334. International Blogationalism– Greatest Hits

A really neat feature of  the WordPress blog tool bag is the tracking of hits by countries. At the end of  a day, week, quarter, year or all time, I can hit the country summary prompt and get a list of all the countries that have accessed my site. I am amazed, of course, since I find my writing hard to understand, and I am the author. I think I am. Pretty sure I am. At least it started out that way.  Anyway, I have had to go to the map three times for countries I did not know existed. In alphabetical order they are the Faroe Islands, Kyrgyzstan, and Reunion Island.  Now my little Blog globetrotters, can you guess where these places are located without Googling?  I didn’t think so.  Allow me to geo-educate you.

About the time I had my first hit from Reunion Island it happened to be on the news cycle as parts of Malaysian flight 370 washed up on its shores. The astute blog reader will recall that I wrote about this doomed plane way back in Post 210. Lost. Not my best work, but then, what is best when you are spreading psychic fertilizer as a hobby? Now, true, I had to look it up since I’d never heard of the tiny nation either. It’s in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Why oh why were they cruising my blog? Perhaps they were lost or hungry since my blog title is a popular food. Imagine their horror when they tapped into my site via dial up, after waiting 3o minutes for a new recipe, and finding my soporific prose served on a delightful platter of greens. A lot of hangry islanders who won’t be inviting me to their next Reunion…unless they are cannibals.

I wrote about genocide and mentioned Namibia in post, 209. False Springs and  Genocide. Dang if I didn’t get Namibian hits. Actually they were nibbles. Now I can sort of understand that connection because I mentioned them by name. And Namibians have so little food in general that they usually just nibble to make it last longer between famines. But Kyrgyzstan?  I had to look it up– landlocked and mountainous in Central Asia. Apparently they have wi-fi there, glued in among China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.  I’ve often wondered where the Stan came from.  My unvetted theory is that a guy named Stan the nomad traveled through that region selling early model vacuum cleaners and got jiki with various women– Kazakh, Uzbeki, and Tajiki. Not to mention their cousins Afghan, Paki, and Turkmeni. [I have ruled out Lichtenstein from this list. It’s seems improbable according to my in depth research. Plus, what an unfortunate name for a girl, Lichten. What were the parents thinking?] Now I am theorizing that I will get some blowback hits from these countries, perhaps offering to hack me to pieces for insulting them or questioning the virtue of their female ancestors. I plead ignorance in advance. Can I get an “Amen” on that, Blog Nation?  [A thunderous AMEN rumbles across the globe.]  Okay, okay, that’s enough. STOP ALREADY!!  I didn’t ask for a tsunami.

Let’s see, where was I?  Yes, I wrote about how to make vodka in post 91. Brains and Potatoes. I am not saying what I’m saying here, I’m just saying it– a bunch of Russians lit me up. That post was a call to use one’s brain for the good of mankind instead of pickling one’s brain with home made alcohol. I can’t say for sure, but I think most of the Ruskis checked in for the recipe I scarfed off an internet site. Please don’t cut me up and make Irish Whiskey from my old carcass, Komrades.

Perhaps the best example of bait and switch blog posts was post 204. Local Navel Dancing, live, Tonight 6-8 p.m. I still get hits on that from India and the Middle East, which is why I have the justified fear of being hacked to pieces, not for false religion but for false advertising plus bad manners.  I blame the whole incident on Suzanne and Gary who basically forced me to go to an Indian restaurant with them while belly dancing was erupting at waist level, i.e. my eye level. I’m still in therapy for the disturbing visuals.

Okay, the Faroe Islands are located between Scotland and Iceland. Sail to the Shetland Islands, pet the adorable ponies, and hang a left at the fork. If you run into Norway, you took the wrong left, so turn around and take the right one. (Yogi Berra paraphrase) Speaking of Norway, in an old and bizarrely prophetic post, 158. Totalitarian Penguins, I mentioned that the Norwegian slice of Antarctica will be the launching pad for penguin revolution and total world domination. “Whaaaack Whaaaack”. You can’t make this stuff up….well, I guess you can if you have a fevered imagination and no job and are devoid of a conscience. Fortunately I meet all the above criteria.

So, you may be wondering how the name came about for the Faroe Islands. Yup, you guessed it already. The Egyptian connection ties this little known nation to the Empire of Egypt. If you know your Bible well, you know that Moses was set adrift in a basket and found by the Pharaoh’s people, then raised as an Egyptian until a bunch of plagues broke out and Revelation Zombies overthrew the Death Star. Just trust me on this.  Unbelievably at the same time Moses was basket skiing on the Nile, another prince and future Pharaoh was set out on the same river, which is why no one noticed when the baby shuffle took place and the wrong Egyptian baby was brought into Pharaoh’s house. The real heir apparent, named Sam, sailed right out into the Mediterranean Sea, where his little basket continued to float with the currents and winds, past Cyprus, Gibraltar, Portugal and other countries that have hit my blog posts before the internet had even been imagined.

Sam eventually washed ashore on the rough rocky beaches of what we now know as the Faroe Islands. He was greeted by wild wooly people known as the Wooly Bullies. They took him in and sang around fires in the winter nights. Sam somehow recalled his pre-Pharaotic life in Egypt. The people were so amazed, but one called it all a sham. And you know that they all got together and cut a record in the early ’60’s called “Wooly Bully” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.

 So kids, it’s important to know your geography really well just in case your plane disappears or your baby floats away, you need to make vodka, dance navelly, survive famine or overthrow the world. If you can’t find a globe, you can just trust my blog posts.




210. Lost

The only news story on any network is the missing Malaysian plane with 239 human beings on board and the mysteries involved thereto. Could it be terrorism or mechanical failure or a kidnapping by…well, who knows? Or could it be the beginning of a new reality t.v. show? Where are the creators of Lost and Survivor? J.J. Abrams and Mark Burnett.  Where are they and have they been interrogated, or, God forbid, kidnapped and forced to write scripts that real life perpetrators are orchestrating in real time? And what about Gilligan’s Island? Instead of a boat, we now have a plane. Still there’s a captain and a first mate. Likely there was at least one millionaire and his wife on board. A professor? Sure. A movie star?  My burritospecial sources are checking. And Mary Ann. Not there yet. Anderson Cooper has his staff researching this as well as Asian equivalents of Mary Ann and Maryanne and Marianne. I do hope that these folks come home, though it seems quite unlikely after a week has passed. This is not about the victims, may they rest in peace. Rather, I’m struck by the media frenzy and what has become the endless perseverating on hot topics in the 24 hour news era.

I don’t remember when it all started, the endless looping of video with dramatic voice overs. I’m thinking the Challenger disaster was an early example in 1986. Everyone over age 20 has the 9/11 imagery burned into their brains now. We were remotely traumatized.  Since then there was the tsunami, the Haitian earthquake, Katrina, Stormageddon, the Arab spring, the Boston bombers, and on and on and on it drones. Newsworthy? Sure, but worthy of being forever tattooed on millions of brains against our wills? No.

In the 19th century Karl Marx claimed that religion was the opiate of the masses. Karl, news flash:  It’s the news junkies who are the opiates of the masses nowadays. Each talking head seems to be strung out on speculation heroin that just isn’t strong enough to get that old 9/11 or Iraq War buzz. So they jack up both dosage and frequency, further and further dramatizing fairly simple news stories….

“Anderson, I’m talking with the bus driver who might remember picking up the bombers about six or seven years ago in Watertown on their way to middle school. Walter Hunsecker of Waltham is the driver’s name. Here’s what he said yesterday.”

[“Yeah, I’m sure it was them. They had the same backpacks on. I’m sure of it.”]

“But Anderson, later when the police interviewed Mr. Hunsecker, he identified an age reduced photo of Amelia Earhart as the older brother and in another photo gallery picked out Steven Tyler of Aerosmith in his high school yearbook picture as the younger brother, leading some to speculate that it was a cleverly perpetrated ruse by Islamic separatists in Chechneya trying to throw the Boston police off the scent. Mr. Hunsecker also claimed to be the Boston Strangler before he was taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital for a mental exam.”

“Uh, uh, thank you, Trudy Warped, for that incredibly disturbing and possibly crucial puzzle piece in this ginormous mystery unfolding between commercials. We’ve got it covered, across the country and around the globe here at CNN. Um, where’s that James Earl Jones voice over? I miss that.

Off camera(“THIS IS CNN” in God’s voice.)

Thanks, guys. I love that bass. It’s right up there with Barry White. Uh, so, when we come back after a break, I will be interviewing Bill Murray, who as you might recall was one of the original Ghostbusters, about his insights into that green blob on Malaysian radar screens. Some say it’s a cloud, but we’ll drill down on this conundrum with one of last century’s iconic comic geniuses who has not molested any children yet, after this.”

{COMMERCIALS…5 minutes of COMMERCIALS because we have to pay for the endless stream of nauseating guests in panels of four and five, their make up and hair, their expenses, and their books, which all seem to be hawking, and the on site reporting from Micronesia to the Antarctic.}

“So, Bill, um, it seems eerily similar to the original Ghostbusters plot that some green protoplasm just suddenly shows up on Malaysian radar screens and then a fully loaded Boeing 777 goes missing without a trace.”

“Anderson, it’s sad. But if you recall in Caddyshack–‘

“I’m sorry, Bill, we have breaking news coming in from Kuala Lumpur… it’s Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, what’s it like on the ground there? I hear all sorts of popping and crackling. What’s going on? Is this some sort of Malaysian Islamic uprising?”

“Anderson, no, we are all safe. A big shout out to Bill Murray. Bill, as you know, I’m a big fan of your work, especially What About Bob? I thought you nailed that character.”

“Thanks, Wolf. I have always appreciated your keen assessment of both foreign crises and domestic talent.”

“Anderson, this entire scenario of multiple scenarios is reminiscent of Bill’s Groundhog Day.”

“Yeah, Wolf, I’m seeing the parallels all over the place. Do you think I can get any royalties, cuz this is life imitating art, so to speak. If you recall, I was a disheartened t.v. weatherman stuck in an endless time loop where every day was a repeat of itself… until I learned my exit strategy and swallowed the wisdom pill as my last resort, as Phil Connors, that is.”

“Yes, Bill, brilliant analysis as usual. And, Bill, if I might add– though I’m one of the few news junkies who is not a former attorney, I think you have a good case for royalties here. Also, I think it’s uncanny how we have repeated the same news loop for seven freakin’ days now. Remember in the movie Speed, where the authorities looped the bus video to fool the hijacker?”

“Yes, that was Sandra Bullock’s breakout movie, where she was forced to drive the bus? Wolf, are you suggesting another tie in here?  Or should I say Thai inn? Like Bangkok, yuk, yuk.”

“Bill, you’ve still got it.”

“Well, fellas, it’s time for another break before we break for more breaking news. Right back atcha! I’ll be talking with Jimmy Fallon about his thoughts on Bill Murray’s theories about Flight 370.”