Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sweet September

This story was originally printed in the October Issue of Tai Chung's 24/7 Magazine. It was intended for the September Issue (hence the title) but that issue was hyperspaced in the process of going from a local magazine to a national one; apparently 24/7 is now available in Taipei.

This image was originally posted at

Sweet September

This summer started out so well with pictures of Bush and Putin tearing around in Vlad’s 1956 mint Volga and George Lucas offering some closure on Darth Vader after 28 years. But somewhere between the imperial joyride, the force, and the stampede that killed nearly a thousand pilgrims on a Baghdad Bridge, a few weeks ago, summer ended, and all things considered it wasn’t a very good summer. Quite a summer, though.

Michael Jackson’s show trial reassured the rich that the American Justice system was still working normally, we traded in a bad pope for a worse one, and Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Chavez responded by offering to help America’s poor at the pumps, with lower gasoline prices.

Coalition forces in Iraq reported nearly three hundred soldiers killed between May and September, bringing the total Coalition casualties to 2054 (at the time of writing) In that same time there were 1190 Iraqi police and military deaths and 3129 civilian deaths reported. These figures don’t include the bridge deaths, inspired by an imaginary suicide bomber.

July brought the Olympics and the War to London’s doorstep when bombs killed 52 on the 7th and then again with a failed attack on the 21st. The day after the second bombing, London’s Metro Police responded by holding down a Brazilian electrician and shooting him eleven times on an underground train.

August seemed preoccupied with plane crashes with five major airline accidents killing at least 325 people. This didn’t show signs of stopping as September opened with a crash in Indonesia that killed about 150.

Gas and oil prices have soared to record levels alongside staggering profits on the part of the major oil companies. It’s worth noting that the president, vice-president, and the Secretary of State were all previously CEO’s of oil companies. That might explain all the SUV’s and blood for oil tactics.

Global warming seems to be coming along nicely. Like 2004, this has already been an incredible year for storms with 15 typhoons in the Pacific, and the fourth most powerful hurricane of all time uprooting New Orleans. A week after the storm the official death toll in Louisiana was still 72, but many were warning that it could rise to ten thousand.

The yellow spotted marmot has disappeared from the Rocky Mountain meadows directly due to global warming; it was joined in extinction this year by roughly 3000 species worldwide.

Oh, and Siberia is melting for the first time in 11 000 years and preparing to release billions of tons of methane gas into the atmosphere which could make our carbon monoxide problem look like a dropped ice cream cone.

There were a few bright spots; Cindy Sheehan’s protest outside Bush’s Crawford Ranch helped to breath some life into the anti-war movement even if he didn’t come out to say, “Howdy.” The Israeli’s pulled their settlers out of Gaza leaving behind demolished homes and very little water, like a party crasher with nothing left to steal.

So the climate has gone haywire as the politics of empire spin out of control. It looks about as good for us as for the poor old spotted marmot, but wouldn’t you have loved to see the look on George Bush’s face this summer when both Canada and Spain legalized same sex marriage?


BigEll said...

National my ass! Evidently the Gentle Rant doesn't consider anything south of Taichung to be Taiwan. Kaoshiung, Tainan, Hualien are basically parts unknown in the Rant's atlas. I never thought I'd live to see the day the Rant turned his back on the real Taiwanese. Damn you Gentle Rant, you've changed

Sean Reilly said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Maybe I should have written, "slightly more national," or "slightly less local."

I certainly didn't mean to jar anyone's idea of Taiwanese nationalism, but I hardly think that what I said warrants lumping me in with Hu Jintao, Lien Chan, James Soong, and Ma Ing Jou. That's just hurtful.

I was just pleased that my column has been picked up by the north, that's all. My misguided sense of nationism comes from being a hinterland Canadian, but I should've known better and I will watch it in the future, especially if this is how you're going to react now that you guys have a ten/ten baby.