FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Facing a McBlimp Attack

 

Beneath a clear blue Fall afternoon, I was lying face down on the parkway outside city hall. On top of me, cursing and screaming they’ll never take us alive, was Marshbaum. The last thing I had remembered before being hit with a flying tackle was looking up. So, I looked up again.

“Stay down!” Marshbaum barked.

“Snipers?” I fearfully asked. When you’re a political satirist, you never know who you may have offended.

“Blimp,” whispered Marshbaum ominously.

“The Goodyear blimp is after me? It’s as docile as the Washington press corps.”

“That’s what they want you to believe. Didn’t you ever wonder what they really do over all those football games? They’re gathering intelligence.”

“What can they learn at a football game?”

“Enough to know that 50,000 drunks wearing hog noses to cheer for the Redskins aren’t going to be able to provide much resistance to an all-out invasion.”

“Goodyear is going to invade the FedEx Field?”

“Goodyear is on our side,” he said. The problem is the other blimps. The Fugi blimp is probably in luke-warm pursuit right now.”

“We’re going to war with a company that makes film?”

“A Japanese company,” said Marshbaum smugly. “When we defeated the Germans and had the only combat blimps, we had air superiority. The Japanese take our technology, improve it, and build their own blimp. Probably have a dozen quality work circles right now just on how to better vulcanize rubber. It’s a worldwide conspiracy, Even the Scots are involved.”

“Yeah, the last thing an enemy wants to see is a tartan-design blimp floating into battle, staffed by Highlanders leaning out the windows, with their bagpipes blaring “Comin’ Through the Rye.”

“McDonald’s,” said a smirking Marshbaum. “The Scots achieved parity with Japan when they convinced us that two-ounce McGreaseburgers were healthier than tofu. Blimps are the future of warfare.”

During World War I, blimps had been used as scouts. French and German blimps passed each other, each crew waving politely at the enemy. But then someone, probably loaded on dark beer or burgundy, threw an incendiary device at the other blimp, and soon blimps were in the war. Except for some coastal surveillance for subs during World War II and an occasional rescue operation, blimps weren’t the attack craft military leaders once envisioned, mostly because even a blind squirrel with a nut could hit something that large and that slow. The last of the 140 Navy blimps was retired in 1962. But this was 2003. I demanded evidence that the government was going retro-air.

Marshbaum looked around, saw that no one was watching us, then took a crumpled news article from his back pocket. “See!” he said, thrusting it at me. According to the article, the Navy has begun testing a blimp, first in Virginia, now in San Diego, as surveillance in the war against terror. Floating at 40 miles per hour, about 2,000 feet above the earth, the white airships would be used to locate enemy divers, submerged mines and, maybe, drug smugglers, illegal immigrants crossing America’s borders, and seedy lawyers having sex with the spouses of jailed clients. The Navy projects three 200-foot helium-filled airships, each at a cost of about $12 million, for every major American city.

But that’s not all the Navy plans. In addition to the four-person low-level surveillance blimps, it’s allocating about $40 million for a remote-controlled prototype that can cruise at 65,000 feet. This 500-foot long space carrier will have a volume of more than five million cubic feet of helium, about 20 times that of current blimps.

It will take a lot of helium to float these airships. We need to look no further than the Bush Dome Reservoir near Amarillo, Texas. Beneath its 20 square miles, the government has stockpiled about 30 billion cubic feet of helium, which it has been selling to private enterprise.

“The conspiracy isn’t even hidden,” said Marshbaum. “After the government sells helium to private industry, it then buys blimps from private companies with White House ties. Then since blimps need helium, the government buys it from private sources.” The only thing to be determined, said Marshbaum, “is how much profit Halliburton will receive.”

“It’s business as usual in the Bush White House,” I said. “It’d be a real stretch for them to claim that there was an imminent threat to national security from blimps. It’s not as if Fugi possessed weapons of mass destruction.” But, at that moment, chugging along at sub-snail speed, floated the sinister Shamu killer whale blimp, apparently on a search-and-destroy mission to take over the nation’s football fields and amusement parks.

“It’s only the beginning,” said Marshbaum. “Only the beginning.”

( WALT BRASCH, professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University, says he sees a lot of hot air on campus, but has yet to see a blimp hover over the college’s football field. His latest book is “Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture.” You may contact him at brasch@bloomu.edu)

 

 

More articles by:

Walter Brasch is an award-winning social issues journalist. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, an analysis of the history, economics, and politics of fracking, as well as its environmental and health effects.

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail