pressure on thirty sophomores about to explode like the Hindenburg.  “Michael,” she said, holding the object in front of her face and looking directly at me.  “What is this?” 

I swallowed.  “It’s kinda like underwear,” I said, as the room exploded into hysteria.  Sister Mary Nowhere was brandishing an athletic supporter.  She dropped it like a hot coal, turning the color of hot coal herself.  Poor Sister Mary Nowhere was sent around the bend by a jockstrap.

She was never the same.  Our next lesson was based on the famous Chicken Little “The Sky Is Falling” story.  We weren’t sure why she was teaching high school sophomores about Chicken Little but assumed she had a reason.  Then Sister Mary Nowhere began to recite.  “The sky is falling said Chicken Licken,” recited Sister Mary Nowhere.  “The sky is falling said Henny Penny.  The sky is falling said Goosey Loosey.  The sky is falling said Foxy Loxey.”  On and on she went, reciting the same verses over and over as we slowly began to realize she was unraveling.  The next day brought the same thing, “the sky is falling” over and over and over again.  Then the day after that.  After a fourth day of falling sky, Sister Mary Nowhere took an indefinite leave of absence.  The last we heard she was off somewhere making ashtrays.

If we had lived in the world envisioned by the NRA and similar gun radicals, Sister Mary Nowhere might have been armed.  While she probably wouldn’t have kept her gun after wandering off into “Chicken Little” land, nothing would have kept one away from her before then.  That’s one of the problems with the “keep guns away from the mentally ill” theory.  They frequently acquire the guns before anybody realizes they are mentally ill.  When that happens, we measure the impact in a body count.

One may argue that basing gun policy on the Sister Mary Nowhere episode is not good governance.  A single event rarely justifies a change in the law.  But at least Sister Mary Nowhere actually existed, unlike the fantasies of the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre and others with their fever dream of a fully weaponized society.  In Wayne’s world the sky is always falling.  If he were king Chicken Little would be the national bird.

Consider how LaPierre characterized proponents of stricter gun laws when he recently spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference:  “Their goal is to eliminate the Second Amendment and our firearms freedoms so they can eliminate all individual freedoms.”  Those who don’t share his anarchistic philosophy on gun ownership don’t really care about keeping children safe from firearms, he argues.  Their ultimate goal is to take away all your freedoms.  The sky is falling!

Writing for Daily Caller in 2013, LaPierre fantasized Al-Qaeda pouring over the border, government confiscation of all privately-owned guns, the collapse of civilization, and a nation without police.  He conjured up these horrors in service of his lone super power:  scaring the crap out of easily scared people who spend their discretionary income on more guns than they need.  He tells them the sky is falling and listens for the ka-ching! when they stampede into the sporting goods store.

LaPierre suggested a gun would come in handy should the sky actually fall, writing: “Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face—not just maybe. It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. It’s survival.”  He’d shoot a tornado?

The NRA and LaPierre have called for maintaining armed security guards at every school in the US and agree with Donald Trump that some teachers should be armed.  If parochial schools were included, who would deny a gun to a sweet, sad little nun with flowing black vestments and a bonnet?   What can go wrong when you arm somebody who thinks the sky is falling?

© 2018 by Mike Tully


The Dangerous and Irresponsible Video Game Diversion

Politics is the diversion of trivial men who, when they succeed at it, become important in the eyes of more trivial men.
                 – George Jean Nathan

Let’s begin with a word problem:  The United States has experienced 1,624 mass shootings in 1,870 days.  Over the years, many shootings took place in a school, resulting in 137 deaths since Columbine.  Overall, the largest body counts were in Las Vegas (59), Orlando (50), Newtown (28), Sutherland Springs (27), Parkland (17), San Bernardino (16), and Aurora (12).  Those are among 35 mass shootings that involved use of an AR-15 style rifle.  Many assailants were able to legally acquire their weapons, including the AR-15s, while displaying symptoms of mental unbalance.  Choose the most appropriate resolution to the problem:

  1. Prevent the sale of AR-15s and similar weapons, so that would-be mass shooters would not have access to them.
  2. Do nothing.
  3. Ban violent video games.

According to Arizona State Representative Mark Finchem and others, the correct answer is “C.” 


Who Elected The Blond Bear?

There was a television documentary in the Sixties, in the depth of the Cold War, that examined how nuclear war with the Soviet Union would impact two cities in the United States:  New York City and Tucson.  New York was an obvious choice, given its prominence, but Tucson?  In the 1960s, Tucson was home to a Strategic Air Command (SAC) facility and ringed by an array of 18 Title missiles armed with nuclear warheads, which made it a primary Soviet target.  The documentarians’ cold assessment:  at least a million people would perish in New York City; nobody in Tucson would survive.

A few days after that documentary, I dove under my desk at school as a siren wailed, a Death Banshee signaling a make-believe nuclear attack.  My school was less than ten miles from Tucson’s SAC base and pretty much in the bullseye of the missile ring.  I had seen the documentary, yet I played along, diving under my desk with my classmates when the siren wailed, acting like it would make a difference when I understood if I wasn’t incinerated by the fireball I’d be pulverized by the shock wave.  We knew a lot about the effects of a nuclear blast back then, as we knew we were helpless pawns in history’s most dangerous chess match.  That’s why we visited Jellystone Park.