My factory has for years produced the best possible Bicycles for Tropical Fish (BTFs). We had no rivals in any market! No one made a better BTF in the entire world. Rightfully, we were very proud of this achievement and our factory output surged with Pride in Workmanship, a Strong and Healthy Work Ethic, and most of the other jingoes which the US auto industry Nawabs were singing over the last few weeks. The thought of getting the US Congress to bail me out has lifted my spirits greatly!
I do not mean to downplay the significance of this "FC" (abbreviated to save my repetition). The ramifications and long term effects of the FC could be very deep and very far reaching. There is reason to be cautious. There is reason to be concerned. But we humans, sadly, are unable to measure our reactions. It is never enough to take in the news and think rationally about it. We see a splendid opportunity to panic. And we avail ourselves of it fully.
The US election will get underway in several hours as I write this and will surely be done and put to bed by the time you are reading this, but I feel that I have legitimate gripe to make NOW before even I know the outcome of the elections (and before I go around paying out on my bets for John McCain).
I have been, as most of the US and a big chunk of the televisually linked world, keeping up with the presidential campaign through the most readily accessible means available to me: CNN. And each day I switch it on, I have been getting progressively more angry at them.
A disenchanted American nation was ready to vote in a Georgia peanut farmer as president, to put away the hallucinogenics which blurred out most of the late 60s and early 70s, to put away their anti-Vietnam War banners, and start over again. The morale of US of A was lagging by defeat in Asia, humiliation in the White House, and the beginnings of recession and the Energy Crisis.
Enter the Italian Stallion: Rocky Balboa
Rocky, the film of the year, was the story of loser made good. Many people called it the embodiment of the American Dream. How a down and out Philadelphia boxer moves up the ranks to challenge and defeat the heavyweight champion of the world is the kind of rags to riches story which is called "inspirational" and "quintessentially American."
Kingpin mused over his most recent ingenious plan. What good is it to continually try to destroy Spiderman when he eludes my every effort? I must now turn my attention to a diversion...he contemplated the thought with a wry smile on his face.
"I must have a giraffe," he concluded.
Over the past days, all I am reading about is a supposed vigilante who haunts Bulevar Revolucije and metes out justice against the Parking Offenders along that Belgrade thoroughfare. According to various blogs, internet forums, and RTS television reporters, he cruises down the street in a Vengeance Mobile (this is my name for it) and spray-paints the rows of double parked cars and those brilliant drivers who park in the middle of the street.
When the decision was finally made to cough up USD 700 billion to bailout the Greatest Financial Show on Earth, the American taxpayer's elected representatives decided to give the poor silly bankers another chance, thus ushering in the thing that no one wants to talk about:
"The Great Depression II: The Revenge"
Opening REALLY soon in theatres REALLY near you
There are certain times during the year in which the people of the White City are suddenly and inexplicably unavailable. Between Christmas and New Year is a flexible gap of weeks in which people phase in and out of our space-time continuum. Then we are all here until May when the Easter-May Day vortex consumes a good 30% of our acquaintances.
At the moment, the remnants of the citizenry who are in Belgrade are hiding from the sun. Meetings get put off, people on the other end of the phone sound like they just woke up from an afternoon nap (even in the morning), "lunches," which already begin late as far as my hunger cycles are concerned, begin to drift more and more toward the evening.
I had been standing there for about ten minutes before someone saved me.
Entering the bus for the first time a few years ago, I went to the ticket punching machine and place my ticket inside. And I stood and waited for the machine to automatically clamp its electronic jaws on the ticket and officially stamp my presence on the bus. The machine, naturally, did nothing. I stared in impatience. I placed it inside again. I waited again. Nothing.
At this point, a kind stranger came over to me and wordlessly ended my puzzlement. He grabbed the lever and pulled, stamping my ticket.
Far from being a reference to Portugal (whose song I thought was lovely by the way), the moment of reflection is now descending on Belgrade. Eurovision has come, exploded, and drifted off in the direction of Moscow. And the question which I am left with is what does it all mean?
The hype of this watershed event for Serbia and Belgrade has already been subsumed in the day-to-day guesswork about the next government. The organization of Eurovision in Belgrade seems to have been superb. The flooding of the White City streets with thousands of visitors caused no problems around town, the atmosphere was lively, and no ugly incidents (usually to be expected with so many bodies in one space) were splashed across the headlines.