The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Those who cannot remember quagmires, etc.

News from the Pac Rim is discomforting lately.  It was interesting enough when only Japan and China were snapping at each other. Now China is annoying the Philipines as well. But even more concerning to those of us who remember the sixties and early seventies is the increasing tension between China and ... wait for it ... Vietnam.

This tiny People's Republic is once again threatened by the specter of foreign intervention.  A vast and intimidating economic powerhouse is menacing the free and democratic exercise of self-determination, carrying out secret plans to subvert, ah, something subvertable. A large faction within the Chinese government has decided that Vietnam represents a prime example of the so-called "Mahjong theory", a largely mythical historical process in which if one small Asian country is allowed to slip into capitalism, soon others will also fall victim, and before you know it, them damn round-eyes will be buildin' Pizza Huts in the forbidden city. 

Unnamed sources within the People's Liberation Army Navy (Yes, I know it sounds silly. That's what it's called) claim that US cruise ships in the Gulf of Tonkin have treacherously mocked their pre-owned Russian aircraft carrier without a declaration of mockage.  Chinese interests in the region are claimed to be in jeopardy. "Some of them have even been ON Jeopardy!" said a Government spokesman.  Most of Beijing was shut down this morning in order to allow a series of city-wide fire drills.(1)

The US State Department issued a rebuttal, denying Chinese claims that a new Ho Chi Min tunnel, reaching from Hanoi to Wasilla, was being used to smuggle arms, food supplies, and smart phones to the Vietnamese Army. (A resident of Wasilla told reporters that she couldn't even see Vietnam from her porch, particularly because there was a moose standing in the way.) Nevertheless, China went ahead with formation of a multinational force ("The Coalition of the Intimidated or Confused") to maintain peace in the region. It will include troops from China, North Korea, and China, and will be tasked with preventing insurgency and hooliganism in Vietnamese cities, including Hue, Kyoto, Manilla, and Sydney.

(1) All right, all right. That was insensitive. And not very new, either.  I'll put a letter of reprimand in my personnel file.

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