The United States of Wonderland

A few weeks ago, I found myself wondering where to find the elevator to get me out of this rabbit hole in which I found myself.  Until that point, the world could get pretty crazy, but I would never have imagined that 47 U.S. Senators would become pen pals with leaders of the Iranian state in order to sabotage efforts for an international agreement that would maintain oversight on any attempt by Iranians to go nuclear.

letter iran

And in that world as I knew it, senior senators would not have signed on to a letter-writing campaign spearheaded by a freshman congressman whose sum total of congressional experience amounted to about 2 months. Freshman Tom Cotton’s foreign policy chops are probably even less impressive. Yet, senators with decades of experience added their names to the letter, explaining later that they were in a rush to get out of town and might not have given it enough thought.  Sure glad these rabbits, crazily running to their “very important date,” are running our government!! And Bob Schieffer, bless his heart, hid that Cheshire cat smile admirably when he asked Mr. Cotton on Face the Nation whether he plans on writing letters to any of our other adversaries, say North Korea?  As always, good question from Bob, who really knows Crazyland!


But if the truth be told, as years go by, I’ve bumped into an increasing number of crazy things, so I guess it was about time for irrationality levels to reach a critical mass.  From my vantage point, what constitutes that critical mass is a pretty long list, but I’ll share just a few with you.

For example, who in their right mind would spend big wads of cash to form a Rick Perry political action committee (PAC) for his presidential campaign? Have these misguided souls noticed the long list of Republican hopefuls, including Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, one of whom will leave teeth marks on RP’s backside if he, another Texan, gets in his way. Also, did these donors suffer from collective amnesia about RP’s performance four years ago? I’m sorry, but there’s no coming back from that (particularly his maple syrup love-in), with or without glasses.

The PAC-folks explain this money-throw by telling us that RP has an incredible story to tell and that many people didn’t get a chance in 2012 to “truly understand his background.” Would that incredible story be about his time as a cheerleader in Aggieland? The fact that he was Democrat before he was a Republican? That the Christian god speaks to his wife about politics? I hate to burst their bubble, put I don’t see the makings of an incredible story voters are dying to hear about . . . unless he’s coming out of the closet, or something of that nature. And, by the way, PAC donors, if you have money just lying around and want to do something productive with it, I know a couple of app developers who would really put it to good use. Check out

And what’s with those people who complain about Austin traffic but are relentless rubberneckers, thereby making traffic slowdowns even worse? Sure, it’s the traffic accident that initially slows down traffic to creeping mud flow speed, but when the accident has been pulled off the roadway and traffic is free to speed up, why do folks continue to crawl along, taking a long, loving look at the accident scene? Just let me ask you, if you’ve seen one or two accidents, haven’t you pretty much seen them all? And if you are still hoping to see something you haven’t seen yet, what on earth might that be? Something truly bloody and gruesome? A dead body lying on the ground??


Frankly, if it were me lying dead on the roadside, I’d much rather you’d wait until I was at the funeral home and all cleaned up before you stared at me as if my bloodied body were any of your business. Sense of decency, anyone? But on the other hand. I’m not closing the door to the possibility of justifiable gawking. For example, an incident involving a herd of emus or escaped llamas might be worth a gander or two. A truckload of chickens on the side of the road, not so much. A cop tazing or shooting an unarmed citizen? Stop. Get out your cell phone. Record!!!  This is the crazy world we live in.

Another thing that strikes me as crazy are those Washington politicians who have press conferences surrounded by a gaggle of other politicians, usually men, with the exception of Speaker John Boehner who is generally flanked by his token woman.  Her name is Cathy McMorris Rogers, which I only knew because I googled “Boehner’s token woman.”

So much to wonder about:  Do these guys think they look more impressive with their dudes around them as if a performance of the “Jets Song” from West Side Story were about to break out? Can they even snap their fingers in unison, I wonder? Is there a sense of safety in numbers, giving a potential assassin more targets? Do these leaders think they look better in close comparison to others? (Note to Mitch: it will never work!)


And, another thing I ask is how do they assemble these backdrop groups? Do they send out an email earlier in the day telling selected individuals about the meet-up? Or do they grab whoever is walking by? Will they ever lock arms and start dancing off camera? The possibilities seem endlessly weird.

But, an even weirder aspect of life in the 2000-teens is the Kardashian thing. Who are they really and how did so many normal Americans happen to sip their Kool-aid? I’ve been confused since the day, a few years ago, when they suddenly appeared on Earth — possibly interplanetary travelers — whose sole purpose seemed to be the performance of acts involving extreme narcissism and bodily display that some earthlings would find appealing. I can’t even begin to imagine what that appeal is, but I’m very impressed with the resilience of their bodies that seem to wax and wane in size fairly rapidly. Adopting such a feature might be useful to us earthlings.

And I really can’t understand this Bruce Jenner, an apparent summoner of these beings. He used to be involved in some Olympic sporting event, but I’ve long since forgotten whether it was swimming, running, skiing, or something else, and I’m not really interested in knowing about it now. I find him a bit disturbing, particularly given his role in the Kardashian landing.

Finally, I’ve spent years wondering about the rationale of only one lemon per glass of iced tea at restaurants, despite the fact that the glass may be refilled multiple times.  Haven’t you noticed that you may be offered as many refills as you can drink, but are rarely asked whether you’d like additional lemons?


You may think the issue of the one lemon rule is unworthy of much concern, but you have to admit that it’s a curious phenomenon considering that a lemon (or lime) perched on the rim is de rigueur with the service of your tea.  It would make sense if the citrus were just a decorative garnish. However, it’s a functional garnish because it’s intended to add flavor to the tea. So, what sense does it make that you would want to squeeze lemon in your first glass for flavor, but none of the subsequent ones?

Maybe we are supposed to economize with that slice of lemon by using only drops at a time, saving it to use in our refills. If so, where do we put that lemon after we’ve used those few drops? Do we put it back to straddle the rim, hoping it can hang on in its depleted condition? If we were supposed to just leave the lemon-in-wait on the table, shouldn’t the restaurant supply us with a saucer of some sort? Do we rest it in our iced teaspoon, assuming we get one?  (Don’t get me started on straws with iced tea.)

By now you may be thinking that I’ve had too much thinking time on my hands lately, which may be true. I attribute it to all the cold weather and some cabin fever. The good news is that spring has sprung and I can finally remove the hat with earflaps. And maybe, as I watch the sideshow of Republicans running for president, I can quit looking for the elevator and just sit back and enjoy this rabbit holey-crap world as it gets curiouser and curiouser.

BTW, Harry Ransom Center’s exhibit on 150 Years of Alice in Wonderland continues through July 6th!

About nowandthenadays

Observer of life who writes about Austin, women's issues, history, and politics. I worked in the Texas Legislature for 9 years, moved to the State Comptroller's Office where I worked for 9 years, then went to work as an Assistant Attorney General after graduating from UT Law, for more than 20 years. Since retirement in May, 2013, I've identified myself as a writer, a caretaker, widow, grandmother, pandemic survivor, and finder of true love.
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2 Responses to The United States of Wonderland

  1. Col Gary Allison says:

    Good stuff. I needed the grin.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Brabisimo. Well said. I could not agree with you more. Keep up the good stuff. GP



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