Monday, March 04, 2013

International Hoop-La

We were traveling in the great Northwest last week. Marla's old car (a 2006 Altima) served us well, but there are some times when you just have to stop. At one such moment, I looked at a sign at the edge of the strip mall we were parked at. Among the mall's attractions is a Japanese restaurant with a specialty. The name of the place (and it took me a second to catch on here) is "Sushi Kyu".

While at the LeBarons, we tried to be patient (or at least silent) as Allison and Scott dealt with our two little grandsons. At one point, Allison gave out some advice that everyone would do well to follow. Speaking a little sternly to five year-old Henry, she insisted "Don't use your whiny voice." Amen to that. Are you listening, Republicans?

There are always things in the news that leave you baffled, but the one from last week that just can't be ignored is the one about the diplomatic semi-breakthrough pulled off by - Dennis Rodman!!? For those who may not recall, Rodman was by trade a player in the NBA, famous for sporting dozens of bizarre hairstyles while distinguishing himself as a collector of rebounds. He did plenty of crazy things during his career, but he'd have to go a long way to top last week's trip to North Korea, accompanied by the Harlem Globetrotters, basketball's best known comedy team. No, he didn't seem to have State Department permission. The Department in fact distanced itself from the whole thing as completely as possible.
Still, we have no formal relations with the NK's, which is a little disconcerting given the fact that this little country has nuclear weapons and is working on ways to get them, so they say, to the US. What's more, their current leader Kim Jong-un is just in his twenties, the third Kim to step in as dictator, and is almost unknown in this country.
That leaves Rodman, by no means a diplomat, as the American who has spent the most time face to face with this potentially dangerous enemy. Sure, Rodman, at about 6'8", towered over Kim, but they actually seemed to get along pretty well, at least in public and especially while watching the 'Trotters dismantle a local team. This one uniting thing seemed to impress Rodman to the extent that he pledged lifelong friendship with the Kims, both living and dead. Upon returning to the US, he declared that, first, North Korea does not desire war with our country, and, second, that President Obama is invited to "call" Kim in order to hash out any differences.
I don't know if the State Department, now under new leadership, plans to follow up in any way, but it's hard to see how sending some low-level official to debrief Rodman could do us any harm. Just about anything he could have found out would be something we didn't know before. And if his information proves useless, what have we lost? Almost nothing.
In fact, maybe this calls for a little out-of-the-box thinking. Since the President himself is a hoopster kind of guy, we could arrange a one-on-one game between the two heads of state in the truce village of Panmunjong at the North/South border. If Obama wins, NK gives up all their nukes AND the capacity to make new ones. They also have to admit Mormon missionaries. But if Kim pulls off the upset, we have to hand over Guam, minus all the military gear kept there, of course. Rodman could  act as referee. In fact, Kim would probably insist on it. The Globetrotters could make snarky remarks from the sidelines.  I'm thinking the TV rights alone would probably solve our budget problem.         


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