Dean Clough

December 7, 2022

Portico Darwin: Another Plane from Fantasy Island


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China's problems have gotten so bad, I felt I needed to call in my heavy hitters.

So in a twist, it's Mr. Roarke and Tattoo that step out of da plane; once off, they jump in to an electric Waymo that awaits.  Without a word or a driver, the car transports them to a discreet resort, high in one of the world's most treasured mountain ranges.

They are brought to a small-ish yet luxuriant chalet, in a grouping of the same, above the resort's main building.  In the chalet are 4 people.  Joe Biden.  Xi Jinping.  An American English translator who's also a Secret Service assassin.  And a Mandarin Chinese translator who looks like the mean guy from Goldfinger

Roarke and Tattoo aren't concerned, because they have truth, justice, and fantasy on their side.  After a ceremonial Weissβier toast, the two Islanders get down to business, led by the suave Mr. Roarke.

"Listen Mr. Xi, you are sitting on a timebomb.  You've hosed your economy in so many different ways, it's hard to keep track.  IP theft.  Squashing innovative Chinese companies.  Overbuilding.  A corrupt and murderous national ruling party.  And, your completely chow mein-fisted management of the virus.  JFC the lockdowns!  I am here to speak sense to you."  

Xi is alarmed, not familiar with being spoke to in this manner - other than by (shocker) his wife and mistresses.  Biden just nodded, in between nodding off.  Tattoo does his part with his constant "That's right, boss!" affirmations.

Acknowledging his diminutive friend's sycophancy with a sly wink, Roarke continued.  "Here's what we're - actually, you're - going to do, Mr. Xi.  You're going to place the largest pharmaceutical order in the history of the world with Mr. Biden here.  You're going to buy all of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine you want, at cost.  You can say they fell off a container ship somewhere and came into your nation's hands.  Or, you can just do what you normally do:  stick a Chinese label on it and call it yours.  We're good either way.  Heck, we'll just give you the fucking doses if you do what we ask.  But you must realize your vaccines suck and your pandemic policies are worse.  

"Mr. Xi, my friend Papa Joe doesn't want much in return.  He wants the vaccines equitably and efficiently given across your country.  Oh, and he wants you to publicly acknowledge Taiwan by name, its right to exist, and establish diplomatic relations with Taipei immediately.  And Mr. Xi - enough with the Uyghur thing, huh?  Maybe ix-nay on the enocide-jay?

"You get your vaccines and an end to that revolution percolating among your 1.25 billion + citizens.  You can get the virus under control, turn the factories back on, and go back to business as usual.  Shanghai in the spring - think of it!  You just leave Taiwan alone, and maybe wind down the ethnic cleansing.  Mr. Xi, what do you say?"

Xi took a deep breath, and gazed at the splendid alpine vistas.  President Biden nipped at his Geritol and wondered when snacks were coming?  

Then Xi spoke, and really what could he say?  I mean, Roarke and Tattoo had flown all this way, and the scenery was so pretty.  As much as anything, Xi Jinping wanted to express gratitude!  

And oh yeah, his country had been painted into such a corner by his own megalomaniacal behaviors and general refusal to accept a mutually beneficial rules-based global order that he really left himself little choice.

So he said yes and did so with a smile on his face.  Both Roarke and Tattoo beamed.  

And yes, even Papa Joe snapped to attention.  The President straightened his Ray-Bans and crowed "I think I've pooped my pants!"  

Given the magnitude of Mr. Xi's decision, even that couldn't spoil (soil?) the moment.

Tattoo turned to Mr. Roarke, and hoisting with his little hands the .5L chalice, he toasted:  "You did it boss!".  

And with that, they were gone.  Back to Fantasy Island.


If you consider my parents in 1963 a part of THE UNWASHED MASSES, this works.   

But what's with the pink?  Do I need to change my pronouns?  Gender is just a construct, right?

Yes, tomorrow is a big day - we leave for Hoboken and aren't back in SF until Christmas day.  And no, we're not in first class SFO-EWR, despite it being my day

But I am nothing if not resilient, so you can still look forward to this same crap 3 times a week while I'm on the East Coast.  There may even be a jam-packed Hoboken/NYC Travel Guide in the works. 

In other words, get ready for plenty of things like this.

You are so very, very welcome.  In advance. 

Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.


Fantasy Island?  How about The Who, at the absolute, tippy-tippy-top peak of their live powers, on England's largest island?  Here is the Killer Live at The Isle of Wight.

A question for you musical types to ponder.  After Neil Peart, who is the best rock drummer of all time?  I say Stewart Copeland, followed by Keith Moon (although the latter's technique could work with no other band than The Who).  Hal Blaine would have to be included, but I specifically poo-poo John Bonham - "Moby Dick" this, I say.  Your thoughts?  Ginger Baker?  Cozy Powell?  Gene Krupa?  Bill Bruford?  That guy from Smashing Pumpkins Alden Michaels wets himself over?  Is there anyone worth considering from this century?

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