Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Stateside Memo

Stateside Memo
12 August 2015

Hello there... Rodger French here.

Assuming that the appropriate bureaucratic constellations align in a timely fashion, Anne and I will be departing these American shores in a week or so for Myanmar, aka Burma. As the kidz say, “Shit’s gettin’ real.”

But first, permit me to offer a few fully-half-baked observations on the state of affairs in the US of A from my perspective as an expat, patriot, and once-and-future resident.

1. The pandemic of junk food abuse in the United States continues unabated. Good times for us aficionados of exotic potato chips, bad news for public health. And our obsession with bacon has gone completely around the bend. Bacon ice cream? No. This madness must cease.

2. Basic cable television is basically boring; that is, when it’s not actively appalling. There are exceptions; for example, Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” sayonara, featuring his brilliant soliloquy on “bullshit” and exit music by Springsteen. Also, “Castle” reruns. (No apologies; they remind us of Buenos Aires.)

3. Regarding the so-called “Confederate Flag,” or, more evolutionarily, the “Banner of Treason in Defense of Slavery,” the “Banner of Treason in Defense of White Supremacy,” and the “Banner of Treason in Defense of American Apartheid:” The mercifully few folks I’ve observed proudly flaunting their “Banner of Treason in Defense of Heritage” appeared to embody pretty much every white racist jackass stereotype. Honkies, please!

4. The United States has forfeited any conceivable prerogative to cast aspersions on any other nation’s electoral process (including Argentina and Burma, both with elections later this year). Indeed, achieving parity with the Italians seems less unlikely every day, now that Donald Trump has assumed the role of Silvio Berlusconi, albeit without the charm.

5. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team totally rocks. ‘Nuff said.

6. Gas prices in both Alabama and South Carolina have dipped as low as $2.15.9/gallon. Therefore, since he wrongly gets the blame when gas prices go up, I’d like to take a moment to say “Thanks, President Obama.”

7. Moment of Zen: After three blissful years of not owning a car, we have logged about 4,500 miles on a rental vehicle during home leave, often on seriously overcrowded highways unconducive to happy motoring. But one day, while driving on I-85N through NC, I slipped behind an 18-wheeler belonging to an automobile racing team and driven by a real pro, drafting for a considerable distance until he exited at a weigh station. Possibly the best driver with whom I’ve ever slipstreamed on our Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. (Thanks, Ike.)

Finally, since there is no such thing as too much bacon reiteration, the third in the ongoing series of my postings from exotic locales is available from at a ridiculously reasonable price:

This is a companion book to the first two volumes:

Collect the set. Coming soon: “Messages From Myanmar.”

All thanks to family and friends who generously accommodated us, thereby making our trip Stateside a rip-roaring success. We are deeply grateful and love you madly.

Hasta Birmania. Onward.


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