Just Above Sunset
January 2, 2005 - Reconciliation and Polar Bears

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Last month the humorist Dave Barry suggested Americans do not have to be deeply divided – and the business with Red States and Blue States could eventually be resolved.  And those who say they are just not smart and really don’t know much but are morally superior could one day actually get along with those who read and think and know details, but are reluctant to judge others.  Yeah.  Fat chance.


You will find this – the Barry item – here - One nation, purple or maybe plum, with goofiness for all - and it contains this -


The nation suffered a wound during the recent presidential election as a result of the rift between the red states - defined as "states where 'foreign cuisine' pretty much means Pizza Hut" - and the blue states, defined as "states that believe they are smarter than the red states, despite the fact that it takes the average blue-state resident 15 minutes to order a single cup of coffee."


Some blue-state residents are so upset about the election that they're talking about moving to Canada, which is technically a foreign nation. In my view, this would be a mistake: Canada is not the paradise it is often made out to be.


Fact: Every year, 43 percent of all Canadians - a total of eight Canadians - are eaten by polar bears.


Besides, running away is never the answer, unless you are a teenage boy who has just blown up a mailbox. As Americans, we need to stay here in America and work things out, because regardless of what color or hue of state we live in, we are all, deep down inside our undershorts, Americans.


Yeah, I guess so.  And he asks questions -


  Do we truly believe that all red-state residents are ignorant racist fascist knuckle-dragging NASCAR-obsessed cousin-marrying roadkill-eating tobacco-juice-dribbling gun-fondling religious fanatic rednecks; or that all blue-state residents are godless unpatriotic pierced-nose Volvo-driving France-loving left-wing communist latte-sucking tofu-chomping holistic-wacko neurotic vegan weenie perverts?


Yes. This is called "diversity," and it is why we are such a great nation - a nation that has given the world both nuclear weapons and SpongeBob SquarePants.


And so today I am calling upon both sides in the red-blue rift to reach out.  Maybe we could have a cultural-exchange program between red and blue states.


And he goes on to explain that.  That’s where the humor is supposed to be, and you can click on the link to find it.  He suggests that maybe New York and Kentucky could have a college-style "mixer," featuring special "crossover" hors d'oeuvres such as bagels topped with squirrel parts.


Well, it’s a bit forced, but yes, we are all Americans inside, whatever that means.  As he says, if we cut ourselves, we will all bleed the same color; and then, as Americans, we will sue somebody.


That’s about right.


But my readers, to whom I recommended this, had other thoughts.


Ric in Paris -


Every year, 43 percent of all Canadians - a total of eight Canadians - are eaten by polar bears?


And the other 10.6 eat the polar bears.  The life in the Arctic food-chain has it so good.  It's nearly fair.


Rick in Atlanta –


Okay, the bears up there may be making some gains on equality, but they still look like an oppressed minority to me.


Bob Patterson here in Los Angeles –


Polar bears are the hardest working animals in the world today.  The polar ice cap is melting, so they have to go farther to get a meal.


Then they have to contend with fame.


When it is warm (as it has been the last few days in Southern California) the news folks go to the zoo and take real cute pictures of the polar bears enjoying the hot weather. 


When it's cold (as it has been the last few days back in Eastern USA) the news people (as did NBC evening news on December 20, 2004) go to the zoo and show polar bears enjoying "their kind of weather."


Did they get a cut when Coca Cola used them in the ads?  Noooooo.


Marshal Fields department store in Chicago used to boast that they had everything, so when a smart guy wanted to put them on the spot, he went in and asked for some polar bear hair (needed it for making a fly for fly fishing, he said).  Did they have it?  Nooooo.


The California Golden Bear became extinct.  I fear for the polar bears.


Phillip Raines in Georgia -


I have heard that eating polar bear liver is so rich that one mouth full will kill a human eating it.  I only heard this once and have not been able to verify it, and I am short of Inuit acquaintances, which is where I guess this good advice came from.  Maybe Jack London overheard it and was trying to pass it along. 


I do know of a helicopter pilot who spent a time in Alaska who shot a polar bear from the air and he said it was truly one of his deep life regrets.  A useless accomplishment of hitting a moving target.  He gave up hunting altogether after that and retired from the military.  Karma came in the form of crashing his crop duster upon take off with a full load of malathion.  The area was evacuated for five miles around the crash. 


Zookeepers will play with a polar bear cub like they are the cutest pets until they are a few months old and then have to follow the same procedures of dealing with wild animals.  Apparently they will kill a handler and have no remorse about it, hold not the slightest grudge, let it slip completely out of their mind.  I prefer to have the image of cubs sledding on their butts with their mothers down a snowy slope being completely adorable and satisfying their legendary appetite with a Coke.  I hear they will tear open the roof of a car to get a picnic basket, but maybe that's a myth too.  Busting in a kitchen door to eat whatever is also part of their grazing capabilities and the PBS question of can man live with these beast has been posed for some one else to answer.


I think we’ve drifted here.  Political reconciliation?  Nope.  It’s easier to talk about polar bears.  And it is probably more useful.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
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This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....