This site is no longer updated. Please visit PBH2 directly or other PBH Network sites like All That Is Interesting, ProseBeforeHos, Runt of the Web, PBH2 Video Before It's Viral, or Alligator Sunglasses.

Updates to the PBH Network

Sorry for the lack of updates in the past week, we've been busy updating the sites of the PBH network:

* PBH3 is now Alligator Sunglasses.

* We've added Runt of the Web -- a similar site to Alligator Sunglasses with more Tumblr features and comment systems -- to the PBH network.

* All That Is Interesting and PBH2 now have their own domains.

Please check out our new sites and tell us how you like them! Otherwise, sign up for PBH2's RSS feed and support us by shopping at Amazon.

PBH2 Now Has It's Own Domain

PBH2 has moved to!

Who's The Biggest Loser Of 2010?

This is the second part of the Half Year In Review. See the first part here, 2010 Half Year In Review.

Lebron LeLoser

LeLoser Of The Half-Year, LeBron James: You had it all. You were the hometown boy bringing the local team to the cusp of NBA glory and immortality. You were so beloved even President Obama said he was you: “I’m LeBron, baby! I got this.”

But then you quit. You bailed on your Cleveland Cavaliers when the going got tough against the Celtics in the playoffs. Then you deserted them for good in free agency a few weeks later. The irony is your Cavaliers were arguably the best team in the league last year. Everyone just got hurt, including your own elbow—now closing in on 17,000 followers on Twitter. ( But you didn’t just bail on your home-state, you opted to dump Ohio on the grandest stage possible. You arranged an ESPN made-for-TV event dubbed “The Decision” to announce you would be “taking [your] talents to the South Beach”.

Admit it. You were afraid you’d be another Kevin Garnett. A.k.a. a freakish, high-school-straight-to-the-pros prodigy who let his prime years go to waste for an also-ran team in the Midwest. You panicked about the rings. Jordan won 6. Kobe now has 5. DWade, 1. You have 0.

And LeBacklash began. You, with the Akron area code inked on your arm had to flee your own state. Cleveland fans are burning your jersey. There’s now even a beer named after you. Great Lakes Brewing Co. created "Quitness", a dry hopped India pale ale that leaves an appropriately bitter aftertaste. The most recent batch sold out in three hours—almost as quickly as LeBron did.

So now we are all witnesses … to a sidekick in Miami. The Heat will always be Dwyane Wade’s team. He already brought Miami a championship, and now he miraculously recruited the top two players on the market to join him. LeBron will merely be the super-star who couldn’t win one with the cards he was dealt and bailed for the better hand. In baseball terms, LeBron will be the Alex Rodriguez to Dwyane Wade’s Derek Jeter.

Arod Kissing Arod

In Star Wars terms, LeBron is now Anakin Skywalker. He switched to the Dark Side under the lure of the Evil Emperor (Pat Riley). But fortunately for the small market NBA team Jedi, there is one more. The day before LeBron admitted he couldn’t win a ring by himself, Kevin Durant quietly tweeted his 5 year extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant is the Luke Skywalker for the small-market team trying to compete with the massive media markets. Last season, Durant became the youngest scoring champ in NBA history, pushed the eventual champion LA Lakers to seven games, and flashed a Jordanian canny to score at will.

Back in Michael Jordan’s day, he just took out a page in the Chicago Tribune saying he was back. Now His Airness is pillorying LeBron for jumping ship, saying in his day he would never imagine teaming up with his nemesis Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird wouldn’t even speak to each other during their storied 1980s rivalry. The NBA just isn’t that a) talented and b) hard these days. Now LeBron bikes around with Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade in Beijing.

For taking the easy way out. For slamming your legacy harder than one of your trademark Tomahawk jams, LeBron James is 2010’s Worst Person Of The Half-Year.

#2: Summer Movies Not Named “Inception”:

a) “Grown Ups” (Rotten Tomato Rating: 10%)

Dear Adam Sandler & Chris Rock,

You are both legitimately funny and worth hundreds of millions of dollars. So aren't you past the point in your careers where you need to work with David Spade and the Fat Guy from the “King of Queens”?

b) “Prince Of Persia” (Rotten Tomato Rating: 37%)

Why is the Prince of Persia a white guy (Jake Gyllenhaal) faking an English accent?

c) “Sex & The City 2” (Rotten Tomato Ranking: 16%)

In the words of Lindy West from The Stranger, "If this is what modern womanhood means, then just fucking veil me and sew up all my holes. Good night."

#3 Arizona: “I was also going to give a graduation speech in Arizona this weekend. But with my accent, I was afraid they would try to deport me.” –Terminator-turned-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

#4 NBC: Let’s see. You lost over $200 million dollars on the Vancouver Winter Olympics this February. You lost another $35 million inadvertently making a martyr out of Conan O’Brien a month later. You then brought back Jay Leno… to only get worse ratings than ever.

Even President Obama can rip on you: “Though I am glad that the only person whose ratings fell more than mine last year is here tonight. Great to see you Jay. I'm also glad that I'm speaking first. We've all seen what happens when somebody takes the time slot after Leno’s.” It got so bad a Taiwanese news station simulated a wrestling cartoon match with Jeff Zucker & Jay Leno tag-teaming Conan O’Brien & Jimmy Kimmel:

#5: Snoop Dogg: To film your latest music video, you just tried to rent Liechtenstein. () As in an entire sovereign country. Smoke more weed, Snoop Dogg. Seriously. Smoke more weed.

#6 Glenn Beck: You’ve cried away 50% your audience. News Corp. Inc has had to buy up over half of your ad spots after you called President Obama a Nazi. And Jon Stewart skewered you in one of the most pitch-perfect impersonations ever.

#7 President Obama: The man heralded as the most promising politician since Robert F. Kennedy is starting to look a lot like… Black Cinderella.

The President misread his sweeping 2008 election as a mandate for federal activism. Except Americans didn’t want a more involved government. They just didn’t want George W. Bush, or 95% of him in John McCain. And yes, Obama got a little caught up in the “Change” election fever. Lobbyists not only stock his administration, but remember the iconic Hope poster than captured the nation’s imagination in 2008? It was sold to a museum by two lobbyists and is now a work of satire.

Obama Dope Poster

Yes, Obama dithers. Save for health-care reform, the cerebral Professor-In-Chief doesn’t have his Cheerleader-In-Chief predecessor’s brazen gung ho to just ram legislation through. Obama holds office hours, not pep rallies. Obama’s Afghanistan decision took painfully long and isn’t working. His response to the Gulf Oil Leak has been judged worse than President George “Brownie’s doing a heckuva job” W. Bush’s to Hurricane Katrina. For the first time, less than half the country approves of President Obama. But the clock hasn’t struck midnight on Black Cinderella.

Obama and Reagan Poll Numbers

Don’t tell the former half-term-Governor-from-Alaska-turned-Wannabe-White-Oprah but President Obama’s tanking approval ratings mirror those of her idol—Ronald Reagan. Like Reagan, President Obama is an outside-the-Beltway, eloquent President who inherited the office in a time of dire economic conditions and war. Like Reagan, President Obama is liked more for his personality than his actual policies.

Spoiler Alert I: Reagan’s popularity plummeted to a low of 42 percent in 1982, and Republicans lost 26 seats in the House of Representatives in the mid-term election. Spoiler Alert II: The economy recovered. President Reagan went on to land-slide the 1984 re-election bid and became one of the most popular presidents in recent memory.

Dishonorable Mention: Baltimore Orioles, Europe, The French World Cup Team, “Girls Busch Girls” (The ladies’ ridiculously lame rebuttal to “Bros Icing Bros”), “Jersey Shore 2” (I’m calling it now), Jesse James (REAAALLY? You’re married to Sandra Bullock!), Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus (The tail-spin Britney Spears trajectory begins), and Tiger Woods.

Lindsay Lohan Loser 2010

And Finally The Getting Beer Fail Of The Half-Year: True, this incident occurred last October, but something tells me this fella still can’t tell the difference:

Republished from ProseBeforeHos: The 7 Biggest Losers Of The Half-Year

People Who Bought Jon & Kate Plus Ei8ht Also Bought...

John and Kate Plus Eight Amazon

Looks like Amazon took the other products from the Jon and Kate Plus Ei8ht: The Complete Season 4 page. But what might be even better are the customer tags on the product page for Season 4: Volume 1:

Jon and Kate Plus Ei8ht Amazon Tags

I don't disagree with one of those tags.

The 2010 Year In Review: The Halfway Mark

We threw everything at it. Trash, dog hair, “containment domes.” We even called in Kevin Costner’s goofy ping-pong ball machine. But the oil kept on gushing. Only BP’s lies could keep up. BP first reported 210,000 gallons were spurting out a day, if that. The latest estimate is between 1.5 and 2.5 million gallons were leaking into the Gulf. (Or one 1989 Exxon Valdez catastrophe every 4-7 days.) We are holding our breath that BP finally capped the leak last Thursday, but you’ll understand if we’re still a tad skeptical.

Chocolate-colored pelicans. Florida children playing on oil-slicked beaches. Daughter Malia asking Daddy Obama, “Did you plug the hole yet?” All the hallmarks from the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history. Now, to call it the Gulf Coast Oil Spill is a misnomer. The BP Oil Leak is more accurate. The Gulf had nothing to do with this. The Brits are entirely to blame. And tankers spill oil. Millions of gallons of oil angrily surging from Mother Earth are something else entirely.

We keep throwing money at it. The EU tried injecting a trillion dollars to immunize against The Greek Contagion. Too bad Spain and Portugal already caught it. Obama debates to spend-or-not-to-spend to ward off a Double Dip. All the while, the Feds quietly shutter another couple regional banks come Friday afternoon. Again and again in 2010 our best laid plans crumbled in the face of Nature and our own hubris. The Great Recession cares little for our governments’ models and corollaries.

It’s a good thing Time Magazine doles out its Person of the Year award in December because through the first six months Wild is trouncing Man in a landslide. Twin earthquakes abruptly rocked Haiti (7.0 Magnitude) and Chile (8.8) before they were just as abruptly forgotten by the U.S. press. An Icelandic volcano grounded trans-Atlantic flights and befuddled us with its pronunciation: Eyj… (OK, does anyone pronounce anything when they read that volcano's name? Or are you like me and just completely skip it and think nothing but silence in your head...)

Bulging Eyes Volcano Guy

Why do we keep doing this? Why do we still make things we know we can’t fix? Why do we keep cobbling together these rickety Megalith-symbols-turned-ultra-expensive-metaphors? Forget Enlightenment. It’s been a half-year of Sturm und Drang. 6+ months reminding us it’s Earth’s Earth. We’re just living on it. Forget Too Big To Fail. In 2010 nothing is Too Small Not To. A blown transformer on the oil rig. Apple’s iPhone 4 prized jewel needs duct tape to make it work. And a technical glitch plummeted the Dow 1,000 points this May.

Turns out, the Oracle doesn’t hail from Omaha. He’s a two year old invertebrate from the Berlin Zoo. Paul the Octopus correctly foretold all eight of his World Cup predictions, including Spain’s final win over the Dutch. (The odds were 1:255.) Paul is retired now, but PR firms estimate he could be the first ever millionaire octopus—pegging his fame and worth at $4.5 million. Yet even Paul the Octopus would turn green in envy of these guys’ 2010 years:


PERSON OF THE HALF-YEAR, BRIAN AUSTIN GREEN: I have no idea who you are. Girls tell me a) you were on “90210” and b) you are generally a lame human being. Nonetheless, you somehow convinced Megan Fox to marry you. This is a miracle but not unprecedented. Julia Roberts once married Lyle Lovett until she realized he was… Lyle Lovett. And supermodel Adriana Lima is married to Marco Juric, a guy averaging 2.6 points a night off the bench for the Memphis Grizzlies.

For reminding bros everywhere of the old “Dumb & Dumber” line — “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!?!” — Brian Austin Green, you are 2010’s Person Of The Half-Year.

NOURIEL ROUBINI: He’s Nostradamus. If Nostradamus was Turkish and had to teach economics to snobby NYU kids. Roubini has nailed the Great Recession going back to his 2006 warning that the U.S. housing market was about to go bust. Roubini is on every financial minister’s speed dial and Foreign Policy magazine just named him the #4 top thinker on the globe. Want more evidence it’s been a rough year? It’s probably not a good sign that the nickname of 2010’s most prescient mammal is Dr. Doom.

THE KARDASHIANS: It’s good to be famous for … no real reason. Kim gets paid $10,000 a tweet. Kourtney just gave birth to an adorable son Mason. And Khloe (somehow) snagged an LA Laker. Your smash-hit reality TV show “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” returns for a 5th season next month on E!

Not to mention you have the Midas touch with athletic significant others. Every overrated sports star you date wins the championship. (See: Bush, Reggie; Odom, Lamar.) You must get it from your Mama. Because the overbearing Step Dad? He’s Bruce Jenner, the 1976 Olympic decathlon gold medalist.

LADY GAGA: You know you’ve hit Madonna Status when even America’s Finest in Afghanistan are covering your songs:

ELIN NORDEGREN & SANDRA BULLOCK: You go girls! Your celebrity husbands cheated on you with porn stars (among others). But you weathered the heartbreak and ensuing media firestorm with poise and grace. Miss Nordegren, in 9 months you will go from getting to bash in your fleeing husband’s SUV with a golf club to winning at least $100 million and the kids in the pending divorce. (Go On. Beat A Tiger.) Miss Congeniality, you donated $1 million to Haiti earthquake relief and adopted a beautiful baby from New Orleans.

THE REVENGE OF GAIA EARTH: It’s Global Weirding, Thomas Friedman warns us. Not Global Warming. During February’s blizzard of Washington, the family of Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma sculpted an igloo next to the Capitol with a sign reading “Al Gore’s New Home.” Meanwhile, across the continent, Canada had to import snow to Vancouver for the Winter Olympics we forgot happened. It got to the point this Winter where Republicans virtually cheered for freak snowstorms.

5 months later, the same skeptics were mysteriously silent during the East Coast’s record July Heat Wave. Or when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported 2010 is on pace to be the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880. Last Friday, British Open organizers had to delay play because… of extreme wind. Even the Weather Guy lost his mind trying to keep up.

GOLD: In a sign of the times, Cash For Gold could afford a Super Bowl ad in 2009 starring MC Hammer. 18 months later, they could probably afford to rename the entire NFL. Gold surged to a record-high $1260+ per ounce earlier this year as skittish investors took cover in the metal as a safe haven.


HONORABLE MENTION: The Atlanta Braves, Brazil (except the soccer team), “I Write Like” Website (even if you did say I write like Dan Brown), “Inception”, Justin Bieber, Jonah Hill, a.k.a Our Generation’s John Belushi, Michelle Obama, The Old Spice Guy, Spanish Athletes.


Top 6 Quotes Of The Half-Year

6) "F--- my victims. I carried them for 20 years and now I'm doing 150." – Inmate #61727-054, Bernie Madoff

5) "I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar, we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers–so I know whose ass to kick." –President Barack Obama, on the BP Oil Leak

4) "I think the Vatican - they've got more to talk about than the Beatles." -Ringo Starr, on a Vatican newspaper lauding the band 40 years after they broke up.

3) "I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems." –Super-Intelligent Gay, Empathetic Singer Elton John.

2) "This is a big f---ing deal." -US vice-president Joe Biden, on passage of healthcare program.

1) "I'll do my f----- best." -Lady Gaga, asked whether she would cut down on coarse language in her next show.

And Finally The #1 Bush-ism Of 2010

President George W. Bush “getting his hands dirty” for Haiti humanitarian relief:

“The Half-Yearish In Review: Part 2” premieres Thursday, featuring The Biggest Losers Of 2010. (NBC, take a bow.)

Via ProseBeforeHos: 2010 Half Year In review

Just Another Day At A New York City Bus Stop…

New York Bus Station Crazy Devil Costume

Love & Romance On Reddit

Reddit Love Story

War & Pizza Hut: The Twilight Of American Empire

For previous entries, please see War & Pizza Hut: Volume 1 and War & Pizza Hut: Volume 2


A Marine scribbled the following on a whiteboard at the US military base in Ramadi, Iraq:

America Is Not At War

We almost don’t deserve our troops. As audaciously as they have served our country, we are nearly as oblivious to their sacrifice. Two-thirds of Americans cannot find Afghanistan or Iraq on a map. Much of the insulation is by government design. There is no draft today. The press was banned from covering incoming coffin ceremonies.

Unfortunately, war has become ambient noise for many Americans. It’s on in the background. A marketplace bombing in Baghdad. A suicide bomber in Peshawar. Quick clips delivered by solemn CNN or Fox News anchors before getting back to the “real news”: Octomom or Miley Cyrus’ Britney Spears-like trajectory. It’s a media Catch 22 of sorts. Call it escapist, but the networks only broadcast what the viewers want to see. And this summer, viewers want sneak-peeks for “Predators”, the movie, not the unmanned drones errantly gunning down Afghan civilians. The networks couldn’t force viewers to watch and, with Great Recession-induced shrinking bottom lines, they largely stopped trying.

The War on Terror is still too close for comfort for Hollywood. “Jarhead” and Oscar-winning “The Hurt Locker” came the closest in depicting the realities of modern war. The films depict testosterone-laden twenty-something males enduring weeks of stifling boredom, depression, and themselves for split seconds of combat. Perhaps the War On Terror’s most iconic satire will be the South Park Guys’ “Team America: World Police” anthem “America F--- Yeah!”, lampooning the Bush Era’s rock ‘em sock ‘em, in-your-face war patriotism:

Thanks, in part, to American public apathy, Afghanistan will be the longest war in American history. Iraq, the 3rd longest. This is not a tribute to the resolve of our foes, but their cowardice. The Taliban slink back to their caves or schools to escape head-to-head battle with the most valiant, best-trained fighting force of all time. Historians point out its an insurgency 360 degrees since American Revolutionaries gunned down British Redcoats behind rocks walls at Concord and Lexington. The difference is two-fold: 1) The American Revolutionaries never used innocent women and children as human shields. 2) America fought to escape despotism in the name of Enlightenment, not to restore it and the Dark Ages. The British formations were an anachronism in the face of America’s guerrilla warfare. 230 years later, America’s massive M1 Abrams tanks are of little use in the snow-capped peaks of eastern Afghanistan and Waziristan.

The Twilight Of The American Empire

The longevity of Empires is declining. The Roman Empire spanned 1200 years. The British Empire is eking out a half millennium. America turned 234 years old this July, and the cracks are showing. Rome turned the Mediterranean into its own lake. The sun never set on the British Empire. And America turned the world into its TV room.

The American Empire

Alexander the Great’s dad King Philip II of Macedon conquered Greece. Rome was done in by a) Christianity, if you ask Edward Gibbons; b) lead pipes poisoning Rome’s aristocracy; c) and/or imperial overreach and Nero-esque decadence. World War II bankrupted the British Empire of her war chest and colonies. I know not how the American Empire will end. I don’t know whether our demise will be by mushroom cloud, asteroid, or the Red Army. But I know one day our day will inevitably come. I simply hope when all is said and done, history will remember America as a Superpower that used its right to make might. Not the other way around.

The great American inventor Thomas Edison brought light to the world, literally. And America tried its best (however imperfectly) to bring light to the world, figuratively as well. Modern human history has been paved by the upward-trending path to equality and tolerance. The United State has borne this load on her broad shoulders over much of the last century, in the face of some of the fiercest dictators and loathsome weapons the world has ever seen.

Ancient Greece’s philosophy and drama laid the bedrock for Western humanities and thought. Ancient Rome cobbled together the Known World with its engineering prowess. America will be remembered for her technological ingenuity. From electricity to putting a man on the moon, America, more than any other power, enjoyed the fruits and Apple of the exponential part of humanity’s technology curve. Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs will be her answer to Greece’s Archimedes and Aristotle. Martin Luther King Jr., our oratorical rebuttal to Cicero.

No matter how the dust settles, America’s unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness will stand the test of time as unconscionably right and just. Now, the American Empire wasn’t the most progressive of global powers. Winston Churchill once teased, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else. “ She lagged generations behind her older European siblings on social issues (see: Slavery, Universal Suffrage, Civil Rights, and now Gay Marriage). But when she made up her mind, America knew with such a conviction and bulldog tenacity the world had never seen before.


If a serviceman didn’t see my grandfather in the engine room at exactly that moment, he would have sealed the hatch. Fred didn't know who pulled him out, but he was the last man out of the engine room. He spent three days alone in a life raft under the blistering South Pacific sun with a gashed neck. Tiger sharks circled below, Japanese Zero planes, above. But Fred had a dream. He would get off that life raft. He would get back to Western Massachusetts, marry his sweet-heart, and build a big family house with his own bare hands. A big comfy one for kids and, later on, maybe their kids, too.

And that’s exactly what my Grandfather did.

War & Pizza Hut

For the previous entry, please see War & Pizza Hut: Volume 1



My “uncle” would not go to Vietnam. Some of his friends fled to Canada. Others loped off part of their trigger fingers. He settled on a less permanent escape. The night before his Army evaluation he chugged coffee and pounded bars of butter. When he showed up the next morning, the tester gasped at his blood pressure readings. Normal blood pressure is 120/80, but he racked up 100/150. He was a miracle to be alive, let alone fight in a war half across the globe.

Vietnam was the ignominious chapter when the American Empire got its dark streak. Man fought machine and man, unfortunately, won. If JFK’s assassination was when America lost its innocence at home, Vietnam was when America lost its innocence abroad. (see: The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964). Now, it wasn’t the first time the U.S. started a war under false pretenses (American Indian Wars, Mexican War, Spanish-American War) or the last (Iraq), but it was the first time America picked a fight and lost. And 58,159 of America’s finest paid the ultimate sacrifice. 58,159 sons, brothers, and fathers died because President Johnson couldn’t admit he was wrong.

Teachers In The 1960's Versus Teachers In 2010

Via PBH: Teachers In 1960 Vs. Teachers In 2010

War and Pizza Hut

Pearl Harbor Bombing

My Grandfather was in the engine room when the kamikaze began. Zero plane shrapnel sheered through the destroyer. South Pacific waters gushed inside. Naval protocol was to close the engine room hatch immediately to keep the ship from sinking more quickly, leaving other men trapped in the engine room. Fred should have been one of the other men. He was unconscious after an engine safety valve exploded into his neck.


World War II was the coming out party for the United States of America upon the world stage. America was a mere upstart (albeit a very productive one) in the eyes of Europe on the eve of the continent’s Civil War. Some European historians sniff that America was simply fresh legs at the tail end of a marathon war. That nearly 70% of Nazi fatalities came at the hands of the Soviets and Russian Winter. They are forgetful. Before D-Day, America kept the Allies afloat with its unprecedented manufacturing in the European theater, while withstanding the Pearl Harbor ambush and the Japanese Empire in the Pacific. Sixty million deaths, and two atomic bombs later, the world was split between America and the Soviet Union.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki irrevocably changed the world. Humanity now had the weapon to destroy itself within hours. It paved the way for an arsenal you wish mankind could un-invent. But let history bear witness. During the four-year stretch before the Soviet Union joined America in the Nuclear Club, the U.S. rained down not missiles and mortar, but Hershey chocolate bars and dollars to rebuild Europe.

Winston Churchill memorialized our WWII veterans most aptly when he said, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” Today, World War II is best remembered by the director of “Jaws”. Steven Spielberg immortalized U.S. soldiers in all their gritty realism for the screen. First in “Empire Of The Sun” before teaming up Tom Hanks in “Saving Private Ryan”, and two HBO ten-part miniseries: “Band of Brothers”, and “The Pacific” (a.k.a. Band of Brothers On Water).

NBC’s grandfather Tom Brokaw throatily hails our grandparents, our parents’ parents, as the “Greatest Generation”. Us Millenials tend to admire our grandparents the most. It’s not hard to see why. Our grandparents were born into the Roaring 1920s. They languished through the Great Depression before years of war overseas battling Jew-hating madmen. Sound vaguely familiar?


The Cold War

Soviet premier Nikita S. Khrushchev was probably staring at a box of Corn Flakes when he realized the Cold War was lost. Then a box of Cheerios. Then Wheaties. If the U.S. could produce fifty different cereals and still manufacture hundreds of nukes, Khrushchev mused his Soviets didn’t stand a chance. Khrushchev didn’t say this at the time, of course. He smiled for the cameras with President Eisenhower. He wolfed down his first American hot dog and quipped, “We have beaten you to the moon, but you have beaten us in sausage making.” But deep down Khrushchev knew.

The 1959 grocery store visit came nine years after the Soviets detonated an atomic bomb of their own. Since then major wars between the two Superpowers had truly become MAD (mutually assured destruction). As much as the White House loathed the Kremlin, and vice versa, the twin Superpowers enjoyed human existence more. Both sides remembered Albert Einstein’s line all too well, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

But this didn’t make the specter of nuclear apocalypse any less terrifying. Some of our parents had nuclear bomb drills in elementary school. In the "Duck and Cover” drill, Bert the Turtle and teachers instructed my mom she could take shelter from a Manhattan atomic blast under her wooden desk. (Today, NYPD police officers sometimes check my backpack before I take the Subway.)

Duck From Nuclear Weapons

The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States became a war fought by a) proxy and b) consumer standard of living. T’was the rapid rise and fall of oil prices—not Rocky or Ronald Reagan’s bravado—that truly felled the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, the United States was cursed with thousands of gratuitous nuclear missiles and the shadow of Vietnam.

The one reassuring real-politik since the Soviet blast was mass world war became too destructive and expensive. The bottom line… was the bottom line. Pulitzer Prize winning Thomas Friedman served up the Golden Arches Theory: no two countries with a McDonald’s have ever been at war with each other.

Golden Arches Theory

The Cold War was the first and longest (1945-1989) economic war. But it wasn’t the last. There have actually been numerous wars fought on the economic battlefield since 1945. Bankers and lawyers are these wars’ foot-soldiers. Gordon Gecko’s “Greed is good”, not “Be all you can be” is the creed. Japan and the United States waged war during the 1980s and 1990s. The prized jewels this time were not Pacific islands or commonwealths but billion dollar corporations (Toyota, Coca Cola). A real estate bubble left-hook and crony capitalism haymaker KO’d Japan into a Lost Decade. And a larger foe entered the ring: China.

It is a battle of the titans. East versus West. A resurgent ancient power pitted against a fading prodigy. Dueling ideologies of Communism-Capitalism versus Capitalism-Capitalism. Timothy Geithner and Fred Bernanke are our generals, by day. Chinese hackers break into Google accounts and both sides scan for national electric grid weak-points, by night. The monthly China-USA trade deficit demarcates our ever-changing tide of war. We bombarded China in recent years by manufacturing—not bullets—but trillions of dollars out of thin air. Meanwhile, the floating yuan tick-tocks as China’s time bomb.

China versus the US

The irony is we can’t afford any outcome but a split-decision. On the American side, the WMDs did go off — in New York City. But they were the ones Warren Buffett warned us about, not President George W. Bush. They were the ones concocted, not in bunkers outside Baghdad, but in AIG and Citi boardrooms throughout midtown Manhattan. Built not out of yellow cake but of junky CDOs, unbridled derivatives, and money our homes weren’t worth. America is still digging out and cannot survive a Chinese economic Winter. We cannot afford for China to stop hoarding our greatly devalued dollar (See: TARP, Stimulus Package, Health Care Reform). On the other side, China has a rapidly aging population the government will not able to support if American consumers stop buying beyond their means. Economists watch with baited breathe as China tries to gently squeeze out its real estate bubble.

Internationally, China has quietly bought up vast swathes of Africa and the Middle East. Meanwhile, the U.S. commits its blood and treasure to rebuild oil-rich nations like Iraq and ponders how to extricate itself from the Gordian knot of imperial overreach in Afghanistan, a.k.a. “The Graveyard of Empires”, a.k.a. our Vietnam. And Taiwan is the 21st Century’s answer to Cuba.

Via PBH: War & Pizza Hut (Volume I)

'Electricty', Courtesy of Bob Jones University

Found in a text book released by Bob Jones University:

Electricity is Gods mystery

The above image is from a Bob Jones University textbook entitled Science 4 Students [You can also buy it off of Amazon].

Even scarier? Over 1 million pre-college students around the world use BJU textbooks.

And So Skynet Begins....

Skynet Robot Uprising