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Monday, July 31, 2006

Many Happy Returns

Thou shalt not steal. Don’t take things that don’t belong to you.

No matter how you say it, it’s a simple concept. Unless, that is, you’re talking about international artifacts.

The British Museum, for example, is full of the world’s treasures, some of which original countries of origin want back. Greece, for one, seeks the return of the Parthenon Marbles (often called the Elgin Marbles). These sculptured panels decorated part of the Parthenon in Athens before Great Britain’s ambassador to the Ottoman Empire brought them to England at the turn of the 19th century.

Recent news out of the Middle East, however, gives us hope.

Iraq may still await peace and prosperity, but it again owns one of its most prized cultural relics. Last week, US authorities returned to the Iraqi government a 4,000-year-old representation of Entemena that looters had pilfered in April 2003.

Entemena, in case you’re wondering, was an ancient Mesopotamian king—not, as some of you are thinking, an ancient Mesopotamian enema.

The king’s followers honored him with a rare black stone statue, which rests again in Iraqi hands. Homeland Security officials received a tipoff earlier this year about the headless statue’s location, recovered it, and verified its authenticity before arranging its return to the people of Iraq.

This trend seems worth continuing. Let’s consider the following returns to set things right:

Alaska and Northern California. Two hundred years ago, the Russians established settlements and forts in Alaska and down the western coast of the continent, all the way down to a few miles north of San Francisco. Russia has fallen on hard times since the fall of the Soviet Union and could use a generous land grant boost.

Not to mention that we haven’t had much luck finding the elusive Bigfoot. Why not give someone else a shot at it?

New Orleans. Founded—and brilliantly located—by the French in 1718, New Orleans suffered because of that placement decision when Hurricane Katrina smacked the city last year. American taxpayers should stop footing the bill for reconstruction and give it back to France.

After all, France handles its own urban social ills so well … I’m sure they’ll have no difficulty fixing the Big Easy’s problems.

And, while we’re at it:

The Entire Western Hemisphere. North and South America had some pretty healthy occupants before the Europeans came over and ran roughshod over the hemisphere. Maybe Native Americans can get all the land back, save for a few reservations where anyone of European descent can settle.

Don’t worry—we’ll let these new reservation-dwellers run casinos and stuff. That’ll ease our conscience.

43 Comments:

At July 31, 2006 7:58 AM, Anonymous LisaBinDaCity replied to my musings ...

I'm absolutely shuddering at the thought of New Orleans back in the hands of the French.

Sacre Bleu!

 
At July 31, 2006 8:40 AM, Blogger OnMyWatch replied to my musings ...

2 questions: would I have to wear a beret and learn to paint? and can I run the roulette table?

btw, it wasn't Katrina (fact check) that screwed up N.O., but the politicians and army core of engineers that did her in.

 
At July 31, 2006 8:50 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Lisa B: Maybe we can give D.C. to France instead. After all, it was designed by the French-born Pierre L'Enfant ... and it has sites with names like Dupont Circle and Lafayette Square ...

OMW: You can run the roulette table, but ONLY while wearing a beret and painting. And thanks for the correction; Rita was stuck on my brain due to recent experiences with tequila-based cocktails with salty rims.

-- david

 
At July 31, 2006 8:53 AM, Blogger OnMyWatch replied to my musings ...

damn, you drive a hard bargain, but you've got yourself a deal.

mas tequila!

 
At July 31, 2006 9:31 AM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

The only thing I know about the Mesopotamian's is that they worshiped Zuel from Ghostbusters.

"There is no Dana, there is only Zuel!!"

 
At July 31, 2006 10:35 AM, Blogger Death Warmed Over replied to my musings ...

I'm all for it if I can play saxaphone at a caberet in the new New Orleans.

We could give the Chinese everything in our houses. After all, they made all of it.

 
At July 31, 2006 10:42 AM, Blogger Kid Jacque replied to my musings ...

"I am the Gatekeeper... Are you the Keymaster?" -- I always thought that part of the movie was so cheesy...

Or was that the entire movie? Either way - the Stay-Puft marshmellow guy was a nice touch...

 
At July 31, 2006 11:09 AM, Blogger Curare_Z replied to my musings ...

But not all returns are good ones. I, for one, hope Bahrain (or wherever he is now) keeps Michael Jackson.

 
At July 31, 2006 11:55 AM, Blogger Franc replied to my musings ...

I think in the "Don’t take things that don’t belong to you" concept the key point is how we undertand the notion of "belonging".

To France? uhmm.. I'm Spanish thefore I can not agree with that... ;-)

 
At July 31, 2006 12:17 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Well, New Orleans is like anything else French: going down fast, including the women!!!!! As for the Chinese, we've already given them the gift of industrialization: enviromental destruction. Now the Russians might like to get their lands back, but I'm not sure they'd be able to hold it all together. Look at the former Soviet Union, and Bigfoot sightings would increase due to wondering Cossacks with their hats....

 
At July 31, 2006 1:09 PM, Blogger Mimi replied to my musings ...

If I can have one of those casinos it sounds like a great plan to me:)

 
At July 31, 2006 1:38 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Mike, Jacque: I haven't seen Ghostbusters in a long, long time. Now I have that song by Ray Parker, Jr. stuck in my head.

DWO, Mike: I hadn't thought of the Chinese angle. Let's keep Ziyi Zhang, though.

Curare: Good point. Once we open up this Pandora's box, the rest of world can start shipping our own "culture" back to us. I really don't need to see Baywatch again.

Franc: Nice to meet you, thanks for coming by. You're very right about the importance of understanding what people mean by "belonging." Many of the world's most stubborn conflicts revolve around what belongs to whom--and from each party's perspective, their claim makes sense.

Mike: You and that damn Cossack angle! Who told you about my irrational fear of Cossacks?!?

Mimi: I'm not so sure you'd like the rest of reservation life. But if want to give it a try ... we're all right behind you. (Well, figuratively.)

-- david

 
At July 31, 2006 1:44 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

Thanks to Native American gaming laws they are getting their land back one slot pull at a time.

 
At July 31, 2006 1:51 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard replied to my musings ...

Why the US didn't put guards in front of those museums right after the invasion is continually perplexing.

 
At July 31, 2006 2:24 PM, Blogger Jenna Howard replied to my musings ...

I'm so glad I'm from a place founded by, um, hm...some guy in a canoe with a beaver hat and a case of beer. At least I think that's what they taught me in school. I know there was a mention of a two-four in there somewhere.

 
At July 31, 2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Jeff replied to my musings ...

I'm sure George Bush has thought about giving New Orleans back to the French this past year. Probably not the best political move for him though....

P.S. I just linked your blog to my Imagine Echoes blog.

 
At July 31, 2006 4:37 PM, Blogger Fated replied to my musings ...

I can't help but shudder with the reservation casino comment. Be careful not to ease your guilty conscience as much as Canada did. You will end up with people who don't have to pay any taxes and that get a free house when they turn 18/21. That's only a few of the things, there is more. Talk about a sweet settlement.

You know what I would like to hear though? All of the people in New Orleans speaking with French accents. :) oh and of course the barets.

 
At July 31, 2006 5:43 PM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

While we're at it, let's send Hasselhoff back to Germany.

 
At July 31, 2006 5:50 PM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

I agree with The Phoenix--give David Hasslehoff back to whoever let him go.

 
At July 31, 2006 6:47 PM, Blogger Will replied to my musings ...

Hey David ... Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier - and I'm happy to see myself and Ben in your frequent reads section.

Frankly I say - it all most be returned, and with some serious late fees attached.

 
At July 31, 2006 7:12 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Fuzz: I knew I could count on you to work in something about lever-pulling.

ZW: Not guarding the museum probably had something to do with taking care of military demands first. Although, I'll grant you, it begs the question why there weren't more troops there in the first place.

Jenna: Are you sure it wasn't someone with a beer hat and a beaver?

Jeff: Who knows--with the president's recent poll numbers, it's hard to go anywhere but up. Thanks for the link; I'll throw one up (a link, that is) for you on this site, too.

Fated: Maybe a happy medium on the native population thing. Perhaps an offer for free relocation to New Orleans?

Phoenix, Angel Jr.: Eventually, even the Germans have to come to their senses and not want Hasselhoff. Of course, we can always go to war to force the issue.

Will: No need to thank me. Everyone: Go to Ben and Will's site, it's got great album reviews of yesterday AND today. And I hear what you're saying about it all must be returned, but we can't go too far down this road of "back to our roots" thing or we'll all end up in a small rift valley in East Africa.

-- david

 
At July 31, 2006 7:20 PM, Blogger Carmel replied to my musings ...

Yeah it should be returned, and as one of your readers said, "with late fees" lol.

 
At July 31, 2006 7:26 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard replied to my musings ...

I guess the theory was, "We have limited resources. You can't put an ancient artifact in a Hummer's gas tank and drive it. We had better secure the oil fields."

I support the war, but this was one facet that was very poorly executed.

 
At July 31, 2006 7:37 PM, Blogger Grafs replied to my musings ...

Amen on New Orleans and the entire western hemisphere, for that matter.

 
At July 31, 2006 8:49 PM, Blogger debbiecakes replied to my musings ...

Ah, David. One of your best yet. Especially the bit of New Orleans' perfect placement on the map thanks to the French and giving back some much stolen land to the real Americans.

But then where would the rest of us go?

 
At July 31, 2006 10:02 PM, Blogger kim replied to my musings ...

I"ve been wanting to give Texas back to Mexico for years....

 
At July 31, 2006 10:04 PM, Blogger erika replied to my musings ...

LOL by the rate that we are going the Native Americans will have there land back pretty soon.

 
At July 31, 2006 10:54 PM, Blogger Sar replied to my musings ...

Will country credit be applied if returns are made without their original receipt?

Lovely snark as always, David.

 
At July 31, 2006 11:23 PM, Blogger Jenna Howard replied to my musings ...

Gasp! What have you heard?!? Errr...I mean...maybe. Wanna beer?

 
At August 01, 2006 12:01 AM, Blogger Maggie replied to my musings ...

Ooooh! If we're on reservations, can we get the cheese? I'd like the cheese. With a little of the French/New Orleans wine, please.

 
At August 01, 2006 12:06 AM, Blogger Lee Ann replied to my musings ...

Our conscience will ease? How long will it take?

Hope you have a great week David.

 
At August 01, 2006 3:57 AM, Blogger fatty ~ replied to my musings ...

we stole australia, well australians did anyway. My ancestors were busy populating south-east asia! Chinese don't steal so much as they just make money off them. Go all the way around the world, the next corner will reveal an American billboard, Irish pub, and Chinese cornerstore.

 
At August 01, 2006 8:38 AM, Blogger Ben replied to my musings ...

Thank goodness England had nothing to do with American heritage or else I'd have had you asking me for a few bucks as well.

 
At August 01, 2006 8:52 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Carmel, Sar: Late fees, interest, receipts ... this is getting very complicated. Can't we all just get along?

Grafs, Debbiecakes: Glad you can live without New Orleans. My guess is all of us invaders will have to move to the moon, which (to the best of my knowledge) is unpopulated.

Kim: But if you did that, wouldn't all the Mexicans want to relocate further north?

Erika, Lee Ann: Maybe so; I haven't yet conducted a survey to see what the native populations of the Americas think of these proposals. Or to see if anyone actually thinks reservation life is good.

Maggie: Cheese is one of the biggest draws. That and poverty.

Fatty: I left Australia and China out of this. For once. I felt I bashed on the Aussies and the Chinese well enough with the Ayers Rock (Rock and Hard Place) and moth proliferation (Yellow Fever) posts a couple of months back. But watch out--you're coming due again!

Ben: Indeed, bashing on the Brits is so overdone. I focus my attention on the French, who NOBODY ever mocks.

-- david

 
At August 01, 2006 9:20 AM, Blogger Janet replied to my musings ...

Call me crazy, but something tells me the French might not want New Orleans anymore.

 
At August 01, 2006 11:50 AM, Blogger Freshwater replied to my musings ...

I'm totally for giving New Orleans back to the French, along with a gift maybe? A Huge Green Statue? Nah...done before....Hey lets give them FEMA and maybe a handy color coded terror reference card!

 
At August 01, 2006 12:06 PM, Blogger LocuTus of Borg replied to my musings ...

Hear hear nice list - we should definitely give back those things that need to be returned! Nice post David =)

 
At August 01, 2006 1:57 PM, Blogger Theodore replied to my musings ...

David:
I like your musings. Your sarcastic, intelligent tone reminds me of Ambrose Bierce.

 
At August 01, 2006 2:22 PM, Blogger ~ good girl ~ replied to my musings ...

Entemena, in case you’re wondering, was an ancient Mesopotamian king—not, as some of you are thinking, an ancient Mesopotamian enema. - Lol. This is a gem!

Well, the British gave me/us back Singapore. So, I, for one, am glad for the return policy. But there are also quite a few examples of Land-Parcel-Merry-go-Round that have yielded entirely different results. We need look no further than some of today's current affairs.

I think Bigfoot is buried under ice rubbles, glad to be hidden away from our worldy ills and frails.

GG

 
At August 01, 2006 2:30 PM, Blogger Blonde Vigilante replied to my musings ...

France still has buildings that are falling down from WWII. Seriously sad state of affairs.

 
At August 01, 2006 3:53 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Janet: You're crazy. (You did ask ...)

Freshwater: Can we give them most of Congress, too?

LoB: Welcome back--I hope you had a good trip.

Theodore: Thanks for visiting. If my style reminds you of Ambrose Bierce--which is great flattery, by the way--does that require me to disappear without a trace?

GG: Enema humor always plays well. And that hairy Sasquatch is alive, I swear--I've seen him in films and TV using the name Robin Williams.

BV: Good point. France still has MANY issues with what happened in World War II.

-- david

 
At August 01, 2006 10:19 PM, Blogger Marti replied to my musings ...

Hello! Just wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog and wishing me a happy birthday!

Another day, another disaster...latest entry in the tortured tales in a couple of hours LOL

Hope you have a great evening!

 
At August 02, 2006 12:38 AM, Blogger Phats replied to my musings ...

Thanks for stopping by my blog dave!! please feel free to come back anytime.

I thought at first you were telling me not to steal anymore, and well i am a klepto haha JK!

It's sad all of what has happened to New Orleans but they are slowly and surely rebuilding.

 

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