Last Saturday morning my computer crashed, which left me slightly apoplectic. Between my computer and my car not working, I’d choose the car. I can always take the bus.
I raced over to my friend Danno Lebovics, the “Cyber Guru.” Groggy before his coffee, he agreed to look at the computer right after tennis. I would have brought it to the tennis courts, but who has an extension cord that long.
As Danno worked, I paced in my living room. Finally, the phone rang. Danno had successfully backed up all my files (whew) and, while “unstable,” the computer was working! (If this suddenly stops mid-sentence, you’ll know why.)
In my absence, the Internet was filled with bizarre stories, such as that of Matthew Roberts, 41, of Los Angeles. Adopted at birth, Matthew had spent the last 12 years searching for his biological parents. Finally, he located his mother in Wisconsin, but what he discovered was devastating.
Goatee-wearing Matthew is a vegetarian whose hero is Ghandi. So it was rather overwhelming when his birth mother reluctantly revealed that his father was … Charles Manson!
The timeline fits. Manson was released from prison in 1967 and was arrested again in 1969. As Manson put it, “Every time I get out, I get a woman and a kid, then she runs off. The kid shows up 30 years later, fat and acting like his mother.” (Charming.)
Matthew admits there’s an undeniable resemblance. “If I get worked up, my eyes get really big and that freaks people out.” He has exchanged letters with Manson but understandably doesn’t want to meet him. As poor Matthew says, “It’s like having Adolf Hitler for a father.”
In Stockholm, Agneta Westlund, 63, was found brutally murdered after an evening stroll in the forest. Her husband, Ingemar, was charged with homicide and jailed for 10 days. The case was finally dropped, however. Forensic tests revealed that on Agneta’s clothing, there were hairs and saliva from a … moose!
In Hungary, brothers Zsolt and Geza Peladi are so poor that they live in a cave outside of Budapest. But they’re about to receive a $6.6 billion inheritance from a long-lost grandmother. “No women would look at us living in a cave,” said Geza, stating the obvious. There are 6.6 billion reasons that could soon change.
But Web stories can be outdated in minutes. Take Tiger’s alleged mistresses. When I went to work out, Tiger had four mistresses. When I got back, he had 10, including a porn star! (I was only in the gym an hour!) Meanwhile Elin moved out and not long after her mother was rushed to the hospital at 2 a.m.! (A typical day at the Woods’ estate?)
And yet Tiger and Elin’s prenup is still being renegotiated. It’s reported that if she stays with Tiger for seven more years, Elin could get $300 million. (How romantic.) If so, the 3 iron she used might have been the right club.
The last two stories are downright disturbing. The latest wingnut craze on the Internet features an anti-Obama slogan on T-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, and teddy bears, and the words, “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109.8.” (“Let his days be few; and let another take his office.”)
Fair enough, until one reads further. “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let them be vagabonds and beg: let them seek their bread out of desolate places.” (One word: vile.) The far right whines about moderate Muslims who don’t disavow their fanatical brethren. How about moderate Christians disavowing sickos who preach dangerous “biblical” rhetoric?
In the last story, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) accused former President Bush of purposely letting Osama bin Laden escape from Tora Bora. MSNBC’s David Shuster responded, “People will think that’s crazy.” Actually, outing a CIA agent during a war is crazy. Ask Valerie Plame.
The Afghanistan invasion was undertaken to drive al-Qaida out, which we did. If we’d caught Bin Laden, there’d certainly have been little public support for an unnecessary war in Iraq and 30,000 more troops in Afghanistan. We’d have saved untold lives, horrific injuries and trillions of dollars. (Enough for health care, the environment and repairing things like collapsing bridges.)
At Tora Bora, we had Bin Laden cornered. But, according to a Senate report, “Snipers and Marine Corps and army divisions, were kept on the sidelines.” Why?
With additional American soldiers, Rumsfeld supposedly worried there’d be “an anti U.S. backlash.” So Bush turned Bin Laden’s capture over to warlords who got bribed, which facilitated his escape. Not long after, we invaded Iraq and the rest is history, albeit painful.
If you didn’t care for this column, I say blame Danno. Without his computer genius (and near same-day service) I couldn’t have written it. Meanwhile, I’m still worried about poor Matthew. Maybe shave the goatee?
Danno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jack can be reached at Jackneworth@yahoo.com.