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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Amazing, amazing, amazing.

Have you noticed how absolutely everything fits that adjective in real life, on social media, and in the news?

Everything’s amazing except the Greek debt crisis. “It’s all Greek to me,” my father said over the morning newspapers. What’s clear over here, stateside, is that German chancellor Angela Merkel is now the de facto leader of Europe. Not us, and not our best buddies the Brits anymore. Our beautiful friendship, which we thought would never surrender, is now ready for Throwback Thursday. The Greek tragedy has a deadline closing in on Sunday. Austerity is a lot to ask of a beautiful country that has seen better days. What would Aristotle say?

Everything’s amazing except the New York Stock Exchange going dark for nearly four hours smack dab in the middle of a summer Wednesday. That’s like a lifetime, folks! The scary event reawakened shaken fears from the 2008 steep decline and downturn on Wall Street. This time, they said the shutdown on the trading floor was a computer system outage. And, of course, mighty Wall Street has so much street cred, who are we to question what’s up and down on the Dow Jones?

Everything’s amazing except United Airlines also cutting out Wednesday. The major carrier grounded 4,900 flights, creating severe cases of “O’Hare Despair” in Chicago’s otherwise amazing airport. This is all in a day, and oddly, it happened about the same time as the Stock Exchange darkness and despair. United blamed it on a computer glitch, too, in the reservations system. The Federal Aviation Administration approved the sweeping grounding of planes in the heart of America — which caused untold trouble for travelers.

OK, can the FAA make United pay for yesterday? Air travel has become so dreary since 9/11 and George W. Bush’s fear-mongering that we no longer get a kick out of it. He created a world full of strangers to each other. We no longer look forward to the romance or adventure of flying. United has helped to create this state of misery, with plenty of help. Travelers, unite! When we say goodbye now, we add, “Have a safe trip,” as if that’s the best we can hope for. That seems un-American to me.

Everything’s amazing except for the huge stock market fall in China. The Washington Post reported that spirits were getting giddy at the “ever-rising” stock market. We know how that goes. Now Chinese political leaders are watching like everybody else, not sure if there is anything they can do to stop Western-lite capitalism in a dire action. “No buyers, only sellers,” a market analyst told The New York Times. It’s not a pretty sight from any deck. But I’m sure President Obama will say the right thing. He always does.

Everything’s amazing except the Iran nuclear deal that is still being sweated and hammered out. It’s all happening in Vienna in an arduous negotiation. The deadline has passed and meanwhile, Iranian political fury is being stirred up at home — against the United States. Don’t worry, Secretary of State John Kerry will find a way, if there is one, across the table in Vienna. I believe that, but let’s remember the last time Iran was really, really mad at us. They took the whole American embassy hostage. We have big problems enough on the foreign policy front. Pakistan is enough to make the Pentagon tremble, swear and weep. But we’re sending in the Marines: Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford Jr. is Obama’s pick for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

I hope you feel better now.

This just in: Everything’s amazing at the Smithsonian Institution. David J. Skorton the new secretary, was shown the treasures of the collection — known as America’s attic. For example, a baseball signed by Jackie Robinson. As he viewed American History museum piece after piece, Skorton, 66, said the same word over and over. “Amazing. ”

Truly.

To find out more about Jamie Stiehm and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit Creators.com

Photo: Brian via Flickr