DAILY BRIEFINGIn Defense of American Intelligence
Jul. 14 - World media have been agog with stories about American intelligence over the past week or so. Europeans in particular seem very skeptical of our intelligence.
As an avowed moron, it's probably not my place to defend my country's intelligence, but as an American living in Europe I'd like to assuage the feelings of my compatriots by observing that I haven't been especially impressed by European intelligence.
Here in Copenhagen, for example, I've seen plenty of people doing less-than-brilliant things—trćking doors marked tryk, for example. (Or is that tryking doors marked trćk?) But you don't see me running around mocking Danish intelligence.
My point, if I have one, is that intelligence is just as hard to come by in Europe as it is in North America—or Antartica, for that matter. Besides which, it's probably the most over-rated human characteristic. Sure, intelligence has given us Viagra, space travel, surround sound, Diet Pepsi Twist, and instantaneous worldwide access to pictures of naked women—but it's also produced horrors and calamities that stupidity could never dream of.
So it seems to me that abusing America for her so-called "intelligence failures" is nothing more than nationalist bigotry.
Just wanted to get that off my chest.
Égalité, Fraternité, Liberté, Yadda Yadda Yadda...
Paris was not a happy city in 1789. Paris has never been an especially happy city, especially for those who don't speak French, but in that fateful year it was especially grouchy. And it wasn't just the city, but the whole country. All of France was being cranky and irritable, and all the other countries were like, "What?"
Finally the queen said they should eat cake and the nation snapped. The people rose up in protest and, it being time for the French Revolution, they stormed the Bastille ("Bastille") on July 14, 1789.
It quickly became clear that the peasants were revolting. (Not that anyone ever thought they were all that attractive.) The storming of the Bastille gave way to a Rain of Terror, a meteorological cataclysm in its own right, which eventually caused Napoleon and led to both Waterloo and Able Was I Ere I Saw Elba, all of which have been covered in previous almanacs and can therefore be ignored for the time being. Eventually the French (who had always been winers) immersed themselves in Bourbon.
Anyway, it's Bastille Day in France.
Peace Through Explosives
It was on this day in 1867 that Alfred Nobel first demonstrated his newest invention: dynamite.
Mr Nobel spent the rest of his life blowing things up in the interests of world peace—an ambition that was, sadly, not achieved in his lifetime. Upon his death he therefore endowed a foundation with millions of dollars to give prizes to those men and women of future generations who brought the world closer to peace by blowing things up.
Today is the birthday of Harry Dean Stanton (1926), Ingmar Bergman (1918), Gerald R. Ford (1913), Woody Guthrie (1912), William Hanna (1910), and Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904).
Today is not only Bastille Day in France, but also Revolution Day in Iraq and Day of Association in Senegal.
© 2003, The Moron's Almanac