Ezy Reading: A Week of American News and Oddities...

Evan Kanarakis

It was an odd week in the mighty United States of America.

The case of a missing Alabama woman in Aruba, fallout from the Michael Jackson court case, and the Tom Cruise meltdown continue to almost completely dominate the U.S media...

Meanwhile, no word of...

Six months on from the tsunami, residents of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other nations affected by the tragedy claim they they still haven't seen any aid.

Members of the U.S Congress who toured Guantanamo Bay prison assessed that conditions there were improving, despite renewed calls from human rights groups and others for its closure.

In Zimbabwe thousands of impoverished residents were left homeless as part of President Mugabe's 'Drive Out the Trash' campaign to demolish slum settlements.


I had dinner at an 'Outback Steakhouse' Australian'themed restaurant and couldn't help but notice the seafood section of their menu offering 'The Bonza Botany Bay Catch o' the Day'. Last time I heard of anyone back home eating a fish they caught in Botany Bay they were in hospital for three weeks with mercury poisoning.

And whoever it is that's in charge of marketing the cat's swill known as Fosters deserves a gold medal. People here truly believe it's what we drink in Australia, and you can find it just about anywhere, even as it's scarce among most reputable Oz pubs that aren't busy pandering to tourists without a sense of direction.

President Bush appeared on television this evening in an attempt to raise his nation's morale.

He notified his country that the conflict in Iraq would continue beyond his own term in office.

He announced that he'd send as many more troops to the Middle East region as was needed to secure peace (even though the U.S will soon not have any more troops to send, their reserve forces already pushed to the limit).

He continued to connect 9/11 and the 'war on terrorism' with the Iraqi invasion, still refusing to acknowledge the fact that there actually wasn't any terrorist activity taking place in Iraq until America and their 'coalition of the willing' entered the country.

Any hope President Bush may have had about raising morale was dashed when a Chinook helicopter was downed over a remote part of Afghanistan killing all 16 aboard. To date, the bodies have not been recovered.

For much of this week I was in rural Maine looking for potential places to live over the next year...

At a 'Chilli's' chain restaurant for lunch on the I'95 interstate my server cheerfully announced:

...Hi, my name is Summer and I'll be your server for today... Now, as part of our new company policy, seeing as I've given you my name, why don't you tell me your name?...

A little fed up with the endless attempts to personalise my meal service at the various eatieries I'd visited that week I rather cheerfully offered with a smile, ...Saddam....

Apparently 'as I soon discovered' Summer had been having a tough week. Her boyfriend had broken up with her, she'd written off her car, she'd cracked a nail, etc... and my smart arse remark had just pushed her over the edge.

Summer didn't just start to cry in front of me and the fifty or so other diners, she started to bawl. When the manager rushed over to see what was happening he began to berate the poor girl so I interjected and, red as a beetroot, announced I'd simply made a joke that had been misunderstood...

After some hurried apologies I scoffed my sandwich, left a sizeable tip and made for the exit. Roadside diners in middle America probably aren't the best place to make snippy remarks about the corporate service'culture and politics.

Small towns have big news.

The Bangor Daily News in northeast Maine today reported that a nearby town has been under attack for days from an unknown assailant vandalising resident's parked cars.

His choice of weapon? Bottles of French salad dressing hooked up to a spray nozzle.


And yet I want to know so much more about this vicious criminal...

The Live 8 concerts are being held worldwide today. Can Bush be convinced to overcome his reservations about releasing the Third World from debt obligations and alter his opinion on climate change?

Sadly, it's doubtful. But let's see 'with fingers crossed' what happens at the meeting this coming week.

In the meantime, happy 4th of July!

Ezy Reading is out every Monday.