Cousin Ray Sixkiller was shocked that The Lone Ranger did not win the only Oscar for which it was nominated, best makeup. “Can you imagine,” he asked, “how much longer it took to get Johnny Depp ready than Jay Silverheels with one coiffeur for Depp and another for the bird?”
During the Oscars show, Ellen Degeneres attempted the “ultimate selfie” by putting herself in a circle of movie stars. This Air Force veteran says nice try, Ellen, but fighter pilots have started taking selfies at the moment of a missile launch. “The cost of a Sidewinder missile,” Cousin Ray reminded me, “is $664,933.” OK, not a good idea to launch for a selfie, but if you are launching anyway…?
USA Today reported that “a giant virus” has been released alive by climate change after being trapped in Siberian permafrost for 30,000 years. Christened Pithovirus, this one will not infect humans, but scientists think it probable others will be released. Cousin Ray wondered if the zombie viruses would infect people who don’t believe in climate change?
The usual suspects, led by the Wall Street Journal, have set out the rationale for fighting with Russia over Vladimir Putin’s decision to reverse Nikita Khrushchev’s 1954 placement of the ethnically Russian Crimea with the Ukraine Soviet Republic rather than the Russian Soviet Republic. “If we must have another charge of the light brigade,” Cousin Ray suggested, “how about we send drones into the valley of death? Surely we have 600 drones?”
Foreign Policy reports that the US Marine Corps has restored the “right to bare arms,” rescinding an unpopular order against rolled up uniform sleeves less than three years since it was issued. “OOH-rah,” Cousin Ray said, “better keep those Devil Dogs happy if there’s going to be a fight with Russia.”
The Washington Post reported that Annapolis Police Chief Michael A. Pristoop enlivened a Maryland State Senate hearing on legalization of marijuana when he cited a satire from The Daily Currant claiming that 37 Coloradans had died of marijuana overdose on the first day of legalization, leading Cousin Ray to speculate “maybe Chief Pristoop was testifying while stoned?”
LiveScience reported a study that used computer simulation to debunk historical claims that Sultan Moulay Ismail of Morocco (1634-1727) fathered 1,171 children by four wives and 500 concubines. The debunking failed when the study reported—based on 32 years of his reign when the number of children was alleged rather than his actual reign of 55 years---that he would have had to have sex between .83 and 1.43 times a day and he would have needed not more than 110 women. “Why,” Cousin Ray smirked, “did they use computer simulation?”
Jimmy Kimmel to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford: “I picked you up at the airport. I don’t even pick up my mother at the airport.” I was going to say that Mayor Ford managed to fly into California and do Kimmel’s show without having any police incidents, but Cousin Ray pointed out “Hollywood police are used to comedians.”
The BBC said Walter Williams, 78, was in a body bag at Porter and Sons Funeral Home in Lexington, Mississippi waiting to be embalmed when he started kicking. Holmes County Coroner Dexter Howard, who pronounced the man dead, said he followed “normal procedures.” Cousin Ray wondered if Mississippi might want to rewrite their “procedures” just a tiny bit?
Speaking of early embalming, Reason reports on the bar tab for a Philadelphia going away party staged in 1787 for George Washington and attended by 55 people. They consumed 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight bottles of whiskey, 22 of porter, eight of hard cider and seven bowls of punch spiked with alcohol. The tab is silent about the size of the bottles. Cousin Ray cracked that he was beginning to understand why W.C. Fields “would rather be in Philadelphia.”
The Beaumont Enterprise reported that a judge in Arkansas has awarded a judgment of more than half a billion dollars against Twenty First Century Holiness Tabernacle Church, an arm of Alamo Ministries, in favor of seven women who were sexually abused from childhood. The bad news for collecting is that minister Tony Alamo is currently serving 175 years in prison for a 2009 conviction of taking young girls across state lines for sex. The good news is that the church owns some water rights near Santa Clarita, California.
In other child welfare news, KHOU reported that a 16 year old Houston girl who left her newborn baby in a Dumpster is in court seeking to get the baby back, contending she gave birth in her bathtub, thought the baby was dead, and put him in the Dumpster because she was afraid of her family. The government will have to appoint lawyers to represent both children, the one who gave birth and the one left in the Dumpster.
Texas supports “abstinence only” sex education and ranks 48 among the 50 states in preventing teen pregnancies, beating out only Mississippi and New Mexico. The state spends over a billion dollars a year on teen childbearing. “Public policy by Tony Alamo,” snarked Cousin Ray.
In other religion news, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which claims to represent jihadist forces in Pakistan, declared a unilateral ceasefire this week hours after killing 13 people and wounding 10 in an attack on a polio vaccination team. A couple of days later, 11 were killed and 25 injured in an armed attack on a district court in Islamabad, apparently by a different jihadist outfit.
How do you run a terrorist campaign in a nation that does not allow civilian firearms? Xinhua, the Chinese news agency, reports that Muslim separatists attacked a railway station in Yunnan Province, killing 29 and wounding 143. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a knife,” Cousin Ray speculated, “is a good guy with a knife?”
Legal scholar Judith Resnik warns in a New York Times op-ed that Delaware has found a new way to leap ahead in the “race to the bottom” among states to give the most rights to corporate persons and the fewest rights to human persons. A Delaware law allows, when there is more than a million dollars at stake, and the parties pay a $12,000 filing fee and $6,000 a day thereafter, a “trial” can take place using public courtrooms and state judges but with no public record. Proceedings are closed to the public and the outcome not published. “If General Motors could have done that to Ralph Nader,” Cousin Ray pointed out, “we could still drive Corvairs.”
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported in mid-week that the first two of eight Corvettes have been winched out of the sinkhole opened under the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, as shown on a surveillance video
that went viral at the time. Chevrolet has agreed to restore the classic cars that are valued at a million dollars. Cousin Ray and I tried not to cry then or drool now.
The New York Times reported on a Justice Department investigation into conditions at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama, finding that “more than a third of the employees have had sex with prisoners, which is sometimes the only currency for basics like toilet paper and tampons.” Cousin Ray wanted to know if that’s Alabama’s idea of teaching women a trade?
Chicago alderman Edward Burke introduced a resolution opposing a proposal to name a Washington federal building for Eliot Ness of The Untouchables fame. “There is no truth to the rumor,” Cousin Ray asserted, “that Chicago wants to name the federal building for Al Capone.”
The House took their 50th vote to gut Obamacare this week. Cousin Ray pointed out that’s about all they’ve done for three years, so that would mean each of those votes cost the taxpayers $10,400 “plus health insurance.”
Professor Greg Hampikian of Boise State University penned a hilarious op-ed in The New York Times asking, “When May I Shoot a Student?” Hampikian noted in passing that the Boise police chief, who opposed the bill to allow students to pack heat, was not allowed to testify at the legislative hearing, but the NRA got 40 minutes to explain why drunken frat boys need to be armed. Cousin Ray said the professor is making it way more complicated than it has to be. “Whether you can shoot,” he opined, “depends on the color of the student.”
A YouTube video has gone viral that purports to decode Indian head shakes.
That would be Indians from Asia. Cousin Ray is working on a video with American Indians, but claimed, “It’s hard to catch the subtleties of pointing with your lips.”
Mt. Gox, the biggest Bitcoin exchange in the world, has filed for bankruptcy protection after losing more than $450 million to hackers. Bitcoin prices took a tumble when Mt. Gox went dark, but have now recovered. Bitcoin is where ordinary banks were before the New Deal gave us the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: if your bank goes bust, your money is just gone. Cousin Ray was sure this will all be worked out before very many Cherokees adopt Bitcoin. “Some of us ain’t used to dollars yet.”
The Greenville Herald Banner reported that Steven Eugene O’Donnell, 45, got four years in prison for stealing benches, flowerpots, and stones from a grave. “That’s really unusual,” Cousin Ray said, “for a non-Indian grave.���