The Kim Jong-un Weight-Loss Regime

Who wants to be fat when the apocalypse comes?

This post is part of my Live from America! series.  For information that series, click here.

Dear ALF:

I wish you and your fellow Advanced Life Forms a happy new year.  (Now that I think of it, though, I don’t know if your creatures have years—be they old or new.  Oh, well.  Whatever.  (“Whatever” is what my people say when they do not want to be required to use language to communicate.)

In today’s headlines are reports that North Korea has detonated its first hydrogen bomb.  Since the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, is bat-shit crazy and runs a bat-shit crazy regime, this news probably means the world will probably be coming to an end in the next few years.

You know what that means, right?  It means there is no time to waste in achieving our weight loss goals! Yes, ALF, I have made a New Year’s Resolution to lose some weight.  This is what my people do in early January of every year.   Statistics tell us that 70% of Americans need to lose weight and the other 30% believe they should lose weight.  That means everybody is either on a diet or should be on a diet or feels guilty for not being on a diet or is in such a Big Mac stupor that they do not know what the word “diet” means.

Our weight-loss obsession is actually excellent news because the diet industry is what keeps the American economy from collapsing under the weight of all of the McDonald’s arches.   According to ABC news “the annual revenue of the U.S. weight-loss industry, including diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries” is $20 billion.

$20 billion is a lot of money, ALF.  To give you some perspective, the annual gross domestic product of Namibia, a country in southern Africa, is $13.11 billion   Clearly, the Namibians need to go on more diets in order to increase their GDP.

But, I digress.  My point, ALF, is that I am doing my part to keep the economy alive by beginning my weight loss journey.  Knowing the world will end soon, thanks to people like Kim Jong-un, is a wonderful motivator for me.  Who wants to be fat when the apocalypse comes?

I do not mean to imply that Kim Jong-un is all bad.  In fact, I admire his leadership style in many ways and have implemented some of his ideas in my own job.  For example, I learned last year, that he requires his people to sport haircuts that mimic his own.

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Who wouldn’t want that haircut?

I think this is a great idea, and last year, I tried to enforce it on the minions in my department.  My hair looks like this, by the way.

Debra xmas

My people are not as docile as North Korea’s, though.  Some of the male members of the department muttered something about their baldness getting in the way of the requisite haircut.

But again, I digress. Back to weight loss.  I am focused and motivated to succeed on my Kim Jong-un nuclear weight loss diet.  Who wants to join me?  (You will need to copy my hairstyle, of course.)

Live from America! “Star Wars”

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(For information about the origin of the series “Live From America,” click here).

Dear Advanced Life Forms of the Future (Alf):

I would be remiss in my duties as American Reporter if I did not comment on cultural events as well as politics.  After all, millions of Americans completely ignore politics and foreign policy, but nobody is unaware of the recent movie release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”  It came out at the end of last week and grossed more in opening weekend sales than any movie ever: $517 million in worldwide sales, with $238 million in the United States alone, according to the New York Times.

What is it about this movie—and the whole “Star Wars” series in general—that makes it so popular?  Honestly, I don’t get it.  But then, there are so many things I don’t understand, such as quantum physics, the popularity of tattoos, and why Ben Carson thinks he is qualified to be POTUS.

Just between you and me, Alf, I have only actually seen the first “Star Wars” movie, the one that came out in 1977.  I found it enjoyable enough, especially the android characters R2D2 and 3CPO and their bantering, bickering relationship.  When it came to the battle scenes, though, which I guess is the main attraction, I became bored.  Shoot-em-up chase scenes have never done much for me, whether they take place on earth or in space.

Overall, watching “Star Wars” passed the time pleasantly enough, but I wasn’t drooling with anticipation to see any more episodes.  In that way, I am apparently different from approximately 95% of the other humans on this planet.

In order to better understand the phenomenon that is “Star Wars,” I decided to interview an expert witness, “Star Wars” fanatic Mandolyn Manhattan.  On her Facebook page last week, she posted this status update.

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GUESS WHAT COMES OUT TODAY YOU GUYS grin emoticon grin emoticon grin emoticon

Because of my advanced critical reading skills, I was able to detect from this post that she kind of liked this movie series.  So I asked Mandy to explain to me what makes “Star Wars” so appealing to so many people.

She responded, “I think the thing that makes “Star Wars” important is how it makes people feel.  “Star Wars” speaks to people of a better way of life.  Everyone knows how to speak other languages, fly a ship through space, fix things, or fight with a laser sword.  Everyone has these incredible skill sets and banks of knowledge!”

Mandy makes a good point: these characters are quite advanced in knowledge and skills.  Now that I think about it, they are also quite sophisticated in their dealings with creatures from other planets.  Where I live, there are plenty of suburban white folks who are afraid to go to downtown Minneapolis because there are black people there (no joke).  In “Star Wars,” people don’t bat an eye at the myriad life forms they run into—unless those life forms have turned to the Dark Side, like Darth Vader, and are trying to destroy them, of course.

Mandy also observes that in “Star Wars,” “morality seems simpler: you either hurt people or you help them.”  This is a key point, I think.  “Star Wars” depicts an epic struggle, one in which the Bad Guys (Darth Vader and the Evil Empire) are clearly Bad and the Good Guys are clearly Good.  Good vs. Evil fight it out, but in the end, Good triumphs over Evil.  What’s not to like about that?

While I understand this is an appealing narrative, its simplicity also explains why I am not an enthusiastic devotee of this series.  In real life, the conflict between Good vs. Evil is never that simple. In the original “Star Wars” movie that I saw, the fight was against the Death Star and its inhabitants.  All of the inhabitants, as far as we could tell were evil men clad in Stormtrooper armor.  We could not even see their faces, much less understand the characters as individuals with unique personalities and life histories.  Did they have mothers, fathers, wives, children who loved them and depended on them?  We don’t know and we don’t care.  Stormtroopers are just symbolic embodiments of the Bad.

In real life, bombing other countries leads to the destruction of some Bad Men, but also to the killing of Good Men, Fair-to-Middling Men, and Women, Children, Grandmas and Grandpas of all stripes.  It also leads to hatred of us and the cancerous growth of more Bad Men. But this is pretty complicated and not that much fun to think about.

That’s why people flock to “Star Wars.”  I think I get it now.

Live from America! Bombing Agrabah

Many people reacted to the results of this poll with derision. They think it is silly to bomb places that do not exist. I, however, think it is actually a brilliant idea.

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(For an explanation of the Live from America! series, click here.)

Earth Date 12/19/2015

Dear Advanced Life Form (ALF):

Greetings! I hope you are doing well.   College students around the country are dropping into exhausted heaps of inert student masses as they finish their semesters.  I am a college professor, and like my colleagues around the country, I will dropping into an exhausted heap of inert professor mass as soon as I finish my pile of grading.

But first, I want to file my report to you on the state of America.  A recent poll can, I think, illuminate the nature of my people and the times in which we live. A sample of Americans was asked if they were in favor of an American campaign to bomb the country of Agrabah.  30% of Republicans polled said “yes.” After all, Agrabah must be an Arab, Muslim country, and we know that all of Those People are terrorists, so we might as well bomb them off the map, right?

The problem is, Agrabah does not exist.  It is the name of a fictional country taken from the Disney film Aladdin.  Oops.

Oh, well.  Everybody knows that knowledge of geography isn’t our strong suit here in America.  That’s OK, though, we make up for our ignorance with high self-esteem and lots and lots of guns.

Many people reacted to the results of this poll with derision.  They think it is silly to bomb places that do not exist.   I, however, think it is actually a brilliant idea.  Bombing real places with real people in them has a number of drawbacks:  it is costly, it is messy, and the people being bombed tend to form negative attitudes towards the bombers and then become terrorists.

Bombing non-existent places, though, has none of these drawbacks.  It is cheap, clean, and much less irritating to the people on the ground.  Bombers can get their jollies by pretending to destroy entire civilizations without spending trillions of tax dollars! We could use the saved dollars on other things, like mandatory geography education.

Why didn’t we think of this earlier?  Maybe I should run for president.

That’s all for now, ALF.  Take care.

–Dotty Olbatt

 

 

 

 

Live from America! What is Christmas?

Diary Entry 12/15/15  (For an explanation of the series Live from America! Click here.)

Dear Advanced Life Form (ALF):

Today I went out to lunch with some friends to celebrate Christmas.  Tomorrow I will go to a Christmas party with co-workers.  I have already been to a few other Christmas celebrations and plan to attend several more before the season is over.  I am in a sugar-induced coma from all the Christmas cookies I’ve eaten.  In a word, I am an American.

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If you wish to understand the Ways of My People, ALF, you will need to understand what Christmas is all about.  Christmas is a Christian holiday, and its purpose is to celebrate the birth of Christ.  Christians believe that Christ is the human incarnation of God and that Christ sacrificed himself on the cross so that our sins would be forgiven and we would have eternal life.  Christmas is all about love and an appreciation for our creator and redeemer.

Adoration of the Shepherds
Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard von Honthurst, 1622

We Americans are a religious people, and we take all this Christmas stuff seriously.  We show our devotion by shopping–I mean serious, hard-core, shopping.  I’m not talking “Oh, I think I’ll buy an orange for little Mikey and put it in a stocking and he will be ever-so-grateful.”  I’m talking  $465 billion on Christmas gifts this year, or around an I-Pad and an X-Box per person.  We celebrate God’s love by stressing ourselves out.  We spending money we don’t have to buy gifts that our loved ones don’t need and sometimes don’t even want. We do this for Jesus.

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We do this because back in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, they didn’t have much in the way of retail stores or gift certificates, and we feel bad about that.  We want to make up for the toy cars, video games, and gift certificates to iTunes that Jesus didn’t have when he was a boy.

Don’t get me wrong, though, ALF.  Christmas isn’t just about stuff.  It’s also about decorating fake pine trees with pretty, shiny things.  And it’s about music—glorious sacred music.  I know a lot of people think that Handel’s Messiah” is the bees’ knees when it comes to Christmas music.  I’m not so sure about that.  Handel was all right, but he doesn’t hold a candle to the real genius of Christmas music: Johnny Marks, the composer of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Because ultimately, Christmas is about reindeer.  Whether black-nosed, brown-nosed, or red-nosed; whether from the Middle East, the North Pole, or Wisconsin,  reindeer are people, too.

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And that, ALF, is why we spend so much money on Christmas that our entire economy hinges on retail sales in December.

I hope this clears up any questions you may have about Christmas.  It’s really pretty simple.

Oh–and Christmas is also about Jingle Cats singing “White Christmas.”

Live from America! 12/14/15

Dear Advanced Life Forms of the Future:

Greetings!  I am a human living in the United States of America in the year 2015.  At the time of this report, our nation is looking for a new president in a process known as “democratic elections.”  The first step in this process is for each political party to choose a nominee to run for president.  Right now, the front runner in the Republican primary is a man named Donald Trump.

Donald T rump

Donald Trump

Trump specializes in hate-mongering and has offended just about everybody on the planet who is not a rich, white, American male.  Nonetheless, as a candidate, he is leading the polls at this time.  They say that sex sells when it comes to products.  Apparently, hate sells when it comes to politics.

I have therefore concluded that Donald Trump will win the presidential election.  He will then get us into a nuclear war with Vladimir Putin of Russia in order to decide, in an epic showdown, which of them has/is the biggest dick on the planet.  Our planet will not survive this showdown, except for a few isolated outposts of struggling humanity.

That is where you come in, Advanced Life Forms of the Future.  I am assuming that after you discover the pathetic remains of our planet, you will be curious to find out what happened to us.

I am here to help you out.  I will keep this diary on my blog as a chronicle of what life was like in Late America (Before The End Times).   I’m not a leader, a celebrity, or a rich person.  I’m just an ordinary American providing a chronicle of my ordinary days.  I hope it will help you Advanced Life Forms to make more sense of my planet, my country, my people.

Report from December 14, 2015

One of today’s headlines focused on a landmark climate control deal agreed to by over 200 countries after meeting in Paris.  This is big news for the state of our planet, which we have been busy destroying for quite a while.  For reasons that are too complicated to explain in my little diary, the earth has been getting warmer and the weather has become more volatile because of emissions we have put into the atmosphere.

The purpose of the talks in Paris have been to strike a deal that would begin to reverse some of the most devastating effects of global warming. According to Carol Davenport, a reporter for the New York Times,

The new deal will not, on its own, solve global warming. At best, scientists who have analyzed it say, it will cut global greenhouse gas emissions by about half enough as is necessary to stave off an increase in atmospheric temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That is the point at which, scientific studies have concluded, the world will be locked into a future of devastating consequences, including rising sea levels, severe droughts and flooding, widespread food and water shortages and more destructive storms.

But the Paris deal could represent the moment at which, because of a shift in global economic policy, the inexorable rise in planet-warming carbon emissions that started during the Industrial Revolution began to level out and eventually decline.” (NYTimes 12/13/2915)

A deal that helps us save the planet we all live on might seem like a good thing to most people, but not everybody agrees that saving the planet from global warming is a worthwhile goal.

Presidential candidate Marco Rubio, for example, noted once that “America is not a planet.”  Therefore, he does not want to put any restrictions on businesses in order to save the planet. (I know, I know, that logic doesn’t make any sense to me, either.)

And Donald Trump thinks the idea of global warming is just a hoax invented by the Chinese to destroy America.  (Those sneaky Chinese people!)

You can see their point.  After all, worrying about a planet in decline can really get in the way of the important stuff in life.  That’s why the number 1 trending story on google today is not about global warming or chaos in the Middle East or the presidential election, but something really important::  Justin Bieber and Kourtney Kardashian ‘Inseparable,’ ‘Touchy Feely’ While Partying in Wes Hollywood, Says Source. 

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Justin Bieber and Kourtney Kardashian

In case you, Advanced Life Form, do not know who these people are, Justin Bieber is a singer who looks to me like he is 8 years old. Apparently, though, young women find him to be attractive.  Kourtney Kardashian is a young woman who is famous.  Honestly, I have no idea why she is famous, but she is.  Her sisters are famous, too, and they like to wear tight clothing a lot.  I’d like to be more helpful, but that’s really all I can tell you.

You can see, Advanced Life Form, humanity has its problems.   But I do rather enjoy living here, and hope the planet can find a way to keep going awhile longer.  There are always wonderful things to celebrate.

Today’s wonderful thing is this:  Goats Singing Christmas Carols.  Check out this youtube video made by Action Aid.

I bet you don’t have that on your planet!

That’s all for today’s report.  Stay tuned for more news from America!