On Entertainment and Cordite’s Combined Long Grave Dug

office wrap partyBorn under a war sky

Financially hobbled, city government in ruin, yesterday was a good day for the Scranton homeland. Despite Republican’s Governor Tom Corbett’s recent assertion that our Commonwealth’s prospective employers are vigilantly “looking for people, but cannot find anybody that has passed a drug test,” I for one, a former 1970s-era marijuana enthusiast, can proudly certify having passed my most recent random piss test, with flying deep-yellow color.

In the medical center, I filled vial to expected level, removed blue surgical gloves, did not flush, handed urine sample to a pretty nurse for analysis. Governor Corbett’s slumping Pennsylvania needs more employed pissers like me, willing to work, and not bear arms.

Returning to yesterday’s “good day” in Scranton, thirteen (13) cast and crew members from popular T.V. sitcom “The Office” made a gloried appearance, including a “Bloggers Breakfast” at the Jesuit University of Scranton and a downtown “Wrap Party” parade, where anointed stars were swarmed by adoring crowds at Scranton’s Courthouse Square. Thankfully, no Chechen-American bombs crashed “The Office Party,” and for the most part, it seemed likely that throngs of druggies kept inner habits silent, and Pennsylvanians can look forward to decades of The Office” T.V. re-runs. And maybe, by then, the Bush/Obama War on Terror shall pick-up steam, garner additional revenue influx, and Scranton’s most famous munitions employer, General Dynamics (formerly Chamberlain Co.) shall re-call the 100 or so recently laid-off workers.

(A note on a fan’s comment in attendance at “The Office” crew assembly at Montage Mountain P.N.C. re-built NY Yankee minor-league baseball field at, of course, huge tax-payer expense. The fan said, “I never heard a ballpark that loud for anything.” I suppose the fan never had pleasure of hearing F-16s roar across ball field skies)

At 61 years old, I reached several forms of enlightenment about “Bread & Circus” thrills and letdown. For example, as MLB baseball season opened in 2003, a rabid-Baltimore Oriole fan, my day was quite upset by W. Bush’s attack on Baghdad. And one day after watching “The Office” cast parade Scranton streets, I rose early and gathered the Scranton Sunday Times from my rented apartment’s back porch, returned upstairs for a coffee and National Bakery “hard roll,” and read the newspaper headline proclaiming, “It’s a wrap!” – the City of Scranton desperately needed “a few good men,” clean & sober criterion of course per Governor Corbett’s required standard.

Reading the Scranton Sunday Times, section “A” (Cinco de Mayo, 2013) was quite a feel-good experience. Oh the joys of a 7 by 10” photo of The Office’s Steve Carrol, running down the line, high-fiving fans, as he made a “surprise” appearance at the “Wrap Party” at PNC Field yesterday. Heartened, I ate a second National Bakery hard roll, and wandered to The Sunday Times section “B” which headlined, “Airstrike raises stakes; Israel’s foray into Syria could widen region’s war.” Notably, the Sunday Times informed, “it was Israel’s second air-strike against Syria in four months… and the government enforced its own red line of not allowing game-changing weapons to reach Lebanon’s Hezbollah.” Interesting that for decades U.S. government financed and allowed Israel’s nuclear weapon program build-up, and The Office popular crew and staff members shall not be appearing in Gaza Strip stadiums, high-fiving, delivering bacon.

Everyone in America can relate to T.V. and film’s long term feel-good effect. I felt happy when Muhammad Ali “rope-doped” and defeated younger giant George Foreman, post-career sold George Foreman Grilles as I scrounged money for rent & dope. Felt good when star of The Fugitive finally found justice after the cops chased the wrong “Un-Sub” for over a decade. However, as it is almost certain that a war-conflagration is at the Middle East starting-gate, Kentucky Derby over, my career prospects poor, The Office crew gone home, for entertainment, maybe learning (?) I decided to re-read a chapter from my old copy of Richard Rhodes book, “National Book Award” winner, The Making of the Atomic Bomb.” Mr Rhodes’ particular chapter of interest is grimly titled, “The Long Grave Already Dug,” tailor-made for Pennsy Governor Corbett’s frustrated list of employers who cannot find clean & sober warehouse, Office, and restaurant workers.

In Mr. Rhodes The Making of the Atomic Bomb, one learns that in troublesome August 1914, England had quite a Star-in-midst, Mr. Chaim Weizmann, “a tall, sturdy, Russian-born Jewish biochemist, Ernest Rutherford’s good friend, passionate Zionist, hated Czarist Russia, and an admirer of British democracy. Despite no C.N.N. / Golden Mic at time, Mr. Weizmann had faith that the Western democracies would emerge victorious, Jewish destiny lay with them, and “England alone would help them return and rise again in their ancient land of Palestine.” I shall keep eyes out for future charismatic biochemists who like The Office have a war-less formula to raise Scranton, a friend in-need, out of financial muddle, protracted suffering-times.

Doubtless, it was good for Scranton officials to haul in The Office and raise consumer spirits.

In 1914, according to Richard Rhodes, Baron de Rothschild urged Chaim Weizmann to seek out and talk-turkey to British leaders.” And so “goodness” came about – at war, The Admiralty, of which Winston Churchill, at forty-one, was First Lord, and faced a severe shortage of acetone, a critical ingredient in the manufacture of cordite, “propellant used in heavy artillery, including naval guns. In other words, in order for the British to more effectively kill “Old Europe” beer-hall slacker Germans, the big British guns needed lots of cordite in order to accommodate “hotter propellants that would otherwise quickly erode” the good-guys gun barrels. Cordite apparently was the “opium of the barrels,” conquest is the soul of a irridentist religious people, and Dr. Weizmann delivered the means to produce sufficient cordite for British weaponry in exchange for establishing a Milk & Honeyville.

British Empire difficulties were solved through Weizmann’s scientific and business genius, and Lloyd George proclaimed, “You have rendered great service to the State, and I should like to ask the Prime Minister to recommend you to His Majesty for some honor.” Like a gushing-Roman provincial Governor once asked a sexy dancing girl, and as recorded by Richard Rhodes, Lloyd George asked Weizmann, “Is there nothing we can do as a recognition of your valuable service?” Weizmann replied, “Yes, I would like you to do something for my people,” and the request became a most famous declaration, the “Balfour Declaration,” and a British commitment to “view with favor that the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and to use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object.”

The popular crew and staff of T.V. sitcom The Office indeed delivered a “propellant” which doubtless, for one day, lifted Scrantonian spirits, apparently gave some a sense that bad times are bygone, General Dynamics shall inevitably gain more munition contracts, and despite Governor Tom Corbett’s concerns, local workers will pass “random drug tests.” At present, with U.S. financial, military, spiritual, and full-diplomatic support, Israel is striking Syria from the air, at will. Cannot help but consider the local fan who attended P.N.C. Park yesterday, in honor of The Office, and who declared, “I never heard a ballpark that loud for anything ever.”

I am truly sincere in expressing a concern that the “red-line” attacks occurring in Syria, in our name, shall tragically result in “blow-back”on an American stadium. Even down & out Scranton residents realize the typical revenge after-effect when an aggressive neighbor tosses a brick through a neighbor’s window, and the hapless latter retaliates in-kind. The Office smashed the Scranton Box-Office, an ecstatic British Crown smashed the Kaiser. Let’s take a mass station break, head for watercoolers, ponder the Good Book saying, “live by sword, die by sword,” have clean urine and conscience. Do we really need to bring the Flintstone cast and Bam-Bam to Damascus and Teheran venues?

Chuck Orloski

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Published by the LA Progressive on May 12, 2013
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About Charles Orloski

Charles Orloski is a poet living in Taylor, Pennsylvania.