WASHINGTON — With summer waning, we need a break from you-know-who’s obsession with making us fret about him 24/7. So what else can we talk about?
How about what is going to happen to all those pairs of blackout glasses we bought for the solar eclipse? Do we save them for 2024 or recycle them or donate them to Goodwill?
Oh, my. The wife of the impossibly wealthy Treasury Secretary posts online boasts about her designer labels, her Tom Fords, her Hermes, her Valentinos, her speedboat, her inflatable swan, her whatever. As for critics of the bad taste? You are “nasty” and “passive aggressive” and “adorably out of touch.” Why, suggested Louise Linton, wife of Steven Mnuchin, don’t you go “chill out and watch the new ‘Game of Thrones.’” She apologized through her publicist. Linton is Mnuchin’s third wife. She was once in a movie called “Rules Don’t Apply.” Stay tuned.
While the U.S. political landscape is bleak, things could be worse. Brazil has 35 political parties and, possibly, 63 more by the time it votes in October of 2018.
With the tear-it-down mania going on over Confederate memorials, New Orleans was a bit puzzled to wake up one day and find “tear it down” spray-painted across the base of a statue of Joan of Arc, the 15th century Catholic martyr.
Is tourism in Guam really increasing, as the White House vehemently promised in the wake of the nuclear standoff with North Korea? (Remember the North Korea crisis, which was just before the escalation in the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan?)
And speaking of tourism, Guam, be careful. Tiny Iceland made a pitch for tourists to get it out of an economic mess and ended up with a fivefold increase in visitors. Now, the government, infrastructure and Icelanders are all overwhelmed, wondering how to stop the deluge, short of hoping its volcano erupts again.
Infrastructure is not just a worry in Iceland. Why are Navy destroyers running into merchant vessels? Why did it take a CSX freight train 18 days, 13 hours and 57 minutes to make its normal run from Chicago to Colesburg, Tenn., according to The Wall Street Journal? Why are Philadelphia commuter trains crashing into each other?
Why did Derek Jeter become an owner of the Miami Marlins? You’d think the new father would have enough on his hands.
Would you believe a city burning a huge “man” made of wood and initiating a festival that brings thousands of people in weird costumes to the hot desert and earning $50 million? Think Reno’s Burning Man festival in late August and early September.
What good is being first lady if you can’t be granted diplomatic immunity? Zimbabwe’s Grace Mugabe, 52, who is married to the country’s 93-year-old president, was said to be “acting in the interest of the Republic of South Africa” and received immunity after she whacked a young woman, a model, with an extension cord after the woman had been entertaining Mugabe’s two adult sons in a Johannesburg hotel.
Sometimes even totalitarian countries have good ideas. China has new guidelines on how long a company’s name can be. For example, China doesn’t like the name of this company: A Group of Youths in Baoji Holding a Cherished Dream That Under the Leadership of Uncle Niu They Will Create the Miracle of Life Network Technology Company. According to the New York Times, a new name has not yet been chosen for the company, which makes condoms.
You would think an angler out salmon fishing would be happy at a large catch. Wrong. The state of Washington is aghast that because of a torn net about three million pounds of farm-raised Atlantic salmon escaped into Washington’s Puget Sound. The worry is that the more valuable Pacific salmon will be endangered. The good news? The state says fish as long as you want and catch as many of those Atlantic interlopers as you can carry away. No bag limits.
Can you imagine the field day children will have with the new Google Express voice-shopping deal with Walmart?
The CEO of Kroger, world’s third largest retailer, tells WSJ “I find the produce that looks the ugliest tastes the best.” Hurrah for home gardeners.
Hot dog. A whole column without a mention of you-know-who’s name.
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service.