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In Memory of Oscar…

About Time!After fifty yearsThe indigenous of Costa RicaAre finally getting accessTo government health care,And that, I think, is fine.Along with the rest of usThey will now share,When at death’s door,The Caja-given privilegeOf standing in line.Before you know it, our nativebrethren (the real natives, that is) willbe able to pay income taxes, bitchabout the potholes, have their wheelsstolen and be hassled by the INS, getmugged and, in general, enjoy the othermyriad benefits of late 20th-centurycivilization…(TT, Sept. 15, 1995)Lament for a LiturgyDominus vobiscum.We cross ourselves and say,Et cum spiritu tuo.Now, that’s the way to pray.But they’ve eliminated LatinFrom the Roman Catholic mass.“The Lord be with you” is okay,But, let’s face it, it lacks class!One thing about the Latin massWhich now, alas, no more is heard:We could always sleep right through it;We never understood a word.But now with the vernacular,Imposed on us by fiat from Rome,Church-going’s getting too demanding.I think I’ll just stay home!Amen! Or, as we say in the vernacular:So be it…(TT, Oct. 22, 1999)There Oughta Be a Law!So in comes our new PresidentWith his participles dangling.One thing for sure is evident:The language is in for a mangling!Much is being made of the fact thatThe Shrub (as the delightful Molly Ivinscalls him) will be the first Texas governorto serve as president. Not one of thepundits has yet mentioned that he willalso be the first non-English-speakingpresident!(TT, Jan. 5, 2001)Cloak and DaggerNews Item: President Bush hasauthorized the CIA to assassinateOsama bin Laden.The CIA has Dubya’s blessingTo assassinate al-Qaeda’s chief,On the assumption it will give us allSome much needed terrorist relief.But I don’t think bin Laden need fret:The CIA ain’t found him yet.If you can’t find ’emYou can’t eliminate ’emAm I the only one who has noticedthat “weapons of mass destruction” isabbreviated Dubya Em Dee?(TT, Jan. 10, 2003)They Did??The government last week closed downIts activities in deferenceTo the observance of Holy Week;And no one noticed the difference.Thought for the Week: We pay forthe sins of our ancestors, and it seemsonly fair that they leave us the money topay with.–Don Marquis(TT, April 16, 2004)Long Live…!Prince Charles is getting married;He has my great good wishes.But can he sew a button,Or will he do the dishes?A rambling palace is no placeTo learn such lowly things,But what is it that must be learnedBy once and future kings?Ministers run the country,So what is there left to doBut pursue some mangy foxesAnd an adultery or two?When I foolishly agreed, manyyears ago, to become an academic dean,a charming aunt of mine (by marriage),who was also an academic, asked me,“What does a dean do?” I confessedtotal ignorance on the subject butpromised her she’d be the first to knowif I ever found out. I never did, and sogave it up after three and a half years. Isuspect Charles will have a longer periodof grace in which to find out he reallydoes nothing. Good luck to him!(TT, Feb. 25, 2005)Is We Is or Is We Ain’t?For FilippoIn the face of the brouhaha over theU.S. pledge of allegiance, it is well torecall these words of Thomas Paine:“Of all the tyrannies that affectmankind, tyranny in religion is theworst.”The U.S. is a nation “under God.”It enjoys divine protection.But upon mature reflection,I think it rather oddThat it’s no better off todayThan it was in the DepressionWhen it wasn’t;And that’s not just my impression.But actually, the United States, asRobin Williams said, is “one nationunder Canada.”(TT, Aug. 2, 2002)New Year’s ReflectionNow that Y2K has come and goneAnd computers proved reliable,O how every prospect pleasesAnd, O how man is fallible!The lights, as feared, did not go outIn a hundred zillion tubes,Which shows machines are trustworthy,And mankind’s a bunch of boobs!Phineas Taylor Barnum could havebeen thinking of Y2K when he said thatthere’s a sucker born every minute.(TT, Jan. 21, 2000)U.S. Demands Democracy of KabilaHeadline in the daily La Nación(referring to Laurent-Désiré Kabila,who became President of theDemocratic Republic of the Congo,formerly Zaire, in May 1997, afteroverthrowing his predecessor,kleptocrat Mobutu Sésé Seko)We demand democracy of everyone,Even in darkest and remote Zaire!Sorry; especially in the newly baptizedDemocratic Republic of the Congo.Everyone should have democracy,Though they may not know just whatit is,Or have any idea what to do with it.Democracy’s definitely the ticketEven for those who cannot spell itAs well as for those who could not tell itFrom Adam if they met it face to face.Then why is it we did not demand itOf the previous guy who ran the place?I am reminded of the remarkPresident Franklin Roosevelt is allegedto have made in reference to the late,unlamented Anastasio Somoza, padreof Nicaragua, when it was objected thathe was an SOB: “Sure, he’s an SOB.But he’s our SOB.”In the present case, it seems to me,the United States is doing its usualheavy-handed job of SOB juggling.(TT, Aug. 15, 1997)


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