Put Some Gay In Your Day, Dallas!

Up, Up & Away

What’s not to love about a balloon?  Bunched together for birthday parties, they send a message of fun and frivolity before the actual festivities begin.  Even for adults, balloons at such occasions are holdovers from childhood long after cake and punch have been replaced with canapes and cocktails.

Then there were the big balloons, like the one that brought the Wizard to Oz and eventually takes him away again.  David Niven, as Phileas Fogg, went Around the World in 80 Days in a balloon, and we went with him in the three-hour movie.  The balloons in the Macy’s parade are as much a part of the American Thanksgiving Day tradition as turkey.  The mass ascension at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is one of the most glorious sights I’ve ever seen.

So when word first got out that there was a Chinese balloon floating over Montana, my first thought was, “A Chinese balloon!  How fun is that!”  Well, that didn’t last long.  It wasn’t some errant weather balloon—it was a spy balloon.

It took me a moment to process that.  I could completely see a Russian spy balloon, with Boris and Natasha onboard, but there are no corresponding Chinese cartoon characters.  In trying to imagine such Chinese spies, I quickly realized that even flirting with such characterizations would raise the ire of the woke police, so I’m going to just leave that there.

What I can say is I’m disappointed in the Chinese.  Getting caught is bad enough, but whoever decided the balloon would be white should be fired.  One need not have a degree in Advanced Espionage to know that a balloon sneaking around in the sky trying not to be noticed should be blue, for pity’s sake.  Admittedly, blue can be a tricky color to match, but give it your best shot, China.

Inevitably, the Chinese balloon became an international diplomacy and national security hot air potato, and I came to the sad conclusion that what goes up must come down.  But knowing it had to be done, that an instrument of nefarious surveillance had to be taken out, didn’t prevent me from feeling that a happy thing like a balloon had been infected and become dangerous.  Watching the footage of it being shot triggered memories of Tommy Kirk shooting Old Yeller.

Leading up to this week’s State of the Union Address, President Joe Biden might well have felt like that Chinese balloon, if not an American pinata.  Speculation has grown that he will soon announce a run for a second term, while polls have shown a significant lack of support from voters for such an endeavor.  Success with the SOTU was clearly critical.  The Democrats were on alert, while the Republicans apparently decided this would be a good time to circle the clown cars.

Usually, there is no place for fashion commentary from this annual event, but this is 2023, and here we are.  

Marjorie Taylor (used to be) Greene wore a winter white coat with fur trim, which inspired memes comparing her to Cruella de Vil.  That’s unfair.  To Cruella, I mean.  I couldn’t see enough of the coat to criticize it, and I wasn’t about to sift through endless pictures on the internet to try to get one in full length.  

Besides, that coat’s not her problem.  Someone needs to tell Marjorie that being in front of cameras, the part of her job I suspect she likes best, allows for split-second snaps that can be most unflattering.  This problem could be mitigated by learning to speak with only the front half of her mouth, and never yelling in public.  After all, even the most attractive woman on the planet can be caught looking like Mrs. Ed while screaming at the President from the cheap seats.  

I could be snarky about what Senator Kyrsten Sinema wore, but that would be too easy.  Instead, I’ll just comment that only Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor could make dressing like a #2 pencil look good. 

Turning the shenanigans of some of the attendees to his advantage, President Biden proceeded with outlining his policy goals, which he described as a “blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America” while speaking of America’s story of “progress and resilience.”  A CNN poll indicated 72% of viewers had a positive reaction to his speech.    

The Republicans (cue Sarah Huckabee Sanders) see gloom, doom and America going to hell in a handbasket.  Biden wants to take us up, up and away in his beautiful balloon.  Too cynical, to be sure.  Too naïve, undoubtedly.  But did you say balloon?