Life is tough, as the man said, and three out of three people die. It’s apparently a lot worse than we thought. The world is coming apart at the seams, just like the naysayers said it would. Times have got so tough that you can’t even trust fake news.
The crazy fat kid in Pyongyang is running out of both adjectives and hyperbole, having failed to destroy the United States with the toys he has, and now threatens a “thousands-fold” revenge against Donald Trump and the United Nations, too. Such a revenge would make a bonfire big enough to be seen from Planet Pluto, and hot enough to turn the crazy fat kid into a sizable tub of lard.
Rep. Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, went home to Wisconsin to bask in the glow of the announcement by a Taiwanese cellphone manufacturer that it would soon build a new factory in his district to employ 13,000 workers. But all anyone wanted to talk to him about was what a bunch of incompetent bums the Republicans in Congress have turned out to be.
Global warming fanatics are in a “state of shock” that Al Gore’s new doomsday documentary is bombing (speaking of nukes) at the box office. His new flick, “An Inconvenient Sequel,” opened over the weekend and not only was it not the box office smash he expected it to be, but placed 15th among 15 films opening in theaters across the country. This was a blockbuster that would have difficulty laying waste to a two-bedroom bungalow on a 50-foot lot.
Donald Trump says his “base” has never been stronger as his poll numbers sink deeper into the basement, but Democrats are the glum ones because the only prospect in sight is an opportunity to test the ancient political belief that “you can’t beat anybody with nobody.” So far nobody is the only savior in sight. Some Democrats are even taking hope at the news that Hillary Clinton is re-hiring some of her campaign aides, for what exact purpose she does not say.
Californians are getting serious with talk of seceding from the union, confident that there’s no Lincoln in the wings to say they can’t, but neither is there a Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson waiting to show them how to fight. Al Franken, the comedian from “Saturday Night Live” who proved you don’t have to be funny to make people laugh, is just out with what may be a campaign book suggesting that Minnesota and the U.S. Senate are no longer big enough to hold his political ambitions. He has set off speculation about a Franken-Maxine Waters ticket in 2020 (or maybe a Waters-Franken ticket). She’s not a comedian, either, but she makes more people laugh than Al ever did on “Saturday Night Live.”
There’s bad news for atheists, who live in mortal dread that a hopeful thought might intrude where gloom resides. A new study (who can argue with “a new study?”) reveals that atheists are more readily suspected when vile deeds make it to the public prints. Even fellow atheists are more likely to suspect an atheist than a Christian, Muslim, Hindus or Buddhist is the author of a dirty deed.
The study, conducted by “an international team” for the journal Nature Human Behavior, found in a study of 3,000 persons in 13 nations on five continents that “across the world religious belief is intuitively viewed as a necessary safeguard against the temptations of grossly immoral conduct,” and that “atheists are broadly perceived as potentially morally depraved and dangerous.” Ordinary people are twice as likely to assume that a serial killer is an atheist.”
Life is tough for everybody, and lately it’s tougher for Al Gore than almost anyone else. Al’s got a whopper of a light bill every month. An analysis of electricity at his house near the Tennessee capital by the Nashville Electric Service, which supplies electricity to much of Middle Tennessee, shows that Al’s house uses enough electricity in a typical month to supply power to 34 average American homes. Over the past year, he has used enough electricity to heat his swimming pool big enough for all outdoors to power six average Nashville homes. That includes the night light to guide Al, who’s pushing 70, when he gets up in the middle of the night.
Al, whose monthly light bill runs $30,000 a month (but that’s for all 20 rooms), was counting on his new film to help pay the bills. He urged all his followers to hurry down to the Bijou to watch his movie. Not many did, but it was the distributor’s fault. One reviewer wrote that “this was not supposed to happen,” and thinks Al should demand a recount. Haven’t we all seen this movie?
• Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.