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Strange Times and Bothersome Things

By Jerry Bowen
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Jerry Bowen

These are just the strangest of times. Here in Southern California the drought drags on. We are now in year five of the driest of days. Our elected officials and those who manage our precious water supplies cajole and threaten to make us conserve even more.  

These same officials and managers then approve massive new high rise apartment and condominium projects that will soon bring thousands of units to the skylines of Hollywood and downtown L.A. Living units that will require millions of gallons of water we are told we don't have. 

Why do I get the feeling that some newly minted 30-something millionaire from China will be filling his penthouse pool and spa with water my neighbors and I once used to irrigate our obscenely green lawns? Before we tore them out and replaced them with drought tolerant vegetation. "Like the pea gravel front yard, Bro! Makes the Rosemary kind of pop out."

Why? Because everyone knows the Chinese are parking their billions here in the more stable American economy. And everyone also knows the Chinese are behind the building boom. And everyone also knows they make an amazing target to blame for all that is supposedly wrong here. (Think "The Donald" but not quite yet. There is other ground to cover first.)

The drought is so bad that Argentine ants have abandoned their subterranean nests to crawl above ground in search of water. That means lines of ants in laundry rooms to get to the clothes washer, appearing in bathroom sinks and toilet bowls and making annoying trails along kitchen counters and cabinets.

Jack, our salty, beloved, pest control Maester, says the Argentine ant colonies stretch from the Mexican border all the way up to Santa Barbara. Billions and billions of ants. Equal opportunity invaders making life miserable for the wealthy and the poor alike. And making Jack busy rich. We have signed up for his quarterly "Poison the Ants Program." What we really need is a wall. A "yuuuuge" wall to stop them at the border.

O.K. Now it is time to bring in "The Donald." There are so many ways he is disqualified from being President. Leader of the free world. The man who would have his finger "this close" to the nuclear button. I choose to start with his appearance. How sexist I hear someone saying. "Would you comment on Hillary's appearance?" No. Because Trump surrogates are already doing that. And besides Hillary has better hair.

When I was a little boy of 5 or 6, I would visit my Grandma Gene in the small town of Atlantic, Iowa, not far from the farm I now have in flyover country. Each Saturday night during those innocent summers, as I was getting chubbier slurping down a root beer float made from the powdered root beer she mixed with cold water and topped off with a "yuuuuge" (I am so sorry. There is something about writing and saying the Trumpian word "yuuuuge" that makes me laugh.) scoop of vanilla ice cream, Grandma would tune her black-and-white TV to Channel 6, WOW, out of Omaha, and we would watch professional wrestling. We loved it. We would whoop and holler and wonder why the refs could not see the good guys' eyes being gouged out by the bad guys. How could they be so blind?

There was no one we cheered for more than a wrestler known as "Gorgeous George." He would enter the ring in his tight shorts and sashay round the ropes pulling bobby pins from his perfectly coiffed hair and tossing them to the fans. They went crazy! Remind you of anyone?

I submit that Donald Trump has Gorgeous George hair. Google "Gorgeous George" and see what you think. But it doesn't stop with the hair. Donald Trump has the swagger. The confidence. He is working that Gorgeous George sashay thing. And HIS fans go crazy too!

Here is another interesting similarity. In my view, and I could be wrong, but I don't think so, old George of the gorgeous hair was an act. A performer who put on a really great show. As a 5 or 6 year old, I didn't realize it. And I don't think my Grandma knew it either. It was wrestling on TV and it looked real.

There are many millions of people who see Donald Trump on TV and believe he is real. And that all the things he claims he will do: build that wall and make Mexico pay for it; bring back all those manufacturing jobs from overseas; put "Crooked Hillary" in jail...he can do. Grown-ups. People with a vote.

Trump supporters believe because they want to and they need to. They want relief from lives and circumstances not of their own making. Reality is too difficult. The world promised by Trump is too irresistible to ignore.

It is, however, an act. Even "The Donald" must be stunned he's in the race. And with a supporting cast of professional politicians who reviled him during the primaries, but now revere him as they struggle to survive and keep their party relevant.

What strange times. Gorgeous must be rolling in his wrestling tights.


Jerry Bowen is a three-time Emmy Award-winning veteran news correspondent now in retirement after 33 years with CBS Network News. He lives in Los Angeles, but escapes regularly to commune with the coyotes and cougars on his family farm in southwest Iowa.

All opinions expressed in this article are solely those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.

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