How to Boil a Frog


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Monday, March 24, 2008

The Blitz

Ever feel like this?

Does it seem like the news is becoming an all-out assault? If it’s not an actual war story about “6 killed in US air strike”, it’s “Man stabs 8 at mall”. And why are all these people killing numbers? Are they anti-math?

He’s afraid for his life. And not just because he ate Nine.

Then there was the fire sale of teetering Bear Stearns to the JP Morgan Bank . If you’re a US taxpayer, you tried to take comfort in the fact that the bailout postponed the collapse of the US economy for another week or so, until you found out that you paid for the bailout. And the people running Bear Stearns suffered too – many were reduced from billionaires to mere millionaires.

“But it’s more than money. It’s the shame and embarrassment. Now the question is, can you pay for the house and do you give up the second car?” [actual quote]

Meanwhile, oil prices are still over $100 even after the “collapse”, inflation is rising from Singapore to China to Europe to America, the Brits are up to £1.4 trillion in personal debt, the UN admits it’s losing the fight against hunger, Bangalore -- the capital of out-sourcing & stress -- takes the crown as world leader in suicides, and Canadians are feeling worse about balancing the budget with “the most destructive project on earth”.

We’re #1!

And amid this barrage of bad news bombs, the holier-than-thou do-gooders tell us we’re supposed to change our way of life? We’re supposed to drive less? Buy less stuff? Eat organic, locally-grown, non-genetically-modified low-carbon hormone-free-range food?

Are any of these people from Earth?

Al Gore is from the Whirlpool Galaxy. David Suzuki is from the smaller galaxy next door.

Not only that, they say we can do all that stuff and be happy. Right. OK, we believed George about the WMD, but fool me once, shame on…shame on you…fool me can’t get fooled again! [actual video] Just name a time when people were doing all that and felt good about their lives!

Fair enough. Let’s bring in my uncle, esteemed journalist Edward R. Frog.

This…is London.

The Allied Forces are still holding a beachhead of good cheer against pressure from the Axis of Fear. Petrol is a bit limited, so people have parked their cars and started to get their exercise from biking and walking.

Finally, we can take time to enjoy the scenery!

With everyone staying close to home, families have started to spend time together again. Many have been surprised to find they have more children than they remembered, and that they can actually spend time just talking or playing music. Some of these families are getting together with other families, forming something they call “communities”.

Slumber party! (Jacket and tie required.)

The teenagers don’t want to stay in with the old fogies, of course. Fortunately, they’ve rediscovered the joy of dancing to live music – and it’s the best dance music there ever was or will be. Swing!

The most fun you can have without getting pregnant!

There are shortages of course. The ladies are missing their nylons (cleverly replaced with a well-drawn line up the back of a shapely gam), but sugar and meat can be had on the black market if you’ve got something to trade – in a time when money is just paper, real goods, tools and skills are what count. But when it comes to food, most people are turning to their own backyards!

Another hoe for self-sufficiency.

But people are discovering there’s another place they can go for the things they need: their neighbors. Everyone is quick with an offer of the spare room if your house took a hit in the middle of the night, but fashion is also getting served. With no new clothes around, people are finding used treasure in other people’s closets!

We’ll just take in the high heels a little and she’ll be ready for Little Miss Sunshine!

And of course, despite the daily hardships, the uncertainty about the future, the worry about our ability even to get safely home at the end of the day…one thing remains constant: the resilience of the human heart. The more difficult things become, the more we’re reminded that we need each other, and the more we reach out. Together again, present in our towns and villages in a way we haven’t been for years, we happen to glance across the square and see that familiar stranger. And all in a moment…


So never forget that there was a time like ours, when life got better even as things got worse, because everyone pitched in and decided to make the best of what there was, and remembered what was important. And as for when this particular Blitz of ours will end, well…

…the future is full of possibilities.

Good night and good luck.


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