October 12, 2004
TROTSKY'S DEFEAT BY STALIN FOR CONTROL OF THE SOVIET UNION, IN THREE NON-POLITICAL CONTEXTS
Dinner is ready -- no, almost ready. The chef pauses, tastes the food. What does it need? It's a basic meat and potatoes sort of dish, nothing too fancy. The recipe called for salt and pepper. The chef adds a dash more salt -- yes, much better. The salt goes well with this. Now the dish has flavor, zest. But the dish is still missing something. What else? The chef reaches for the pepper, but it is over by the sink at the moment, and the nutmeg is next to the salt - so the chef adds an extremely large dose of nutmeg instead. Dinner is served. After the first few bites, which are surprisingly flavorful, everyone begins to feel nauseous and feverish. The pepper is blamed for this; it is revealed, to the surprise of many, that the recipe called for salt and nutmeg, not salt and pepper, and the pepper, far from making the dish more delicious, nearly ruined it. The pepper is thrown through the window of the restaurant and nutmeg is dumped all over the next course, the dessert and the after-dinner mints. Everyone gets very sick.
After guiding the car out of the driveway, on to the interstate and through the first toll plaza, the right hand finally leaves the steering wheel and goes to its armrest. Many assume that the left hand, which worked with the right hand in bringing the car alongside the unleaded pump at the gas station, will take control of the car; the left hand, however, does not return to the wheel immediately, as it is busy scratching the head. The right knee, which was barely involved in the driveway and was only responsible for nudging the door shut at the gas station, forms a coalition with the lap and the left knee to assume command of the vehicle. With the left hand out of power, the right knee betrays the lap and the left knee by spilling coffee on them and begins to dictate the course of the road-trip. Although speed increases, the car is unprepared for the second toll plaza and must veer off the road into a cornfield. As the car shakes violently, ears of corn thumping against the windows, the left hand - which has long since been sat upon - is blamed for the rock-block of Foghat that comes on the radio.
After the Chicago Bulls win their third consecutive NBA championship at the end of the 1992-93 season, superstar guard Michael Jordan shocks the sporting world by announcing his retirement at the age of 30. Now the Bulls' playoff hopes fall upon the shoulders of Scottie Pippen, a three-time All-Star whose unparalleled defensive abilities were crucial during the team's first title run against the Los Angeles Lakers, royalty of the league throughout the 1980s. Pippen, however, elects to have minor back surgery in the off-season, and he misses the first week of training camp due to his rehab schedule. In his absence, Stacey King - a former first-round draft pick who was not a major contributor during any of the championship seasons - signs a 10 year $22 million contract under mysterious circumstances and installs ex-CBA players loyal to him at the point guard and small forward positions. When Pippen returns to the court, no one will pass to him. He loses his place in the starting lineup and is finally waived at mid-season. It is revealed, to the surprise of many, that Pippen's 17.8 PPG during the first title run were actually scored by King, whose own statistics were kept low in order to mask his true role, which was to cover for Pippen's defensive lapses. Fans who order copies of the Bulls' 1991 championship video "Learning to Fly" and its 1992 sequel "Untouchabulls" find that they now feature a six-minute montage of Pippen turning the ball over and having friendly conversations with players from other teams during the All-Star break. (1993’s video, “Three-Peat”, omits mention of Pippen entirely.) Guards Jo Jo English and Pete Myers, initially loyal to King, suffer torn ACLs before the beginning of the next season and are forced to retire. Meanwhile, Pippen finishes out his career by playing two games in a semi-pro league in Mexico that is forced to fold when all of its basketballs are found deflated by an unidentified sharp object.
Well, there goes that burst of antic energy.