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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire March No. 2, organ version]
01 — Intro. And Radio Derb is on the air! This is your brachylogically genial host John Derbyshire with a round-up of the news.
And yes, this will be a brachylogical round-up. For those listeners who have mislaid their classical Greek, that means "short on words." Owing to a concatenation of circumstances, this week's broadcast is very severely truncated. I shall only be able to touch very briefly on a few items. The quality of the commentary is, though, I assure you, undiminished.
First off, let's check in with that chain of chicken sandwich restaurants I introduced you to last week.
02 — Chick-fil-long-"A" chic. Yes, last week I had a segment about Chick-fil-A. Unfortunately I had never heard of the restaurant chain before & was just reading about it from the news wires. In that state of ignorance, I mis-pronounced the name as "Chick-fil-A."
A mighty host of listeners emailed in to tell me that it's pronounced "Chick-fil-A," as in "fillet." I would never have thought of that. In the land of my birth, the word "f-i-l-l-e-t" is pronounced "fillet," not "fill-ay." That's the way I was brought up speaking, and it still seems right to me. I mean, after all, we don't say "Chevrol-ay," do we?
I bow to the wisdom of the multitude, though, and from now on shall say "Chick-fil-A." So what's going on with Chick-fil-A?
Well, you'll recall from last week's broadcast that the Cathy family, who founded and still own Chick-fil-A, are devout Southern Baptists. Dan Cathy, the current President, told a radio show that he disapproved of homosexual marriage.
That got the buggery brigades all a-flutter. They called in their tickets on leading Democrat politicians, and before you could say "fill-ay," or at least before I could say it, the mayors of Chicago and Boston were vowing that they would never let Chick-fil-A darken the doors of their cities with their intolerant heteronormative prejudice.
Over the weekend, Christine Quinn chimed in. She's the Speaker of the New York City Council, and a leading candidate for Mayor in next year's election. Ms Quinn is as homo-friendly as you can be. In fact, a few weeks ago, Christine got married to her girlfriend.
Well, Ms Quinn declared that no way would Chick-fil-A ever open a franchise in New York City. Then someone told her that Chick-fil-A already has a franchise in the city, at New York University. Quinn promptly called upon NYU to evict the offending eatery. She not only called upon, she actually wrote a letter to John Sexton, the university President, telling him to shut them down.
It so happens that NYU currently has plans for expansion. Those plans have to be approved by the City Council. Christine Quinn, let me repeat, is Speaker of the City Council. So when Christine Quinn says "Jump!" the President of NYU, if he knows what's good for him, is going to respond: "How high?"
One of Quinn's colleagues on the council, Peter Vallone of Queens, put the thoughts of many of us into words, quote:
She has every right to organize a protest or a boycott, but she has no right to use the power of government as a tool to ensure that people who do business in New York City hold certain political views. What's next — will people have to support or oppose abortion to do business in New York City?
Hey, don't give 'em ideas, Pete. Vallone is a Democrat, mind you, and in New York City, so you can take it as understood that his political positions are considerably to the left of Pol Pot. It's a measure of how egregiously crude and arrogant Ms Quinn's remarks were that even in New York, people protested. In fact she's now back-pedaling for all she's worth. "Businesses that follow our laws have a right to open here," she weaseled on Tuesday.
Nationwide, the attacks on Chick-fil-A by homosexualists have been a huge boost to sales, so much so that there has been widespread speculation that the sodomy squads may themselves have been on the Chick-fil-A payroll. Wednesday was declared Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, and outlets were packed.
Some quotes from customers:
And so on. I'd join in the fun myself; but here in my Aegean exile there is no Chick-fil-A. The only fast food place on the island in fact is Nikki Nicolaides' goatburger joint; and the word around the village is that only the ugly goats get turned into burgers, Nikki keeps the good-looking ones for playmates. Listen, I'm just reporting what I've heard.
03 — Gorilla suicide. A strange little item here: Associated Press reports that a gorilla in the Prague zoo — that's Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic — a gorilla has died after hanging himself with a climbing rope. Zoo officials said that 5-year-old Tatu was found hanging with a rope around his neck Friday morning in a sleeping room. All attempts to revive Tatu failed.
When I read this story over the weekend, my first thought was that the poor creature must have been watching the Olympics. However, the Olympics didn't get started till Friday night, so it must have been something else. A Joe Biden speech, perhaps.
With the Olympics still in mind, though, Tatu's surviving relatives can at least console themselves with the thought that he didn't have to sit through that awful opening ceremony.
Ah, the Olympics!
Ms Papachristou's story so moved me, in fact, I have invited her down to the island here for a few days away from all the noise and publicity. It would be a great break for her. She could hang out on the beach with my research assistants Mandy, Candy, and Brandy; knock back some ouzo and goatburgers with us at Nikki's, and join in our midnight games of water polo in the house pool.
Well, the invitation's out there, Voula — just have one of your people respond to my emails, please. You'll see them stacked up there in your inbox.
I don't get the Olympics, anyway. Millions of people, none of whom would watch a swimming competition from one year's end to the next, are suddenly on the edge of their seats screaming for Michael Phelps to pull ahead of Ryan Lochte? Gimme a break. This is artificial excitement.
As a chronic misanthrope, though, I do enjoy the rancor. So far the main point of rancor has been over some Chinese swimmer who's been winning more medals that people think she has a right to win. The gal herself, 16 years old, tells us that the ChiComs picked her out as a likely prospect at age seven, and she's been training ever since. With a regime like that, and a population of 1.3 billion to draw from, who needs juice?
Then there are the North Koreans, who've also been winning an astonishing number of medals. Not much surprise there, either. If you know that the penalty for failing to get a medal is a lifetime of cleaning out the head at Wong Bong Chuk prison camp up on the Siberian border, you squeeze out that little bit of extra effort.
And then there's the freak-show aspect, which is never far away from the Olympics. Taking the gold for freakiness this time around was Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani of Saudi Arabia, a female contestant in one of the judo events. Ms Shahrkhani has been given permission to wear a Muslim headscarf while participating.
In judo, remember, you wrestle at close quarters. So it seems to me her opponent has only to grab that headscarf, wrap it round her neck, and hold on tight for a minute or two till her fingernails turn blue. Oh no, wait a minute, that won't work: I've just read here that Ms. Shahrkhani will also be allowed to wear her suicide belt.
05 — Legally illegal. Here's my "say what?" item of the week, from Reuters. I'll just read off the headline to give you the "say what?" flavor. You ready? Here goes. Headline: Courts mull whether illegal immigrants can be licensed to practice law.
Yes, this story concerns an illegal immigrant. Illegal immigrants are, as I'm sure we're all aware, poised to overtake blacks as the most protected class in the U.S.A. today. In recompense for the cruel oppressions and indignities they've suffered at the hands of evil nativists with their sinister notions of enforcing the nation's laws, illegal immigrants now get to help themselves from the national store, no payment necessary.
In this latest case, they get to practice law; or they will, if the California State Supreme Court rules the right way on a plea by 35-year-old Sergio Garcia, an illegal immigrant from Mexico.
Mr Garcia has passed the state bar exam and wants to practice law. He has gathered strong support, Reuters tells us, both from California's attorney general and from the state bar association. The federal Department of Justice has been asked to give guidance on the matter.
Hm, I wonder which way they'll rule? Though if Mr Garcia wants to sew it up decisively, he still has time to join the New Black Panther Party and be one of Eric Holder's people.
Mr. Garcia isn't an isolated case. In Florida, Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio is in the same situation, and in New York State, there is Cesar Vargas, described by Reuters as an "immigrant rights activist."
In related news, Sam Flambee of Minnesota, recently released from a ten-year sentence for arson, has applied to become a firefighter. Meanwhile in Massachusetts, serial poisoner Wilbur Crippen is lobbying the governor for a license to practice pharmacy. And, latest, Charlie Sheen has taken up work as a substance abuse counselor …
06 — Olympics: Pyongyang on the Thames. Oh, just one more on the Olympics.
If you're still wondering why the North Koreans are doing so well, another factor may be that the London venue reminds them of home.
There's the fact of Britain's being a police state, of course, with closed-circuit cameras on every street corner and jail sentences for anyone criticizing homosexuality, Islam, or blacks. (If you're a black Muslim who criticizes homosexuality, things get tricky. Let's not go there.)
Then there was that garish opening ceremony — pure Pyongyang, with legions of regimented kids singing about how happy their lives are under the loving care of the fatherly government.
And then there were the empty seats. Not for long, though: Soldiers from Her Majesty's armed forces were ordered to go fill up the seats so the stadiums wouldn't look so empty. If you've been wondering what the Grenadier Guards have been doing to keep themselves busy since the dissolution of the Empire, there's your answer.
The North Koreans do exactly the same thing with their department stores when foreign visitors are being shown around. There isn't actually anything to buy in North Korea, and nobody's got any money anyway, so the department stores are empty most of the time. That won't do when there are foreign visitors, though; so prior to the visitors' appearance, the Norks draft in army units, put 'em into civilian clothes, and have them wandering round the department-store aisles pretending to be customers.
"We are all socialists now," remarked a British politician in 1887. He was a few decades premature, but Britain got there eventually. Now they've gotten still further: The Brits are all North Koreans now.
07 — Mitt Romney's travels. Mitt Romney went a-traveling to England, Israel, and Poland. Israel and Poland I get: You want to shore up those Jewish votes in Florida and Pennsylvania and Catholic votes in the Midwest, I get that. Why did he visit England, though?
Here are a couple of guesses. One: by showing up at the Olympics, Willard reminded us of the indisputably excellent job of management he did at the '02 Winter Olympics in Utah. Competence, competence, we're being reminded.
Two: Republicans really like Churchill, and really resent Obama's having returned that bust of Churchill back in '09. Romney wants to make a contrast with Obama — "I'm not going to be that kind of President! See how nice I'm being to the Brits!"
Given Churchill's recorded opinions about blacks, which I cannot repeat on a family podcast, I sort of see Obama's point in returning the bust. And Britain's political and cultural elites are totally in the tank for Obama anyway, so Mitt didn't get much joy out of them.
He made his points for the folks back home though, and I guess that's what counts. Though I doubt it counts for much: Unless Li'l Squinty drops the big one on Tel Aviv between now and November, this will not be a foreign policy election.
A nice little sidebar to Romney's journeyings was provided by House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. Republican Jews, said the lady, are being exploited by the Romney campaign. And, she added, quote, "they're smart people."
Mrs Pelosi's handlers at once threw a sack over her head and dragged her away. From underneath the sack her muffled voice could be heard declaring that blacks have a great sense of rhythm, Italian Americans are exceptionally law-abiding, and Polish people make the greatest sausage.
Mrs Pelosi is 72.
08 — Signoff. That's all I can give you this week, listeners. If I could give you more, I would.
I mentioned the Grenadier Guards up there somewhere. Here's their official quick march to see us out. With words! — just in case you never heard them.
More from Radio Derb next week.
By the left: quick … march!
[Music clip: U.S. Army Strings: "The British Grenadiers."]