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Inauguration fever is cresting with the inevitable flood of Obama merchandise. Here are three candidates for the worst of the lot:
In the “cute and cloying” category, there’s the “Obama, Time for a Change Baby Ultrasoft Onesie.”
In the “right-Wing Paranoia” category, the “Communist Obama BBQ Apron,” with hammer and sickle design.
Finally, in the “child exploitation” category is a new book, Hi It’s Me Zenin, Barack Obama’s Kid Neighbor. This one isn’t on the web yet–I learned about it from a press release. Reproduced verbatim:
Directly across the street from the Obama’s residence, in Hyde Park, lives Zenin Miller. Zenin is what many would call a typical 6 year old little boy Zenin loves Star Wars, Bakugans and super heroes. Actually, Zenin is anything but normal, he’s written a children’s book about what it’s like to be Obama’s neighbor – with the photos to prove it.
The book, titled “Hi It’s Me Zenin, Barack Obama’s Kid Neighbor”, that Zenin came up with on his own, describes how his daily schedule has been affected by living directly across the street from the President elect. The book includes photos Zenin took with his camera; shows what it’s like to have to drive through a security parameter just to get into his house for homework time, hanging out with Obama’s favorite waitress and his local breakfast joint, watching the Obama’s coming home to celebrate and the girls own play party, watching the street change as Barack Obama went from nominee to president elect, through the eyes of a 6 year old.
“Heartwarming interviews” with Zenin, promised the pitch, can be arranged through his publicist.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”