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The art of the spiel

Kirsten uncapped the fountain pen and tapped the barrel against her teeth as she stared at the blank page. Slowly, word by word, the draft of her speech emerged. This was to be the most important talk of her career and she wanted to craft every sentence perfectly, highlighting her thoughts and avoiding the subject's minefields.

Unfortunately, Kirsten was a bad writer with incoherent ideas. Even the most exquisitely crafted pen could do nothing to improve the quality of the words on the page. The definitive word on "Sodium Chloride: A Salute to Salt" would have to wait for another day.



The suicide of the West

When the first bomb detonated, panic ruled the streets. Subsequent explosions only added to the chaos and carnage. Would this time be different? Would this attack on civilians finally be the one to bring together politicians and voters, Left and Right, to call for an end to meek acceptance of terrorism on our shores? Or would it be more of the same: empty platitudes, prayers for the dead, calls for even more tolerance toward those who do not share our values, calls for opening the gates even wider to admit more sick minds, all in the name of “diversity”?

The question is largely rhetorical. The West is dead, a victim of self-destruction, even if parts of the body still twitch, a reflex from those who cannot yet see what has happened.




A staunch liberal, Nelson boycotted Chick-fil-A over its founders’ views on homosexuality. Then it occurred to him a lot of people seemed to like the chain, and they couldn’t all be right-wing crazies. He ate there to find out why. The long line moved quickly and the friendly cashier wished him a pleasant day. As soon as he bit into his sandwich, he felt warm and content. He returned every day for lunch that week. Surely the evil chain added something addictive to its food. A chemist analyzed the ingredients but found nothing.

Summoning all his willpower, Nelson avoided Chick-fil-A on his next lunch break, stopping instead at a trendy salad place. “Whaddya want?” asked the surly clerk. “Hurry up, I don’t have all day.” Nelson realized what the addictive ingredient was: pleasant, polite staff who treated all customers well.



Life in the fast lane

The foursome, now thoroughly lubricated after 90 minutes in the bar, climbed into Reuben’s Jaguar. He punched on the satellite radio, tuned to a classic rock station, and sped out of the country club, leaving a small dust cloud behind him from the gravel road. Turning on to the highway, he accelerated until the big car was cruising at 80 miles per hour. Given his state of inebriation, Reuben required all three lanes to keep the car on the pavement as his terrified passengers tried to get him to slow down. When the car crashed through a barrier and sailed off an overpass, Reuben’s last thought on Earth was, “Another driver error.”




Reuben stepped up to the first tee and waggled his new driver. A Callaway Epic Star, this piece of titanium set him back $700 but he was going to blow away his playing partners. He hit the ball with a mighty wallop and shanked it, spinning the ball off the fairway and into a sand trap. The process repeated itself on subsequent holes with minor variations: a slice here, a hook there. In other words, golf as usual. At the Nineteenth Hole bar, Reuben, who had bragged about the new club, now blamed his purchase. “Driver error,” he muttered by way of explanation.