Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls" by Gary Buslik

 A Carolina Parrothead book review.

There was a time no so long ago when I actually believed many of the important people intricately involved in world affairs like government, religion, and business knew what they were doing. Yes, it was a sad and stupid mindset but I have never claimed to be the sharpest knife in any drawer, although I have lived most my life in South Carolina, which should by itself be an acceptable excuse.

Since then I have come to terms with my sad and naïve condition. These days my more enlightened observations suggests to me that human civilization is nothing more than a game of “King of the Mountain” that has gone on far too long and is being taken far too seriously by the participates. What drew me to this conclusion was my nasty and unhealthy habit of reading history.

You can outfit the various players that have appeared all through the ages in different costumes but it remains a game. I feel this is true whether it be the justification the Athenians and Spartans used to tear each other a new one or the United States and the Soviet Union who engaged in a largely subtle but dangerous game of global chess. On a side note, I just had a strange and disgusting vision of Reagan in a short Greek toga at a summit with Mikhail Gorbachev dressed out in homoerotic Spartan armor.

You would have thought with the worst of the Cold War dangers now behind us the human race would had enough of the usual silliness but with the start of the twenty-first century, this game if anything has gotten even stranger.

Members of the United States Congress, both left and right wing, which in the best of times were never paragons of ethical and stoic virtue to begin with, are even worse puppets these days. These high paid prostitutes regularly perform kabuki dances of outrage and debate in the hallowed halls of congress but somehow very rarely figure out a way of doing the right thing for the country. Religious figures whose job it is to be the beacons of spiritual light and good moral judgments are very often more corrupt than the aforementioned political whores. And corporate figures? Well, let us just not go there, my blood pressure is bad enough as it is already and I do not want to feed my dark side today dreaming of bankers dangling from lampposts all down Wall Street.

On the international front things are even worse from my perspective, we literally have a cornucopia of bizarre and surreal figures in charge of both large and small nations that in a rational world would be forbidden upon pain of death from even having the power of the common meter maid. Yet somehow, because of the great cosmic joke that is human civilization such megalomaniacal figures very often end up in charge of some nation and in this day and age are moving heaven and earth to get their hands on nuclear weapons.

Being a father I would love to buy a sixty foot sailboat, load up my kids and depending of my mood that day maybe even my wife, and sail off searching for some safe harbor well out of the strategic line of fire. In my mind, the usual destinations are Tasmania or the south island of New Zealand but these beautiful and enlightened places have very little use for Americans unless they arrive with big bucks which leaves me up poop creek without a canoe, much less the paddle or a lifejacket. So what is a well intentioned but hopelessly befuddled dude like me suppose to do? I usually placate my fears and insecurities about an increasingly uncertain future by submerging myself in a good book that makes fun of the whole situation.

Such a book is “Akhmed and the Atomic Matzo Balls” by Gary Buslik. Right from the start, we are introduced to Akhmed, the reigning Iranian president who deals with the frustrations and trials of being a glorious leader by seeking refuge in kosher Israeli deli food, particularly matzo ball soup.  Above all Akhmed wants a nuclear weapon so he can play in the big leagues of international politics but his best scientific minds just quite cannot put it all together. That is until a series of events leads to the discovery that matzo balls have the extraordinary ability to safely contain the most radioactive of materials.

Now add a certain old and senile Cuban dictator along with his good buddy from Venezuela who team up with Akhmed to teach the horrible Yankees a lesson and the fun quickly begins to roll along. Throw in a stymied middle-aged English professor who is a scholarly legend in his own mind, his one-time lover from the glory days during the Age of Aquarius and their social climbing hell spawn of a daughter and things spin off into even more outrageous circumstances. I very highly recommend this book, which I certify can greatly relieve the low-level but constant anxiety that pervades our society these days.

Wait a minutes, did I mention the voracious mutant termites? Just read the book for yourself and find out.


Red Nomad OZ said...

I used to get through a day of work by imagining it to be a game - but I didn't have millions of people depending on my decisions! Sadly talkfests, committees, feasibility studies and discussion papers are the new 'action'!

Book sounds great - will look it up!

Cloudia said...

we live in precarious times,
as humans always have, my dear!

Warm Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Windsmoke. said...

Sounds like a fun book i'll look it up during the week :-).

Akelamalu said...

Sounds an interesting read.

Mr. Charleston said...

It's a fact, nothing has changed except the names, and that doesn't even protect the innocent anymore as there are no innocents left to protect. Will give it a read.

John McElveen said...

I hate it when my balls go all atomic on me! Loved it Buddy!


lime said...

wow, it sounds almost like it could have been written by christopher moore, who is equally bizaare and hilarious to boot.

and have you considered belize???

Pixel Peeper said...

You can either laugh about the whole state of politics, or you can sink into a dark abyss of despair. Sounds like the author pulled off the "laugh about it" quite well.

I don't think this placement of incapable personalities into high positions is limited to politics - so many times I've looked at someone at work in a management position and wondered how he or she got through high school.

Tim Jones said...

Are you now worried about a fatwah?

Randal Graves said...


Jim said...

I don't know much about Atomic Matzo balls, but I'm familiar with Atomic horseradish, frequently served together with matzo balls at a well known spring holiday. The matzo balls did very well in containing the fiery horseradish, so there may be something to this.

Ranch Chimp said...

Mornin Bum ... I havent heard of the book myself, but dont keep up with most. But I did really enjoy your well written and honest assessment of the condition ... heh, heh, heh, heh, heh it is a mess, but could be a Hell of alot worse. Many folk's I realize dont like to even think about it and/ or just get burned out on all the lies and corruption.

Have a good un Bud ....

okjimm said...

//voracious mutant termites?//

sounds like my ex-in-laws....